Baptism of Homosexual Couple's Child


#1

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!


#2

Ultimately it's going to be up to the pastor as to whether there is a well-founded hope that the child will be raised as a Catholic.

Babies can come from all sorts of families:
- a homosexual couple
- a single mother
- a couple that is cohabiting
- a couple where one of the partners is divorced and remarried
- etc.

Should the pastor automatically bar all of these babies from being baptized? Is it possible that even though the parents are not perfect in the practice of their faith, they will do their best to raise their children as Catholics?

What does the pastor do in the case of Christmas and Easter Catholics who want their children baptized? Or cases where the parents are asking for baptism because the grandparents are pushing them? How much hope is there that the children will be raised as Catholics?

I think the pastor has a huge responsibility in making decisions like these. I'm glad it's not on my shoulders.


#3

Thanks for your response.

I suppose my feelings on this are torn.

How else can The Church impose discipline on us to "encourage" conformity with Her Teachings outside of the Sacraments?

If grave, willful, scandalous, persistent and unrepentant disregard of The Bible, The Canon and the Catechism simultaneously is not grounds for refusal of a sacrament then what is?

We are to be pursuing holiness and the Pastor is to direct us toward that goal, how is this consistent with that?

Peace!


#4

[quote="ELMitz, post:3, topic:226074"]
If grave, willful, scandalous, persistent and unrepentant disregard of The Bible, The Canon and the Catechism simultaneously is not grounds for refusal of a sacrament then what is?

[/quote]

It is not the parents **who receive the sacrament, it is the **child. Let us not forget that we are talking about baptismal regeneration, incorporation into the Body of Christ, removal of original sin, and giving of sacramental grace.

The Church teaches the **necessity **of baptism for salvation. The Church teaches that parents have a **duty **to bring their children forward for baptism as soon as possible. The Church teaches that baptism is the gateway to all other Sacraments.

To deny baptism, or really to delay it, the priest has to have good reason. If there is no foundation to believe that the child will be brought to church, given religious instruction, and assisted in fulfilling the responsibilities that baptism brings under Canon Law then baptism should be delayed until such time as the priest does believe the child will be. If there is evidence the child will be given these opportunities, then the child should be baptized.

So, ultimately it is a pastoral decision based on what hope there is for the **child **to have access to the practice of the faith. This can be done in spite of whatever public sin the parents may be committing if the priest believes the child will be able to practice the faith-- remarried after divorce, cohabitation, fornication, and even same-sex relationships.

Denying baptism is very serious in light of the Church's teaching on its **necessity **for salvation. It should rarely be refused.


#5

I understand your logic, but I do not understand how one can say that "there [is] a well-founded hope that the child will be brought up in the Catholic religion" when the child's parents are aggressively and persistently with thought, word and example teaching the child that the Church is absolutely wrong on an issue so important in the Church.

I understand the desire to find moral equivalents to compare this to, but I do not see a single mother, who very likely repented of the sin of adultery, as a moral equivalent to a homosexual couple who intend to maintain the sin every day for the rest of their lives without remorse.

I would however agree that there is a near moral equivalency with an unmarried cohabiting couple although their union does not bear the additional burden of being fundamentally disordered under Natural Law.

I believe the case could be made that an unbaptized (due to some defect owing to the parents) child's salvation would not be in question.

So have we come to a point in our church of Moral Relativism even in our Sacraments?


#6

[quote="ELMitz, post:5, topic:226074"]
I understand your logic, but I do not understand how one can say that "there [is] a well-founded hope that the child will be brought up in the Catholic religion" when the child's parents are aggressively and persistently with thought, word and example teaching the child that the Church is absolutely wrong on an issue so important in the Church.

[/quote]

I think it is fundamentally a question of whether or not the child will be able to practice their religion-- attend Mass, receive the sacraments, receive religious instruction.

[quote="ELMitz, post:5, topic:226074"]
I understand the desire to find moral equivalents

[/quote]

I gave some examples, but if you interpreted them as a desire to find moral equivalents you would be incorrect. I don't believe that such a comparison is *necessary *in any way.

[quote="ELMitz, post:5, topic:226074"]
I believe the case could be made that an unbaptized (due to some defect owing to the parents) child's salvation would not be in question.

[/quote]

Such an assertion would be in **direct **conflict with Catholic doctrine.

[quote="ELMitz, post:5, topic:226074"]
So have we come to a point in our church of Moral Relativism even in our Sacraments?

[/quote]

Please establish how baptizing a child is an example of moral relativism.


#7

[quote="ELMitz, post:5, topic:226074"]

I understand the desire to find moral equivalents to compare this to, but I do not see a single mother, who very likely repented of the sin of adultery, as a moral equivalent to a homosexual couple who intend to maintain the sin every day for the rest of their lives without remorse.

