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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

A Boot to the Head

Hey Sister, I've got a bit of a pickle. My friends are going to be baptizing their daughter next month. The priest has asked them to come to three services before the date, they are not church goers and unless God comes into their hearts, I don't think they ever will. They know I'm a practicing Catholic, and have quite openly told me that they were planning on lying to the priest about their presence (its a well-attended downtown church, it most likely wont be noticed) and not attending at all. I've offered to accompany them, and to even drive them to and from the church but they are adamant and are really not respectful of the church, the faith, or the priest. The only reason why they are baptising their daughter is because her grandmother demanded it, and because the mother had a dream about red devils capturing her daughter's soul in a ball of flames, so took it as a sign that it needed to get done. My question is, what can I do to help them out, encourage them into actually attending those three services, and knowing what they plan to do, am I supposed to say something to the priest?

For the life of me I can't imagine the logic here. "I don't believe in any of this, but I had a dream that red goblins would eat my child if I don't do it and..."

Stop right there. If they don't believe in the faith and in God, then why would they believe in red devils? They don't seem to believe that any of this type of thing exists. Hedging their bets? Not good enough.

So you're dilemma, dear reader, is "how much of a buttinski should I be here?"  A pretty big one, I'd say, because they need a boot to the head. Let's walk them through this:

1. We baptize babies to erase Original Sin from their souls and to welcome them into the Church. Babies can't make this choice for themselves, so we make it for them and we are responsible for their souls always, but importantly, until they reach the age of reason and can choose for themselves.

2. YOU parents have just made that choice for your baby. A choice that involves protection from sin, and in making it have chosen to begin the spiritual life of your child with a lie. Which is a sin.

By the way, how are these people getting away with having their child baptized without having a sponsor class? I thought everyone had to do that to get their child baptized. 

3. We do believe in dreams in the Catholic Church. Just ask Joseph. Red devils captured your daughter's soul in your dream. That's because THAT WILL HAPPEN if you carry out your half baked plan. It's not enough to have her baptized.Baptism actually has MEANING. You think your dream has meaning? But baptism does not? Then what did the dream mean? Do this meaningless thing? Where are your brains, you parents? You make absolutely no sense.

I'm using capital letters for emphasis, because I'm not there to give these people a boot to the head.

This isn't a game, or voodoo or a rabbit's foot of "good luck" (we don't believe in luck) or an excuse for a christening party. This is a Sacrament. A holy vow.  Wait, let me restate that.  A HOLY VOW. A holy vow YOU take on your child's behalf.

Part Two of your dilemma is whether or not to squeal to the priest.  I'm on the fence on this one. I know the priest will want to baptize the child no matter what.  But I also think he has the right to know what's really going on here.

Perhaps if you present it to him the way you presented it to me, not as their problem, but as yours.
' What should I do, Father? My friends have told me they are having their child baptized as a cosmetic grandmother appeasement plan."  And he'll say, "I'll handle it." 

Then you and I both will have to work on getting over our sense of anger and judgment.  Someone will have to give me a boot to the head. 


Anonymous said...

Hi Sister, this post has got me worried. My son was baptised, but although I regularly attend mass, (his father doesn't as he is not Catholic and not interested), I don't take my son very often. He is autistic and has limited understanding and no verbal communication as such. He won't sit still for long and shouts out when he feels the urge and tries to run off. Should I still be taking him and explaining things anyway, in the hope that he may understand something. The priest is a little impatient with anyone out of the ordinary, which has out me off a bit. Mph

Anonymous said...

I attended a baptism sort of like this for my great-nephew 10 years ago ... and somewhere along the way in faking it, the parents are both now actively practicing Catholics. I was pretty judgmental about them at the time (though thankfully kept my big mouth shut). Maybe it is grace, the dream, the superstition, etc, leading them somewhere worth going?