My son secretly baptized Catholic


#1

Toward the end of 2011 my wife started distancing herself from me and now speaks to me as little as possible. :frowning: In May 2012 she apparently started looking into Catholicism based on clues I’d find in our house, but she never told me so. In mid-july she stopped attending church with our 10 year old son and I and started taking my son elsewhere. After some sleuthing I determined they were going to the local Catholic parish. No legal steps have been taken toward divorce so my wife and I are still joint custodians of my son. I called the Office of Religious education which confirmed that my son was enrolled in a class for the new school year. I contacted the parish asking that my son not be formally instructed without my consent. While waiting for a reply I was kindly sent my son’s baptism certificate in the mail. :mad: (The parish website states that older children are baptized at Easter after being trained accordingly, so I didn’t think a baptism was imminent.) So, do I have any recourse as far as “undoing” my son’s baptism? Is it proper for the parish to baptized without any say from the custodial father? Doesn’t Canon Law 851 apply here? (“the parents of a child who is to be baptised, and those who are to undertake the office of sponsers, are to be suitably instructed on the meaning of this sacrament and the obligations attaching to it.”) Is there any other Canon Law pertinent to this situation? Thanks in advance.


#2

Catholic baptisms can never be undone if they were performed by a person who had the proper intent and used the proper formula. There are no exceptions to this whatsoever.


#3

Catholics believe that Baptism leaves an indelible mark on one’s soul. It can’t be undone.

It’s one of three sacraments that is permanent and can only be done one’s lifetime. The other ones being Confirmation and Holy Orders.

Be happy. Your son has now entered into the fullness of truth.


#4

I am sincerely sorry that all of this has been going on in your life. I will pray to the Lord for you and for your family.

However, you should be very careful on what you think, say, and do. You do not want - as the wise Gamaliel advices - find yourself fighting against God.

The Baptism of the Catholic Church is not for "membership" in a denominational church. Rather, it follows a tradition that goes back to the Apostles - though your community may refuse to believe so - and it is for the forgiveness of sins and spiritual rebirth. Is this what you want to "undo"? The Baptism incorporates us into the mystical Body of Christ. Is this what you wish to undo?

I do know and understand the significant differences between the Mormon teachings and the teachings of the Church. I do understand that you are having a hard time dealing with this.

My only advice is that you start learning some more about the Catholic Church and of the differences introduced in the Christian teachings by the Church of Latter-day Saints - because you do know that the latter came into existence only in 1830 - and perhaps this way you will grow closer to your son, to your wife, and to God. I know you love them with all your heart, more than your very life. Perhaps God is trying to tell you something, leading you somewhere. Perhaps you should keep God above all else, yet put these teachings of this community at a lower level and your family at a higher level.

It may depend solely on your actions from this moment on whether this will be a new beginning, or the end of your family.


#5

A Baptism can’t be undone, as others have stated. Has your wife converted to Catholicism or was she Catholic as a child? This whole situation sounds very unhealthy. Without knowing the whole situation, it seems odd to me that the parish would Baptise your son if you were set against it. I suspect that your wife may have been deceptive when asked about your opinion on the subject. There’s alot of information that’s missing from your story so there isn’t a whole lot of advice anyone can give you without assuming things that might not be true. However, I think it’s safe to say with certainty that your son is now Baptised in the name of the Holy Trinity and will continue to be for as long as he is alive and that you and your wife have serious issues regarding unity in your religious beliefs and your expectations regarding the raising of your son. This is not good at all and I hope you will seek help as a family to overcome this.


#6

Wow. If all this reflects the reality of your situation, I think a meeting with the Pastor of the Parish she is attending, with your wife in tow is in order. You can’t “undo” a Sacrament, but I think it’s time for some straight talk on the duty a wife owes her husband and what the Church says about these behaviors and about divorce.

Of course, if your wife were here she might have a completely different view of the matter, but in any case, I believe meeting with the priest will be very helpful. He will not try and convert you.


#7

Just wondering if you’ve ever baptised dead people into the LDS without their consent.


#8

This seems like quite a problem for you and I have to admit that what transpired does not seem right, clearly leaving you out was sneaky. But, I also hope that you will open your heart to accepting what has happened and be able to move on. Your family is in crisis and you will need to work hard to repair what ever caused the issues you began experiencing at the end of 2011 which makes these issues almost a year old. Being baptized Catholic does not mean your son will be Catholic but it certainly would look like that is where they are headed. Can you set your feelings aside long enough to look at this from your wife and son's point of view? People find all kinds of courage to do things they never thought they might do for the sake of their family. God bless this journey with patience and wisdom.


