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Susan Geib wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • Does the Church still believe in Original Sin?
  • If so, why is a baby denied Baptism if the parent is not a Church member?

I was brought up believing a baby should be baptized as soon a possible because of Original Sin but in my present situation, a Military family baby (my great niece), was denied Baptism because the Mother was not a member of the Church, therefore at my niece's request, I baptized the baby; making my niece promise to join a Church when she finally gets settled. I also wrote a note for my niece to give to the priest verifying where, when, and why I preformed this Baptism.

Thank You for your time. I mean no disrespect by my question. I love my Catholic faith but I was so taken by my niece to raise her baby Catholic that I decided to do the Baptism. There are so many young people who have abandoned the Church.

Respectively Yours,

Susan

  { If the Church believes in original sin, why is a baby denied Baptism if the parent is not Catholic? }

Mike replied:

Hi Sue,

Thanks for the question.

You said:

  • Does the Church still believe in Original Sin?

Yes! The Church does still believe in original sin. The Catechism tells us:

The consequences of Adam's sin for humanity

402 All men are implicated in Adam's sin, as St. Paul affirms:

"By one man's disobedience many (that is, all men) were made sinners": "sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned." (Romans 5:12,19)

The Apostle contrasts the universality of sin and death with the universality of salvation in Christ.

"Then as one man's trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one man's act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all men." (Romans 5:18)

403 Following St. Paul, the Church has always taught that the overwhelming misery which oppresses men and their inclination towards evil and death cannot be understood apart from their connection with Adam's sin and the fact that he has transmitted to us a sin with which we are all born afflicted, a sin which is the death of the soul. (cf. Council of Trent: DS 1512) Because of this certainty of faith, the Church baptizes for the remission of sins even tiny infants who have not committed personal sin. (cf. Council of Trent: DS 1514)

You said:

  • If so, why is a baby denied Baptism if the parent is not a Church member?

Because Baptism, though an important aspect of the faith, is just one aspect of the faith.

  • Why would any parent baptize their infant in a Christian church they didn't have faith in?

At every Baptism, we proclaim that faith the parents wish their infant to be baptized into:

It's similar to an atheist asking a Catholic priest to baptize them.

Why would any atheist request Baptism unless deep down in their holy gut:

  • they believed God existed
  • believed being baptized would change his/her live, and
  • believed the Catholic Church would provide a valid Baptism?

We shouldn't choose a faith because:

  • it makes us feel good, or
  • it challenges us intellectually.

No, we should join a church because we believe it to be a Truth-Telling Church on issues of faith and eternal salvation.

You said:
I was brought up believing a baby should be baptized as soon a possible because of Original Sin but in my present situation, a Military family baby (my great niece), was denied Baptism because the Mother was not a member of the Church, therefore at my niece's request, I baptized the baby; making my niece promise to join a Church when she finally gets settled.

Joining a Church is not really enough. You want to discern Jesus' One Church. Remember, both Jesus and St. Paul warned us about other Christs that would come in the future and both told us not to follow them.

You said:
I also wrote a note for my niece to give to the priest verifying where, when, and why I preformed this Baptism.

Thank You for your time. I mean no disrespect by my question. I love my Catholic faith but I was so taken by my niece to raise her baby Catholic that I decided to do the Baptism. There are so many young people who have abandoned the Church.

Only a priest or deacon can validly baptize in the Church. I hope this helps, and don't worry about offending any one.

As long as the question is sincerely asked, we will answer it.

Mike

Fr. Jonathan replied:

Hi Sue,

The Church believes in three types of Baptism:

  1. water
  2. blood, and
  3. desire.
  • Water is the traditional process for being brought into the Church
  • Blood is being martyred for the faith, and
  • Desire is what happens when someone through no fault of their own does not know God and does not have the opportunity for Baptism.

For the Church to baptize someone by water means that there is a founded hope that the person will be taught the faith and raised Catholic. It doesn't have to be the parents who will teach them the faith (for example, it could be the Grandparent) but the parents must agree to it.

Your action of baptizing the child on your own without the Church was a valid action but an illicit one. I understand why you did what you did but you should not have done it. The idea that the person will not make it to Heaven without the Baptism by water is not a Catholic notion and therefore you should refrain from doing that in the future with another child.

Fr. Jonathan

Susan replied:

Hi Mike,

Thank You so much for your quick reply.

Regarding your first e-mail, the baby's mother is a Catholic but does not belong to the Church.
I assume she is on a Military base.

I understand both e mails but was surprised at Fr. Jonathan's response informing me that the baby will still go to Heaven without a water Baptism! I possess a Booklet "Outlines of the Catholic Faith" 1980 in which it stated that in cases of necessity a Lay person may baptize (like nurses in the hospital.) My concern of the baby not going to Heaven was my justification for the Baptism.

  • Does this mean the Baptism is not valid?
  • Have I committed a sin?

I cannot believe that I committed a sin. What I did was a beautiful representation of the Sacrament of Baptism.

  • Will she be re-baptized when her mother joins the Church?

I am 67 years old and obviously I still believe and possess a Baltimore Catechism.

I also believe in Limbo, Purgatory, and The Place (the Nuns never named it) where unbaptized Babies go. They said they were happy but they never got to see God. I was told that the Church does not believe in them or Limbo now. Forever I have been offering my trials and medical pain to the Souls in Limbo. I cannot believe that I did not get anyone out of Limbo.

I am so happy that I found this site. I live very rural. The Catholic Churches are not readily available and the Masses are usually at 1pm or 2pm on Sundays and I have some on going medical Issues so I do not get to Mass regularly. Yes, I do belong to a local Catholic parish.

I will make copies of your e mails and give them to the baby's parents. I also promise that I will never do another Baptism.

I mentioned how old I am because I feel that someone in your group may be able to relate to me and better understand where I am coming from.

Gratefully Yours,

Susan

Fr. Jonathan replied:

Hi Sue,

Just a small follow-up.

Now that you have found the site, I am sure that there is much you can learn from it. I would recommend reading the Catechism as well.

The Church has not forbidden Catholics from believing in Limbo but it no longer endorses it.

I believe that babies who die before Baptism and who have not sinned on their own, go to Heaven.

Fr. Jonathan

Mike replied:

Hi, Sue —

You said:

  • Will she be re-baptized when her mother joins the Church?
No, a valid Baptism cannot be repeated. If a pastor is unsure whether the person has been baptized he will perform a conditional baptism. One of the main reasons why Baptisms should be administered by a cleric is to ensure they are properly done.

You said:
I was told that the Church does not believe in them or Limbo now. Forever I have been offering my trials and medical pain to the Souls in Limbo. I cannot believe that I did not get anyone out of Limbo.

All your prayers, works, and sufferings have greatly helped the Poor Souls in Purgatory, the Holy Hospital of Heaven. Your alms will be greatly appreciated to those receiving the benefits of your daily offerings.

Hope this helps,

Mike

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