Question about my children being baptized

We are 99% sure that we will be leaving our Protestant tradition for the Catholic Church but since RCIA has already started and we are too late for this Easter Vigil, we will likely pursue this next fall with entry at Easter Vigil 2016.

My 11yo son has asked several times about baptism and now believing the Catholic teaching concerning it, I really hate to postpone it any longer. The same goes for my younger daughters although they have not quite expressed their desire due to their age, but they just turned 7.

I’ve gotten a few differing opinions on when/where to have our children baptized but I am really unsettled about postponing it any longer, especially for our son.

The Protestant church we have been attending is having a baptismal service in the next couple of weeks for children and I have made inquiry about having all three of mine baptized at that service. However, prior to doing so, they are requiring us to attend an orientation meeting this coming Sunday as well as have each child fill out paperwork declaring their profession of faith. In looking over this paperwork and talking to my son about it, I now feel very conflicted. The paperwork specifically states that baptism is symbolic only of the inner change in our hearts. It goes on to require them to list their personal conversion (which is hard for my son who has grown up in church because he has always believed in God and Jesus) and it also seems to promote the idea that in order to be baptized, he must:

(a) recognize he’s a sinner in need of God’s grace (which I don’t disagree with); and
(b) have evidence of the fruits of the spirit in his life (don’t necessarily disagree with this either).

But, my concern is that he now feels that he doesn’t have enough “proof” in his life of conversion because he’s always had faith and the fact that he’s an 11yo boy with two sisters together 100% of the time does not always bring out the fruit of the spirit either :p.

Also, I almost feel deceitful (sinful) having them baptized in this Protestant church, knowing that I don’t agree with their doctrine on it and I certainly don’t want to promote the idea to my children that baptism is symbolic only. Also, my husband and I have not really discussed converting with our children (who don’t always show discretion on what they reveal to grandparents :rolleyes:) yet, nor with really anyone else in our inner circle.

Is Catholic baptism even available to my children at this point? I’m assuming our children would have to go through some sort of RCIA as well, but I am confused at what point/age the Church views the individual being able to make that decision for themselves. (For instance, can my 11yo son refuse to convert along with the rest of our family?) At what point, do they own their own faith.

Should I just go through the hoops to have them baptized as quickly as I can to cover our bases? I certainly don’t want them to pay the price heaven forbid something should happen before my husband and I are admitted to the Catholic Church in 2016.

What should I do? :confused:

The best advice I can give, and I’m sure there are others on here who can give better technical advice about Church teaching on this matter, but the best advice I can give is to go and talk to the priest at your nearest Catholic parish about your desires and your concerns. When it comes to your eternal salvation, the Church isn’t pharisaical, these kinds of rules can be relaxed on occasion.

There are classes for conversion for children (people over 7 yrs. old but not adults).
Meet with the parish DRE to see what is available. These classes run along side the RCIA program. You children need basic Catholic catechesis to bring them up to speed.
Sometimes parishes refer to it as OCIC, but many people dislike that name. No matter, tell them you desire that your children come into the church with you.
The kids in my class love it, and hare having a wonderful time, excited about Baptism and First Communion. They will be received into the Church at the Easter Vigil along with the adults. My pastor will most likely Confirm them as well at that time, with the adults. Your daughters may be able to be Baptized with out the classes, depending on your pastor’s viewpoint, but honestly I’d let them take the class together. They need to understand what they are entering. Education is always best. Also, it will have the benefit of them feeling like they are on board with the rest of the family.
Best wishes, and welcome home.

Thank you for the info! Do these also normally begin in the fall with RCIA?

Your children are old enough (over the age of 7) to go through RCIA. (And that’s the point where they need to want to be baptized themselves.) Why don’t you talk with the RCIA folks at the Catholic parish you think you’ll join and find out what is involved for them. Perhaps they could sit in on children’s religious education classes now even if they’re not quite ready to proceed formally.

Personally, I love the rites in RCIA and would hate to deprive your children of going through all the rites and receiving their sacraments at the Easter Vigil.

Yes, they run in conjunction with the religious ed year.
Speak with the Director of Religious Ed. As the previous poster said, it would be so lovely to have your younger child go through the Rites and not just get “dunked” LOL

My general feeling is that it’s best to bring the whole family into the Church all at the same time.

