I am a Catholic. My son’s father is not religious, and is an Atheist. I want to raise my child in faith and have him baptized. The church in which I am having him baptized, has been giving me a hard time about the father needing to be present for the class and for the baptism. I tried going on my own with the godparents to the class, which we completed, but was told that if the father didn’t participate or attend a class, my son could not be baptized. The father and I are not in a romantic relationship of any kind, and he isn’t even really involved with my son. Is this accurate for the church to handle the situation like this?
Code of Canon Law (emphasis added):
Can. 868 §1. For an infant to be baptized licitly:
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.
No, both parents do not need to be present for the baptism. All that is required is that there be some basis to believe that the child will actually be raised as a Catholic. You are the mother (and the custodial parent) and are willing to do so, that should suffice since the canon only absolutely requires one parent’s consent.
If the parish still refuses to baptize without the presence of the father, I would suggest contacting the Bishop’s office.