Refused Baptism


#1

Hi everyone,
I need some advice cause I’m honestly really distressed. Just been to see my parish priest to inquire how I get my newborn baby baptised! I was shocked and really hurt at how I was treated. He said he’d never seen me at mass so it was doubtful. I explained that I am a nurse and I work nights so getting to mass is a struggle, besides I consider myself a good Christian, (in the ways that matter) I am good to people around me, I volunteer to help out less fortunate. I went to live in a catholic orphanage in Africa for 6 months to help tend to the children who’d lost their parents due to HIV.
The reason I became lax in my attendance to church was because I witnessed a lot of hypocrisy and cruelty in the Catholic schools I attended, I came to see that in my local church it was more about who you were and how much money you put in the collection plate. It sickened me.
If he wants to banish me from the flock, that’s fine, I’ll answer to St.Peter when my time comes but what shocked and upset me was that he flatly refused to administer the sacrament to my one month old baby because of this.
Am I being stupid? I sort of thought it was like the Hippocratic oath with doctors, I thought it would be his duty to protect my baby’s soul, I fully intend to raise my boy Catholic, but was he right to smack me down like that because my church attendance is lacking?
I’m literally in floods of disillusioned tears, any advice would be welcome
Regards
Zara


#2

Zara,

Did this question – whether and how you intend to raise your son in the Catholic faith – come up during your conversation with your priest?

If so, what does it mean to you to “raise your son Catholic”? Does it include attendance at Mass on Sundays and holydays of obligation?


#3

I think the CCC may explain at least a little as to why you might have been refused at this time.

1253 Baptism is the sacrament of faith.54 But faith needs the community of believers. It is only within the faith of the Church that each of the faithful can believe. the faith required for Baptism is not a perfect and mature faith, but a beginning that is called to develop. the catechumen or the godparent is asked: “What do you ask of God’s Church?” the response is: “Faith!”

1254 For all the baptized, children or adults, faith must grow after Baptism. For this reason the Church celebrates each year at the Easter Vigil the renewal of baptismal promises. Preparation for Baptism leads only to the threshold of new life. Baptism is the source of that new life in Christ from which the entire Christian life springs forth.

1255 For the grace of Baptism to unfold, the parents’ help is important. So too is the role of the godfather and godmother, who must be firm believers, able and ready to help the newly baptized - child or adult on the road of Christian life.55 Their task is a truly ecclesial function (officium).56 The whole ecclesial community bears some responsibility for the development and safeguarding of the grace given at Baptism.

Start going to confession and mass regularly and demonstrate to this priest you take your faith seriously and prove your dedication to pass this faith onto your child. I bet he will change his ming then.


#4

I’m sorry that there’s corruption in your parish life and those who call themselves Catholics. Just so you know, out of the original big twelve of the Church, one handed Jesus over to death and the other eleven ran away in fear. The leader that Jesus picked among them, denied him three times. And when he came back from the dead, despite the fact that he told them frequently that he would, none of them believed it was he.

Furthermore, Jesus tells the parable of the wheat and the weeds, and when the servants say “Shall we uproot all of these weeds?” the master says “No, let them grow up with the wheat, lest pulling them now you pull the wheat. At the harvest, they will be sorted out and gathered in bundles for the fire.”

The fact is, there is corruption everywhere you turn. No one is perfect. Some are downright bad. But I don’t see how that should stop a person from doing what is right.

I’m sorry that your priest was rude to you, or at least that you perceived him to be rude (I obviously was not witness). He probably should have explained more to you and offered you advice on what he thinks would be a better step for you. No one is saying that you’re a bad person. You sound sensitive and compassionate.

The Church doesn’t teach that any unbaptized child that dies will not enter Heaven (rather, she leaves it up to the mercy of God). However, any child that is in danger of death would certainly be baptized because that is what God has called us to do. But if you baptize your child, and then fail to raise him Catholic, it is like trying to be a citizen of a country but not agreeing to fulfill your duties as a citizen. It doesn’t make sense.

Your priest should have taken a more pastoral tone and directed you on why he wasn’t baptizing and the things he thought you should do to improve your relationship to the Church. Are there no Masses you can attend (check your dioceses’ website. Are you in the middle of no where? If not, chances are you can find Mass from sun up to sun down, not to mention Saturday night)? Skipping Mass without a serious reason is not good. We believe that Christ loves us so much that he comes into the form of bread and wine to nurture us, to be really, physically present to us. It is the most precious gift he offers to us in our daily lives, and yet how much it goes unwanted.

The Church has this authority to demand it of us. Jesus never said “do whatever you feel like, it’s only you and God,” but he put Peter in charge of the flock, with the authority to bind and loose. Jesus always said he did everything on behalf of his Father’s will, not his own. We should be ready to make those same commitments, if we truly want to say “I have taken up my Cross and followed after you, Lord.”

May God bless you and your family. Everything will be okay, if you trust in God and His Church. I promise. Check your diocese’s website, look for a church, and maybe buy a copy of the Catechism. Read it aloud before meals, or something. This would be a good thing to do also as your children grow older. Above all, don’t give up on the Church God has made.

