Saturday, May 15, 2010

Tomorrow is Cole's baptism.

When Curtis was born, we learned that the priest they could call in would refuse to baptize him because he was already dead. I am not Catholic, but I was married in the Catholic church and my husband was raised Catholic. My mother in law was upset at this development as was I. I didn't belong to a certain church but I wanted something for Curtis. We had the hospital chaplin come and he did a christening type of ceremony. I know it was beautiful and touching...too bad I don't remember a word of it.

I was a little ticked at the Catholic church over their refusal to baptize Curtis. When Claudia was born and we started to plan her baptism, we wanted to have her baptized in the church we were married. We had to attend a class before they would allow it. I figured it was just going to be a bunch of mumbo jumbo about how now she would go to heaven and stuff.

But it wasn't It was actually a whole lesson on sacrament and what it means to be baptized. How it is the parents introducing the child into the world of God. How it is a promise to raise the child to be a member of God's family. Many people are under the impression (including a lot of Catholics) that being baptized means you go to heaven. If you aren't baptized, tough cookies. Not true. Being baptized has nothing to do with going to heaven. The man leading the class...he was not a priest, but a high ranking member of the clergy. Maybe a deacon? Time is making my memory foggy. He was married with kids and had studied theology. Anyway, he kind of made the off handed statement "So, if something happens to your baby before they are baptized, of course they will go to heaven. Please know that. Know that you can get the child baptized in your own time."

I remember lowering my head and letting the tears fall. Of course, I KNEW that already. But to hear a member of the Catholic church say this, and explain the whole history and reasoning behind baptism and how much it isn't about going to heaven and is about sacrament, meant the world to me.

Later, after class...I approached him. He had seen me cry and he knew there was a "story" there. Craig and I explained what happened. Curtis died. The priest they would call in (NOT the same priest at this church. These are far away from each other) would not baptize our son. We spoke to him, he explained some of the "old school" thinking some priests still have, how it isn't important because the baby is dead. That there is "no point." He said this is just years of bad practice and doesn't stem from the correct theology.

He said "I know, without a doubt, had one of the priests here been called, they would have baptized your son."

That meant a lot to me. I felt better about baptizing my daughter in a church where my son would have been honored as well. So, we will baptize Cole tomorrow, in the same church that would have honored Curtis.

1 comment:

Kristen said...

My heart hurt when I read how you were so cavalierly treated by the priest at the time of Curtis' death. How unfeeling! I'm glad this other man was able to bring you comfort and some healing with his words about baptism. I too believe it is not baptism that gets a person into heaven (our denomination does infant dedication, not baptism). I also believe that babies, no matter the age, are in heaven, safe in the arms of Jesus.