#9

And does the Mormon Church ask consent of dead people, or their estates’ personal representatives or the families of the deceased for permission to baptize them?

The irony here is fascinating.


#10

Not that I find baptism of the dead anything short of rediculous, but it don’t think it has much to do with what is going on here. A random Mormon stranger doesn’t own me the respect that my own spouse does. It is certainly wrong if this woman decieved her husband as well as the Church and had this child Baptised behind her husband’s back.


#11

[quote="gazelam, post:1, topic:297954"]
So, do I have any recourse as far as "undoing" my son's baptism? .

[/quote]

No. For reasons already stated by previous posters.

Is it proper for the parish to baptized without any say from the custodial father? Doesn't Canon Law 851 apply here? ("the parents of a child who is to be baptised, and those who are to undertake the office of sponsers, are to be suitably instructed on the meaning of this sacrament and the obligations attaching to it.")

"Child" in this case would not apply as it refers to 7 and below. Your son is treated by the Church as one who has reached the age of reason. Canon 852 would suitably apply in this case:

Can. 852 §1 The provisions of the canons on adult baptism apply to all those who, being no longer infants, have reached the use of reason.

Have you ever considered that your son may have chosen to be Catholic?


#12

[quote="Santi2, post:11, topic:297954"]
No. For reasons already stated by previous posters.

"Child" in this case would not apply as it refers to 7 and below. Your son is treated by the Church as one who has reached the age of reason. Canon 852 would suitably apply in this case:

Have you ever considered that your son may have chosen to be Catholic?

[/quote]

In addition, even if the child was under seven, it wouldn't invalidate the Baptism. It is canon law that the priest should have a reasonable expectation that the child will be raised Catholic. However, if the priest goes ahead and does the Baptism, that does not negate the fact that the child was Baptised.


#13

I too wondered about the “Baptizing the dead” thing…but felt it not really relevant here…

The best advice is to educate yourself. Meet with the priest, talk to your wife - and son - and move forward from there.

Peace
James


#14

I’d be furious if my husband did something similar and took my children into another religion without my knowledge or consent.

Now,

A baptism cannot be undone- there simply isn’t such a thing.

I would contact the priest of this parish, and arrange a meeting, with or without your wife, and see what is going on.

It is very irregular for something like this to happen, and children do not receive the sacraments without the express permission of their parents.


#15

This is the simplist explanation. If the child was over the age of reason, wanted to be Catholic and a parent was there to enroll him in the appropriate classes, the topic of whether the other parent approved would probably never come up. With an intact marriage, even in civil matters, one parent often gives permission for wide variety of things involving the children. I am almost always the only parent who signs a field trip permission slip, a consent form at the doctor’s office or a registration for a club or sport.


#16

[quote="Aggies08, post:14, topic:297954"]
I'd be furious if my husband did something similar and took my children into another religion without my knowledge or consent.

Now,

A baptism cannot be undone- there simply isn't such a thing.

I would contact the priest of this parish, and arrange a meeting, with or without your wife, and see what is going on.

It is very irregular for something like this to happen, and children do not receive the sacraments without the express permission of their parents.

[/quote]

As Santi has pointed out the child is above the age of reason from the point of view of the Church so therefore he was free to choose after instruction to be baptized. I feel also we should stay away from the whole baptism for the dead issue that is part of Mormonism as that seems unfair to the OP.

However I would say we are only hearing a partial story in the original post and without personal knowledge of this couple it is impossible to make a reasonable choice based on a discriminating understanding of what is going on in their marriage and lives. I suspect fault lies on both side of the divide and this is why I find internet forums such a poor venue for airing such personal issues. The original poster asked a question that was best answered factually and I think that is the most help we can really be to him, expect for the suggestion that he tries to calm talk it out with his wife and child. Beyond that I think there is little we can do to help him or his family.


#17

[quote="PacoG, post:9, topic:297954"]
And does the Mormon Church ask consent of dead people, or their estates' personal representatives or the families of the deceased for permission to baptize them?

The irony here is fascinating.

[/quote]

No it isn't and this is a very uncharitable attitude to take. Do you think OP is personally doing this?

These posts are off-topic.


#18

Yes I agree this is not a charitable attitude, the OP seems to be at a point of family crisis. Using the thread merely to raise issues about particular LDS practices seems wrong. The OP asked a question he hoped Catholics could answer, some answers have offered him some helpful information. Santi’s in particular did as it gives a broader view of the issue for the OP to look at.


#19

Agreed. My apologies for my part in any of that…

Peace
James


#20

We’re all human, we all get a bit wound up on these forums at times, especially those of us that use them a lot. I hope the OP has read the responses and found some of them helpful and I hope some better days come along for his family and him.


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