Religious Differences and Christening Invitations


#1

Hello all,
My son is being baptized in April. I am Catholic but my husband and his family are not. I had to reschedule the baptism because my sister who is the godmother had an unexpected emergency.
When I invited my in-laws to the original christening date, I was basically mocked and attacked for my beliefs (my perception - this is where other people come in - I need someone to see this objectively). I was told things like “I don’t need to go to church” and “You will never catch me confessing my sins to a priest”, “Church is boring”, “I don’t get the Catholic church, the Hail Marys, it’s all too confusing to me”. The Baptist aunt couldn’t even look at me and said nothing and the mere act of going to church was ripped apart in front of my own eyes. I said “I am not trying to shove my beliefs down anyone’s throat”, because I was just inviting them to the christening, not discussing Catholic dogmas…or was I shoving it down their throats by simply inviting them?
Sorry but I am confused. Should I invite people who have no desire to attend church or don’t even see the merit of going? My mother in law let her children choose their own religion, and my husband is unaffiliated at the moment. Am I making too much of this?
I am aware inviting them is the correct thing to do but I am very uncomfortable having them at the ceremony knowing they don’t even grasp why this christening is important to me.
Please advise.


#2

[quote="Canfkat, post:1, topic:315615"]
Hello all,
My son is being baptized in April. I am Catholic but my husband and his family are not. I had to reschedule the baptism because my sister who is the godmother had an unexpected emergency.

When I invited my in-laws to the original christening date, I was basically mocked and attacked for my beliefs (my perception - this is where other people come in - I need someone to see this objectively). I was told things like "I don't need to go to church" and "You will never catch me confessing my sins to a priest", "Church is boring", "I don't get the Catholic church, the Hail Marys, it's all too confusing to me". The Baptist aunt couldn't even look at me and said nothing and the mere act of going to church was ripped apart in front of my own eyes. I said "I am not trying to shove my beliefs down anyone's throat", because I was just inviting them to the christening, not discussing Catholic dogmas...or was I shoving it down their throats by simply inviting them?
Sorry but I am confused. Should I invite people who have no desire to attend church or don't even see the merit of going? My mother in law let her children choose their own religion, and my husband is unaffiliated at the moment. Am I making too much of this?
I am aware inviting them is the correct thing to do but I am very uncomfortable having them at the ceremony knowing they don't even grasp why this christening is important to me.
Please advise.

[/quote]

I would attempt to invite your husband. I wouldn't invite people that hate the Church so much that they will complain to your face as you have described. However, there are non-religious people who are polite and might appreciate being invited. :)


#3

[quote="Canfkat, post:1, topic:315615"]
Hello all,
My son is being baptized in April. I am Catholic but my husband and his family are not. I had to reschedule the baptism because my sister who is the godmother had an unexpected emergency.

When I invited my in-laws to the original christening date, I was basically mocked and attacked for my beliefs (my perception - this is where other people come in - I need someone to see this objectively). I was told things like "I don't need to go to church" and "You will never catch me confessing my sins to a priest", "Church is boring", "I don't get the Catholic church, the Hail Marys, it's all too confusing to me". The Baptist aunt couldn't even look at me and said nothing and the mere act of going to church was ripped apart in front of my own eyes. I said "I am not trying to shove my beliefs down anyone's throat", because I was just inviting them to the christening, not discussing Catholic dogmas...or was I shoving it down their throats by simply inviting them?
Sorry but I am confused. Should I invite people who have no desire to attend church or don't even see the merit of going? My mother in law let her children choose their own religion, and my husband is unaffiliated at the moment. Am I making too much of this?
I am aware inviting them is the correct thing to do but I am very uncomfortable having them at the ceremony knowing they don't even grasp why this christening is important to me.
Please advise.

[/quote]

How would your husband feel if they weren't invited. If they are going to be hostile and pretty open about it to your face, you are under no obligation to invite them if they can't respect you and the choice to baptize your son. If your husband is indifferent, then don't feel guilty about no inviting such disrespectful people.


#4

You are correct for inviting them. People will always find any reason to be offended. A lot of Baptists only have hearsay and old wives tales to go by when approached with a religion other than their own. Those who come to the Baptism may experience a positive view of Catholicism that they've never seen!


#5

While I agree that you are right to wish to invite them, I think you should speak to your husband and see how he feels about not inviting them. Such negative attitudes at what should be a beautiful event will not help the spirit of the occasion. God bless you and your family.