While you wait to start your RCIA classes, start going to Mass on Sundays, and bring the kids with you. You don’t have to be Catholic to go to Mass.

Once you have developed a strong habit of Sunday Mass, the pastor of the parish will come to notice you and get to know you, and from that point on, it will be quite natural to get into a conversation with him about how to handle the children’s baptisms, and what the custom is at that parish.

But, my concern is that he now feels that he doesn’t have enough “proof” in his life of conversion because he’s always had faith and the fact that he’s an 11yo boy with two sisters together 100% of the time does not always bring out the fruit of the spirit either.

Tell him from me that he’s got nothing to prove.

His story is actually my very favourite kind of conversion story - no wild stuff, just “I’ve always loved God, and I still love Him today, and because I love Him, I’ve never gotten into anything that I knew would make Him sad.” Awesome. Best conversion story ever. :slight_smile:

Welcome to the church!

You may ask around at other parishes if they have year round RCIA. We have year round RCIA, and people join up throughout the year. We have a rite of acceptance in a few weeks although those candidates and catechumens will not enter fully until Easter 2016.

The Catholic Church teaches baptism of desire so you and your kids have that. Trust in Gods mercy and grace regarding that. Entering the order of catechumens at the rite of acceptance more formerly protects individuals by baptism of desire, but Gods grace is not bound to our structure.

Your kids desire baptism and will receive it as soon as they can and God will honor that.

Despite what the Protestant literature says, if they are baptized in water in the name of the father son and Holy Spirit, it is a valid baptism with all the graces as such.

It is up to your judgement if you go ahead and baptize everyone on the Protestant church. It is no way deceitful to do so.

I personally would not delay baptism and would have everyone be baptized at the Protestant church you attend, and enter RCIA when you can.

Prayers for you.

The Church teaches the following:

1257 The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation.60 He also commands his disciples to proclaim the Gospel to all nations and to baptize them.61 Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament.62 The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude; this is why she takes care not to neglect the mission she has received from the Lord to see that all who can be baptized are “reborn of water and the Spirit.” God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments. (1129, 161, 846)

1258 The Church has always held the firm conviction that those who suffer death for the sake of the faith without having received Baptism are baptized by their death for and with Christ. This Baptism of blood, like the desire for Baptism, brings about the fruits of Baptism without being a sacrament. (2473)

1259 For catechumens who die before their Baptism, their explicit desire to receive it, together with repentance for their sins, and charity, assures them the salvation that they were not able to receive through the sacrament. (1249)

If you desire to be baptized in the Catholic church and something happens to you before that happens it is called Baptism by desire.

here is the link to the Catechism of the CC regarding baptism:

usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/what-we-believe/catechism/catechism-of-the-catholic-church/epub/index.cfm#

I agree with the person who said to consult the priest at your local Catholic Church and he will let you know what to do. The RCIA people don’t always know everything. I had one woman tell me that its ok for non-Catholics to receive Jesus in the Eucharist IF they believe in the RP. That is false. So check with the priest.

We had a similar scenario in our parish church last year. The mother was received into full communion with the Church at the Easter vigil and her children were baptized after and their Baptisms were celebrated at Sunday Mass. They were the age of reason and they are enrolled in CCD. And as a witness to all of their baptisms, it was incredibly beautiful.

If you are 99% sure that you are converting to Catholicism then why are you inquiring about their baptismal service and concerned about going to their orientation this Sunday?
Just start going to Sunday service at the Catholic Church and see if Jesus speaks to you thru the Scripture readings or the Homily.

Today’s readings:
usccb.org/bible/readings/010815.cfm

May the Holy Spirit guide and guard you and your family. In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.

:thumbsup:
Beautifully said!

:slight_smile: When my son showed me this section in the paperwork, I felt a strong sense of conviction in myself and a sense of hypocrisy on the part of the church because I know that I certainly don’t always show (and often have longer than desired lapses) in exhibiting fruits of the Spirit.

This has been basically what I was thinking but DH wasn’t quite so sure until we got more info and other opinions.