[/quote]

There are many "families" out there who are unwed and the woman may be a "mistress" of a married man. I know here in North America with divorce so common it may not be the case, but in other parts of the world where divorce may be frowned on or may have stricter requirements, there are cases when a married man splits from the wife and fathers another child with another woman. Sometimes the second family is kept with the first family totally unaware of the second.

The ultimate question is if the child will be brought up in the faith. There are many moral sins of the parents. Does a child of a womanizing father view marriage any better than a child in the care of homosexual couples?


#8

Thank you all.

Peace.


#9

[quote="ELMitz, post:1, topic:226074"]
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:

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!

[/quote]

by the Canon Law you stated, it comes into apply when the Pastor has knowledge (beyond reasonable doubt) that the Child will not be brought up Catholic, in your Pastors (im going to assume this is your Parish Priest) example he would be right to defer the baptism of the second couples child and not the homosexual couples aslong as their only vice is their homosexuality, and they are working on it.

However if you have the typical homosexual couple which is not at all inline with the Churches teaching, it falls unto the pastors opinion and on canon law, as to whether he should defer baptism.

Basicly it all falls down onto the Parish Priest.


#10

After digesting the responses received I think I have a better understanding.

Thanks.


#11

Please tell me if I understand correctly. Does a ‘pastoral decision’ allow a priest in one Catholic parish to decide to baptize a child under such circumstances, while a priest in another parish within the same diocese, could refuse?


#12

[quote="PattiDay, post:11, topic:226074"]
Please tell me if I understand correctly. Does a 'pastoral decision' allow a priest in one Catholic parish to decide to baptize a child under such circumstances, while a priest in another parish within the same diocese, could refuse?

[/quote]

Exactly.

Weird is it not? So really we are kinda like the Protestants in this regard... keep shopping Priests until you find the one that interprets the Canon and the Catechism the way you want...


#13

[quote]Originally Posted by ELMitz

I believe the case could be made that an unbaptized (due to some defect owing to the parents) child's salvation would not be in question.

Such an assertion would be in direct conflict with Catholic doctrine.
[/quote]

Can. 868 §1. For an infant to be baptized licitly:

1/ the parents or at least one of them or the person who legitimately takes their place must consent;

2/ there must be a founded hope that the infant will be brought up in the Catholic religion; if such hope is altogether lacking, the baptism is to be delayed according to the prescripts of particular law after the parents have been advised about the reason.

-------- Combined with --------------

CCC 1283 With respect to children who have died without Baptism, the liturgy of the Church invites us to trust in God's mercy and to pray for their salvation.

Equals:

The Canon has prescribed a specific instance when baptism should be delayed due to no fault of the child and the Catechism tells us that we are invited to trust in the Mercy and Understanding of God.


#14

[quote="ELMitz, post:13, topic:226074"]
The Canon has prescribed a specific instance when baptism should be delayed due to no fault of the child and the Catechism tells us that we are invited to trust in the Mercy and Understanding of God.

[/quote]

You did not state that we could **hope **the child would achieve salvation. You state, "child's salvation would not be in question." That statement is in direct conflict with the Catechism which says:

1261 As regards children who have died without Baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, as she does in her funeral rites for them. Indeed, the great mercy of God who desires that all men should be saved, and Jesus' tenderness toward children which caused him to say: "Let the children come to me, do not hinder them,"63 allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism. All the more urgent is the Church's call not to prevent little children coming to Christ through the gift of holy Baptism.

Allowing to hope is not the same as "not in question." And, moreover the Catechism instructs we are not to prevent little children from receiving the gift of holy baptism.


#15

Now you are being argumentative. Thanks for your input.


#16

Firstly, nobody has pointed out yet that a homosexual couple cannot be the parents of a child. Only one of them can be.
They may be legally parents, but that is not the same thing. And the church does not need to recognise legal same sex parenthood in the same way that it does not recognise homosexual partnerships established in law.
Also, that child does have another parent somewhere. Maybe two. But either way it has one parent of each sex.

Secondly, It has to be assumed that the child cannot be raised in the catholic faith if the parent - and its same sex partner - are living in a sinful relationship and persisting in that, because they would be most likely to pass to the child the belief that that sinful activity was not sinful. I don't mean raising the child as a presumed homosexual, but raising the child in the belief that homosexuality is not sinful. That has to add up to a less than well founded belief that the child will be properly raised in the faith.

