Thoughts on a baptism

8 12 2010

Recently I had a child baptized, so I offer the following thoughts regarding Bugnini’s ceremonial and other matters:

In seminary I had been educated concerning the changes that Bugnini and Co. sought in the ritual of infant baptism. Having seen both versions, it is evident that in the old ceremonial, the parents were non-entities. This is because one was to pretend that the child is already a fully rational adult who is making the choice herself to be baptized. The modern ritual refuses to playact in that sense: it addresses the questions primarily to the parents, with only a vague concession towards the role of the godparents as a sort of cultural accretion. Even in the ritual, it is the parents who are called the first teachers of the child in terms of religious instruction.
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On Initiation

9 02 2009


Or: Why the Church is the way it is right now

Recently I was reading neo-pagan John Opsopaus’ essay on Pythagorean theology, particularly the section on theurgy. Those who have been with me for several years know that I have written on theurgy before, and a lot of the content of Opsopaus’ essay was not new to me. However, it does gather a lot of ideas that would take some time to find in many other sources. I highly recommend it.

What I want to address this time is the idea of initiation that he describes in the last part of work. Opsopaus describes a series of initiations in the ancient world that a Christian cannnot help associate with our own rites of initiation. In these ceremonies, the initiate or desmos prepares himself for the entrance of a god into his soul. This includes ritual washing, the use of lights and smoke, and other material rites that prepare the soul with union with the Divine. After the service, the symbolic death and burial of the initiate, he “is transformed into a Theios Anêr (God-Man), one of the Perfected or Immaculate Beings (Akhrantoi), who by Their very presence on earth bring grace to humanity and to all of Nature”. Comparisons to baptism and Christian theosis here are not very far-fetched.
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