ROME — If more proof is needed that a change in moral tone under Pope Francis from judgment to mercy doesn’t necessarily imply a change in substance, the Vatican’s recent endorsement of a refusal to allow a transgender person in Spain to serve as a godfather would seem to supply it.
Alex Salinas is a 21-year-old transgender person from Cadiz, Spain. He was born a woman, but since February of 2014 has an ID card that identifies him as a man and is on a waiting list to receive sex reassignment surgery.
Regardless of his legal status or personal self-perception, Catholic authorities in Spain still regard Salinas as a woman and thus refused his request to serve as the godfather for the baptism of his sister’s baby.
That decision was upheld this week by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican’s powerful doctrinal watchdog agency under German Cardinal Gerhard Müller, who is set once again to be among the protagonists at a summit of Catholic bishops this October to discuss issues related to the family.
According to local news reports, Salinas’ parish priest had initially accepted him as a godfather, but Bishop Rafael Zornoza of Cádiz y Ceuta blocked the appointment. According to Salinas, when he went to the diocese to ask why, he was told that in the eyes of the Catholic Church, he is still a woman. read more