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THE RADICAL LEFT OF MICROMEGA RESISTS THE “VIOLENCE” OF BAPTISM. THAT IS TO SAY: THE RIDICULOUS PARADOX OF GOD-OBBSESSED ATHEISTS
Circles of anti-clerical atheists could run the serious risk of being asked a much more dramatic and realistic question: if a father and a mother who bring a newborn to be baptized would commit violence to them by means of baptism, those fathers and mothers who decide instead to prevent their children from coming into the world through the practice of abortion, what kind of violence they commit, on the children?
- Church news -
Ivano Liguori, Ofm. Capp..
“Why Baptism for Minors Should Be Banned” is an article appeared on Micromega signed by Alessandro Giacomoni, in which the editorialist claims that the Catholic Church subtly forces them to baptize their children to avoid being discriminated against in the context of their own social community [see article: WHO]. According to this thought, parents would therefore be blackmailed into taking their children to the baptismal font, under penalty of being seen as "rare animals" to be avoided, to sympathize and therefore to discriminate.
These statements of the reporter they only denote a visible ignorance enriched by clichés about the sacramental and pastoral realities of the Church. Moreover, Nowadays, among the majority of those who define themselves as "non-practicing Christians" this problem is not contemplated in the slightest, least of all do they face the problem of being reprimanded by their own priest. As the parish priests know well, it is easier for the opposite to happen and for a "non-practicing Christian" to blame the priest and say what is right to do, sometimes even bordering on personal offense or aggressive verbal attitude.
We wonder: it will not be, perhaps, that this Micromega columnist is referring to the usual familiar faces of anti-clericalism? The list is soon done: let's start with the small Italian circles of the UAAR association (Union of Rationalist Atheists and Agnostics), to then move on to some nostalgic for Communism and the most vulgar Socialism, ending with those mythological figures of the activists who set up a gazebo in Piazza del Popolo at the weekend, deeming it possible to democratically decree the end of the Catholic Church and of the Christian message through a collection of signatures.
If this is the level of dispute, then we really are at the tragicomic farce. So that, just to lighten things up a bit, one could paraphrase that expression of the nice Obelix ― the friend of Asterix ― who reinvented the acrostic S.P.Q.R. from the well-known meaning «the senate and the Roman people» translating it into «sThese Romans are crazy". Just so: "these atheists are crazy" who talk about God and the things of God more than the priests themselves talk about it. Their "secularist dogmatisms" are hilarious but smell of mothballs like grandmother Abelarda's old lace, to quote another mythical figure from classic comics. Robust nurses are therefore urgently needed to accompany the compulsive obsessions of atheism which claims to refute an entity, the divine one, that it shouldn't exist and therefore shouldn't even create any problems for sane people: "these atheists are crazy".
But let's go ahead, the good columnist begins by sifting through the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Code of Canon Law with the same attention and awareness with which one leafs through the newspapers on the barber's table and then extrapolates some definitions by operating a mash-up of secular exegesis which concludes with this rare pearl of "wisdom":
«It follows that even to this day, every prelate can easily afford disparaging utterances against the baptized».
The question arises spontaneously: but what sci-fi film has the good columnist seen? How many churches did he enter, how many Masses or homilies he attended, how many baptisms has she seen to be able to say these things with such certainty? We are not given to know, but let us assume none of these things, what we know, however, is that in front of a certain snooty moral superiority it is not possible to do anything, except to recognize that in some individuals critical thinking is clinically dead.
