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Featured Forced baptism and torts

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by Curious George, May 30, 2020.

  1. Curious George

    Curious George Veteran Member

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    Interested to hear opinions regarding this story:

    Parents Settle Lawsuit Over Disabled Son’s Forced Baptism
    Should such a lawsuit be entertained?

    Do you think this is evidence of our "litigious" society?

    What remedy if any should be available?

    Through what avenue should one pursue remedy in cases like this?
     
  2. Augustus

    Augustus the Unreasonable

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    Could do what some Pagans did during the Baltic Crusades.

    The tribe was marched through a river to mass baptise them, but when the Christians had gone they marched back the other way to unbaptise themselves :grinning:

    Didn't need a single lawyer...
     
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  3. Shadow Wolf

    Shadow Wolf Rival's Wife

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    No. A forced baptism is as a severe breach of constitutional and human rights.
     
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  4. Shadow Wolf

    Shadow Wolf Rival's Wife

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    It is a fine example, however, of how Christians need to learn to respect the rest of us. As this story shows, they fail at that to horrible and miserable ends.
     
  5. Saint Frankenstein

    Saint Frankenstein Before there was love, there was silence
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    I don't know, really. Infants are routinely baptized and parents do have the right to pass on their religion to their children. Sad he was distressed by it, though. They just could've poured water over his head (that's how I was baptized) but some denominations don't accept that.
     
  6. Shadow Wolf

    Shadow Wolf Rival's Wife

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    This baptism did not involve the parents (they sued thise who did it), and it was coerced coerced (do ir or I wont take you to anymore ballgames).
     
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  7. Saint Frankenstein

    Saint Frankenstein Before there was love, there was silence
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    Oh, okay. I must not have read it all the way through. I thought the parents wanted it. I do think it was wrong, then. I also thought the threat was wrong.
     
  8. Sirona

    Sirona Hindu Wannabe

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    It is not mentioned which disability the teen had but I guess it might have been a mental disability. No "reasonable" teen has himself baptized over a ball game. In case it really was a mental disability, then baptizing a "defenseless" teen is especially cruel. But Jesus loves you, regardless if you want him to or not.

    I've seen a documentary about a notorious church in Berlin proselytizing to impoverished kids by giving them some cents of "pocket money" or by annoyingly "inviting" them to church again and again. For example, they uninvitedly wait before the childrens' houses with a bus. Quite a few children find it difficult to say no, and be it only for the "enticement" of sitting in a car.
     
  9. Shadow Wolf

    Shadow Wolf Rival's Wife

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    Its irrelevant amd this discouraged from being mentioned. That the kid iss disabled is all we really need to know, and that there is necessary in print to convey the power discrepancy that was present. This disability could be physical or mental (both are tragically high risk for being victimized). That the kid is a minor also adds a layer to help protect his identity.
     
  10. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Subway Stalinist
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    Yes.

    Only if you think that baptism, religious freedom, or tormenting vulnerable people are trivial issues.

    Appropriate compensation and a formal, public apology. Depending on the circumstances of the baptism, possibly assault charges for the person who performed it.

    Most directly: the civil and criminal courts.

    In the bigger picture, by asking for accountability and transparency from Big Brothers Big Sisters. Why would a supposedly secular organization be involved in imposing religion on one of its vulnerable clients?
     
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  11. Vouthon

    Vouthon In varietate concordia
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    Evidence of a litigious society?

    Most definitely not, if anything there should be heavier consequences under law for such abusive practices and violations of the bodily integrity, not to mention freedom from coercion, of other people - particularly vulnerable people like this poor child.

    At the very least, compensation and a formal apology I agree and indeed assault charges if merited for any harm done.

    It appears there has been an attempt to settle without pursuing litigation (from what I read elsewhere from a quick Google search) and the parents are apparently content with the outcome of that negotiation, even though they say nothing can undo away the psychological harm inflicted on their son.

    Forced baptism was recognised as an inhumane violation of human dignity even under medical canon law (Baltic Crusades and Goa Inquisition, notwithstanding).


    Pope Gregory X, Bull (1272)


    We decree moreover that no Christian shall compel them or any one of their group to come to baptism unwillingly. But if any one of them shall take refuge of his own accord with Christians, because of conviction, then, after his intention will have been manifest, he shall be made a Christian without any intrigue.

    For, indeed, that person who is known to have come to Christian baptism not freely, but unwillingly, is not believed to posses the Christian faith...

    Moreover, if any one, after having known the content of this decree, should — which we hope will not happen — attempt audaciously to act contrary to it, then let him suffer punishment in his rank and position, or let him be punished by the penalty of excommunication, unless he makes amends for his boldness by proper recompense...


    So, that such things still occur today in this day and age is appalling.
     
