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To have DS Christened?

38 replies

youcannotbeserious · 20/06/2008 14:23

Have also posted this in religion, so tell me if I am BU!

I am a (non practicing) catholic. DH is completely agnostic.
My family are VERY strong Irish catholics and it means a lot to them.

Our DS is now 4 weeks old and I would like to have him Christened.... DH would be OK with a catholic christening, I would like it and it would mean a lot to my side of the family....

But, DH would definitely not be OK with bringing DS as a practising catholic...

So, am I being unreasonable to be thinking of having my son christened when we won't really practice the religion?

OP posts:
nkf · 20/06/2008 14:24

I don't think unreasonable would be the word I'd use. Does it matter to you? It sounds as if it's a ritual to please your family. Only you can decide how you feel about making the vows minus the beliefs. Lots of people do of course. Perhaps you are worrying unecessarily.

MaryAnnSingleton · 20/06/2008 14:26

why would he countenance a Catholic christening then ? you are promising to bring the child up as a Catholic in that ceremony and I don't really think you should go ahead unless you are going to bring him up as a practicing Catholic
I am very lapsed,and dh is totally aetheist and my grandma was very,very religious but I couldn't do it in all honesty.

youcannotbeserious · 20/06/2008 14:30

Yes, nfk, it's a ritual and a rite of passage and, I suppose selfishly, I've never imagined NOT having DS christened...

Even though I don't go to church, I will always, because of my family, consider myself catholic. it's still required to bless yourself in my parents house and my mum still shakes holy water on anything that moves (and quite a few things that don't too! )

But, I am feeling uncomfortable to make those vows knowing DH's thoughts on the subject....

OP posts:
mazzystar · 20/06/2008 14:31

have a party instead

hanaflowerisnothana · 20/06/2008 14:34

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MaryAnnSingleton · 20/06/2008 14:35

I still consider myself Catholic too, I occassionally go to Mass or into church to light a candle and I do pray in a way too - I like the idea of Buddhism ( my mum is a Buddhist - ex Catholic) and I have taken some bits of that and mixed it up with the bits of Catholicism that I like - it seems to work !
Ds had a Buddhist blessing when he was a baby which was lovely but a Catholic baptism would be promising your child would follow the Catholic faith and seems to me to be more of a 'contract' if you take it very literally.

Playingthewaitinggame · 20/06/2008 14:35

Why don't you get your DS blessed instead. You will still have the service but will not have to commit to bringing him up catholic.

MrsBadger · 20/06/2008 14:35


Could you really in all honestly stand up in front of a lot of people who trust you and solemnly promise to raise ds as a Catholic when you know you won't do it? It's make a mockery of the whole thing.

Can you have a blessing or a service of thanksgiving instead? (am not sure if Catholics do these - I am a very Low protestant)

nkf · 20/06/2008 14:36

A naming ceremony doesn't satisfy family though. It's not the same thing as a baptism or christening.

MrsBadger · 20/06/2008 14:38

well yes, but the OP can't satisfy the family as she's not going to bring her DS up Catholic. Someone will have to be disappointed somewhere along the line.

nkf · 20/06/2008 14:40

It doesn't sound as if it would satisfy the OP either. And sometimes Catholic parents think that it will sort of rub off or that it's the right thing to do. They'd rather baptised and not going to church than not baptised and not going to church.

PrimulaVeris · 20/06/2008 14:41

CofE baptism? That may not satisfy your family though.

youcannotbeserious · 20/06/2008 14:43

nfk - YOu've hit the nail on the head.

I think a blessing might be the way to go.

FWIW, I'm married to a divorced father of two, so I'm already looking at eternal damnation!!!

OP posts:
nkf · 20/06/2008 14:43

Why would CofE baptism make a difference? Genuinely puzzled by that suggestion.

youcannotbeserious · 20/06/2008 14:45

LOL, Primula.

CofE would go down very badly!!!

DH has a loathing of ALL churches and my family would come out in hives if I were to suggest anything other than catholism!!!

