“Let’s face it, between Vatican II and our current de-emphasis on eternal hellfire, these days the Catholic Church makes a much less compelling argument,” explained Pope Francis. “Catholicism currently has to compete with other religions, social media, cults, Netflix, and our number one enemy – sleeping in on Sundays.”
“Ambush baptisms are the fastest way to get our numbers back up,” asserted the pontiff.
Ambush baptisms involve an ordained priest lying in wait, usually in a shrub or behind a building corner. The priest then leaps out of hiding before dousing the stranger in holy water and reciting an extremely quick prayer. Priests are then encouraged to make a hasty escape – partly to let the individual reflect on their newfound status as one of God’s flock, and partly due to safety liability concerns.
“Oh sure, it’s dangerous work,” said Father Gerald Toomey of Calgary, “But it’s nice to be back among the people doing some good, whether they asked us to or not”. Toomey claims to have performed over 30 ambush baptisms in the past month, though he is unsure if any of his targets were pre-existing Catholics, or ‘do-overs’.
“Besides, I’ve got quotas to meet,” Toomey insisted. “We got a saying down at the rectory. A-B-B: Always Be Baptizing”.
Reactions to the ambush baptism has been mixed among their targets. “Welp, I guess I’m Catholic now. I guess I believe in God and the Eucharist, apparently,” said 85-year-old Hindu Ravir Patel.
Religious scholars remain split as to whether an ambush baptisms are in fact spiritually binding. Some claim that these baptisms do actually supersede any existing religious affiliation, cancelling out any previous prayers or worship. Others believe the ambush baptisms simply “stack on top” of previous religious status – for example, a Jewish person who receives an ambush baptism would then be both Jewish and Catholic, or “Jewtholic”.
Recently several involuntary Catholic converts have spoken out regarding the practice or ambush baptisms. “Wait, that’s what that was,” said Andrea Brenton, 28, of Timmins. “Some old guy in white robes jumped out of a bush, splashed water on me, then ran away. I assumed it was a Just For Laughs Gag.”
“Although,” Brenton added, “this does explain why I’ve been feeling extra guilty lately.”
While many have argued that baptising someone without their consent is wrong, clergy members point out that most Catholics were also baptized as babies before they were able to object. Asked whether ambush baptisms are supported by the Holy Bible, Pope Francis responded, “The most important thing is that we can’t find any evidence specifically ruling them out.”
In a bid to expand the ambush baptism program, the Vatican has announced plans for priests to transubstantiate all of the products in various Panera Breads.