The Church has said that Alex Salinas, 21, who was born a woman, will not be able to act as godfather to his nephew, Eduardo, despite being recognized by the state as a man.
Instead, he has been offered the position of “spiritual godfather” according to Spanish news agency Efe, a role offered to those people who do not meet the requirements of the Catholic Church to be godparents.
Alex, 21, who has been taking male hormones for three years, has a male ID number and is currently on a waiting list for gender surgery, described the decision as a “kick in the stomach” because “I have a strong faith”.
“My parish priest had said that there would be no problem with me being godfather, but after speaking with the bishop he said that in the church’s eyes, I was still a woman,” Salinas, from the southern Spanish town of San Fernando, explained to newspaper, El Diario.
El Obispos de Jerez desobedece al Papa, y a Alexi. transexual le prohibe ser padrino en el bautizo de su sobrino. pic.twitter.com/TFn9kCREW6
— JOSE A. DIAZ SANCHEZ (@sindi584) July 28, 2015
Alex Salinas, pictured above, has been banned from being his nephew's godfather.
It was the Bishop of Cádiz and Ceuta who put the brakes on Salina's plans to be godfather to his sister's little boy.
It was only when Salinas, who works in a fast food restaurant and regularly attends mass, gave his baptism and communion papers to the Church – which showed his former gender as female – that it backtracked and said that there could be a problem.
The Church said that Salinas does not meet the requirements to be a godfather that are included in chapter four of the Canon Law, which deals with the sacraments such as baptisms, marriages and communions.
But critics have argued that the Church is wrong on the issue:
“There is no Canon Law that stipulates that a transexual cannot be a godfather in a baptism,” Carla Antonelli, Spain’s only transgender member of parliament, told Efe.
The Spanish politician also pointed out it was a case of, while the current pope tries to push the church into the 21st century, the Spanish Church is rooted firmly in the past:
“While Pope Francis is meeting transexuals in the Vatican, the Spanish Catholic Church is still living in the Middle Ages,” she said.
Salinas and his family, who are considering taking legal action against the Church, said they will continue to fight for his right to be godfather, but the young Spaniard has found the rejection particularly hurtful.
The Church did not offer him the option of being godmother but, he told Spanish media, that is an option he would never consider:
“I would never want that. I’m a man and the Church has forced me to return to the past,” he said.