Protestant father having son baptized Roman catholic

Hi all, first post in the forum here.
Quick question or questions.
I am a happy baptised protestant and I have a toodler whom the mother wants to have baptised roman catholic. Is this allowed within the catholic church? Is there anything extra I would have to do?

Me and the mother are no longer together nor ever married if it helps.

Also random question, can a baptised protestant attend a confession? Always wondered that.


Hello timmylee87,

I assume you mean baptized in the Catholic Church as we are all baptized in the Spirit regardless if it happens inside or outside the Catholic Church.

I think that the CC will ask that your ex-wife make the commitment to bring the child up in the faith. I presume that is her intention. I don’t think that you have to do anything extra, but you could choose to attend the baptism if you wanted.

I think a Protestant can attend confession, but the Priest most likely would not pronounce absolution (possible exception in a case of a person nearing death).

The Catholic Church does not require both parents to be Catholic for a child to be baptized. There must be a “founded hope” that the child will be raised in the Catholic faith.

Jimmy Akin: Can Protestants Go to Confession?

Hi. I think the big question is, is she going to raise him in the Catholic Church?

That’s the thing, she isn’t really practicing her faith very much. I have discussed it with her and she says she will take him Sundays when she has him, but its a joint custody situation so I have him every second weekend, so my weekends he would be attending my church.

My whole idea is its both christianity, but I’m just unsure of how the catholic church will react to that. I’ve spoken to a few priests, as I attend catholic mass time to time (my church encourages visiting other church’s) but myself am not willing to convert myself…

Its a confusing situation I must say

Hi Timmy. Welcome to the Forum.:slight_smile:

Yes, the child can be baptised Roman Catholic. One parent just needs to be the Catholic. There must be a commitment that it will be brought up in the faith though.

You see, with great power comes great responsibility. :wink:

You mean go for the Sacrament of Confession? Sorry, but it is a no per se. But you can approach a priest and discuss with him your predicament.

You are welcome.:):wink:

God bless you.


Probably many people are.

A baptized child should be brought up knowing and learning the faith. It’s a good thing you are willing to come for the mass, that solves one of your obligations a great deal, as you (or your wife) bring him along. As he grows, he may attend Sunday school or learn Catechism. A promising picture there for you.:slight_smile:

See that’s the thing, hense why I’m confused.
I’m protestant, so my obligations are to my church, which isn’t catholic.

I’ve had my pastor tell me that him attending both church’s isn’t doing any harm, and when he’s old enough he can choose either to be catholic or protestant.
I know the baptism is the same for both (holy trinity baptism) so that aspect I’m not to concerned with.

I just don’t know the catholic stance on him being raised with both church’s

The priests I have spoken to have more or less confused me as well, some say it isn’t an issue others say I would have to convert, and well my pastor can’t really give me much insight into catholic traditions.

To be honest as well i recently started reading up on christian unitity which makes a lot of sense.
We all believe in the father, the son, and the holy spirit. Which is why this is confusing. Only difference between us is tradition and title.
I pray one day I will be able to witness a truely unified church. Just throwing that out there

Your desire for one unified Church is the desire of our Lord as well… and the Catholic Church which our Lord began. I too was protestant totally oblivious to the Catholic Church believing as you do in Christian unity…I started to read more about the Catholic Church historically and this convinced me in the truth of Christ’s Church being the Catholic Church of which yearns for this unity more than you. You need to truely look at our “Christian Church” from the beginning reading the early fathers of the Christian Church and you will be amazed (as was I) at how “Catholic” it sounds. I took more than 3 years of study before coming into the Catholic Church but am in awe at the beauty and depth of Christ’s one, holy, catholic and apostolic faith… Seek truth, you will not be disappointed!
My love and understanding for your concerns,

See that’s the thing though, not every protestant is going to convert (myself included) nor is every catholic into protestant.

I recently watched a video of pope Francis speaking on the matter and what he said makes sense. We shouldn’t drop our church or our traditions, nor should we be content on pointing out or differences, but rather focus on our faith and our simularitys. We all share the same baptism.

I go to mass once and a while(usually after my service) to show my support and I would happily break bread and pray with any one of my brothers and sisters.

There is only one God, One Son, One spirit and One word. That’s what I believe should be focused on, not either side saying that the other is doing it wrong. Just imagine how glorious it would be to have all churches together spreading the word.

