Progressive. Queer. Feminist. Opinionated.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

To deny baptism

Some members of the Catholic Church have hit a new low. The archbishop of Quebec, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, has threatened to deny baptism to children of gays and lesbians. Yes, you read that right: he is threatening the children of gays and lesbians.

I found this link through AMERICAblog, which led to The Advocate's online site.

The author of The Advocate artile, John Sonego, says, "I read about the archbishop of Quebec’s threat to Canadian lawmakers last week. Once Canada’s same-sex marriage bill becomes law, Cardinal Marc Ouellet announced, the church could refuse to baptize children of gay parents" before going on:

The child of a drug addict can be baptized. The child of a murderer can be baptized. Even the illegitimate child of a fornicating priest can be baptized (and if you’ve studied Catholic history, you know many children of wayward clergy grew up to be cardinals and even popes).

All these children are considered worthy before God. The only exception Cardinal Ouellet and his church would make, based on the circumstance of their birth alone, is the child of a same-sex couple who have made a legal life commitment to one another.

Perhaps Ouellet’s statement is a publicity ploy to draw attention to the church’s displeasure with progressive Canadian law; Canadian clergy have engaged in an escalating war of words to express their opposition. But even if Ouellet’s bark is worse than his bite, there is something fiendishly wrong with a spiritual leader who petulantly announces restrictions against innocent children simply to make a point. At best, such a pronouncement is unconscionable; at worst, diabolical. (read more here)

I told my mom about this. She was a Catholic before she married my father. She managed to sputter out some indignant, furious statements before finally concluding that many of the old, powerful men in the Catholic church are "stuffy old men" who care more about their offices and administration than their faith.

Sometimes my mom really impresses me.

The last thing I want to do is attack the Catholic church as a whole. I went to a Catholic service for Easter, and I found that it was a beautiful, spiritual, and loving experience. I grew up in the Lutheran church, so Catholicism has an air of mystery and fascination for me.

But the Church, the capitol C, the thing behind the Vatican ... I feel very hesitant about this. The Church is very powerful, and I think there's a lot of merit to the old adage that absolute power corrupts absolutely.

I don't think this ploy of denying baptism will happen. But the threat, the words, and the intent behind it all is the most important thing. One church refuses to baptize, you can go to another. But you cannot erase these words of Cardinal Marc Ouellet.


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