Author Topic: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism  (Read 10588 times)

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camlan

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Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
« Reply #30 on: January 18, 2013, 08:31:34 AM »
I think Prudie got the theology right. For Episcopalians and Catholics, once you are baptized, that's it. You aren't baptized into the specific religion, you are baptized to become a Christian. Converts to Catholicism who have been baptized in any Christian faith cannot be baptized again. Instead, they are confirmed into the Catholic Church. This is somewhat different from the way some other faiths view baptism.

But I'd see the grandmother's behavior as a huge, huge red flag that she won't respect other parental boundaries and I would deal cautiously with her, until she can prove that she will respect the parents' wishes about how they want their children to be brought up. And if she can't prove that, she'd never be left alone with the kids--not because of the threat of baptism, but because of what other boundaries she might cross.

As for emergency baptisms--in WWI, my grandfather performed a battlefield baptism. He and his buddy had been shot and were lying in the mud, waiting for rescue. His buddy was very badly injured. They had had many talks about Grandpa's Catholic faith. So Grandpa knew that his buddy had an interest in becoming Catholic. Grandpa asked him if he would want to be baptized and his buddy said yes. Grandpa used the last of the water in his canteen to baptize him. He died shortly afterwards.

That's an emergency baptism. When my nephew was born and the doctors thought he wouldn't survive more than 24 hours, one of the nurses in the delivery room, a friend of my SIL's who attended their church, baptized him right away. Then they were able to get a priest to come and baptize him a few hours later. Fortunately, Nephew defied the doctors' and survived. But again, that's an emergency baptism. Holding an already baptized baby under a faucet does nothing but get the baby wet.
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Piratelvr1121

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Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
« Reply #31 on: January 18, 2013, 08:44:06 AM »
I think Prudie got the theology right. For Episcopalians and Catholics, once you are baptized, that's it. You aren't baptized into the specific religion, you are baptized to become a Christian. Converts to Catholicism who have been baptized in any Christian faith cannot be baptized again. Instead, they are confirmed into the Catholic Church. This is somewhat different from the way some other faiths view baptism.

But I'd see the grandmother's behavior as a huge, huge red flag that she won't respect other parental boundaries and I would deal cautiously with her, until she can prove that she will respect the parents' wishes about how they want their children to be brought up. And if she can't prove that, she'd never be left alone with the kids--not because of the threat of baptism, but because of what other boundaries she might cross.

As for emergency baptisms--in WWI, my grandfather performed a battlefield baptism. He and his buddy had been shot and were lying in the mud, waiting for rescue. His buddy was very badly injured. They had had many talks about Grandpa's Catholic faith. So Grandpa knew that his buddy had an interest in becoming Catholic. Grandpa asked him if he would want to be baptized and his buddy said yes. Grandpa used the last of the water in his canteen to baptize him. He died shortly afterwards.

That's an emergency baptism. When my nephew was born and the doctors thought he wouldn't survive more than 24 hours, one of the nurses in the delivery room, a friend of my SIL's who attended their church, baptized him right away. Then they were able to get a priest to come and baptize him a few hours later. Fortunately, Nephew defied the doctors' and survived. But again, that's an emergency baptism. Holding an already baptized baby under a faucet does nothing but get the baby wet.

I agree. It even says in the creed "We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins" so if you're baptized once, you're good to go as far as the Episcopal church goes.  The Catholic church wanted my older two to convert (they were baptized Methodist) to receive eucharist but that didn't happen since we went over the Episcopal church.

So if it's a matter of grandma not liking that her children baptized the child in a denomination other than hers, most churches will just wave it off so I agree the true issue is the total bulldozing of boundaries!
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars.  You have a right to be here. Be cheerful, strive to be happy. -Desiderata

joraemi

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Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
« Reply #32 on: January 18, 2013, 09:31:45 AM »
 >:DEvil Jo started wondering if it could be considered a life or death situation because she probably nearly drowned the kid with his/her head under the tap. >:D




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Redneck Gravy

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Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
« Reply #33 on: January 18, 2013, 10:44:12 AM »
This is actually the joke in my family. I am Jewish. Raised Jewish. My father converted from Catholicism to Judaism before my parents got married. My mother always said that my aunt (his sister) secretly baptized me while she was baby-sitting. I don't know if it made my mom mad or not, but she always said at least all the bases were covered, so at least she had a sense of humor about this.

Should someone baptize another person's child? No, of course not. It's rude. But, if it's the only "out there" thing that the person pulls and the person doesn't put down the chosen religion or talk about how one religion is "better" than the other (whatever the religion -- not stating a preference here), probably not worth a cut off.

