Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Churching of Women

A beautiful and ancient tradition that is slowly being revived. Share


Unknown said...

It is a beautiful ritual. I suspect that it fell out of use because few women nowadays die in childbirth. The older liturgies would need to be updated to be appropriate with modern medicine. Childbirth was considered more dangerous than warfare in the days of midwifes with little knowledge of sanitation and without antibiotics.

In my mid-19th century Anglican Book of Common Prayer, the liturgy for the Churching of Women follows the liturgies for the Visitation of the Sick and the Burial of the Dead -- not the liturgy of Baptism for Infants. The introductory prayer is: "Forasmuch as it hath pleased Almighty God of his goodness to give you safe deliverance, and hath preserved you in the great danger of Child-birth; you shall therefore give hearty thanks unto God . . ." The closing prayer likewise begins: "O Almighty God, we give you humble thanks for that thou hast vouchsafed to deliver this woman thy servant from the great pain and peril of Child-birth . . ."

tubbs said...

I remember my Mom going thru that rite after my siblings were born back in the fifties. I once asked a Jesuit why the ritual was no longer practised, and he felt that political correctness was the reason.

And Teresa, I've always been amazed that a Protestant church (pre-Oxford Movement) would recognize such an important milestone in life---and preserve it!