Thursday, July 2, 2009

Infant Baptism

Several weeks ago, I wrote a post about purgatory. A friend of mine had questions about purgatory so I tried to answer him the best I could. My friend also had questions about infant baptism and why we baptize babies. Infant baptism is often criticized by certain Protestant denominations because they believe that only adults should be baptized. The Catholic Church has been baptizing infants since the first century. To better understand why we baptize infants, it's important to understand what Catholics believe happens at baptism.

Catholics believe that when we are baptized:
  1. we are washed free of all sins, both original and actual, as well as all punishment for sin
  2. the baptized is made "a new creature" (1265 CCC) and given sanctifying grace
  3. we are made members of the Body of Christ, the Church
  4. we are given an indelible spiritual mark

The Church teaches that baptism is necessary for salvation to all those who have received the Gospel and who are able to ask for the sacrament based on Mark 16:16 (1257 CCC)

So we believe that as parents we have a responsibility to ensure that our children are baptized. If we think of original sin-that sin which is transferred to us from our original parents, Adam & Eve--as dirt and grime, would we not be remiss if we did not ensure that our children were washed clean through the sacrament of baptism?

I understand that when adults are baptized they are able to stand up for themselves and proclaim their faith. When Catholic parents have their children baptized, they are standing up for the child and promising that they will raise them and Christian and the child is given grace to help it grow spiritually.

There are several instances in the Bible where whole households are baptized including Acts 16:15, Acts 16:33 and 1 Corr 1:16. When this happened, it means more than husband and wife. It included children and probably any slaves that were included in the household.

The argument against infant baptism can be explain if it is understood what Catholics believe happens at baptism. It is also important to point out that the Church has been baptizing infants since the early church. This is shown not only in early writings but in Scripture.

There is a good article, if you are interested in further reading at the Catholic Answers website. This is just a short brief post, I realize. Is there anything that you catechists out there can add to help explain it better?? Anything I missed?


  1. I believe infant baptism is a good idea and support it as a symbol of blessing the child and welcoming them into the house of God.

    1. I agree with you. It is a wonderful way of welcoming once child into the world and such a beauitful sacrament to receive. I am only 16 but to be honset I total support baptism of an infant

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  3. Catholics believe baptism is necessary for salvation.
    VATICAN II declared this in #7 of it’s decree Ad Gentes:
    “Therefore, all must be converted to Him, made known by the Church's preaching, and all must be incorporated into Him by baptism and into the Church which is His body. For Christ Himself "by stressing in express language the necessity of faith and baptism (cf. Mark 16:16; John 3:5), at the same time confirmed the necessity of the Church, into which men enter by baptism, as by a door. Therefore those men cannot be saved, who though aware that God, through Jesus Christ founded the Church as something necessary, still do not wish to enter into it, or to persevere in it." (Dogmatic constitution by Vatican II: Lumen Gentium 14) Therefore though God in ways known to Himself can lead those inculpably ignorant of the Gospel to find that faith without which it is impossible to please Him (Heb. 11:6), yet a necessity lies upon the Church (1 Cor. 9:16), and at the same time a sacred duty, to preach the Gospel. And hence missionary activity today as always retains its power and necessity.”