Author Topic: Baptism of other denominations  (Read 666 times)

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Offline Sauron

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Baptism of other denominations
« on: June 16, 2011, 10:10:48 AM »
Briefly, I am a Roman Catholic who has been inquiring into Orthodoxy since February of this year. Last Sunday, I told the priest that my children and I wish to take the next steps (cathechumenate for me, baptism for my kids). But, this post is not about me.

This post is about my niece (my sister's daughter), who is severely developmentally disabled. While there is no diagnosis of her condition per se, some of her internal organs are malformed, and she is rather cognitively impaired. She is five years old, but cannot speak, and I do not know if she can understand spoken language. She cannot walk without a walker. And, she has severe epilepsy. These days, her condition is not good, and the doctor has advised that my niece might one day have a seizure so severe that it stops her heart.

My sister is a nominal Catholic and my brother-in-law is an atheist, but they will allow for my niece to be baptized. My family being Catholic, my parents intend to have her baptized in the RCC. While I have made a few comments of my decision to move to Orthodoxy, I have never voiced that my niece should be baptized EO.

My question is this: if my niece is baptized RCC and she dies, what is the EO opinion of that? I think that if my niece were to die today, she would float off to heaven. She is rather severely mentally impaired, and I truly question whether she can commit sin. I have never seen her in anger or any other such state. What is the EO position on the severely retarded?

Offline podkarpatska

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Re: Baptism of other denominations
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2011, 10:18:18 AM »
I understand your pain.I am neither priest nor theologian but I believe that if you trust in God's loving mercy and kindness you will not be disappointed regarding the fate of your niece. For far too long the RCC has tried to 'understand' issues like this with proofs and definitive assertions. For the Orthodox, in a case like this, I think the answer is that we do not 'know', but we 'believe' and place our trust in the loving embrace of the Theotokos, the Birthgiver of God and Ever-Virgin Mary and in the love that our Lord and Savior has for His children.  I hope this helped you. God bless and do not despair.

Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: Baptism of other denominations
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2011, 10:32:59 AM »
What is the EO position on the severely retarded?

We baptize, chrismate, and commune them as full members of the Church. Many people who have known them have been greatly moved by them, as well. Just as blind people often have enhanced hearing and smell, so I think maybe those  whose mental faculties are impaired  may have greater spiritual faculties. And, certainly, those who care for them receive great benefit. God uses what is weak to humble the strong.
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Offline podkarpatska

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Re: Baptism of other denominations
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2011, 10:46:36 AM »
What is the EO position on the severely retarded?

We baptize, chrismate, and commune them as full members of the Church. Many people who have known them have been greatly moved by them, as well. Just as blind people often have enhanced hearing and smell, so I think maybe those  whose mental faculties are impaired  may have greater spiritual faculties. And, certainly, those who care for them receive great benefit. God uses what is weak to humble the strong.

^Thanks! I forgot  to answer his actual question!

Offline Sauron

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Re: Baptism of other denominations
« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2011, 10:52:21 AM »
What is the EO position on the severely retarded?

We baptize, chrismate, and commune them as full members of the Church. Many people who have known them have been greatly moved by them, as well. Just as blind people often have enhanced hearing and smell, so I think maybe those  whose mental faculties are impaired  may have greater spiritual faculties. And, certainly, those who care for them receive great benefit. God uses what is weak to humble the strong.

I think my question was a bit unclear. What is the EO position on what happens to my severely retarded niece who dies either unbaptized or baptized in a heterodox faith (in this case, RCC)?

Offline podkarpatska

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Re: Baptism of other denominations
« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2011, 10:59:57 AM »
My first answer to your question applies. Listen carefully to the English words... http://wn.com/Kondak_Intercessor_of_Christians__Zastupnice_Christiane

Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: Baptism of other denominations
« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2011, 11:35:19 AM »
What is the EO position on the severely retarded?

We baptize, chrismate, and commune them as full members of the Church. Many people who have known them have been greatly moved by them, as well. Just as blind people often have enhanced hearing and smell, so I think maybe those  whose mental faculties are impaired  may have greater spiritual faculties. And, certainly, those who care for them receive great benefit. God uses what is weak to humble the strong.

