Baptised infants becoming non believing adults


As Catholics we believe in infant baptism yet I have a question relating to many people who were baptised as infants yet are now non believing adults. How does this work with theology relating to the Holy Spirit. I am of the understanding that the act of Baptism gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Do adults who were baptised as infants that make a declaration of disbelief lose the Holy Spirit or is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit just ignored by the baptised individual?

I am a convert to the Catholic Church from Atheism and Protestantism and sadly I know of scores of baptised Catholics who no longer believe or are indifferent. Such a shame as they were born into the whole truth.

Appreciate any assistance with this question.

God Bless.


When individuals are baptised as babies, by the promises their parents make and the graces that are given with the sacrament, technically speaking they are members of the christian community. When they become adults, they still have the graces but it is their decision whether not they wish to accept the promises made by their parents and the community when they were infants.

If they choose to ignore the promises and the graces associated with it, it is their choice. They never loose the Holy Spirit because the Holy Spirit is always there for the person and it respects the individual’s wishes. But every now and then, it will try to enter into the individual’s life when they least expect it. Sadly many choose to ignore these promises and fall away from the church. The causes are best left for another discussion, but when they disappear, it is important for the church to reach out to them and invite them home.

Unfortunately, the church rarely does this and they rely upon the grace of God to return them home when these individuals decide to get married or they have children and decide to return to the church and pass these sacraments to the next generation.

I think it is important for the church in general to look at their past church lists and invite them to return home. There are numerous methods this can be done but it begins with one person with a loving heart for Christ.

You mentioned you know many fallen away Catholics, the only way to invite them home is by individuals such as yourself inviting them to attend mass with you, or another fun activity at the parish. The reason why the evangelical churches are growing is because active Christians are asking their friends, coworkers and other people they meet to join them in church.

In essence, the Holy Spirit never leaves these people but it will use others such as yourself to bring them home into God’s arms. It is up to you to accept or refuse this challenge.


We read in scripture about “quenching the Spirit.” Well, we can absolutely resist the Holy Spirit, as He does not force Himself upon anyone, but waits for the invitation. In fact, the prayer “Come, Holy Spirit” is the only prayer which is always and everywhere answered in the affirmative.


Baptism brings justification. Sanctifying grace is then present in us and remains until such a time, at least the age of reason, that it is rejected through commission of serious sin, which is a lack of charity. We still receive actual grace to bring us back, even though we lack charity through our sins.Catechism of the Catholic Church
1987** The grace of the Holy Spirit has the power to justify us …

2008 The merit of man before God in the Christian life arises from the fact that God has freely chosen to associate man with the work of his grace. The fatherly action of God is first on his own initiative, and then follows man’s free acting through his collaboration, so that the merit of good works is to be attributed in the first place to the grace of God, then to the faithful. Man’s merit, moreover, itself is due to God, for his good actions proceed in Christ, from the predispositions and assistance given by the Holy Spirit.


When a baby is baptised it becomes a temple of the Holy Spirit, and therefore is filled with sanctifying grace which is the supernatural life of God in the soul. This is what occurs each and every time a baby is baptised correctly.

When this baby reaches reason, it then must be taught about right and wrong so that it may chose the right. After being taught, if it choses to do something seriously wrong, it will lose its supernatural life in its soul that God gave it at its baptism. This may be restored thru the sacrament of forgiveness.

But if the child is not taught right and wrong, and not brought up in the faith, then it will be responsible for what it does know. And what this means is really very much out of our knowledge and is in the hands of God since we don’t know the details. But we do know that it is unwise to ever baptise anyone without some degree of commitment to learning and following the faith.

May God bless and keep you. May God’s face shine on you. May God be kind to you and give you peace.


Dear Dutch,
This has puzzled me too. How can so many people receive the greatest gift and then walk away from it. I’ve always wondered if the evil one has something to do if it?

Also Fred What do you think about people who were taught right and wrong, raised in the faith who just kind of fall way.
This is something I think and pray about I’m glad I had a chance to write about


Long time since this thread was made yet I came back to read the replies again. Thanks for the information. I understand it much better now having walked in the faith more since I posted this.

God Bless.


I realize it’s an old thread, but… I was baptized as an infant and left the faith in my late teens. I lived the next 22 years as an atheist.

We can close our hearts to grace and build walls that keep grace out. Faith is an act of the heart, not the will, and unless something “clicks”, the grace can end up being a refused gift.

I did come back to the faith after those 22 years. God works in mysterious ways and on His own timetable.

Again I didn’t come back due to an act of the will. I came back because in a very low moment I picked up the Bible and started to read the New Testament. I couldn’t put it down, until I was so tired I fell asleep. I finished reading the NT over the rest of that summer (1997). Something “clicked”, and the heart opened up to the grace.

Sometimes the Holy Spirit has to chip away at some really thick concrete to get to one’s heart. That takes time. Never assume a baptized non-believer will remain so for the rest of his or her life.

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