Tuesday, January 31, 2012

De-Baptism: Is it possible?

Check out this NPR article.

This topic is fitting given all of the discussions on the HHS mandate, religious liberty and conscience. 

Here, we have the French government clearly imposing itself in the sacramental matters of the Church.  While we could discuss Church and State, I think it's worth providing a few comments elsewhere:
John the De-baptizer?
  • Even though a person has been baptized (we may presume that in LeBouvier's case, he was an infant), human freedom remains intact.  One can walk away from the faith at any time.  
  • The Church cannot un-invoke, un-effect a sacrament's happening.  When the sacrament happens, it happens.  Grace is effected.  This is not unlike the name you were given at birth (which, though altered, nick-named, or even renamed, can never be entirely revoked).  We could also liken it to the family you are borne into.  One does not have a choice (he does not will himself into a certain family) in this regard.  We are born.  We are given a family, an identity.  No matter how much one pushes back, rebels against, or even divorces his or her family, the fact still stands.  You came into being through in this particular family.  The article speaks of French law stating that one can leave an organization if he wishes.  This seems to be what LaBouvier did.  Why should an organization need to strike that person (who was initiated) out of all records?  If I were to leave my job, which I am free to do, certainly my employer would not act as if I was never there.
    • Annulling a marriage is only possible, annulment is only granted, when it is determined that between the two parties involved, not all of the necessary elements for the sacrament of matrimony were present.  Divorce is the dissolving of a marriage - once married, now not.  Annulment says that one was never truly married in the first place.  In other words, the marriage was not valid (validity boils down to free consent, vows of validity, permanence and openness to children, freedom from impediments to marriage, and necessarily following the sacrament properly).  
    • In the case of Baptism, presuming that it was indeed valid and therefore a sacrament, one cannot nullify this saving action.  It happened.  Grace was imparted.  Man can be transformed.  But, man remains free. 
  • It is also curious to ponder who LeBouvier, the free thinker, cares so much about "dissolving" his baptism.  Why does one who reportedly no longer believes in God care so much about some silly ritual that took place at the dawn of his life?  Unless, of course, this is not merely a silly ritual. 

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