Baptismal woes

*disclaimer* commentary within this post is based solely upon my own opinion and is not meant in anyway to be offensive, rather please view it as our honest view of the situation

So when you are out with friends and having a good time and suddenly someone starts blubbering on about politics or religion, what happens? We all instinctively react, bells and whistles go off, and a voice can be heard in the background yelling, "abort! abort! abort!" RIGHT? So allow me a moment if you will, just one tiny little entry to express my sadness about the state of my church.

I have actually written and deleted this twice already. Instead of pounding out all the details enjoy this highlight list which I am hopeful will have the same overall effect as the two other entires I discarded with about half as much potential to offend.

... while technically Catholic, we admit to being less than regular participants in our faith
... selected church closest to home, office staff seemed nice and friendly, blessed Caroline who had an exorist type reaction to blessing - embarrassing? yes
... our hope, that I can attend Mass with Caroline and provide an opportunity for her to explore spirituality, challenge beliefs, make her own decisions about organized religion
... pre-baptismal class for Caroline's upcoming christening Tuesday night
... two other couples, Expecting Couple with 10 weeks to go (EC) and Welcome to the Club Couple with 7 week old Ella (WCC)
... Caroline, an angel for almost an hour of NINETY minute LECTURE
... Were prepared for a discussion (about our reasons for wanting to baptize Caroline, how we came to that decision, how our our faith influenced us to become parents, perhaps how we envisioned ourselves assisting in Caroline's spirital life).
... What actually happened - LECTURE for NINETY minutes - Topics covered apparently (and I say that because he was so difficult to follow!) included what is baptism? the crucifixion (?), and a nice dose of natural family planning ("I'm talking about contraception") tossed in for good measure

Can I just tangent here for a moment and ask WHY this discussion is necessary? Why must it be hammered home to people who are HAVING children???? Who are welcoming life into their homes??? I just don't get it. I am quite thankful that he did not bring along pamphlets (which he said he wished he had done) because it would have taken all the strength left in my body not to either refuse it outright or rip it up in front of him - thank you very much

...EC husband was purple because of the million degree heat and his ensemble choice of dress pants and long sleeve button down was piss poor
...EC wife was so uncomfortable after being seated in an crappy chair for NINETY minutes that she was contorting herself
...Their discomfort was obvious to our oblivious lecturer
...WCC parents alternated gently rocking baby Ella and staring at our Caroline for almost the entire lecture
... All three couples would glance at one another during various points of the neverending BABBLE asking each other with our eyes if this was making ANY sense to anyone else
...I am disappointed and think that both our families, and most especially our older relatives, would be disappointed too.
... the icing on the cake came at the conclusion of the lecture - the only dose of useful information - we need sponsorship forms for our chosen godparents or they will not be viewed as godparents in the eyes of the Church
... even if a person has been baptized, received communion, been confirmed, unless they can get proof from their church through a form signed by a priest that they attend mass (AND HAVE THOSE ENVELOPES SO THEY CAN GIVE MONEY TO THE CHURCH) they cannot be considered a godparent
... F That.
... why waste an opportunity to sprinkle on some good ol' catholic guilt, "oh you haven't been going to Mass, well then, sorry you cannot be a godparent. If you would only attend Mass, maybe then we will complete the form."
... Colleen's form - check
....Brett form??? Not likely.
...Do I care that the Church will not view him as Godfather? NOPE. Oh Church, you have me shaking in my boots, allow me to throw myself upon your mercy to grant him Godfather status! Ummm... not quite. He is her Godfather whether or not you agree and really your opinion matters not to me
... A quick call to my father that began with "are you sitting down?"
...Even when placed face to face with my father the parish secretary was still adamant that she did not think that the priest would sign the sponsorship form, which we later discovered is not required in MA. Why do the rules vary from state to state?
... enter offensive and rude statement rgarding monetary contributions to the church, which was her fatal error my friends
...mysterious call sharing that "form was ready to be picked up and please have Brett join a parish near his home" I knew Neil would get it done.
...So we have both forms and both our siblings will be recognized officially as Caroline's grandparents, but at what cost?

As absent Catholics, this whole situation has done nothing to encourage us to be more active participants in our faith. If anything it has pushed us further away from the church and on the eve of our daughter's baptism no less. At a time when we should be excited about this new beginning for Caroline, we are instead bitter, angry, and wondering why we are doing this. What a missed opportunity! Perhaps in hindsight this has forced us to really consider why we are baptizing her. Despite all the obstacles in our path - the NINETY minute LECTURE, the inappropriate statements about natural family planning, the sponsorship form fiasco, a reminder that it all comes down to the almighty dollar, we STILL feel that it is important for her to receive this sacrament and begin her spiritual life.

For those thinking, well what did she expect, she isn't an active Catholic, I say this. I have never pretended to be a devout Catholic, but I never would have expected to be treated so poorly by a Church so big on forgiveness. While other churches are opening their doors to Catholics unhappy with the state of the Church (and let's face it there is a lot to be unhappy about), why is the Catholic Church closing the doors on their own members?


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