Having to pay money BEFORE baptism or child will not be baptized?


I am trying to get my sons baptized. I spoke with the priest and he told me that it sounds good and to talk to the secretary for the arrangements.

The secretary has basically told me that I can’t get my sons baptized unless I pay 100 dollars up front. If I don’t pay the money, she won’t reserve my sons’ slot for the baptism.

I have no problem making a donation. In fact, I would gladly make a donation significantly LARGER than the hundred dollars she is demanding. But I don’t believe that getting a child baptized is conditioned on the concept of “cash up front.”

I think the day of the sacrament, I make a donation (which would be more than one hundred dollars). But I don’t think that one is to pay before they can be put on the list to being baptized.

How should I deal with this issue?


You should talk to your pastor about your concerns and the secretary’s demand. He is the minister of the sacraments, not the secretary.


Another example of what Pope Francis was talking about when he spoke of the bureaucracy of the church.

“When the Church boasts about its size, creating organisations and offices and becoming a bit bureaucratic, the Church loses its key substance and runs the risk of turning into an NGO. And the Church is not an NGO. It’s a love story … But there are those from the IOR … excuse me, eh! … some things are necessary, offices are required … ok! but they are necessary up to a certain point: as an aid to this love story. But when organization takes first place, love falls down and the Church, poor thing, becomes an NGO. And this is not the way forward."



Are you asking for a private baptism; one not occurring during a regularly scheduled public Mass?


I would bet that the baptism is not contingent on the money. If you , or someone else, will simply explain that you are unable to pay, I would bet that there is an arrangement in place to avoid money being an issue.


It’s simony either way.


I can understand why you may see it that way but I think I can explain a situation where a deposit is reasonable for a baptism.

I’ll preface it with the statement that there is no charge associated with the conferring of a sacrament.

But much like most marriage ceremonies, parishes often need to hire staff to open and operate the facility, clean it, and secure it after a private wedding ceremony early on a Saturday afternoon. I don’t believe it is fair to call it simony if the parish is willing to perform the same marriage rite (for free) during the normal Saturday vigil Mass later in the day.

If the questioner was asking for a private ceremony during off-hours it is reasonable that there may be a facility usage fee which must be addressed first.


Though it may seem like you are paying for the sacrament, you are not. As another poster has said that would be the sin of simony. What you are really being asked to do, if you are able, is to cover the parish’s extra expenses associated with the administration of the sacrament. If you are unable to afford what the parish is asking, you should let them know. No one can be denied the sacraments simply because they are unable to pay the regular stipend.


I do not agree. Simony is:

Simony is usually defined “a deliberate intention of buying or selling for a temporal price such things as are spiritual of annexed unto spirituals”.

There is no extra spiritual gain in having a baptism private, as opposed in a group. Likewise, weddings are the same sacrament whether done in an office or in church, yet use of the Church costs money to heat or cool, clean-up, etc.

I have a question. If someone wants something special for one of these events, who should pay for it? If Catholics would all give ten percent, perhaps this wouldn’t be an issue. As it is, money is tight. Funds spent on private events should not be diverted from the needs of the poor.


The facility overhead / logistics for a Baptism - even an “off-hours” Baptism - are a fraction of those required for a wedding. In the three parishes in which I’ve been active, typically the celebrant himself (priest or deacon) takes care of opening and closing the church. That fee seems high. And in case of financial need it should be clear that Baptism is not conditional on the payment of any amount.


Talk to the priest. Never heard of such a thing. Our
Church requires the parents to attend one class thirty
dyas prior and asks for a ten dollar donation.


Tell the priest what you told us here. I would feel the same as you do. Why does everything require money up front? And frankly, I don’t think there should be any money involved in a Baptism. Donations is all that should be expected.

Baptisms can occur at any Mass, and plenty are done at Easter Vigils. Why on earth would a parish even take this approach? Mine sure does not do this.


I have a few questions for you that hopefully might help in gaining some context and clarity on your conversations with the priest and the parish staff:

Are you a registered member of this parish? Is this your primary parish? How long have you attended at this parish?

Are you and your wife an observant - active - practicing Catholics? … do you attend Mass every Sunday and Holy day?

Do you support your parish with regular contributions?

Does your parish have formal catechesis for parents seeking baptism?

How old is your son?


Our classes are fifteen dollars and cover the materials. No, money is not a barrier if someone is desperately poor.


It has been my experience with some church secretaries that they lack the discretion and tact needed in handling these cases. As other posters have recommended, talk to the pastor in a calm and respectful manner and explain your concerns. Also be prepared to listen to what the pastor has to say. It could simply be a misunderstanding. That being said, it is not unheard of for priests to request a stipend/stole fee. However, if such would not be possible for the person to provide, the priest cannot refuse to administer the sacrament. It’s the same with Mass stipends. I’m so thankful our priests are in charge of these things and not the secretary.


First, give your pastor a chance to hear you, just as you have laid it out here, rather than the secretary. If you get the same or similar response from him, (or if you’re uncomfortable asking your pastor about this), then this might be interesting information for the Bishop of your diocese.


I’m sorry, but even if she answers no to all but the last question, it does not justify the parish asking for $100 before they even schedule the Baptism. That’s unconscionable.

If there is a doubt that the child will be raised in the Faith, delay the Baptism. But set a price on it?

I do baptismal preparation. Few parents coming to our session meet all of the above. Regular parish contributions? Surely you jest! There are ~50 families supporting the parish on a regular basis and 90% of those are over 50.

But even providing pamphlets for the preparation and the baptismal candle at the time of the Baptism doesn’t bring the cost past $12.


There is no upfront charge for baptism. It may suggested to give a stipend, but never to “reserve” a slot.
Talk to the pastor, if he holds to this, then contact your bishop. If the parish is doing this and this is not just an over zealous secretary, it must be brought to the bishop’s attention.


Count me a doubting Thomas but this entire OPt seemed far fetched and dubious - hence the reason I asked the questions … and since the OP posted once and has yet to return … I am even more doubtful …

I too find it hard to believe that general baptism preparation would require $100 worth of supplies - though the OP made no mention of any preparation required - just the Baptism itself - something that I find puzzling - because every parish I know has sacramental preparation programs for the reception of every Sacrament …

Yet the OP’s entire OP neglected any Sacramental Prep and indicated the payment - made in advance - was for the actual Rite …

So - I know many priests -I am involved in several parishes - with decades of experience - having served on Pastoral Councils, facility committees, and the Admin Council - gone through a capital campaign … I have worked with Religious Education, Confirmation, RCIA and chaperoning a vicariate youth mission to foreign country … AND I have yet to attend a parish that charged more then the actual cost of workbooks or other supplies … or for those in need - that did not discount or offer financial support for any activity - religious education, Retreats, Youth Activities, etc. :thumbsup: - let alone a Sacrament … :shrug:

Have you? … and even Parish secretaries know that …

Now - my guess is - this person heard and interpreted something quite different then the actual Parish policy, practice or rule … regarding baptism … :shrug: … why did they misunderstand? … How was this information so wrongly shared? … not a clue … I was hoping the questions might provide some … Because I am certain there is more to the story …


Say her that God doesn’t need money. You can baptize your child at your bathtub if you want.

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