Baptism of Chidlren When One Spouse Converts


#1

Friends,

I would like to ask for some (gentle) advice. My spouse and I have been married for seven years. We were both devout protestants when we married. We have a healthy young marriage and are good friends. Spiritually, we both grew stagnant after we married, eventually going to church very casually and without any commitment a 4-6 times a year. Then about a year and a half ago, the Lord called me to become a Catholic. My dear husband was very resistant, and I understand why - Catholicism is in some ways the very antithesis of everything he was raised to believe. After some time, he consented to allow me to join RCIA and I will be joyfully received into the Church this Easter. Hallelujah!

We have three wonderful children, a four year old, a three year old, and one in the womb, due in April, just a month after I am received. The children go to Mass with me. My husband has no problem with this, as he does not go to church anymore anyway. Here’s the problem: he hsa forbidden me to have them baptised. He was baptised Lutheran by his grandparents when he was a baby, and he thinks this was a travesty. He believes baptism should be something chosen, not something bestowed on by parents. He believes this very strongly. I am pretty sure he’ll be fine with CCD and first communion and all that when the time comes, but he just refuses to budge on baptism. Has anyone been in this situation and have any advice for me?

Please do keep in mind that I am converting to the faith, so this mixed marriage is not something to condemn - I praise the Lord for bringing me into the fullness of truth, and I pray for my husbands conversion all the time. Nor be harsh to my husband, who married a Baptist, and is being as patient with this crazy convert as he knows how :slight_smile: :slight_smile:


#2

I was in the same situation a couple of years ago. My husband and I have been married for 8 years now, and both of us were working in a Church of Christ when I was called by the Lord to convert to the Catholic Church. My husband was not pleased with this at all, mainly because he didn’t know Church doctrine well and felt that he had really done something wrong in our marriage that would make me want to convert.

At first, he was totally against having the children baptized, or even allowing them to attend Mass. He didn’t agree with children being baptized, either, that they should grow and make their own decisions. However, after much thought, he realized that, at least for him, it didn’t matter if the children were baptized or not. For him, infant and child baptism didn’t affect the children at all and held no spiritual significance, so what harm or good would it do to have them baptized?

I know that this probably isn’t the best answer, but you might gently point this out to him and see what his reaction is. Also remember that the “shock” of you converting is still new and some of these changes that you’re making might just take some time for him to get used to. If he absolutely forbids you to allow the children to be baptized, wait a while and see how things go next year or later. The Lord will understand your situation. It would be more harmful to go against your husband’s will at this point.

Scout :tiphat:


#3

Baptism under the age of reason-- approximately 7-- is the choice of the parents. Afterwards, you children can come forward themselves. So, keep taking them to Mass and instill in them a love for God and a desire for baptism.

Baptism is the first Sacrament and required for any other. So, while you can put your children in CCD, they would not be able to receive any other sacrament-- like first communion-- without first being baptized.

I would continue to pray about it and discuss it. Hopefully he will come around on his own or your children can ask for baptism when they reach an age of reason.

But, if at any point you have a real concern-- such as a child becoming seriously ill-- you need to do an emergency baptism (trinitarian formula with the pouring of water over the head) regardless of your husband’s view of the matter and report it to your priest afterwards.


#4

The emergency baptism by a layperson is only to be done if the child is in danger of death. Also, hospitals usually have a priest who is assigned as a chaplain. He could be called to the hospital for an emergency baptism.


#5

He believes baptism should be something chosen, not something bestowed on by parents. He believes this very strongly. I am pretty sure he’ll be fine with CCD and first communion and all that when the time comes, but he just refuses to budge on baptism. Has anyone been in this situation and have any advice for me?

Without baptism they would not be able to have the other sacraments.


It sounds like a simple case of your dh not knowing what baptism is in the Catholic faith. It is NOT what most prots believe it to be. Look it up in the CCC and a few other sources until you feel you can explain and answer his questions more fully.


Explain what it is, how important it is to you and to their souls, and see what happens then.


I’m a convert after the wedding vows too. I brought all the children into the faith with me. My dh does not believe in ANY baptism and was never baptised himself, but was and is okay with my raising the children Catholic, which most certainly includes the sacraments.


#6

Yes, but not always-- and better safe than sorry. Of course a priest should be called if possible.


#7

I too had this issue. Brief history is that I was raised Catholic yet denied the sacraments due to my parent’s divorce, my dad being an atheist, plus his first marriage dissolving over religion (Jehova Witness to be exact). He said I would have to be an adult before I was baptized. Meanwhile “mom” and her numerous marriages (not to mention HUNDREDS of lovers, one night stands, blah blah blah) led her away from the church.

So when I finally did fulfill my sacraments they did mean a lot to me. Enter my DH reared by atehist parents. Yes, they had the heuvos to get “involved” over the baptism argument. My FIL particularily. I shut that down with a “too bad it’s NOT your kids.” Anyway, despite my prayers for DH to convert, despite the argument over baptism being an end-all (or actual conversion) to the faith as protestants see it, but rather just the beginning as Catholics see it, he was as adamant as your DH is regarding the kids. So FIL being busy trying to protect his children from religion period sent my husband a box-set of philosophy on CD’s. I am expecting a dcent argument from DH after this…he’s listenign to philosophy in an attempt to argue with me on why religion is not necessary. Get this, DH calls me out of the blue from work one morning and announces he wants to be CATHOLIC! :eek:

Thank you so much St. Augustine!!!

So our kids where henceforth baptized. So keep praying is what I am saying.

As far as arguing the baptism facts of the catholic faith vs. protestant faith you need to know your sacraments. I HIGHLY suggest you read the book Catholicism for Dummies. It has the most profound, yet easy-to-digets information on the basics of our faith. Maybe your DH could read it too, to understand the whole process of Baptism, Reconcilliation, Communion, Confirmation. Onto Holy Orders or Matrimony.

Your children absolutely CANNOT receive First Communion without baptism. And YES the church will “check.” They won’t receive RE fully without baptism. PERIOD.

Our baptism is not a guarentee that our children will remain Catholic, nor is it a “dedication” as the Protestant Faith uses. The sole act of Baptizing our babies serves one main purpose: to erase the original sin of Adam and Eve. IN the ritual the parents of the children involved are called to promise to reject Satan and all his works and to provide the child a Christian upbringing. So are the chosen Godparents, it is their job to help teach the child the faith. Baptism is ONLY the BEGINNING of a journey to a Christian Life to us. It’s CONFIRMATION that our children, as young adults CHOOSE to propegate the faith in their lives.

Get the book Catholicism for Dummies.

And maybe a box set of philosophy for the DH? LOL

Just being funny but my prayers are with you. I know the pain you are suffering from being there myself. My kids were baptized very soon after my husband’s choice to convert.

I hope your new knowledge can help persuade your husband, but we have to understand his idea of baptism is VERY different than ours. :signofcross:


#8

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