So, a couple of lesbians walk into an Anglican church…

Over at CMR there is a story about how a couple of Lesbians brought a child to an Anglican vicar asking for baptism for the child.

The Lesbians wanted to be, both of them, listed as “mother”.

The vicar refused.

(I know you know what comes next.)

The Lesbians went to the press!

(I know you know what comes next.)

The Anglican Church reversed the vicars decision!

CMR adds the conclusion:

If you’d like to know why the Anglican Church is dying, here it is.

 

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36 Responses to So, a couple of lesbians walk into an Anglican church…

  1. The Sicilian Woman says:

    I hope what comes next is the vicar saying (pardon the South Park reference), “—– you guys, I’m going home!” “Home” being the RC Church. The door is open, vicar.

  2. prisoner says:

    And so the vicar says to the one lesbian, “Where did your husband get his crew-cut?”

  3. Bosco says:

    Poor little baby, Alfie. What’s it all about?

  4. Cantor says:

    Okay, Father,

    What are the current, written, USCCB/Vatican instructions to our own pastors regarding this situation? The most important thing, of course, is the baptism of the child, who has done no wrong.

    But what of the paperwork? Father? Mother? How does the priest handle the inevitable question of the child being brought up in the tenets of the Church? How is it handled now with artificial insemination?

    A matter of years, months more likely, and one of our pastors is going to face this exact same predicament. I’ll stake one of your cold beers on the fact that there’s nothing out there to support them.

  5. Pingback: Two Lesbians Walk into a Church | A Reflex Anglican

  6. John Nolan says:

    The vicar concerned was retired and was covering for the regular incumbent who was on holiday. He said (logically enough) that a child could not have two mothers, and offered to register one as a godmother. He was quite happy to christen the infant. It might have been better had he left it at that rather than following it up with remarks about lesbians in general that were bound to be regarded as ‘homophobic’. One of the partners claims to be a Catholic, but at least they didn’t storm off to the nearest Catholic church.

    Some years ago I knew a retired Anglican vicar who would sometimes act as a locum tenens. He was a splendid character, but rather absent-minded and perhaps a little too fond of his lunchtime pint. Once, when officiating at a wedding, he opened the book at the wrong page and read the burial service instead. The bemused congregation, who were expecting “Dearly beloved, we are gathered here together …” got instead “Man that is born of Woman hath but a short time to live…”.

    He was some way into it before he realized his mistake.

  7. Adam Welp says:

    I’ve heard this joke before, I just can’t remember the punchline. Oh wait, the Anglican Church is the punchline!

  8. Cathy says:

    From the article, “I’m baptised Church of England, and Victoria is a Catholic. We want him to be brought up the same as we were.” I’m just meandering a guess that unless they were raised by cross-cult lesbians, the poor child in question is not going to be brought up the same way they were.

  9. Gail F says:

    There is nothing wrong with refusing to baptize a child if you know he or she is not going to be raised as a Christian. [Good authors are divided on that quesiton. Perhaps “delay” might be a better word.]

  10. jhayes says:

    As Cantor said ” The most important thing, of course, is the baptism of the child, who has done no wrong.”

    Francis, as Archbishop, saw that:

    BERGOGLIO: Just a few days ago I baptized seven children of a woman on her own, a poor widow, who works as a maid and she had had them from two different men. I met her last year at the Feast of San Cayetano. She said: Father, I’m in mortal sin, I have seven children and I’ve never had them baptized. It had happened because she had no money to bring the godparents from a distance, or to pay for the party, because she always had to work … I suggested we meet, to talk about it. We spoke on the phone, she came to see me, told me that she could never find all the godparents and get them together … In the end I said: let’s do everything with only two godparents, representing the others. They all came here and after a little catechesis I baptized them in the chapel of the archbishopric. After the ceremony we had a little refreshment. A coca cola and sandwiches. She told me: Father, I can’t believe it, you make me feel important…I replied, but lady, where do I come in, it’s Jesus who makes you important.”

    I don’t see him refusing to baptise beause of words on a form (which probably should be “parent” and “parent”) [Mother and Father]

    http://taylormarshall.com/2013/04/pope-francis-infant-baptism-shouldnt-be.html

  11. sw85 says:

    What are the current, written, USCCB/Vatican instructions to our own pastors regarding this situation? The most important thing, of course, is the baptism of the child, who has done no wrong.

    Common sense would seem to dictate not conferring a Sacrament on one who has no hope of being raised and educated in the faith which is attendant on it, the better to ensure that, when they die outside the faith (as they likely will) they do not take the Sacramental character of Baptism which is engraved upon their souls with them into Hell.

