Why Are There No Baptisms During Lent?


#1

My parish suspends all Baptisms during Lent.

Why is this?

One source I researched said that there is no cannon law regarding this and that my paster might be considered negligent for preventing newborns from being baptised in a timely manner.

Does anyone have any further information about this?


#2

[quote="CatholicMedic, post:1, topic:274832"]
My parish suspends all Baptisms during Lent.

Why is this?

One source I researched said that there is no cannon law regarding this and that my paster might be considered negligent for preventing newborns from being baptised in a timely manner.

Does anyone have any further information about this?

[/quote]

I don't like the sound of that and strongly suspect that is not OK.

However, I don't have any official documentation for that, just a sort of "Catholic common sense" feeling.


#3

I believe this is illegal. Baptism is necessary for salvation, and so for a priest to refuse it during Lent seems very wrong.


#4

[quote="CatholicMedic, post:1, topic:274832"]
My parish suspends all Baptisms during Lent.

Why is this?

One source I researched said that there is no cannon law regarding this and that my paster might be considered negligent for preventing newborns from being baptised in a timely manner.

Does anyone have any further information about this?

[/quote]

I have an idea that some pastors feel Baptisms during Lent (and possibly Advent) are inappropriate (being joyful and celebratory occasions) vs. what are considered penitential periods (more true of Lent than Advent). Our parish, however, does hold Baptisms during both seasons.

That said, I am involved in parish Baptismal preparation, and it's been a loooooong time since we've Baptized a "newborn." Virtually all the infants are at least 3-4 months old, and many 6+ months.


#5

[quote="Tarpeian_Rock, post:4, topic:274832"]
I have an idea that some pastors feel Baptisms during Lent (and possibly Advent) are inappropriate (being joyful and celebratory occasions) vs. what are considered penitential periods (more true of Lent than Advent). Our parish, however, does hold Baptisms during both seasons.

That said, I am involved in parish Baptismal preparation, and it's been a loooooong time since we've Baptized a "newborn." Virtually all the infants are at least 3-4 months old, and many 6+ months.

[/quote]

I've noticed this too. It makes me kind of sad.


#6

I will have to check my references, but I believe that the "no baptisms during Lent" rule applies to the "celebration of baptism" as typically seen in any parish on any typical Sunday. The celebratory nature of the sacrament is not in keeping with the penitential nature of the season.

It was the custom, at least in my neck of the woods, prior to VII, that weddings were forbidden during Lent. That rule has been relaxed, but the couple is instructed that decorations must be keep at a minimum- flowers for the attendants and maybe a vase or small bouquet to place in front of the statue of Our Lady- nothing else is allowed.

However, if necessity dictates, a bapitsm may be performed anywhere. And, as been stated, most babies are at least a few months old before baptism now, so I really don't think that this is a terrible thing.


#7

[quote="Oneofthewomen, post:6, topic:274832"]
I.

However, if necessity dictates, a bapitsm may be performed anywhere. And, as been stated, most babies are at least a few months old before baptism now, so I really don't think that this is a terrible thing.

[/quote]

They shouldn't be. Parents have an obligation to have their children baptized within the first few weeks.

Can. 867 §1. Parents are obliged to take care that infants are baptized in the first few weeks; as soon as possible after the birth or even before it, they are to go to the pastor to request the sacrament for their child and to be prepared properly for it.


#8

[quote="Brendan, post:7, topic:274832"]
They shouldn't be. Parents have an obligation to have their children baptized within the first few weeks.

[/quote]

I know it "shouldn't" be, but it is what it is. :(


#9

It is because some people think the liturgy of the Church will be incomplete unless it has their fingerprints on it. Don't know how the Church survived all these centuries without their help.:mad:


#10

I’m guessing that in an era of seriously decreased infant mortality, this is no longer presented as such – at least, in the so-called “developed” world.


#11

[quote="Tarpeian_Rock, post:10, topic:274832"]
I'm guessing that in an era of seriously decreased infant mortality, this is no longer presented as such -- at least, in the so-called "developed" world.

