Ex-Irish President says infant baptisms violate human rights
Mary McAleese, Ireland’s President from 1997 to 2011 and an outspoken critic of the Catholic Church which she has described as ‘one of the last great bastions of misogyny’, has lashed out at infant baptisms.
According to this report, she claimed that early baptism breaches fundamental human rights, calling babies baptised into the Catholic Church:
Infant conscripts who are held to lifelong obligations of obedience.
In an interview with the Irish Times 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.
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. My human right to inform my own conscience, my human right to express my conscience even if it is the case that it contradicts the magisterium [teaching authority of the church], that right to conscience is supreme.
The Catholic Church defends the practice of baptising infants. Its Catechism says:
Born with a fallen human nature and tainted by original sin, children also have need of the new birth in Baptism to be freed from the power of darkness and brought into the realm of the freedom of the children of God, to which all men are called. The sheer gratuitousness of the grace of salvation is particularly manifest in infant Baptism. The Church and the parents would deny a child the priceless grace of becoming a child of God were they not to confer Baptism shortly after birth.
The Catechism adds that Christian parents recognise that the practice of infant baptism:
Also accords with their role as nurturers of the life that God has entrusted to them.
McAleese indicated in the same interview that she would be marching in this Saturday’s Dublin Pride Parade with her son Justin, above, and his husband Dr Fionán Donohoe.
In the past she has been outspoken in her support of homosexuality and women priests, and has criticised Catholic teaching on marriage and family as “homophobic” and:
Completely contradictory to modern science and to modern understanding.
In this report, she said:
Jesus Christ would be better represented by those celebrating marriage equality than ‘miserable people in a tiny empire the size of a golf course.’
She maintains the Church’s characterisation of same-sex orientation as “disordered” can lead to harmful internal conflicts in homosexual Catholics.
She also said that she would avoid the upcoming World Meeting of Families — to be held in Dublin — because its purpose is to reinforce orthodoxy.
In March, McAleese celebrated International Women’s Day by slamming the Catholic Church from across the street of Vatican City — where she’d been banned from speaking — as “one of the last great bastions of misogyny.”
She also branded the Vatican as “an empire of misogyny,” and “a primary global carrier of the virus of misogyny.”
McAleese, who holds a licentiate in canon law from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, descibed the Catholic prohibition on ordaining women as “codology” not theology.