  12. jhayes says:

    Common sense would seem to dictate not conferring a Sacrament on one who has no hope of being raised and educated in the faith which is attendant on it,

    Thomas says you should baptize even the children of unbelievers (provided the parents consent).

    “As Augustine says, writing to Boniface (Cont. duas Ep. Pelag. i), “in the Church of our Saviour little children believe through others, just as they contracted from others those sins which are remitted in Baptism.” Nor is it a hindrance to their salvation if their parents be unbelievers, because, as Augustine says, writing to the same Boniface (Ep. xcviii), “little children are offered that they may receive grace in their souls, not so much from the hands of those that carry them (yet from these too, if they be good and faithful) as from the whole company of the saints and the faithful. For they are rightly considered to be offered by those who are pleased at their being offered, and by whose charity they are united in communion with the Holy Ghost.” And the unbelief of their own parents, even if after Baptism these strive to infect them with the worship of demons, hurts not the children. For as Augustine says (Cont. duas Ep. Pelag. i) “when once the child has been begotten by the will of others, he cannot subsequently be held by the bonds of another’s sin so long as he consent not with his will, according to” Ezech. 18:4: “‘As the soul of the Father, so also the soul of the son is mine; the soul that sinneth, the same shall die.’ Yet he contracted from Adam that which was loosed by the grace of this sacrament, because as yet he was not endowed with a separate existence.” But the faith of one, indeed of the whole Church, profits the child through the operation of the Holy Ghost, Who unites the Church together, and communicates the goods of one member to another. • Delete this highlight (III, 68,9)

  13. MarkG says:

    Laying aside the issue of Lesbians, I’ve always thought it was wrong to deny children any sacrament due to actions of their parents.

    While it might have just been individual priests or bishops acting outside of church law, there are cases of refusing Baptism to children of civil marriages, and of refusing First Communion or Confirmation to children whose parents had a civil marriage or a civil divorce. The cases I know of were in the 70’s when I was in junior high school, so maybe this doesn’t happen any more.

    Seminaries used to ask for a copy of the parent’s Catholic marriage certificate (maybe some still do). I’ve always thought this was wrong, as converts should be treated the same as cradle.
    How would a parent’s martial status or religion have an impact on a young adult man who wants to be a priest? I suppose they have dispensations, but the whole request seems silly to me.

  14. Magash says:

    But does “little children” include infants? Hence the point about delaying baptism. Certainly one can be fairly sure that at the present time it appears probable that the child will not be raised in the faith, a requirement placed on the parents and God parents in the sacrament. What may happen in the future is unknown, but one must make decisions based on the best information one has. Augustine was dealing with a culture that was primarily Christian. It had not been so for very long, but was fairly robust because of that. In the present the culture is decidedly not Christian and the message sent in the way of support and encouragement of immoral behavior, with its probable result of leading even more individuals away from Christ makes the decision to permit the baptism morally chancy at best.
    Any parish that would admit two practicing lesbians to active sacramental participation is not one working under the operation of the Holy Ghost, but of another spiritual being. No child would profit from being associated with it.

  15. kevinm says:

    Refusing to Baptize the child only leaves it vulnerable to demonic assault and child retains original sin. While the lifstyle of the “parents” can never be condoned I do not believe the child should be made to suffer and denied the Grace of Baptism.

    Just my 2 cents….

    AMDG

    Kevin

  16. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    jhayes wrote: “’As Augustine says, . . . “in the Church of our Saviour little children believe through others, just as they contracted from others those sins which are remitted in Baptism.” Nor is it a hindrance to their salvation if their parents be unbelievers, because, as Augustine says, writing to the same Boniface, “little children are offered that they may receive grace in their souls, not so much from the hands of those that carry them (yet from these too, if they be good and faithful) as from the whole company of the saints and the faithful. ‘”

    If the Angelic Doctor Saint Thomas Aquinas is for the baptism even of infants presented by unbelieving parents, that’s good enough for me.

    That said, the question of how the baptismal certificate is to be filled in, is a separate one entirely. Neither believing nor unbelieving parents have the right to dictate to church officials how to complete official church paperwork. If these progenitrices want some kind of document of their own commemorating the event, they can punch something up on their laptop, fill it in any way they wish, upload it to FaceBook, send it to the printer, mail copies to family and friends, and keep it forever. Or they can inscribe something in their family Bible, formatted in any way they wish. But the responsibility for the completion of official church documents rests entirely with the Church official, including baptismal registries and baptismal certificates.

    It sounds to me as if the progenitrices stance was, “if we can’t both be listed as ‘mothers’ on the child’s baptismal certificate, then we refuse to have our child baptized.” And knowing how likely it was that he would succeed in changing their minds, the clergyman responded, “‘kay. Later.” And that was that. The infant’s unbaptized condition is thus on the progenitrices, not on the clergyman.

  17. jhayes says:

    Neither believing nor unbelieving parents have the right to dictate to church officials how to complete official church paperwork.

    Fortunately, church officials decided that the paperwork requirements weren’t as rigid as the interim priest thought.

    “Ven Gavin Collins, Archdeacon of the Meon, said today he was happy for the christening to go ahead as planned – with both named as the mother.

    He said: “Having spoken to Aimi Leggett today, I’m pleased to report that the baptism of Alfie will go ahead on the date planned at St Mary’s Church, Warsash.

    “We have addressed the legal issue. As I understand it, her partner Victoria has full legal co-parental responsibility for Alfie. We can therefore enter their details onto the baptism register as ‘mother’ and ‘mother’, as they would like.

    “I’m pleased that this issue has been resolved, and we look forward to welcoming Aimi, Victoria, Alfie and their friends and family. I’m sure it will be a great occasion as we welcome him into the Christian family.”

  18. celpar says:

    And one of them is a ‘Catholic’. That’s right: a Catholic in a lesbian civil partnership, child by IVF, to be baptised in the Church of England. Whatever she means by ‘Catholic’ evidently doesn’t include fidelity to the teachings of the Magisterium. Want to bet she’ll be asserting her child’s ‘right’ to receive Communion in the Catholic Church in 7-8 years’ time? We have better First Communion parties than the C of E.

  19. Fear not Adam Welp! The Anglican Church (in the U.S. The Episcopal Church) may be the punch line now, but they will not be such much longer. They are dying before our very eyes, and it appears that only a remnant might conceivably be saved. predominantly those who have availed themselves of Anglicanorum Cœtibus. If you think I am being overly sanguine, I would refer you to a fundamental law of the universe, a law of whose existence you may be unaware.

    It was first noted by a blogging cradle Episcopalian, and the law is named in his honor:

    It is Christopher Johnson’s First Law of Episcopal Thermodynamics and runs as follows: every joke you make about the Episcopal Church eventually comes true.

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer

  20. sw85 says:

    Thomas says you should baptize even the children of unbelievers (provided the parents consent).

    Oh, well then, good enough for me!

  21. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    Fortunately, church officials decided that the paperwork requirements weren’t as rigid as the interim priest thought.

    On the other hand, if one is going to appeal to Church Fathers to support one’s position, (i.e. that even children of unbeliever should be baptized) one can’t simply pick and choose which points they make that one likes, and to reject out of hand those one doesn’t like (for example, that a sexual relationship between two women or two men is morally out-of-bounds, and cannot in any way be recognized or sanctioned by any Christian Church body.)

    I realize that this sounds “rigid” to one who is accustomed to picking and choosing according to one’s appetite du jour, but Thomas himself would disagree, calling it instead “possessing moral and intellectual integrity.”

  22. acardnal says:

    The danger here is failing to bring the grace of baptism to fruition. For this reason and as it pertains to Catholics, the Code of Canon Law explains the requirement “that there be the well-founded hope that the child will be brought up in the Catholic religion. If such hope is truly lacking, the baptism is, in accordance with the provisions of particular law, to be deferred” (Canon 868).

    The only exception to this law would be if the child is in danger of death. Canon law states, “An infant of Catholic parents, indeed even of non-Catholic parents, is lawfully baptized in danger of death, even if the parents are opposed to it.”

    When a child has reached the age of 14, he/she can make their own decision on whether or not to be baptized regardless of their parents’ wishes. (c.f. Canons 863; 111.2)

    Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/the-drama-of-the-catholic-grandparent#ixzz2eWfkvn00

  23. amenamen says:

    1. Marion Ancilla Mariae: I think you are correct about who “refused” to schedule the Baptism. The mother/progenetrix and her consort are the ones that objected to the Baptism, because the Baptismal certificate had no space for multiple mothers (The idea that the name of the father, a real person, with a permanent biological relationship to his child, should also be recorded, never seems to occur to them. Fatherhood seems to be an inconvenient and annoying connection with reality).