Ironically, DH and I have done the bulk of our research at home. I’ve attended Mass twice and he once. Yes, we definitely need to get off our fence. Our current church is also where my in-laws and most of my friends attend and we have not felt quite so confident yet in sharing our Catholic leanings. Therefore, we have been very discreet (with the exception of my BIL and my recently converted BFF in another city) with our research and Mass attendance. We have not discussed it at all with our son and our daughters are too young to understand the difference. We have continued to attend the Protestant church because until we know/knew for sure what was going to come from our research, we wanted to maintain continuity for our children and family. Our church offers baptismal services for children a couple of times a year and then was the first one that came up following our change of hearts toward the meaning of baptism.

Mass is often offered at various times of the day on Sundays. What I used to do when I was “on the fence” and even when I was completely sure I wasn’t going to become Catholic, I used to attend evening Masses at the Catholic Church while at the same time attending morning services at my Protestant church with family and friends.

It made for a busy Sunday, but I certainly got to know the teachings and culture of the Catholic Church, to the point that when I finally started my RCIA classes, there was no doubt in my mind that I wanted to become a Catholic, and I didn’t mind waiting for the Sacraments because I had so many questions by that time, and I really felt like I wanted to go through the whole process and get everything I could out of it.

I’ve been thinking this is what we may do, or attend one or the other on Saturday night since our church also offers Sat evening services that often attend.

That must be difficult to be going thru this conversion and feeling the Holy Spirit tug at your heart to come into the Catholic Church when you attend the same church as your in-laws and your friends. Please forgive me for being insensitive to that. Your story reminds me a little bit of Dr. Scott Hahn and his wife’s story when they were converting. I am a revert to the Church. A cradle Catholic who walked away during high school. I was those Catholics who would just show up on maybe Christmas or Easter if I felt like it or show up for weddings, funerals, baptisms, 1st communions, and had a distorted view filled with a lot of misunderstandings of the sacrament of confession. I did have a conversion and came back to the Church and with websites like this one have helped me grow in my love for Jesus and His Church. May God bless you and your family and I pray that the Holy Spirit will soften the hearts of your in-laws and friends to accept your entry into Jesus’ Church. Because really, the only reason to be Catholic is because you know that Jesus established a Church and you want to be part of it.

Thank you for your sentiments :slight_smile:

For several years, DH and I have felt that something is inherently wrong in the Protestant community. I was baptized into a Southern Baptist Church when I was 16 (not raised in the church) and my husband was raised Church of Christ (attended CofC school from K-college) and we both KNEW that there were/are many disconnects and inconsistencies in those doctrines. So after jumping between those for the first 10 years of our marriage, we moved back to where my husband grew up and thought a non-denominational church was the ticket (and his family had already gone that route a few years before). It has become increasingly apparent to us, though, that non-denominationalism is NOT the ideal church setting because there is no higher authority for interpreting Scripture than the pastor. So, when issues came up that we felt he was wrong about in his interpretation, the only alternative was to switch churches. For a while, we landed at yet another non-denominational church and stayed there for a few months until we went to a new member orientation and the pastor went through a brief “history of the church” in which he made blatantly false and misleading statements about the Catholic Church and was definitely anti-Catholic. This unsettled us so we went back to where we started :blush:

That has prompted us to more intense research of the Catholic faith and discovering the early church fathers. The realization about the Eucharist is truly what is calling our hearts toward the Catholic Church. :smiley:

UPDATE: We attended a Baptism Orientation yesterday at the church in which the children’s minister talked to the children who planned to be baptized in a couple of weeks about what it means to have faith and exactly what the baptism process “symbolizes” and how it will be administered.

I found no real objection to what he was explaining to the children and I think most of it jives well with Catholic teaching. However, he made a very specific point to these children (ages 6-11) that the purpose of being baptized was because they “had a independent faith apart from Mom and Dad”, “had made a decision to accept Jesus as their Savior”, “the Holy Spirit was evident in their life because there is evidence of the fruit of the Spirit”, etc.

All in all, I think my children were comfortable with the entire process; however, I know that some of this is not in line with Catholic teaching and I would like to clarify this before they get baptized. For instance, my 7yo daughters looked at me questioningly when he said, “must have an independent faith.” They did not understand what this meant because they have ALWAYS believed in Jesus. He made big deal saying that it’s hard for children who grow up in the church to know whether or not their faith is INDEPENDENT from ours and to be very cautious about proceeding (which seems like an oxymoron if baptism doesn’t actually DO anything in their eyes. I mean, what could it hurt if you go by their reasoning?!?!)

