On 13/7/2014 Church of England General Synod debated proposed changes to the baptism service to make it “more accessible”. A key item discussed was “The Decision” section. Synod member Sister Rosemary asked how the ‘The Decision’ section should be interpreted. “Am I” she said “asking the baby to respond or the parents?” Her question deserves an answer.

I draw my evidence from four sources: 1) from the early Church: Hippolytus – 2) the 1662 Book of Common Prayer (BCP) – 3) the 1980 Alternative Service Book (ASB) – 4) Common Worship: Christian Initiation (CW) 2006

The Apostolic tradition of Hippolytus (c. 250ad) has this rubric ‘They shall baptise the little children first. And if they can answer for themselves, let them answer. But if they cannot, let the parents answer or someone from their family,’

In the BCP it is clearly the infant’s decision as the candidate, but who relies on the godparents to do its speaking for him/her. “Wherefore this infant must also faithfully … promise by you that are his sureties…. that he will renounce the devil and all his works…….and constantly believe God’s holy word and obediently keep his commandments.” ….. “Minister. Wilt thou be baptised in this faith? Answer. That is my desire. Minister. Wilt thou then obediently keep God’s holy will and commandments, and walk in the same all the days of thy life? Answer. I will.”

It is the babe’s future faith and morals which the parents and godparents are pledging, not their own.

The compilers of ASB adopted a both/and approach: “Those who bring children to be baptised must affirm their allegiance to Christ and their rejection of all that is evil……..Therefore I ask these questions which you must answer for yourselves and for these children.” Note how “their allegiance” is exquisitely ambiguous. Does it refer to the infant about to be baptised or to the parents and godparents?

“You must answer for yourselves” turns the Decision into an integrity test of the parents and godparents and ignores the fact that the Decision, like the baptism itself is that of the candidate, not that of the parents or godparents.

In CW Initiation the rubric at the Decision restores the historic doctrine enshrined in the BCP. “The president addresses the candidates directly or through their parents, godparents and sponsors.”

In the Age of the Martyrs candidates undertook a very demanding programme of spiritual exercises and culminating in the Easter baptisms. As times changed and infant baptism became the norm, there was no attempt to rewrite the baptismal liturgy to take account of the intellectual limitations of the infant mind. Instead the solution was to carry on using the same rubric as the one in the Apostolic Tradition. ‘But if they cannot, let the parents answer or someone from their family.’ CW Initiation simply reaffirms that tradition and keeps our continuity with Apostolic times.


As I started gathering material from the internet about mercury’s connection with neurological diseases, I came across this very lucid account of mercury-based dental amalgam by Anita Vazquez Yibau. She was a leading participant in the effort which came to fruition in the Minamata Convention. David Perry

In order to discuss the future of dentistry, we must first look at the history of the use of mercury in dentistry. Mercury is number 80 on the periodic table of elements. It is the most toxic nonradioactive material known to man and the most studied element since the beginning of alchemy.

Mercury used in dentistry has been documented as far back as the Ming Dynasty. However, it was only in the 1830s that the Crawcour brothers from France used a combination of mercury, silver, tin and zinc to form dental amalgam. They came to New York and began their marketing campaign to promote this new dental material. The Crawcour brothers were brilliant marketers and named their dental filling material Royal Mineral Succedaneum and their business was extremely successful.

During that time in the U.S., practicing dentists were either members of the American Society of Dental Surgeons or dental craftsmen, who were also doctors, barbers, horseshoers, homebuilders, etc. The methods for dental treatment at the time were either to extract the tooth without any medication or to place gold foil into the tooth.

When the Crawcour bothers brought this new filling material to New York, the American Society of Dental Surgeons made their members sign an oath of ethics not to use this material because of the toxic mercury content; however, the dental craftsmen found this to be such an easy and cheap way to fill teeth and realized the financial advantages of the material. This enabled the craftsmen to build their support and membership, dismantling the American Society of Dental Surgeons and forming the American Dental Association (ADA) based on the use of mercury. The ADA even had the patent on dental mercury. This was considered the first amalgam war.

The second amalgam war was very quietly lost when Professor Alfred Stock, a German scientist, who himself was mercury poisoned and wrote over 50 papers on the subject, tried unsuccessfully to encourage German dentists to abandon mercury’s use in dentistry. A world away, during that same time in the 1920s, a Brazilian dentist, Dr. Olympio Domingues Pinto, and his wife, Dr. Martha Faissol Pinto, also a dentist, started to see improvement in the health of patients when mercury fillings were replaced with gold fillings.

