Here in the northern climates I notice parents are reluctant to
baptize their children until the spring. * Although I have been in the habit of frowning on this practice due to the importance of increasing the chances that our infants will find themselves in the proper beatific state after leaving this world, and having 2 newborn grandchildren myself awaiting baptism, I wonder if we could not extend the time frame for baptism.
This is not an unusual request. We allow a one year time frame for confessions, and if implemented would find it’s reasoning based on a relational intent and principle. Whatever the justification for the confession timeframe, I feel the matter would be even more pressing since we are dealing with absolute innocent humans (OS notwithstanding). The effect would be that all newborns who pass prior to one year will find themselves within the beatific state of the elect.
So I would like to see this implemented if indeed a consideration in this regard has not already been made.
The Catechism itself states that it is not a foregone conclusion that unbaptized infants are “damned”, as my sister in law puts it. She baptizes ASAP because she doesn’t like the idea of driving around with a baby who hasn’t been baptized. She honestly believes her baby, if something happens and he/she is not baptized, will go to hell. I personally think this shows a lack of faith in God’s infinite mercy.
But who is “we” and from “what” to “what” do you want to extend the the time? The Church herself does not impose an absolute time limit. She just advises that it is prudent to baptize in the first few weeks after birth.
The catechism also does not state that unbaptized infants go to heaven, which it cannot possibly state since that has not been revealed to us and other theological data we have been given certainly challenge that conclusion. The OP cannot simply will that unbaptized infants go to heaven and make it so; rather, we are taught that we do have genuine reason for concern because of the strict requirement of baptism and infants’ inability to obtain it through desire (I would also say through blood but we do have the case of the Holy Innocents, whose celebration would lead me to admit of at least some exceptions there).
The above reasoning is why the Church does require (canonically) parents to have their children baptized within the first few weeks of birth, which IIRC is interpreted to set the deadline at four weeks after birth.
Now, why would we have a different “time limit” for confession than baptism (solely to use the OP’s language, not to concede the reasoning behind it)? Adults ought to seek reconciliation immediately upon committing a mortal sin, just as infants ought to be baptized ASAP. But my take on the canonical obligation is that it’s up to an adult whether or not he is content to remain damned, while an infant has no say in whether or not the stain of original sin is removed from his soul. So the Church applies some pressure to the mortally sinful with the Easter duty, with the hope that, essentially, peer pressure will bring them to be reconciled where genuine concern for their souls did not, but for infants the Church acts in their bests interests by obliging speedy baptism.
[quote=AndyF;4758811and having 2 newborn grandchildren myself awaiting baptism, I wonder if we could not extend the time frame for baptism.]
I don’t understand the question, and am not aware of any church law that specifies a “one year timeframe”. The law requires parents to baptize an infant as soon as possible after birth, but does not really set a time, so parents should use their common sense.
I’ve come back to the church recently, and my son is 18 months old. He is not baptized yet, but I plan on doing so within the next month (my parish only does infant baptisms twice a month).
I realize I should have done it sooner, but his father (who, thankfully, is no longer in the picture) was doing a fair job of leading me further away from God and the church. I’m working on remedying this though.
Read Pastoralis Actio:29. … As for the time of the actual celebration, the indications in the Ritual should be followed: “The first consideration is the welfare of the child, that it may not be deprived of the benefit of the sacrament; then the health of the mother must be considered, so that, as far as possible she too may be present. Then, as long as they do not interfere with the greater good of the child, there are pastoral considerations such as allowing sufficient time to prepare the parents and for planning the actual celebration to bring out its paschal character.” Accordingly, “if the child is in danger of death, it is to be baptized without delay”; otherwise, as a rule “an infant should be baptized within the first weeks after birth.” (Ordo baptismi parvulorum, Praenotanda, 8, par. 1, p. 17)
As has been noted, we do not know what happens to unbaptized babies. God has simply chosen not to reveal this to us. But we do know what happens to baptized babies. Are we to pretend that the situations are identical, when God has treated them differently?
I see the situation as similar to having one’s baby become ill. Sure, one could wait a year before bringing the baby to the doctor, and hope that all will be OK in that year, or one could bring the baby to the doctor right away. And this analogy is not by any means perfect because it is not assured that the doctor can cure the baby in any case, but it is assured that baptism will save the baby.
But there is no denying that God has revealed that baptized babies will go to heaven, and that he has not revealed this about unbaptized babies. Whatever God does he does for a reason, so why would anybody not “get the hint” that perhaps God wants babies baptized.
the longest we have waited for Baptism for our children is 4 months and the only reason it took so long, was the Godmother for our daughter was also pregnant and put on complete bedrest. Their baby was born right before lent and she had a c-section and did not feel well for weeks, so we had to wait until lent was over. Our other two were done within a matter of weeks.
Can. 867 §1 Parents are obliged to see that their infants are baptized within the first few weeks. As soon as possible after the birth, indeed even before it, they are to approach the parish priest to ask for the sacrament for their child, and to be themselves duly prepared for it.
§2 If the infant is in danger of death, it is to be baptized without any delay.