My nephew got baptised today. His parents are what I would consider to be conservative Catholics. I applaud their religious convictions. It also gave me the chance to see what I believe to be a pre Vatican 2 baptism. They had the service at St. Francis de Sales in south St. Louis, Missouri. This church is very old and ornate in its decoration. It is very large, costing a lot to heat and cool. The baptism held on Staturday meant that there would be no air conditioning for a single event to save money. This meant that the church was almost 90 degrees inside!
The service was held in Latin using all of the traditional prayers. At least I assume they were traditional as I could not understand any of them. As an Ex-Catholic, I have a generally good understanding of the faith, through my upbringing. But I don’t remember ever seeing bread and lemons at a baptism before.
My overall experience of this type of service has me wondering why Catholicism was/is such a large religion. I have only to guess that FUD (Fear, Uncertanty, and Doubt) is the primary reason for its existance. People telling you what would happen if you didn’t believe, and the guilt brought on from parents of straying children. I also found the priest’s interactions with alter boys very strange. The mass had several orchastrated interactions with the alter boy holding the priest’s garments to help up the stairs without tripping, or for extra movement. As a parent, I would not approve of my son particpating that way, even with a respected/trusted person.