Seeking Catholic Understanding of Infant Baptism - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 04-30-2011, 01:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My husband and I are converts to Anglicanism. We were both raised baptist. Wow - what a switch. I feel very much that I'm still trying to wrap my head around so much. This change has been in the last year. It's funny to me that when I was baptist I felt that I knew "everything" about my faith. Now I feel as though I know nothing - like I'm starting all over! Our little one is not yet baptized. We were just confirmed this past December. We decided to wait on baptizing him considering we're having a new baby this year. If we follow through with the baptisms, we will do them together. 

 

Recently we became godparents to a baby of some friends. I admit that we were ignorant of the ceremony going into it and neither one of us had ever seen an infant baptism before. We both went away from it feeling confused. The one thing that was confusing to us is that my husband (the godfather) answered questions for the baby being baptized. Meaning the priest would ask questions to the baby, like will you renounce satan blah blah blah and some other things that would profess belief in christianity (sorry - I can't remember the exact questions now). But I guess I'm trying to wrap my brain around this. And I would bet the fundamentalist/evangelical lens that I grew up with is partly getting in my way so I need some help.

 

Also, my AP parenting is getting in the way too. I know there's quite a few catholic mamas on here so I'm sure you've reconciled yourself with this question. Is it disrespectful to my child to have someone else speak for him and say that he believes things that he is simply too young to believe? Perhaps I still don't fully understand infant baptism as this is obviously a big no no in the baptist faith. So, needless to say, this is kind of a hang up for me right now. Please know that I'm not asking in order to judge. We're really happy with our conversion to Anglicanism and feel that overall it's much more what we believe, but I'm struggling with this. I don't want to baptize our child and new little one without having hammered this out. I do plan to go to our priest for more information, but he's not an AP mama, you know? He can't explain this part of it to me! Please help me understand!

 

***There is another thread that I found on this forum that debates infant baptism and whether or not it's the right thing to do according to the christian faith and the bible. Please know that I'm not looking to debate this issue. If you'd like to debate against infant baptism, I ask that you kindly search for that thread as that is not the question I'm presenting. Thank you.***


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#2 of 10 Old 05-01-2011, 08:36 PM
 
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Well, I a Orthodox, but I think I can address some of your questions as we baptize our children and the sponsors answer questions for the baby.  

 

It might help to read the order of baptism.  During the actual sacrament is not the best time to follow and try to understand everything that is going on.  Here is a link to the Anglican baptismal service (warning it is in PDF).  Simply reading it in the light of day, while you can take your time and really chew on each part might be enough to answer all your questions.  And by all means, before you have your children baptized call your priest and schedule a time where he can sit down with you and really walk you through it it.  While one needs not understand baptism in order to receive it or the grace God offers through baptism it is certainly never a bad thing to educate yourself.  

 

We ask a similar series of questions about renouncing satan and sin.  It is the exorcism part of the baptism.  So long as satan is cast out it really does not matter who renounces him. :)  And until our child is old enough to walk away it is our job to speak for them. 

 

Also I noticed it asks "do you wish to be baptized" which does seem like an odd question. I have never given it much thought before you brought it up.  But really, every day we make choices on our children's behalf.  How is this any different.  If we do not baptize them how do we know they do not wish to be baptized?  God has given us these children and has given us authority to speak for them.  

 

I am surprised b how similar the Anglican service is to ours.  I shouldn't be I guess but still.  It is very nice.  Meaty.  I like it.  


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#3 of 10 Old 05-01-2011, 10:19 PM
 
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I am also Orthodox--my understanding is that we do not obtain our children's intellectual agreement in order to feed, clothe, and shelter them, and the same applies to baptism.  It is the sign of the cross, another form of the protection we offer as parents.  It does not save them, but it is a crucial step along the lifelong path towards God.  It is their choice (day by day) to follow in this path or to reject God.  

 

I once heard it argued that while God will never interfere with human free will, the devil has no such scruples.  This is another reason to baptize.  


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#4 of 10 Old 05-02-2011, 12:04 AM
 
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The baptismal promises are made for the child in her infancy, but she has a chance to decide for herself at her Confirmation.  My children attended parochial school, and for 2 years they were very thoroughly instructed in Church history, beliefs, and values.  They could choose to be Confirmed in their faith in 8th grade; several students chose not to do so.

 

While I set the wheels in motion, it was ultimately up to my children to decide if they wanted to live the faith.

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#5 of 10 Old 05-03-2011, 10:09 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enkmom View Post

The baptismal promises are made for the child in her infancy, but she has a chance to decide for herself at her Confirmation.  My children attended parochial school, and for 2 years they were very thoroughly instructed in Church history, beliefs, and values.  They could choose to be Confirmed in their faith in 8th grade; several students chose not to do so.

 

While I set the wheels in motion, it was ultimately up to my children to decide if they wanted to live the faith.



