Better to baptize our child not Catholic for the sake of our marriage?

My heart feels ripped apart and I am so confused please help!
I am a devout catholic and my husband is cumberland presbyterian. After reading the original doctrine of this denomination (written in 1814) I have found that it is extremely anti-catholic (at one point calls the pope the anti-christ! and those that believe in transubstantiation “ignorant idolaters”!!!) However the revised doctine (written in 1984) is so vague and non-specific it dosent really state a position on anything! We both want the baby baptized in our own denominations! We were married at a catholic church at my insistance and now he is using it against me as an excuse to get the baby baptized at HIS church. How does my role as a wife factor into this? Is it better to have the baby baptized in a denomiation I dont agree with for the sake of our marriage (it will at least be a trinitarian baptism)?

As a condition for being allowed to marry a non-Catholic you would have had to promise to do your best to bring up your children in the Catholic faith. It won’t be a good start if the child is not baptised into the Catholic faith.
If you let your child be baptised in another church and brought up outside the Catholic Church then in my opinion you are endangering the child’s immortal soul.
I don’t know how long you have been married but it seems all is not well. Maybe this is a test of your faith.

This is a question very close to my own heart. :frowning:

My ex-wife was a protestant, who became a Catholic prior to our marriage. Nevertheless, she brought her anti-Catholic prejudices into our marriage, and into decisions about the fundamental issues, such as baptism, and Sunday obligation.

From the time of the baptism of our first child, we disagreed. I just stood firm, and insisted that our first child, and the next two, would be baptised Catholic, and baptised early.

I would eventually lose many battles to my ex-wife, but I have never regretted the stand I took on the baptism of our children.

Thistle, I pray for you, your marriage, and your children.


~ Edmundus

I don’t have children, so I probably shouldn’t be attempting to answer. However I am a former Presbyterian. And I grew up in a family of one lapsed Catholic / Atheist (father), Anglican / Believer at core IMother), non-practising Presbyterian / Atheist (myself), and non-Baptised Believer at core (sister). If my life hadn’t taken some very negative turns, I would probably have never considered the church. It didn’t have much influence in my early life.

The trouble is not the baptism itself, which is recognised as valid by the Catholic Church. The problem will be the continuing education of your child in the Presbyterian Church. Despite the toning down of differences since Vatican II, there is still a strong under current of anti-Catholicism in the Presbyterian (and most Protestant) churches. The silly part is that if most Protestants actually sat through a few masses, they’d start to wonder what all the fuss was about.

It’s your call.

Say you do give in and allow your child to be baptised in your husband’s church, what are you really saving? You have a very serious issue in your marriage that you need to address ASAP. You could give into your husband’s wishes but does it really resolve the underlying problem that your differences in religious denominations are a major strain on your marriage? If it were me, I’d talk to my priest immediately. You can’t fix this problem by having your child baptized in your husband’s church, this has become a battleground for you two and its going to play out over and over again unless you address it now.


  1. When, for a just and reasonable cause, permission for a mixed marriage is requested, both parties are to be instructed on the essential ends and properties of marriage which are not to be excluded by either party. Furthermore, the Catholic party will be asked to affirm, in the form established by the particular law of the Eastern Catholic Churches or by the Episcopal Conference, that he or she is prepared to avoid the dangers of abandoning the faith and to promise sincerely to do all in his/her power to see that the children of the marriage be baptized and educated in the Catholic Church. The other partner is to be informed of these promises and responsibilities. **At the same time, it should be recognized that the non-Catholic partner may feel a like obligation because of his/her own Christian commitment. It is to be noted that no formal written or oral promise is required of this partner in Canon Law. (…)
  2. In carrying out this duty of transmitting the Catholic faith to the children, the Catholic parent will do so with respect for the religious freedom and conscience of the other parent and with due regard for the unity and permanence of the marriage and for the maintenance of the communion of the family. If, notwithstanding the Catholic’s best efforts, the children are not baptized and brought up in the Catholic Church, the Catholic parent does not fall subject to the censure of Canon Law. At the same time, his/her obligation to share the Catholic faith with the children does not cease. It continues to make its demands, which could be met, for example, by playing an active part in contributing to the Christian atmosphere of the home; doing all that is possible by word and example to enable the other members of the family to appreciate the specific values of the Catholic tradition; taking whatever steps are necessary to be well informed about his/her own faith so as to be able to explain and discuss it with them; praying with the family for the grace of Christian unity as the Lord wills it.

thank you!

You made a promise to baptize your children Catholic and he was informed of it.

Now he is trying to manipulate you and pull some sort of “it isn’t fair” card? He sounds immature. Trying to use where your marriage occurred against you in such a way is a huge red flag.

Could a compromise be reached where the child is baptized “non-Catholic” and catechized Catholic?

