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roach
03-08-2006, 06:44 AM
The protagonist in my fantasy WIP is Catholic. I, however, am not, and am having a hard time researching certain things.

My current sticking point is on baptism. I grew up going to a Baptist church. When I was Baptized I was given a certificate of baptism (still have it in a file somewhere). My research has led me to believe that this isn't done in Catholicism. Are baptisms just recorded in a parish book and that's it? Do churches give out any kind of certificates to members, for First Communion or anything like that?

The reason I'm researching this is that I'd like to have her keep certain items in her Bible. My first thought was the certificate of baptism, but now I'm not sure she would even have one. Since this is an alternate history/fantasy story I could probably just make something up. I'd rather know how far afield I'm going though.

rtilryarms
03-08-2006, 07:22 AM
I am catholic.

Yes we received a Certificate of Baptism for our kids. If you need any wording or details let me know. We keep it in a fire vault but I think I remember the combination.

roach
03-08-2006, 08:03 AM
Excellent! Thank you. I don't need the wording, just wanted to know the item does exist. All the research I've been doing has been interesting but mostly in the abstract. I feel that I'm missing a lot of smaller, daily life type of details and worry that my character is going to come across as "Hollywood" Catholic, which is the exact oposite of what I want.

I've read that there are two different types of nuns: nuns and religious sisters. Although both are supposed to be refered to as nuns by the laity there are technical differences, one being that nuns reside in a convent while religious sisters reside in an institution. Do you or anyone know about this, and are convents just convents, no matter what the technical differences, to the general population?

My protagonist has a sister who belongs to the religious sister category and I'm just wondering if I can get away with calling her residence a convent since she can be called a nun without the distinction.

rtilryarms
03-08-2006, 08:35 AM
we Catholics protect our information.

BTW, I need your address. Now I have to kill you....sorry

roach
03-08-2006, 09:20 AM
we Catholics protect our information.

BTW, I need your address. Now I have to kill you....sorry

Sure thing. I live at 1060 West Addison, Chicago. :D

rtilryarms
03-08-2006, 03:52 PM
LOL

I couldn't figure out which person you were so I put a curse on the entire team. If the Cubs ever get close to another playoff win, I will be there in the stands to intercept a catchable flyball and make it an automatic homerun!

Hey, it could happen...

eloisemay
03-10-2006, 12:05 AM
To Roach:

Why on earth are you writing about a Catholic protagonist unless you know something about the Church? I'm Catholic and I'd never write from a Lutheran point of view. Too many credibility issues.

However, nuns and sisters are interchangeable terms. There are nuns who belong to a specific order (e.g., Carmelite) who live in a convent and are limited by the provisions of their order. Some devote their lives to prayer and never go outside the walls of the convent. Others, for instance those who belong to the order of Sisters of St. Joseph, usually teach or help out with social welfare situations and may live in apartments, etc., as well as in a community setting.

By the by, there's lots more to Catholic baptism beyond the artifact of a certificate. Catholics will spot your ignorance if you don't research all this further.

rtilryarms
03-10-2006, 04:39 AM
Writers do not have to be experts in a fictional situation as long as the subject, such as Catholicism, is not the main theme. If the fiction were about Catholicism, there would be trouble. If the Protagonist happens to be Catholic, the Author only has to be familiar with certain things that might show up in a scene in the story. Like a Baptismal Cert. for instance, whaich can be researched easily.

roach
03-10-2006, 07:40 AM
When I first thought about posting this question I questioned whether I should post it here or down in the Spiritual topic. I dithered over the decision for several days, one of the reasons being that I feared the exact response I just received.

I am doing research. I'm doing a lot of research, not only into Catholicism, but into Potawatomi, Ojibway, and Aztec cultures (language, myths, etc.). I'm reading up on architecture, demonology, Medieval philosophy and a dozen other topics that are in some way related to my book.

The fact that my protagonist's religion causes her some problems is the reason that I am doing so much research. While I may change a thing here or there (it is a fantasy based in an alternate Earth) I don't want to meddle with anything that doesn't have to, nor do I want to be seen as writing out of my *ahem*.