I was thinking, “Huh?!?! What in the heck does that even mean? Did not the Israelites teach their faith to their children. Where does it even say in the Bible that this is a requirement for baptism?”

Also, in looking at (i.e. reading about) the differences between Catholic baptism and Protestant baptism, is it safe to say/explain to my children that Catholics believe that ordinarily the Holy Spirit is infused at baptism and that faith results from having the Holy Spirit (i.e., it is what God does for me through the minister of baptism) instead of the mainline Protestant view that we get baptized (i.e., do something for God) because the Holy Spirit already dwells in us (i.e.,because of what He has already done for me)?

How would you suggest explaining this to children?

Even from a catholic standpoint, due to your children’s age they are considered adults and at this point should be choosing the faith for themselves.

They can be baptized as “infants” via the parents faith until typically age 7. At that point they must decide themselves and go through RCIA.

So really the church you are attending is fine in telling kids that age they need to make their own choice.

Explain to your kids that the Bible is clear that Christians are to be baptized. It is a part of every conversion story in the New Testament and so if they desire to be Christians they are to be baptized in obedience to Christ, to mark their joining of the Christian family and to receive immense grace from God and forgiveness of sins.

All of these points can have a scripture reference attached to it and can be a powerful testimony to your protestant church, as there are likely many people there who have never bothered to be baptized.

Some suggested verses

Acts 2:38 ESV /

And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

1 Peter 3:21 ESV /

Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

Mark 16:16 ESV

Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

Acts 22:16 ESV /

And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.’

Galatians 3:27 ESV /

For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

Acts 2:41 ESV

So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.

God Bless!

What Jon says. Yes.
However, if you are considering doing RCIA yourself, I assume you desire your children to become Catholic. I do not see the advantage of “getting it over with” in another church, and then enrolling them in Catholic Sunday school and having them have to play a bit of catch up.
I would enroll them in Children’s OCIC (the child’s counterpart to RCIA) and have them baptized when you enter the church. As a family. That way, these questions they have will all be answered in full over the coming months. You’ve waited this long…education is always a good thing,
Praying for you,
pianist

So, in other words, what they already know about baptism from a Protestant perspective is correct, with the exception that baptism REALLY does save you. Is this what I should explain to them in contrast to what the children’s minister said of it being symbolic that they’ve already been saved? We’ve already gone over the verses you listed.

As for the underlined part of your quote, please clarify. Do you mean “decide themselves” in being baptized, having faith in Christ, or becoming a member of the Catholic Church? I realize that for a Catholic, these are all one and the same. But, in my opinion, my children can certainly choose to have faith in Christ and be baptized BEFORE actually choosing to become a Catholic Christian. :confused:

Yes, if we converted, I really see no other option than my children becoming Catholic as well unless they were teenagers. Thankfully, we are still in the years in which they pretty much have to go along with Mom and Dad :stuck_out_tongue:

My 11yo has asked about baptism for over a year. Would you make him wait another year to be baptized if he already feels confident to make a decision for Christ and wants to be baptized?

My girls want to be baptized, too, because they know that that is what Christians do…should I dissuade them from this line of thought? Again, I don’t necessarily equate become Catholic with becoming a Christian because I believe that there are many Christians outside the Catholic Church. I just believe the fullness of truth resides in the Catholic Church. Should I starve my children of any truth now until we can receive the fullness of truth upon entering the Catholic Church? :shrug:

I would make her wait so that she could be CERTAIN of what she believes.
While we Catholics advocate infant Baptism, but at this point, as thinking persons, they want what they believe they lack. To fully understand and fall in love with faith, and not just the ritual of faith will serve long after the ceremony is over. Baptism leaves an indelible mark. If you, as an adult are willing to do the work of learning and developing your relationship with Christ, then you should consider at least, providing that same level of catechesis in anticipation of their Baptism. Too many people believe that the Sacraments “cover our bases” or are similar to getting a membership card punched. I’m not saying that you are this way, I’m just saying that the learning of the faith in preparation for these momentous moments is crucial.
God bless you in this time of discernment.
I’ll say a prayer for you.

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