Do that many people still baptize their children within the first few weeks of birth?


#1

Just something I’ve noticed, it doesn’t seem like very many people do this anymore. I believe every (recent) Catholic child I know was baptized at 5 months or older, except for my godmother’s baby, who was only 3 days old. This includes the kids of faithful, practicing Catholics as well as those who don’t really practice. Has anyone else noticed this? It seems strange considering that Canon Law says that the faithful should baptize their children within a few weeks of birth.

Do that many people take the baptism classes during pregnancy? It seems that many wait until after the baby is born, and that may be why baptism is delayed. I don’t really understand this either. Wouldn’t it be easier to take the class before the baby is born?

And to add, I am NOT saying that these kids should be refused baptism or anything of the sort. I love seeing babies and kids (and adults) of all ages being baptized, and I am ecstatic that these parents are having their kids baptized, no matter how old they are. I would never suggest that they should be refused or anything like that.

I’m also not judging the parents who baptize their kids when they are older. I know some may have had an extended hospital stay for baby or mom, or things of that nature that interfered.


#2

There are so many things that just used to be part of Catholic culture, and nearly every Catholic knew these things. This is one of them, a part of simple Catholic common sense. This is what I see as the biggest argument for the "Catholic fortress culture," or whatever you want to call it: everybody knows "Catholic stuff" and does it almost unquestioningly. Sort of, "It's good for you, so do it." Catholicity used to be taken for granted. Now it is not.

This is a catechetical problem, but I think more than that, it is a cultural problem. Catholic culture is hanging by a tiny, thin thread. We still have parts of the structure but we have none of the zeal--in fact we have antagonism and whiny people--and so the structure is emaciated.


#3

[quote="anp1215, post:1, topic:289347"]
Just something I've noticed, it doesn't seem like very many people do this anymore. I believe every (recent) Catholic child I know was baptized at 5 months or older, except for my godmother's baby, who was only 3 days old. This includes the kids of faithful, practicing Catholics as well as those who don't really practice. Has anyone else noticed this? It seems strange considering that Canon Law says that the faithful should baptize their children within a few weeks of birth.

Do that many people take the baptism classes during pregnancy? It seems that many wait until after the baby is born, and that may be why baptism is delayed. I don't really understand this either. Wouldn't it be easier to take the class before the baby is born?

And to add, I am NOT saying that these kids should be refused baptism or anything of the sort. I love seeing babies and kids (and adults) of all ages being baptized, and I am ecstatic that these parents are having their kids baptized, no matter how old they are. I would never suggest that they should be refused or anything like that.

I'm also not judging the parents who baptize their kids when they are older. I know some may have had an extended hospital stay for baby or mom, or things of that nature that interfered.

[/quote]

I try to have my children Baptized by 6 weeks, and to me that seems like a long time. In some traditions, children are baptized on the 40th day, so I guess I'm right in there. I would like to do the Baptisms sooner, but I have very difficult pregnancies and I've had several c-sections, and sometimes just getting out of the house by 6 weeks is a major accomplishment. The one time that we went past 6 weeks was because we couldn't agree on Godparents. I know, we had the whole pregnancy to figure that out, but we just didn't. I was very uncomfortable with that.


#4

It’s always been our intention to have our children baptized within the first few weeks. We meet with the priest and schedule them ahead of time since we have relatives coming from Alaska and Colorado. With our first, his due date was March 25th and we scheduled his baptism for April 6th; however, he came early on February 29th, so he was almost 6 weeks old at baptism. Our second son was due on September 20th, born on September 18th, and baptized on October 2nd. Our third son is due on September 29th and we’re scheduling the baptism for October 14th.

Most of our friends who are strong practicing Catholics also have their children baptized shortly after birth–we recently attended a baptism for a 10 day old. However, we do have other friends and relatives who attend Mass regularly but wouldn’t necessarily be described as strong Catholics who wait several months before baptizing.


#5

I lead the baptismal preparation in my parish. Most parents call me after the baby is born, sometimes as much as 6 months after.

Even when they do the preparation during the pregnancy there is usually a reason they “can’t” have the baby baptized early and it usually involves a godparent or a grandparent living away and needed to come in. No matter how many times you tell them they can have a proxy they still want to wait 'til uncle godfather can make it.

It’s true what YoungTradCath says, the Church requirement used to be very well known but today few, if any, young parents are aware of that particular rule. Even when you tell them they still want the baptism when they want the baptism. I can tell you I did preparation with parents 2 years ago who STILL haven’t presented their child to be baptized.


#6

I kept telling my son that he had to contact the Church before the baby was born to complete baptism classes.

