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Helen Schultz wrote:

Hi, guys —

My daughter was brought up Catholic, however now as an adult, does not practice the faith. She is married to a man who has never been baptized nor is he a believer. They have a beautiful little daughter in whom my daughter is interested in baptizing.

I took it upon myself to go to three different priests and ask why the Church will not allow her to be baptized just because her parents are not practicing Christians.

In all three cases, the answer I was given was inadequate.

Well, I'm afraid the answers I received are not the satisfactory truth I've been taught. No one seems to be concerned about, or interested in getting rid of, her original sin!!

  • What God wouldn't save her?
  • Why punish the baby for the sins of the parents?

I hope that I can find someone who will baptize her because it worries me to death. This whole scenario seems too unfair. I have been thinking that maybe I should take it upon myself to baptize her.

Sadly,

Helen

  { Why is the baby being punished for the sins of the parents; (no one cares about the Original Sin)? }

Bob replied:

Helen,

The concept of infant baptism is predicated on the notion that the faith of the parents stands in for the child, because Baptism requires faith; there is a reciprocity between God and His children, it is not merely a one-way operation so, someone has to promise to raise the child as a Catholic (Baptism is an entry point, not an exit point) and that responsibility usually falls on the (parent/guardian).

Perhaps something could be worked out between you and your daughter, so that you could bring her to church and be the point person in her Catholic upbringing. I realize there are lots of boundary considerations to take into account, but maybe you could begin a conversation that could provoke some thought about it.

  • Why do they want her baptized at all?

The point could be made, to them, that if they want her to have a Catholic identity then this child needs to live that out . . . beyond simply a ceremony and a certificate.

Lastly, don't let your frustration lead you down the path of an illicit Baptism. Trust that God may use this circumstance for good. You may not see the end point, but God does and He is well aware of original sin and all the other problems to overcome.

Just pray, trust, and dialogue in love; something surprising may just happen.

Peace,

Bob Kirby

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