Kerre McIvor

Kerre McIvor is a Herald on Sunday columnist

Kerre McIvor: Contradiction in name of the game

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I like the idea of christenings or naming ceremonies. It seems a polite thing to do, really. It's a way of introducing your baby to close friends and family and it can double as a thank you to whatever higher power you believe in for the child's safe arrival - if you're that way inclined.

Prince George was christened this week in an intimate family affair in just his second appearance.

His parents are regular churchgoers and his great-grandmother is the titular head of the Anglican Church so it made sense to have a religious ceremony to bless the little princeling's arrival.

I do wonder why people who have no intention of taking their child to church and following the teachings of the faith bother with christening ceremonies.

A bit like people who get married in churches but who aren't part of the congregation and never darken the door of the church again. I wanted to get my daughter christened when she was born 24 years ago but as I was living in sin with her father, the doughty old Irish priest at my church refused to have anything to do with me - and accordingly, her.

We exchanged acrimonious words and I resolved never to have anything to do with the church again.

But I understood that it was his club and his rules. So we had our own private thank you ceremony with friends and family who were more forgiving of our situation. Now it seems that naming ceremonies have become the alternative for people who don't identify with any organised religion.

While we're at it, what's the role of godparents today? In Victorian times, being a godparent was a role that was taken very seriously. Now, when you agree to become a godparent, what sort of obligations come along with the title? Would you be expected to be a guardian in the unfortunate (and unlikely) event of both parents carking it? Does it involve sending fifty bucks inside a card at Christmas?

Are you seriously expected to take responsibility for the child's spiritual development as was the case years ago? Or is it just a way of new mums and dads positioning their very best friends at the top of the friendship totem? I am yet to be a godparent but should I ever be asked, I would like to be prepared.

- Herald on Sunday

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