baptism question

This is probably pretty basic but I have recently joined the RCIA program and am looking for clarification. A good friend of mine is unwed and had a child. She and the father are confirmed and are looking to get their daughter baptized. They do not attend church regularly but it more of a work schedule conflict than not wanting to go problem. They want their daughter to go through classes and eventually be confirmed. They are willing to register with a parish but she is having a very hard time getting answers in the process and even finding a priest to talk to. I referred her to my parish as our parish father is a great guy in my opinion and I am going to be the god mother. He is avoiding this situation like the plague. Am I missing something here? I always thought we are not to judge and are to be welcoming of others. I feel as if my friend is being judged and the child is being punished for her parents sins.

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Kind regards,


If the priest is avoiding the matter, it would appear that there are details to the story that are missing here. But the designated God-Mother does hive an interest in the matter, which means it wouldn’t be intrusive to simply ask the priest in a general way.

Your status is Catholic and you say you’re in RCIA. Are you seeking Confirmation? That has to happen before you can become a godparent.

I’m not sure I understand what your priest is avoiding. Has he refused to meet with them? Do they live in another territorial parish? If so he may feel that since he’s not their pastor it’s not his place to baptize their child.

It’s possible that if he has met with them he has doubts that the child will, in fact, be raised Catholic. That would justify his delaying Baptism.

The responsibility of Parents (not God parents) in Baptizing their children before the age of reason, is a very important matter!

I have been more and more concerned about this issue lately because of the lack of sincere faith and knowledge of the faith by many Catholics!

Catechism of the Catholic Church:

1231 Where infant Baptism has become the form in which this sacrament is usually celebrated, it has become a single act encapsulating the preparatory stages of Christian initiation in a very abridged way.** By its very nature infant Baptism requires a post-baptismal catechumenate. Not only is there a need for instruction after Baptism, but also for the necessary flowering of baptismal grace in personal growth**. The catechism has its proper place here.

The importance of instruction provided through the guidence of the parents is neccessary for the child to grow in the faith which brought grace in salvation, forgiveness of original sin, first fruits of faith personally in their Baptism. How destructive is the hypocracy which a child is subjected to when Baptized as an infant and raised in a contradicting manner to what the gospel of the Baptism of Jesus is all about?

Parents have a blessing of jurisdiction regarding Baptizing their children. But their responsibility in providing Baptism requires being an example of the Christian life.** I am more understanding of a pastor who is reserved to Baptizing a child of parents who are openly living contrary to the gospel and Teachings of the Church**. Their is too much destructive consequences of a dysfunctional example by hypocratical Catholics who create confused and uneducated young men and women.

** As a God parent, we are given authority to admonish the parents of our God child in order to aid in the catechesis of the child! This is a challenge when we are asked by parents who have issues as Christians!!! They are asking us to hold them accountable, yet they don’t realize this is what they are asking, because they do not search the depths of the Sacraments. **
Paz de Cristo

According to the Code of Canon Law, Canon 868, except when the infant is in danger of death, for an infant or young child to be baptized licitly, two conditions must be fulfilled:

  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.

Since the first condition of consent doesn’t seem to be the impediment, it must be the second condition of a founded hope that the child will be brought up in the Catholic religion that the priest thinks is lacking.

The founded hope in large part rests on whether or not the child’s custodial parent is now living as an observant Catholic, living according to the teachings of the Catholic Church.

As many do, you are trying to fit the situation neatly into Canon Law. Its fine and well to be able to cite Canon Law, verse and chapter, but “it must be” doesn’t often hold much water until the exact details of each situation is carefully considered so the law can be properly applied by a certified Canonist.

Leave Canon Law to Canon Lawyers. Instead, pray with and for the family (and especially the child).

Agreed. If you are in RCIA, then you are not yet a confirmed Catholic, and quite possibly not even a Catholic at all, so you cannot be a godparent. There may be more to this story, and even if there is not, this is something that the parents must handle. With all due charity, your emotional evaluation of the situation ("**I feel **as if my friend is being judged…") is neither accurate nor relevant. Best to just pray for them.

I will be conformed in the fall and my priest has no problems with me becoming a god parent after that time. The mother is willing to wait for me to be confirmed. She does live about 45 minutes away. I didnt realize living in another churches district can restrict baptism. If she has work conflicts and cannot attend mass is there another way for her to get in the good graces of the church again? I know at my church we have a soup kitchen and serve lunch to seniors. Would volunteering for those type of activities help?

Thank you for all of your answers, I didnt realize the process is so strict. I now understand why it is.

I know if the church wont baptize the little one when she turns 7 she can take classes. Does anyone know what the process for that would look like?

I can tell you what happened in my parish when we had a child who had reached the age of reason asking for Baptism but that may not help you at all. Parishes and dioceses vary in how they approach that. In my parish the child met with the catechist privately, once a week, for over a year before she was baptized. In other places they may simply be integrated with the regular religious education class at their age level.

I’m still confused by your priest being OK for you to be the godmother once you’re confirmed and him avoiding this totally. Has he told the parents he won’t baptize their child?

I’ve known priests who didn’t baptize the child of cohabiting parents or parents who didn’t attend Mass regularly; in one parish where I was a member the pastor insisted that they attend Mass regularly for at least 6 months before he’d celebrate their child’s Baptism. Then again, I know some who baptize any child whose parents ask. It’s difficult to know what the problem is with your friend’s situation.

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