The apex of the article, how not to expect it, comes to ask for the abolition of baptism and the inclusion of secular baptism as the confessional one would violate the "convention on the rights of children, ratified by Italy in 1991", and again «every decision, legislative action, legal provision, public or private initiative must safeguard the best interests of the child» which obviously for ours, baptism does not do. So baptism for a child would be an occasion for harm? Of what entity? What aggravating injuries are to be prevented? It would be interesting and we would have an easy game in inviting the journalist to do the same with other religious faiths, for example the Abrahamic ones, which provide for the practice of circumcision as a sign in the flesh, which is decidedly more invasive than the gesture of pouring a little warm water on the head of a newborn, you don't think so? And if by chance, once he becomes an adult, the young Jew or young Muslim wanted the foreskin back, what do you plan to tell him, the wise columnist of Micromega so shocked by a little warm water poured on a baby's head? Because a few drops of warm water leave no visible mark, while the removal of a foreskin from the male genital organ leaves an indelible mark for life. It is not by chance, the Jews, they define circumcision with a beautiful expression full of spiritual meanings: Circumcision (Brit please), which literally means “covenant covenant”. But we already know that at certain addresses it is better not to knock, because you find bread for your teeth and sometimes even more. So better attack Christians, especially Catholics, because they don't say anything and don't defend themselves, to then take the applause and i likes of the dominant modern thought with its own icone pop who dominate on TV, on the web and in parterre of the Sanremo festival.
The theory that has always been the most popular is that the child will have to decide once he becomes an adult, whether to be baptized or not. Theory that would like to be presented as logic, but that in fact it is not, nor are all those statements based on pure and ill-concealed prejudice. Soon said: by applying this pseudo-logic, parents should not take any initiative aimed at growth, to the training and even to the physical care of the child, that once he becomes an adult he may deem it appropriate to be completely different, compared to what his parents have chosen for him. This is true for everything, from the choice of school to orthodontics through which the dentist applies a special appliance to correct crooked teeth, or to widen a narrow tooth opening. What if, once he becomes an adult, the son says he would rather go to another school, or have crooked teeth and a narrow dental arch, rather than wearing braces for several years? How can, a parent, choose and decide to have a child undergo orthopedic surgery to correct flatfoot, or have him wear a growth-phase brace for a few years to correct a form of scoliosis? How dare they, the parents, choose for him what they see fit, better and healthier? Maybe it's not violence? What if his son preferred flat feet and scoliosis when he came of age, instead of being operated on by an orthopedist or instead of wearing a brace for years? Because, these atheists-agnostics-rationalists do not try to leave their children free to choose what they instinctively deem appropriate to do? It would be very interesting to see what a child of a few years who has not yet acquired a sense of danger would choose to do.
I wish to remind our Readers that objections to infant baptism are not a recent discovery, but this problem had already been posed in the first centuries of Christianity and the arguments of the opponents were not very different from those of today. Seems useful to me, so, to remind and enlighten the faithful on the subject by making the Fathers of the Church speak who wrote wonderful pages on baptism, both to defend it from opposition and to enlighten minds with that thought of the Apostolic Church which has always believed and lived baptism as conformation to Christ and the beginning of a serious journey of conversion to the Gospel and renunciation of sin. In this regard, the holy bishop Augustine of Hippo responds in his Letter to Bonifacio [See. Letter 98 of Sant'Agostino in Bonifacio 7-10,11]:
“Because of your usual intense aversion to the slightest lie, in your last question it seemed to you that you had proposed a very difficult question. "If ― you say ― I presented you with a child and asked you if, gives adult, he will be chaste and will not be a thief, no doubt you would answer me: “I do not know”. Likewise if I asked you if the child was still at the same tender age, think something good or bad, you would say: “I do not know”. If, therefore, you dare not guarantee anything certain as to his future conduct and present thinking, why not when they are presented at baptism, the parents, on the other hand, answer to them as guarantors and affirm that they do what that age cannot think or, if he can, remains unknown to us? In reality, to the godparents who offer us a child to be baptized, we ask if he believes in God and in the name of the little one, who doesn't even know if God exists, they answer: “Believe”. All the other individual questions addressed to them are answered with the same certainty. I am therefore amazed that parents respond in place of children with absolute certainty since these are such serious and demanding things, affirming that the child performs such important actions on which the questions asked by the minister of baptism at the moment that he is baptized concern; while at the same time if I asked them this other question: “This baby, who is now being baptized, he will be chaste or he will not rather be a thief?”, I don't know if anyone would dare to say: “It will or it won't be”, as without a shadow of a doubt I am told that he believes in God”. Eventually, conclude your reasoning by saying: ” Use the courtesy to briefly answer these questions of mine, not attaching the rule of custom but citing the reason and explanation".