[/quote]

That is from the 1983 Code of Canon Law. If they meant to grant dispensation to those with minimal danger of infant death they would have. I cannot help but notice they did not though.


#12

[quote="Tarpeian_Rock, post:10, topic:274832"]
I'm guessing that in an era of seriously decreased infant mortality, this is no longer presented as such -- at least, in the so-called "developed" world.

[/quote]

We stress that it should be in the first couple of weeks but I don't know one family that has weighed the need for early Baptism against the need for Grandma & Grandpa or Uncle Jim or Aunt Bess to witness the Baptism and hasn't said "It's more important for Grandma & Grandpa to be there than to have baby baptized ASAP."

I was as guilty of that as anyone when my own were born. Only the youngest was baptized early and that's only because we weren't taking him to another parish to be baptized.


#13

My youngest was baptized during Lent 17 years ago. He was only a few weeks old.


#14

Except this is a directive that by definition cannot be enforced. What’s the alternative – if you delay your child’s Baptism, we’ll refuse to perform it? Self-contradictory, self-defeating, and inconsistent with the Church’s emphasis on the importance of the Sacrament.


#15

Usually this is because the parish has a backup of baptisms needed and not enough priests to perform the function in a timely manner. Parents and godparents must take classes, godparents must be approved, etc. This can take time, depriving the infant of a timely baptism.


#16

[quote="zenith15, post:15, topic:274832"]
Usually this is because the parish has a backup of baptisms needed and not enough priests to perform the function in a timely manner. Parents and godparents must take classes, godparents must be approved, etc. This can take time, depriving the infant of a timely baptism.

[/quote]

That's why all of this should be done during the pregnancy, not after the birth. Parents have enough to do/worry about when they have a newborn without coordinating the baptism. Unfortunately I think almost no one does these things during the pregnancy anymore.


#17

In this area they do group baptisms. I don’t see anything to limit the number of baptisms that one priest or deacon can do in an afternoon. I would note that Peter and the apostles did three thousand baptisms that first afternoon [Acts 2:41]


#18

[quote="Tarpeian_Rock, post:4, topic:274832"]
I have an idea that some pastors feel Baptisms during Lent (and possibly Advent) are inappropriate (being joyful and celebratory occasions) vs. what are considered penitential periods (more true of Lent than Advent).

[/quote]

That was the line of reasoning I thought of when I first saw the OP's post. However, we still have feast days during Lent so that really doesn't stack up when you think about it a bit deeper.


#19

Wait a cotton pickin’ minute here! We don’t have to abide by the wishes of holy mother church because she can’t enforce them?:bigyikes:

I didn’t say that we should excommunicate people for baptizing their kids at the age of 3 only that the church is unambiguous in her desire they be baptized in the first few weeks. Pardon me if I believe in following the laws of the church even if I can’t be jailed for breaking them.:signofcross:


#20

[quote="jwinch2, post:18, topic:274832"]

Originally Posted by Tarpeian Rock

                 [forums.catholic.com/images/buttons_khaki/viewpost.gif]("http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?p=9000849#post9000849")                 
             *I have an idea that some pastors feel  Baptisms during Lent (and possibly Advent) are inappropriate (being  joyful and celebratory occasions) vs. what are considered penitential  periods (more true of Lent than Advent).*

That was the line of reasoning I thought of when I first saw the OP's post. However, we still have feast days during Lent so that really doesn't stack up when you think about it a bit deeper.

[/quote]

I don't know how much it has to do with being a joyful occasion. This practice, or should I say 'avoidance', springs from the same type of thinking that comes up with removing the holy water from the fonts for Lent and replacing it with sand because "we are a desert people".

It would make some sense if all the babies were actually baptized at the Easter Vigil, but I don't know many parents who are willing to come to that celebration with newborns or 4 or 5 week old babies. In all my years attending the Vigil, I've seen infant baptism twice. Being involved in baptismal preparation I know that most families reject the idea immediately because the Vigil starts late and runs so long. Add a baptism and you've got another 20 minutes or so added to an already 'too long' ceremony, the reason usually given for cutting the OT readings to the mandatory 3.


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