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AIBU to be upset with a priest?

(39 Posts)
Elmotickler Sun 23-Sep-12 04:33:05

This is my first post and its a bit long winded so please bear with me (and be gentle)I'm a first time mum and have a 5 week old daughter I would like baptised. I am catholic but hadn't been to mass regularly for quite a while but since having my daughter I realise that the time is right for me to return to my faith. I am married to a non catholic but he supports my decision to raise our daughter as a catholic. I went to mass last night and after the mass asked the priest if I could have a word with him regarding having my daughter baptised. He was very short with me and said 'Yes you can but not until I see you at mass regularly' this was said quite curtly as he was walking away from me. Now I'm probably still hormonal but feel that he was quite offhand with me and its made me feel terrible. I was expecting some support rather than being chastised. AIBU to think that he could at least have agreed to have a chat with me at a different time?

FairPhyllis Sun 23-Sep-12 05:01:32

I'm sorry you had this experience. YANBU. As I understand it - and this is not intended to justify his attitude - one reason priests may refuse baptism is that in order to baptise, they must be confident that a child will continue to be brought up in the Church. So they take a somewhat dim view of people who haven't recently engaged with the church community popping up and asking for baptism - it's the same in the Anglican church - you have to be prepared to attend regularly and do all the preparation.

But he could have addressed this in a more sensitive way, or asked you to come for a chat if he was rushed for time just then - he sounds a bit pastorally rubbish. I think it's very important not to be dismissive of anyone seeking baptism or make them feel awful.

sashh Sun 23-Sep-12 05:37:37


He didn't know if you had just moved in to the area, or that you didn't attend mass in another parish.

Elmotickler Sun 23-Sep-12 06:46:27

Thank you. I just needed to know if i was being extra sensitive. I think I will have to try another parish as I will not feel comfortable approaching him with anything in future. It's a bit of a bummer since that parish is local and it's where my family attend.

SlipperyNipple Sun 23-Sep-12 07:01:06

I'm agnostic and so can't say anything about the faith part but whoever you are I think you should be polite. He was just plain rude. If he really believes he is 'saving' people surely he should be taking the time to urge you back regularly.

Kalisi Sun 23-Sep-12 07:01:39

If this is the path you choose for your child then baptism is the first step. If he is an arse about welcoming LO in the first place then imagine how all the other milestones will go! YANBU go somewhere else.

missnevermind Sun 23-Sep-12 07:03:29

You have to keep in mind too, that priests don't live in the real world grin

My priest, I don't go to Mass regularly but he is the priest at the Church I think of as mine, welcomed us for baptism even though he hadn't seen us for years.
We had instruction for a couple of weeks before hand. Which consisted of tea and biscuits and bible stories in his living room.
He sees every person through his doors as a new customer - his words, not mine.

DelhiCalling Sun 23-Sep-12 07:06:41

There's another thread about catholic priests worth reading. It's horrifying.

FergusSingsTheBlues Sun 23-Sep-12 07:12:32

I thinks that's awful. They don't like bapism as a gesture, I guess, but dont always get that its culturally important too. We have no intention of going to mass every sunday - monthly is fine. When we baptised our son, our priest could jor ave been more welcoming and we are looking forward to him baptising the next one.

newbielisa Sun 23-Sep-12 07:15:21

I'm R.C. (DH isn't) don't attend regularly but go to mass sporadically.

There's 2 ways of looking at this, I have friends who never ever go to church don't have a faith but want their LO's christened, Priests/Vicars do wonder if it's just a photo in nice surroundings/day out opportunity.
That's not the case for you obviously so I think you need to let your Parish Priest know this (fairly sure if you approach neighbouring parish they have to refer you back). I think you should call the Priest and make appt to see him and when there explain your lack of attendance, pregnancy, young baby etc but having a child has made you take stock and it's really important to you to have LO baptised.

We didn't baptise LO till 11 months so you can take time to "prove yourself" to him if needs be.

Remember though, the Catholic faith NEEDS younger congregation members so he'd be foolish to rebuff your efforts.

Ps.... I really must go to Mass today!

daisydotandgertie Sun 23-Sep-12 07:18:33

After Mass is a bad time to get sense out of a priest - they have often done 3 or 4 Masses in a day and are being asked questions by a whole battalion of people. IME it is often when they are at their most hassled.

I suggest you give him another try - phone him during the week and give him the benefit of the doubt. If he is still difficult then I'd agree, try a different church or even get in touch with the Dean and ask for advice about how to proceed.

Sirzy Sun 23-Sep-12 07:20:56

To be fair to the priest it could well be you caught him at a bad time. Make an appointment with him to discuss it properly

Chelvis Sun 23-Sep-12 07:22:58

At my parish, a lot of parents just want their child baptised so that they can get into the oversubscribed parish school and only start attending mass when they realise that baptism alone won't get them in. So IME, a lot of priests are cynical about people they've never seen before who suddenly turn up interested in a baptism. He wasn't very polite though - if you've intending a Catholic path for your family, you could view it as a chance to show forgiveness and understanding that everyone, including priests, are sinners who have bad days and are blunt at times?

BeckAndCall Sun 23-Sep-12 07:28:21

I had exactly the opposite experience 20 years ago - the RC priest was the one who welcomed me when the C of E wouldn't baptise my son. C of E needed both myself and DH to attend preparation classes, and DH wouldn't do it. We went to mum and baby club at the catholic church hall and the priest there said he'd be happy to, even tho DH didn't want to make any public proclamations (DH is very lapsed catholic but his whole family still practises).

It does sound like the priest was off hand with you - maybe at the end of a long run of services - try him again, maybe?

NotInGuatemalaNowDrRopata Sun 23-Sep-12 07:35:22

With falling church numbers, you would expect that you receive a warm, open armed welcome, wouldn't you?
I'd go to the next parish and explain your feelings to the priest there.

pigletmania Sun 23-Sep-12 07:38:36

I agree he was very rude and I don't blame you for not wanting to go there. Priests do like to see regular mass attendance though before baptism

SuzySheepSmellsNice Sun 23-Sep-12 07:42:26

YANBU. Don't churches get a ludicrous amount of their income from weddings / blessings / christenings? What an arse.

CSIJanner Sun 23-Sep-12 08:25:12

LO2 was baptised 3 weeks ago. I contacted the cathedral being a lapsed Catholic and arranged to meet the priest. He is fab! Like Brian Blessed in a cassock. You have to give a donation and as I've been rubbish at attendance, he asked that I attended some baptism classes so we could reflect on baptism and what it means with symbolism. My advice is to approach him by ringing the office maybe on Monday. If he still gives you stick, go above his head to the bishop's office. They are usually mush more accommodating. HTH!

BellaOfTheBalls Sun 23-Sep-12 08:38:13

YANBU in that he was rude and dismissive with you but you should perhaps understand as a PP has said that people often get their children baptised just for having the nice "day"; get together, celebrating, getting dressed up, presents etc. Also there is a tendency for some RC schools (not all!) to be better than others and therefore parents try to get their children baptised in order to give them a better chance of a place at a school. I am not saying this is what you do, and I am also not saying this is the norm, but it was certainly an issue in the area we used to live in.

DH's cousin is a practising catholic but his DW was not when they started planning their wedding. Despite the fact that a priest can allow a catholic to marry a non-catholic just by filling out a certain part of the marriage form and asking them to attend mass regularly, or go to marriage preparation classes this particular priest requested that she take 6 months of twice weekly conversion classes and attend mass every Sunday for the same period of time, then be baptised into the faith.

LydiasMiletus Sun 23-Sep-12 08:42:55

Yabu. I think you may have been sensitive so I think he wasn't as curt as your op states.
But tbh I can see where he is coming from. So many people 'find god again' when the have kids, have the party baptism. Then disappear again until the child is 3 so they can get them onto the school.
Most have no intention of ever actually bringing their child up in the faith.

Katienana Sun 23-Sep-12 11:02:06

The catholic church doesn't charge for weddings and christenings, they may request a donation but it is down to the individual priest. I got married last year and my priest said he wasnt interested in money only in god! I have a donation to church and gifts to him and the two ladies who did the registrar duties.
Try and get your attendance up and approach again. Is there another priest you know well who you can name drop? I can see where your priest is coming from but he was a bit rude with the way he said it.

OhTheConfusion Sun 23-Sep-12 11:18:56

YUBalittlebitU. From the priests point of view when did he last see you?

I would suggest you have caught him at a busy time and your not a face he really knows. Why not go along with your family every week for a little while and make sure this is the right thing for you and your baby before you approach the priest again.

You might find that after a few services he is not the parish priest for you and you want to attand another parish, or you may get to know him a bit better and like being there.

aldiwhore Sun 23-Sep-12 11:58:58

Maybe he's seen many people ask the same thing who simply want to get their children into the local school and have no intention of actually joining the faith seriously.

I'm not saying people who do that are right or wrong by the way, you do what you need to do, just that maybe it saddens him and you caught him on an off day.

I would carry on going to mass, give it chance to get to know him and him you.

He was very rude short with you though.

WorraLiberty Sun 23-Sep-12 12:03:53

Wait til he finds out you're a lapsed Catholic who (presumably) didn't marry in a Catholic church and you've only just found God again because you have a baby grin

You'll know what an 'offhand' reply really is then.

stuffitunderthebed Sun 23-Sep-12 12:12:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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