Delaying baptism of a child until confirmation?


I joined the church at Easter last year, from a nonreligious background. I have a son who is now 4 and has never been baptized. When I asked about it, my priest said he was too old for infant baptism and I should wait until first communion and have him baptized then. But that is at least 2-3 years away and most examinations of conscience I see say that not having a child baptized promptly is a sin, so should I have pressed the issue and had him baptized already or should I keep waiting. I am worried if something should happen to him before baptism.


Most parishes have programs in place for children old enough to speak for themselves. If yours doesn’t, find one that does.

At this time of year, you might have to bang on the door more than once; the person in charge of the program may be on holidays.


For baptismal purposes, children are considered infants until they reach the age of reason (approximately 7 years old). After the age of reason they are considered adults and go through RCIA for their sacraments of initiation.

Talk to your pastor again about baptizing your son. If he is reluctant, call your diocese for assistance. There’s no reason to wait until your child reaches the age of reason since the Church does indeed baptize infants. When you think about it, does it even make sense that an adult could come and begin preparing for baptism right away but your son is told to wait several years to start the same process?


My pastor will baptize anyone that is not school age yet. (mostly under 6 or 7)
After that, the go to Christian initiation classes, like you did, but for children.
I would not wait.


I think you pastor is dead wrong. Talk to another priest if you can. If you can’t find one you can baptize the child yourself. But be sure that he has some understanding of who God is and that he wants to do what pleases him. This means that you should do some child appropriate catechizing. It can be very simple. Just explain who God is and what God expects of him.

How do you baptize him? While pouring water on his head, say, " I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, " while making the sign of the cross with the water. Notice, there is no " Amen! "

When he is older you can tell your pastor that you already baptized your son. He may then suggest a conditional baptism be done.



She will be able to find a priest to Baptize him. No need to counsel her to take matters into her own hands. The Church frowns on this unless in extreme cases of imminent death.
She’ll find a priest. The child deserves a Baptism in the presence of the Body of Christ.


While I appreciate the sentiment, this is actually a really bad idea. Unless the child is in danger of death, it would be considered a sacrilege.

Instead, make every effort to ensure that your pastor understood the question, and keep asking until you find out what is the procedure at your parish for children not yet in school who are able to speak for themselves.

If it turns out that it really is their policy to make kids wait until they’re old enough for First Holy Communion, then you want to contact the person in charge of Preparation for the Sacraments (often called the Sacramental Preparation Coordinator) at the Diocese and find out what you can do for your son. You can also ask around at other near-by parishes and find out if your son can be baptized there.


I don’t think “sacrilege” is an accurate term to describe someone performing a valid baptism.

“Illicit” is what canonists would say, because a home baptism without danger of death is outside the norm of law. “Grave matter, mortal sin” possibly, if you know it is wrong and do it anyway. But sacrilege, no.

Whatever the details, it was gravely wrong of Linus to counsel someone to perform an illicit baptism. He should retract his comments forthwith.


I’ll go with that. In a previous conversation on this Forum, I was corrected from saying “illicit” and was informed that it is sacrilege.

Either way, the Church certainly does not approve of this kind of thing.

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