World News

Transgender man to teach religion in German diocese

A German diocese has defended its decision to grant a biological female who identifies as a transgender man permission to teach Catholic religion to schoolchildren, amid questions over whether it is attempting to sidestep canon law and the Catholic Church's teaching on sexual morality.

“I can confirm that Mr. Theo Schenkel is granted a permanent teaching license for Catholic religious education in state schools,” a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Freiburg told CNA on April 7. 

Since canon law precluded the trainee teacher from receiving the requisite Missio Canonica of the bishop, the diocese said it had issued the teacher with an “unlimited teaching permission,” signed by the vicar-general. Both the diocese and the state school authority consider this authorization sufficient for Schenkel to teach Catholic religion classes, media reported. 

However, the case could yet create further problems, Schenkel told local news media in February, given plans for the teacher and a female companion to marry. This would be considered a same-sex marriage by the Catholic Church, Schenkel told a regional newspaper. According to media reports, the trainee teacher had commenced studies of French and Catholicism while still living as a heterosexual woman and was in a relationship with a man.

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