Monday, December 28, 2009

Bizarre Letter

Our church received the following bizarre letter last week. The woman who wrote the letter apparently sent the same copy to all Baptist churches in this area. I've changed names for the sake of anonymity.

Dear Sir/Madam:

My name is "Sally." I was married to "Tommy" and am currently attending RCIA classes with "St. Paul's" Catholic Church in "Smithtown," New Jersey.

In order to take my sacraments, I need to provide the church that Tommy was not baptized as a Catholic. Tommy states that he was baptized in a Baptist church in Georgia, either in Jesup or Savannah, but cannot remember which one. He was baptized in 1992 or 1993.

Could you please check your records and see whether or not you can locate Tommy's baptism record? If a record cannot be found, I have to go through a full annulment which is costly versus a simple annulment. Please contact me at the included e-mail and advise that you have indeed located the record and send confirmation to "Father David" at St. Paul's Catholic Church in Smithtown, New Jersey.

I thank you in advance for your cooperation. If you have any questions, please e-mail me.

Very truly yours,


There are several troubling things here. It appears that Sally wishes to join with a Catholic church somewhere in New Jersey (that alone is problematic). However, in order for her to do this, she first has to clear up her marital situation. Sally is seeking an annulment (I'm not sure if a divorce has already occurred - she says she "was married to Tommy"). She wants a cheap annulment as well. The problem for her has to do with Tommy's baptism. If he was baptized in a Baptist church, then Sally receives a discount on the annulment. If this cannot be proven, then it will be full price. Additionally, the baptism couldn't have been too significant for Tommy since he cannot even remember where it took place.

Needless to say, I'm not going to search our baptism records to see if Tommy was baptized in our church. Why would I want to help Sally get a cheap annulment? Why would I want to assist her in joining a Catholic church?


David Rogers said...


I don't know is this is the practice everywhere, or exactly how it relates to your post, but FWIW...

When I was in Spain, a lady who got baptized and joined our (Baptist) church wanted to find out what she needed to do to officially not be a member of the Catholic church. If I remember correctly, her priest told her that, since she was "baptized" as a Catholic, the only thing she could do to not be officially considered a Catholic was to write a letter officially renouncing her Catholic "baptism."

Eric said...


It's good to hear from you. I hope all is well.

The more I think I understand Catholicism, the less I really do. Baptism, as a sacrament, must be viewed by most Catholics as having some sort of "initiating power" into Catholicism. Fascinating.

Raymonde said...

I grew up a Catholic (if that deserves a capital letter) and never knew Jesus and was under the law, so I laughed at your post and get an inkling of what it is like. I agree with you not to bother with records. The only record I want kept is my name in the Book of Lamb. Love to read your blog and be encouraged in my way of thinking by like minded lovers of Jesus. Have a very Happy New Year. Bring it on Lord!!!

Eric said...


Thanks for your comment. I agree that what matters most is being included in the Lamb's Book of Life. I feel so bad for this woman (Sally), and hope that she comes to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

Happy New Year to you as well!