Saturday 19 February 2022

Now this may seem trivial but...

 People just don't seem to know! Thousands of baptisms declared invalid in Arizona.

The article talks about baptism as a "rite of passage". NOPE. If it was just a rite of passage, there wouldn't be all this fuss. And I can't believe that a Roman Catholic priest would have made this error unknowingly. Come on!! So, maybe seminary training "ain't what it used to be"???

Now to be fair, I am sure that the reporter of this story looked up "baptism" (probably on Wikipedia? I haven't checked) and saw it was a rite of passage. Good enough? If we were talking about the United Church of Canada or the Reformed tradition Protestant churches, that would have been good enough. In those Protestant denominations, for example, baptism welcomes the infants or adults into the Christian community. Baptists perform adult and child baptism so that the decision is one made by the individual. (NOTE: if you are in one of the Calvinist traditions, there is nothing that can be done about original sin - you are born with it and you die with it)

 However, in Roman Catholicism and even the Lutheran church, infant baptism is performed to remove the stain of Original Sin. If the stain of original sin is not removed then there is no possibility of redemption - hell is awaiting after you die. And the rite must be done correctly. The purpose of baptism is to take away original sin - the community cannot do that. Only God can do that. Did no one learn about the Donatists - the priests may not have to be free from sin, but, by God, the rite MUST be done correctly. The mess that is occurring in Arizona has been caused by a lack of understanding that Augustine supported the holy war against the Donatists. It is the sacrament that takes away original sin, and the sacrament MUST be performed correctly (redundancy sometimes works to get a point across).

I can only hope that Pope Francis is going to find some way to introduce retroactive measures into this parish.

The things that I learned after I began to study religion as an academic discipline. I was raised in the UCC; needless to say that original sin wasn't even on the radar! 

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