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Catholic Baptism problems

(181 Posts)
smartypants1000 Sun 20-Apr-14 18:02:39

Basically, we have our daughters' Baptism booked for late May, outside of our Parish (where Godparents live and where we are originally from). For various reasons (serious bereavements for two of the Godparents, the girls are aged 4 and 2 - it has always been the intention to have them Baptised. It seemed pretty straightforward but we've now been told that we need the permission of our Parish Priest. This shouldn't have been a problem, except that he won't give his permission.

We moved into the Parish less than 3 months ago, and he requires that we be registered members of the Parish for 3 months before we can apply for Baptism. Then, he requires us to attend a preparation course here, and won't accept us attending preparation in the Parish where we will be having our dd's Baptised. he also requires baptism certificates for all Godparents - they don't live locally, and probably don't know where their certificates are. But the main problem is the 3 month rule. I have attended Mass with the children every Sunday since we moved here in Feb. But he requires both of us to attend for 3 months before he will allow us to attend the preparation course, and since that only runs at certain times, will not allow us to have the Baptism as planned - it has been a military operation getting a date when everyone can make it, and after so many problems I don't want to delay, as it is very important to me that the girls are Baptised :-(. Dh is Catholic, but he isn't practising. he is happy for the dc to be raised Catholic. I joined the church as an adult (prior to meeting dh) and it is so important to me to raise the children with faith.

I'm feeling very unwelcome in the Church at the moment, very upset about this, feeling that my children are not considered good enough. Can the Parish really deny us permission? Can they really just impose these arbitary rules? When ds was Baptised, it was very friendly, welcoming and straightforward. Is there anything I can do, or do I have to accept that the Baptism will not happen?

deemented Sun 20-Apr-14 18:06:40

I wonder if you could get a letter from the parish priest of where you used to live, saying that you regularly attended mass there? That might show that you aren't just getting them baptised to get them into a good school.

Failing that, what about taking it a bit higher? To the Canon or such?

trinners88 Sun 20-Apr-14 18:09:36

Sounds mad, Smartypants. Why do they have a three month rule? I've never encountered that when getting ds baptised. Is there a catholic school in the parish that is oversubscribed? Could you appeal to the Bishop?

trinners88 Sun 20-Apr-14 18:12:43

I don't remember our godparents having to send their baptismal certs. One godparent was Church of Ireland and the other Catholic. In the end we had proxy godparents due to illness and I think they were agnostic!

smartypants1000 Sun 20-Apr-14 18:26:42

I wondered if it might be to do with schools, given that dd is 4 and will be starting Reception in September - but she already has a place at another school, which her older brother attends, and Priest knows that. The Catholic school was actually my first choice but didn't have a place for my older child when we moved here, so decided to send them both to a CofE school as I want them to attend the same school.

I might take this to the Bishop. We had none of this when ds was baptised. I feel so sad about it :-(

LynetteScavo Sun 20-Apr-14 18:31:35

Your new priest is being a bit mean. My dcs godparents certainly didn't have to provide their certificates and I'm pretty sure as only the mother, not the father needs to attend the baptism the priest is just being finicky about you DH attending for three months. I can see why you might be asked to attend the preparation class in your parish, but surely it's just one half hour- hour long session?

smartypants1000 Sun 20-Apr-14 18:37:08

Not here, Lynette - it was in our home Parish when ds was Baptised. Here it is 3 full days on a Saturday. He doesn't want us to take the children either and we know no-one we could leave them with. At the end of the course he requires me and dh to say our Baptismal promises in front of the congregation at Sunday Mass too - dh won't be happy, I haven't told him that part yet.

LynetteScavo Sun 20-Apr-14 18:44:41

3 full days with no children???

Only a priest would think that one up!

That's just ridiculous.

LynetteScavo Sun 20-Apr-14 18:45:44

Actually, that would make me so cross I would go to the bishop.

Mrmenmug Sun 20-Apr-14 18:49:17

Our godparents didnt have to show their baptismal certificates. Never heard that before. Might be worth asking for an explanation and challenging it.

