May Convert...but...A few questions first (Part 6) Infant Baptism


#1

Okay, here’s my deal. I want to convert to Catholicism, because I’m tired of attending Protestant churches week after week to only experience 3/4 of the sermon is music. I barely learn anything and it appears to be consistent. It is as though at this point no one goes to learn, rather to listen and have a great social hour. I gave up on my youth group, considering it only lead to who was dating who and why young Johnny broke up with young Susie.

Therefore, I would prefer to leave somewhere truly feeling as though I had just worshipped. It probably shouldn’t, but the visual appeal of the building of a typical Catholic church also fuels desire to convert. When I went to one for a funeral once, I literally felt as though I entered the house of God. The formality, tradition, sincerity, and ancient practices really got me interested in Catholicism.

Alright, now that you understand why I’m interested, I have a few problems.

  1. Infant Baptism - If a baby dies instantly at birth and has no chance for baptism, it is instantly doomed for hell? That doesn’t sound right.

Please understand that I’m not challenging you. I want these issues clarified. I want them to work. To be a part of the original church, the very church that Jesus himself commanded to be built is very comforting. I want to be a member of the church that can trace back to the very first followers of Jesus Christ. That is just so amazing to me. Just sit and think about it. All of you are already members of the very first church dating back 2,000 years ago. Please clear these issues up so I can be too.

Would I be accepted?


#2

“The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude… [However,] the great mercy of God…and Jesus’ tenderness toward children…allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1257, 1261)

In other words, we don’t know for sure what happens to children who have died without Baptism but we have a well-founded hope that they are saved.


#3

For what it’s worth, my wife and I lost several children in utero and we found the the Catholic answer (thanks Todd!) to be more compassionate than any other Christian answer.

At the time I was attending a Presbyterian church regularly because I sang in the choir – I wasn’t particularly devoted to the Presbyterian denomination but I liked most of the pastors and the music was good. But after a miscarriage things got wierd.

Most of my peers believed that since a fetus is not human, my grief was only pretend – like crying over the death of an imaginary friend. I found a couple of Christians who believed that my children were innocent and therefore automatically in heaven, but they too scoffed at the pathos that I and my wife experienced, after all if my kids were beamed to heaven, where’s the harm in that? The atheists were the worst with their pollyanna stories about reincarnation and energy fields.

The Catholic answer was the only answer that that faced the senseless horror of infant death honestly. A human fetus is a *human *fetus. When it dies, it dies. And by dying so young is deprived of everything that life could have offered. Baptism, worship, marriage, love, children… all those things are denied by an early death. And so in the Church, such a tragic death is truly *tragic *and truly death. That was important to me as a grieving father.

…but even though my children were denied all those good things that life could have brought them, the Catholic faith still offers hope, profound conquering authentic hope. After all, if I am saved by unearned grace, and the whole church (not only as you say for the past 2000 years here on earth) but also the church triumphant (in heaven) is praying on God’s mercy, who’s to say that my children are beyond grace?

Will you be welcome? If you think children should be shown mercy, don’t just complain about it, become Catholic and DO something about it! :signofcross:


#4

Others have addressed your baptism/infant question, but I wanted to address this statement.

You say that the visual appeal of the Church probably shouldn’t fuel your desire to convert. Just the opposite! It absolutely should!

The Catholic Church is founded by Christ as a *Sacramental *church. We are both matter and spirit-- the only being created in this universe that way. So, God comes to us through our senses-- in sign and Sacrament. The Church building itself is such a sign. The beauty of the Church is part of the worship of the Creator.

Also, you felt you were in the house of the Lord because Christ is present in the Tabernacle. You literally were in the house of the Lord experiencing his dwelling there.


#5

Perhaps this will help. The Case For Infant Baptism.

I hope that is helpful. :thumbsup:


#6

:doh2: I just remembered that John Martignoni also has a Bible study on this, so here’s the link.
Infant Baptism and Original Sin


#7

As has been told to you, the Church simply doesn’t know what happens to those babies, but given what the Church does know about the mercy and love of God, she hopes that those babies will be offered the chance of salvation.

Now, it is worth pondering why the Church teaches that. She does so because she is charged with preserving and teaching the deposit of faith given by God to the apostles. She neither subtracts from nor adds to that deposit of faith. And the deposit of faith given to the apostles said nothing definite about the fate of such babies. God in his wisdom has chosen not to reveal their fate to us. And so as much as we’d like to make a sure pronouncement that they will be saved, it is simply not possible because God has not made a sure pronouncement to us. Their fate is simply beyond our knowing. It seems quite reasonable to me that they are offered a chance of salvation, but if we knew that for a fact then we might not be so quick to baptize babies, and it is clear that God desires us to baptize babies - to join with him in the freeing of those babies from the mortal effects of original sin. So perhaps that is why he has not revealed their fate to us, because he desires us to play the very fullest measure in his great work of salvation.


#8

You must understand that the Church never claims its sacraments are completely, 100% necessary for salvation. The Church knows full well that God could choose to save anyone in any way he wanted. Look to Mary’s unconventional salvation for an example. But the sacraments are the only method we know of that is a guaranteed channel of God’s grace to us. He has given us these sacraments to be the normal means to salvation. They are meant to make things easier for us. Isn’t it much easier to reach your destination when you have a guide that possesses a clear list of instructions than when you are just handed and map and told to figure it out yourself?


#9

Thats not fair. if two babies die, the catholic baby gets LUCKY? There is no justice in that. No no, none at all.


closed #10

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.