Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of August 22, 2005
Same-sex marriage may impact Baptism
Two same signatures are not allowed, says Cardinal Ouellet
By DEBORAH GYAPONG
Canadian Catholic News
A controversy over whether the Catholic Church in Canada will baptize children of same-sex couples followed the testimony of Cardinal Marc Ouellet before the Senate committee examining same-sex marriage legislation.
The archbishop of Quebec City, appearing on behalf of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) raised the problem of Baptism as one of the many ways Bill C-38 could impact negatively on the Catholic Church.
"If I take the example of the ceremony of Baptism, according to our canon law, we cannot accept the signatures of two fathers or two mothers as parents of an infant," Ouellet said July 13.
"With a law that makes these unions official, situations of this will multiply and this threatens to disturb not just the use of our territory but also our archives and other aspects of the life of our communities," he said.
"This is an insane atmosphere in our country and our communities and it is not good for religious freedom if you cannot express your views and you cannot teach your beliefs," he said.
After the hearing, the CCCB clarified Ouellet's remarks.
One signature OK
According to a July 15 article carried by Canwest News, the CCCB's associate general secretary Benoit Bariteau explained that the Church would baptize the children of a same-sex couple if the parents agreed to have only one signature on the baptismal certificate.
"If the parents insist that the two signatures be on the act of Baptism, if we say no, it will be their choice of seeking Baptism or not," said Bariteau.
Following Ouellet's testimony, Senator Marcel Prud'homme, a Catholic, told journalists that the Church should not be allowed to refuse Baptism.
Prud'homme told Canwest's Tim Naumetz, "If two mothers or two fathers come to baptize a baby, how can you turn down Baptism? To me it's insane. Even if they have to change the ruling of the Baptism certificate. Who tells me that two mothers or two fathers cannot raise the child in the Catholic faith?"
But Ouellet told the committee that even priests might have trouble teaching the Catholic faith once same-sex marriage becomes law.
Ouellet warned that even from the pulpit, priests feel threatened if they speak about sexual morality.
"Even inside our churches, we fear being accused of homophobia, or of hatred or injuring homosexual persons," he said.