I want to be respectful to all the living religions and cultures that I am using in my story. Which is why I am dong so much research. Which in turn is why I posted my question. All my research didn't tell me if certificates of Baptism were issued by the Catholic Church. I could have just left out this detail, but it adds a level of verisimilitude to the story that I want.

ideagirl
03-10-2006, 08:03 PM
Sounds to me like you need a book explaining the basics of Catholicism... I'm reminded of one a friend of mine got to give her fiance (she was Catholic, he was Jewish): Why Do Catholics Do That? A Guide to the Teachings and Practices of the Catholic Church, by Kevin Orlin Johnson.

roach
03-10-2006, 08:08 PM
Hi Ideagirl! Thanks for the recommendation. I had checked out some books along that subject, along with the book of catechism and various online sites, but not that specific book.

stormie
03-10-2006, 08:11 PM
Ah, I was just reading this thread and was thinking about that same book! You can also go to Catholic Online (http://www.catholic.org/) for more info.

Branwyn
03-10-2006, 08:12 PM
To Roach:

Why on earth are you writing about a Catholic protagonist unless you know something about the Church? I'm Catholic and I'd never write from a Lutheran point of view. Too many credibility issues.

However, nuns and sisters are interchangeable terms. There are nuns who belong to a specific order (e.g., Carmelite) who live in a convent and are limited by the provisions of their order. Some devote their lives to prayer and never go outside the walls of the convent. Others, for instance those who belong to the order of Sisters of St. Joseph, usually teach or help out with social welfare situations and may live in apartments, etc., as well as in a community setting.

By the by, there's lots more to Catholic baptism beyond the artifact of a certificate. Catholics will spot your ignorance if you don't research all this further.

I write murder mysteries--I am by no means a murderer.

rtilryarms
03-10-2006, 08:17 PM
I write murder mysteries--I am by no means a murderer.


LOL! You killl me!

Celia Cyanide
03-10-2006, 10:39 PM
To Roach:

Why on earth are you writing about a Catholic protagonist unless you know something about the Church? I'm Catholic and I'd never write from a Lutheran point of view. Too many credibility issues.

Must be hard for you to write fiction when all your characters have to be exactly like you.

M.A.Gardener
02-03-2007, 04:11 AM
I'm also writing a novel with a character who is Catholic. I have a number of questions. If anyone would care to answer them, let me know and I'll PM you. The other thing is: I want to go to a mass, but I'm not even sure how to walk into the church. Do I have to do something (like I see on TV...) I'm so embarassed! :o
-Mary

Dario D.
02-03-2007, 04:20 AM
Just walk in, and do what everyone else does. Nothing to worry about. But when it's time to go up for Communion, by all means, STAY in your seat! ;) Rememeber that.

AnnieColleen
02-03-2007, 04:24 AM
I'm also writing a novel with a character who is Catholic. I have a number of questions. If anyone would care to answer them, let me know and I'll PM you. The other thing is: I want to go to a mass, but I'm not even sure how to walk into the church. Do I have to do something (like I see on TV...) I'm so embarassed! :o
-Mary

I'll answer questions if I can, or beta-read if you want, when you get to that point.



I've read that there are two different types of nuns: nuns and religious sisters. Although both are supposed to be refered to as nuns by the laity there are technical differences, one being that nuns reside in a convent while religious sisters reside in an institution. Do you or anyone know about this, and are convents just convents, no matter what the technical differences, to the general population?

My protagonist has a sister who belongs to the religious sister category and I'm just wondering if I can get away with calling her residence a convent since she can be called a nun without the distinction.


I think the term you want here may be cloistered, or possibly contemplative vs. active. (As was said before, there isn't a difference between nuns and sisters; the terms are interchangeable.) Cloistered = living an enclosed life, not going out into the world (except for a few sisters, called externs, who handle necessary interactions for the community). Contemplative = a life focused primarily on prayer; active = a life focused on external service (e.g., teaching, missionary work, helping the poor, etc.) -- which of course is still supported by prayer.

Try http://www.newadvent.org/cathen (very dense information) or www.ewtn.org (Catholic TV/radio network; links to a lot of resources & good for one view of modern Catholic culture). Some of EWTN's shows might be helpful too, depending on what period you're looking at (e.g., they re-run Bishop Fulton Sheen's TV program "Life Is Worth Living", from the early days of television). They also broadcast their daily Mass a couple of times a day.

stormie
02-03-2007, 04:26 AM
Hey, M.A. I PMd you.

Landwing
02-03-2007, 06:45 AM
Roach: don't know if you got any other answers about certificates, but certificates are also given for the Sacraments of Holy Communion and Confirmation. I don't know if this is the norm, but my parish handed out certificates for the reception of First Confession, as well. The parish office would also keep a record of the Sacraments being received, and if a parishoner moves then copies of the records are sent to the new parish. Hope that helps some!

M.A. Gardner: don't be embarrassed! The Good Lord knows we're all human and will be more than happy just to see you there! Ask anything you'd like to ask, and those of us who can help will do our best to answer/help you find answers.

