The Archdiocese of Freiburg im Breisgau has issued a decree for "the registration of baptism in the baptismal register in special cases," which will come into force on January 1, 2023. It has established rules so that "diverse families and genders” are represented in parish registers.
Fr. Thorsten Weil, an official of the archdiocese, explained to katholisch.de the reasons for this decree. “Law follows life” and it was necessary to make legal provisions that react to this evolution of society, he says.
Requests of this type are still very rare. There are only one or two cases a year for a population of 1.7 million Catholics, Fr. Weil said. However, the law must nevertheless adapt to the evolution of mores.
Until now, the practice followed the 1995 regulations of the German Bishops' Conference for the registration of the baptism of adopted children. The general line that applies to each child registered for baptism remains valid, indicates the official.
It is enshrined in canon law: “There must be a well-founded hope that the child” – by his parents, at least one of them or their legitimate representative – “will be brought up in the Catholic religion.” If the competent priest considers that this hope is lacking, the baptism must be postponed.
Within this framework, parents of the same sex who request the baptism of their child are not treated differently.
Thus, during the baptism of the child of a “civilly married homosexual couple,” if one of his parents is the child's biological parent, the biological parent will be registered as such in the parish registers. The other (or, where applicable, both) will be noted as “person having custody,” like the adoptive parents in a heterosexual union. In cases of surrogate motherhood, it will be necessary to refer to the Diocesan Office of Fribourg for an individual decision.
Baptized transgender people who want to change sex in the civil register, whether or not they have an operation, will see their official sex indicated in the margin of the baptismal certificate, without their birth sex being crossed out.
As for intersex people, that is to say whose sexual characteristics do not correspond to the definitions of the male and female bodies, they may be entered in the baptism registers without mention of sex or with the indication “diverse.”