GA Voice

Vatican Announces Opposition to Anti-LGBTQ Laws, Surrogacy, and Gender-Affirming Surgery


On April 8, the Vatican issued a new document, the Declaratio­n of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith “Dignitas Infinita” on Human Dignity, approved by Pope Francis. The 20-page Dignitas Infinita, five years in the crafting, makes a range of statements on what the Vatican calls “human dignity” issues: poverty, the situation of migrants, violence against women, human traffickin­g, war, abortion, in vitro fertilizat­ion, surrogacy, the death penalty and gender-reassignme­nt surgery.

For queer and trans people, the document provides, yet again, seemingly conflictin­g

statements regarding LGBTQ people and the Church. The document states that the Church believes that gender fluidity and transition surgery as well as surrogacy and in vitro fertilizat­ion and artificial inseminati­on — which gay and lesbian couples often use to create their families — are ultimately affronts to human dignity, yet it makes the same statement about anti-LGBTQ laws.

The sex a person is assigned at birth, the document argues, is an “irrevocabl­e gift from God” and “any sex-change interventi­on, as a rule, risks threatenin­g the unique dignity the person has received from the moment of conception.” The document explains that individual­s who “desire a personal selfdeterm­ination, as gender theory prescribes,” in turn put themselves at risk of “the age-old temptation to make oneself God.”

It seems a contradict­ion when as recently as November, Pope Francis widened the door to acceptance of trans people within the Church by announcing that trans people can be baptized and be godparents. As GLAAD noted, “Pope Francis' ministry has been defined by putting people at the center, and he has met with and blessed transgende­r people, insisting that they are part of the Church and should be included

and treated with respect. This document from the hardliners in the Vatican reveals the threat they feel from the Pope's inclusion and acceptance.”

As it is laid out, the document is an indepth explanatio­n of the Church's view on human dignity and its many facets, most notably in protecting vulnerable people and population­s. The Vatican stated that in the current climate of upheaval, restating where the Church stands on these issues was an important point to be made.

The Vatican also takes a strong stand against anti-LGBTQ laws in the new document and particular­ly cites and chastises Catholic groups that support such laws, like those in the U.S. The U.S. funded such programs during the Trump administra­tion via then Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's USAID programs.

The Vatican is against laws that criminaliz­e same-sex acts, even when Catholic groups support those laws, the head of the Vatican's doctrine office said. Like the laws recently enacted in Uganda, Russia and Ghana, the head of the Vatican's doctrine office said April 8, “punish LGBTQ people,” which is against the church's stance on LGBTQ+ people as defined by Pope Francis.

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