All the best to both of you!

MattW
02-03-2007, 07:13 AM
Doing research on Catholicism is important because it's not exactly an obscure group. That fact also makes the research easier - there's lots of us around to answer questions.

Oh - nuns and sisters are essentially the same. As far as I know, all nuns are addressed as "Sister."

Same is not true for priests and brothers. Different status and titles. Father vs Brother (Jesuit order has both).

AnnieColleen
02-03-2007, 08:47 AM
The reason I'm researching this is that I'd like to have her keep certain items in her Bible. My first thought was the certificate of baptism, but now I'm not sure she would even have one. Since this is an alternate history/fantasy story I could probably just make something up. I'd rather know how far afield I'm going though.


People have answered re the certificate, but I don't think anyone's addressed the other point... I've never heard of anyone keeping a certificate of baptism in a Bible. Not to say it couldn't happen, if she had a particular reason for it, it just sounds unusual. Is she a convert? If she converted & was baptised at an older age that might make it more likely.

Prayer cards or holy cards (little paper cards w/ a picture on one side and a prayer, Scripture, or meditation on the back) would be pretty common, or maybe a letter that's special to her (from a loved one or spiritual advisor).

(My Bible has pressed bluebonnets in it, but I know that's unusual! :tongue)

(I'm working on an alternate history, too :) -- I'd probably avoid making changes unless they're directly related to the alternate history change. I.e., if the source of a particular practice or devotion is eliminated by the different history, then the practice can change, but not just because the author feels like changing it, if that makes sense. But I try to apply that to all areas, not just religion.)

Ask all the questions you need to! The only way I'd have a problem with a fictional portrayal of a Catholic would be if it was biased or unabashedly ignorant, and it looks like you're trying to avoid that, which speaks well of you. :)

Rabe
02-03-2007, 04:18 PM
Just walk in, and do what everyone else does. Nothing to worry about. But when it's time to go up for Communion, by all means, STAY in your seat! ;) Rememeber that.

I disagree with this last part.

I am not Catholic but am friends with Catholics (they are my 'adopted' nephews/nieces and their parents, one of whom is also my boss - also I am fortunate enough to be friends with a Catholic chaplain of detention ministry and her husband who is the local Deacon).

I have gone to several masses, including Ash Wednesday, Christmas Mass, Easter Mass and just a few regular masses...as well as going to my friends's baptism when his wife converted and he reaffirmed his faith.

I have - in the past - stayed in my seat when they call for communion and blessing and that created more of a problem with the other parishioners. I've never asked about it but it seemed to me that the took this as something of an insult to their community and fellowship. The worst were the looks from the young children who were trying to figure out what was going on and why I was staying in the pew.

If you go to a mass and when they call for communion, it's also for a blessing, not just for communion. At least in the parish where I've gone, they have a simple sign of placing your finger across your lips (similiar to the 'be quiet' sign) that tells the priest you are not accepting the sacrament for whatever reason. You are still given a blessing though.

If you want to go to a mass then by all means go! I've found every mass that I've gone to the people are friendly and accepting - even when they find out I'm *not* Catholic. Maybe even more so then because they see opportunity before them! If you feel uncomfortable in the pews, see if there is a balcony or some other area for newcomers or the curious. I do warn you, there is a lot of interaction at Catholic masses!

I also wanted to write a story that revolved around a character who is a lapsed Catholic. My deacon and chaplain friend told me that the church's Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults is open to *anyone* interested in the Catholic faith with 'no obligation' to convert or be baptized Catholic. From what I gather, these are like the 'catechism' classes kids go to. Check out with a local Catholic Church if this is the case in your area. Should help you learn a lot about the Catholic faith.

Rabe...
...whose friends have taught him some very different views of the Catholic faith...

electric.avenue
02-03-2007, 04:24 PM
I was raised as a Roman Catholic in the UK. I have a certificate for First Holy Communion, but not for baptism, first confession, or confirmation.

As far as I know, there are not different categories of nuns, except within an order there will be different ranks according to whether you have taken yr final vows or not. I went to a Catholic convent school and remember witnessing our English teacher take her final vows.

Going to mass: might be best to get a Catholic friend to take you. Don't get up for communion. You might like to make the sign of the cross with holy water on your way in and out.

PM me with further q's if you wish.

Good Luck!

johnnysannie
02-03-2007, 05:26 PM
I'm a life long or cradle Catholic. As others have answered, yes, there are certificates for baptism. Baptisms are also recorded in the parish where the sacrament is performed so years later, should one need or want to verify it or get a copy, it can be done.

