My adult son decided to shop for a Protestant church. Just guessing, but I think he is considering the Methodist church. He and his wife are expecting a baby soon. If they have the baby baptized in a Protestant church should I attend? I really don’t want to attend but I don’t want any hard feelings between us. I know the Catholic Church accept this baptism but I’m so sad about this whole situation. Any suggestions?
The decision is one only you can make, of course, but here are some considerations to keep in mind:
[list]A Catholic can attend a valid Christian baptism as a Christian witness but may not serve as a godparent. A valid Christian baptism is one done with the proper matter (water), intention (to baptize), and formula (“In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”).[/list]
[list]Your non-attendance may either be medicinal (i.e., it may encourage your son to come home to the Catholic Church) or it may be scandalous (i.e., it may give the impression to your son and his family that the Church doesn’t accept your grandchild’s baptism as valid). If it is medicinal, it would be a good thing; if it is scandalous, it may drive your son and his family further away from the Church.[/list]
[list]Even if it is not scandalous, boycotting your grandchild’s baptism may cause a rift between you and your son and his family. It might close a channel through which God’s grace can flow to guide your son and his family home.[/list]
The bottom line is that the Church does not require you to attend and nor does it forbid you to attend your grandchild’s baptism. Only you know your son well enough to evaluate what the consequences of your decision will be, and the Church trusts you to use your prudential judgment to take the course of action that best reflects the ideal of Christian charity.