I don’t think that, for a couple going through all this, that threatening a lawsuit and raising hell would do a whole lot for the process.
The threat is not required, Paul. They have to ask the non-member parent for permission before the child can be baptized; we have to have that signature, or the baptism simply will not happen. If you then say ‘no,’ then he has to wait until he is of age (18) to be baptized. I wish Catholics were as good about that.
As for ‘sealing,’ You are also aware that the child must be the legal child of the parents to whom he IS sealed. That is a requirement. Therefore, unless the non-member parent gives up his/her parental rights and allows the step parent to legally adopt, that to is something that would have to wait for the child to turn 18…
And frankly, it probably wouldn’t happen then, either.
The procedure for baptizing the child of a non-member parent is very strict, very clear, and adhered to. As I have already mentioned, though, in Catholicism only the Catholic parent need agree to this…and the child may be baptized even if the other parent is vehemently against the idea. For that matter, according to Father Edward McNamara, in his article dealing with the case of a Catholic grandmother who took her grandchild (the child of a non-practicing Catholic and a Jew) to the fount of Holy Water after Mass and performed the baptism herself, using the proper language. The question was…is this baptism legitimate, or valid?
Evidently, though it was not lawful, it was indeed valid, if unlawful. His advice to the grandmother was to either ask the parents if she could have a private baptism, in which case she could have the child baptized AGAIN, and registered, or else, if they oppose the idea, she would have to simply tell them that it was too late; the child was baptized.
The interesting thing is this; he quoted Canon Law (Canon 868) which evidently provides that while the permission of both parents would be nice, one parent is sufficient; in fact, it is the absolute duty of the Catholic parent to do this, regardless of the wishes of the other parent.
For that matter, the canon specifies that a child in danger of imminent death should be baptized, even if it is against the wishes of BOTH parents. That one made me rather nervous.
Given the official Catholic position on this sort of thing, Paul, your rather…mean spirited…advice to the OP is considerably out of line. WE aren’t the people who go about sneaking kids into baptismal fonts with out full permission from both parents, and WE do not seal living children to step parents unless there is A: an adoption happening or B: the child is fully adult and making his/her own decisions. Even then there is a LOT of paperwork and permission getting involved.