I have not seen certificates for First Communion.....Holy Communion is the focal point of each Mass (Or Celebration of the Eucharist in more modern terms) so there would not be a certificate each time.

It's not customary for non-Catholics to partake during Communion but they can be blessed. The procedure for this must vary from parish to parish - in ours, those wishing to be blessed put their arms across their chest. Also, lapsed Catholics - if they are devout - often don't feel they should take Communion; same for anyone who may feel they're in serious sin.

The Catholic faith is complex at times; a book that might help with some points is "Catholicism For Dummies" - yep, one of that series. An older woman in our parish came back to the faith of her childhood after fifty years out and got the book to refresh her memory. She's brought it to our parish discussions and it has a lot of information.

As for nuns and sisters, although there is no real differentation, Sisters normally hold a job outside the convent, a teaching Sister in parochial school, a nursing Sister in a Catholic hospital, etc.

I would not keep my certificate of Baptism in a Bible but I do keep prayer cards, pressed flowers from loved ones' funerals or from my wedding bouquet, clippings, and such items. Keep in mind that for the most part Catholics don't carry a Bible to church as do many Protestants but use a missel, a book with the Order of The Mass and prayers of the mass, during the service. There are Scripture readings; some missels include these, some don't.

If you have other specific questions, feel free to PM me and I'll do my best.

MattW
02-03-2007, 10:08 PM
I have never heard of any Catholic taking insult at someone that doesn't receive communion. Sure, it you stay in your seat and no one can get by, that might cause an inconvenience, but most people simply get up, walk to the end of the pew, and let everyone pass then.

My church had many people with spouses who weren't Catholic. And the Catholic schools I went to were not exclusive - there were many Protestant children, and even a few Jewish kids.

I'd never heard of a blessing or gesture to refuse communion. On the opposite side, I've been to Protestant services where they insist everyone takes communion - odd for a Catholic where it is a stage of progression and must be earned.

AnnieColleen
02-04-2007, 01:59 AM
as well as going to my friends's baptism when his wife converted and he reaffirmed his faith.

(This is a tangent, sorry -- but I think you're mixing terms here. Unless you're saying his wife was the one who was baptized? If he was Catholic before, he wouldn't have needed to be baptized again.)


I have - in the past - stayed in my seat when they call for communion and blessing and that created more of a problem with the other parishioners. I've never asked about it but it seemed to me that the took this as something of an insult to their community and fellowship. The worst were the looks from the young children who were trying to figure out what was going on and why I was staying in the pew.

I doubt anyone felt insulted. Distracted if they had to step over you, possibly, and the kids may well have been confused, since it was something out of their normal experience, but I don't think that's a problem necessarily.


At least in the parish where I've gone, they have a simple sign of placing your finger across your lips (similiar to the 'be quiet' sign) that tells the priest you are not accepting the sacrament for whatever reason. You are still given a blessing though.

Hmm, I've never seen this. What I've seen is the arms-crossed-on-chest gesture that's been mentioned.


My deacon and chaplain friend told me that the church's Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults is open to *anyone* interested in the Catholic faith with 'no obligation' to convert or be baptized Catholic.

True...just a caution, though, that the quality of classes can vary depending on the knowledge & ability of the teacher. Most of them are great; I just wouldn't want anyone to be scared off by running into one of the exceptions.

(Rabe, thanks for your kind words. :))



Keep in mind that for the most part Catholics don't carry a Bible to church as do many Protestants but use a missel, a book with the Order of The Mass and prayers of the mass, during the service. There are Scripture readings; some missels include these, some don't.

Good point. Nowdays there are also Missalettes with the prayers of the Mass and Scripture readings for just a certain part of the year, sometimes with songs as well. These are generally left in the church & people pick them up as needed when they come to Mass.

Sweetlebee
02-04-2007, 02:15 AM
I'm sure Roach doesn't need this info any longer since he posted last March, but AnnieColleen mentioned prayer cards. Sounds morbid, but we kept funeral cards in our missal when we were kids. I had one for my aunt's mother. My parents had a small stack of them from every funeral they attended. There was a picture of Jesus or Mary on the front along with the deceased's name, date of birth and death, and on the back, a prayer.

MattW
02-04-2007, 07:01 AM
I always find prayer cards in my suit jackets when I take them out every 18 months or so.

roach
02-06-2007, 04:16 AM
Oh wow...this is a blast from the past. :D

Thanks to everyone who offered more information. I finished that book last September and started querying agents. While it's a stand alone work it could be extended into a series and at that point I might need to do more research.

