Post # 1
I want to know what are the advantages/disadvantages of baptizing your children at birth? Do they get more doors opened for them or it doesn’t make a huge difference?
I am not yet married. Getting there in 3 months. In conversation at my in-laws this topic came about baptising our kids. My in-laws are Catholic. I am Sikh. My Mother-In-Law and Father-In-Law always make EVERY statement with conviction. I.e. “you must…” They are separated but have the same Catholic ideals.
I don’t feel baptising children at birth makes them become anymore Catholic. I would personally NOT baptize them. (We would be going to church every Sunday as a family. I already do this with Fiance.)
I felt that this “must be baptized” statement was a bit insulting considering I am not Catholic. And I have no plans to bring up my children strictly Catholic. I would like to impart a lot of my culture on to them as well, though I don’t secretly want them to become Sikhs. I just want them to become good human beings. That is all.
My Fiance has no problem not baptising them. I also do not want to send them to Catholic Schools…. And he has no problem with that either.
So back to the original Q, I want to know what are the advantages/disadvantages of baptizing your children at birth? Do they get more doors opened for them or it doesn’t make a huge difference?
Post # 3
I’m not sure what doors you are referring to? Door to Heaven? Or Door to getting into a Catholic school?
PS — this might help: http://www.americancatholic.org/UpdateYourFaith/answers.asp?QC0389b
So, Catholics baptise within a few months of birth (originally to wash the child of “original sin”. It was also believed that if something happened to the baby, they’d get straight into Heaven. That meaning has gone out of favor I think. Other Christian sects do it later so that the child “chooses” God. If your in-laws are old-school, they may be suggesting that you do it quickly out of fear of limbo.
Post # 4
I am not Catholic, so I can’t speak to the specific rules of the Church on baptizing children. However, I know some Christians do not baptize young children because they believe baptism is a huge step that should be made by a worshiper who is fully aware of his/her decision. For example, my best friend is a devout Christian, but she was not baptized until her senior year in college. She wanted to make sure she was fully committed and ready to be reborn in the eyes of Christ.
I don’t know if you’re getting married in the Catholic Church, but I believe you have to promise to raise your children Catholic if you do.
Post # 5
I wouldn’t do it personally, I think they need to make that choice themselves when they are old enough to understand it and commit to it. I’m glad I wasn’t baptised just because I’ve decided to be agnostic. =) I didn’t do it to my son for the same reason… he needs to decide on his own.
Post # 6
I’m Catholic, we baptize our babies at birth. Confirmation is when they can make the choice to enter fully into the church (or not, as the case may be). A person is typically 13 or thereabouts when they are confirmed.
Back to Baptism–it doesn’t have anything to do with getting them special opportunities in life (if that’s what you’re referring to). If you’re not planning to raise them Catholic, then you don’t need to baptize them. In fact it would be almost a false show so I’d advise against it! Don’t worry about your SO’s parents and do what is right for your family.
Post # 7
If you are not raising your children Catholic, and your Fi doesn’t really care, you don’t have to do it. It sounds like your in-laws are imposing their beliefs on you and your (future) children. Make the decision that is right for you family, not based on what your in-laws want you to do.
As far as opening doors, do you mean socially? Or education/career-wise? I think, unless you live in Vatican City (lol) baptizing or not baptizing isn’t going to affect your children. The only way I see it maybe affecting them is if they choose to convert to Catholicism as an adult, in which they will just be baptized then. It’s no big deal to be baptized as an adult, if they choose.
Post # 8
I am glad I am not the only one who doesn’t want to baptize their kid at birth.
If all it does is washes away ‘original sin’, then I can live with it. I don’t want it to mean that they will be branded Catholic FOREVER. Is that what happenes? I mean, do you get your Baptismal certificate then and you are considered a Catholic? Or are you considered Catholic after your Confirmation?
By ‘doors’ I was referring to opportunities in the real world. Like a ‘Catholic discount’ for attending certain schools, getting money to enroll our kids in activities sponsored by Catholic charities like little leagues, taking certain classes like ballet, piano lessons, etc. (I realize I am sounding stupider as I continue that sentence) But I hope you get the gist. I have no idea what these ‘special opportunities’ could be, which is why I asked.