Trinitarian baptism is a Trinitarian baptism, Catholic or not. I’d be more concerned about the child’s continuing religious education than where he or she was baptized.

what is better for your marriage is to get help, professional counseling if necessary, to deal with what you are perceiving as manipulation, breaking a promise, lying, and using your child’s baptism as a control issue. Since no matter how you baptize the child, the trouble in the marriage will still be unresolved, that seems the place to start. Ask your own priest this question and take his advice on sacraments for your child given your own circumstances.

I don’t have children, just a pew sitter, but baptism of infants seems to be 1/7 th for the infant, and 6/7 ths’ toward the parents and their committment to raise the child in the philosophy of the Catholic Church.

Question: I thought that in preCana it must be agreed that children will be raised Catholic.

Not true?

To get permission for a mixed-marriage the Catholic must convince the priest that the marriage poses no danger that he/she will stray from the faith and must promise to do all in his/her power to have any children baptized and raised Catholic. The non-Catholic party is informed of the promise and what it entails but no promise is required of him/her because the Church recognizes that he/she may also, in good conscience, wish to raise the children in his/her Faith.

Validity is validity, true, and anything that removes the stain of original sin is a good start. But the rites that accomplish that are not indifferent. They accomplish “enrolment” in a church, even if the Protestant denomination does not think of things that way. In other words, if the baby is baptized in the Catholic Church, the baby becomes Catholic. If the baby is baptized in a Protestant ecclesial community, the child does not become Catholic, because the very fact of taking the child to a non-Catholic community for baptism indicates that the parents do not intend for the child to be Catholic. While a child is still below the age of reason, the process of “converting” him or her to Catholicism can be as simple as requesting the child to be enrolled on the parish baptismal register, but that doesn’t negate the fact that trying to negotiate some kind of workaround like that probably stands to be the first of many instances where the Catholic parent feels forced to allow the children to be raised as non-Catholics and spends the energy trying to repair the damage that could/should have gone into simply raising them Catholic to begin with. It is a very tough situation to find oneself in, so my sympathy very much goes out to the OP. The advice to seek help on the marriage as the first step is definitely right, because this will not be an isolated tension.

Canon Law regarding mixed marriages:

Can. 1125 The local ordinary can grant a permission of this kind if there is a just and reasonable cause. He is not to grant it unless the following conditions have been fulfilled:

1/ the Catholic party is to declare that he or she is prepared to remove dangers of defecting from the faith and is to make a sincere promise to do all in his or her power so that all offspring are baptized and brought up in the Catholic Church;

2/ the other party is to be informed at an appropriate time about the promises which the Catholic party is to make, in such a way that it is certain that he or she is truly aware of the promise and obligation of the Catholic party;

If you agree to a non-Catholic baptism now, what will you do in a few years when your child is ready for First Communion? Will you compromise again and say that Protestant communion is good enough?

We were married at a catholic church at my insistance and now he is using it against me as an excuse to get the baby baptized at HIS church.

Marriage was the gift to BOTH of you, Not just you.

Getting married in the Catholic Church, does not give him the right to dicate or have +1 favour for the children’s faith. Im sure he’s a nice man, but he must understand your the woman, you carried them for 9 months, you suffered the pains of labour for these children.

It’s your decision, hopefully God willing, you will have them baptized into Church of Christ, and not a man-made denomination.

God Bless.

Since marriage is about give and take, I wouldn’t consider him as immature for making this request. Maybe you can simply negotiate an alternative give, so he still feels respected :smiley:

Since you are devout, do both of you attend a Catholic church weekly or do you attend seperate churches? Your weekly practice would seem of primary importance since it indicates the faith your children will be raised within.

One of the earlier posters said (and being a former protestant I agree with the general thought expressed here):

“The silly part is that if most Protestants actually sat through a few masses, they’d start to wonder what all the fuss was about.”

Clearly, neither of you were so stuck to your faith that you would only choose a partner with the exact same beliefs. To me, this suggests that your DH is not so rigid as some here are supposing, which means you have a good chance of working this out, in my view.

I’m not sure if he is objecting most to Catholicism, or more specifically to infant baptism, but if the latter, I had a thought. I don’t know if you have any catholic friends with young children but I was lucky enough early in my marriage to go with my wife to the baptism of one of her friend’s chlidren. It changed my perspective on the whole rite and helped me to see it in a different light. If he is objecting to catholicism, then I would start with the things you agree on, so-called “basic Christianity”, get him to agree on the basic objective: “I think we should raise the kids in a Christian home.” Also, don’t be afraid to ask for the sale: “I would like to go to mass this week, I would like it if you come with me?”.

If, as others said here, you can work it out and still get your child baptized as a Catholic, then go ahead and do it.

If it’s 100% impossible (which I highly doubt) to work this out, and the only way to get your child baptized as a Catholic is to sacrifice your marriage, then it’s worth it. The soul of your child is more important than your marriage.

That gloomy thought being presented, I still think there’s a way you can work it out. Pray, trust in God, and get your child baptized into the True Church of God.

That’s NOT what the Church teaches. You do what you can but not at the risk of your marriage. The child’s soul is not at risk if she has him baptized in the Presbyterian Church.

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