Extraordinary Form Baptism - Godparents Answering for Child


#1

My daughter will be born very soon, and my wife and I are making preliminary preparations for her baptism. We would like to have her baptized according to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite of Baptism. In reviewing the text of the rite, we had some theological questions about the rite, specifically about why and how the sponsors (godparents) answer certain questions of faith and consent on behalf of the child being baptized.

Now, I already understand the historical reasons behind this - that the rite for children grew out of the rite of baptism for adults. But what I do not understand is how theologically the godparents (and I’m assuming they are speaking on behalf of the parents and the whole community/local church) can speak on the behalf of the child. The closest answer I could come up with through reading on the internet is that the “Church supplies the Faith”, but I’m not sure what that means, exactly. I have a feeling that I’m not distinguishing properly between “Faith” (capital F, as in the “THE Faith”) and “belief”. I also read somewhere that the answers of the Godparents are in anticipation of the raising of the child in the Faith, but I’m not sure that covers it.

Any insight would be helpful, and would help us fend off questions from my wife’s protestant family :slight_smile:

Thanks!


#2

Congratulations on the anticipated birth of your daughter. What a delight!

The Catechism’s section on Baptism as well as the main page of Catholic Answers [search for baptism] helped me to be able to explain it to Protestant loved ones. vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p2s2c1a1.htm

Depending on the denomination, they may see Baptism as symbolic rather than regenerative as Catholics believe, so there may be a “language barrier” that complicates things.

Think of it this way, your daughter will have the Holy Spirit working in her from the get-go of her life. Jesus says not to hinder the children coming to Him, and in obedience and love, you don’t want to hold back your child from receiving God’s Sanctifying Grace.

Godparents are there to promise to help raise her up in the faith. The Church takes it very seriously. Not only are the parents commissioned with this responsibility but so are Godparents as well as the witnesses (the entire congregation, and really the entire Church) who agree to that task. We are the Body of Christ so we are able to help one another in that way.

I hope you get better answers but those were my thoughts! God bless and I will say a prayer for your beloved wife!


#3

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