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to think that *both* parents should decide if a child is to be christened???

(35 Posts)
Boys2mam Wed 24-Jun-09 18:54:41

My DB is separated from his W - they have a 5 y.o son together (my DN)

W called DB yesterday and announced she is having DN christened in Oct. She is not religious that I am aware of (they were together aprox 3 yrs prior to DN's birth so I have known her about 7 yrs).

Its just weird. Who christens their child when they are not actively practicing the religion themselves? (I was christened way back when, when it was the 'normal' thing to do when children were babies) and who does so without the fathers consent or even knowledge, let alone his blessing!?! Are you even allowed to do this? They were not married when my DN was born but he is on the birth certificate as father and has parental responsibility.

I need some perspective here ladies - or am I being U??

OldLadyKnowsNothing Wed 24-Jun-09 19:01:40

Just going through something similar just now with DS and his GF, whose baby is due next month. She's lapsed Catholic and he's agnostic/atheist (having been raised by godless parents grin) and she was planning to have the baby baptised as a Catholic, because unbaptised babies go to Limbo, not Heaven, if they die. I reassured her that the Pope had done away with Limbo a couple of years ago, so they're now looking at alternatives.

In Ds's case, he couldn't have promised to raise the child Catholic so couldn't have taken a full part in the ceremony, which seems a bit hmm since the child is as much his as hers.

Nahui Wed 24-Jun-09 19:11:23

Message withdrawn

lucky1979 Wed 24-Jun-09 19:11:52

Does it matter? If you're Christian then it's important, if you're not it makes no difference and it's just a party and a bit of water on the baby's head. It's not like she's planning to have the baby branded or anything. Maybe her parents are religious and it would mean a lot to them?

weegiemum Wed 24-Jun-09 19:14:54

There are also a lot of Christians who don't have theor kids baptised - we didn't - as we think it is up to them when they are older. My kids were dedicated (we promised to bring them up in a Christian maner) but the whole baptism thing will be up to them as teens/adults.

We're baptists, but folk from all CHristian traditions do this.

OldLadyKnowsNothing Wed 24-Jun-09 19:14:57

Nahui, are your DC likely to want to get married in a church? hmm Are you just covering all the bases? You have to promise to raise your children in whatever faith, and with you pagan and your DH agnostic, that's not very likely, is it?

lucky1979, why should the wishes of the grandparents take precedence over the wishes of a parent?

Boys2mam Wed 24-Jun-09 19:20:21

Tbh its not the faith or the reasoning behind it that I'm having trouble with - its that she organised it without discussing this with my DB - does he not have some say in it? Seemingly her sister is having her 2 DD's christened and my DB's W is following suit. It isn't something their parents are bothered about.

I'm just furious that she can make such a decision without consultating my DB.

Nahui Wed 24-Jun-09 19:20:59

Message withdrawn

RustyBear Wed 24-Jun-09 19:27:21

You don't have to be baptised to be married in Church, or if you do, the vicar forgot to ask me if I was.
Both my brothers and my sister were baptised, but when it came to me, mum & dad 'never got round to it' apparently....

I can see your DB might be annoyed at not being consulted, but what happens if your sx-SIL really wants it & your DB says no - it's not exactly something you can compromise on, is it? - either they are baptised, or they're not.

Boys2mam Wed 24-Jun-09 19:31:22

I guess my issue is with the decision being taken away from him. Surely he should have the choice? If it was the other way round and a bloke arranged a christening without consulting the mum it would be a different cry?

squashedfrogs Wed 24-Jun-09 19:45:40

My understanding of fathers having parental responsibility is that they have a say in the religious upbringing of their child. Therefore your DB should be able to object if he doesn't agree to the christening. It may be that this would need to be dealt with through the courts though who would ultimately make a decision based on what is best for your DN if his parents cannot agree.

I don't think YABU, it should be a joint decision not one made by just one parent.

Boys2mam Wed 24-Jun-09 19:47:58

Thanks Squashed, thats what I thought.

Any ideas where I get the official info on this though?