AnnieColleen
02-06-2007, 05:27 AM
Yeah, I missed that detail. ;) At least now you know who to pester if that sequel happens!

Kate Thornton
02-06-2007, 06:55 PM
Okay, I have to tell this story.

I have been Anglican Catholic in a previous life and when I persuaded my DH to go to services with me, he was reluctant, but really wanted to see what we were up to.

When it came time for communion, I went to the rail, but cautioned him to stay in his seat. He agreed, but when I was halfway up the aisle, he hissed loud enough for everyone to hear, "Bring me back a cookie too!"

MattW
02-07-2007, 05:00 PM
I dropped the communion wafer once as a kid. I stood there with no idea what to do - there's no catechism class for klutzs!

Apparently, you eat it anyway since it's been transmorgrified.

AnnieColleen
02-07-2007, 07:42 PM
LOL at transmorgrified! Very technical term there. ;)

(That, and the priest or one of the ministers of communion should put a cloth over the spot, in case of pieces that get left on the floor, so nobody steps on them.)

spike
02-07-2007, 11:10 PM
I have - in the past - stayed in my seat when they call for communion and blessing and that created more of a problem with the other parishioners. I've never asked about it but it seemed to me that the took this as something of an insult to their community and fellowship. The worst were the looks from the young children who were trying to figure out what was going on and why I was staying in the pew.

If you go to a mass and when they call for communion, it's also for a blessing, not just for communion. At least in the parish where I've gone, they have a simple sign of placing your finger across your lips (similiar to the 'be quiet' sign) that tells the priest you are not accepting the sacrament for whatever reason. You are still given a blessing though.



Rabe...
...whose friends have taught him some very different views of the Catholic faith...


I was raised Catholic and I can tell you why those kids were staring at you. They figured you sinned on Saturday night.

Catholics traditionally went to confession on Saturday and Mass on Sunday. At confession, they recieved absolution for their sins and then were allowed to recieve communion.

When I was a kid, we used to watch the people who didn't go for communion, because we figured they went out on Saturday night and sinned! My sister and I would giggle until our mom would poke us.

MattW
02-08-2007, 12:00 AM
I was raised Catholic and I can tell you why those kids were staring at you. They figured you sinned on Saturday night.

Catholics traditionally went to confession on Saturday and Mass on Sunday. At confession, they recieved absolution for their sins and then were allowed to recieve communion.

When I was a kid, we used to watch the people who didn't go for communion, because we figured they went out on Saturday night and sinned! My sister and I would giggle until our mom would poke us.
We're all sinners. I would have pegged them for non-Cathoics before anything.

The really bad sinners are the ones who ran out screaming "It burns!" when they took communion.

Anonymous Traveler
02-08-2007, 06:13 AM
I have been Anglican Catholic in a previous life

Clue me on this one. I was raised High Anglican (Catholic lite) but never heard that term. I'm doing a wip on a Anglican who visits a Catholic church when JFK dies, to confirm a premonition. All his observations are based on his Anglican POV.

I have declined communion many times because I felt I could not meet the conditions of the sacrament. I accepted the blessing from my minister.

oops I found this link by mistake. Found Anglican Catholic of Canada (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglican_Catholic_Church_of_Canada) I can understand it now. I was a bit out of touch with the Spirit in the 70's

johnnysannie
02-08-2007, 04:48 PM
LOL at transmorgrified! Very technical term there. ;)

(That, and the priest or one of the ministers of communion should put a cloth over the spot, in case of pieces that get left on the floor, so nobody steps on them.)

Right. There is a procedure. I'm a Eucharist Minister (a lay person who assists with Communion) and in our training to do so, we were taught that there is a specific procedure that should be done.

Anonymous Traveler
02-08-2007, 05:49 PM
you eat it anyway since it's been transmogrified.

If you accept that it is the Body of Christ, if only for that instant. Before that instant they are just a bag of cookies. It follows for laying on of hands at First Communion. I was thirty plus. Anglicans believe that Christ's touch has been passed down through His disciples and ministers and that those receiving it are truly receiving His blessing. Unrealistic, but faith is not a logical thing.

AnnieColleen
02-08-2007, 08:09 PM
If you accept that it is the Body of Christ, if only for that instant. Before that instant they are just a bag of cookies. It follows for laying on of hands at First Communion. I was thirty plus. Anglicans believe that Christ's touch has been passed down through His disciples and ministers and that those receiving it are truly receiving His blessing. Unrealistic, but faith is not a logical thing.

Which instant? And, speaking in Catholic terms or Anglican?