The main thing is your child can be baptized Catholic since one of the parents is, that being the minimum requirement. When we go into a commitment like that, it is natural that there have to be a commitment what the Baptism entails, that is, a commitment for him to know the faith. In a practical way, that would involve bringing him to the mass and to learn Catechism; and when he is of age, to be prepared for and receive the Sacraments.

I see no problem for him to live with his Protestant father or that you are bringing him to Protestant services. The suggestion for you to convert probably in consideration from the practical aspect in order to achieve the mentioned commitment but you do not have to, since you were a non-Catholic father.

Hopefully your questions as in the OP are well answered.:slight_smile:

Really appreciate that. :slight_smile:


My Father was Methodist Episcopal and was the Godfather to my niece. My parents stayed married. My Mom was Catholic but schizophrenic, so Dad got us out to parochial school and church. So, maybe that is why the priest let him be a Godparent since he proved he raised us Catholic.
An author who wrote the “Healing Light” I believe was a Protestant and went to confession when she was experiencing a DARK NIGHT OF THE SOUL. It healed her heart. I imagine she told the priest she wasn’t Catholic. You can make an appt w the priest and have a private confession these days. I did that this time. So, he will understand your position. There are special circumstances that a priest will discern by the Holy Spirit and give him wisdom to give out grace to God’s children. Maybe you should convert. A happy protestant can make a happy Catholic.
in Christs love,

If I were you, and did not seriously intend to raise the child in the Catholic faith, I would not participate in a role beyond that of a spectator. As the parent presenting your child to the Church for baptism, you would be promising to raise your child in the Catholic faith. If you could not keep such a promise, then for the sake of your conscience you must not make that promise. If it is a promise not worth keeping than don’t make it in the first place. The violation of a solemn promise before God is a grave sin. “When thou hast made a vow to the Lord thy God, thou shalt not delay to pay it: because the Lord thy God will require it. And if thou delay, it shall be imputed to thee for a sin.”

It sounds like the mother feels stronger about this than you do. Let her have him baptized in the Catholic Church. Explain to her that, for conscience’s sale, you can only participate in a limited capacity. As far as you’re concerned, it would not be different than if he were baptized by a Lutheran minister. I think this would be the happiest solution for both parties as you described things.

You asked about the difference between Lutherans and Catholics. These differences were so important to the first Lutherans that they were compelled to separate themselves from the Catholic Church. But before this, those first Lutherans were Catholic. Both Lutherans and Catholics are in agreement that there are non-trivial differences between them.

Here’s the thing though, when it comes down to spirituality, I’m actually more involved than the mother. She currently doesn’t attend any church or such, she only wishes a catholic baptism because that’s her family’s background.
I have suggested to her that if its something she wants done than to begin attending catholic church and begin taking him. Another suggestion I had made was to begin with that and wait until he is old enough to choose for himself weather to be baptised catholic or protestant, which is also required by protestant church’s that the child makes their mind up with free will.
The thing I don’t understand regarding the last post is the promise to god part. Wouldn’t taking him to my church still for fill the promise? He would still be attending church which is also required by the protestant church as well…

Any who I’ve made an appointment with a priest to discuss the matter, luckily he also knows my pastor so may be able to shine some light on the situation
I’ve tried to self educate myself on catholic traditions, but the internet can only get you so far lol

In truth this is less of an issue than what it looks like. This is the type of debate that would be relevant in the XIX-th century. I think that your pastor and the priest would agree that it is more important for the child to be baptized in a Christian church than not to be baptized at all (or not being brought up as Christian).

The Catholic Church recognizes as valid the baptism of many Protestant denominations and similarly many Protestant denominations recognize as valid the Catholic Church’s baptism.

As long as he is baptized and told about Jesus while he grows up, God will find the way to take him to the right spiritual home as an adult.

Your perspective sounds like it is more mature than your mate’s (although, to be fair, we have not heard her side of the story). What is the point of baptizing the child to a parent will not provide a Christian upbringing? Well, it sounds like you recognize the importance of baptism, even though you may otherwise differ from Catholic belief, and intend to raise him according to your beliefs to the best of your ability. Even for your wife, maybe this is the thing that will draw her back into practicing her faith (unlikely, but possible). Your advice that she attend Catholic Church herself is spot on.

