Universal Life Church Case Law
Phone: (614) 715-9048 Fax: (614) 715-9049
Email: info@ulccaselaw.com
ULC Case Law
1629 K Street NW, Ste 300
Washington, D.C. 20006


Are the LGBTQ-Inclusive Policies of the Vatican Accepted in the United States?

December 1st, 2023

Pope Francis discussed the balance between free speech and the expression of religious beliefs of those in the public square.
The Vatican raised eyebrows recently when it announced transgender individuals can be baptized and become godparents.

Catholicism is one of the strictest religions on the planet, and it has a history of excommunicating segments of the population (or entire nations, as the English can attest). There are reportedly 62 million Catholics in the United States and not all of these individuals always see eye-to-eye with the Vatican. A certain degree of controversy is inevitable for an institution that is expected to make major religious decisions that impact the lives of millions. However, it seems as though Pope Francis has attracted more controversy than perhaps any of his recent predecessors. 

The Vatican Opens the Door to Transgender Baptism

According to the national conferences of Catholic bishops in the United States, the very concept of gender transition is not recognized. In other words, the Catholic Church in the United States does not believe that it is possible for a man to become a woman – or vice versa. While these statements are clear, the Vatican seems to be moving in a completely different direction. 

On November 8, the Vatican put out a statement that states transgender individuals may be baptized under certain circumstances, clearly indicating that they would be accepted by the church. Not only that, but it stated that they may serve as godparents under certain circumstances. It is not exactly clear what these circumstances are – but the statement in general has been received well by trans activists. This is in line with Pope Francis’ long-term commitment to making the church more inclusive to LGBTQ individuals. 

American Catholics Continue to Criticize The Pope

The criticism of Pope Francis by American Catholics is nothing new – and his recent comments on transgender individuals will inevitably fuel further skepticism among many. It was hardly the first time the Holy Father’s comments had drawn ire among American bishops. He has also criticized Americans for not being welcoming enough to immigrants – an extremely controversial topic in the United States. 

The Pope has also been critical of the fact that fewer people are going to church in the United States than ever before – a comment that many American Catholics see as an attack on their ability to grow and maintain their religion. Many point out that numbers are also down in France, Argentina, Germany, and other nations – perhaps more so in many cases. 

Some within the Catholic faith have stated that they do not wish to have LGBTQ discussions forced upon them by the Vatican and that Americans are perfectly justified in continuing their normal faith-related practices without tackling the issue of sexuality or gender. However, it should also be noted that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is generally more conservative than American Catholics more generally.

In response to the controversy he has triggered, Pope Francis seems intent on putting it all behind him and moving on. This is especially true in regard to comments he has made about women in the church, climate change, social justice, gun control, and the death penalty. Only time will tell if Catholic bishops in the United States change their tune to be more in line with the updated policy coming out of the Vatican under Pope Francis, and more in line with the majority of their parishioners.

Leave a Reply