Why Does The Catholic Church Baptize Infants?

The Bible does not specify a minimum age limit for baptism. So many branches of Christianity including Catholics, the Eastern Orthodox church, and some protestant denominations welcome everyone, including babies and infants, to be baptized. 

Why Does The Catholic Church Baptize Babies?

Why Does The Catholic Church Baptize Babies

There are three main reasons why the Catholic Church baptizes infants. 

  • Baptism cleanses infants from the original sin.
  • Baptism introduces children to the Church and, most importantly, salvation. 
  • Baptism introduces children to all the other sacraments. 

Here’s what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says on baptism. 

CCC 1213: Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit (vitae spiritualis ianua), and the door which gives access to the other sacraments. Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission: “Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration through water in the word.” 

Baptism is pretty important when it comes to the Christian faith. In fact, it is the foundation of Christian faith and the Bible makes that clear in many places.

In John 3:5, Jesus says that without baptism, no one can enter the Kingdom of heaven. 

Some denominations that oppose infant baptism say that kids, unlike adults, cannot profess their faith, thus it doesn’t make sense to baptize them. 

But the Bible, and the Catholic Church, makes clear that baptism is about forgiveness of sin. In infants, who obviously cannot sin, it absolves them of the original sin inherited from Adam and Eve. 

So it doesn’t matter that infants cannot confess their faith in God. God’s Grace and forgiveness still extends to them. 

Here’s what the CCC says specifically about baptism of infants. 

CCC 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 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.

What Does The Bible Say About Infant Baptism?

What Does The Bible Say About Infant Baptism

The Bible does not specify a certain age for one to be baptized, nor does it talk specifically about children getting baptized. 

So it’s not a sin to baptize infants. 

The Bible makes clear that children should be brought into salvation and raised up in the ways of God. 

Here’s what Jesus said in Matthew 19:14: “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” 

According to the Bible, a crucial step of belonging to the kingdom of heaven is baptism. 

Nowhere does the Bible restrict the teachings about baptism and salvation to adults. Children are permitted to partake of the Joy and Grace of salvation and forgiveness, even if they don’t fully understand it yet. 

There are a couple mentions in the New Testament about entire households getting baptized. It’s likely that children were part of these households and were baptized along with other family members. 

Is Christening The Same As Baptism?

While christening and baptism often happen during the same ceremony, there’s a difference between the two. 

Christening is like a naming ceremony. It’s where the child is given a new christian name and usually assigned godparents. 

Baptism is a Catholic sacrament that involves immersing the child in water or sprinkling water on their head to signal forgiveness of sin, and a rebirth into salvation. 

Although it is uncommon in the Catholic church, Christening can happen without baptism. In that case, it becomes just a naming ceremony. The child is not introduced into the Church or salvation. 

Do Baptized Infants Need to Be Baptized Again?

A child who has been baptized (either in a Christening ceremony or a standalone baptism), does not need to be baptized again. 

In the Catholic Church, a single baptism is enough. Even if you were christened and baptized outside the Catholic church, it’s still recognized as a valid baptism. 

Once infants are baptized, they do not need to be baptized again as adults. 

What Age Do Infants Get Baptized In The Catholic Church?

Anyone of any age can be baptized. The age of the child does not matter. You can have your child baptized soon after birth or wait until they are a few months or years old.

Things like the health of the baby (and the mother) as well as the availability of the church clergy will determine how soon you can have your baby baptized. 

But in most churches, you should be able to arrange a christening before your child is one year old.

Do Parents Have to Be Baptized For Their Child to be Baptized In The Catholic Church?

No, there isn’t a requirement that the parents be baptized for their infant to be baptized in the Catholic Church.

In fact, some parishes will allow infant baptism when the parents are non-catholic or unbelievers. 

Some parishes don’t do this, since parents have a responsibility to bring the child up in faith once they are baptized.    

If you have any questions regarding baptizing your child, talk to your local parish. They’ll help you prepare for it and let you know what’s needed from you. 

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