Advice needed on how to handle a Baptism


Any thoughts on how I should handle the below problem would be much appreciated.

My daughter is 4 yo and not yet Baptised. Her father and I seperated when she was one. I want to get her Baptised, and not sure the best way to go about it, in relation to whether I should let her father go or not.
I am not on friendly terms with my ex at all, and he is with someone else from day one. I am worried if he comes he may bring her and I don’t feel up to dealing with that. I don’t feel up to dealing with him full stop as he continues to be verbally abusive to me whenever he feels like it when he picks my girls up. If there were others around he won’t say anything though. Also if I ask him to just come on his own, he will most likely become verbally abusive and could just deliberately bring her to upset me.
Her Dad is anti God full stop and is part of the reason we seperated. I feel very wrong about him being there next to me and lying to God and the priest that he will ensure our daughter is raised in the Catholic faith. God knows this will be the case but the priest will take his word for it.
I mentioned one day to my teenage daughters that we might just have her Baptised and not invite anyone including her Dad and it just be us. They were not happy about this and said he had a right to be there. I tried to explain that their Dad does not go to church or even like God and that perhaps it wouldn’t even worry him, but they didn’t accept this.
If I don’t invite him, I cannot invite any of his family, as they would resent me doing not inviting him, and I do not want to damage what I have with his family. If I don’t invite any of his family then they will be hurt. I thought perhaps if i don’t invite any of my family, then his family may be more understanding. But then my family may get a little hurt too.
Also if I do try to do this on my own, I’m sure my older girls will tell their Dad before hand and then I can expect him on my door step abusing me. When he finds out after the effect then I an expect him on my door step abusing me, not because Baptism is important to him, but because it is socially important event involving his daughter, and more to the point it gives him something to yell and scream at me about.

Oh…what to do??


If I were in your place, I would just arrange to have the child baptized at a Sunday Mass, where extra or non-Catholic guests would not be expected to come. The only people you would need to worry about then would be the godparents and the child herself.


that is excellent advice, just ask the priest to baptize during or right after a regular Sunday or Saturday evening Mass. Baptism, First Communion, Confirmation, Marriage–these are public rites of the Church, no one may be excluded (not even from a wedding). That does not say you have to issue invitations. Only one parent, generally the custodial parent, must give permission for baptism, and promise to raise the child Catholic. Choose your godparents with care so you will have additional help and support in this task. If you are asking about guests to a party celebrating this event, have a private celebration, just you and godparents at her favorite restaurant after baptism, and wait for her birthday or the next logical occasion for a big family party. If he truly does come to your door and begin abusing you or your children, get a restraining order.


Your advice is what I have been leaning towards, but I also do need to consider the rubbish I am going to cope from my ex. He caused me to have a breakdown just prior to seperation, and I just can’t cope with his anger any more. While intervention orders may help, I am hesitant to go this route, as I have to deal with this man for the next 30 odd years as we have our children in common, and it just gives him more ammunition to use against me when it comes to my children and his family. They never knew what he treated me like (my ex always made sure no one was around to see) and think the sun shines from him, and I would worry that they would think less of me thinking I am lying or being melodramatic. When it comes to his family, blood is thicker than water, and I know they will feel it their duty to believe him over me. I also need to consider my teenage children as they love their Dad and want to include him in everything important to them, of which Baptism is. This could cause a rift between my children and myself, and as already mentioned my extended family. It is for these reasons I have taken 4 years to get this far.
Has anyone got any other ideas?


I was married to your x’s twin. My last child being baptized… he said he wouldn’t attend if my family was there. Stupidly to try to keep “harmony” going, I told them not to come. Now I wish I had told him “Oh, how sad. We’ll miss you.”

Having said that, invite the ex. Let him bring whatever woman he wants to. (Let her see you aren’t a raving lunatic. Be pleasant to her and make her question in her own mind all the lies he’s told her about you. She may be his next victim. I would advise you to treat her with compassion. It always works for me.) Let him sit in the church and hope the roof doesn’t fall in on him. Invite his family. Take the high road and live there. Your kids are watching. And you won’t look mean and petty over a baptism. He won’t scream at you in a church. And you don’t have to talk to him.

You’re still new at this. The baptism will be over in a few minutes. You will have to live with his attitude forever. Don’t worry about his family and what impression they have. Because he will take his charming personality and people skills with him through life and abuse and misuse a whole series of women. It took about 7 years, by my ex MIL now hates her son. Now she knows who the crazy one really is. She keeps promising to move out of his house but I’m not holding my breath.

You will make a lie out of him by being nice and polite and going about your life. He will have learned nothing and will continue on his downhill road. Just wait. Bide your time. They may already know he’s a jerk and they just won’t admit it to you.