“And because of the increase of wickedness, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.”


#5

Georgia’s,
To be honest, I probably wouldn’t take my son to church there anyway, it was the hypocrisy of that congregation that influenced me to stop going in the first place. I guess I could try a church in another town, but considering I was baptised, took my first holy communion and was confirmed there, I wanted my son to start his faith in the same place.

Cider,
I see no mention of attending services in the passages you mention. I said to him ‘father, I consider myself a good Christian’ his reply was and I quote ‘not if you don’t attend church you’re not’
Is it not possible to raise a child in the faith if you don’t attend church very regularly? I confess myself confused. Up to now, I did think I was living as a good catholic, lessons learnt in my childhood have stayed with me & I live by them, I do take my faith seriously, but I saw mixing with people who use the name of Jesus to achieve their own ends as destructive and wicked & I didn’t want to be around it. Faith to me is something personal, I couldn’t stay all night & recite the rosary with a dying patient if my faith was in question, what I find in question is my willingness to celebrate said faith with unchristian people.
I am reminded of a quote,

“Holiness is in right action, and courage on behalf of those who cannot defend themselves, and goodness. What God desires is in your heart and by what you decide to do every day, you will be a good man. Or not”


#6

Zara,
A priest has to have a well founded hope that the child will be raised as a practicing Catholic. This includes following the precepts of the Church, one of which is attending Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation. To skip Mass without serious reason is grave matter and hence a mortal sin (assuming the person knows it’s grave matter and chooses to do so freely). As Catholics we are called to be more then just good people, but also to be obedient to the teachings of the Church.

My advice is to reconcile with the Church. This includes returning to the sacrament of reconciliation and Mass attendance. If you are married then do what’s required to make sure it is valid as defined by the Church. Also remember that the Church is filled with faulty humans. That is not the fault of the Church, but of the brokenness of mankind. The Church seeks to heal us of that brokenness.

The reason I suggest this is your son’s faith will need a strong foundation. If your commitment to the Church is unsure then there is a good chance his would be also. A tilted foundation leads to buildings that collapse.

I will remember you and your family in my prayers that you might return fully to the beauty of the Church. God bless.


#7

That makes perfect sense. By chance, might you have led the priest to believe that you wouldn’t be attending Mass, period? Might your opinion of that particular parish have come through in what you said to the priest?


#8

Attending Mass is about being a part of a community (church), our Catholic faith is not just about ‘me and Jesus’ though that is an important part of it it. The word church (or churches) is mentioned 109 times in the New Testament. Church is community, our Catholic faith is not something we do on our own. This is why it is important to attend Mass every Sunday (or Saturday vigil Mass). We don’t worship Jesus on our own or just as a parish, but as part of the worldwide Catholic (universal) Church.

This problem you have brought up probably has two sides to it as most problems do. Maybe the pastor of your parish could have been more pastoral in giving you a path to get your baby baptized, and maybe you are being a bit judgmental of the people in your parish, and using it as a reason to justify not attending Mass there. Every parish (or any church) will have people that you don’t care for, that is life. All people are sinners and have faults, but it is not our responsibility to judge them or their hearts. We are there to worship God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) as a community of God. That should be the focus of Mass, not parish clicks. Now that said, if you can’t reconcile your differences with your pastor, you surely can attend another parish in the Catholic Church. Don’t let one parish stop you from practicing your Catholic faith every Sunday! God bless you and your baby boy!


#9

#10

Going to Mass “matters”. I understand it can be a struggle when you work odd shifts.

All of those things are wonderful to do, but they do not change our obligations to God and our obedience to those God set in authority over us.

I believe that is commonly known as “cutting off your nose to spite your face”.

So which is it-- you cannot attend due to your work schedule or you’ve gotten lax and really could attend but don’t?

Hmmm, did he actually say he was ‘banishing you from the flock’? No, he didn’t. He said it was doubtful he could baptize your child in the current circumstances.

In the current circumstances someone who does not attend Mass or practice the faith asks for baptism for their child. The pastor is obligated to delay baptism until such time as he is assured that the child will indeed be brought up in the faith.

In my opinion, yes.

Baptism into the Church obligates your child to the laws of the Church FOR LIFE. The Church does not take this lightly and will not allow you to baptize your child if you do not intend to practice the faith and bring him up in it.

Attending Mass is central to raising your boy Catholic. Do you not see the discrepancy here? If you have no intention of attending Mass and bringing him to Mass, you are placing the child in a serious situation of being bound by Church law and having no way to fulfill it.

My advice would be to start attending Mass and practicing the faith regularly and work with your pastor to move forward with baptism.


#11

No.


#12

I believe that you should try getting back to church. Do not bother if the people there are not true christians. At one church I used to attend; An old lady happened to be observing me for weeks, then one day my mother joined me for mass, and while I went to the washroom: This particular lady approached my mother and said “That guy always goes to the toilet!” So my mother, without saying who she was asked her “Is that a problem?” Old lady then replied: “He’s probably going that often to do drugs or something!”