Pod.  so she's a nut about baptism if that is her only flaw I would let it go.

Didn't Archie Bunker do this on All in the Family  30 plus years ago? 

VorFemme

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Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
« Reply #34 on: January 18, 2013, 10:59:12 AM »
This "Prudie" isn't nearly as good as a couple of the previous ones...sadly, people don't always realize that there is a new employee taking over the desk from a previous employee who was just better at the job.
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Virg

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Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
« Reply #35 on: January 18, 2013, 10:59:50 AM »
Redneck Gravy wrote:

"Pod.  so she's a nut about baptism if that is her only flaw I would let it go."

Her "only flaw" is being untrustworthy.  She continues covering up her misdeed to this day, which shows that she feels no remorse about trampling the boundary and no compunction about being deceitful to protect her own interests.  That's what makes me say not to trust her with any other boundary.

Virg

Venus193

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Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
« Reply #36 on: January 18, 2013, 11:13:11 AM »
Quote
Didn't Archie Bunker do this on All in the Family  30 plus years ago?

Yes.  He dipped his fingers into the holy water just outside the chapel.

Daffydilly

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Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
« Reply #37 on: January 18, 2013, 11:37:17 AM »
My main concern is grandma deliberately asked other family members to hide what she did from the parents. It would make me wonder what else is she capable of doing? It means the family is willing to lie to the childs parents. And that they will enable any unhealthy behaviors of grandmas.

Piratelvr1121

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Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
« Reply #38 on: January 18, 2013, 11:49:29 AM »
Honestly? Being an Episcopalian myself as the LW's family was, I'm just kind of shocked at her mentality because at least the church I attend is very open minded, not only towards other Christian denominations, but towards other religions as well.   And I'm a recent convert and I know that sort of thing is not approved by the church, and from the impression I get the LW's mother is a long time Episcopalian.

I'm rather disappointed that her other children didn't stand up to her and correct her pov and make her realize that not only were her actions pointless, but harmful to the relationship with her children and grandchildren, with the threat that they would tell their siblings if she didn't confess and apologize.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars.  You have a right to be here. Be cheerful, strive to be happy. -Desiderata

Winterlight

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Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
« Reply #39 on: January 18, 2013, 12:02:49 PM »
My concern wouldn't actually be that she would batize my kid "the right way".  it would be that she would feed/medicate/whatever my kid "the right way" in secret. I can see other family members taking this as an indicator that she feels grandma's have the authority to overrule parents on major issue.  I do think I might encourage her minister/priest/pastor to talk to her baout the baptism thing but even if they correct her on that I don't see that fixing her perception that she has the right to make decisions to take matters into her own hands if she deems it for the best.

Agreed. I'd have told my brother, as well. I think he should know.
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Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
« Reply #40 on: January 18, 2013, 12:03:43 PM »
I agree with everyone who says that the real issue is that this grandmother is prepared to override a parent's wishes, and then push other people to keep what she has done a secret. In the religious case: the phrase "courage of her convictions" comes to mind. If someone sincerely believes that it's that important that a child be baptized in a specific way, to the extent of doing so against the parents' wishes. she should be prepared to say what she has done and take the consequences in terms of those relationships.

"Don't tell anyone" may seem harmless in the previous case, depending on your religious beliefs or lack thereof (I agree that effects of secret baptism are beyond the scope of this board), but it suggests that the grandmother might decide her medical judgment was enough better that she should give a child medicine and not tell the parents, or withhold a dose of medicine if she was babysitting in an emergency. Or turn out to be the sort of person who "doesn't believe in" allergies, and then the parents are trying to figure out why their kid is sick, because Grandma snuck something that the child is allergic to into a pan of lasagna.
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Redneck Gravy

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Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
« Reply #41 on: January 18, 2013, 12:14:12 PM »
Redneck Gravy wrote:

"Pod.  so she's a nut about baptism if that is her only flaw I would let it go."

Her "only flaw" is being untrustworthy.  She continues covering up her misdeed to this day, which shows that she feels no remorse about trampling the boundary and no compunction about being deceitful to protect her own interests.  That's what makes me say not to trust her with any other boundary.

Virg

Well we can agree to disagree - if this is the ONLY untrustworthy thing she has done I would still let it go.  If she has shown a history of disrespecting boundaries that is a different matter entirely. 

What if she had some recent major upheaval in her life that caused her to panic and baptize the baby - I would take that into consideration also.