    2. The original article says that the Sapphic consort identifies herself as a “Catholic”. I wonder what that means to her. Does it mean that she attends Mass? goes to confession? believes all of the teachings of the Catholic Church? promises to do all in her power to have (her?) children baptized and brought up in the Catholic faith? was the Anglican Baptism their first choice?

  24. Supertradmum says:

    acardnal, I know of several children who were baptized earlier than 14 at their own request. In one case, the boy was 12 and his parents who are not Christian did not care. Another was a child younger than 12 and his parents were totally against him becoming a Christian. He finally ran away from home and was taken in by Catholics. He was beaten by his dad for becoming a Catholic.

    As to the other question, baptism is not magic, but a sacrament which gives grace and duties. If the child is merely going to be raised non-Christian, not only is this gross hypocrisy but laying a burden on the child which most likely will not be met.

    I think there is a misunderstanding as to the duties of the parents to raise their child Christian. If there is no seriousness about this, what is the point, except to save a baby from the possibility of the denial of the Beatific Vision which is not a small thing. But what of the duties of baptism? It seems to me that priests have a duty to instruct parents and if they refuse instruction, refuse the baptism, which is not being done in seriousness of intent.

    That Thomas Aquinas believed that the child would not regress into heresy or a life of sin does not bear out in experience in this day and age. The Great Doctor was assuming that the culture was Catholic and that others would influence the child. This is not the case now. We are all living in a post-Christian, pagan society. He was addressing a increasingly Catholic culture. How many teens and young adults do I know who have been baptized and then not raised Catholic, who are, frankly, living godless, evil lives? Many, many, many. Are they not more responsible for having received grace and then rejected it?

    Does not the formation of the child, the cooperation with grace mean anything anymore in sacramental theology? Again, I know huge abuses concerning this; for example, a grandmother who had the children of her atheist daughter and husband baptized in the Anglican Church because her Catholic priest refused. It was not her responsibility but the parents. The Anglicans will baptize and marry anyone because they have to by law. Remember, it is a National Church run by Parliament. I know of an unbaptized woman who was married to an atheist in the Anglican Church two years ago. Hey, this happens all the time. The wymnpriest did not ask for Ms.P’s baptismal certificate. The unbaptized person and her husband do not go to church and are not raising children Christian. But, they cannot be refused.

    I know a priest who baptizes and give First Holy Communion to gypsies, knowing those kids will not be going to Mass or practicing the orthodox faith-in fact, quite the opposite.. What is the point? Grace needs to be nurtured or it dies in mortal sin. Too many Catholics think that grace is like pixie dust, when it is the Life of God given to a soul but only there until serious sins destroy it. Maybe if priests held back on the baptisms, the parents would convert for the sake of the children.

    Here is the CCC on this point.
    “1231 Where infant Baptism has become the form in which this sacrament is usually celebrated, it has become a single act encapsulating the preparatory stages of Christian initiation in a very abridged way. By its very nature infant Baptism requires a post-baptismal catechumenate. Not only is there a need for instruction after Baptism, but also for the necessary flowering of baptismal grace in personal growth. The catechism has its proper place here.”

    Is it honorable and right to pass out the sacraments like candy to those who do not intend to live the life of grace? Are we not encouraging sin in such a couple as the lesbians by pretending they are Christians? All of this weakens the Church.

  25. acardnal says:

    The children of unbelievers either have the use of reason or they have not. If they have, then they already begin to control their own actions, in things that are of Divine or natural law. And therefore of their own accord, and against the will of their parents, they can receive Baptism, just as they can contract marriage. Consequently such can lawfully be advised and persuaded to be baptized.

    If, however, they have not yet the use of free-will, according to the natural law they are under the care of their parents as long as they cannot look after themselves. For which reason we say that even the children of the ancients “were saved through the faith of their parents.” Wherefore it would be contrary to natural justice if such children were baptized against their parents’ will; just as it would be if one having the use of reason were baptized against his will. Moreover under the circumstances it would be dangerous to baptize the children of unbelievers; for they would be liable to lapse into unbelief, by reason of their natural affection for their parents. Therefore it is not the custom of the Church to baptize the children of unbelievers against their parents’ will.

    — Summa Theologiae, III, q. 68, art. 10, corpus.

  26. acardnal says:

    In my view, the operative element in this situation is Canon 868 as I quoted above:

    “that there be the well-founded hope that the child will be brought up in the Catholic religion. If such hope is truly lacking, the baptism is, in accordance with the provisions of particular law, to be deferred”.

    I agree with the Anglican Vicar. Defer Baptism to a later date.