    #11 Vouthon, May 30, 2020
    Last edited: May 30, 2020
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  12. Shadow Wolf

    Shadow Wolf Rival's Wife

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    Given this happened to a disabled person I am all for maximimum charges and penalties, and make it clear preying upon the vulnerable will not be tolerated, and no matter their intentions and concerns, what they did was barbaric and symptomatic of a much larger problem of victimizing (in a very general sense) those with disabilities.
    Not a hate crime, per say, but it's of equal severity.
     
  13. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Subway Stalinist
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    Interesting.

    My ex tried to do a forced baptism on me. Seriously.

    The fact I wasn't baptized became a major source of ongoing friction. One day, while we were both swimming in the pool, she picked me up. So quickly that I didn't have time to stop her, she lifted me out of the water, said "I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit!" and dropped me back into the pool.

    After that, she always insisted that I was baptized. I don't know - or care - whether the "baptism" was valid in the eyes of the Church, but I'm sure she didn't realize that was she was trying to do was an excommunicable offense.
     
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  14. Harel13

    Harel13 Well-Known Member

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    @Vouthon, wish you were around during the Mortara case...
    Mortara case - Wikipedia
     
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  15. Vouthon

    Vouthon In varietate concordia
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    Indeed, that was the lowest of low points for the church under Pius IX. What's bizarre is that he started out as a relatively philo-semitic pope, as even the article cited concedes:


    The Jews of the Papal States, numbering 15,000 or so in 1858,[5] were grateful to Pope Pius IX because he had ended the long-standing legal obligation for them to attend sermons in church four times a year, based on that week's Torah portion and aimed at their conversion to Christianity.[9] He had also torn down the gates of the Roman Ghetto despite the objections of many Christians.[10]


    But then this horror of horrors happened and everything went downhill, in tandem with his increasing conservative turn (and, arguably, loss of a sense of reality when the secularists annexed the papal states bit-by-bit, eventually reducing him to a "prisoner in the Vatican" by 1870 with the conquest of Rome by Victor Emmanuel).

    My understanding of the facts of the case are hazy but the local inquisitorial 'Catholic narrative' (spurious though it was) spun it in a way such that it could be viewed not to as contravening the medieval canon law I've just cited. Your article notes:


    For the Holy Office, situations such as that reported by Feletti presented a profound quandary—on the one hand the church officially disapproved of forced conversions,[25] but on the other it held that the baptismal sacrament was sacrosanct and that if it had been properly administered, the recipient was thereafter a member of the Christian communion.[25] In accordance with the 1747 papal bull Postremo mense, the laws of the Papal States held that it was illegal to remove a child from non-Christian parents for baptism (unless it was dying), but if such a child was indeed baptised the church was held to bear responsibility to provide a Christian education and remove it from its parents.[26] The cardinals considered Morisi's account and ultimately accepted it as bearing "all the earmarks of the truth without leaving the least doubt about the reality and the validity of the baptism she performed".[27]


    I don't have a clue how they managed to justify this - I mean, the canon law (from the 1200s and before) clearly stated "that person who is known to have come to Christian baptism not freely, but unwillingly, is not believed to posses the Christian faith", which is to say: the baptism is invalid (not sacramentally effective).

    Were they seriously trying to say that the child positively wanted the emergency baptism, such that it was not a violation of his conscience? Apparently so, for they strove to deduce this from his attitude post-baptism:


    There were many different versions of the Catholic story, but all followed the same basic structure. All had Edgardo quickly and fervently embracing Christianity and trying to learn as much as possible about it.[41]

    The most influential pro-church article on Mortara was an account published in the Jesuit periodical La Civiltà Cattolica in November 1858, and subsequently reprinted or quoted in Catholic papers across Europe.[43] This story had the child begging the rector of the Catechumens not to send him back but to let him grow up in a Christian home, and initiated what became a central plank of the pro-church narrative

    According to Kertzer, the proponents of this pro-church narrative did not seem to realise that to many these accounts sounded "too good to be true" and "absurd".[43]...

    Father Pio Edgardo Mortara resided at Bouhay for the rest of his life and died there on 11 March 1940, at the age of 88


    So, you see how they 'obfuscated' their way around the canon law on this one: evidently because they were mortified by the international outcry over the situation and were intent on trying to justify it (even under their own canon law which forbade it!).