As usual these letters don't give us eHellions the opportunity to ask the original poster about the issues involved.   


Eden

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Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
« Reply #42 on: January 18, 2013, 12:19:07 PM »
Agreeing with all of those who say this is not about the baptism but about boundaries.

I know someone in a similar situation where it's not that the act was harmful necessarily, but that it was behind the parents' backs. Their (latest) boundary issue is a grandma who volunteered at her grandkids' school without first checking with/giving a mention to the parents. The kids came home and reported seeing Grandma at school. After taking the school to task for allowing this (you never know what kind of troubled family dynamics there are), the parents called Grandma and told her they were going to cover her volunteer times and she would not be volunteering unless they asked her, not because there's anything wrong with volunteering but because she was sneaky about it. She of course can't understand what is wrong with a grandma wanting to spend time with her grandkids. I don't think they would have been quite as confrontational with Grandma if it was her first violation, but it was the latest in years of overstepping and undermining.

I think baptisms are symbolic so Grandma's baptism doesn't "count" in any real sense in my opinion, but it is still wrong and a violation of trust.

Virg

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Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
« Reply #43 on: January 18, 2013, 12:49:10 PM »
Redneck Gravy wrote:

"Well we can agree to disagree - if this is the ONLY untrustworthy thing she has done I would still let it go.  If she has shown a history of disrespecting boundaries that is a different matter entirely."

You're doubling back on the baptism itself, and that's not my problem with trusting her.  The coverup continues, and so in the place of the LW I'd always have to wonder if it's the only thing she did.  How would you know if it was a one-time thing if she's content to continue hiding from it?  She may have done many things and just covered them up too, so until and unless she 'fessed up and showed some remorse for the deceit I would never be able to trust her not to do it to me.

"What if she had some recent major upheaval in her life that caused her to panic and baptize the baby - I would take that into consideration also."

What major upheaval prevents her from admitting what she did?  What upheaval excuses her continued deceit?  He's got proof positive that she's an unrepentant liar when it suits her and even involved him in carrying it forward, and no way to know that she hasn't done it or won't do it to him just like she did to her other son.  His letter shows that she's damaged his trust badly enough to ask for advice, and without any action on her part to try to restore that trust I'd advise him not to trust her.

Virg

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Re: Dear Prudie and the Emergency Baptism
« Reply #44 on: January 18, 2013, 01:54:16 PM »
Okay, E-Hellions.  This topic is personally a hot-button for me because one of my offspring experienced an "emergency baptism."  This isn't the <hugs> folder and you aren't my therapists, but for what it is worth . . .

First, my vote is that Grandma did exceed boundaries, and ESPECIALLY since the sacrement of Holy Baptism is so important to Grandma that she uses a kitchen faucet to perform one in a non-emergency situation . . . this is important to her, so she doubly disrespects the wishes of the parents.

I'm pretty private on E-Hell and on all electronic formats, but this time I'm going to share.  My bright beautiful 3-day old child was life-flighted to a major hospital an hour away from where she was born.  We were frightened, almost panicky.  Phone calls to our parents and grandparents were immediately made.  I was discharged a day early, and our entire family, including toddler daughter, scurried to the larger hospital to find out what was wrong.  Gathered in a small conference-sized room awaiting a consultation and hopefully a diagnosis, a nurse blithely waltzed into the room where our entire family was assembled, waved a piece of paper, and exclaimed, "I just baptized your daughter!"  Terrified, I screamed, "My baby!  She's dying!"  Nurse, "No, she's not."  Me:  "Why did you baptize our daughter if she isn't dying?"  Nurse:  "Because it says on her chart that you are Christian."  Me:  "If I had wanted our daughter baptized in a hospital by a nurse while we sat in a closed room 8-feet away, we would at the very least want to be PRESENT."

I do believe hospital or battlefield baptisms are at times appropriate, meaningful, and still a sacrament even though offered by a layperson.  It's not because she was "merely" a nurse (please take that comment in the spirit intended.)  It was because I was THERE, my ENTIRE FAMILY was there, but we have absolutely no idea what was done or what was said in that closed room between the woman and a 3-day old child.  Fast forward 13 years, it's time for her to celebrate her Affirmation of Baptism, but we still don't know.  WAS she baptized?  As Piratelvr said, we believe in ONE baptism for the forgiveness of sin, not 67 if that is more convenient.  Yes, this is etiquette but it is also Theology and Faith and a Sacrament.

Happy Ending.  Fast forward to today.  Daugher is fine, in college, and engaged to be married.  Apparently, however, I'm still angry.


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