Login Register

All times are UTC - 7 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic Page 1 of 1   [ 11 posts ]   
Author Message
 Post subject: Catholic Baptism for child of non-Catholic parents?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2007 6:57 pm 
Offline
Newbie
Newbie

Joined: Mon Jul 09, 2007 6:47 pm
Posts: 2
I am writing to seek clarification on an issue that is currently upsetting me greatly. Today I received an invitation for the baptism of my husband's new nephew. While I am a devout Catholic, my husband was christened in a Protestant church and raised without any religious upbringing as was his brother. His brother does not currently belong to any church, and his wife was raised/baptized Baptist and attends Baptist services on occasion. Their child is apparently being baptized in a Catholic church, and I am wondering how this can be? My father in law is a very lapsed Catholic, and on his 3rd marriage, but this is the only connection to Catholicism in the entire family. MIL is Protestant.
How could a priest baptize a child of 2 non-Catholic parents? I am getting the feeling that this is being done for show, for my father in law's siblings who are involved in the Church. My in laws have no intention of raising the child Catholic--how could they when they have most likely never set foot inside a Catholic church?
I am really torn about this: to me it is making a mockery of the sacrament of baptism, but my husband (as a non-religious person) does not understand my concerns.
Can anyone explain the Church's stance on this? And what should I do?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2007 7:29 pm 
Offline
DCF Travelin' Man
DCF Travelin' Man
User avatar

Joined: Fri May 30, 2003 1:31 pm
Posts: 12008
Location: New Mexico
Religion: Catholic
IMHO, To attend would show tacit approval of a violation of Canon Law:

"Can. 868 §1. For an infant to be baptized licitly:

1/ the parents or at least one of them or the person who legitimately takes their place must consent;

2/ there must be a founded hope that the infant will be brought up in the Catholic religion; if such hope is altogether lacking, the baptism is to be delayed according to the prescripts of particular law after the parents have been advised about the reason."

"SPONSORS

Can. 872 Insofar as possible, a person to be baptized is to be given a sponsor who assists an adult in Christian initiation or together with the parents presents an infant for baptism. A sponsor also helps the baptized person to lead a Christian life in keeping with baptism and to fulfill faithfully the obligations inherent in it.

Can. 873 There is to be only one male sponsor or one female sponsor or one of each.

Can. 874 §1. To be permitted to take on the function of sponsor a person must:

1/ be designated by the one to be baptized, by the parents or the person who takes their place, or in their absence by the pastor or minister and have the aptitude and intention of fulfilling this function;

2/ have completed the sixteenth year of age, unless the diocesan bishop has established another age, or the pastor or minister has granted an exception for a just cause;

3/ be a Catholic who has been confirmed and has already received the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist and who leads a life of faith in keeping with the function to be taken on;

4/ not be bound by any canonical penalty legitimately imposed or declared;

5/ not be the father or mother of the one to be baptized.

§2. A baptized person who belongs to a non-Catholic ecclesial community is not to participate except together with a Catholic sponsor and then only as a witness of the baptism.

Also it is injurious to the child who will not be brought up in a way that allows them to fulfill their baptismal promises.

Pax Christi

_________________
"Let no one ever come to you without leaving better or happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness in your smile, kindness in your warm smile." PFC Daniel R. Parker USA (died in Iraq August 2003)


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2007 2:17 pm 
Offline
Newbie
Newbie

Joined: Thu Jul 12, 2007 12:23 am
Posts: 9
Religion: ?????
A difficult situation. It strikes close to home, for me, as my eldest son was baptized in the Catholic Church at a time when our family was not really Catholic. At the time, I was a lapsed protestant, and my wife was a lapsed Catholic. We didn't attend any church and had no intention of doing so, but agreed to have our son baptized at the request of my sister-in-law. I suppose there was some hope of our son being raised Catholic (since my wife was a lapsed "cradle Catholic"), but at the time, I would have said "no chance." Later, my eldest daughter was baptized at a Lutheran church.

I certainly don't advocate knowingly flouting canon law, but I also know that the baptisms of my two eldest children were means of grace not only for them, but also for my entire family. Those baptisms were an important part of the path that led me back to Christ and to full communion with His Church.

Your post didn't say who the sponsors are to be. Are they Catholic? Perhaps there is more hope in the situation than you are currently seeing.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2007 2:29 pm 
Offline
Handmaids of the Lord
Handmaids of the Lord
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jul 23, 2003 8:04 pm
Posts: 12526
Location: Middle of nowhere
Religion: Catholic :)
The parish I belonged to would not baptize a child unless the parents had attended a special class. Maybe you could contact the pastor and maybe even the bishop about this?

_________________
O God, our refuge and our strength, look down in mercy on Thy people who cry out to Thee, and through the intercession of Mary, the virgin Mother of God; Saint Joseph, her most chaste spouse; Thy holy Apostles Peter and Paul, and of all Thy Saints, hear our prayer for the conversion of sinners, and for the liberation and exaltation of our holy Mother the Church. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2007 4:01 pm 
Offline
Sons of Thunder
Sons of Thunder
User avatar

Joined: Sat Sep 13, 2003 7:34 pm
Posts: 27139
Location: Sine Domum
Religion: Roman Catholic
For a child to be baptised not only must his parents consent* but they must also promise to raise him in the Catholic faith. If the parents are not Catholic then the children cannot be baptised*.