One particular case was of a young girl diagnosed with leukemia. After a visit to Pinto, she miraculously went into remission. When mercury fillings were put back into her teeth, the girl was rediagnosed with leukemia. Pinto then removed the mercury fillings and replaced them with gold, and once again she was in remission. This prompted him to encourage his son, Olympio Faissol Pinto, to study this in the U.S. at Georgetown University while he worked on his master’s degree.

During Pinto’s time at Georgetown, he found several books on the subject, one by Stock, and another by Dr. Karl O. Frykholm, and both of these discussed mercury in dentistry. Pinto was seeking to answer the burning questions of his father and he wanted to do his master’s thesis on mercury dental fillings. He was never able to have the laboratory time necessary to perform the research on his subject, but he never abandoned his desire to share the successes he had after replacing mercury fillings with non-mercury materials.

It was during the early 1970s that Pinto had a chance encounter with Dr. Hal Huggins, a U.S. dentist, at an international dental conference in Mexico City. It was there that Pinto told Huggins about his experiences with dental mercury and the miraculous improvements in his patients’ health when mercury dental fillings were removed. Even though Huggins was extremely skeptical of the information that Pinto gave him, he kept an open mind and decided to do his own investigation. At Pinto’s suggestion, Huggins performed a blood test (his primary means of testing at the time) before and after both placement and removal of amalgam fillings. The results of blood chemistry changes within three weeks were so astounding that Huggins immediately gave away all of his amalgam-placing equipment and never placed another one.

Little did Huggins dream at that time that his life would change forever. Huggins was so shocked at what he discovered about the toxicity of mercury that he began his own campaign to educate his colleagues about the dangers of mercury in dentistry. It cost him his license to practice dentistry, as he was accused of refusing to refer patients for amalgam placement. He was offered his license back but refused it. Since that time, Huggins has written numerous books on the subject. One of his first, titled “It’s All in Your Head,” was a catalyst for the movement, and Huggins, like Pinto, has lectured globally. After more than 40 years, Huggins, along with Pinto, whom he fondly refers to as his twin brother from a different mother, has never given up, nor given in to the enormous pressures from organized dentistry, which has persecuted both of them for decades.

This brings us to the third amalgam war, in which we are currently engaged. I have personally worked with Pinto and Huggins for over a decade, and they have told me their stories and are both my mentors. They are brilliant visionaries and pioneers in action. These men are in the category of extraordinary human beings. Although they are getting older, their passion and strength to continue to expose this issue to the world has never wavered. They are tireless and continue to push the envelope to advance the world of holistic biological dentistry.

Shortly after their meeting in Mexico City, Pinto met with a few of his forward-thinking colleagues, and started Sociedade Brasileira de Reabilitação Oral (the Brazilian Society of Oral Rehabilitation; SBRO). This organization continues to grow and none of its members use mercury dental fillings. Several years after SBRO was started, a group of Canadian and American dentists started the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT) in Canada.

In the early 1990s, the television show “60 Minutes” ran a segment on the dangers of mercury dental fillings. At the time, it was one of the most watched segments that the program had ever run. Also during that time, Pinto brought together experts for the first Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Rio Eco-Odonto, in 1992. It is curious to me that these events were happening in North America and South America almost simultaneously, using much of the same science to demonstrate the dangers of mercury in these two parts of the world.

During the “60 Minutes” segment, members of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the ADA, who oversaw the dental materials, were alleged to have ties with the industry. The ADA is a trade organization, like the Teamsters union, not a government agency, as some people may think. The people who regulate the dental industry are dentists, not scientists or toxicologists; therefore, objectivity on product or patient safety is skewed from the start. Most significant about the FDA’s oversight is that mercury dental fillings were grandfathered in under Generally Recognized as Safe, owing to amalgam’s long-term usage. To date, the FDA has not reclassified dental mercury fillings.

At that same time, the ADA was fighting against patient disclosure identifying mercury as the main ingredient of amalgam, and, more than 20 years later, they are still fighting not to disclose to the patient that mercury is the main ingredient in this dental material. I know this, as I just gave a presentation at a city council meeting in Berkeley, Calif., and the ADA and California Dental Association representatives argued that patients would be afraid if they knew the material contains mercury. Why are we still arguing? If there is nothing wrong with mercury in dental fillings, tell patients that amalgam contains mercury and let the patients decide for themselves.

The only difference between now and 20 years ago is the following: We now, after four years of negotiations, have approved a global legally binding treaty through the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), aptly called the Minamata Convention on Mercury. It was so named for the mercury poisoning that occurred owing to the mercury waste that the Chisso Corporation, a chemical plant in Minamata, Japan, was found to have been dumping into Minamata Bay.