Where he lives, they don't have classes. When I had children, there were no classes. I thought today it was universal but I guess not.:shrug:

My daughter struggled with her parish. They wouldn't baptize unless it was at a once every two months Sunday Mass. They said that it wasn't important to baptize right away that it was not required anymore:mad: My daughter wanted her family present which was not possible at that Mass. They told her it was more important to have the parish family than her own:eek: She ended up going to Parishes that were in another city.


#7

I was one month old when I was baptized


#8

I actually think that one of the reasons baptisms get delayed is that the Church has emphasized the community aspects of baptism so much that families want to wait until it is convenient for, not just godparents, but for ALL the extended family to be there. When I was young most baptisms had parents, godparents (often proxies), and elder siblings there. If extended family lived in the same town they might show up too but baptisms were not seen as excuses for family and friend get-togethers.

And while the party aspect has very much caught on, the baptismal preparation classes part seems to remain a well guarded secret. Most Catholics know that they will need to go through marriage preparation classes if they want a Catholic wedding. But Catholic parents often have no idea they will need to take baptism preparation classes until they approach the Church after their oldest child is already born.

I think baptism celebration with extended family are wonderful but not if it mean six months worth of planning has to go into it.

I think that when the Church tells the people about the preparation that catechumens go through prior to baptism it might be wise to mention that parents likewise need to prepare on behalf of their infant children for whom they desire baptism.


#9

I think it makes sense. Not that we shouldn't baptise infants early, the Church still strongly encourages us to do so, but I can see why it happens. I don't necessarily think it's all about the emphasis on partying.

A primary (although of course not the only) consideration behind super-early infant baptism was that up until a hundred years ago or so infant mortality rates were extremely high, and there was a very real chance that a child wouldn't live to see a year old, six months old or even two months.

With modern medicine dramatically slashing infant mortality over the course of the last century, unsurprisingly baptisms have been increasingly delayed as what was once a huge incentive is now virtually gone.

Combine that with recent clarifications on limbo - stressing, much more than was done in the past, that it is not and never has been official Church teaching that children who die unbaptised are certainly condemned to limbo - and that removes what was another huge incentive for early baptism.


#10

I have lived in about a dozen parishes since I married. In ALL of them, there was a strong suggestion that parents complete the prep classes before the baby was born and to schedule the Baptism for as soon as possible after the due date.

Many young Catholic couples don't really pay attention to the idea of Baptism until after the baby is born. By that time, they may have their hands full and it gets pushed to the back burner for a while.


#11

Our parish does not have baptism classes, but it is composed primarily of traveling ex-pats. Not that many babies are born there, as people move away often.

That said, we are converts. Our first three children were baptized at 3, 5, and 6. Our "Catholic babies" were all baptized within two weeks of birth. One was the first baby baptized in the new hospital chapel. :D So she was baptized at 5 days.

However, there are never any parties or anything outside our immediate family, that is, my husband, myself, and our children. We are the only Catholics on either side of our families for as far back as anyone can trace. And their Protestant denominations do not believe in infant baptism. :shrug:


#12

My first child was baptized at 4/5 weeks (Born April 21, baptized May 17) and his brother at 5-6 (Born Dec 13 baptized Jan 18) we had Godparents coming in and he was a week and a half early which made his later.

This next baby we didn't join a parish until much too late. So while she isn't born yet, they told us to schedule the baptism after she was born. There are some unfortunate circumstances , one being that the parish is right in the middle of a priest transition (right at the same time I am due) so they don't really know Father's schedule, another that they only have the classes once every 2 months (though this can be waived). Another hiccup, is that the State is now allowing baptismal certificates to be used as legal documents, which means that the parish/diocese will not do the baptism until they see the birth certificate and know they are not putting false information on the baptismal certificate. Which means delaying in until we receive that. I still want it done at 6 weeks or before. (Luckily my state is pretty quick with getting documents out).


#13

[quote="babochka, post:3, topic:289347"]
I try to have my children Baptized by 6 weeks, and to me that seems like a long time. In some traditions, children are baptized on the 40th day, so I guess I'm right in there. I would like to do the Baptisms sooner, but I have very difficult pregnancies and I've had several c-sections, and sometimes just getting out of the house by 6 weeks is a major accomplishment. The one time that we went past 6 weeks was because we couldn't agree on Godparents. I know, we had the whole pregnancy to figure that out, but we just didn't. I was very uncomfortable with that.

[/quote]

Yes, I know c-sections are difficult and can definitely make it harder to make it out of the house and plan things!

