Should a Priest Deny Communion to someone who looks like a Trans-Gendered Individual?

I know there is a similar thread about denying communion to someone who is pro-choice and I considered asking the question there, but I think it deserves its own thread.

A friend and I had a friendly discussion about this and I thought it might be interesting to see where people stand.

So imagine someone who is obviously male, but dressed as a woman, approaches the communion rail.

We do not know whether he is a a cross dresser only, a transvestite or a hermaphrodite. We just know he is a man dressed like a woman.

My friend said she didn’t see how a traditional priest would give him communion. I said, I couldn’t see any priest making a fuss/scene.

What do you think should happen?

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I have a male friend who’s been mistaken as a “tomboy” in security checks. Like he would go on the male line and be asked to go to the female line.

Do we really want our priests to do this?


Just to be clear, the question is not about a femmy boy. It is about someone who clearly looks transgendered. Yes, there are exceptions, but I’m speaking of the case where it is obvious. I’d prefer to not post a pic as an example.

There can be all sorts of genetic mutations which can make a femal look like a male and vice versa. Not to mention intersexed persons who are another story altogether. Do not judge a book by its cover. I don’t see how this could even be a question if it is just based on the looks of a person.

Based only on how he is dressed? Do we assume that he isn’t dressed in a princess getup or ‘drag queen’ gear (ie lots of makeup, boas, etc.) and isn’t wearing a rainbow sash or other known protest item?

If it is simply a male-looking person wearing womenly clothing, I would assume that the priest would give communion so as not to cause a scene over a woman who is just very homely. :o [edit to add: or a boy who is just very pretty?!]

If he is a bearded man wearing heels etc. the priest might want to catch him after Mass for a bit of a discussion. But it isn’t necessarily a sin to have poor taste or cross-dress. If a man can’t even wear traditional male clothing to Mass, he should probably consider counseling of some sort.

Cross-dressing doesn’t necessarily mean a man is gay or is sinning sexually, but he should be aware enough and in control of his impulses enough to dress appropriately for Mass.

However, I’m not a priest or a therapist of any kind. I have never seen a cross-dresser in Mass, so I am only speculating. :shrug:

Why in the world would or should he?

People who are transgendered can repent and become Catholic like any other sinners and then, partake of the Eucharist. I know that when a woman becomes a “man”, it is permanent. It is not at all possible to reverse the effects of testosterone; she will always look like a man. It is easier for a man that has become a “woman” to regain a masculine appearance.

A priest should deny Communion if the transgendered person is living in sin. As far as I know, a transgendered person must remain celibate.

A “femmy boy”? This is the kind of language you use to speak of God’s creation? I am really wondering about your theology and why you feel that the Eucharist is something that is to be used to ostracize those who might be different.

I wish you would remove this poll. It is so offensive.

How can one be sure unless they ask someone to drop their pants or see their original birth certificate? What do you mean by “clear” except by looking at one’s genitalia? As with my friend’s case, how can one really be sure he’s not a woman who just butched up?

This is such a bad idea on so many levels.

Terrible idea. Change the facts a little: imagine a woman with an athletic build and short hair wearing a tee shirt and jeans. From all appearances she looks like a 19 year old boy but is actually a 30 year old female triathlete.

True-Light; there are a few threads that have discussed the verse on crossdressing, and what it does and does not mean. You cna do an advvanced searched and find 3 or 4.

I was just thinking of a Scotchman dressed in a kilt. During World War II, Scottish milatary were called ‘the Ladies from Hell’. :D:D

Yes it is our priests and other elders that are in their roles for a reason, to make th etough position. If a priest is afraid to step on toes or make an unpopular decision then he should reconsider his vocation.

As far as I know, the only canon in the Code of Canon Law that speaks of a person being denied Communion is canon 915:

Can. 915 Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion.

So unless you’re going to say that a trans-gendered person qualifies as “obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin” by virtue of their cross-dressing, I fail to see how a priest could make this judgment call on the fly while distributing Communion.

Then IMHO she is trying awfully hard to look like a man. I have seen plenty of athletic women and you can still tell they are women.

My question is why would we simply ask a transgendered or homosexual to be celibate, instead of educating them that it is an abomination and needs to turn from like we would any other type of sin. To say it is okay just don’t act, is saying being that way is okay.

Witholding communion is a serious matter, canon law allows it only under very specific circumstances, and this doesn’t seem to be one of them.

At the risk of derailing the thread, here’s a link to a very interesting blog post which discusses the relevant canon law in view of an event that happened earlier this year.

:thumbsup: This!

Denying communion would require the priest to make a snap judgment – which would require him to presume he knew the state of the person’s soul. That’s not valid.

(Now, of course, if the priest had prior knowledge, or perhaps, asked the person not to approach communion, then that would be a different story. However, that’s not the scenario that the OP painted…)

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