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Montegutman wrote:

Hi, guys —

Found your AskACatholic website in pursuit of the question, How does one formally separate oneself from the roles and identity with the Catholic Church?

All responses directly say or imply that the individual's marriage to Catholicism cannot be annulled or otherwise ended, once baptized and, in most cases, confirmed.

My question:

  • How is it that both Baptism and Confirmation occur while the subject is clearly under the age of reason and under the age of rational thought?

It appears to me that the Catholic child has endured extreme indoctrination from birth such that choice before the age of reason is impossible.

Thanks for your consideration.

Montegutman

  { How is it that both Baptism and Confirmation occur below the age of reason and rational thought? }

Eric replied:

Montegutman,

In the West, it is customary to only baptize before the age of reason, not to confirm. The reason why Baptism is done before the age of reason is to fill the soul of the child with the saving grace of God and give them spiritual regeneration so that they are part of God's family. It's basically the same reason why the Church would want to feed, clothe, and shelter their children: Because they love them and want them to have life — in this case, eternal life rather than biological life.

It is the job of parents to indoctrinate (i.e. teach) their children in all sorts of ways. Otherwise their children will be unable to function in the world. One can hardly fault a parent for teaching their children the truths they consider to be saving to eternal life in addition to the truths that help them live on Earth.

Eric

Montegutman replied:

Eric,

Thanks for the exceptionally quick response. I agree it is natural, for the nurturing of our children, to provide the best foundation for success in all aspects of life. That would include exposing them to all healthful aspects of life so that, as maturity is gained, they possess the mental tools to make appropriate decisions for their best welfare.

My question addresses the practical aspect of the right of legal choices our children should have as they attain their adult faculties. My thought is that they should have the right to choose their religious direction as adults and not be bound by our decision to have them baptized exclusively through our decision with no alternative avenues of change by them.

I am most grateful for the luck of being born to a deeply faithful Catholic Family here in a free nation where lawful choice is guaranteed.

Montegutman

Mike replied:

Dear Montegutman,

You said:
My question addresses the practical aspect of the right of legal choices our children should have as they attain their adult faculties. My thought is that they should have the right to choose their religious direction as adults and not be bound by our decision to have them baptized exclusively through our decision with no alternative avenues of change by them.

I am most grateful for the luck of being born to a deeply faithful Catholic Family here in a free nation where lawful choice is guaranteed.

Until the age of 18, any legal choices your children have are the choices you and your wife make for them.

The Catechism tells us that the parents are the primary educators of their children:

The openness to fertility

1653 The fruitfulness of conjugal love extends to the fruits of the moral, spiritual, and supernatural life that parents hand on to their children by education. Parents are the principal and first educators of their children.

(cf. Vatican II, Gravissimum Educationis 3)

In this sense, the fundamental task of marriage and family is to be at the service of life. (cf. Familiaris Consortio 28)

The goal from birth to age 18 should be carving in as many virtues as you can while carving out all the vices you can and explaining to them, the importance of virtues and the danger of vices in life.

All men and women have a set of moral standards and values by which they live. The same is true for faithful Catholics. If Catholics believe in the Church, they should want to pass on those same values to their children for the sake of their eternal salvation so when they get to age 18, they will cognitively see that the only logical faith choice is to be a Catholic. In this culture, teaching them about Catholic Apologetics, at a young age, and its role in the Church, is important.

I noted your original question was about separating from the Church. If you are in a situation where you and your wife are evaluating faith issues among a church of sin and scandals (both publicly and privately), there are certain things to remember:

Scandalous behavior among the clergy (priests, pastors, bishops, cardinals or even popes) does not affect the official (Truths|Teachings) the Catholic Church believes. (Matthew 16:13-19; 1 Timothy 3:15) Let me put it another way:

I remember hearing about some Protestant observers who were overseeing the events of Vatican II. One observer thought the Church was falling apart and appeared chaotic.

He questioned a Catholic Cardinal on this and, paraphrasing the Cardinal, he said:

We've been trying to destroy this Church for about 2,000 years and can't; it's got to be Divine!

The key thing I'm bringing up is despite all the scandalous members who privately and publicly dissent from the Church and all the scandalous behavior from within the Church among the clergy at all levels:

The teachings and moral truths of the Church have never . . . and never will change.

Jesus promised us this and established His Church's moral truths (though Himself and <the Apostle's and their successors>, guided by the Holy Spirit) for our own good; even if we don't see how good they can be for us.

  • What does the Church have, that others don't?

All the valid sacraments we need from cradle to grave where we partake in Divine nature.

Each Sunday when we renew our Covenant with the Lord we are receiving the graces to make good, holy choices for that week instead of bad ones. That's a big-time help!

You and your wife may also find web articles on my Favorites page helpful:

Eric and I also replied to a similar question here:

I hope this helps,

Mike

Paul replied:

Dear Montegutman,

In union with Eric and Mike's answers, every parent does what they believe is best for their children, in all areas of life — even when such decisions leave a permanent mark. For example, you cannot unvaccinate yourself when you become an adult, nor can you undo the experiences of formal education you had, or the effect of foods you ate during childhood on your health.

Religion is the most important thing a parent can give a child, and perhaps the first thing they will be judged on after death.

  • Why would they not give them the supernatural grace needed to overcome sin and enter the kingdom of God?

The only reason would seem to be a lack of faith.

  • For example, if I have faith that tonsil surgery is best for my child, I will have him undergo it, knowing it will have permanent effects.
  • If I have faith in God and His divine Revelation that Catholicism is the fullness of truth, and that it has the grace that God offers the world for our salvation, I will have my child baptized.

Pretty logical.

Peace,

Paul M.

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