    Canon 57 of the Council of Toledo IV (633 A.D.), citing Romans 9:18, famously condemned the practice of forced baptism:


    [O]n the Jews, however, thus did the Holy Synod order, that no one should henceforth be forced to believe, God hath mercy on whom he will andwhom he will hardeneth; such men should not be saved unwillingly butwillingly, in order that the procedure of justice should be complete...They should be persuaded to convert, therefore,of their own free choice, rather than forced by violence

    That an unlawful / insincere baptism is also an invalid one sacramentally, is evidenced by the fact that Pope Alexander II (1061-1073) permitted all Jews baptized by force during the First Crusade of 1065 to return to practicing Judaism (see Flannery, Anguish of the Jews 76). In that same letter to Landulf of Brescia he also wrote the following:


    "Although We have no doubt it stems from the zeal of devotion that your Nobility arranges to lead Jews to the worship of Christendom . . . you seem to do it with a zeal that is inordinate. For we do not read that our Lord Jesus Christ violently forced anyone into his service, but that by humble exhortation, leaving to each person his own freedom of choice, he recalled from error whomsoever he had predestined to eternal life, doing so not by judging them, but by shedding his own blood."

    [Alexander II, Letter Licet ex to Prince Landolfo of Benevento, 1065 AD (DS 698)]


    This was on the basis that the medieval canonists, such as Hugguccio, taught that absolutely coerced baptisms were not just 'unlawful' and 'requiring compensation' for the evil act but also without effect because there was no assent to faith.

    An example from the Middle Ages:


    "It is contrary to the Christian religion to force others into accepting and practicing Christianity . . . the one who never consents and is absolutely unwilling receives neither the reality nor the character of the sacrament."

    [Pope Innocent III, Letter Maiores Ecclesiae causas to Archbishop Humbert of Arles (1201 A.D.) (DS 781)]
     
    #15 Vouthon, May 31, 2020
    Last edited: May 31, 2020
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  16. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest Hihg Intellajence Kwoshunt.
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    Yes.
    Assumptions....
    - He was forced against his will into the water.
    - He suffered a very real loss (enduring mental anguish).
    No. The case has merit (presuming my assumptions are accurate).
    Water board the perps who baptised him against his will.
    (Note mischief in this answer.)
    I don't know about "should"
    But I'd prefer handling it personally, with court as a last resort..
     
  17. Curious George

    Curious George Veteran Member

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    What does that look like?
     
  18. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest Hihg Intellajence Kwoshunt.
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    Contact the perps to discuss what happened.
     
  19. Vouthon

    Vouthon In varietate concordia
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    That's insane, what on earth was she thinking?

    Even the New Testament permits marriage between Christians and 'non-believers': "If any brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her. And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him" (1 Corinthians 7:12-14)

    It's not even a "scriptural" problem, let alone a canon/ecclesiastical one.

    What she did is an excommunicable offence and always has been under canon law, because it violates 'free-will' which is God-endowed. The unwilling adult does not validly receive Baptism, as St. Thomas Aquinas notes when he states:

    If an adult lack the intention of receiving the sacrament, he must be rebaptized.” (Summa Theologica)


    See:


    If the adult receives the Sacrament of Baptism unwillingly, if either it is forced upon him, or if he has no sincere intention to receive a Sacrament (but perhaps just to attend a ceremony to please a friend or loved one), then he does not receive the Sacrament validly...When a Sacrament requires the participation of an adult, such as in Marriage, or in Confession, the recipient of the Sacrament must also intend to do what the Church does.

    A couple who do not intend to bind themselves in a lifelong commitment, in a marriage as a Sacrament, not merely as a human custom, do not receive the Sacrament validly. A man who goes to Confession unrepentant does not receive the Sacrament validly, for he does not intend to do what the Church does: contrition and Confession. Thus, an adult who accepts the water of Baptism without intending to do what the Church does, in that he is insincere and does not truly consent to the Sacrament, does not receive Baptism validly
    .”

    (Conte, Catechism of Catholic Ethics, n. 533)​


    So, I'm happy to report that you're not a baptised Christian (you heathen you!! (joking of course)) :D

    In the case of children, their 'unwillingness' is adduced by the parental consent - if the parents don't consent, then they aren't validly baptised; if the parents do consent, then they are validly baptised.
     
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  20. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Subway Stalinist
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    She had some strange ideas.

    It was an abusive relationship in a number of ways. There's a reason why we're now divorced.

    This was after we were married... in a Catholic church with a dispensation from the bishop (on account of my not being baptized).

    This didn't stop her from worrying about the fate of my soul. In fact, that's why I ended up at RF: she would end up in tears on a regular basis at the thought of me ending up in Hell. I didn't like the idea of my wife being distraught, so I tried my darndest to see if there was a way I could become a Catholic - or at least some sort of Christian - in good conscience. I ran into all sorts of obstacles trying to reach this goal, but she'd get so upset talking about my objections that we couldn't actually work through any of them, so I went looking on the internet for people to talk them through with.

    This - along with the experience of going to mass and reading the Bible - ended up having the opposite effect I had intended.
     
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