Finally, it is not possible for a practising homosexual to be active and participating in all ways other than regarding the church's teaching on homosexuality, because they would be in a state of persistent mortal sin. So for example, they would not be able to receive communion or go to confession ( unless they were willing to stop it). After all, we are talking here about one of the four sins crying to heaven for vengeance.

I think that would extend to children of unmarried couples, too - they would be teaching the child that it is not a sin to have sex and children outside of marriage, unless and until they do marry and show genuine repentance.

Single mothers - that should be looked at per individual case. For a mother whose husband has left without consent who has acted in good faith throughout, I would think that it is fine to baptise the child, or for a mother or father who has demonstrated true repentance of unmarried sex.
However, if the attitude of having sexual partners outside of marriage is persistent, then no, because the child again will most likely be raised with that sinful attitude.

Alhough I have never engaged in any homosexual activity myself, I have been no saint in the past myself with regard to sex, but to avoid hypocrisy I am pointing out what I understand the church's position would be, rather than using this to portray myself as holier than thou in some way.


#17

You and I share nearly identical perspectives. Thanks for joining the conversation.


#18

[quote="Michael_VPV, post:16, topic:226074"]
Firstly, nobody has pointed out yet that a homosexual couple cannot be the parents of a child. Only one of them can be.

[/quote]

Actually, that was in the text of the quotation in the original post.

[quote="Michael_VPV, post:16, topic:226074"]
Secondly, It has to be assumed that the child cannot be raised in the catholic faith if the parent - and its same sex partner - are living in a sinful relationship and persisting in that, because they would be most likely to pass to the child the belief that that sinful activity was not sinful. I don't mean raising the child as a presumed homosexual, but raising the child in the belief that homosexuality is not sinful. That has to add up to a less than well founded belief that the child will be properly raised in the faith.

[/quote]

If this were the case, there would be many more babies denied baptism because their parents disagree with or actively dissent from one or more Church teachings.

But, fortunately for those babies the Chuch doesn't view a parent's questionable morals or zeal for the faith as a canonical impediment to baptism. Mixed marriages in which one parent actively disagrees with Catholic doctrine isn't an impediment either.

[quote="Michael_VPV, post:16, topic:226074"]

Finally, it is not possible for a practising homosexual to be active and participating in all ways other than regarding the church's teaching on homosexuality, because they would be in a state of persistent mortal sin. So for example, they would not be able to receive communion or go to confession ( unless they were willing to stop it). After all, we are talking here about one of the four sins crying to heaven for vengeance.

[/quote]

Also not a canonical impediment to a chid's baptism.

[quote="Michael_VPV, post:16, topic:226074"]
I think that would extend to children of unmarried couples, too - they would be teaching the child that it is not a sin to have sex and children outside of marriage, unless and until they do marry and show genuine repentance.

[/quote]

And yet, not an impediment to baptism.

[quote="Michael_VPV, post:16, topic:226074"]
Single mothers - that should be looked at per individual case. For a mother whose husband has left without consent who has acted in good faith throughout, I would think that it is fine to baptise the child, or for a mother or father who has demonstrated true repentance of unmarried sex.
However, if the attitude of having sexual partners outside of marriage is persistent, then no, because the child again will most likely be raised with that sinful attitude.

[/quote]

And yet, not an impediment to baptism.

[quote="Michael_VPV, post:16, topic:226074"]
Alhough I have never engaged in any homosexual activity myself, I have been no saint in the past myself with regard to sex, but to avoid hypocrisy I am pointing out what I understand the church's position would be, rather than using this to portray myself as holier than thou in some way.

[/quote]

But that is not the Church's position at all.


#19

1ke bgwm you provide an example of when the canon law might apply?


#20

[quote="1ke, post:14, topic:226074"]
You did not state that we could **hope **the child would achieve salvation. You state, "child's salvation would not be in question." That statement is in direct conflict with the Catechism which says:

1261 As regards children who have died without Baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, as she does in her funeral rites for them. Indeed, the great mercy of God who desires that all men should be saved, and Jesus' tenderness toward children which caused him to say: "Let the children come to me, do not hinder them,"63 allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism. All the more urgent is the Church's call not to prevent little children coming to Christ through the gift of holy Baptism.

Allowing to hope is not the same as "not in question." And, moreover the Catechism instructs we are not to prevent little children from receiving the gift of holy baptism.

That presupposes at least one of the parents is Catholic and there is a reasonable chance that parent at least will try his/her best to bring the child up in the Catholic faith.

On the other hand lets say both parents of a child are Catholic but they have fallen away. They have a child and want it baptised in the Catholic Church but make it clear they do not intend to bring the child up in the Catholic faith, then that child will be denied baptism as a Catholic. Canon Law makes this perfectly clear.

[/quote]


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