Illicit baptisms: creating problems in future marriages?

To continue my other thread

I do wish somebody, perhaps a Catholic statistician, would try and determine the number of illicit baptisms. When they happen they can create problems for those who are baptized thusly. For example, they won’t be able to enter into a valid natural marriage outside the Church–their baptism obliges them to enter into marriage in the Catholic Church in order for it to be objectively valid. They won’t have the grace of the matrimonial sacrament, nor will their marriage be objectively valid even in the natural sense. Not good. It could be a real problem for some people trying to enter into real marriages but not understanding the objective requirement that has been placed upon them.

So the Church needs to have some idea about how many of those kinds of baptisms are happening, don’t you agree?

I would like to start gathering data about illicit baptisms. If you are a Catholic layperson who has baptized a child or an infant, please consider taking my poll:

I believe this is a minor issue compared to the “Catholic in name only” parents who purposely baptized their kids but don’t raise their kids to be Catholic (or they take them to CCD but never take them to Mass)

God Bless

Since it’s a valid baptism, then it still creates the obligation/impediment I mentioned.

Frankly, no. Not in the way you are describing.

The Code of Canon Law already addresses this issue:

Can. 878 If the baptism was not administered by the pastor or in his presence, the minister of baptism, whoever it is, must inform the pastor of the parish in which it was administered of the conferral of the baptism, so that he records the baptism according to the norm of can. 877, §1.

What exactly do you expect pastors (or any other authority in the Church) to do? Anyone who baptizes someone (whether child or adult) is obligated to inform the local pastor. If/when that happens, the pastor records the baptism in the local register.

In your earlier thread, you wrote this

When something happens “in secret” then, by definition, others don’t know about it. When it ceases to be a secret, then the pastor duly records it.

We cannot record something if we don’t know it happened.
When we are informed that it happened, we are already obligated to record it.

So what’s the point of asking the Church to do something that the Church is already doing?

Quick question: if a Catholic lay person Baptizes a child and reports it to the appropriate pastor; is that child automatically Catholic, even if the child never comes to the Church to receive the additional rites or any other Sacraments?

Thank you and God Bless

Please understand that these questions are not directed towards priests. So when you ask what pastors are to do I feel a little frustrated, since I’m not addressing priests. But, since you asked, I’d just say that I would ask that they continue to encourage people not to baptize apart from the emergency baptism procedures already set forth by the Church.

What I am asking here is directed toward laity who are baptizing apart from telling their priests. And it sounds like there are a lot of them. Here is the problem I see:

If the infant’s parents don’t know, and the child grows up and is never told, then the baptism is a secret baptism–it is a secret to the child even if recorded at the parish for some reason. Plus, it’s even more of a secret to the child if it is never recorded at the parish. And in both cases (recorded or unrecorded), the child, when grown, has an objective impediment for marriage.

Related: we know there is a problem of invalid marriages in the Church. There is debate about how extensive the problem is, but to the extent that it is a problem, how much of that problem might be due to secret (to the child) baptisms that occurred when the child was too young to remember, and was never told?

Hi cominghome,
How is baptism an impediment to marriage?

The most common form of ‘illicit’ baptism would be were the parents undertake to raise the child in the Faith, but have no intention of doing so, AND the priest knows this full well. But how often this happens would be impossible to determine.

Anyway, yes, once the person is baptized validly (whether its illicit or not), they will need to be married by in the Church. But, if they don’t bother to get married in Church, they surely aren’t likely to care to much if there marriage is seen as valid by the Church.

P.S. ‘Thus’ is already and adverb. ‘Thusly’ is not a word.

Anybody baptized as a Catholic must be married in the Church. This is also known as canonical form. If they marry outside the Church, the marriage is invalid.

Well, sure, of course. But I’m not speaking about what they might feel or even what they think. I am speaking about what is objectively true. Certainly baptism and marriage are more than people’s feelings, right?

I believe in what baptism does, what the Church teaches about it, and the Church’s authority to determine where a baptized Catholic should marry. Put all three of those things together, and it is clear that anybody baptized in an illicit, secret baptism (by which I mean, secret to them whether or not it was recorded at the parish) has an invalid marriage if they marry outside the Church. And it is not simply that the marriage is invalid in the eyes of the Church, it is invalid objectively.

If they don’t know they are baptised and know nothing about catholicism having being raised in a different (or no) religion, they won’t be held culpable

I agree with this.

Well- there’s lot of baptized people (mostly licitly baptized) getting married outside the Church. Yes, it is invalid.

I don’t think there’s that many secret baptisms taking place. I myself was requested for do them on a couple of occasions, when I was studying (naturally, I refused).

If people have basically become apostates (i.e. they were baptised, but no longer believe or practise), then get married out side of a Church, their marriage is objectively invalid. But that’s like saying- if someone has committed a bank robbery, and in their attempt to escape from the police, goes through a red light, will they still be subject to a traffic fine?

Or are you asking the question from a different perspective, e.g. if you know a woman, who is baptized, and then married outside the Church, is it OK to have a romantic relationship with her? Since her current ‘marriage’ is technically invalid- can the current ‘husband’ be disregarded?

In fact, when I was a mere hot-headed youth, I was in such a situation, and decided that since the civil marriage of the woman was objectively invalid, there was no sin involved in developing a relationship with her. My own conscience was perfectly clear- and still is.

But what is the context of your own question?

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