August 31, 2010

A religious question

I know, I know... never bring up politics or religion unless you are looking for an argument, right? Well, I keep thinking about religion and whether to baptize Isabella or not. I do believe in God but I have never been a fan of organised religion. I am a catholic because I am Italian and most Italians are baptised Catholic at birth, I did all the sacraments required of a good Catholic child but my parents never forced made religion a big deal in our family. They have only started going to church a bit more in the last 3 years or so and even then they rather go pray in sanctuaries than churches. My brother who has also received all the catholic sacraments I have does not believe in the church either and has refused to go since the age of 16. I did attend for a while but got so disillusioned about the whole thing and now only go for Christmas mass as part of our family tradition than anything.

D was baptised Greek Orthodox as his mom was. His dad was Catholic but after D's mom passed away he converted to being Greek Orthodox too, I suppose grief makes you do things you would never consider otherwise. D doesn't attend Church either unless it's Easter and he happens to be in Greece.

Now that I have painted what our family is made up of in terms of religion, I ask myself, what should Isabella be? A Catholic like me, an Orthodox Greek like her daddy or neither and for her to decide later on in life? I hate the idea of choosing one over the other purely based on the fact of which one is less intrusive on her life or less demanding of her and us because that would mean I am making a decision thinking purely about my needs.

I remember thinking it was strange how my brother didn't baptised both of his daughters but now it makes more sense to me than baptising her one way or the other just because of family preassure or the need to conform to what society deems appropriate. I would also hate for her to say I am Catholic because my mom is or Orthodox because that's what my dad is and not knowing much about her religion at all. I don't see myself talking to her what it means to be a good catholic and if she were Greek Orthodox, I wouldn't know the first thing about it. I do see myself talking about the God I believe in and I pray to and as far as I know my God and the God D believes in, are the same.

There is also the added issue of who can be godparent when baptising in one church or the other? Could my mom be a godmother in the Orthodox Church even if she is Catholic? Could D's dad be a godparent in the Catholic Church if he is Orthodox? I already know that given we were not married in the Catholic Church we cannot have the baby baptised Catholic unless we swear to raise her up as such. I don't know, the more I read the more I am put off. When talking to a friend of mine and mentioning that being Orthodox is easier as you don't have as many sacraments as in the Catholic Church therefore less obligations than if she were Catholic, she mentioned that if that was the way we went about deciding things, we might as well not make the decision but leave it open for her to decide once once she grows up. I can see her point and the more I think of it, the more I agree with her.

D and I have spoken about this in passing but we have yet to sit down and actually make a decision on the matter. I know his family is more religious than mine and that they will push for her to be baptised Orthodox but I really don't feel that family preassure should be the deciding factor in something that would have such an impact on her life. As I have said, it's a tough one...


  1. That's a biggy one! I have thought about it too, we are very similar in our upbringing (me and you I mean) while Mike would have had much more trips to the church than me and his family is very religious. At least we are both Catholic.
    I think we will have a baptism, but for me (and I'm divorced by the way, so not sure how that goes) mostly has a ceremony to welcome our little one into the World. I think that it's nice to have a ceremony of some kind, doesn't have to be a religious one though. Much love, Fran

  2. I think it's impossible to answer this question objectively, but here's my two cents' worth from my own biased perspective:
    Given that neither of you are particularly tied to your respective churches, I think the important thing is to instill her with the values and beliefs that you have, rather than focusing on the more specific aspect of choosing a particular religion. She'll learn about Catholicism from you and about the Orthodox church from her dad, and you may find that she evolves to feel more connected to one of those religions as she grows. I've always thought that it's what you believe and how you act that are more important than where or how you pray.
    Good luck!

  3. Oh this is tough! But I think it's a very common issue. I was raised in a non-denominational Christian church, and the hubs was raised in a Lutheran church. Both of us has some religious education, including me at a Catholic boarding school in high school! I now consider myself generally Christian, but I don't go to church. And based on his education and learnings, the hubs now considers himself Hindi! I don't think we'll baptize our children, but we want to raise them in a church. I think it's helpful to raise children in a community that has similar values and ideals to help your child. I have very good memories of church youth group, and it was nice to know I had other people to talk to, such as my youth group pastor. But this definitely will be tough!

  4. We're not "giving" our children any religion - we're letting them decide which one they want to be - if they even choose one.

  5. When people ask us if babe is baptized we just tell them "no, we're waiting for her to pick out the one she likes the best" and people usually think we're nuts and leave us alone, lol.

  6. Thanks girls for sharing your opinions and how you have or will handle this delicate issue. It really isn't an easy decision to make and I am sure we will discuss this one for a while before we make up our minds and decide which way to go about this...thanks for being honest.