RE: Forced baptism
I was not baptized as a baby, but I was forced to get baptized a lot later. I've been through a lot, but I find this to be my biggest trauma ever. It's like a painful, never-healing wound!
Due to war in my country (little European country) when I was 15 I moved to my father's family. As soon as I got there, they started making plans to baptize me. The pressure was enormous and possible consequences of me refusing it were terrifying. I never got a minute alone with the priest (I wanted so much to tell him that I wasn't ready, and to beg him to find some excuse for me). However, as I couldn't get a private chat, I did hint him in many ways (e.g. I wasn't "able to memorize" the basic prayers, and I was doing my best making facial expressions that would make him suspicious of "my wish" to get baptized). Also, him being a great friends with my family, he should have known their background and what they were capable of.
No discrete obstructions from my side worked and I got baptized against my will.
I simply could not stand living with that family, so I took off few months later (when you turn 16, although still a minor, here you can live on your own as long as you don't break any laws, have the means to support yourself (job) and continue the school).
As soon as I started living on my own, I sent an official request to franciscans whose priest baptized me, that my name should be deleted from all church books, giving them the explanation on why I found my baptism to be invalid. I got no reply. When I turned 18, I did this again through my lawyer. I received no reply, and at the time, it was still too hard/impossible/inconvenient to sue the church.
And that's not all. During those two years, franciscans in that town used every opportunity to defame me. The priest who did the religion (catholic) class in my school (I was the only one who refused to attend that non-obligatory class) was calling me by name as an example of a bad Catholic and Croat (although I was one of the rare top-graders in school, living on my own, earning for the bills AND volunteering in a humanitarian organization). I was told by a friend that my name was even mentioned during the official mass in the church.
It even came to a point when I was receiving physical threats from people I didn't know.
So it all resulted in me changing both my first and last name and moving to another, non-catholic dominated city.
I'm in my thirties now, and this very painful subject (bringing all the bad memories from the worst period of my life) hit me again today!
I was first shocked, than I felt like throwing up, and now I'm furious.
What happened... well, in a million people city, today I stumbled upon my school friend, who also happens to be my new neighbor! She was always very nice to me, so there was no chance or reason to avoid meeting her for a drink. I was even looking forward to meeting her, although I knew she would unintentionally open my wounds (she works for Caritas), as the subject of "what happened" had to come up.
Well, although she is a Catholic with very strong beliefs, she was very supportive, even telling me that I should repeat the request again. She also told me that the priest who baptized me is expelled from the church together with some other priests (by the pope John Paul himself, some ten years ago).
So I did it again, this time sending the request to the bishop's office.
I tried to analyze why this hurts so much. I believe it would have been a different story if I was baptized as a non-conscious baby. But being forced at the age of 15 is about the same as rape. And it's like I was raped again and again through the problems priests caused me while I still lived in that city, just because I asked the baptism to be annulled.