Which sacraments can an intersex individual receive in the Catholic Church?

  • 2
    By "intersex" do you mean "exhibiting physical characteristics of both sexes"? May 1, 2018 at 20:05
  • Yes, physical and/or chemical
    – aska123
    May 1, 2018 at 21:39

1 Answer 1


Hermaphrodites can be baptized.

Regarding 1917 Canon 748 (which has no equivalent in the 1983 Code), which deals with baptism in the case of deformed or abnormal fetal humans, canonist Charles Augustine, O.S.B., D.D., writes in A Commentary on the New Code of Canon Law, on Can. 748:

There is no difficulty as to hermaphrodites, because sex does not affect the validity of Baptism.

Complete hermaphrodites cannot be validly ordained.

Dom Augustine wrote on 1917 Can. 968 (= 1983 Canon 1024):

Concerning hermaphrodites, it must be said that complete hermaphrodites, whose sex cannot be determined, may not be validly ordained; whereas those with whom the male sex prevails may be ordained validly but not licitly.

Complete hermaphrodites cannot validly marry.

Dom Augustine wrote on 1917 Can. 1068 (= 1983 Canon 1084), which deals with sexual impotence, an impediment to the valid reception of the sacrament of marriage:

As to hermaphrodites, or such persons as have the sexual characteristics of both sexes, whether it be androgynia or gynandria or hermaphroditismus neuter, the testimony of physicians is required [to determine whether they are sexually impotent or not]. No hermaphroditus neuter can possibly be called capable of marrying because the sex is not sufficiently determined.

androgynia = hermaphroditic with male aspect predominant
gynandria = hermaphroditic with female aspect predominant
hermaphroditus neuter = a complete hermaphrodite (equal male and female aspects)

There are no other canons explicitly forbidding hermaphrodites qua hermaphrodites from receiving the other sacraments (Confirmation, Eucharist, Penance, Extreme Unction).

  • 1
    The 1917 Code was voided by the 1983 Code. May 1, 2018 at 21:53
  • Was it completely abrogated?
    – aska123
    May 1, 2018 at 22:26
  • 3
    The 1917 Code of Canon Law was abrogated by the 1983 Code, but the new Code lists some loopholes: Can. 6 §1. When this Code takes force, the following are abrogated: 1º the Code of Canon Law promulgated in 1917; 2º other universal or particular laws contrary to the prescripts of this Code unless other provision is expressly made for particular laws; 3º any universal or particular penal laws whatsoever issued by the Apostolic See; §2. Insofar as they repeat former law, the canons of this Code must be assessed also in accord with canonical tradition.
    – Ken Graham
    May 1, 2018 at 23:33

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