Forbidden Baptism by Priest

Hello, after over 20 years on the earth I’m beginning my journey home.

I was never baptised as an infant or at any other time in my life. My parents told me that they had tried to get me baptised as an infant but that the Catholic priest denied them because they had no Catholic friends and thus could not find a suitable gadfather/godmother. They also claim the priest made them give him their paycheque to ensure they gave him 10%. I find this extremely odd behaviour for a Catholic priest, even an old school tridentine one. My suspicion is that my parents perhaps attended a protestant church accidentally because lots of protestant churches have St. So and So as their name. Anyways, my parents left the Church after this and have yet to return.

So, is this reasonable practice for a Catholic priest?

No. Certainly I have never heard of behaviour like this before.

  1. It is no longer obligatory for us to “tithe” - e.g. give 10% of our earnings to the Church, yet we are expected to contribute.

  2. With relation to the godparents, I’m not so sure.

I was baptised at 20 also, I have no Catholic family and I had to find my own “sponsor”, I went to RCIA and made some lifelong friends as well as coming home! If you ever want to message me to ask questions then feel free.

Tithing has never been a Catholic requirement.

Some pastors, relatively recently, have encouraged it … some say it was a practice adopted from Protestantism … and many Catholics follow it. But as one priest-friend said, “Catholicism is the Church of the poor”. In other words, Catholics generally just didn’t have much money. Those that did have money tended to give generously, although generally anonymously or quietly. As one of my pastors once said, “God will provide”.

The problem was likely that they weren’t regular parishioners.

We’ve never been required to give 10% or show our paychecks. That happens sometimes in Protestant groups.

Yes it is odd.don’t let that keep you from doing the right thing.

Welcome Home
I have a feeling something is missing from your story. Either memories are not quite what they used to be or there were odd practices happening.
Possibly your Baptism wasn’t refused as much as postponed. That is reasonable. It is expected for parents to show that they intend to raise a child Catholic and perhaps there wasn’t any proof of that especially since they didn’t have anyone to be Godparent. I think your parents may have misunderstood or didn’t want to comply with whatever instructions they were given. Or the guy was really unreasonable. We’ll never know.

As far as the check. Well in much earlier times Catholics were pressured to tithe despite opinions to the contrary. This is not the case now. Catholics are expected to figure out how much to give on our own. For many of us this will still be tithing since it is a long held biblical and pious practice. However, no one has ever asked to see a check of ours in the 26 years of marriage or in two parishes that we have lived.

their recollection may be at fault, they may have misunderstood what the priest said, or they may have assumed something he did not actually say, or heard misinformation from parish staff. It is more likely that the priest gave them extra time to find a godparent, or for another reason suggested a delay in the baptism, not that he denied it. Yes there have been parishes that have a pledge or tithing policy and used to ask for proof of income, that is now discouraged, but even then it was never allowed as a reason to deny sacraments.

What is now and was then policy is that the pastor of your territorial parish has jurisdiction over all Catholics within his parish boundaries, for purposes of all sacraments especially baptism. They may have as new parents not have an established parish yet, and the priest asked for some evidence that they were active practicing Catholics and would raise you that way, and they interpreted him as being much stricter. When we married, moved to another city and tried to register we had to skip 3 ethnic parishes closer to him and find one that would accept us “generic” Catholics, and that priest said flat out, 5% to the parish and 5% to other Catholic charities or organizations, of our take home pay. He did not ask for proof but he stated it as if it is a general rule. He “dispensed” the 2nd 5% since DH was attending a Catholic college and paying tuition there. We have held to that pattern throughout our marriage, one of the best things we have ever done.

anyhow welcome home there is a special grace in making the journey this way through RCIA. That was then, this is now, and we live in now. View your journey that way and savor every step, as all is grace. Surprising things may happen as this grace extends to the entire family.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit