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Nancy wrote:

Hi, guys —

I am trying to figure out how to handle this situation.

I am a cradle Catholic who married the son of an Episcopal priest. My husband's mother is an Episcopal priest. She is a bit of a militant feminist and a control freak and my husband has mother issues. I knew the mother issues existed when I married him, and more often than not, they are amusing . . . except this one.

We were married in an Episcopal church. We did the Pre-Cana classes through the diocese, and I signed the Disparity of Cult form so our marriage is recognized as valid.

We adopted our daughter from China. She is lovely but to avoid the Baptism issue, meaning to avoid my mother-in-law wanting to baptize her in the Episcopal church, we baptized her in the hotel room the night we got her. We froze holy water so it would pass through the airport scanners as a solid rather than a liquid.

My husband has not been through RCIA but he attends Mass with me. He also receives Holy Communion. He knows its against the rules but:

  • says he believes in transubstantiation and the Real Presence, and
  • says its on his conscience, not mine

so I leave well enough alone.

I was relieved when he did not protest when I pushed to enroll our daughter in a progressive, ecumenical, Roman Catholic school. She is doing great, she loves it, everybody is happy but my mother-in-law. They are doing sacrament preparation and I've been getting calls from the school secretary, saying they need her Baptismal certificate.

When I enrolled her in the school, on the form, I just wrote China where it asked about her Baptism.

  • What should I do?

I know her Baptism is valid but I don't have documentation. I hate the idea of explaining this at school. My husband thinks the secretary is dumb (she kind of is) and says he's going to make a fake Baptismal certificate written in Chinese and hand that in to shut her up. I think there is something seriously wrong with that idea . . . telling the truth is less complicated than trying to explain forging a Baptismal certificate in Confession.

  • What are the rules for Baptisms performed in a hotel room in a Communist country where we were told we would be arrested if we tried to enter the Catholic cathedral in Guangzhou, because we needed a permit from the government to enter?

We did want to baptize her in Guangzhou, but got nowhere with the cathedral and nobody would answer our e-mails. Any assistance you can give about how to deal with this situation would be most welcome.

I am trying to avoid outing my husband as a non-Catholic because that will get him on a rant about:

  • how Henry VIII saw some of the most corrupt Popes in the history of the Church, and
  • how Europe was breaking away from the Catholic Church in droves, and
  • about how, yes, the divorce was convenient, but the Catholic Church was corrupt and greedy and deserved the Reformation.

As this is what he was taught growing up, and like I said, getting him to be happy in this Catholic parish leaves me not wanting to rock the boat.

Thanks,

Nancy

  { What are the rules for Baptisms performed in a hotel room in a Communist country? }

Bob replied:

Dear Nancy,

What a tale to tell. I'm glad you have a sense of humor. You need one to survive your family.

I would say that in the absence of authentic documentation, the Church usually performs a conditional Baptism and therefore will generate a new certificate. I suggest that you contact your parish priest to have this performed, but you may want to get your husband to agree to a silence pact so your mother-in-law does not find out.

In any case, make sure you and your husband are on the same page before proceeding, you don't want to do anything that will seriously disrupt the harmony in your marriage.

Peace,

Bob Kirby

Mike and Fr. Jonathan replied:

Hi Nancy,

I discussed your situation in a few e-mails with Fr. Jonathan and came away with this:

As far as the Baptism.

  1. You could speak to your priest where you are now
  2. swear an affidavit on the Baptism, and
  3. have that priest provide the rest of the rite such as the anointings.

Then the priest could add her (your daughter) to the Registry and she could have her Baptismal certificate.

You said:
I am a cradle Catholic.
.
.
We were married in an Episcopal church. We did the Pre-Cana classes through the diocese, and I signed the Disparity of Cult form so our marriage is recognized as valid.


Unless something was missing from your original question, your marriage would need be explored by your priest, as a baptized Catholic has to marry in the Church. We assume that you are validly baptized by your careful preparations.

If we misunderstood anything, we would welcome your feedback.

Mike and Fr. Jonathan

Mike followed-up later:

Hi, Nancy —

I just wanted to follow-up on a few issues you raised in your original question.

You said:
My husband has not been through RCIA but he attends Mass with me. He also receives Holy Communion. He knows its against the rules but:

  • says he believes in transubstantiation and the Real Presence, and
  • says its on his conscience, not mine

If you husband believes in transubstantiation and the Real Presence, He is being called to full communion with the Church. It's important for him to understand why it's against the rules.

When a Catholic receives Holy Communion it is a public statement that they are in a Common Union with the Church and Her Teachings in word and deed. This obviously doesn't stop dissenting Catholics from receiving the Eucharist but when they do, they are saying they are in a Common Union with the Church and Her Teachings, when they are not.

You said:
I am trying to avoid outing my husband as a non-Catholic because that will get him on a rant about:

  • how Henry VIII saw some of the most corrupt Popes in the history of the Church, and
  • how Europe was breaking away from the Catholic Church in droves, and
  • about how, yes, the divorce was convenient, but the Catholic Church was corrupt and greedy and deserved the Reformation.

As this is what he was taught growing up . . .

The Church has always had a majority of sinners as members down through the generations and when Martin Luther broke from Rome the Church did need a reformation but instead got a revolution.

The true Church reformation took place a little later at the Council of Trent.

Ask your husband, since when can you justify breaking one of Jesus's Teaching due to bad behavior among the clergy?

What he is bringing out is a proof the Church's Divine nature. It is despite the sinful nature of Her members that the Church, after over 1,980 years in existence, still holds on to the same teachings She did back in 33 A.D. Any organization that ran its finances the way the Church has would have been out of business a long time ago, so something is keeping this Church together.

Catholic Christians believe it is Jesus Christ: True God and True Man, One Substance with the Father : )

The Church is only safeguarding Jesus' Teaching on Marriage being between one man and one woman for life. Apparently, this wasn't good enough for Henry VII.

Hope this helps,

Mike

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