OP posts:
nkf · 20/06/2008 14:46

I think it's something for you and your husband to work out. The vows are about your responsibility and the godparents too.

PrimulaVeris · 20/06/2008 14:50

D'oh - stupid suggestion - agreed! Our vicar has recently baptised the children of a fair number of lapsed catholics who really wanted a baptism but not the catholic commitment thing. Seems to be a bit of a booming business here ..

Wasn't sure how it would go down on t'other side!

youcannotbeserious · 20/06/2008 14:55

A CofE baptism would be even worse than me taking off to Vegas to marry my agnostic, divorced partner!!!

In fact, I think they'd think I was taking the proverbial!!!!

I think it's going to have to be a blessing... A full on baptism might (oh, how am I kidding, would certainly) lead to problems later on - confession, communion, confirmation... probably best nip it in the bud...

OP posts:
PrimulaVeris · 20/06/2008 14:55

There is a v. good CofE school locally as well which may explain some of it

MrsBadger · 20/06/2008 14:59

YCBS if you are canny and have a good priest you may be able to make it feel very much like a christening without actually being one...

We managed to pull off a wedding that looked to all intents and purposes like a traditional Anglican one without actually mentioning God at all. Took some doing but was certainly worth it

Pheebe · 20/06/2008 16:15

I think there are 2 parts to a christening. Firstly, the church itself is welcoming the child as an individual and secondly the church asks that the parents/godparents bring that child up within the values of the religion

This may be quite controversial, it certainly shocked my local vicar, but I do believe that its possible to adhere to (most of) the christian values without believing the spiritual element.

Soooo imo so long as your DH is comfortable and in broad agreement with the values/attitudes of the catholic religion there's really no conflict. If you do not see yourself as a catholic then I would say its just for effect and you shoudln't bother. Clearly you do so go ahead.

MrsBadger · 20/06/2008 16:21

Pheebe you might well be right re the values, but the baptism service includes the Nicene Creed and direct questions like 'Do you accept Jesus Christ as your Saviour?'

and if you don't you shouldn't say you do, iyswim.

TheLadyP · 20/06/2008 16:26

Youcannotbeserious - I was in a similar situation and I had both my daughters christened. With my background I just felt I couldn't not have them christened. Both were lovely family occasions and two of the very rare times that both sides of the family got to meet. Ok - it was a good excuse for a party! Also (and I am going to stand well back now, because I am sure I will be flamed) but it might be useful if at some stage you want to consider a Catholic school, which may not be something you are considering now, but may be in the future. The earlier children are christened the better the chance they have of getting into Catholic schools. This wasn't the reason I did it by the way - more to do with being 'loyal to my tribe' which I think is a quote from Lord Winston (I read it in the God Delusion - oh the irony)

pofaced · 20/06/2008 16:31

I'm Catholic and all DDs baptised and brought up. YANBU! As Pheebe says, baptism is welcoming child into the Church and making comitments on its behalf to adhere to the values and beliefs of the Church. Many, many Catholics are cultural more than spiritual: they believe in the essentials but not the finer points (to use a simple example, far more Catholics use contraception than support the death penalty but both are inimical to Catholic values)

Talk to your Parish Priest, anonymously if necessary: they deal with all kinds of issues and are far more sensitive than you may expect (unless you get a ghastly one!). Make your own judgment rather than taking advice from anonymous strangers (incl. me!): your child is part of your extended family as well as the new family you have made with your DH.

I especially do not think it is hypocritical to baptise the child: that's a very puritanical view of the nature of sacramental grace and, without wanting to start a conter-counter-reformation, does seem antithetical to Catholic values...

Good luck!

AMumInScotland · 20/06/2008 16:37

My advice in all these situations is to find out exactly what you as parents would be saying during the service, and decide whether or not you would be able to say those things without feeling hypocritical. If you can say them and mean them, the go for it. Otherwise think about a blessing instead, or a naming ceremony, or just have a party.

For a lot of churches, you can search online and find the wording of services, so you can check up just what is included.

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