Wednesday, April 19, 2006

New Catholic Sues Church Over Frigid Baptismal Font

Ah, the honeymoon was short.

Or perhaps there never was a honeymoon for Justin Freeman, an Anchorage, Alaska Catholic. One of the many newly baptized Catholics at the traditional Easter Vigil Mass, Freeman is now organizing a class action lawsuit against the Church for baptizing him in allegedly frigid water.

"When I went to RCIA, I got the impression that the Church wanted to welcome people into Her community, that God calls all people to Himself. They told me baptism was the way to do that. Fine. Then they told me the early church preferred full immersion, you know, more like the Jordan River. OK. But that water was so close to ice it was like soup. If I spent more time in it, I'd have hypothermia. Therefore I am filing a class action suit against the Church for personal trauma during my baptismal experience."

"Baptism is indeed supposed to be a death to the sinful self, putting on Christ in new life. That's why we encourage full immersion, to communicate the fullness of the sign," commented his pastor, Fr. James Stoltz. "But we didn't intend to let the water get that cold. The font is in our foyer, and the water was room temperature before the Vigil, but after the Exultet, those seven readings, psalms, prayers, a homily...well, I guess it did get a might chilly. This is Alaska, after all."

"Justin did seem a little shocked," noted long-time parishioner Myrtle White. "I wondered about it because he came to the font with beachwear on. And then he had to put aside his margarita to get in. I'm not sure what he was expecting, actually."

"Well, it looks like a hot tub," Freeman commented shortly. "Initially I thought it was a nice touch, zero-entry and everything. Kind of like what I'd put out to welcome people to a party at home. But even though people were smiling, they weren't getting down, you know?"

Short of the $100,000 Freeman is asking for trauma, he is stating that he is willing to negotiate with the parish. He would like to see a baptismal font like the one pictured above, which could be outdoors with bubble jets as shown, but is--most importantly--heated. "After all," Freeman says, "Just because you're dying to sin doesn't mean you can't have a spot of fun with it all."


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