I think my question was a bit unclear. What is the EO position on what happens to my severely retarded niece who dies either unbaptized or baptized in a heterodox faith (in this case, RCC)?


The Church doesn't take positions on classes of people. We trust in the mercy of God. A nun once told me that God doesn't take anyone unless he or she is ready to go. God is Lord over life and death. He who created us out of his love will not abandon us.
Quote from: GabrieltheCelt
If you spend long enough on this forum, you'll come away with all sorts of weird, untrue ideas of Orthodox Christianity.
Quote from: orthonorm
I would suggest most persons in general avoid any question beginning with why.

Offline ialmisry

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Re: Baptism of other denominations
« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2011, 11:41:25 AM »
The Spirit is descended!
Briefly, I am a Roman Catholic who has been inquiring into Orthodoxy since February of this year. Last Sunday, I told the priest that my children and I wish to take the next steps (cathechumenate for me, baptism for my kids). But, this post is not about me.

This post is about my niece (my sister's daughter), who is severely developmentally disabled. While there is no diagnosis of her condition per se, some of her internal organs are malformed, and she is rather cognitively impaired. She is five years old, but cannot speak, and I do not know if she can understand spoken language. She cannot walk without a walker. And, she has severe epilepsy. These days, her condition is not good, and the doctor has advised that my niece might one day have a seizure so severe that it stops her heart.

My sister is a nominal Catholic and my brother-in-law is an atheist, but they will allow for my niece to be baptized. My family being Catholic, my parents intend to have her baptized in the RCC. While I have made a few comments of my decision to move to Orthodoxy, I have never voiced that my niece should be baptized EO.

My question is this: if my niece is baptized RCC and she dies, what is the EO opinion of that?

She is better off than someone baptized RCC and lives, or someone who is EO and breaks his baptismal vows.

The Lord's hand is not shortened that He cannot save. Isaiah 59:1

I think that if my niece were to die today, she would float off to heaven. She is rather severely mentally impaired, and I truly question whether she can commit sin. I have never seen her in anger or any other such state. What is the EO position on the severely retarded?
They are made in the Image and Likeness of God.

Maybe you should voice that your niece should be baptized EO. Even if she is baptized RCC, you can still voice that she be chrismated EO. She would be better off.

Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth

Offline Sauron

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Re: Baptism of other denominations
« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2011, 12:05:27 PM »
I think that if my niece were to die today, she would float off to heaven. She is rather severely mentally impaired, and I truly question whether she can commit sin. I have never seen her in anger or any other such state. What is the EO position on the severely retarded?
They are made in the Image and Likeness of God.

Maybe you should voice that your niece should be baptized EO. Even if she is baptized RCC, you can still voice that she be chrismated EO. She would be better off.

Thank you. I hope no one thinks that I was suggesting that my niece is somehow a different "class" of human being because of her condition. It's just that I was talking to my parents last night who were updating me on my niece's condition and I asked the status of their plans to have her baptized. My mom mentioned about her flying off into Limbo if she were to die unbaptized and I explained that Limbo was not a "place" and never a dogma and even so, current RCC teaching is that we would have reason to hope if she were to die before baptism. My understanding is that EO also teaches that we may hope for God's mercy and kindness on her.

I think I have a good chance of having my sister allow her children to come into the EO church. In my extended family, I am acknowledged as the theological one and my opinion is sought when matters of faith come up. So, I have reason to believe that if I were to say that I think the children should be baptized EO, I would be deferred to.

Offline podkarpatska

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Re: Baptism of other denominations
« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2011, 12:48:23 PM »
I think that if my niece were to die today, she would float off to heaven. She is rather severely mentally impaired, and I truly question whether she can commit sin. I have never seen her in anger or any other such state. What is the EO position on the severely retarded?
They are made in the Image and Likeness of God.

Maybe you should voice that your niece should be baptized EO. Even if she is baptized RCC, you can still voice that she be chrismated EO. She would be better off.

