Holding the Baby?

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Today was Theodora Mary Elizabeth Farrow’s baptism. She is now cleansed of Original Sin and is part of the Christian family. We had quite a low-key affair being less than two weeks away from moving house, but God willing there will be an enormous celebration at some point in the next eighteen months for all extended family and friends.

Just one wee question, to which I’d be grateful to know the answer. Why, in the New Rite of Baptism does the priest not hold the baby during the act of pouring the water over the baby’s head? Depending on the height of the font, potentially the baby can end up at something of a peculiar angle with the parent awkwardly holding squirming infant with their head pointed downwards, aimed in the general direction of the font almost like they are going to have a hairwash with all the blood rushing to their head.

Personally I’d like to see the priest take the baby in his arms whilst baptising. There is something very reassuring and symbolic about the priest, in personae Christi, cradling the baby in his arms and welcoming them into the bosom of Mother Church. Is it a Health and Safety initiative? Does the priest have to undergo risk management and need a certificate in baby cuddling or is there something symbolic I’ve missed? It would be a shame to have a generation of priests fearful of baby handling.

In the meantime Teddy’s missed her evening bath tonight as she still smells so delicious from the chrism oil. I never wash the babies after Baptism until all the oil has totally worn off, which won’t take too long at this rate as I keep sniffing her head!

6 thoughts on “Holding the Baby?

  1. Congratulations.

    In answer to your question, I imagine it’s to do with the symbolism of the parent (or God-parent?) holding the baby. More significant is the lack of exorcism. We had our last three baptised in the EF…

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