Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A Stange Brew

For Christmas I received The Sources of Catholic Dogma by Henry Denzinger. While reading through it I came across the following under the heading: The Matter of Baptism [From the letter "Cum, sicut ex" to Sigurd, Archbishop of Nidaros, July 8, 1241]:

"Since as we have learned from your report, it sometimes happens because of the scarcity of water, that infants of your lands are baptized in beer, we reply to you in the tenor of those present that, since according to evangelical doctrine it is necessary "to be reborn from water and the Holy Spirit" [ John 3:5] they are not to be considered rightly baptized who are baptized in beer."
I was shocked and had to read it again. I couldn't believe it! And don't get me wrong, it wasn't that they were using beer to baptize their children - I actually found it a little comforting to hear that the Church has never been without Her liturgically creative. What shocked me was the fact that there once was a land where water was more scarce than beer.

I guess it's just a small reminder that no matter how good we may think we have it, there's always someone, somewhere, who had it a whole lot better.

2 comments:

Laura The Crazy Mama said...

So, to paraphrase the Archbishop of Nidaros:

"Soh, we learnt from dat stuff you told us dat da babies been bein dipped in beer instead a water. WHAT WERE YOU THINKING? Dontcha knoh ya gotta baptize dem in da WATER? Dey ain't baptized if day been dipped in da beer! Take off, ya hosers!"

J. Thorp said...

So -- they had enough fresh clean water to brew enough good beer to have enough to spare to use it for baptisms? :)

(Of course, if it were most any mass-produced U.S. beer, it'd've been just fine -- they're naught but water anyway!)