For an Anglican service, I'll defer to those who know more about it. For a Catholic Mass, it is the Body of Christ from the moment the priest speaks the words of consecration, and continues to be so.

Not saying anyone else needs to believe that. :) I just wanted to spell out what the Catholic Church says is happening at the Mass -- in case anyone needs to know.

Anonymous Traveler
02-08-2007, 08:15 PM
Which instant? For a Catholic Mass, it is the Body of Christ from the moment ... of consecration, and continues to be so.

That was my intention, didn't say it right.

Evaine
02-08-2007, 08:17 PM
There was a hairy moment in Anglican church history after Cromwell's death, when they could only just muster enough doddery old bishops to consecrate more new ones, because so many had died during the Commonwealth period and not been replaced.
I'm sure they would have found some way round it if they hadn't been able to find any old bishops to re-start the Anglican Church, though.

MattW
02-09-2007, 05:00 PM
There was a hairy moment in Anglican church history after Cromwell's death, when they could only just muster enough doddery old bishops to consecrate more new ones, because so many had died during the Commonwealth period and not been replaced.
I'm sure they would have found some way round it if they hadn't been able to find any old bishops to re-start the Anglican Church, though.That sounds like a great plot point. I just have nowhere to work it in at the moment.

Rabe
02-11-2007, 06:14 AM
The really bad sinners are the ones who ran out screaming "It burns!" when they took communion.

No, that was when the Deacon and his Goon Squad forced the ashes onto my forehead!

(okay, slight exaggeration about the chain of events there but the ashes did leave a burning sensation which I think is probably more psychosomatic)

Rabe...

Rabe
02-11-2007, 06:25 AM
(This is a tangent, sorry -- but I think you're mixing terms here. Unless you're saying his wife was the one who was baptized? If he was Catholic before, he wouldn't have needed to be baptized again.)

OY! I've got some 'splainin to do!

Sorry, in my haste to say how wonderful the Catholic masses I've been to have been, I mistyped a bit. Both are my friends. But the wife was being baptized as Catholic and he was reaffirming the faith that he had lapsed.

He's also a coworker and a boss and is the one to get me to stop drinking cola when I told him I would support whatever he forsook for Lent by doing the same. I've had three colas since then (and the last time was an emergency caffiene fixed when the cafeteria closed and coffee was unavailable!)




I doubt anyone felt insulted. Distracted if they had to step over you, possibly, and the kids may well have been confused, since it was something out of their normal experience, but I don't think that's a problem necessarily.

I spoke to my friend about this after posting just to clarify. I guess the perceptions were all mine (except for the staring children and I love MATTW's explanation of that one!) When I've stayed in the pew it was because I am not Catholic, I don't buy into Catholicism and so felt it would be hypocritical and insulting to partake of their blessings. But even in doing so I made sure to stand aside while everyone in my pew was able to get out and then slipped back to my seat - never being over obtrusive. As I usually sat on the end, it didn't cause problems for them to come back into the pew after they were finished.

Perhaps - this conversation and the one with my friend - has made me realize I may have been projecting my own feelings and desire to be conciliatory to their right to their faith onto others.




Hmm, I've never seen this. What I've seen is the arms-crossed-on-chest gesture that's been mentioned.


This is the gesture I was told to do when going up and not staying in the pew by both the chaplain and my friend who had not been baptized at that time. Someone else said that the gestures are different from parish to parish. Most of our local priests come from the Dominican order and mostly from South America and other heavily Latin parishes if that means anything about the differing gestures. There is one priest - Father Brian - who I absolutely love. He's a great guy.



(Rabe, thanks for your kind words. :))


Hey, I used to be an unabashed Catholic basher. My boy scout troops was 'sponsored' by a local Knights of Columbus and we used one of their 'out buildings' as our meeting location. I had severe issues with the priest of the church next door and his arrogance about his title. Plus, I realized later, I knew very little about the Catholic faith. My friends in the Catholic faith here are almost as liberal as I am and I find that a lot of my preconceptions were either completely wrong or twisted just enough to be insultingly wrong. But at least their views are consistent.

For example, they say abortion is murder...and so is the death penalty. whereas I have other freinds in a certain bastard Baptist sect who say abortion is murder and the death penalty is all well and good. And that war is good - if it's against godless Muslims who are nothing but warmongering devil worshippers anyway.

Anyway, I still recommend that even non-Catholics go to mass - especially if they can find themselves a guide. Very open, welcoming and friendly gatherings.

Rabe...

