Baptism catechetics during Mass

We had a couple infants baptized today, and our parish priest really grilled the parents (and Assembly). During the triple renunciation of Satan, our priest decided to give us a teaching moment.

"Who is Satan?

What is evil?

What did Jesus mean when he told Peter, ‘get behind me Satan?’"

The bottom line answer was “anything that turns us away from God,” but Father also brought up “doubt” to tie into today’s Gospel and his homily. As the declaration of faith continued he also paused in regards to belief in the Catholic Church. “Do we need to go through what that means? I hope not because we will be here a long time. If you are Catholic, you believe in what the Church teaches…you don’t choose and pick.”

This may bother some liturgical purists, but I thought it was great! :thumbsup:

It does bother me, quite a bit. The Church specifies certain rites for the sacraments. Even if good intentioned, when a priest varies from those, he opens the door to error and confusion. How would you feel if a priest whose theology you didn’t agree with did the same thing?


He did not omit or change any of the Baptismal Rite, so I’m not sure what you mean.

That part about choosing and picking applies to the Church’s liturgy as well. We don’t get to make-up our own rite of baptism either.

There might be a time and place for this. Perhaps in the homily, or perhaps in the introduction to the rite of baptism. But again, part of being Catholic is that we don’t get to compose our own liturgical rites.

The message, I think was great. But the delivery of that message also sends its own message, and the two seem to be in conflict.

Hi Rlg----
I see nothing wrong with the clarification of parts of the rite or the questions asked as long as the rite is not changed. The rite of Baptism should be a challenge to those who have come to witness, so that they too will recognise their responsibilities in the guarding of the childs faith. It sounds like your priest is on the ball as far as most of our faith journeys are concerned. Cheers May God bless thanks for the question it makes one think.

there is room for homily and other commentary and exposition in most of the sacraments. The priest is bound to say and do all that is prescribed, but especially in baptism there is specific provision for explaining not only what is going on but its meaning. I was not there and I did not see and hear when and how the priest made is comments, but nothing OP says gives any grounds for accusing him of not following the rite.

Again, he didn’t “compose” his own liturgical rite. He followed the Rite of Baptism to the letter. He just added some clarifying comments/questions.

My wife didn’t like the interjections, but not because of the timing or the substance. Because Father did not tell the parents/godparents about the questions in advance, it was a little awkward. She said she would have been upset about being put on-the-spot. I think it is a fair observation on her part. In fact, our youth minister told me that he experienced the same thing when his son was baptized. Since Father is also his boss, he didn’t know how to respond (i.e. what he was looking for…e.g. “who is Satan” - “A spiritual being who was an angel but fell from grace…” :slight_smile: )

I might bring it up with Father next time I meet with him. I’m sure he didn’t mean to embarrass. Rather, he just wanted to instruct both the parents and the rest of the Assembly.

You mention that this Baptism took place in Mass. Most (if not all) of the Baptisms taking place during Mass that I’ve been to take place around the time of the Creed. Thus, the Priest should have followed the example of the Fathers of the Church and done his mystagogic catechesis during the homily.

Intention of the Priest to illumine the Mysteries taking place – very good.
Implementation of the Priest to do this during the Rite of Baptism – not so good.

I’m going to have to agree that the message was good but the timing was bad.

One would hope that the parents have been asked these questions during their baptismal preparation and would know the answers ahead of time.

I’m also not doubting that no parts of the rite were omitted. But adding stuff (at the wrong places) is dangerous. That is also changing the liturgy. Your priest may be on the ball. Other priests may choose to add things that are not so liturgically correct.

Or additions may change the flow of Mass. What if between the consecration of the bread and wine, the priest decided to read John 6? Nothing will be taught in error. But it’s just not the right place for it. We follow the GIRM for a reason. Because Holy Mother Church wants Mass to be conducted that way.

I’m going to have to agree that the teaching should have taken place during the homily. Which, by definition, is what the homily is for.

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