MEDELLIN, Colombia — The recent baptism of a child raised by a same-sex couple has caused a controversy in Colombia, after a parish pastor issued a baptismal certificate indicating that the child has two mothers.
Manuela and Luisa Fernanda Gómez, who are civilly married under Colombian law, wanted to have their 17-month-old son Matías baptized in the city of Medellin.
According to local media reports, the couple went to several parishes where they were told that their son could be baptized, but that a baptismal certificate would list only the same of his biological mother, and not that of her partner. The Catholic Church follows and teaches the biblical precedent that the sacrament of marriage is between one man and one woman.
Manuela Gomez told reporters that eventually, they found a parish priest willing to perform the baptism and record them both as mothers on the baptismal registry, if the Archdiocese of Medellin would permit him.
“He wrote the [diocesan] Curia, investigated, and he told us that he could [perform the baptism], in fact, because according to canon law, the sacrament must be documented with the same information that appears on the civil registry of the minor’s birth, which in this case had two lines: ‘Mother one’ and ‘Mother two,’” Manuela told the local media.
The baptism was performed July 13.
In a statement issued July 23, the Archdiocese of Medellin said that for several years “the sacrament of baptism has been administered to children of homosexual couples.”
The statement said that through baptism, “the Church gives the grace of Christian life to the children.”
Baptism in such cases is “not a recognition of the couples themselves,” the archdiocese added.
The archdiocese also said that “for the registration of the baptism and the issuance of the certificate of the latter, the Church assumes the information that appears on the civil documents which must be presented before the administration of the sacrament, taking into account that on the certificate the names of those that are recorded on the civil registry as parents, in the same order in which they are written on that registry.”
In a 2017 letter from Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, then the prefect of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, the Holy See clarified how the baptisms of the children of same-sex couples should be recorded.
“In the current Code, there is not a specific law with respect to the entry of same sex couples or ‘transgendered persons’ as parents on the baptismal record,” he said. “The term ‘parents’ used by the Church’s Canon 877 clearly refers to the father and mother, the man and the woman created by God who are united in the sacrament of marriage.”
“The entry of same sex couples or ‘transgendered persons’ as parents would be contrary to the aforementioned canon and the teaching of Our Lord and of the Church on marriage as God desires it as the union between a man and a woman. If one of the partners is the natural father or mother of the child, it must be mentioned on the record, the other partner cannot be entered,” Coccopalmerio added.
“Given the foregoing instructions, we do not consider it possible to enter on the baptismal record two mothers or two fathers or a ‘transgendered father’ whose real nature is a woman or a ‘transgendered mother’ whose true nature is a man,” the letter concluded.
A version of this article was previously published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language sister agency. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.