Truth is, I just drink alot which results in well, the obvious visit to the washroom. This “drug news” then spread through to other individuals at the parish. Was I bothered? No. What did the priest think? Well he is one of my best friends. You need to pray for such people. Do not let them ruin your chruch life.

Get yourself back in chruch, and then speak to the priest again and he should definitely help you with getting your son baptised.


#13

To be a saint or to be holy requires that you not be in mortal sin and not going to Mass is a mortal sin. Are there no Masses available that will work around your work schedule or do you choose not to attend at other times because you dont like your parish?. Also see the blue font above in quote.


#14

Then the Jews began to argue with one another, saying, “How can this man give us His flesh to eat?” 53So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. 54"He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.…John 6: 52-54

Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval." John 6:27

I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world." John 6:51

Please do not deprive yourself of the Eucharist and the healing and reconciliation that comes from going to confession to a priest. Yes there are sinners in the Church. Do not use them as an excuse *to cut yourself off *from the living bread from Heaven. We need people to plug into the grace that flows from the sacraments. They bring down blessings upon our churches, our neighborhoods, our workplaces and schools. The sacraments help us to be salt and light to the world that desperately need us. We need you to come back because with you we are stronger. When you stay away, we are all weakened.

I’m glad you came here today to ask the question. My prayer for you today is that you fall head over heals in love with the Prisoner of Love who is Jesus in the Eucharist.

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#15

Complaining that there are hypocrites in Church is like complaining there are sick people in hospital.

Where else should the hypocrites go?

And if hypocrites didn’t go to Church the Churches would be half empty - ditto sinners of other descriptions: gossipers, sexual sinners, those cheating on taxes, drunks, the uncharitable, bigots, the selfish and etc. Any sinner you can imagine is represented in the laity and the clergy.

It’s part of the human condition.

It’s my own sinfulness I need to be worried about.

My question to the OP (and to me) is what are you doing to build the community?


#16

It’s a mortal sin to miss mass without a valid reason. He obviously told you why you were refused. As a convert I was expected to attend mass and RCIA regularly otherwise I wouldn’t have been deemed ready to be baptized and confirmed. It doesn’t matter what faith is to you, the Church teaches what faith is, you don’t teach the Church.


#17

Dear friend:
While your good works are noble, there is so much more to our faith than that. We are all called to be in a state of grace and to actively seek Christ through Mass and the sacraments. We are called as Catholic Christians to live a life of prayer (the Mass being the highest form of prayer.) We must actually live what our belief teaches and grow close to God through faithfulness, especially as it pertains to the Eucharist, which is the Source and very Summit of our faith.

The reason I became lax in my attendance to church was because I witnessed a lot of hypocrisy and cruelty in the Catholic schools I attended, I came to see that in my local church it was more about who you were and how much money you put in the collection plate. It sickened me.

Yes, Catholics are sinners like everyone else. We believe there are two elements in the Church - one human and one Divine. We keep our eyes on the Divine and work on our own sinfulness - by practicing virtue and loving our neighbor.

If he wants to banish me from the flock, that’s fine, I’ll answer to St.Peter when my time comes but what shocked and upset me was that he flatly refused to administer the sacrament to my one month old baby because of this.

I wouldn’t take his comments as rejection - but rather as an invitation for you to start practicing your faith and live as full a Christian life as you can. If you do not fully believe in the precepts of the Church nor the tenets of the faith, why would you be so insistent that your baby be baptized? The best thing we can do for our children is to set a good example. In bringing up your child would you just send him off to catechism classes on his own without the benefit of your own conviction of faith and love of God? I’m afraid in time he would see right through that.

Am I being stupid? I sort of thought it was like the Hippocratic oath with doctors, I thought it would be his duty to protect my baby’s soul, I fully intend to raise my boy Catholic, but was he right to smack me down like that because my church attendance is lacking?
I’m literally in floods of disillusioned tears, any advice would be welcome

Actually, baptism does not guarantee your child’s salvation. His greatest asset would be for you to practice your faith without compromise and teach him to do the same; in fact, it is your parental obligation to do so. Let him see your love of God and bring him up in the light of the gospel.

I sympathize with your job difficulties, but in all honesty, all of us are to place God before everything else and surely you will be able to work out your schedule to go to Mass if you truly desire to do so. I suspect underlying issues so perhaps the best advice we can give is for you to sincerely pray about this and seek God’s grace and guidance.


#18

Let’s be a little fair about hurling the words “mortal sin” around.

To say that someone is in mortal sin is to say that if they should die now without repentance, they are unable to enter into the Kingdom.

Missing Mass is grave matter, one of the three things which constitutes mortal sin. But obviously OP does not realize that skipping Mass is serious, and so she cannot be fully blamed. Let’s hope none of us are in mortal sin and leave it at that. It’s better to speak of grave matter than mortal sin, in these contexts.


#19

No one is saying she in mortal sin. We have no way of knowing that.


#20

Sorry, i used the terminology of mortal sin :o, it is indeed a grave matter, i wasnt accusing, just stated it wrong.


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