This is of extreme importance. While it is true that such illicit baptisms often are means of grace (I myself am an example of that), yet it is actually more dangerous for such children to be baptised. This is because the devil especially wants those with the mark of Christ and if one is not going to be grounded in the faith and the practice of the faith then they are exposed to danger.

* In danger of death a child can and should be baptised even against his parents' wishes, but only then.

_________________
εἰ ἐμὲ ἐδίωξαν, καὶ ὑμᾶς διώξουσιν: εἰ τὸν λόγον μου ἐτήρησαν, καὶ τὸν ὑμέτερον τηρήσουσιν.
μολὼν λαβέ

My Blog


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2007 6:18 pm 
Offline
Jedi Master
Jedi Master

Joined: Sat Nov 20, 2004 3:58 pm
Posts: 2311
The law is correctly stated above, but some of the conclusions drawn from the law are erroneous. In order to be baptized in the Catholic Church, there must be a well founded hope that the child will be raised in the Catholic faith. There is no requirement that the parents be Catholic, although when they are not Catholic, or are lapsed Catholics, there are obvious difficulties which should be addressed pastorally. Sometimes, it may be that the family tells the priest all the "right" things, but are being untruthful. When that happens, it is a real mess.

I, myself, have baptized children (rarely), with the lapsed-Catholic parents' consent, when another relative such as a grandparent has agreed to take on the responsibility to raise the child in the faith. This is not the ideal; but it is permitted by law. Indeed, it is doubtful that a priest has the right to delay baptism in such cases. (And the law never speaks of denying baptism, by the way. Baptism is to be delayed until the priest has a well founded hope that the child will be raised in the Catholic faith.)

Someone above quoted the canons regarding baptism, and placed c. 874 section 2 in bold print. This is a subsection of the canon on sponsors. Essentially, when there is one Catholic sponsor who meets the criteria of section 1, then another person may participate as a "Christian witness." This person is not a sponsor (godparent) but does have a role to play in the ceremony. Again, this is not the ideal. A person may not, by the way, be a Christian witness if they are a lapsed or apostate Catholic, or if they are a Catholic who does not fulfill each of the provisions of c. 874 section 1.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2007 7:27 pm 
Offline
Newbie
Newbie

Joined: Mon Jul 09, 2007 6:47 pm
Posts: 2
Thank you for all the excellent information. I am not sure who the sponsors are at this point. I am having a hard time believing that this child will be raised Catholic when the parents have no knowledge of what it is to be a Catholic, and are both baptized Protestants. So in that way, I feel the "well founded hope" is not logically present. If I thought they were planning on taking instruction in the Catholic faith, or even sending the child to a Catholic school or CCD some day, their decision to baptize the child in the Church might be more understandable.
The situation just does not feel right to me. I suppose that I can only work hard to show an example of what being a Catholic means, and hope that I will be allowed to have some influence on the child's life.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2007 7:30 pm 
Offline
Jedi Master
Jedi Master
User avatar

Joined: Tue Dec 31, 2002 7:55 am
Posts: 63308
Location: 1.56381501 radians
Religion: Catholic
Church Affiliations: 4th Degree KofC
JennyT wrote:
So in that way, I feel the "well founded hope" is not logically present.
The problem is that you may not know everything that the priest knows. In the end, whether or not there's well-founded hope is up to him to judge.

_________________
Nos autem in nomine Domini Dei nostri

Need something to read?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2007 9:26 am 
Offline
Sons of Thunder
Sons of Thunder
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jun 27, 2007 6:55 am
Posts: 3499
Location: Moria
Religion: Catholic
My daughters were baptized catholic while at the suggestion of my wife who is a cradle catholic. Even though I was at the time a non-believer our parish priest permitted their baptism.

I'm glad he did because if I hadn't attended the first reconcilliation meeting for my oldest daughter I might not have joined the church.

_________________
Formerly Mithrandir...
Image


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2007 4:57 pm 
Offline
Handmaids of the Lord
Handmaids of the Lord
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jul 23, 2003 8:04 pm
Posts: 12526
Location: Middle of nowhere
Religion: Catholic :)
chillindisciple wrote:
My daughters were baptized catholic while at the suggestion of my wife who is a cradle catholic. Even though I was at the time a non-believer our parish priest permitted their baptism.
Yes, but it sounds like your wife was a practicing Catholic.

Quote:
I'm glad he did because if I hadn't attended the first reconcilliation meeting for my oldest daughter I might not have joined the church.
Now, that's wonderful :D

_________________
O God, our refuge and our strength, look down in mercy on Thy people who cry out to Thee, and through the intercession of Mary, the virgin Mother of God; Saint Joseph, her most chaste spouse; Thy holy Apostles Peter and Paul, and of all Thy Saints, hear our prayer for the conversion of sinners, and for the liberation and exaltation of our holy Mother the Church. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2007 5:03 pm 
Offline
Jedi Master
Jedi Master
User avatar

Joined: Tue Dec 31, 2002 7:55 am
Posts: 63308
Location: 1.56381501 radians
Religion: Catholic
Church Affiliations: 4th Degree KofC
As noted above, all it takes is a "well-founded hope" that the child will be raised Catholic. Since your wife was practicing, that's all that was needed.

_________________
Nos autem in nomine Domini Dei nostri

Need something to read?


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic Page 1 of 1   [ 11 posts ]   


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests


Jump to: