What is the Catholic Church's position on christening a baby when one parent is against christening?


#1

Hi,

I wonder if anyone can please shed some light on this issue?

If an 'occasional' Catholic (one who attends church rarely or on one or two occasions) requests that her child be baptised, what do you think the Priest's decision will be if...

1) The mother requesting the baptism had the child out of wedlock

2) The mother and the father are not a couple but have agreed to have a platonic relationship now, and after the child is born but the father is not a Catholic, or religious at all.

3) The father is completely against having the child baptised, saying that he wants to allow the child to make their own decision upon reaching a certain age. He also says that he will not promise to bring the child up as a Catholic when asked by a Priest.

All three of the above conditions apply to our current situation so I was just wondering, is the Priest bound by any religious rule(s) that state that there can/cannot be a Christening?

Thank you in advance.


#2

According to Canon Law:

Can. 868 §1 For an infant to be baptised lawfully it is required:

1° that the parents, or at least one of them, or the person who lawfully holds their place, give their consent;

2° that there be a well-founded hope that the child will be brought up in the catholic religion. If such hope is truly lacking, the baptism is, in accordance with the provisions of particular law, to be deferred and the parents advised of the reason for this.

§2 An infant of catholic parents, indeed even of non-catholic parents, may in danger of death be baptised even if the parents are opposed to it.


#3

The Canon law says it all from a legalistic point of view.
If I was making the decisions ( I'm not a priest so that's hypothetical) is probably defer the baptism. The'Catholic' parent would need to demonstrate son level of being a practicing Catholic not just someone who wants this for family or cultural reasons. It's all in the point of the requirement for a well founded e expectation that the child be raised in the faith which would be lacking as the parent requesting baptism is only sporadically practicing and suggesting a deferral, handled sensitively could encourage the mum to become a more actively practicing Catholic. .. especially by mens of the preparation courses to which the parents are invited.


#4

All situations you listed are delicate, and the devil is in the details. In my opinion, the priest would need to deal with each situation and each person in an individual, pastoral way to make sure that the proper procedure is chosen.


#5

In the case the OP described, the father seems to be irrelevant to the Church's decision. He will not be a custodial parent. If the mother is not a practicing Catholic, the pastor would have a hard time discerning that there is a "well-founded hope" that the child will be raised Catholic. It seems like asking the mother to attend some catechetical and formational classes would be in order, with the goal of having her return to the regular practice of the Faith.


#6

I agree with previous poster that father’s wishes are irrelevant. I do not agree though, that the possibility of the baptism will relay on the further chances of child being brought up as Catholic vs no such reassurance. I was always taught that it is better to baptize the baby than not to baptize, but evidently legalisms prevail in a modern society…


#7

Case by case, and priest by priest, most probably. The father is not living in the household and therefore has no bearing on this case at all. The mother would need to demonstrate her faith and ablility to bring up the child as a Catholc with formation. However, I would hope and pray that the priest would perform the baptism . The graces that flow from the Baptism itself will be of lifelong importance for the baby. I kknow of cases, where a baby was Baptised, never catechized but still turned to the one true faith once able to begin discernment.


#8

[quote="Used2beSherryG, post:7, topic:329316"]
Case by case, and priest by priest, most probably. The father is not living in the household and therefore has no bearing on this case at all. The mother would need to demonstrate her faith and ablility to bring up the child as a Catholc with formation. However, I would hope and pray that the priest would perform the baptism . The graces that flow from the Baptism itself will be of lifelong importance for the baby. I kknow of cases, where a baby was Baptised, never catechized but still turned to the one true faith once able to begin discernment.

[/quote]

Some priests wouldn't. In a former parish the Pastor insisted that the parents attend Mass faithfully for at least 6 months before he even considered baptizing their child. OTOH, our present Pastor would baptize that child in a heartbeat.

I just finished doing baptismal preparation this evening with 3 couples. One couple, older parents with another child, I see in church regularly. I had never set eyes on the two younger couples and we are the only parish around and only have ~425 families.

