This endorsement of transgender individuals' involvement in church activities was disclosed through a Vatican document, which Pope Francis approved on October 31 and was subsequently made available online, the New York Times reports.
Francis DeBernardo, who serves as the executive director of New Ways Ministry, a Maryland-based organization advocating for gay Catholics, stated in a recent announcement that, "Welcoming transgender people more fully to the sacraments is a positive step." He added that it "signals Pope Francis'" desire for a pastorally focused approach to LGBTQ issues is taking hold.
The initial reaction from American bishops, known for their stricter views on transgender matters, was relatively subdued.
A representative from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops clarified in a statement that the involvement of transgender individuals in baptism and other religious ceremonies is a separate matter from the medical treatments associated with transgender people. The representative noted, "These are different, distinct issues."