Why not baptize the moment a child is born instead of waiting sometimes months?


My wife and I are expecting our firstborn early in 2015. We are eager to have our child baptized, yet we know that the norm is to wait a one or even several months. Considering its importance, why chance it and wait? Even if the baby appears healthy, wouldn’t it be better if priests baptized the first possible chance they had?

I also know that this was not always the case. I remember reading a Mozart biography and, apparently, he was carried across the street to the Cathedral in Salzburg to be baptized / christened within a few hours of birth although he was not in obvious danger of death. Any thoughts?


That might be the practice in your area, but I’m not sure I would call it the ‘norm’ of the Church. From the Introduction to the “Rite of the Baptism of Children”:

"As for the time of baptism, the first consideration is the welfare of the child, that it may not be deprived of the benefit of the sacrament; then the health of the mother must be considered, so that, as far as possible she too may be present. Then, as long as they do not interfere with the greater good of the child, there are pastoral considerations such as allowing sufficient time to prepare the parents and for planning the actual celebration to bring out its paschal character…

(3) An infant should be baptized within the first weeks after birth."


In a modern first-world society, there is little probability that an otherwise healthy infant will suddenly die within the first weeks of her life. Families thus feel some liberty in scheduling the child’s Baptism at a time when travel arrangements can be made so that more distant family members may make their own arrangements to attend.

But I will tell you this: between the time our children were born until their Baptism, neither my wife nor I were far from a source of clean water, so that we could Baptize our children in an emergency. The worst-case would be if we all perished. This is possible, but even more unlikely.


I baptized my boy in the bath. Quite valid if you follow the form. Of course he was baptized formally later, but it is better to be sure, to be sure.


I too have noticed that people are waiting longer and longer to have their babies baptized and I too have wondered why. I have 5 kids and all 5 were baptized within the first 2 weeks of their life. Normally, a baby is only baptized in the hospital if he or she is born ill and there’s a possibility of death. Were it me though I’d have no qualm with asking my pastor to baptize my baby within his or her first 2 weeks of life. Check with your parish however. Our church requires parents of prospective batizees to attend about 3 months worth of classes prior to their infant being baptized. If this is the case in your parish, then you need to get started so that’s out of the way when your little one arrives, Perhaps this is one reason that contributes to the several month wait after birth to baptize their little one–the parents perhaps don’t realize until they contact the parish to set up the baptism that they must attend these classes first and so the baptism ends up not taking place for several months.


In modern america and even here in mexico its normal to wait 1-6 months to baptize a baby my kids arent going to be baptized till next year since my husband is a procrastinator but i mean if your concerned you can make it as soon as possible but i know that during lent some parishes dont do baptisim so depending on your wifes due date you may have to wait


It is an unfortunate fact that many people put off baptizing their children for several months. I know in some cases the reasoning is that they need to do paperwork, classes, fly in family and setup a party, etc. Some parish buracracy also gets in the way (parishes that only baptize once a month or where you have to be on a schedule months in advance).

That being said, much of the delay tends to be because baptism is not considered an immediate priority. There are also delays trying to get out of town guest flown in which puts the priority on who can attend rather than on getting the child baptized as soon as possible. If parents plan for things in advance they can generally get their child baptised in the Church soon after they are born.

With our last three boys we got any administrative stuff at the parish done the month or two prior to the due date. We basically had things setup in advance so all we had left to do was fill in their name, location and date of birth. From there we either had them baptized the Saturday or Sunday following. With our last son my wife called the parish about 4 hours after he was born and I was turning in the paperwork that afternoon. My mom couldn’t fly out for another couple months, but we decided that baptism now was more important that making it a social event.

Long and short is we should put the priority on baptism early and do everything we can to make sure there are no roadblocks that cause several month delays.


Also quite illicit, unless there is an immediate danger of death. :tsktsk:




We encourage parents to do the preparation as soon as they find out they’re having a baby. Only a few couples do so. Most wait weeks to call after the baby’s born and then they find out that we don’t have any preparation classes being offered for over a month, then they have to find a date that suits them, etc… Judging from the replies we get in the preparation sessions, few parents see Baptism as ‘important’, they’re just doing it to please the grandmother, or ‘it’s what we do’, etc.

