Mary McAleese: Baptised children ‘infant conscripts’

Jun 27, 2018

By Patsy McGarry

Babies baptised into the Catholic Church are “infant conscripts who are held to lifelong obligations of obedience”, according to former president Mary McAleese.

Saying that early Baptism breaches fundamental human rights, she said: “You can’t impose, really, obligations on people who are only two weeks old and you can’t say to them at seven or eight or 14 or 19 ‘here is what you contracted, here is what you signed up to’ because the truth is they didn’t.”

The current model of Baptism “worked for many centuries because people didn’t understand that they had the right to say no, the right to walk away”, she declared.

“But you and I know, we live now in times where we have the right to freedom of conscience, freedom of belief, freedom of opinion, freedom of religion and freedom to change religion. The Catholic Church yet has to fully embrace that thinking,” she told The Irish Times.

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9 comments on “Mary McAleese: Baptised children ‘infant conscripts’

  • This is actually a significant intervention. Mary McAleese probably isn’t a household name in the US, but she is a much respected former President of the Republic of Ireland, traditionally and historically a deeply Catholic country.

    She is herself a Catholic and has recently been speaking out quite strongly against some of the more regressive teachings and practices of the RC church – to the point where she has incurred the wrath of the Vatican.

    Back in March she caused a stir when she said the Catholic Church “has long since been a primary global carrier of the virus of misogyny. It has never sought a cure though a cure is freely available. Its name is ‘equality’.”

    https://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/religion-and-beliefs/catholic-church-resembles-a-male-bastion-of-patronising-platitudes-mcaleese-says-1.3419596

    More power to her elbow!



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  • @OP – The current model of Baptism “worked for many centuries because people didn’t understand that they had the right to say no, the right to walk away”, she declared.

    Not only that, but in the feudal theocracy, citizens, and especially aristocrats, HAD to be baptised and married in church, for their children to be recognised as “legitimate” and entitled to inherit lands and property! There were no atheist, or “heretic” kings or lords of the manor!

    Any children born without church approval were “bastards” who had no inheritance rights!

    Some similar religious monopolies of inheritance exist in Sharia law today!

    https://islamqa.info/en/26171

    Yes indeed, it is not permissible for a Muslim to inherit from a kaafir or for a kaafir to inherit from a Muslim.
    If a Muslim dies and leaves behind a Jewish or Christian wife, it is not permissible for her to inherit from him.

    It was narrated that Usaamah ibn Zayd said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The Muslim does not inherit from a kaafir and the kaafir does not inherit from a Muslim.”

    (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 6383; Muslim, 1614).



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  • Alan

    It was narrated that Usaamah ibn Zayd said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The Muslim does not inherit from a kaafir and the kaafir does not inherit from a Muslim.”

    This is one of the best topics I have when in discussion with Muslims about why we don’t organize our lives around the ideas that were popular one or two thousand years ago.

    While I’m happy to concede to the proposal that prophet Mo or Jesus or any number of other “progressives” of their times came along and made changes that resulted in improvements in the conditions of the oppressed members of their societies, after that, I require that my interlocutor concede to my point of view; that what was progressive then is now solidly in the category of human rights violation.

    There is a very long list of these so called improvements. They include better treatment of slaves. Better divorce and marriage laws for women and of course, inheritance laws that force men to give a pittance to close female relatives on dispersal of their worldly goods after death.

    So given that, what I like to point out is that while I’m giving credit to these minor upgrades that were conceded to women and others back in the bronze age in the Middle East, we can do MUCH better than that now. Two thousand years is an eternity when it comes to human rights. I won’t say that there were none then, just that we can probably count them with only one hand.

    The short version that makes people stop and think this through is this; Who do you want to decide about the dispersal of the money and possessions that you worked hard for all your life – some old guy who lived two thousand years ago in the Arabian desert? Or should it be you? Don’t you have the brainpower to think about who needs financial help and support in your family? Can’t you think of a charity that has meaning to you personally and that would appreciate your donation and use it wisely for the common good? Can’t you find one single young person who wants nothing more than to go to University and make something of themselves but can’t attend because they are impoverished?

    There are a million ways to disperse goods and money that are demonstrations of the highest altruism and if I must go there, religiously righteous. Now given that, how can anyone think that looking in the dusty old Koran or Bible and following their simplistic little dispersal equation could ever be better than each individual taking the time to put a little thought into this matter and coming up with a plan that is personalized, and actually fair to all offspring, wives, parents and friends who will be left behind when we surrender to the inevitable, final good-by.



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  • Laurie #4

    what was progressive then is now solidly in the category of human
    rights violation.

    This is such an important point. The problem with religious-book-based ethics is that it makes a fossil of morality. It allows no progress beyond the insights of 1400, 2000 or 4000 years ago.

    Consequently, in the modern world all advances in human rights are hard-won in the teeth of ferocious opposition from the Abrahamic religions, and it can truly be said that genuine, progressive, inclusive rights are only possible where religion is firmly relegated to the private sphere.



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  • Alan

    Not only does the church throw obstacles in the way of inheritance, marriage, and any other activities where they can get away with demanding a baptismal certificate, what is, I think the real crime here is when they scare the living daylights out of the common folk by saying that if their child (or anyone else) happens to die in an unbaptized state, then that person will go straight to hell and burn there, suffering for all eternity.

    All of this could of course be prevented by simply showing up at the local church dressed in your Sunday best, standing by while the priest or pastor drips some magical water on your baby’s head and saying the usual droning mumbo jumbo.

    Even if new parents are capable of thinking their way out of this evil fairy tale, there are sure to be members of their family who approach them with expressions of panic and horror at the mere mention of their foregoing the old tired tradition.

    So along with this substantial family pressure, the inconvenience of dodging civil paperwork requirements and then imagining your innocent precious child burning in screaming agony for no reason at all…it’s to the church we go. The church is beautiful. The gorgeous booming inspirational music reverberating off the ancient architecture. Everyone dressed so nicely and afterwards it’s the family party with gifts and delicious foods and good company.

    You’ve got to admit…the cultists are very good at what they do. Very, very good at it indeed.



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  • LaurieB #6
    Jul 3, 2018 at 2:39 pm

    Everyone dressed so nicely and afterwards it’s the family party with gifts and delicious foods and good company.

    One of my sons did that to introduce my granddaughter to the family and friends, in an hotel overlooking the sea, but no churches and no priests anywhere near!

    Several university friends from their student days who were guests, thought they would emulate this secular introduction of infants when they started their families!



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  • Alan

    Oh yes! That sounds wonderful and I’ve never made any secret of the fact that I’m all for seizing the power of the clergy when it comes to the traditions and ceremonies that are meaningful to secularists. Just personally, I’ve edged them out of our family funerals, which I’ve discussed previously on this site.

    This is an important tactic for the secular community in our goal to push the aggressive deluded back into a benign defanged version of their current selves.



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  • Alan

    @3

    Yes indeed, it is not permissible for a Muslim to inherit from a kaafir or for a kaafir to inherit from a Muslim.
    If a Muslim dies and leaves behind a Jewish or Christian wife, it is not permissible for her to inherit from him.

    Interesting that they’ll take a pass on the available kaffar money in an inheritance but when their armies invade the land of the infidel they are encouraged to plunder the treasure of the kaffar and that includes stealing their women for sex slaves. Sword of Islam!!

    Some fascinating theological gymnastics needed to reconcile this one!



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