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Todd Goodman wrote:

Hi, guys —

I am a RCIA instructor at my parish. Last Easter, a young married couple finished our program and entered the Church. Now they have a baby boy but have decided to wait on baptism and let the child someday decide!

My concern is for the parents because the child cannot ask for his own Baptism.

  • As professing Catholics, who receive Holy Communion, are these parents in mortal sin by refusing to give their child Baptism, and in receiving Christ in this refusal?

Thank you for your time and help.


  { As professing Catholics, are these parents sinning by refusing to have their children baptized? }

Bob replied:


In the Acts of the apostles Peter preached to the people expressing that the promise of salvation was made for everyone, including their household. (cf., Acts 2:38-39, Acts 16:14-15, 1 Corinthians 1:14-17)

That indicates that the gift of Baptism is for children too. They probably don't realize that Confirmation is the individual's response to Baptism, in effect the completion of the Sacrament. We can probably assume that they don't want take the choice away from the child.

You can point out how it is inconsistent to focus on faith as an area of exemption when there are many other avenues of life the child will have no choice about i.e. education for one. There are probably a host of things they don't understand, so I would set out to educate them.

Mortal sin requires knowledge, and while this is a serious matter, I wouldn't jump to the conclusion that the sin falls into that category at this point.

If they truly knew what they were doing it would be a different matter.


Bob Kirby
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