Forbidden to attend Catholic Baptism


Hey Everyone,

One of my dearest friends got married last year and just had his beautiful baby daughter. Everyone is extremely excited and eager to meet her.

However, I was told that I was unable to attend her baptism ceremony with my same sex partner because it would create a scandal and undermine the Church’s moral authority.

I was told that since we are not gay men but that we’re “children of God led astray into sin”. With that in mind, we could potentially influence others that attended the baptism to sin as well.

Is this a formal teaching of the RCC? I’ve never heard of this before, but I’d need to know in case I get invited to more in the future by my other RCC friends that are expecting a little one.


It is the personal spiritual choice of the child’s parents and is their right. This Baptism is about their child becoming a Child of God in the Catholic Church. If you are truly dearest friends then you will respect their request and not attend with your SS partner.


While we do hold that there is such a thing as sin of scandal, I’m not aware of any “by order of the Vatican” rules prohibiting you from attending. It may be protocols or - not sure the word etiquette is right but I’ll use it - etiquette or norms set by the Bishop, or even just that Priest, or just a recommendation.

Suffice it to say, you don’t need to decline all invites to Catholic functions as if it’s law.


Your use of passive voice is confusing. Who told you this?

I really can’t see what the scandal would be. Plenty of non-Catholic friends and extended family members attend these events like baptism and First Communions. We have no way of knowing who among them is going against Church teaching in other ways — say, patronizing prostitutes, embezzling money, or having extramarital affairs. It would be absurd to screen and vet all of the guests.

To answer your question, I don’t believe it is Church teaching. In that case, it should be your friend’s choice whether or not you attend.


Sorry for the confusion!! The baby’s father told me this a few days prior to the baptism.


I would invite you both to my sons baptism if you were my friend.
I think he acted morally wrong to tell you that.

HOWEVER, if that is thier wish you must respect that. It is about them and thier son that day. I would still wish them well and send the baby a gift, even if this may be the end of your friendship. End it gently.


Did the child’s father tell you it was official Catholic Church teaching that you must be excluded from the baptism?

AFAIK it isn’t, it is basically a prudential decision for the parents to make on a case by case basis. Possibly they may be guided by the advice of their priest or bishop in making their decision.


Technically a baptism is a public event (but not the party that may be thrown afterward)–anyone can walk into the church and watch and pray. Just like anyone can come to Mass or even a wedding (again, the church part, not the reception). Scandal generally applies to someone involved in a state of public sin not being administered certain sacraments or rites or serving in certain roles.

That being said, it would seem best to me to respect the wishes of your friend rather than force the issue.


It may be that he personally does not wish you to attend due to your involvement in what the Church teaches to be gravely immoral activities. However, the Church does not teach that sinful people should be excluded from the celebration of Baptism.

He is wrong to say the Church forbids it, but he is also within his rights to ask you not to attend with your partner.


I am so sorry that your friend is excluding you from the Baptism. I imagine this is very hurtful.

The message of Christ’s Church should always be one of love, mercy, and inclusion. Please know that while one will unfortunately encounter this kind of judgmental behavior among Catholics, it is not the norm. You would be welcomed with open arms at my parish. :heart:

I’ll let others respond about the letter of the law.


I would encourage you to respect the wishes of your friend and either attend by yourself or not attend.

I think it’s a bit of a stretch on the part of your friend to say that you and your partner attending the event would “influence others that attended to sin”. I find that really absurd, actually.

The baptism itself is a liturgical rite of the Church, open to all and not “private”. However, the social dimension of inviting people to a baptism, wedding, etc., and any party afterward may-- in your friend’s mind-- imply his/her approval of your same sex relationship if he/she were to invite you and the partner or if you had your same sex partner attend as a “plus one”.

The liturgies of the Church are open to all.

The Church teaches same sex relations are a disordered use of our sexual faculties. It teaches same sex attraction is not a sin. Acting on it sexually is.

The Church doesn’t teach that we shun those with same sex attraction or that they aren’t welcome at Church events. I think the part that has your friend troubled is you bringing a partner with whom you might display same sex affection of a romantic nature-- hand holding or whatnot-- at the event.

I think this level of concern by your friend is not likely to be shared by most Catholics. Inviting people to social engagements can be tricky for those who want to observe Church teaching on same sex relationships. How do you invite people socially who are involved with a same sex partner while expressing your desire for them to be at your occasion, but not wanting to approve of or imply they condone same sex relationships?

I think your friend is trying, but handled it poorly.


I’d imagine it’s the OP’s partner who was not invited or at least that they were not invited as a couple.


All baptisms are public acts of the Church. The Church and the Church alone determines who may not attend…
The parents have no right to bar anyone from any church.

That being said, the OP and his partner should be asked to abstain from receiving communion (if the baptism is in the context of a Mass). It is also the parents’ province to disinvite the OP and his partner from their private “after party”, if there is one, but not from attending a public liturgical act of the Church.


Oh, that’s rough! It’s likely a rocky spot in their marriage, and it’s compromising your friendship with her. :frowning: How does she feel about it?

This is personal and not a matter of Church teaching; he clearly takes issue with you being gay. I doubt that they consulted with the parish priest about it.

You always could call the parish to clarify matters. I honestly don’t think they’ll even wince when they tell you that you and your partner are welcome to attend.

But you also have to ask what will happen when you show up. If it will engender any nasty or hurtful drama, including toward you and your partner, it may be worth sitting it out and later bringing over some flowers and a thoughtful baptismal gift.


To add to my post above…personally I would be thrilled if my lesbian aunt and her partner came to Mass with me… if we start barring anyone in what we see as a sinful relationship from Mass, how the heck are we to evangelize???


I do believe that this parent worded their position maybe not in the best way but they were trying to make clear that the friend bringing his SS partner to a Church function was not proper. He most likely did this because he was a good friend of the OP. Even though a Baptism may be a public act of the Church it was a also a personal Catholic family occasion. They had the right to speak up if they felt this was not what they wished at their Child’s Baptism. Also we don’t know if this will happen at Mass or not.


I’m so sorry. No, that is not a formal teaching of the Church. And really, how your mere presence could “influence others to sin as well” is beyond me. As is his statement that you “are not gay men.”
This is their personal choice.


I would reconsider your definition of a dear friend, but then again, that’s not the most charitable response. Others have given better responses that rise above this…poor choice of behavior on your “friend’s” part. It is NOT Church teaching; you would be most welcome any (other) time if it were up to those upholding what the Church actually teaches, which is that we must look at our own sins first, welcome all, and behave as Jesus would.


Quite right. I have lost track of all the times I was in the same room with a gay couple and was suddenly overcome with a passionate desire to sin.


I heard it was ok if the water in the font only steamed a little and did not actually boil.

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