I started writing this post with the understanding that you were Lutheran. Only I now realize you never said you were. Oh, well. I will post what Lutherans say anyway, since I have already pasted it, and it sounds like you are under the impression that most Protestants do not baptize infants. In fact, most Protestants, including Lutherans, Presbyterians, Anglicans and Methodists practice infant baptism.

Deferring baptism till the child can choose for himself may seem like a good compromise, but it is contrary to both Catholic and Lutheran beliefs. The Augsburg Confession of the Lutherans reads as follows:

Of Baptism they teach that it is necessary to salvation, and that through Baptism is offered the grace of God, and that children are to be baptized who, being offered to God through Baptism are received into God’s grace.

3] They condemn the Anabaptists, who reject the baptism of children, and say that children are saved without Baptism.

And the Formula of Concord:

[The proposition] [t]hat children are not to be baptized until they have attained their reason [the use of reason], and can themselves confess their faith [cannot be tolerated in the Church].

I hope you’ll take my word for it that Catholics believe similarly on these points and that Catholic parents are obligated to baptize their children shortly after birth (a matter of weeks, not years).

The obligation to attend mass is not just to attend any kind of church gathering. Attending your church’s Sunday services would not satisfy this obligation. This is chiefly for two reasons. First, your service is not and does not claim to be a mass. Even a Catholic service like vespers (a prayer service chiefly made up of the singing of psalms) would not count because, even though it is Catholic, it is not mass. Second, it must be Catholic. So even an Eastern Orthodox mass, where Catholics recognize the priest is a valid priest and their Eucharist is a valid Eucharist, does not satisfy the obligation for a Catholic.

Another aspect is the matter of raising the child in the faith. Like I said earlier, if there were no significant differences between Catholics and Protestants, there would never have been a Protestant Reformation. There are also very significant differences between various Protestant groups. Take confession for example. Catholics believe that we are obligated to individually confess our sins, and that priests have authority to forgive sins in Christ’s name (cf. John 20:23). Your church probably does not believe this is necessary and probably does not practice confession. We believe that parents are obligated to have their children baptized, and that it washes away sin and pours out God’s grace. In the view of Baptists (which sounds like where your church fits in), children cannot be baptized, and baptism merely symbolizes the forgiveness sins, but is in no way instrumental in washing away sins. Those are by no means an exhaustive list of differences between Catholics and Protestants, just a couple of examples, and probably not the most important ones.

For getting an overview of differences between Catholics and Protestants, this site is a good resource. Besides the message board, Catholic.Com has a lot of articles on this subject. It sounds like you are taking the right step by talking to a priest about your situation. The two primary things you should keep first in mind are (1) the welfare of your child, and (2) not making a promise you won’t keep.

Regarding Baptism, I’d suggest you talk to the priests. Ditto re. reconciliation. They’d know the ins and outs of both questions.

Since it seems you can’t trust the mother to consistently practice her Catholic faith, your son’s religious education (and possible eternal fate) will most likely depend on you.

My suggestion (and this is just my opinion) is that you should take you son to both Catholic and Protestant services, and as he gets older, tell him the reason for doing so. That way he’ll get a well grounded education on both sides of the fence, with a Christian father to boot, and you’ll also gain a greater insight into the Catholic Church.

That’s my opinion anyway.

If I may add…

God Bless you for being such a wonderful Christian father, you are truly a wonderful and strong example for your child.:thumbsup:

Like another poster said, if possible, take your child to both a Catholic Mass and to your church service. You can attend a Saturday night Mass and Sunday at your church.

The most important things is to ATTEND church with him and bring him up with Christian Love. The only problem I foresee is confusion on your child’s part due to the difference in worship styles. For this, you will have to educate yourself. A great place for you to address this would be for you to attend the parish RCIA program. Everyone is welcomed and there is NEVER a requirement to actually convert to the faith. For you, this would be souly an educational endeavor.

Regardless though, your child is truly blessed to have had God give him such a wonderful father. Just do your honest best in bringing him up Christian and God will sort out all the details:thumbsup:

I think you and I think alike. :cool:

I can’t really tell you what to do; but I think if I were in your shoes (and assuming that she if unmoving) then I might go along with what she wants. That is assuming, of course, that her priest wants to go along with it as well – if he doesn’t, then it’s really an issue between her and him, not her and you.

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