Thursday, September 04, 2008


My grandson has not yet been baptised. His mother got sick on the day the Baptism class was scheduled, and there wasn't another one during the remainder of her pregnancy. Now, of course, she is very busy taking care of the baby on top of her previously overloaded schedule. I've been biting my tongue on the subject, but did not think she would go to the trouble of attending the class with such a full plate, and hence I was contemplating a bathroom sink ceremony.

Much to my surprise she told me on Tuesday that she and her husband had attended the Baptism class last Sunday.

"It was a waste of time" she said. "They didn't tell us anything we didn't already know." That "we" consists of my cradle Catholic daughter and her non-Catholic husband. Hmmmmm.

Of course it wasn't a waste of time since it is the necessary ticket to Baptism, without which ticket there will be no sacrament, no matter whether the parents believe and practice or not; and theoretically, at least, no eternal life in heaven with God. Or has that belief gone the way of Limbo?

The class was conducted by lay people, of course.

"What did they tell you," I asked, foolishly.

"Well, they talked about the symbols used in the ceremony, and they talked about child abuse."

"Child abuse? They talked about child abuse in a Baptism class? Why?" Of course she didn't know why either, and it didn't make any more sense to her than it did to me.

"Did they talk about original sin, by any chance?"

"No, they didn't talk about that," she responded.

I guess Baptism class is the new entry-level occasion when the sexual abuse fallout in the form of parent education is introduced to the unsuspecting new parent who has the idea that Baptism is good for the Catholic soul which should be the subject of discussion at a Baptism class. (Uhm...we are still supposed to have a soul, aren't we? One takes anything traditional as absolute truth at their own peril in today's Catholic Church.)

Original sin was already on its way out when we had this new mother Baptised all those years ago, and the lack of acknowledgement of it in the Baptism class her father and I had to endure nearly caused us to forego the sacrament.
Some things never change.

The Baptism isn't scheduled yet. What new wonders are we in for when this sacrament takes place--assuming that it finally does? I haven't been to a Baptism in many years, but already back in the 70s the liturgists had this Sacrament in the crosshairs and were busy seeking novelties to include.


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