Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Why Do Catholics......Baptize 

The Question
    Have you been questioned on the Catholic practice of infant baptism, the inquirer saying that baptism is only for adults and children old enough to make their own faith life decisions?  Most protestant denominations see baptism as a traditional ordinance, nothing sacramental, a public sign that the person has accepted Christ.  So how do you respond to this question?  Let's look at a couple of ways.

What does the Bible Say?     Bible verses are a great places to start when defending Catholicism with our Protestant brothers and sisters.  Some of them believe in Sola Scriptura, or Biblical teaching alone. 
     A good verse to support infant baptism is Acts 6:33.

"He took them in at that hour of the night and bathed their wounds; then he and all his family were baptized at once.

     In biblical terms, the household not only contained the family, including children, but also the slaves and their families, employees of the family business and their families, and relatives who resided in the same house.  This biblical baptism of Lydia and her family that occurs in Acts 6 would have included the baptism of children and infants.

What does biblical tradition say?     In Christ's time, it was religious practice to circumcise the male infants at age of eight days old.  Christ himself participated in this in Luke 2:21 (And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called Jesus, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb). 
     The Old Testament covenant involved infant circumcision.  The New Testament covenant was a fulfillment of the old covenant.  If infants were circumcised, why would infants not be baptized?

What does the Catholic Church say?

     The Catholic Catechism says, in article 1250:

"Born with a fallen human nature and tainted by original sin, children also have need of the new birth in Baptism to be freed from the power of darkness and brought into the realm of the freedom of the children of God, to which all men are called. The sheer gratuitousness of the grace of salvation is particularly manifest in infant Baptism. The Church and the parents would deny a child the priceless grace of becoming a Child of God were they not to confer Baptism shortly after birth."

     With the Sacrament of Baptism, we die to self and rise again with Christ into a new life.  We also gain sacramental grace, strengthening for our new life as Catholics, and become part of God's Heavenly family.  Why would we not want our children to have  part in this?
     During Baptism, the Holy Spirit places an indelible mark on our souls, marking us as God's children.  What parent would want to keep this away from their child?
     Also, one must realize that because of Adam and Eve's sin in the garden, all their children inherited Original Sin.  The Catholic Church has taught that the only way to remove Original Sin is through the Sacrament of Baptism.  Why would one wish not to remove this sin from their child's soul and free them from the shackles of sin?

Other Questions
     Perhaps one of the most used comments that come after explaining the significance found in the Sacrament of Baptism is:  "Well, I want my child to decide for himself. " 
     We live in a neo-Pagan society.  Everywhere - books, magazines at the checkouts, and TV - there is a worldly influence.  Why would you not want to arm your child with spiritual gifts so that he or she can be in this world, but not of it?  Parents search for safety for their child.  What safer place can they find than in God's care and family?

In Conclusion
    To answer the question "Why do Catholics baptize their infants?" one must simply realize that Catholic parents do not wish to raise their children in the dark of this word.  Baptism gives them the "flashlight" of grace and participation in God's Heavenly family.  Grace from Baptism strengthens their souls and assists them fight the devil and the world's lies that threaten their souls.  So why do Catholics baptize their children? Because they love them and want the best for them, as taught by the Catholic Church.   
     Do you have anything to add/ Did I miss anything in this Why Do Catholics Wednesday?  Let me know in the comments below!  I am still learning to defend my Faith through apologetics, so any advice and prayers are defiantly appreciated!

God Bless you all!

Chloe M.


  1. This was wonderful, now only if I had some Protestant friends... Seriously though, thanks for putting together a concise and we'll thought out explanation, it shall be bookmarked and referenced.

    Tim, a Catholic who happens to wear a suit on occasion.

    1. Tim,
      Thanks for stopping by the blog! I equally enjoy reading your blog. Thanks also for the compliments on the post - I really enjoy writing the appolgetics Why Do Catholics Wednesdays!
      God Bless you!
      Chloe M.