Sunday, July 08, 2007

what I would want

Part of my recent trip away was a short stay in melbourne to have Patrick baptised by my uncle M. Not that I'm particularly religious, and Mr T is an avowed atheist; it was more a chance to have various assorted rellos come and say hello to Patrick and Melbourne is a nice mid-way point between our home, my folks in Hobart, Mr T's parents in Canberra, my rellos in Victoria and Mr T's rellos in Geelong.

To add to that, Uncle M is a genuinely nice guy, and the sort of Catholic that I wish the pope was. When we were getting married (again by Uncle M), he encouraged us to walk down the aisle together, as we had been living together so long. He let us write the kind of wedding vows we wanted (eg instead of vowing to bring up any offspring according to the laws of the Catholic church, we agreed to bring them up with love and wisdom- which should amount to the same thing but unfortunately rarely does- because if we were to have a child who turned out not to fit into those laws- for example was gay or supported liberation theology- we would want to not have to reject him or her because of some outdated and hateful laws). Uncle M is known in the Catholic priests' world for his stance on things such as married priests (he supports it) and he has been criticised by Cardinal Pell on more than one occasion. So if anyone was going to baptise Patrick, we would want it to be him.

Uncle M's parish is in the Melbourne outskirts, the kind of suburb that is semi-rural and reached by a long trip on various freeways and tollways. But it's a wonderful parish, full of people of every age and many nationalities. There easily be as many if not more non-anglo members of his congregation, and it's wonderful to see. His Mass was full of life and humour. His sermon was full of compassion and love.

I was a little hesitant about the whole baptism promises. My memory of them is that they run along the lines of "Do you reject Satan" "And all his evil works" which, although kind of groovy in a very medieval way, are not really what I think faith should be about. But given M's track record I should have known better. Instead, we were asked if we

"...reject all that is contrary to God's love that we may have the freedom to love as God loves us?
"...reject the evil of these times by which people are manipulated or exploited?
"...refuse to be mastered by the forces of our world that divide us and bring hatred into our existence?"

(Mr T agreed to all of these in a very pleasantly suprised voice "Actually, we do")

We also prayed that our children could "...grow up in a world where they learn to love each other and share that love for everyone within the community, showing respect and compassion to all people..." that we (parents) would "learn to be good leaders and to have patience, love and trust, and to be always understanding of (our) children..." and that our children would be "blessed with happiness, good health, security and guidance in (God's) love. May they be successful in all they do and have the courage to make the right choices on their journey of life".

Yes, we were asked if we believed in God, and Jesus, but there was no references to sin, the holy roman catholic church or virgin births, which was just fine with me.

IMHO, if all religious peoples could have that kind of faith that rejects division and embraces love, we would be a lot better off.


Anonymous J-Le said...

that's really great - uncle m sounds like a great asset to your family and to the catholic church.

coincidentally, k and i were just talking about catholic baptisms on the weekend. (i was brought up catholic and some of my friends still are so i've been to a few baptisms over the past few years.) i was telling k how i always cringe at the part where we all announce that we reject satan and all his evil works or whatever the wording is. it sounds like uncle m has found the real meaning in that statement and the others associated with baptism and found a contemporary way of restating them. it should be compulsory for all priests to work this way! or perhaps parents could write their own vows for baptism in the same way couples do for their weddings.

i love t's surprised response!

oh, and next time you're coming to melbourne we must have a coffee.

9/7/07 14:29  

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