Can I attend an infant "Blessing" by a Catholic family that refuses to baptize their child


#1

As a practicing Catholics, can my wife and I attend a new age-like infant "blessing?

Some background – I have a niece who was raised Catholic and was adopted from a Catholic adoption agency, had a great up bringing, but now that she and her husband are having children, she refuses to baptize them. I’m not sure of the exact reason why. They are opting instead to have some new age-like infant blessing.

My siblings all had a great Catholic upbringing (and they will all admit it), yet after our parents passed away, they have all fallen away from the Church and/or have become very apathetic about their faith. Now it’s starting to reflect in their children’s decisions.

I am a bit distraught by this.

Any insights are appreciated. Thanks for responding!


#2

I was once asked to participate in a similar ceremony for a friend’s child, and I declined. In this situation, the friend was raised Orthodox. She and her husband decided to have a ceremony in which they would choose a “Godmother/Godfather” from various faith backgrounds (Pagan, Christian, Jewish, etc) to guide the child and be a source of support and information should the child choose or become interested in a particular religion. I was asked to be the Christian representative, but I obviously couldn’t do it. I wonder if your niece has something like that in mind.


#3

That would be very unwise. Failing to baptize their children is very serious. Do not equate the two by your presence and send a message that it is OK.


#4

Thanks for your reply. I’m pretty sure it won’t be that radical. (BTW…that IS radical, I also would totally refuse to participate)

It most likely will be a woman pastor from some non-denominational interfaith congregation (not Christian).


#5

Go for the sake of family unity but I would find out what is going to happen in terms of the blessing. Find if the couple attends a Protestant church, they might be opting for the blessings for the infant because many Protestant denominations will have their infant blessed and then encourage the child decide to join the community by being baptised later in life. There is something to being baptised as a teen or young adult.

This is very common in some Protestant denominations therefore I wouldn’t turn your back on this celebration that quickly. Some of these blessing ceremonies are very similar to the infant baptism traditions you are used to. So please go and show your support. Sometimes the best thing we can do to show God’s love is by attending a family event even though you don’t totally agree with the theology around it.


#6

It sounds like they are not practicing their Catholic faith. How close are you to her? Would it be causing a big family rift if you didn’t go? Baby blessings are usually done in Protestant churches that do not believe in infant baptism but they feel the need to do something in it’s place which sound “spiritual”. Since they are not practicing Catholics and do not have intention of raising their baby as a Catholic, this is the fruit of that.


#7

What about posting some good Catholic literature to them especially on the important of being baptised not blessed, and what it says in the Bible on the subject. Very sad,


#8

I think that you could attend this “blessing” for the purpose of preserving your closeness to the family. It is a matter of prudential judgment, much like attending weddings outside the Church. At the same time, you should be clear to all that you believe that children should be raised in the Faith. You should always demonstrate Catholicism to these fallen away family members and pray for their return to the faith.


#9

If you attend then that can be seen as affirming that this blessing instead of baptism is acceptable and that the Church teaching about baptism is wrong.
You should NOT attend.


#10

I may be the odd person out here, but I would go. I completely understand they were raised catholic etc, however this is what they choose for their baby. Who are we to judge? Jesus did not judge. It’s not like it’s an anti religion ceremony. I don’t believe that we should push our religion on anyone, even if they were raised catholic. Plus what does the baby know? He/she should have people who love them there. Having pictures of you there will show that baby when they get older that you cared for them… That is how I think of this situation.


#11

I don’t see this is “judging” someone; that’s just a current expression used to justify all sorts of behavior. If I know that someone is a Catholic and does something significant that is contrary to Church teaching, and asks me to attend its celebration, how can I possibly do so? That’s not judging; it’s taking responsibility for myself.


#12

I’d go. It sounds like it would be an interesting experience.


#13

I agree with this. Op has not answered the question on how close or not they are to the niece.


#14

We are close. I’m also close with her mother (my sister) although, I don’t agree with her not fully attempting to pass the faith on to her daughter.

Also, my young daughters adore my niece’s children…so that adds a level of complexity to it. “Daddy won’t let us go to our cousins house!”

BTW…I really appreciate the participation in this discussion so far. Thank you!


#15

I understand. This falls in the same sort of category as attending weddings of family members that are outside the Church. I think if you search “should I attend this wedding”. there are some good insights from the Catholic apologists on this site. She and her husband are not practicing Catholics obviously but family considerations where if you didn’t go it might cause a bigger rift in the family and maybe even put up a barrier for them to return to the Catholic Church later on. I use to go to a non-denomination that practice “baby dedications” and they really are a ritual to replace infant baptism. They are kinda hollow when one understands “real” baptism. Maybe you could discuss this with your priest. On the surface, I would say no, but if not attending is going to cause road blocks to return to the Catholic Church later on, then that is something that isn’t so black and white which is how some of our apologists answered on the wedding question.


#16

If this was a baptism in a Catholic Church, the op would attend. Hence, agreeing with the choice the parents made for their child. But since it’s not a baptism in the Catholic Church the op doesn’t know if they should attend, hence judging the blessing ceremony they choose for their baby. If it was a practice that was anti religion or put down Jesus / God that would be different, but I doubt that since it’s a blessing of the baby.

I spoke with my pastor in great details about others and the views of other regarding religion. He said as long as it was not bashing or talking badly about Jesus and they try not to convert me or my beliefs it’s ok to attend other churches services for special occasions like what the op mentioned. He even was invited to speak a homily in a Jewish service and vise versa.

I went to my cousins Calverly (sp?) chapel for the dedication of her baby. Did I go, yes because it was for my cousin. Did I like the homily they spoke about during the service, not particularly but instead read from my own bible. The actual dedication was interesting to watch.


#17

I agree with this. Parents have an obligation to the spiritual welfare of their children. Why give them a useless counterfeit instead of the real thing? Why approve of such neglect?


#18

I sort of can’t believe I’m saying this…but I don’t think you should go.

What is the understanding of a blessing?

What is this child being dedicated to or for?

If it is a Christian blessing, the it is probably fine to attend, but in the OP it was stated it was New Age of some sort.

I don’t think that everything New Age is inherently bad, but I do think that being a Catholic you would first need to know what the child was being blessed for or into before you made a decision to attend.

I respect the teachings of different faiths and I understand when people of different faiths sometimes need to bow out of attending holy day gatherings etc of my faith. I realize it is NOT personal against me, but they must be true to themselves.

I hope if you decide that you cannot attend, that your niece will understand. If she takes her beliefs seriously, then I think she would respect that you do likewise.


#19

May I give my perspective from the vantage point of a NPC? The decision is yours to make. But if you’re as close as you say you are with your niece and sister and I truly get the sense you are, then it’s a no brainer to me. I agree with those practicing Catholics here who say to go. I’ve attended family members’ Baptisms and weddings not because I fully agree with their faith choices but because they are my loved ones and family. My presence did not mean I am in full agreement with the Church. Any more than yours will mean you agree with their choices. I went to be with my family. Your young daughters may be coming of Confirmation age if they are not already. Wouldn’t you/they be happy to see your niece, your sister, and their cousins be part of their celebrations? By not going you risk hurting your niece and sister. And if you stay away, your example could even alienate them further from Catholicism. And neither of those do I believe is something you want. In the end it is your choice. But if you decide to attend, enjoy the time with your family. Life is short. And not all families share the closeness yours has. What a blessing that is!


#20

With the exception that I am a practicing catholic, I completly agree with all of this…


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