Indescriminate Baptism

I like Charlotte Church. I bear her no personal animosity in any way. I just thought I ought to say that before I continue.

Charlotte and her boyfriend Gavin Henson had their daughter Ruby baptised today. Their other child was present in utero. When I first saw the headline in the news, I assumed that the baptism was in a building belonging to the Church in Wales – the Welsh component of the Anglican Communion. After all, Anglicans take a wide range of views on the propriety of certain types of relationships. If they are willing to marry gay couples in London, it does not seems unreasonable to suppose they might baptise the child born out of wedlock to two people living very openly (as celebrities do) in fornication.

But no, it was a Roman Catholic church with, one must presume, a Roman Catholic priest, using, again one must presume, a Roman Catholic rite of baptism. In 1980, Pope John Paul II approved of the “Instruction on Infant Baptism” promulgated by the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. It specifically addresses the Dialogue Between Pastors and Families With Little Faith or Non-Christian Families:

In fact the Church can only accede to the desire of these parents if they give an assurance that, once the child is baptized, it will be given the benefit of the Christian upbringing required by the sacrament. The Church must have a well-founded hope that the Baptism will bear fruit.

How can the Church have assurance that the child will have a Christian upbringing when the parents have no regard for the sacrament of marriage? I have no problem with the baptism of children born out of wedlock, if their parents have subsequently gotten married. Otherwise, how can the parents acknowledge at the font their duty to raise the child to keep God’s commandments?

Charlotte wants to have six children by the time she is 32. She has not indicated when, along the way, she plans to enter into the sacrament of marriage. But like I said, my problem isn’t with Charlotte. She is living in perfect harmony with the spirit of the age and that is the life she has chosen.

My problem is with a church possessing valid sacraments demonstrating a very unguarded approach to their administration and sending a message that the church has given up on the exclusivity of marriage as the valid relationships within which to engage in sexual relationship and raise children.

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5 Responses to “Indescriminate Baptism”

  1. Elizabeth Says:

    I read an article a few days ago where Charlotte said that she intends to have all her babies before she is 32, **then** get married whilst she – quote- still looks fabulous.

    Why not just get married now – or immediately after child 2 is born ? Or does she want all her children to be bridesmaids/pageboys and appear in the wedding photographs ?

    I am amazed that a RC priest would assent to this line of thinking by agreeing to baptize her child when she has no intention of regularising her relationship with her boyfriend…….

  2. sol Says:

    I hope you don’t mind that I associated the link to some of the text of your comment, as it was drifting out of the comment box.

    I read the same article, but I forgot the marriage plans bit by the time I was writing. I read about the baptism in the Daily Telegraph, so I didn’t see that the priest is named in the Daily Mail article.

    I’m minded to make some inquiries with contacts I have in the Archdiocese of Cardiff and see if this is the usual approach to non-celebrity couples who have no intention (at least in any timely manner) of entering into the sacramental relationship which, last I heard, was the only one approved by the Church for the raising of children.

  3. Elizabeth Says:

    Sol,
    Thank you for sorting out my link problem !

    I am very surprised that the couple seem not to have been told in the strongest possible terms, by the officiating priest, that they should be getting married **sooner** rather than later.

    Wanting to look pretty in the photos isn’t really the best argument for postponing a wedding for another decade and having another half-dozen children in the interim 🙂

  4. John of Indiana Says:

    One child here, another on the way, and 4 more planned for the future…
    I don’t think the usual excuses for living together Without Benefit of Clergy hold water here..
    I’m no big fan of marriage, but come on, Char, give the little crumb-snatchers some legitimacy, will ya?

    If (when) the split up, I guess you could say that Gavin would truly be “Un-churched”….

  5. dovesandpomegranates Says:

    The rent in twain thing happened with the ordination of women, everything else is just icing on the cake. I know. I was heavily veiled on the front page of the Grauniad with a bunch of chaps holding a coffin outside Church House 😉 The baptism debacle simply comes down to the RCs like everyone else, including the Orthodox, being terrified of being seen to be intolerant and the definition of intolerant is not condoning anything and everything. As someone said on Elizabeth’s blog, the Lutheran Church in Sweden thinks it’s discriminatory not to admit atheists to Communion and American bloggers occasionally lament the failure of GOARCH to discipline senators who vote in favour of abortion. I don’t know if it’s the End Times or just part of the general slide into decadence from the remnants of civilisation but… it’s something.

    As for Charlotte’s wedding plans, does the phrase “silly bint” come to mind for anyone else?


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