Tuesday, November 14, 2006

A Difficult Pastoral Pickle Indeed

The document also takes up the issue of baptizing the adopted children of gay couples, saying that while the matter "presents a pastoral concern the Church does not refuse the Sacrament of Baptism to these children" if there's reason to believe the children will be brought up Catholic.

ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
11/14/2006 (link)

17 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's the problem with Baptizing children? I don't see a "pickle" here.

Monday, December 04, 2006 11:05:00 PM  
Blogger Trent_Dougherty said...

There's no intrisic problem with that.

The problem is that it could be interpreted as a tacit endorsement of the union. After all, the ceremony is usually a family affair.

Monday, December 04, 2006 11:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Only someone who is not a true Christian would endorse withholding sacraments from infants based on perceived behavior of adults.

Why is this an issue?

Friday, December 08, 2006 9:05:00 PM  
Blogger Trent_Dougherty said...

The problem is that it will be extremely difficult to pull off the execution of the Rite without it looking like an endorsement of the couple. Perhaps you've been to a Mass where a baptism is performed. It's a family affair. Rogue priests will have an opportunity to put the same-sex couple on a social par in an ecclesial setting. Even if the Vatican directed such baptisms to be conducted in private would invite very bad press indeed.

So the problem for the Church is in the form of a dilemma: Either provide rogue priests with the opportunity to give social credence to same-sex couples in an ecclesial setting or invite a fire-storm of criticism (probably the biggest wave of it since the refusal to ordain women and probably worse).

I've got my own ideas about how to handle this, but it is a prima facie problem.

Saturday, December 09, 2006 8:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ahhh, the ugly side of religion ... deciding who is "clean" and "unclean".

Is a "rogue" priest someone who baptizes infants or someone who denies sacraments to the innocent and uninvolved?

Soemtimes baptisms are performed during Mass and sometimes they're held later in the day. There's not much scandal.

Saturday, December 09, 2006 8:21:00 PM  
Blogger Trent_Dougherty said...

Nobody (but you) said (or implied) anything about "clean" or "unclean".

The Catholic Church sees an intrinsic connection between sexuality and reproduction and sees intrinsic differences between and complementarity of the genders. As a result, childbearing is reserved for those partaking of the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, and that Sacrament is reserved for pairs of men and women.

Now you are as free to disagree with that stance and argue against it as the Church is to assert it and defend it, but using words like "unclean" and "dark" is a poor substitute for respectful disagreement and rational argument.

Finally, by "rogue priest" I mean one who would take advantage of the necessity of baptizing children being reared by same-sex couples to flout the teaching of the Church by performing the baptism in a scandalous way (i.e. putting the family aspects of the common celebration of the Rite on par with a Sacramental Union).

Saturday, December 09, 2006 8:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't believe I used the term "dark" but feel free to put words in my mouth if it helps your position. I look forward to what ever else you make up in your reply.

Instead of "rogue priest" you should consider using the term "straw man".

"putting the family aspects of the common celebration of the Rite on par with a Sacramental Union"??????

"family aspects" of anything are never on par with a sacrament. You'll be hard-pressed to find anything remotely resembling that from the Church. That doesn't even make sense.

You are simply inventing scenarios here, so forgive me if I seem "disrespectful".

Sunday, December 10, 2006 1:25:00 AM  
Blogger Trent_Dougherty said...

Ah yes, I see that you didn't say "dark," you said "ugly". I was being too charitable.

Let me try to make this as clear as possible. That which a rogue priest could put on a par is the family aspect of the same-sex couple's baptism rite with the family aspect of the Sacramentally bound couple's celebration of the rite.

As it happens, my new son is being baptized today at Mass. Afterwards there will be pictures with the priest and a cookie reception and some kind of informal greeting line where people (whether through niceness or a sense of obligation) come up and congratulate us and say things like "You must be so happy," and "We're so happy for you" etc.

Were this same public spectacle to occur for a same-sex couple it could easily be construed as an endorsement of the union's parity with a union blessed by Holy Matrimony. That would constitute scandal and send an unclear message to the faithful.

Sunday, December 10, 2006 9:27:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Church has created enough real scandals on their own. There is no need to set up the straw man "rogue priest" myth to create some sort of controversy that isn't there.

Your hypothetical scenario would only be misunderstood by those who are highly confused. Anybody who has completed second grade religion understands that the Church does not endorse same sex unions. Anybody who had completed fourth grade religion understands that you shouldn't deny sacraments to infants because of how the congregation perceives their parents of guardians.

The real "rogue" priest would be the one who denied the sacrament because the congregation might be offended.

Who would make this interpretation "as a tacit endorsement of the union"? ... only the ignorant. As always, someone in this position of ignorance should consult his/her priest for an explanation.

Thankfully the Church is able to (by and large) avoid compromising its integrity by bowing to the masses.

Sunday, December 10, 2006 1:42:00 PM  
Blogger Trent_Dougherty said...

Sadly, the Church has harbored those who have been scandalous (though the Church *is* the place for sinners), and, sadly, rogue priests are no myth.

You may call people "ignorant" if you wish, but the fact is that most people are more social than intellectual and they pick up on approval and disapproval by the actions of their Parish priest more than their catechism.

And I would rather bow in Mass at Church than have the Church bow to the masses as well.

Sunday, December 10, 2006 4:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So how do you believe a parish preist should behave in this situation?

Sunday, December 10, 2006 4:56:00 PM  
Blogger Trent_Dougherty said...

I'm very uncertain about this, but it seems to me that the best overall pastoral decision would be to do the baptism in a private setting. There will be some fuss about "sweeping gays under the rug" and what have you in the press, but the child will get the sacrament and the public scandal of which I wrote will be avoided.

Sunday, December 10, 2006 5:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you think the scenario of same-sex couples should be treated differently than unwed, heterosexual couples?

Sunday, December 10, 2006 11:23:00 PM  
Blogger Trent_Dougherty said...

Good question. Essentially I think they are on par w.r.t. this issue.

I think what I've said above applies--mutatis mutandis--to such couples as well.

Monday, December 11, 2006 8:47:00 AM  
Blogger Frank Hogrebe said...

I agree these baptisms should be privately done for any "couple" that is not a legitimately married couple in the eyes of the Church.

Monday, December 11, 2006 2:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think having a private baptism is an unreasonable solution. I just don't think the situation presents the "pickle" that you see here...a pretty simple solution actually.

Monday, December 11, 2006 9:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is much more of a pickle than baptizing infants.

http://customwire.ap.org/dynamic/stories/I/ITALY_RIGHT_TO_DIE?SITE=FLROC&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2006-12-22-15-09-57

Sunday, December 24, 2006 2:39:00 PM  

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