Monday, October 01, 2007
Britney Spears Needs a Pope
While watching CNN today to see what we need to be praying for, we were shocked to find out we knew lots of things about Miss Britney Spears. I was amazed to find that I didn't need any background on the story to understand what the perfectly coiffed newswomen were reporting. I can't remember the phone number for the neighboring parish office, but I know lots things about this Miss Spears, things that I do not need to know. Ever.
But today we learned that Miss Spears behavior (see our last entry for the definition of 'scandal') has cost her custody of her two children. (I'm surprised I don't know the cell phone numbers of her two toddlers.) All the young pretty women who talk on the news channel seem to think this is a very good thing.
I can't judge. None of us like the idea of a child ripped from his mother, even for his own good. We would rather his mother would come to her senses and turn into Betty Crocker. Or Aunt Jemimah. She certainly looks nurturing. At least we know they can both cook.
If Miss Spears is concerned that losing her children is a bad thing, I have two words for her: Edgardo Mortara. If only the Pope would step in.
Little Edgardo was a young Jewish lad who became deathly ill. He was one of seven children living happily with his Jewish family. But fortunately for him when he became very ill, the Catholic maid became alarmed that he may die and go straight to hell and baptized him in the kitchen sink.
(She should have known he wouldn't go to hell. He was under age seven, the age of reason. He would have gone to Limbo. It was still open back then. The under-Catechised have always been with us.)
Actually, I'm not sure where she baptized him. My mother always wanted to baptize my unbaptized cousin in his kitchen sink and the image just stuck with me. You can't just go around baptizing babies in the sink, no matter how much you might want to do it. You can't baptize a baby against the will of ...or behind the backs of...his parents. Normally, only a priest would baptize anybody.
But if some unbaptized person of any age is about to kick the bucket without having been baptized you can leap to the rescue and baptize them. The only hitch is you can't do it without water. You can't grab the dishwashing liquid from under the sink or the cooking oil or anything like that. As long as you have water you don't even need the person's head. You can pour the water on whatever part of them you can get near.
Don't worry if you end up in this scenario: you come across a car in a ditch. The mangled wreckage envelopes a dying unbaptized person. If only you had a bottle of Arrowhead you could pour it on the person on whatever part of the person you can see, even though you can no longer tell what it is. You could even use that Dasani stuff that's made from, well, not Lake Arrowhead. But you have no water. At the point where the person is about to die, but wishes you had the water to baptize them with, they are baptized. That's called a baptism of desire.
If the person has not been baptized, but crashed his car into a tree rather than renounce Jesus, he has had a baptism of blood, generally know as 'martyrdom'. You don't need to lift a finger.
You can only baptize an unbaptized person with water without any one's permission if it is an emergency.
Edgardo's maid felt it was an emergency.
At that time, in Italy in 1846 or so, it was illegal for a Jewish family to raise a Christian child. Edgardo's maid had made him a Christian and the police came and took him away. He was six years old.
The Pope, Pope Pius IX never heard the end of it. Every head of every state called to complain. But Pope Pius IX was one of the most stubborn Popes we've ever had. His nickname was "Pio NoNo". Edgardo stayed at the Vatican a lot of the time and the Pope had a good time playing with him. They became great pals. Edgardo's parents came to visit him many times and begged and pleaded to take him home but he didn't want to go home with them.
How do we know? Edgardo testified at the canonization hearings of Pope Pius IX. Edgardo said he was happy to see the folks but miraculously never wanted to go home with them.
Edgardo became a priest. Britney Spears should be so fortunate.
Too bad the Pope isn't getting hold of the kids. They are going to their father, who according to the pretty young women who read the news, is not the type to lead them toward the priesthood. Or baptize them in the sink or anywhere else. We'll be praying.