My first two were baptized at around two months but that’s only because we were coming home to have the Baptism celebrated. I remember my mother being very concerned that we were flying home with an unbaptized baby. I made sure I had water with me ‘just in case’.

The baby was baptized at two weeks because we were living across the country from home and thus staying put: a week in the hospital (back in the day when they gave you time to actually recover from the birth before sending you packing), a week to recover at home then on to the church.


A friend of mine had to wait a month and a half, as her parish church only did baptisms once a month. Sometimes it’s paperwork, or lack of available facilities, rather than laziness by the parents.


Was he in danger of death? If he wasn’t, then what you did was illicit and wrong.

Further, if the baby was baptized later (i.e. with water and the Trinitarian formula, but without telling the priest that you had done an illicit baptism prior), then you’re also party to sacrilege.


I am not a parent but when I do have kids I will schedule as early a date as possible and if people are there, great. If not, that would be not optimal, but it would not be a big deal. It’s not a party (although you can have one =] ). It’s just not important to me, I guess. It’s vastly more important that my child be baptized ASAP. I can send pictures if need be.


Still works! He could have been hit by a bus. (He is now 19 years and still a Christian.)


I’d baptize my baby right away if I were you – I wouldn’t wait for more than a day. Hopefully, you can find a priest who can baptize your baby right away. God bless you.


I expect people wait these days because neither parents nor priests have taught them about original sin. Most Catholics probably think it is just a social ceremony.
It seems to me that there need not be any large amount of paperwork and that the priest could baptize the baby in a few seconds. Why have preparation classes for everyone when the priest could establish in a minute or so whether the parents understand what baptism is and what it requires them to do (bring up the child as a true Catholic).


III agree.

If I chose to wait 6 months to baptize my child and he or she would have died of infant death syndrom–for which there is no way to know in advance–I’d have been devastated. I do believe that our God knows the intent we have and I do NOT necessarily believe that an unbaptized infant goes to hell. After all, what choice does the baby really have?, Yet it still would have devastated me. I think to wait for a week–or even two–to allow the new mom to basically be on her feet again is reasonable, To me though, 6 months is way too long. Have the party later if you wish. Take care of the child’s spiritual needs asap. And if your parish requires several months of classes prior to baptism–well this is your responsibility as a parent–one of the first you’ll be faced with in a long list of raising this child for God! Get off your butt and go while still pregnant so that when the baby is born, you are ready!


I was appalled when I joined the preparation team to find that there was no mention whatsoever of the effects of Baptism. No mention of original sin, no mention of what Baptism accomplishes. I made sure to start bringing it up, much to the surprise of the rest of the team.

Then I noticed that families were being told that attending Mass on Sunday was optional,that sometimes we have to make compromises and God understands! It occurred to me that one team member was never at Mass during minor hockey season. During one session, after telling the parents that there was nothing wrong with missing Mass she looked at me and said, “You’re married to a non-Catholic, I’m sure you’ve had to miss Mass because your husband had other plans.” I truthfully answered “I’ve been married for over 30 years and Mass has never been negotiable, neither for me, nor for the kids when they were young.”

I then went to Father and asked what he told the parents when he first met with them. His answer was what you’d expect: he told them that by having their children baptized they were committing to raising them as Catholics, attending Mass, teaching them the Faith, etc. I told them what parents were then being told in the prep sessions but he didn’t bother to do anything about it. The hockey mom has since left the team.


Since one cannot be baptised twice all that happened the second time was that he got wet.


When you later simulated baptism for him, did you also request he be confirmed? “The sacrament of confirmation is to be conferred on the faithful at about the age of discretion unless the conference of bishops has determined another age, or there is danger of death…”
Did you see to it that he received the sacrament of reconciliation and the eucharist daily?
Do you stil encourage him in this regard? Even a 19 year old can be hit by a bus! :eek:

“it is better to be sure, to be sure” :rolleyes:
Bah. You make a mockery of the Church and her sacraments. :mad:



The norm is not to wait several months. Canon Law is clear on this.

Can. 867 §1** Parents are obliged to see that their infants are baptised within the first few weeks.** As soon as possible after the birth, indeed even before it, they are to approach the parish priest to ask for the sacrament for their child, and to be themselves duly prepared for it.

§2 If the infant is in danger of death, it is to be baptised without any delay.

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