LynetteScavo Sun 20-Apr-14 19:22:45

I honestly thought this was going to be a thread about you not being able to have the exact time you want or not bring allowed an extra godparent or something, but this all sounds a bit precious to me. Are you in the catchment for a very oversubscribed catholic school?

LynetteScavo Sun 20-Apr-14 19:23:44

(Precious of the priest)

smartypants1000 Sun 20-Apr-14 19:25:29

I think we are in the catchment for an oversubscribed Catholic school. They didn't have a place for our son when we moved here, anyway, and weren't v friendly when I asked about waiting lists on the phone. hence we decided to send the dc somewhere else! I wondered whether because dd is 4, he thinks we are doing it for school admissions?

Floggingmolly Sun 20-Apr-14 19:27:21

Your eldest is 4; he has every reason to suppose you're doing it purely with an eye to school admissions.
That's why he's making you jump through hoops; it soon sorts the wheat from the chaff...

smartypants1000 Sun 20-Apr-14 19:27:36

It seems very exclusive to me. I've always been of the opinion that if non-practising Catholics want their children baptised or to get married in church then the best thing the church can do is be welcoming...but that isn't the case for us, the children and I are very much practising Catholics, dh is non-practising although that is only in the last year or so.

smartypants1000 Sun 20-Apr-14 19:28:39

He does know that dd already has a place at another school and that we don't plan to apply to the Catholic school. Perhaps he thinks we will try to transfer her after baptism?

smartypants1000 Sun 20-Apr-14 19:30:06

Yes, can see your point floggingmolly - although the reality is that he now has a practising Catholic considering having dc baptised CofE, because I feel so unwelcome, and that my children are not good enough.

zzzzz Sun 20-Apr-14 19:33:47

What part of the country are you in? My Priest would never ever behave like this shock.

Can I say that your children are welcome always. What a horrid thing to be happening. Phone your bishop and ask for help.

zzzzz Sun 20-Apr-14 19:38:55

So you feel more comfortable, I am rubbish at doing things early for my dc. I have 5 and they were baptised in two batches blush aged 4 and 2, and aged 3 and 3 and 1. There father is not a Christian and there was no excuse I just was a bit overwhelmed (5 children under 7).

smartypants1000 Sun 20-Apr-14 19:39:15

We are in Luton, zzzzz - thank you for that. I hate everything about Luton and want to go home! I have sent the Priest one last email, saying that we can get a letter from our previous Priest gto say that we attended Mass regularly before we moved (we were married there and our ds Baptised there, so the Priest knows us well, it was a small rural Parish) - and asking him to reconsider allowing us to attend the Baptism preparation, although we will have to bring our children along. If he says no, I will contact the Bishop.

smartypants1000 Sun 20-Apr-14 19:41:55

Thanks again for making me feel better about their ages, zzzz - we had planned to have them baptised, it is just that both Godmothers lost their husbands whilst we were planning the baptism (one when dd1 was a baby, one when dd2 was a baby - awful coincidence) - so we delayed the baptism until they were more ready for a celebration.

LynetteScavo Sun 20-Apr-14 19:50:28

My DC were baptised when they were 8, 4 & 2. When I first met the priest and said I would like them baptised he told me I'd left I'm long enough, looked in his diary, and booked us in at the next available date.

zzzzz Sun 20-Apr-14 19:51:50

I can only think this must be about school admissions. Can you send him a copy of your dc's acceptance at her brothers school. I honestly can't believe this is happening. sad

NomDeClavier Sun 20-Apr-14 19:54:19

This all sounds terribly unwelcoming. I suspect it is to do with school admissions and if you can lay those fears to rest the priest may be more accommodating, but if not then definitely go to the Bishop.

Why is your current priest's consent required?

smartypants1000 Sun 20-Apr-14 19:56:55

I don't know, NomDeClavier, I wondered this - the Priest who would be baptising the girls has told me that he is not allowed to baptise them without permission from their parish priest.

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