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Maybe I Won’t Be Going to Heaven

Maybe I Won’t Be Going to Heaven

There is huge debate in the Catholic Church hierarchy because a priest in Arizona somewhere was baptizing people with the phrase “we baptize…” instead of the official “I baptize…” Apparently this was a long-standing, minor error, and there are hundreds of people involved. But “minor” is a subjective word.

Some fossils in the hierarchy want to invalidate all those baptisms and demand they be re-administered. Some of those people have died, presumably unable to enter heaven; some have had marriages and children which would no longer be recognized; some had made confessions which would be improper and their sins not absolved.

In a Catholic newspaper, one such rigid priest made the case that the pronoun makes a huge difference, these baptisms should be annulled, and cites, of all things, legal contracts as a precedent.

I wrote a letter to the editor excoriating (that’s not exorcism, by the way!) the priest’s point of view, and taking the position that Christianity is about tolerance and forgiveness (now novel concepts) and that the church ought to pay attention to getting more people into the pews and not pronouns.

This struck such a nerve that the newspaper published my letter along with an editorial citing why I was incorrect.

At Good Friday services, my priest sought me out in those pews and said, “Great letter, you shook up the entire archdiocese, and you’re exactly right.”

See, it’s the front-line people who know what’s going on, not the people with their feet up on the desks in their offices deciding on the disposition of the deck chairs while the ship sinks.

Written by

Alan Weiss is a consultant, speaker, and author of over 60 books. His consulting firm, Summit Consulting Group, Inc., has attracted clients from over 500 leading organizations around the world.

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