Thank you. I hope no one thinks that I was suggesting that my niece is somehow a different "class" of human being because of her condition. It's just that I was talking to my parents last night who were updating me on my niece's condition and I asked the status of their plans to have her baptized. My mom mentioned about her flying off into Limbo if she were to die unbaptized and I explained that Limbo was not a "place" and never a dogma and even so, current RCC teaching is that we would have reason to hope if she were to die before baptism. My understanding is that EO also teaches that we may hope for God's mercy and kindness on her.

I think I have a good chance of having my sister allow her children to come into the EO church. In my extended family, I am acknowledged as the theological one and my opinion is sought when matters of faith come up. So, I have reason to believe that if I were to say that I think the children should be baptized EO, I would be deferred to.


So much heartache has been caused to the faithful by the misapplication of this scholastic exercise.

If they are not going to be raised as Orthodox then I do not feel that it is right to baptize them or christmate them. Trusting in the mercy of God with certitude is the key regarding your neice.

Offline katherineofdixie

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Re: Baptism of other denominations
« Reply #10 on: June 16, 2011, 01:42:28 PM »
If they are not going to be raised as Orthodox then I do not feel that it is right to baptize them or christmate them. Trusting in the mercy of God with certitude is the key regarding your neice.

Indeed.
"If but ten of us lead a holy life, we shall kindle a fire which shall light up the entire city."

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Offline Sauron

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Re: Baptism of other denominations
« Reply #11 on: June 16, 2011, 01:59:25 PM »
If they are not going to be raised as Orthodox then I do not feel that it is right to baptize them or christmate them. Trusting in the mercy of God with certitude is the key regarding your neice.

Indeed.

I agree as well. This is why I have waited until I have made my decision about myself before deciding in which church to baptize my own children.

I am seriously considering having a talk with my sister about her kids' religious upbringing. As I mentioned in my introductory thread, my parents took a "hands off" approach to religion and left it to us kids to find our way. I am blessed in that I was the only one who has found faith thus far. Perhaps this would be a good opportunity to witness to my sister. We live in the same neighborhood and see each other several times a week, so even if she were just to leave religious instruction to me, that would be logistically possible. Of course, my preference would be if my sister would embrace faith as well.

Offline ialmisry

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Re: Baptism of other denominations
« Reply #12 on: June 16, 2011, 02:07:30 PM »
The Spirit is descended!
I think that if my niece were to die today, she would float off to heaven. She is rather severely mentally impaired, and I truly question whether she can commit sin. I have never seen her in anger or any other such state. What is the EO position on the severely retarded?
They are made in the Image and Likeness of God.

Maybe you should voice that your niece should be baptized EO. Even if she is baptized RCC, you can still voice that she be chrismated EO. She would be better off.

Thank you. I hope no one thinks that I was suggesting that my niece is somehow a different "class" of human being because of her condition. It's just that I was talking to my parents last night who were updating me on my niece's condition and I asked the status of their plans to have her baptized. My mom mentioned about her flying off into Limbo if she were to die unbaptized and I explained that Limbo was not a "place" and never a dogma and even so, current RCC teaching is that we would have reason to hope if she were to die before baptism. My understanding is that EO also teaches that we may hope for God's mercy and kindness on her.

I think I have a good chance of having my sister allow her children to come into the EO church. In my extended family, I am acknowledged as the theological one and my opinion is sought when matters of faith come up. So, I have reason to believe that if I were to say that I think the children should be baptized EO, I would be deferred to.


So much heartache has been caused to the faithful by the misapplication of this scholastic exercise.

If they are not going to be raised as Orthodox then I do not feel that it is right to baptize them or christmate them. Trusting in the mercy of God with certitude is the key regarding your neice.
True enough, but not enough not to seize upon an opportunity if it comes up.  Of course, he cannot insist on it, but if his sister is ammenable to letting him raise the children in the Faith, why not the right one?  If she refuses, of course, that is not his fault nor his responsibility, and he can still pray for this nieces and nephews. But if he can, he should do more.  (I know a number of situations like this.  The priest always insisted on meeting with the parents, to make sure they were in agreement with the uncle (it seems it always was an uncle) bring the children to the Church). When they concented, there was no problem).
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth

Offline Tikhon.of.Colorado

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Re: Baptism of other denominations
« Reply #13 on: June 16, 2011, 02:09:42 PM »
May the Lord have mercy on your niece!