HecatesTwopenceworth Wed 24-Jun-09 19:49:16

I actually think both parents should make decisions together. I'm not talking what to wear or stupid stuff like that grin but yes, important decisions should be agreed upon. One parent is not more important than the other. Or at least, they shouldn't be!

CarrieBo Wed 24-Jun-09 19:54:55

At a christening the parents make a promise to bring the children up to know Jesus. It doesn't make a difference their being able to get married in church, or to whether or not they go to heaven, and it doesn't make them Christian as only they can decide that later.
A thanksgiving could be a very reasonable compromise in terms of being something both parites are happy with, and would be more honest to their beliefs (or lack of!). The thanksgiving could be in church, or be completely secular.

squashedfrogs Wed 24-Jun-09 19:57:23

I've usually googled 'parental responsibility' when I've needed to find out more info about what it entails. I had a steep learning curve with my DP trying to find out what exactly he was entitled to make decisions on regarding his DD. (I never remember to bookmark anything though so trawl through google for info everytime!)

flowerybeanbag Wed 24-Jun-09 20:00:13

They should make this decision together I agree.

I don't think you've actually said what your DB thinks or wants to do though? You evidently think getting a child christened when you don't practice the religion is strange, and personally I'm inclined to agree with you, but lots of people do it anyway, so it's not weird. Has your DB objected and what did she say?

Boys2mam Wed 24-Jun-09 20:07:45

DB thinks the whole thing is strange - his word. W has never once discussed it with him, even when they were together and now her sis is having her 2 DD's christened she has decided to follow suit.

My bro is actually is not opposed to the christening. She has organised the dates to suit her, at a place of her choosing and godparents will be, no doubt, of her choice. Its a long line of her exercising her control as a mother. I wish DB would grow a pair and stand up to her!!!!

Seabright Wed 24-Jun-09 20:17:49

Maybe she's having the child christened to help the child get into a specific school?

Boys2mam Wed 24-Jun-09 20:19:48

Nope Seabright - not cos of school!

LadyAga Wed 24-Jun-09 21:19:48

YANBU, it is weird.

Personally I find any sort of christening/baptism more than weird, I find them offensive. But maybe she is just doing it for the gifts and to get everyone she knows together oshow off her baby rather than for any religious reasons.

Rollergirl1 Wed 24-Jun-09 21:44:54

My husband is a lapsed catholic (from childhood) and me a lapsed christian. Neither of us have stepped inside a church other than for other peoples weddings or christenings. Our own wedding was civil service.

However now DD will be going to school a year in Sept and the best schools in our area by far are the catholic ones, we are now getting both DD and DS baptised.

Could this be what your DD's wife is doing?

Boys2mam Wed 24-Jun-09 21:54:57

Nope - my own DS1 went through his pre-school year in a catholic school (chosen as the pre-school teacher was amazing with all outstanding ofsted results) and to be accepted into the main school would have to be baptised. I decided not to do this as I do not believe in forcing a religion you have no strong faith in on your child. But my decision not to have my son baptised is nothing to do with this situation.

My DN is in his Reception class, happy, settled and there is no intention to move him that SIL is telling us about. Even if there were, she should discuss this openly with DB?

lucky1979 Thu 25-Jun-09 08:44:23

OldLadyKnowsNothing - wasn't saying that the parents wishes should be superceeded by the grandparents, just there seemed to be some confusion as to why the exW would want to have the baby christened if she wasn't religious and I was suggesting that the grandparents being religious might be a reason.

SouthMum Thu 25-Jun-09 09:10:57

YABU - I have been to a few adult christenings that they had to arrange to be able to get married in a church. I remember them saying they wish their parents had just done it when they were younger.

I'm not religious but I'll be getting DS christened because it doesn't do any harm and saves him having to do it when he wants to get married.

flowerybeanbag Thu 25-Jun-09 09:15:16

She should of course discuss it with him, but as he is not opposed to the christening itself, I don't think whether or not she is right to do it is relevant anymore as obviously he won't be withholding his consent.

What he needs to do now is make sure he is involved (if he wants to be), insisting on being part of discussions about godparents and other arrangements.

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