MattW
02-11-2007, 08:52 PM
My friends in the Catholic faith here are almost as liberal as I am and I find that a lot of my preconceptions were either completely wrong or twisted just enough to be insultingly wrong. But at least their views are consistent.

For example, they say abortion is murder...and so is the death penalty. whereas I have other freinds in a certain bastard Baptist sect who say abortion is murder and the death penalty is all well and good. And that war is good - if it's against godless Muslims who are nothing but warmongering devil worshippers anyway.

Anyway, I still recommend that even non-Catholics go to mass - especially if they can find themselves a guide. Very open, welcoming and friendly gatherings.

Rabe...I agree with all the above. Catholics are still getting some residual bad reputation from the anti-immigrant propaganda (Irish and Italians mainly) and from the anti-Kennedy campaigns from the 60's.

To many people who aren't religious at all, Catholics are the same as fire-and-brimstone Bible-thumpers, evangelicals of the TV variety, and most recently defenders of pedophiles.

To some other Christian denominations, Catholics still represent the excesses and abuses of the Church from the 16th century. We also do exactly what the Pope tells us, and no one thinks for themselves.

This is my POV as a Catholic looking out. And not universal, just some observations. [/disclaimer]

wendygoerl
02-13-2007, 02:01 AM
I don't know if this is relevant to your character or not, but many older family bibles were bound with pages for recording births, deaths, and marriages. And, assuming your character was born Cathilic and didn't come in to the faith as an adult, he'd be more likely to have his certificate in his filing cabinet or safe. In rural areas, many births were at home with no doctor, and relatives serving as midwives. I don't know if the laws have changed recently, but I do know even in the latter half of the twentieth century, the County Register would accept a baptismal certificate in lieu of a birth certificate, or issue a birth certificate based on the baptismal certificate. If you polled my home county, you'd find a lot of people that don't have ''birth'' certificates, only baptismal certificates. I (I suppose I'm a ''lapsed Catholic'') know I've got a baptism certificate; it's probably in either my Mom's desk or the family safe, and I honestly don't remember if I've ever seen it.

BTW: Some grand old churches still offer Communion at a rail separating the pews from the altar area. In that case, I'd advise staying in the pew. More commonly, ushers guide the congregation by pews to the front, where the priest and as many as three laymen (depending on the size of the Mass) offer the Body. In that case, it's less awkward to go with the line and simply not take Communion. It is not proper to take Communion if you have not received the Sacrament. Traditionally, this was the Sacrament of Reconcilliation (logic being: you have to be absolved for your sins, before you can partake of the Body), but in the 60's or so (I think), somebody decided Reconcilliation was too complicated for first-graders, so First Communion was offered to first-graders and preperation for Reconcilliation was moved to fifth grade. There was talk of switching it back, butI dont know for sure. Like I said, I've lapsed.

bdh359
03-29-2007, 06:45 PM
I am not sure if this is the norm, but on the back of my (and my children's) baptismal certificate - there are places to fill in the details of subsequent sacraments. When/if requested, the church rectory will provide an updated certificate with the details of the additional sacraments with the date etc. as well as the Celebrant who administered the sacrament. A certificate would be needed for say a marriage outside your parish, to register a child for catholic school .. anything where you would need to prove that you are a practicing catholic.

AnnieColleen
03-29-2007, 06:55 PM
(lol, bdh, look at the date of the original post.

I did the same thing, btw.)

Rich
03-29-2007, 07:14 PM
RC baptismal certificates in New York can be used as official ID's, and proof of age.

I'm an ex-catholic but attend all kinds of church ceremonies because of family ties. I've never had anybody eye me for not receiving communion. My last attendance was two oonths ago at my grandson's baptism.

spike
03-29-2007, 10:36 PM
We're all sinners. I would have pegged them for non-Cathoics before anything.

The really bad sinners are the ones who ran out screaming "It burns!" when they took communion.

Yeah, but we were all absolved during Saturday's confession. You could not recieve if you were not given absolution (or if you had sinned between absolution and mass).

Anyway, that was in the 1960s, and generally people didn't visit churches. It was our neighborhood parish and we knew everyone there.

Elektra
03-29-2007, 10:50 PM
I agree with all the above. Catholics are still getting some residual bad reputation from the anti-immigrant propaganda (Irish and Italians mainly) and from the anti-Kennedy campaigns from the 60's.

To many people who aren't religious at all, Catholics are the same as fire-and-brimstone Bible-thumpers, evangelicals of the TV variety, and most recently defenders of pedophiles.