That's wonderful that you allowed your children to decide whether to be confirmed. That's the way it should be. My father essentially blackmailed me into being confirmed. I told him I didn't want to be confirmed and he said he would no longer pay for me to go to my private Catholic school (where many non-Catholic students attended) if I didn't. :(

 

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#6 of 10 Old 05-03-2011, 10:51 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enkmom View Post

The baptismal promises are made for the child in her infancy, but she has a chance to decide for herself at her Confirmation.  My children attended parochial school, and for 2 years they were very thoroughly instructed in Church history, beliefs, and values.  They could choose to be Confirmed in their faith in 8th grade; several students chose not to do so.

 

While I set the wheels in motion, it was ultimately up to my children to decide if they wanted to live the faith.


The faith of my birth practiced infant baptism and that's how it was for us as well. I was babtized as a baby but chose not be confirmed around 8th grade. I'm now part of another denomination that practices infant baptism and I did have my children baptized.
 

 


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#7 of 10 Old 05-03-2011, 11:32 AM
 
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Originally Posted by swimming-duck View Post

My husband and I are converts to Anglicanism. We were both raised baptist. Wow - what a switch. I feel very much that I'm still trying to wrap my head around so much. This change has been in the last year. It's funny to me that when I was baptist I felt that I knew "everything" about my faith. Now I feel as though I know nothing - like I'm starting all over! Our little one is not yet baptized. We were just confirmed this past December. We decided to wait on baptizing him considering we're having a new baby this year. If we follow through with the baptisms, we will do them together. 

 

Recently we became godparents to a baby of some friends. I admit that we were ignorant of the ceremony going into it and neither one of us had ever seen an infant baptism before. We both went away from it feeling confused. The one thing that was confusing to us is that my husband (the godfather) answered questions for the baby being baptized. Meaning the priest would ask questions to the baby, like will you renounce satan blah blah blah and some other things that would profess belief in christianity (sorry - I can't remember the exact questions now). But I guess I'm trying to wrap my brain around this. And I would bet the fundamentalist/evangelical lens that I grew up with is partly getting in my way so I need some help.

 

Also, my AP parenting is getting in the way too. I know there's quite a few catholic mamas on here so I'm sure you've reconciled yourself with this question. Is it disrespectful to my child to have someone else speak for him and say that he believes things that he is simply too young to believe? Perhaps I still don't fully understand infant baptism as this is obviously a big no no in the baptist faith. So, needless to say, this is kind of a hang up for me right now. Please know that I'm not asking in order to judge. We're really happy with our conversion to Anglicanism and feel that overall it's much more what we believe, but I'm struggling with this. I don't want to baptize our child and new little one without having hammered this out. I do plan to go to our priest for more information, but he's not an AP mama, you know? He can't explain this part of it to me! Please help me understand!

 

***There is another thread that I found on this forum that debates infant baptism and whether or not it's the right thing to do according to the christian faith and the bible. Please know that I'm not looking to debate this issue. If you'd like to debate against infant baptism, I ask that you kindly search for that thread as that is not the question I'm presenting. Thank you.***



The Godparents are not answering just for the baby, they are answering for themselves. It's their job as Godparents to guide the child in their religious upbringing, which is why the Catholic Church wants practicing Catholics in good standing to be Godparents. You can not give what you do not have. Sadly some parishes don't take this as seriously as they should.

 

From the Code of Canon Law http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/__P2Y.HTM

 

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.

 

 

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#8 of 10 Old 05-03-2011, 12:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all for your replies. I feel much better about the process. I think the explanation of how we make decisions every day for our children that they can't make for themselves is really helping me. Our parish has very Orthodox leanings, so those of you with an Orthodox background are actually in a great position to help me understand things. Thank you so much! I also appreciated your comments on Confirmation very much. I fully intend to allow our children to make this decision. I've overheard older people in the church at one time or another commenting on forcing their children to go through with Confirmation and that didn't sit well with me. My understanding is that by that point it IS about personal belief, so I would want that to fully be my children's decisions.

 

I'm a bit befuddled by the last response. As I said we are converts to Anglicanism (which is part of the Church catholic). We have both been baptized and were confirmed in December. We are godparents to a beautiful baby girl in our Anglican parish. Perhaps I wasn't clear on this?


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#9 of 10 Old 05-03-2011, 12:40 PM
 
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You were asking about Catholic Baptism, and about why Godparents are asked those questions ( regarding renouncing satan ect) at Baptisms, so I was answering that. Since the primary job of Godparents is to guide the child in their religious upbringing they are asked those questions partly to qualify their beliefs as per the requirements. The other things I highlighted are also part of the requirements to qualify someone to be a Godparent. If you were being baptized as an adult in the Catholic Church you and your sponser/Godparent would be asked the same questions. I don't see any conflict with infant baptism and AP so I really can't comment on that part of your question.
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#10 of 10 Old 05-03-2011, 12:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for your reply Arduinna. We understood going into it that these things would be asked of us as Godparents because of course it would be important for Godparents to believe these things. We just didn't understand the logic/reasoning behind answering on behalf of an infant who clearly doesn't understand what he/she believes. I feel like I have a better grasp of this after hearing responses on this thread and talking to my priest this past Sunday. All of this can be very confusing for someone who wasn't raised Catholic! Thank you everyone for your help!


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