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Keeping the regulations — 5 Comments

  1. Ian, one of my siblings born three years before me survived only five hours. I often heard my mother talk about my father and an uncle taking a small white coffin to the graveyard very early in the morning for burial in the space between two graves. Superstition was that a grave opened for a baby or young child would be opened again within twelve months for an adult.

  2. Grannymar,

    I’m not sure I could even begin to imagine the pain of such experiences. The churches were complicit in the process in failing to declare that these little babies were human beings, to be remembered with love.

  3. I’m flabbergasted that these stories are as recent as the 60’s. My mother was a midwife and in the event of the death of a newborn or a stillborn baby, the clergy were always called. In fact even though on many occasions the baby was little more than a foetus it was still often baptised, the birth registered and a death certificate issued. I’m sure you see more of this at the coalface Ian, but in my experience, the clergy have been very forgiving under such circumstances and ready to help the little soul’s passage to wherever. Lets hope times are a changing. Then again, the Catholic Church in Australia is considered renegade . . the previous Pope didn’t like us much. God forbid, we want priests and nuns to marry, women to be ordained and gay’s made welcome . . it wil be interesting to see what our latest ‘head’ thinks when he comes to the World Catholic Youth Conference in the new year!

  4. Baino,

    Those two stories were from people whom I knew who chose to tell me, I suspect there were many other people I knew who may have had similar experiences, but said nothing about them. I also fear that such things may have continued until the 1980s.

  5. Ian,
    Thank God my premature baby lived. He was
    born in 1953.He weighed only 2 lbs.12oz.
    and was not expected to survive.

    The day after he was born I had a visit in my
    room from a Jewish nurse who was present at
    the delivery. She had come to tell me that
    SHE had baptised my baby and that I was not
    to worry about that aspect; just pray for
    his survival, as she was.

    When my husband and I took Stephen to church
    four months later,to be baptised by the priest,
    we were told by the Priest that he would only
    bless the baby because he had already been
    baptised at the hospital.

    This made us feel very grateful to both the nurse and the priest. It assured us that if our baby had died, he would have died baptised……The Church
    did recognize the baptism performed under
    dire conditions by that thoughtful nurse.

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