Naming Ceremony- should Catholics attend?


#1

I would appreciate advice on this question.

My brother (raised as Catholic but now atheist) and his wife (no religious affiliation) will be having a naming ceremony for their new-born baby. I understand a Naming Ceremony is a secular humanist version of baptism - the ceremony will be presided over by a civil celebrant who will formally 'name' the baby and families and friends of the parents will be inducted as 'sponsors' who will pledge to support the upbringing of the child (secular versions of Godparents?).

Is it appropriate for me as a practicing Catholic to attend this ceremony. On the one hand I feel uncomfortable attending this sort of event. On the other hand, I do not want to offend or alienate my brother and sister-in-law - I get on quite well with them.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


#2

I have great sympathy with you dear friend.What a difficult position to be in.
I am sure you have already tried talking to your brother about having the child
baptised as opposed to a naming ceremoiny?
You can make your views known to your brother in a loving friendly way.Tell
him how sorry you are that he appears to have lost his faith.That you are concerned
for the child.How much you are praying for him,his wife and child.
If i was you i would talk to my priest and ask for advice.

I am in a similar position with one of my grandsons.My son is anti religion at
present.I lovingly talk to him and pray always that he will have his child baptised.
He did talk of having a naming ceremony once but thankfully never actually did this.
I know how hard this is when you really love and care for someone going against
Gods teachings.
I hope your priest will be able to inform you and alleviate your concerns with guidance
of how to get them back in the faith.
God bless


#3

I don’t think it’s appropriate to attend something that you will be asked to participate in by making a promise to help raise them in their parents’ atheist philosophy.

No, I wouldn’t attend something like that.


#4

[quote="tbcrawford, post:2, topic:183288"]

I am sure you have already tried talking to your brother about having the child
baptised as opposed to a naming ceremoiny?

[/quote]

The child CAN'T be baptized. The priest has NO real belief the child would be brought up in the Catholic faith, and as such, baptizing the child would be against canon law.

As to the OP, there are quite a few threads in the Ask an Apologist forum that deal specifically with these issues. It may be helpful to check them out.

My personal opinion, I would have a conversation with the parents beforehand and express your reservations and why. And then I would probably attend, but not be part of any rituals or involved in the ceremony.

On a side note, what I do find funny is an atheist going through with "ceremony". If we are all just a random collection of atoms and once we are gone, that is it, why the need for all this pomp and circumstance?? (What it really means is that they deep down still have a spark of belief and don't REALLY believe we are just an accident in the universe.) Keep being a very positive influence in their lives, and maybe with your influence and seeing the soul in their child's eyes, they will awaken to see their ignorance.


#5

I would definitely go. I don’t believe we are put here to cram our beliefs down other people’s throats. I wouldn’t participate in actively pledging to raise the child as an atheist, if that was asked of me, but I wouldn’t shy away from pledging to actively help raise them as a thoughtful, kind person (or some other such non-faith specific request). Wouldn’t you do that? I mean, if your brother and his wife died, wouldn’t you still keep in contact with this child, check in on him, help him make good decisions in the future, be there for him to talk to? I can’t see the parents asking you to act as “godparents” and raise the child in their faith (or lack thereof) any more than you would ask them to serve as your child’s catholic godparent. But, they would still appreciate your attendance at an event to help them celebrate the birth of their child.


#6

[quote="zz912, post:4, topic:183288"]
The child CAN'T be baptized. The priest has NO real belief the child would be brought up in the Catholic faith, and as such, baptizing the child would be against canon law.

[/quote]

I think it may be more correct to say a priest probably couldn't baptize the child.

The child could be baptized by any other Christian clergy, or for that matter, just about anyone. As long as the Tridentine formula is followed it will be recognized by the Catholic Church.


#7

Let me guess, you already set precident for attending these events by attending this brother's invalid wedding?


#8

I would ask yourself if you are a better witness for Christ by boycotting, or if you are a better witness for Christ by attending, kissing the baby's head, and celebrating the birth of a child.

I've always been told that the best way to witness for Christ is to live a happy life, and people who are seeking something will ask you what your secret is and try to emulate you. No one is going to think, "I wish I could be more like the sourpuss aunt/uncle who boycotts family celebrations."

Perhaps, you could be the aunt/uncle who is involved in the child's life and whom the child seeks to emulate someday. But you can't be that person if you refuse to attend family events that don't have a religious purpose.


#9

I would ask your brother why he feels drawn to have this ceremony. Does he feel like he or his child is missing out on something?

But no, I don’t think I would go. Something about a Catholic who goes so far to erase God in his life, I don’t know, I don’t think I would be at all comfortable going. I’d probably say so if asked.


#10

[quote="lada, post:5, topic:183288"]
I would definitely go. I don't believe we are put here to cram our beliefs down other people's throats. I wouldn't participate in actively pledging to raise the child as an atheist, if that was asked of me, but I wouldn't shy away from pledging to actively help raise them as a thoughtful, kind person (or some other such non-faith specific request). Wouldn't you do that? I mean, if your brother and his wife died, wouldn't you still keep in contact with this child, check in on him, help him make good decisions in the future, be there for him to talk to? I can't see the parents asking you to act as "godparents" and raise the child in their faith (or lack thereof) any more than you would ask them to serve as your child's catholic godparent. But, they would still appreciate your attendance at an event to help them celebrate the birth of their child.

[/quote]

I would not attend - I would politely decline the invitation and tell him why.
He is an adult and he has make his choice(s). Just as you say we shouldn't cram our beliefs down his throat ... he has not right or expectation to cram his beliefs down your throat. You can be supportive of the child in any other way (that doesn't conflict with your beliefs. When you have an opportunity to hold the child or be near him/her, bless the child and move on. Pray for the father (and mother) of the child.
When my daughter imitated that her and her soon to be husband (both baptized Catholics) didn't want to marry in the Church, she asked me what I would do (would I attend, would I pay for the wedding, would I walk her down the isle, etc...), I told her (and him) that if they chose not to get married in the Catholic Church, I would neither pay for or attend the 'wedding' - nor (obviously) would I walk her down the isle. She replied that "it's our life ... and we can do what we want", and I responded: "It's my life ... and I can do what I want - and it's my money, and I can spent it any way I want.. When you were born, I became your father, not your slave". Same with my son and his soon to be wife. Both did get married in the Catholic Church and we still have a very close relationship. Unfortunately, they do not practice the faith ... but all I can do about that is pray that God gives them the gift of faith.


#11

Saying a prayer of thanksgiving right now that you are not my parent, nor the parent of any child that I love.


#12

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