13 January 2013

A Vicar Rants: The Baptismal Rite

I vaguely remember a scene in the 80's movie, Amadeus, when Mozart auditions one of his pieces for the Emperor.

When he finishes playing the piece, Mozart turns to the Emperor for his reaction.  The Emperor sputters something like: "It's got too many notes."  

The Rite of Baptism has too many parts:  too many symbols, too many options, too many "little rites on the side." 

It's too wordy.  Lots of language like this:  "I now do X to demonstrate Y."  The blessing of the water is ridiculously wordy. . .it goes on and on and on and on and on. . .

You have to ask the parents if they really, really want their kid baptized. . .twice.

Too many accoutrements--water, oil, garments, candles, etc.

And like most of the post-VC2 sacramental texts (the Rite of Reconciliation, e.g.) it's stuffed with additional readings and another list of intercessions and three or four additional blessings. 

Mom gets a blessing.  Dad gets a blessing. Then both of them together get a blessing. And then everyone present gets a blessing. 

We do the Apostles' Creed in question form. There are three options for this.

But the really, really, really annoying thing about the new Rite is the rubrics.  You need a doctorate in canon law to decipher and interpret the instructions for completing this rite.  

Someone, somewhere. . .PLEASE. . .pare this monster down.

OK.  Now I feel better.

Carry on. . .

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  1. Do it in the EF and be done with it. ;)
    But that is probably not feasible. I agree, the NO baptism rote is much too complicated.

  2. I like the double questioning of the parents.
    Recalling the questioning on the day of their marriage "will you accept children lovingly from God, and bring them up according to the law of Christ and his Church", the double questioning at baptism is very appropriate, emphasizing the great responsibility in educating their children according to the faith.
    The blessing of the father recalls this as well, "he and his wife will be the first teachers of their child in the ways of faith."

  3. Anonymous4:35 AM

    I have baptized many kids where the parents were either not married or I had no idea of their marital status (I had to cover for another deacon at the last moment). I always love to stress the reference to the wife in the father's blessing. I am waiting for someone to complain so that we can address the issue directly.

    1. I do a Down and Dirty, No Frills baptismal rite. Just the basics. If it's optional, I skip it. Since we baptize after a Sunday Mass and everyone involved in the rite attends that Mass, I get right to the deed. We just heard the gospel. We just heard a homily. We just offered intercessions. We just recited the Creed. Pertinent questions, anointings, baptism, and done.

  4. I had my first real run of this a few months ago (outside the context of Mass, me being a deacon). I agree - too many optional texts here and there. The "current" ritual text came from 1969, which means it was probably put into effect right after major liturgical revisions and never given a second thought. I do think when done in the context of Mass - with the proper parts place in appropriate places - it can be done well. The stand-alone ritual looks to much like a wanna-be Mass.

    1. The baptismal rite was the first rite revised and translated post-Vatican Two. It shows.

  5. Just go back to the traditional form. Problem solved!

  6. Father, why do you think the baptismal rite was changed so much after Vatican Two? I mean, I'm in favour of the vernacular and simplifying the rite a bit, but why did they have to create a whole new rite of baptism? Couldn't they have just simplified the old rite a bit and put in in the vernacular?

    1. I'm also partial to the vernacular and simplicity. . .

      Really don't know the theological reasons behind the cumbersome reform of the rite. "Options" were all the rage back then.