[quote="melissa_b, post:4, topic:289347"]
It's always been our intention to have our children baptized within the first few weeks. We meet with the priest and schedule them ahead of time since we have relatives coming from Alaska and Colorado. With our first, his due date was March 25th and we scheduled his baptism for April 6th; however, he came early on February 29th, so he was almost 6 weeks old at baptism. Our second son was due on September 20th, born on September 18th, and baptized on October 2nd. Our third son is due on September 29th and we're scheduling the baptism for October 14th.

Most of our friends who are strong practicing Catholics also have their children baptized shortly after birth--we recently attended a baptism for a 10 day old. However, we do have other friends and relatives who attend Mass regularly but wouldn't necessarily be described as strong Catholics who wait several months before baptizing.

[/quote]

It's good that you are so proactive with the planning!

[quote="Phemie, post:5, topic:289347"]
I lead the baptismal preparation in my parish. Most parents call me after the baby is born, sometimes as much as 6 months after.

Even when they do the preparation during the pregnancy there is usually a reason they "can't" have the baby baptized early and it usually involves a godparent or a grandparent living away and needed to come in. No matter how many times you tell them they can have a proxy they still want to wait 'til uncle godfather can make it.

It's true what YoungTradCath says, the Church requirement used to be very well known but today few, if any, young parents are aware of that particular rule. Even when you tell them they still want the baptism when they want the baptism. I can tell you I did preparation with parents 2 years ago who STILL haven't presented their child to be baptized.

[/quote]

Yes, I think many parishes just don't emphasize the importance and that has a lot to do with it.

[quote="adrift, post:6, topic:289347"]
I kept telling my son that he had to contact the Church before the baby was born to complete baptism classes.

Where he lives, they don't have classes. When I had children, there were no classes. I thought today it was universal but I guess not.:shrug:

My daughter struggled with her parish. They wouldn't baptize unless it was at a once every two months Sunday Mass. They said that it wasn't important to baptize right away that it was not required anymore:mad: My daughter wanted her family present which was not possible at that Mass. They told her it was more important to have the parish family than her own:eek: She ended up going to Parishes that were in another city.

[/quote]

That is sad that they told her it wasn't important. It certainly is important!

[quote="marleelynn, post:7, topic:289347"]
I was one month old when I was baptized

[/quote]

Yes, that was more common several years ago.

[quote="SMHW, post:8, topic:289347"]
I actually think that one of the reasons baptisms get delayed is that the Church has emphasized the community aspects of baptism so much that families want to wait until it is convenient for, not just godparents, but for ALL the extended family to be there. When I was young most baptisms had parents, godparents (often proxies), and elder siblings there. If extended family lived in the same town they might show up too but baptisms were not seen as excuses for family and friend get-togethers.

And while the party aspect has very much caught on, the baptismal preparation classes part seems to remain a well guarded secret. Most Catholics know that they will need to go through marriage preparation classes if they want a Catholic wedding. But Catholic parents often have no idea they will need to take baptism preparation classes until they approach the Church after their oldest child is already born.

I think baptism celebration with extended family are wonderful but not if it mean six months worth of planning has to go into it.

I think that when the Church tells the people about the preparation that catechumens go through prior to baptism it might be wise to mention that parents likewise need to prepare on behalf of their infant children for whom they desire baptism.

[/quote]

Yes, I agree with you.

[quote="LilyM, post:9, topic:289347"]
I think it makes sense. Not that we shouldn't baptise infants early, the Church still strongly encourages us to do so, but I can see why it happens. I don't necessarily think it's all about the emphasis on partying.

A primary (although of course not the only) consideration behind super-early infant baptism was that up until a hundred years ago or so infant mortality rates were extremely high, and there was a very real chance that a child wouldn't live to see a year old, six months old or even two months.

With modern medicine dramatically slashing infant mortality over the course of the last century, unsurprisingly baptisms have been increasingly delayed as what was once a huge incentive is now virtually gone.

Combine that with recent clarifications on limbo - stressing, much more than was done in the past, that it is not and never has been official Church teaching that children who die unbaptised are certainly condemned to limbo - and that removes what was another huge incentive for early baptism.

[/quote]

Lower infant mortality probably has something to do with it.

[quote="Corki, post:10, topic:289347"]
I have lived in about a dozen parishes since I married. In ALL of them, there was a strong suggestion that parents complete the prep classes before the baby was born and to schedule the Baptism for as soon as possible after the due date.

Many young Catholic couples don't really pay attention to the idea of Baptism until after the baby is born. By that time, they may have their hands full and it gets pushed to the back burner for a while.

[/quote]

Yes, that's true.

[quote="Sillara, post:11, topic:289347"]
Our parish does not have baptism classes, but it is composed primarily of traveling ex-pats. Not that many babies are born there, as people move away often.

