(Headline USA) While conservative Catholics continue to question whether the 86-year-old Pope Francis was ever a legitimate leader of the Vatican to begin with, the woke pope—installed by globalists dissatisfied with the insufficiently progressive Pope Benedict XVI, who died last year—continues to take the world’s most powerful church down a path that departs radically from its long-established doctrinal orthodoxy.
Earlier this month, the Vatican made public a sharply contrasting statement, saying it’s permissible, under certain circumstances, for trans people to be baptized as Catholics and serve as godparents.
“It is a major step for trans inclusion … it is big and good news,” said Francis DeBernardo, executive director of Maryland-based New Ways Ministry, which advocates for greater LGBT acceptance in the church.
It is also the latest in an activist push within the church that mirrors the aggressive LGBT activism in society at large, with similar backlash and skepticism often being decried as bigotry and hate rather than a sincere belief that one’s gender is an immutable characteristic defined at the genetic level for scientists—and, perhaps, at an even deeper level for theologians.
In April, a coalition claiming to represent a group of U.S. Catholic nuns and some 6,000 Catholic “partners” released a statement in solidarity with transgender people that accused the church of being “oppressors” for adhering to its basic tenets of faith.
“As members of the body of Christ, we cannot be whole without the full inclusion of transgender, nonbinary and gender-expansive individuals,” they wrote. “At this moment in the United States, transgender people are experiencing harm and erasure.”
At the time, Pope Francis appeared to reject the demands, calling gender ideology one of the “most dangerous ideological colonizations” because it “blurs differences and the value” of men and women.
However, the document signed Oct. 21 by Pope Francis and Cardinal Víctor Manuel Fernández says that if it does not cause scandal or “disorientation” among other Catholics, a transgender person “may receive baptism under the same conditions as other faithful.”
It was posted Wednesday, Nov. 8, on the website of the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, which Fernández oversees.
Similarly, the document said trans adults—even if they had undergone gender-transition surgery—could serve as godfathers or godmothers under certain conditions.
However, it did stipulate some limitations, such as those involving same-sex couples living in gay-marriage relationships.
DeBernardo said this seemed to be a reversal of a 2015 Vatican decision to bar a trans man in Spain from becoming a godparent.
During his papacy, Pope Francis has frequently expressed an interest in making the Catholic Church more welcoming to LGBT people, even though doctrines rejecting same-sex marriage and sexual activity remain firmly in place.
A small but growing number of U.S. parishes have formed LGBT support groups and welcome transgender people on their own terms. Yet several Catholic dioceses have issued guidelines specifically informing trans people of the church’s restrictions and refusing to recognize any gender but the one assigned to them by God.
The Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest who has advocated for years for greater LGBT inclusion in the church, welcomed the new document.
“In many dioceses and parishes, including in the US, transgender Catholics have been severely restricted from participating in the life of the church, not because of any canon law, but stemming from the decisions of bishops, priests and pastoral associates,” he claimed via email.
“So the Vatican’s statement is a clear recognition not only of their personhood, but of their place in their own church,” he added. “I hope that it helps the Catholic church treat them less as problems and more as people.”
According to the Vatican, the document was a response to a letter submitted in July by a Brazilian bishop asking about LGBT people’s possible participation in baptisms and weddings.
DeBernardo said the document “proves that the Catholic Church can—and does—change its mind about certain practices and policies,” and he suggested that some diocesan anti-trans policies might now have to be rescinded.
Of course, these changes have come at a fare more rapid pace under Francis than they have in the past.
The pope, who inherited a church rocked by its own sex-abuse scandal, took license to rebrand it as a more inclusive environment. However, he has faced criticism for pandering to communists and being overly political in his global engagements.
His mixed messages have even led some Catholic bishops to ignore his directives on important matters such as administering holy communion to abortion-abetting leftists like former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and President Joe Biden.
Although Francis has criticized Biden’s stance on abortion and other policies, he nonetheless agreed to meet with the supposedly U.S. leader, who reportedly proceeded to defecate himself in the presence of his Holiness.
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press