Can my baby be a Catholic now?


I’m kind of new, becuase I am a recently converted Catholic from a protestant background. I have several children, all of whom have been baptised in the Anglican tradition.

The situation seems fairly clear to me for my eldest who is ready for confirmation, and can join with the Catholic candidates.

I also have a younger child, who would be kind of old to take the first holy communion, but I believe can be welcomed as a Catholic as she is older than the age of reason.

  • I would appreciate any comments on the above!

However, the one I am most confused, and worried, about is my baby. How can he become a Catholic, before the age of reason, as he has already been baptised in the trinity. I really feel that I want him recognised formally as a catholic.

  • thanks

Hi and welcome to the Catholic Church!! Your older two children would need to attend some kind of Sacramental Preparation program. Many parishes use the RCIA for children. Some parishes call this the RCIC even though it is the RCIA for children. Your two would then go on to receive the appropriate sacraments. And they are Catholic now by the extension of your faith.

Your little baby is Catholic by the extension of your faith. Since your baby was baptized validly he can be considered Catholic now based on your profession of faith to the Catholic Church. Once your child is old enough, then he can receive the proper religious education and continue in the sacramental life of the Church. God bless you and welcome to this forum. Come back with any questions…teachccd :slight_smile:

Have you tried asking your pastor these questions?

And how does your husband feel about this? Has he any input about the religious upbrining of his children?

One quick question: If you are a recent convert and you just joined this forum two days ago then why are you still calling yourself a protestant in your profile? I’m just curious.

I could be totally wrong on this, but I’m under the impression that there’s nothing that makes a child below the age of reason baptized in a non-Catholic family different from a child below the age of reason baptized in a Catholic family. I can’t back that up, but I really can’t figure out how there would be a canonical difference.

Welcome to the Church!

There’s nothing strictly necessary for your youngest to be considered a Catholic. Since he’s not yet reached the age of reason, all that’s technically necessary is for you to raise him as a Catholic. He’s already Catholic by virtue of the fact that you became Catholic, so long as you intend him to be Catholic.

However, the Church does give you an opportunity to have him formally received into the Church. The pastor can do the ceremony of supplying the missing rites of the Church for a child who was baptised outside the Church (or one baptised in an emergency). This has all the outward appearance of a baptism, but there is no actual pouring of water. The blessings are there, and everything else. You’re always free to request that the pastor do this rite.

I hope this helps.

Welcome Home, I love to have entire families received into the Church like this.
Ordinarily if an adult with children is preparing to enter the Church, his children (of school age) are prepared and received at the same time, in a class with their peers. If this has not happened, simply bring your children to the attention of the pastor and he will direct you to those whose job it is to prepare children for the sacraments. In this diocese, children baptized into another Christian denomination will be prepared for and celebrate first communion and confirmation at the same time, preceded by sacramental confession.

When an adult with an infant (child under age 7) enters the church, the unbaptized child is baptized, and the baptized child is considered to become “automatically” Catholic by virtue of the sacrament and their parent’s faith. Fr. David has explained the procedure. The fact will be noted in the parish sacramental register, and the child will be prepared for the other sacraments at the normal age for Catholic children in his diocese.

Thanks - that is what I was hoping to hear.

I am also reassured that he would simply automatically be accepted too :slight_smile:

…and as to the other questions - I’ll change my profile! haven’t quite figured out how everything works here yet - but I have found the forum to be very interesting reading…my husband is in complete support of our decision to bring the family up Catholic from now on…and we’re planning on speaking to the Father tomorrow, but I wanted to pre-empt a few answers (nervous!) and have an idea about what we’d actually be discussing with him.

If your husband is not Catholic, I don’t know about the “automatic” part, he probably at least has to consent, which he has done. I was speaking of a case where a single parent, or both parents, enter the Church. be sure and save up all your questions for your interview with the pastor (by far the best thing you can do).

That is correct if I understood you correctly.


Basically, what I mean is: an infant baptized validly, no matter in which Church or ecclesial community, is technically Catholic. There is nothing that needs to be done for the infant (or that the infant needs to do) before the age of reason for that child to enter full communion with the Catholic Church, since the infant is already in full communion.

For themost part yes. However to officially be considered in full communion with the Catholic Church the Baptism would need to be entered into the Catholic parish Baptismal register. Also as Fr. suggests the additional Rites of Infant Baptism should be celebrated.

The non-Catholic parent need not consent; the consent of one parent is sufficient.

…Although in this case, as you say, that part doesn’t apply.

Good points about the baptism register. It’s one thing for the child to be considered Catholic (and in fact, to be so), but recording this in the register is very important, especially for the child’s future when it comes time for him to receive the other Sacraments. Even if no formal ritual to bring him into the Church is done, the register is important.

PS Since our OP just recently came into the Church, I think we should also clarify that the Baptismal Register is not the same thing as a list of parishioners. Many parishes use “census cards” to register new parishioners, and you’ve probably already done something like this. The Baptismal register however is something altogether different. Those sacramental register books are permanent records of anyone who is baptised (or joins the Church).

I think it might be safe to say that if someone at the parish has not asked to see and record the information on the baptismal certificates of children whose parents enter the Church, then the the parent(s) should check into the matter.

I read this earlier today and something has been bothering me:

If this is the case, what prevents Catholic parents from baptizing their child in a place other than a Catholic church? Say, for example, the parents are new converts that want to have the baby’s grandfather (who is a protestant “minister”) baptize the child. Or, say the parents are in a mixed marriage and the non-Catholic wants to baptize in his/her church. That doesn’t seem correct (though I haven’t seen such a situation and maybe it is).

Their faith in the Church is what prevents it.

There is no “penalty” or anything like that for such a situation (unless it’s so extreme that the parents are abandoning the faith, but I do not think that’s what you mean).

If it’s a mixed marriage, the Catholic party must (as a pre-requisite to the marriage) agree to raise the children Catholic, and the non-Catholic spouse must be made aware of this.

It just doesn’t seem right. When a child is baptized Catholic, that child becomes subject to canon law, correct? That is why a priest will not baptize a child when there is no hope of the child being raised in the faith (the argument, I believe is that it is better not to baptize the child and make him/her subject to canon law then to baptize knowing that the child will live his/her life in violation of the law).

If it is the case that a child baptized properly anywhere is the same, wouldn’t that make all children subject to canon law, regardless of where they were baptized?

I apologize if this is confusing - I’m a little confused on the subject myself.

Not quite. The reason for delaying the baptism is not to prevent the situation of the child being subject to canon law. The reasoning is that the Sacrament would be celebrated merely as a social event. It would be disengenuous to baptise the child into the Church knowing that the child will not actually live-out that membership (with all that entails). The concern is that the child will be in-fact raised in the faith. That’s not quite the same thing as saying “subject to the law.”

Even non-Catholics are subject to canon law in a certain limited sense, especially when the canons articulate something in the divine law, or something in the moral law. When a non-Catholic has some interaction with the Church, he is subject to canon law: some examples are seeking an annulment, marrying a Catholic, acting as a witness at baptism, etc. Even an atheist who enters into a contract with a Catholic parish (let’s say someone contracted to put a new roof on the church building) would be subject to the canons dealing with the temporal goods of the Church; since he would be bound to make such a contract with the pastor (who has canonical authority to authorize the funds) and not the Sunday usher (who lacks that canonical authority).

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