Infant Baptism Questions

I couldn’t find something that addressed my question exactly on search, so I apologize if this has been asked a million times before.

I recently found out that I was baptized Catholic as an infant. I would have had no way of knowing that due to a complicated adoption/fostering process, but my bio-mother was sent a picture at the time and showed it to me when we reconnected. It’s academic since I’m non-Christian, but I have some questions.

So, in reading about how you guys think about baptism, basically it cancels out original sin, making it possible to go to heaven, and subjects one to the law of the Church, if I’m reading it right. And failing to keep the law of the church entails sins of various types. In my situation then where I was baptized but not raised in the church and therefore ignorant of the whole thing, do I just have a whole bunch of weird sins I could never have known I was committing stacked up like cord wood? Or do you have to know you’re sinning to be held accountable to it? Like, if I died and y’all are right, is my rap sheet going to have “didn’t go to Mass for 20 years” on there?

Or, does it even count if the people who baptized me did the thing without the intent of raising me in the church?

Thanks in advance.

This is actually a somewhat complicated question, but there is a simple answer - “no.”

The easy part first - if you are baptized you are baptized, one and done.

For the rest, Catholics believe that sin is an action (or inaction) that separates one from God, and that mortal sin is a sin that is serious enough to destroy sanctifying grace - in other words bad enough to rupture one’s relationship with God sufficiently to prevent salvation.

Mortal sin usually requires awareness that the action is wrong. Many mortal sins are things that everyone knows (or should know) to be wrong - like murder. Other sins are mal prohibita (to borrow a term), meaning they are wrong because they are breaking a rule - which is the case for things like missing mass. Knowledge and intent are required for those acts to be sins.

Perhaps most importantly, the Catholic view of sin and salvation is not like a “rap sheet.” Its more about your relationship with God, and your willingness and ability to accept His saving grace. Sin gets in the way of those things, which is how it prevents salvation.

Someone with a more technical view may want to correct some of my language and terms, but that is the gist.

Here is a question for you- why do you care what Catholics think if you are not one?

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No.

Sin always requires full knowledge and free will.

Yes your baptism was valid, it’s unfortunate that those who had you baptized failed in their duties. But that’s on them, not you, if it was through neglect and not other circumstances.

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I hope this doesn’t sound like a cop out :slightly_smiling_face:, and as you find out about your background it may reveal many startling facts.

We believe that everybody has an obligation to learn the Truth, and then conform themselves to it.
The Church also recognizes that real life can get extremely messy .

If you went to a priest with this question I doubt they’d be all “haha! gotcha! You’re Catholic now muahahaha.”

You’d probably get some sort of advice to learn everything you could about Catholicism and they’d offer to pray for and with you.

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Intellectual curiosity. I’m not going to lose sleep over it either way, I just want to understand how you guys think about it. Since my bio parents are practicing Catholics and I’m building a relationship with them, I want to understand their worldview.

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Good luck on your journey .
I think you’re going to find out a lot about your folks and your self. :heart:

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Never count “that door” as being closed. God works in mysterious ways.

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The eternal criteria used when you exit your life is was it with charity in your heart (choice of good) or was it malice instead (choice of evil). Baptism of desire, blood, or water is for the good end.

God is not bound to the sacraments of the Church in order to help someone be a sharer in his divinity but gives free gifts that one can maintain a habitual state of charity by cooperation.

Catechism 408 “The consequences of original sin and of all men’s personal sins put the world as a whole in the sinful condition” .

Catechism 1734 “Freedom makes man responsible for his acts to the extent that they are voluntary.”
Catechism 1859 “Feigned ignorance and hardness of heart do not diminish, but rather increase, the voluntary character of a sin.”

Catechism 1849 “Sin is an offense against reason, truth, and right conscience”.
Catechism 1781 “Conscience enables one to assume responsibility for the acts performed. If man commits evil, the just judgment of conscience can remain within him as the witness to the universal truth of the good, at the same time as the evil of his particular choice. The verdict of the judgment of conscience remains a pledge of hope and mercy”.
Catechism 1784 “The education of the conscience is a lifelong task.”

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Hopefully one of our priests or theologians will be able to answer your questions.

Once I remember his name i will tag a very well versed brother.

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The phrase that the Church usually uses which applies to you is “mitigating circumstances” which lessens your culpability.

The bible is full of verses on our adoption by baptism to be the brothers and sisters of Christ. Start with Galatians 4:5-7, Ephesians 1:5, Romans 9:8, John 1:12 if interested.

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Baptism is a wonderful gift for you. When Jesus was baptized the Father declared This is my beloved Son. At your baptism, that same voice echoes, with God and the Church declaring you are their beloved child.

Even if you never learned about this, and spent your childhood feeling unloved, this was somehow present for you. And it is present now, we sincerely hope you can come to know yourself better as someone accompanied by God.

This gift is the more important part of Baptism. The rules and responsibilities are not binding if you were not taught them. But God is always with you, hoping the best for you.

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