My wife is currently proceeding through RCIA (praise God!) with intent to be baptized, receive communion and confirmation on Easter! She came home after a recent class on the Sacrament of Baptism and posed this question to me:
Can a child (adopted or created via Assisted Reproductive Technologies) of a “married” homosexual couple receive the sacrament of baptism?
There happened to be a Deacon in their class and he was unable to answer the question. I did some research and formed this email (a coagulaiton of material culled elsewhere) which I sent to the Deacon in question:
Canon 868 says, “For an infant to be baptized lawfully it is required… that there be a well-founded hope that the child will be brought up in the Catholic religion. If such hope is truly lacking, the baptism is, in accordance with the provisions of particular law, to be deferred and the parents advised of the reason for this.”
There is little well-founded hope that a baby brought into a homosexual home, with homosexual “parents” having no intention of altering their lifestyle, will be brought up in the Catholic religion, since homosexuality is so fundamentally contrary to Catholic teaching. The couple is demonstrating a public, persistent contempt for fundamental Catholic teaching by their relationship.
Both members of a gay couple obviously cannot sign the baptism act because that automatically and tangibly violates the very specific nature of Catholic teaching on the nature of marriage and parenthood, included in canon law. However, even if only one of the homosexual “parents” signs the baptism act it “doesn’t change the reality” that the parents are living in a manner that is directly contrary to the teachings of the Catholic faith.
“According to the canon law, the Catholic Church cannot accept two fathers or two mothers as parents of a child. When a child’s parents ask for baptism for a child, the priest has to apply the rules of canon law.” However, although the Church obviously cannot baptize a child when canon law is directly violated, there are exceptions, such as if the baby is in danger of death, when the Church is required to baptize as soon as possible. As well, a child brought up by a homosexual couple and who achieves the age of reason may express his own desire to enter the Church, and then be baptized.
The Deacon responded warmly to my email and I thought all was fine.
Evidently this letter brought a tempest of activity in the Parish, with the PFIC (Parish Father in Charge – not sure what to call him :o ) coming into her class today (which is highly unusual) to address this issue directly.
He stated that this is a “pastoral” decision and that given two couples:
one who are openly gay and “married” but attend mass faithfully and are fully invested in every other church teaching other than the teaching on homosexuality, and…
a typical Catholic couple who never attend mass and have not participated in the sacrments but being born Catholic wish their child to be baptized…
He would be more inclined to baptize the first couple’s child.
This does not ring correct to me. I know we are ALL sinners, but at what point does the Canon Law actually go into effect if not here?
Please help me understand!