Many, many people around the world have worked tirelessly for a ban on mercury in dental fillings. I would like to mention a few of the leading scientists and doctors whose pioneering works in the third amalgam war have moved this issue forward: Dr. Mats Hanson, Dr. Lars Friberg, Dr. Boyd Haley, Dr. Mats Berlin, Dr. Fritz Lorscheider, Dr. Vasken Aposhian, Dr. Murray Vimy, Dr. David Kennedy, Sam Ziff, Dr. Mike Ziff, Dr. Mark Geier, David Geier, Leo Cashman and many, many others, on whom more information can be found using a simple Google search.

This essay is by Anita Vazquez Tibau, international advocate against the use of mercury in dentistry

As someone with Parkinson’s Disease (PD) I suggest that the primary goal of research is not to “find a cure” but to find how to prevent Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s, etc.

As PD is neither infectious nor contagious but is an array of negative symptoms brought on by the death or disruption of brain cells, it is not good enough to repeat the mantra that PD is an idiopathic disease with no known cause.  What is needed is co-ordinated research into toxicity in the human body, starting with mercury. Why is prevention of PD the target rather than a cure for PD?

Consider an analogous example – how to deal with cirrhosis of the liver. Is the goal to be cirrhosis cured or cirrhosis prevented? Surely prevention of cirrhosis is the more favourable result. We already know that excessive alcohol consumption is the mega factor that leads to cirrhosis of the liver. The obvious course is to drastically reduce alcohol abuse.

What would we make of a doctor who told his alcoholic patient to keep on drinking but he would prescribe a special remedy for his hangovers while research was continuing to discover a cure for cirrhosis? We would say that he had lost the plot. Instead of tackling the root cause of the cirrhosis the doctor was content to manage the symptoms with pharmaceutical treatments while scientists search for ways of reducing the impact of cirrhosis.  Yet that goal “find a cure” for Parkinson’s Disease follows the same illogical pattern.

Mercury is more toxic than alcohol. Indeed it is the most toxic non-radioactive element known to mankind. It can cross over the blood/brain barrier and also the placenta. As long as it is permitted to enter the human body, especially the brain, it will continue its destructive effects. Just as a drastic reduction in alcohol consumption will have a beneficial effect on the liver so , I believe, would the elimination of mercury from the   human intake have a profound effect on the whole gamut of neurological diseases.

Is eliminating mercury from the environment and from human consumption a realistic goal? The answer is a resounding YES.

On 10th October 2013 many years of hard work came to fruition with the signing of the Minamata Convention by over 140 nations. The convention’s goal is precisely the elimination of mercury in the environment and in the human body.  Alongside phasing out the use of mercury in industrial processes the Convention also requires nations to phase down the use of dental amalgam fillings, of which mercury is a component, over an appropriate period of time. The signing of the treaty follows years of discussion by the United Nations’ Environ-mental Programme’s Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (UNEPINC).

Norway, Sweden and Denmark have shown the way to the future. From 2009 they have already banned the use of dental amalgam.

Could it be that the neurological diseases are not distinct entities each with their own distinct causes but rather all the result of mercury getting to a variety of sites within the brain?

I prophesy that the quest for a mercury free human body in a mercury free environment will follow the same pattern as the quest for unleaded petrol—denial by industry of the harm that mercury inflicts until the amount of evidence is utterly incontrovertible and leads to a world-wide ban.

In the meantime I have found it instructive to surf the net and see what information is readily available about Parkinson’s and its likely causes.

To pursue the correlation between the mercury body burden and number of amalgam surfaces, try pasting this link in to a new window.


Also worth a look

http://www.nature.com/cited/cited.html?doi=10.1038/sj.bdj.4808325       click on item 2 about East German children and that will give you the page with the abstract on. The project was trying to find whether there was a correlation between heavy metal pollution in the environment and the amount of mercury in the children’s bodies. They checked those from a heavily polluted area against those from a non-polluted area. There was no such correlation. But—there was a good correlation with the number of amalgam fillings each child had!

This is the text of an article I wrote which appeared in the 15th October 2010 edition of the Church of England Newspaper.

During the 1940s, in parallel with the emerging consensus on the nature and structure of the Eucharist based on pre-Nicene models, there was an emerging scholarly consensus on baptism. This culminated in the 1958 Liturgical Commission Report “Baptism and Confirmation”. It sets out the integrated rite of Baptism and Confirmation of Adults as the archetypal service, roundly declaring “In the New Testament Adult Baptism is the norm, and it is only in the light of this fact that the doctrine and practice of Baptism can be understood”.

However, to understand and to imitate are two different things. In 1960 the number of infant baptisms was still massive and the number of confirmations was quite substantial, so pastoral practice was not affected by what the liturgists thought..