In this answer one can perfectly see the role that the Bishop of Hippo attributes to the faith of parents and godparents who freely and voluntarily accompany their children to baptism. The baptized child is made faithful not by an act similar to that of faithful adults, but from the Sacrament of the same faith which is transmitted as a good thing by those who have already experienced Christ and wish to transmit it. In the same way, for St. Augustine, both parents and godparents respond to their children's baptism by affirming their beliefs, free and non-coercive will, in times where calling oneself a Christian was much more uncomfortable and dangerous than today. We understand that the baptized child is called faithful - in the sense of united with Christ - not simply by giving the personal assent of his intelligence, but with receiving the Sacrament of the same faith that was transmitted in one's family. When then the child, crescendo, will begin to understand, he will no longer need a new baptism, but he will understand the Sacrament received and will comply, with the consent of his will, from the spiritual reality represented by baptism.
After this description so clear, we can understand that all things considered good are transmitted from parents to children and that often the passions of the fathers become those of the children, but no one would ever dream of saying that the child is the victim of violence.
In the Rite of Baptism the priest asks: "What do you ask of the Church of God?» is a simple question that defines a very free will to proceed on a journey of faith through baptism. But this is not enough, the priest informs the parents of the baptized of the responsibility for this request: «asking for Baptism for your child, you are committed to educating him in the faith, Why, in keeping the commandments, learn to love God and neighbor, as Christ taught us. You are aware of this responsibility?». If this awareness exists, well, otherwise wait, there is no hurry in the things of God, it is useless to baptize your child for other reasons than because you want him to live the same life as Christ. Baptism is the beginning of every discipleship and that evangelical change (Metanoia) ― involving the whole family, Home church, to constitute the fulcrum of the first announcement of the faith.
St. Fulgentius of Ruspe in Rule of true faith [See. 30,14] he claims:
«[…] no man can receive eternal salvation, if he has not converted down here from his sins with penance and faith, and that through the sacrament of faith and penance, that is, by means of baptism, he didn't get rid of it"
The “Institutional Church”, let's call it that for the less skilled in these matters, subsequently takes over this awareness and accompanies the family's journey of faith, strengthening it and directing it to the fullest with the grace that comes from the Holy Spirit. But the same is not the case with learning? When the six-year-old enters first grade, he doesn't already know many things and is able to speak. Where did he get this information from if not the house? Attending school and following the learning path is just the continuation of what the family has already done, structuring it in a robust way and opening to the pleasure and desire for knowledge the young minds that tomorrow will be able to govern themselves in the world as mature people.
Finally, we cordially invite the journalists of Micromega to exempt himself for the future from these embarrassing utterances that would have made men of great talent and intellect of the caliber of Enrico Berlinguer and Marco Pannella pale, or which would lead an authentic liberal like Daniele Capezzone to hastily call them ignorant without any hesitation. Indeed, let it be clear: the exponents of the old Italian Communist Party, or the Radicals who grew up in the political school of that brilliant mind of Marco Pannella - of whom we share little or perhaps nothing, but which we recognize however as having undoubted political qualities ―, with certain vulgar subjects they have nothing in common both on the level of ideality and on that of the exposition of the criticisms formulated against the Catholic Church.
The proposal of lay baptism? It is certainly the best gimmick of atheist "dogmatism"., after the one that led them to propose the figure of ... "lay hospital chaplain". All done to pursue the desperate desire to become the new priests of secularism with all that liberal-clerical baggage that derives from it. The Roman poet Giuseppe Gioachino Belli, who in terms of criticism of the Church was second to none, taking up the acrostic S.P.Q.R. translated it into "Solo Priests Qua Regnano". Yup, you pursue this dream to be the new reigning lay clergy of worldliness, but remember one thing, if after two thousand years the Church is still present and baptizes by command of Christ it is because there is that something more - we ask the atheists, maybe it's God? ― who supports and defends it. Perhaps a little more attention would be better on your part, at least a little more caution. Also because anti-clerical atheist circles could run the serious risk of being asked a much more dramatic and realistic question: if a father and a mother who bring a newborn to be baptized would commit violence to them by means of baptism, those fathers and mothers who decide instead to prevent their children from coming into the world through the practice of abortion, what kind of violence they commit, on the children?
Laconi, 6 February 2023
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