When asked what responsibilities having their children baptized imposed on them as parents the older couple had ready answers and one of the younger couples wanted help from the parish to fulfill their role as primary catechists for their child. The other couple didn't participate in the conversation, had little to say about why they were getting their child baptized and seemed to have no idea of their responsibilities as parents. All three children will be baptized. The older couple will definitely have that child in church on a regular basis. The couple who wants help will get it and may well start bringing their baby. But I know, as I have known with so many before, that once that third baby is baptized we'll be lucky if we see her in Church at Christmas and Easter but when she's 6 or 7 someone will add her name to the First Communion list, she'll come for those classes and make her First Communion and then we probably will never see her again.

That said, mine were all in Church every Sunday, baptized, confirmed and received Communion and not one of the three goes to church other than at Christmas and the two who are 'married', married outside the church - one to another Catholic, one to a nominal Anglican. Our one grandchild remains unbaptized because, to quote his mother, "I refuse to lie to a priest and say I'm going to raise him in the Church just so he can be baptized."


#9

How could it be right to do it if only one parent agrees?

What if the other parent is Jewish, for example, and the child then continues to follows the Jewish faith for the rest of her life and yet…she’s been baptized Catholic?

The Catholic church doesn’t mind that?

.


#10

I’m not sure the correct Canon Law, but I know that Pope Francis would be in favor of baptising the child. He has spoken against denying baptisms quite forcefully. It would be different if the father and mother were a couple, which they aren’t. The mother is the sole custodial parent.


#11

[quote="DaddyGirl, post:9, topic:329316"]
How could it be right to do it if only one parent agrees?

What if the other parent is Jewish, for example, and the child then continues to follows the Jewish faith for the rest of her life and yet...she's been baptized Catholic?

The Catholic church doesn't mind that?

.

[/quote]

The Church says "151. In carrying out this duty of transmitting the Catholic faith to the children, the Catholic parent will do so with respect for the religious freedom and conscience of the other parent and with due regard for the unity and permanence of the marriage and for the maintenance of the communion of the family." [size=2][FONT=Times]*Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism., 1993


[/size][/FONT]In this case there is no marriage and the other person has no religion in which to raise the child.


#12

Really? Do you have any examples, quotes, references? I am interested in what he has said and if anything pertains to my different situation, where my child’s baptism is being delayed.


#13

Apparently in Argentina it was common for pastors to refuse to baptize the children on single mothers. Then Cardinal Bergoglio spoke against that, saying that the woman is forced to go from church to church to baptize her child rather than being hailed as a hero because she refused an abortion (in Bergoglio verse.. didn't return to sender.). He also spoke a few weeks ago in one of his daily sermonettes about an eighth sacrament created by priests called the "sacrament of pastoral customs" and used baptism as the example.


#14

[quote="Phemie, post:11, topic:329316"]
The Church says "151. In carrying out this duty of transmitting the Catholic faith to the children, the Catholic parent will do so with respect for the religious freedom and conscience of the other parent and with due regard for the unity and permanence of the marriage and for the maintenance of the communion of the family." [size=2][FONT=Times]Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism., 1993
*[/size]
** ***
[/FONT]In this case there is no marriage and the other person has no religion in which to raise the child.

[/quote]

they are not a family.


#15

I know that, I was answering the poster’s question about what the Church wants if the other parent is not Catholic.


#16

[quote="Phemie, post:11, topic:329316"]
The Church says "151. In carrying out this duty of transmitting the Catholic faith to the children, the Catholic parent will do so with respect for the religious freedom and conscience of the other parent and with due regard for the unity and permanence of the marriage and for the maintenance of the communion of the family." [size=2][FONT=Times]Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism., 1993
*[/size]
** ***
[/FONT]In this case there is no marriage and the other person has no religion in which to raise the child.

[/quote]

Okay, that sounds much better. Thanks!


#17

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