I'm Catholic and my wife is Born Again Christian, how should we baptize our first born?


I’m mostly replying to let you know you are not alone in your circumstances. I am Catholic, but my husband is a non denominational protestant. We are, or rather I am, raising our sons Catholic. My husband is supportive. It only saddens me that he isn’t personally interested in converting.

It may be more difficult for you, though, because mother’s tend to be more assertive than father’s when it comes to how they want the children to be raised.

Personally I think the children should be baptised Catholic if you intend to take them to mass and keep to the baptismal promises. If you don’t think you can do this, I would wait until you and your wife can see eye to eye on it.


Catholic of course.


Horrible advice. This is deceitful and is not the grounds for a good marriage.

the OP and their spouse must reach an agreement on how the child is to be raised. Pick one religion and raise the child in that religion, it is not fair to the kid to make them choose, as they may feel they are being made to choose between their parents. Ideally, the couple would have discussed this BEFORE marriage and having a child.

I am Catholic, my wife is Reform Jewish. We are raising our kids Catholic because it was more important to me to raise them in my faith than it was for her when we got married. If we were to have that discussion NOW, her answer would be different (or not as easy), but we are both respectful, level headed adults and we would come to an agreement one way or another.

Most people on this board will say Catholic, but it’s a decision between the OP and his wife, and no one else.


The kid still gets baptized, whether the Church has official record of it or not.
“We know where the Church is, we don’t know where it isnt”.

If the kid decides that they believe in believers baptism, they can just do it again.

Covered either way. Dead issue.


Baptism binds the child to the laws of the Church. When we consent to baptism for our child, we are binding them to marry according to the Church, to attend Mass on Sunday and Holy Days of Obligation, to make their other Sacraments.

Baptism is far more than


It would be if this is the first time the expectation was mentioned, rather than having been admitted from before the wedding as a necessity that follows as a duty whenever a Catholic becomes a parent.


As far as I can tell, the OP has not come back and given us any more information. We don’t know if he went through Catholic marriage preparation and/or was married according the laws of the Catholic Church.

As many have said, if he did go through Catholic marriage prep, he should know that he promised to try and raise his children Catholic and his wife would know it and could have expressed her thoughts about it at the time.

At this time we have no idea what, if any, discussions took place prior to the marriage.


OP, when you married your wife, was it in the Church or was it outside the Church?

It would really be a good idea for you and your wife to talk to the pastors of both of your churches to see what the congregations you belong to actually believe. Let us hope, however, that when the paperwork for permission to enter into a mixed marriage was filled out for the Catholic Church that your bride-to-be actually read it.

If you married with the blessing of the Church, the bride-to-be ought to have been made aware at the time that to get permission to marry a non-Catholic Christian her intended spouse (that is: you) would have had to reaffirmed his Catholic faith, stated he intended to continue living that faith in the Catholic Church and promised to do all in his power to share the faith with their children by having them baptized and reared as Catholics.

No. The Church does not condone baptizing a child against the will or without the knowledge of the child’s mother.

This could be a sticky problem, because some capital-B Born Again Christians believe that the only real baptism is actually an interior process by which a sinner repents and embraces faith in Jesus Christ. The sticky part is that some of them believe this process must precede water baptism, which they would not accept as valid if it were performed on an infant not yet intellectually capable of such an act of faith.

This means that if the child attends the Catholic parish church, he would be told that he is baptized, the start of an initiation process that is completed with First Holy Communion and Confirmation (which he does have to give consent to as an adult) but at the other church he would be told that the Catholic baptism did not count.

OP, your bride might learn about the whole process of First Holy Communion and Confirmation and decide that this is essentially the same thing as her church teaches, since Confirmation does require the initiative of the person being confirmed. That person alone pointedly asks for the gifts of the Holy Spirit; parents may not make this decision on behalf of their children.

This is how it is described in the Catechism:
CCC 1285 Baptism, the Eucharist, and the sacrament of Confirmation together constitute the “sacraments of Christian initiation,” whose unity must be safeguarded. It must be explained to the faithful that the reception of the sacrament of Confirmation is necessary for the completion of baptismal grace. ( Cf. Roman Ritual , Rite of Confirmation ( OC ), Introduction 1.) For “by the sacrament of Confirmation, [the baptized] are more perfectly bound to the Church and are enriched with a special strength of the Holy Spirit. Hence they are, as true witnesses of Christ, more strictly obliged to spread and defend the faith by word and deed.” ( Lumen Gentium 11; Cf. OC , Introduction 2.)


This is not the place to push illicit baptisms performed in violation of the authority of a child’s parent.


Going rogue and performing an illicit baptism is totally “going wrong.” No, a sacrament should not be celebrated in an illicit manner on the theory that if a sacrament is valid one “can’t go wrong”!!! No, no, no…

(Who, by the way, was the intended target of the snarky comment about the ice cream? Really??)


The position of the Church aside, baptizing a child despite the expressed opposition of one of the parents isn’t a healthy way to behave in a marriage. I would not want to damage my relationship with my spouse by behaving in this manner, nor would I want to go behind his back and then keep it a secret. Both the husband and the wife are the parents of the child. Dismissing the position of the non-Catholic parent to impose the will of the Catholic parent is potentially harmful to the relationship between the two.


Ok, one question - does the Church recognize a trinitarian baptism performed outside its walls?

The answer is “yes” in case you don’t know.


Sure. I’m just addressing it from a soteriological perspective.

They need to reach a compromise. Which means the baptism won’t be a traditional Catholic one.

Which is why it’s so important that I’m right here.

As long as it’s trinitarian, the baptism is salvifically effective. Even the CCC says so if I need to dig it up.


Please do, but keep in mind Cannon law on the Sacrament of Baptism.


Well, Kenneth. You made a promise during marriage prep to raise your children Catholic (assuming you married in the Catholic Church).

Did you and your wife not discuss this before marriage?

PS. Catholics are Christians, and we are born again through baptism.


It would seem likely that even if this couple were to decide to ‘compromise’, the compromise may be more about when this child should be baptized than about by whom and where.

Unless more “born again Christians” are coming around to the Catholic (and typically main-line Protestant) position, the mother will want to wait until the child can speak for himself to request baptism. That could be anywhere from about three years old until he reaches the age of majority.

I suspect the OP/father would like the child baptized sooner than that.


Did the distinction made between valid and illicit leave doubt?


Should he also wait and allow his child to decide if he wants to be vaccinated against preventable diseases? And wait until his child can decide whether or not he wants an education?

Parents often make decisions on behalf of their children.

To the OP: Are you a practicing Catholic? Do you plan to raise your child as a Catholic? Will your child be attending Mass, religious education programs, preparing for First Communion and Confirmation, and all the other things a Catholic child does? Or will he be raised in your wife’s church taking part in their activities?


As an aside, in my area, there are instructions in the archdiocesan policy manual on how to register Baptisms that were performed in the hospitals that offer obstetrical services. They recognize that this being an urban center, there will potentially be babies that are baptized in hospital as they may have uncertain survival. The hospitals are actually listed as being under specific parishes and the records of Baptism are sent to the specific parish.


I’m reading a fascinating book right now “Born Believers: The Science of Children’s Religious Belief” where author Justin Barrett explains that a child’s ideas about God are formed by age 2!!!

The importance of not letting your child wait cannot be stressed enough. Waiting that long is a good way to assure your child ends up with no faith at all.

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