Allow God’s grace to work in its unseen ways. A baptism is a very powerful exorcism ceremony. The more people around, the better.


God bless you and what you are going through - your cross is heavy.

  1. Try to always have someone around whenever you have to “deal” with this guy or always meet at neutral public sites. Avoid the one on one meetings if at all possible.
  2. At the baptism, spill some Holy Water on him - who knows - it might sting a little and straighten him up.

Good luck and God Bless.


There is a big rule in our church about this: the other parent HAS to agree. Unless they are deceased or missing, they HAVE TO GIVE PERMISSION FOR BAPTISM.

So it looks like you might be stuck with having him there.

What worries me is how this is something that’s personal between you two, the adults, and NOT about your child’s actual baptism. Does it really matter if the girlfriend is there or not? It’s about your child being baptized, not about YOU, not about her father, not about her father’s girlfriend. (Why does it matter if she’s there - the girlfriend - she’s been present for years at this point?) But back to your daughter: it’s her day, her sacrament. Think about it, you are bringing a child into Grace, erasing original sin, beginning her life in the church…do you really think God is going to be pleased about all the fighting and one-upping from the adults on such a special occassion?

I pray that your ex will let her be baptized. I also pray that you can say, and be at peace with “I think this is important for us to do. You can attend or you don’t have to. Either way I don’t want to fight with you. I will keep my opinions, or issues to myself, I hope you can do the same, and let’s just celebrate this sacrament please?”

You also have to brace for the fact that he won’t allow it. I wasn’t allowed baptism as a child because my father is an atheist. I was still raised Catholic, just not allowed to partake of the sacraments. I am NOT bitter about it, in fact it makes me appreciate my faith all the more. My father respected my decision to follow through with the religion I was raised in, and I think it taught him something too, something about “control.”

Meanwhile I’ll say a prayer that you can find peace in your relationship with your ex, if only for your daughter’s sake. You might look into counseling or support groups at the church for those who have had relationships end. As far as the verbal abuse goes, my only suggestion is to smile sweetly, blink a few times and not say anything back. It takes the wind out of an abuser if who he is trying to hurt isn’t hurting. Or even reacting. :thumbsup:

Let us know what happens ok?
Prayers are with you!


My kids were 9, 6 and 5 when my ex walked…well actually he decided he was a pagan high priest then walked. At that time only the oldest had been baptized because he became uncooperative after that and I didn’t pursue it until after he left. Anyway, When he left, I got the kids baptized post haste… quite frankly, the religion thing was a huge contention between us so I didn’t even tell him that they were going to be baptized. His own brother was one of the godparents but he never keeps in touch with his family so he still…almost 12 yrs later doesn’t know. Sooner or later the kids will have to learn that there are mom celebrations, dad celebrations and mom & dad celebrations. I honestly wouldn’t invite him if he is anti religion… why cause headaches for you and the kids???


You could ask your pastor - and give him all the details (your fear of being abused, the scandal of him bringing his mistress) and ask him for guidance. I don’t see why you could not do BOTH things - invite him to the very public Sunday Mass to witness his daughter’s acceptance into the Church Jesus Christ founded. You would be safe and he would have the option of coming or not coming.
If you are seperated legally or divorced you may need to look into having a little contact with a verbally abusive man as possible…that may mean coming up with ways for him to pick up his children for his visit without having any contact with YOU. This can be done legally and safely through the court system. If you are not legally seperated you may want to look into that to protect the assets and make sure the children are protected. This is allowed by The Holy Mother Church.

It seems to me you may have grounds for a decree of nullity but I would never presuppose to be an expert in this area.


Thankyou so much for all the advice. I am now thinking perhaps I should just let my girls tell him when it’s on and if he shows up he does, if he doesn’t then excellent.
I know this is all about my daughter and a special sacrament for her as one poster pointed out, and ideally that would be how I would prefer to handle it, but I do have to think of myself too, even if that is selfish. This is not fighting on my part. I ended up in a pyschiatric ward because of the stress of the verbal and mental abuse this man dished out, and I have to be sensible and think of my health. I am still mentally fragile from the episode in hospital even after 4 years, and I won’t be much use to my children if I end up back in there. I am stressed just at the thought of having to deal with all this, but I know God will help me through it.
I like the one about having Holy water accidently spilt on him. Perhaps he might melt like the wicked witch of the west in Wizard of Oz. Only joking.
When I do get my little girl Baptised, I will report back on here how it went.


Just so you know, you and your daughter will have the support of many prayers. I will be especially mentioning you and your family to Our Lord during my Holy Hour tonight, and I will also be asking my friends to remember you in their prayers.

love always,


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