In 1971 the Ely report on Christian initiation proposed that “The Church should make explicit its recognition of Baptism as the full and complete rite of Christian initiation” and “that Confirmation be administered as a service of commitment and commissioning, but at a suitable stage in adult life.” The first recommendation resulted in the drive by some for children to be communicants without being confirmed. To the extent it takes root, the practice casts doubt on the relevance or necessity for confirmation. The second recommendation has simply been ignored. In the midst of this are the bishops who carry on confirming candidates as requested by the parishes. It raises the question – is confirmation a component of Christian initiation as it stands? If so, how is initiation complete in Baptism? Perhaps Ely was mistaken?

What about this question. Is Confirmation experienced as it should be only when part of an integrated sacramental act of Baptism-Confirmation-First Communion?

If we accept that to be so, then there are two ways of handling the full integrated rite.. First is the way of the Orthodox who administers the integrated rite to babies. The parish priests are given authority to confirm. The second way is to follow the pre-Nicene pattern of the pre-baptismal catechumenate, culminating (ideally at Easter) in the integrated rite. For this to be practicable it would be necessary for the bishops to delegate confirming to the parochial clergy, but just imagine the energy that might release. It would mean that the work of evangelism and catechesis could be synchronised throughout England. Starting with “Back to Church Sunday” in September there could be a common pattern of preparation and instruction leading through to Easter. The role of the bishops could be to validate those local churches or new expressions of Church sufficiently resourced to meet the demands of the programme.

Embraced ecumenically a typical Easter might see people receiving initiation in perhaps 25,000 different locations at the same time on the same day. What a witness that would be!

However, for as long as the authority to confirm in the C of E is confined to fewer than 200 men, the vision cannot be realised. That would be a great shame. Movements like Fresh Expressions witness to a Church beginning to wake up to the world as it is – pluralistic, globalised, scientific, materialistic, media driven but a world in which people have enormous personal freedom to choose in so many aspects of life, but knowing little or nothing about Jesus. As the report on Generation Y said, it is a generation ignorant about rather than hostile to Christianity, surely an unchurched generation for which the ancient pre-baptismal catechumenate was tailor-made.

To reintroduce the catechumenate and reintegrate Confirmation with Baptism is not something unheard of. For a generation now the Roman Catholic Church has been running its rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) and some parts of the Anglican Communion have developed similar rites. Take note also that Common Worship: Christian Initiation contains a modest nudge in the same direction with its opening Rites Supporting Disciples on the Way of Christ. It also provides for the newborn with a well devised Service of Thanksgiving for the Gift of a Child. (691 words)

David Perry, Membership Secretary of Baptismal Integrity,
the views expressed are personal and do not represent any particular policy of BI
South Cave 10/10/10

Let me give an example of liturgical practice which is incompatible with normative infant baptism:

How does one account for the way in which the Armenian Church, one of the most ancient, developed specific liturgies for babies? Prefacing the Order for Baptism which states explicitly that it is for use with adults and grown children, the Armenian books provide two Canons to be used for infants.

The first is the “Canon of an eight days old child”; the infant is brought to the door of the church by his grandmother, he is named, signed with the cross, and one prayer said. The second is a Canon for use when the child is forty days old; he is brought by his mother and his nurse, at the church door a prayer is said for the purification of the mother, they enter church where hands are laid on the child, and he is caused to prostrate himself before the altar.

How could that provision for infants have been made if the apostolic norm was to baptise infants? How also indeed could infants have been treated as ineligible for baptism?

These rites for infants are well echoed by modern rites of infant blessing and dedication such as the Church of England’s Service of Thanksgiving for the Gift of a Child.

I have recently traded letters to the Editor of CEN (Church of England Newspaper) with a staunch paedobaptist. In the dialoge he asked me to show where there is the discontinuity between the Old Covenant and the New. I invited him to consider the following examples:

Jesus speaks in terms of the new wine requiring new skins.

Time and again Jesus says “But I say unto you….”

St Paul sets out clearly the radical transition made by Christians, outgrowing the paedagogos that leads us to Christ.

Animal sacrifice is made redundant because of the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.

We see the price of the discontinuity where Jesus says “Brother will betray brother to death and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.”

The Council of Jerusalem in Acts 15 was an exercise in managing the discontinuity.

Paul in Philippians – What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.

Lo! We turn to the Gentiles.

All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers. (Jn 10)

Discontinuity is there in abundance, making Christianity a new start for mankind rather than the formation of a sect within Judaism.

Extract from Apology of Aristides (c. 125ad): “And when a child has been born to one of them, they give thanks to God; and if moreover it happen to die in childhood, they give thanks to God the more, as for one who has passed through the world without sins.”

There is no suggestion that newborn infants were baptised nor that there was any attempt at clinical baptism when they were dying in childhood. Instead the parents and the Christian community practised “giving thanks in all things”.