re: the baptism post

Making a new post here because it’s easier than replying to everybody who brought up the same points.

Thanks for the input from everybody. I can’t give you the reason why my characters want a second baptism performed, as it would be too much of a plot spoiler, but the short form is that this is a fantasy novel; the reason for it is metaphysical, and can’t be solved by that character going to confession. You’ve given me what I need, though: the reason why baptism isn’t repeated, and then the conditional form that the priest would use once they convince him, against his better judgment, to do it. (I suppose I could have the characters perform the baptism themselves, but it loses a bit of that ritual and narrative oomph, which they would be very eager to have on their sides.)

So now I can write an argument about whether there’s any other power in the world capable of annulling the gift of God’s grace, and that was what I needed. Once I have the scene written, I’ll find somebody who knows the specifical historical Church practices to read it over for me and tell whether it works. (If any such person reads this post, do let me know; the scene takes place in 1884, post-Vatican I but pre-Vatican II.)

0 Responses to “re: the baptism post”

  1. Anonymous

    Yes, a theological argument about the efficacy of baptism and indelible grace seems like just the thing :).

    • Anonymous

      Throw some Tractarians and a Calvinist or two into the mix and it’ll really be a party.

    • zunger

      Lucifer’s Universal Solvent, cuts through anything — even indelible grace with new Trinitarian Formula!

      (Sorry, I’m just imagining the ad campaigns now…)

    • Marie Brennan

      It’ll hardly be the most outre thing I’ve ever put in these books. 🙂

  2. midnight_sidhe

    May I recommend to your characters that they look for a priest who is already in questionable standing? He’ll still require some convincing, but if he’s already prone to breaking the rules, he’ll be more likely to agree to help them, but he’ll still provide the requisite oomph.

    • Marie Brennan

      I’m aiming not so much for “questionable standing” as “eminently pragmatic,” in the sense that he puts the well-being of his parishioners first. If there’s a real chance that a conditional baptism could help the character, he’ll be willing to give it a shot — though he might do it at night, when nobody but God is looking.

      • midnight_sidhe

        I think “questionable standing” and “eminently pragmatic” amount to the same thing much more often than they ought to, in these matters; but I’m extremely cynical about the Catholic church.

      • shui_long

        A priest with a good theological mind would focus on the sacramental issue, and baulk at the concept of “rebaptism”; but perhaps one who struggled through training college, who is far from an intellectual, and may break the rules – almost without understanding the implications of doing so – to do what seems to be good? At the risk of perpetrating a racist stereotype, an Irish priest with a warm heart? Now why would I be thinking of Father Matthew Kearney, or Father Peter Murphy, of the Marist house in Albert Place…

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