Alexander Salinas, a 21-year-old Spaniard, wanted to be a godfather to his two nephews, so he asked his local bishop. The bishop wasn’t sure, so he asked the Vatican to weigh in. The holy verdict? Sorry, it’s “impossible” for a transgender man to be a godfather.
“This person does not possess the requirement of leading a life according to the faith…and is therefore unable to be admitted to the position of godfather or godmother,” read a statement sent to the bishop by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, according to the Catholic News Agency.
The bishop, Rafel Zorzona of Cadiz, said in a statement he went to the Vatican because this was the first case in Spain where in a transgender man requested to become a godfather.
"I'm very angry and disappointed,” Salinas told El Pais, the daily newspaper with the largest circulation in Spain. “They played with my feelings and those of the whole society. The statement clearly states that not only am I denied the opportunity to become a godfather but also all transexuals. It’s very strong, incredible.”
The Vatican’s stance on transgender individuals conflicts with Spain’s progressive laws that extend many rights to the trans community. In 2007, Spain became one of the first countries to allow individuals to update their name and sex on government-issued identity documents, with a doctor's approval.
It also contrasts with Pope Francis’s relatively liberal proclamations on issues such as abortion and gay rights. He’s referred to gays as “our brothers” and says they shouldn’t be marginalized. Earlier this week he empowered Roman Catholic priests to offer women absolution for the “sin of abortion.”
Yet in February Pope Francis compared the threat of transgender people to nuclear weapons.
Pope Francis is scheduled to visit the United States later this month. He lands in Washington D.C. on September 22nd. His visit to the U.S. includes stops at The White House, an East Harlem school, and a Philadelphia prison.