#6

It seems they have already declined the invitation. Since you are only informing your guests of the new date, there is no need to include those who have already declined. You could give the list of those who declined to your husband and let him see about updating them if he thinks it important.


#7

It is a good idea to invite them. This way you have taken the high road and are being civil and extending a welcome to them. If they choose to be rude and thoughtless, that becomes their problem.

You never ever know what is going on in a person's soul. A kindness and openness may open their heart. Don't play their games. Look always toward hope and love.

If they behave badly, smile sweetly and say, "I am sorry that you feel that way." and then move on to another subject.

You be the peacemaker. It could be that you will set a standard the raises both you and them rather than having them set the standard that lowers you to their level.


#8

Thank you for all your advice. Yes, I do not want to be rude to them and I want to take the high road.


#9

[quote="Canfkat, post:1, topic:315615"]
Hello all,
My son is being baptized in April. I am Catholic but my husband and his family are not. I had to reschedule the baptism because my sister who is the godmother had an unexpected emergency.

When I invited my in-laws to the original christening date, I was basically mocked and attacked for my beliefs (my perception - this is where other people come in - I need someone to see this objectively). I was told things like "I don't need to go to church" and "You will never catch me confessing my sins to a priest", "Church is boring", "I don't get the Catholic church, the Hail Marys, it's all too confusing to me". The Baptist aunt couldn't even look at me and said nothing and the mere act of going to church was ripped apart in front of my own eyes. I said "I am not trying to shove my beliefs down anyone's throat", because I was just inviting them to the christening, not discussing Catholic dogmas...or was I shoving it down their throats by simply inviting them?
Sorry but I am confused. Should I invite people who have no desire to attend church or don't even see the merit of going? My mother in law let her children choose their own religion, and my husband is unaffiliated at the moment. Am I making too much of this?
I am aware inviting them is the correct thing to do but I am very uncomfortable having them at the ceremony knowing they don't even grasp why this christening is important to me.
Please advise.

[/quote]

In my family, issues with my mother's side of the family were dealt with by my mother and issues with my father's side of the family were dealt with by my father. In your case, if your husband is going to be at the baptism, and you would like for his family to be included, I would suggest that you ask your husband to convey your wishes, and to explain that this is not an opportunity to take pot-shots at your beliefs.

Furthermore, do not let hostile people bully you into feeling guilty because you extended to them an invitation to an important family occasion. It seems as though your husband may bear the burden of explaining this to his adult family members as well, but if one does not wish to attend an event, no matter what the reason, the only civilized response is to say, "I am not able to attend, but thank you for the invitation."

While your husband's family is entitled to be a close-minded and rude as they wish, there is a time and a place for philisophical and theological discussion and apologetics; the occasion of someone's baptism is not it.


#10

I would invite your friends and family to attend. If they choose not to attend, at least they can't say that you them out of the celebration. If they say anything silly about your faith, just tell them that you wanted your family there to celebrate with you regardless of their feelings about the Church and regardless if they are Catholic or not and you didn't invite them to make fun of your choice of religion and that you will not debate their questions with them.


#11

Yes! This is such an opportunity for evangelization.

My brother-in-law was baptized on his deathbed by my Byzantine Catholic priest. His African-American family is nominally Baptist. They had no experience with Catholicism, but their feelings about the Church were generally negative. Byzantine Catholicism was entirely unknown to them; a bit too exotic and weird to even be considered. During the Baptism, however particularly the exorcism, they were so moved that the occasional “Amen!” could be heard. Because of their particular religious background, they really appreciated the references to casting out Satan.

My grandmother was extremely anti-Catholic. She nearly didn’t attend my parents’ wedding because it was held in a Catholic church. Growing up, we invited her to special occasions in church. She came, but we always had to hear her ignorant and uncharitable opinions about the Church. Slowly but surely, over a great many years, she has come around. She doesn’t gripe about it, and has even expressed her desire to be buried in the local Catholic cemetery when she dies, because she knows that we will be more likely to visit her grave. She even voluntarily comes to church with us on Easter.

Now, the people in these scenarios aren’t exactly beating down the door to the church and asking for Baptism, but it is a long process and you never know what part you may play. God’s grace can be at work through you and your children.


#12

It seems to me they already told you how they felt about coming when you issued the first invitation. Why push the issue? You want your baby's Baptism to be a happy day, not filled with negativity. I disagree with those who say you should reinvite them, they already gave their answer.


#13

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.