To some other Christian denominations, Catholics still represent the excesses and abuses of the Church from the 16th century. We also do exactly what the Pope tells us, and no one thinks for themselves.

This is my POV as a Catholic looking out. And not universal, just some observations. [/disclaimer]

This happens to me a lot, too--for instance, I mentioned once to the person I work with that I'd gone to Catholic school, and now if I say anything whatsoever out of the norm, it's "Oh, that's just because you're Catholic..."

Kate Thornton
03-29-2007, 11:46 PM
Catholic school! It deserves its own thread!

Shell
04-30-2007, 02:46 AM
The reason I'm researching this is that I'd like to have her keep certain items in her Bible. My first thought was the certificate of baptism, but now I'm not sure she would even have one. Since this is an alternate history/fantasy story I could probably just make something up. I'd rather know how far afield I'm going though.

Here is my two cents, but while my mom kept my baptismal certificate in her "safe papers" place somewhere in the house, when I got married - since it was in a different parish, different state, cross country - we had to get the parish I was baptized in to send another "official" certificate directly to the parish I was to be married in. Apparently, the 28 year old certificate was no longer official. The original parish didn't seem to think this was an odd request so I guess I might not have been the only one who had to do this.

Now, it could have been an idiosyncracy of the parish we were married in....the pastor also got mad at me (no joke) that I didn't have an "even" number of male and female bridesmaids/groomsmen. Could have been his weird rules.

AnnieColleen
04-30-2007, 05:58 AM
(psst, Shell...did you look at the post dates? It's fine to post for posterity's sake ;), but the original question was resolved already.)

And, welcome! :)

Moonbeam
05-14-2007, 05:01 PM
I know you've gotten your response by now, but I just thought I'd mention, in case you're still checking responses, that I have a friend who was once a cloistered nun in South America. She was divorced and had children. She refers to herself as a former nun, but perhaps she was actually a member of the other group you referred to. She never really made it as a cloistered nun, she couldn't stop talking for one thing.

Anyway, I want to thank you, as a Catholic, for being considerate and respectful to research the topic. By the way, the person who wrote that he was stared at for not going to communion had a very unusual experience. I don't always go to communion myself and no one is stares. There are many of us Catholics who don't participate every week for a variety of reasons. Personally, mine is because Catholic Holy Communion means believing that the Holy Eucharist is truly the body and blood of Christ. If I miss Mass two weeks in a row, for example, I will not take communion. My husband is European and will not take communion if he ate meat two days before attending Mass (American Catholics gave up that restriction since Vatican II, but still abide by it during Lent).

So, don't fear the Mass. Walk in, bow toward the alter (the eucharist is stored up there somewhere, but you won't know where, so just look toward the alter and bow by bending forward or quickly genuflecting on one knee. I actually always forget to do this and I'm pretty devout, so don't worry about it if you feel awkward and skip it), and sit at the pew. You may kneel and pray before sitting if you want. No one will care if you don't. It's your choice. By all means, please kneel when the whole room is kneeling during the Mass, though. Please do this. We always know when a non-Catholic is with us by the fact that their head is in our face when we are kneeling behind them. It's so irreverant. And besides, you wouldn't want your hair to make us sneeze on your head, right?

Thanks again for asking and taking an opened minded approach. We should all do the same.

M.A.Gardener
05-22-2007, 04:50 AM
Hi Moonbeam,

The scene I'm researching is quite short, but even so I believe that it's important to do research for it. I'll be going soon, and am looking forward to using all the tips that people have given me here. Thanks, everyone!

Mary

Julie Worth
05-22-2007, 05:42 AM
When I was Baptized I was given a certificate of baptism (still have it in a file somewhere). My research has led me to believe that this isn't done in Catholicism. Are baptisms just recorded in a parish book and that's it? Do churches give out any kind of certificates to members, for First Communion or anything like that?



Do an image search on Google with the words: "Certificate of Baptism " catholic

There are a number to choose from.

dobiwon
05-22-2007, 08:07 PM
[quote=Moonbeam;1331530]
By all means, please kneel when the whole room is kneeling during the Mass, though. Please do this. We always know when a non-Catholic is with us by the fact that their head is in our face when we are kneeling behind them. It's so irreverant. And besides, you wouldn't want your hair to make us sneeze on your head, right?
quote]

Reminds me of the story about an old sea captain who was religious enough that he made sure he pulled into a port somewhere every Sunday morning so he attend services at some kind of church. Someone asked him if he wasn't nervous because some congregations sit, stand, kneel, at different times. How could he possibly know what every church's practice was. He answered that it was simple: just sit in the stern and rise and fall with the tide.