That said, we are converts. Our first three children were baptized at 3, 5, and 6. Our "Catholic babies" were all baptized within two weeks of birth. One was the first baby baptized in the new hospital chapel. :D So she was baptized at 5 days.

However, there are never any parties or anything outside our immediate family, that is, my husband, myself, and our children. We are the only Catholics on either side of our families for as far back as anyone can trace. And their Protestant denominations do not believe in infant baptism. :shrug:

[/quote]

It's good that you have your kids baptized so soon! There aren't any practicing Catholics in our families either, so we probably wouldn't have a big party.


#14

[quote="jilly4ski, post:12, topic:289347"]
My first child was baptized at 4/5 weeks (Born April 21, baptized May 17) and his brother at 5-6 (Born Dec 13 baptized Jan 18) we had Godparents coming in and he was a week and a half early which made his later.

This next baby we didn't join a parish until much too late. So while she isn't born yet, they told us to schedule the baptism after she was born. There are some unfortunate circumstances , one being that the parish is right in the middle of a priest transition (right at the same time I am due) so they don't really know Father's schedule, another that they only have the classes once every 2 months (though this can be waived). Another hiccup, is that the State is now allowing baptismal certificates to be used as legal documents, which means that the parish/diocese will not do the baptism until they see the birth certificate and know they are not putting false information on the baptismal certificate. Which means delaying in until we receive that. I still want it done at 6 weeks or before. (Luckily my state is pretty quick with getting documents out).

[/quote]

Do they ask that you take baptism classes for each child? Here they are valid for three years.


#15

[quote="anp1215, post:14, topic:289347"]
Do they ask that you take baptism classes for each child? Here they are valid for three years.

[/quote]

Well, we had the first 2 baptized in a different parish (we were living in NY). With my first there was no baptismal class, the deacon just gave a (rather disturbing) talk/sermon before dong the baptism (there were 3 total, supposed to be 4 but one family didn't show up). With my second they had started to require a baptismal class (deacon had retired), but since I had a child baptized so recently (less than 2 years prior) we did not have to go. It was also a "private" baptism, with a priest who normally didn't do them, because we were given a time that normal priest didn't have open. It actually turned out well, he was an older priest who was really excited to the baptism and we had given my son the same "Christian name" as the priest's. So William was baptized by Father William. :thumbsup:


#16

[quote="anp1215, post:14, topic:289347"]
Do they ask that you take baptism classes for each child? Here they are valid for three years.

[/quote]

I didn't have a class for Baptism. I just called the priest and scheduled a date and then let my family know after I asked relatives to be godparents.

I had a c-section with both sons. #1 son came early so he was Baptized about 6 weeks later. #2 son was born on Thanksgiving weekend. After another C-Section and all the Holiday stuff and winter weather he wasn't Baptized till Feb.


#17

[quote="anp1215, post:14, topic:289347"]
Do they ask that you take baptism classes for each child? Here they are valid for three years.

[/quote]

We usually asked our parents to come even if it had only been a year or two simply because often they have something to offer to those who are taking it for the first time.

Our last pastor used to do an extensive interview and if he felt that returning couples were 'good to go' he asked us to just do a walk through of the ceremony with them. We took advantage of the walk through to reinforce what they had learned previously and to make sure the godparents knew what was expected of them.


#18

Due to a rather chaotic life, I wasn't able to baptize my oldest until she was 2 months old. For my youngest, first I waited for her dad to get back from Iraq so he could be there, and then immediately after he got back we split up, so that was for naught. When I finally got her baptized she was 2-1/2, and she could actually participate in her own baptism, which was kinda cool.


#19

My 3 were baptized between 3-4 weeks. The 2 oldest grandsons were baptized around the same time. My youngest was 13 days from being 3 years old. First off his biological mother was Baptist but left him when he was 9 months. Since my son is in the AF and doesn't have a 9-5 job he had to bring his son to us - we tried to schedule his baptism before my son left a week later but the priest after saying yes on that Sunday all of sudden had another baptism at his other church (which he didn't). The next date scheduled for his baptism turned out to be the day before Katrina so we were not around. The next time I could father and godparents together was in 2007 (father & godfather are both in AF) - he was able to walk to the priest to get his certificate. It was a big relief for me. He is great little Catholic - just made his First Communion this year. :signofcross:


#20

I can say this:

If I get married and have children (I am discerning the priesthood), I will be absolutely positively certain, within the best of my human ability, to have my child(ren) baptized within a week of birth. Preferably the first day possible. And then I will make sure to stress to all my parish friends that they should do the same.


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