  27. Vecchio di Londra says:

    The Anglican minister was making the perfectly valid objection in law that 1) the two women (the ‘parents’) had not registered the child’s birth, and he could not therefore tell if the child was legally theirs. Also 2) that the C of E baptismal certificate does not allow two parents to be registered as ‘mother’ and ‘mother’. (It does not, so he was right there.)
    PS We have no right or cause to crow over the Church of England for their inability – no worse than ours – to ‘cope’ with the mind-boggling mores of today’s government-imposed society. Many ACTA associates would have cheerfully baptised the child, blessed the union of the ‘parents’, smiled and smiled and told them they were ‘doing Christ’s will.’
    ” Victoria is a Catholic.” Yeah, right, as the sceptical saying is round here.
    Poor little mite, is my own reaction. As supertradmum says (or rather seems to imply) what earthly or heavenly use is baptism, if the child is brought up as a pagan.

  28. Imrahil says:

    Dear @Supertradmum,

    thanks for your elaborate comment. (Yes, I mean that, even if the following of the comment might sound differently.)

    Though as for the facts, I think what we know most of the time is only that a person is objectively a heretic and that she lives objectively sinful lives. This is not incompatible with grace per se. It is if the things become subjective too, if grace is outrightly and consciously rejected, that the problem comes. Of course, you might be arguing from “on the large scale it would be impossible to deny”, common impression and the sort of thing; yet I’m saying that sometimes things are not as easy as they look. I’m not saying that this is entirely beyond argumentation (though it is entirely beyond any exceptionless safety of knowledge), but the argumentation would be, I guess, quite difficult.

    The other thing is that I’m not neutral on the topic. That I’m now a practicing Catholic, I owe, apart from the ever-existing possibility of a miracle, to the traditional custom of baptizing one’s children (it being the decent thing to do, etc.), the traditional custom of First Communion, in addition to some other thing [does not belong here, I’m not telling the story of my life, but don’t think of anything extraordinary].

  29. Imrahil says:

    Dear @Supertradmum,

    thanks for your very informative series.

    I still disagree on what appears to me somewhat as an equalization of the subjective with the objective. Although I am not saying that the objective side does not matter.

  30. Supertradmum says:

    Imrahil, You cannot be a saint without thinking objectively-many, many classical spiritual writers have written this; Suarez, Garrigou-Lagrange, John of the Cross, Aumann, a Kempis, and more, etc. This idea does not originate with me, although I learned it from experience as well as good direction.

  31. Imrahil says:

    Maybe, but it is objective thinking that there is an objective difference between objective and subjective.

  32. Supertradmum says:

    Imrahil, if you want to think outside the thousands of years of philosophy and metaphysics of the Greeks, Romans, Catholics, that is fine, but then we shall not have a discussion unless you want to deal with the deconstructionists, post-deconstructionists and post-moderns, as well as post-post moderns.. You can look at my other posts on post-post modernism nonsense on subjective thinking. Basta cosi.

  33. Imrahil says:

    Dear @Supertradmum,

    thanks for your answer. Indeed I did not want to engage you in a discussion… I have my opinion and do not think I could convince you.

    If it must be said, I do not want to lose my opinion. I am not condemning the whole lot of today’s non-Christians and a two-digit percentage beginning in 9 of today’s Christians to Hell (not even Purgatory!) if there is a theoretical possibility not to.

    Nevertheless I have no problem in opposing sins – because there are sins! -, and merely-objective-sins because there is generally a reason that they are forbidden under sin. God made His decrees for our best.

    The good thing is that we are both Catholics: Give me a dogma and I’ll subscribe to it.

    [I’m not again saying that discussion in the un-dogmatized realm is necessarily futile, only… there’s some things one is doing and there’s some things one is not doing.]

  34. Imrahil says:

    A final word of my side (I’m not forbidding you to answer of course):

    When I said “subjective sin”, I may have used a suspicious terminology; forgive me. Yet I never meant anything else than what is (around here) part of the most traditional catechisms: a mortal sin is one committed with full knowledge and full consent in an important matter. If the least bit is lacking to any of these, the sin is venial.

    We do not disagree on the important matter; and as a matter of fact I do think with you that an objective grave sin which is, subjectively, no sin (not even venial) is a very rare thing.

  35. jeffreyquick says:

    King Solomon would not have been an Anglican, but if he were:
    “We’re both the mother.”
    “In whose uterus did this child reside?”
    “Er, mine.”
    “Alrighty then” (writes name as “mother”,”unknown” as father)

    Really, can’t we just deal with objective biology?