Post # 9
@Sasha2011: Nah, you can get baptised Catholic, but not follow through with confirmation, etc… Getting baptised in the Catholic church does not mean you are Catholic forever. Lots of people break away from the church or decide not to continue with their Catholic upbringing, so baptised babies get to choose if they want to conitnue in the church as they get older.
As far as I know, there are no special benefits to getting baptised Catholic. I went to a Catholic (diocesan) college, and they accepted all faiths/there were no discounts for being Catholic/etc… And my (atheist) friends have their kids in Catholic school right now; there are definitely no discounts or lowered tuition for being Catholic there. The only difference is that they got a half day off from school when all the other kids in their class were preparing for first communion. 🙂 There’s really no benefit unless you believe in the theology of original sin and/or plan on raising your kids Catholic.
ETA: Maybe certain Catholic groups require you to be Catholic to apply for scholarships and such? But, uh, there are always special interest groups offering scholarships to select groups of people, so I wouldn’t worry about that too much. That’s really the ONLY thing I can thing of when being a Catholic might be of benefit, but in that case there’s probably Sikh groups out there that do the same thing.
Post # 10
If you don’t baptise them, your in-laws may try to do it secretly. My mom was raised Catholic but broke away from the church as an adult. She refused to have my sister and me baptised, but strongly suspects that my grandmother may have either performed or had someone perform an emergency baptism on us without her consent 😛
Post # 11
@Sasha2011: Baptism means you are considered Catholic, but it’s a little different than in Protestant Christianity (like PP mentioned above), where once you are baptized, that’s it forever. You have the choice when you are older to further commit yourself to the Catholic faith (Confirmation), but you’re no more or less Catholic in the meantime. It’s not a “no going back” proposition.
Yea, I grew up in a pretty Catholic circle and never heard of special Catholic discounts on stuff. So I think you’re OK on that score! Good luck!
Post # 12
Catholics baptise at birth because they believe children are born bearing original sin. the idea is that if your child died before confirmation he or she would be allowed into heaven because he or she would be cleansed of sin.
If your in-laws are practicing Catholics this is going to be a serious issue for them. I was raised Catholic but stopped practicing when I was older. My parents were adamant that I must baptise my kids after birth. they were truly concerned for their souls. I did it to keep the peace.
Post # 13
Catholics accept the baptisms from many other faiths… as long as they baptize in the name of the Trinity. I.e. The father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Baptism is uniting them with Christ into his family, though usually it also means that as parents you’ll be imparting, to the best of your ability, the Catholic faith to them. In order for the child to one day receive other sacraments, such as reconciliation, communion, and confirmation… they will need to be baptized. It’s when they approach confirmation that the child is given an opportunity (this is around 17 years old) to make the decision on whether or not they want to be confirmed by the Holy Spirit into the Catholic faith. Baptism is the very first STEP… but confirmation is the last Sacrament of Initiation into the faith.
Some Catholic schools do give parishioner discounts but that’s because you are most likely tithing to the church and/or a participating member. Not baptismal discounts though…
Post # 14
If I could “like” a comment here, I would like KLP2010’s… but I also add to that.
1. Baptism is welcoming them into the Church, and the parish community. So there is that to think of as well. The welcoming and celebration of the child is an important element for families too.
2. Parents and godparents make promises during baptism to raise or support the parents as they raise the child as a Catholic. So, obviously, if you do not intend to raise your child as part of a parish community, in a household that observes/respects the basics of Catholicism (even if you don’t practice it), then to baptize your children would be dishonest. Your in-laws may say “must”, but if you’re clear that it would be dishonest of you– dishonest with the Church and with God– and they should respect that.
3. If you decide not to baptize any future children, don’t worry about emergency baptisms being done on the sly by your in-laws, as a PP mentioned. An emergency baptism is not a baptism done when the parents don’t consent, it’s a baptism done when someone is dying or won’t ever have a chance to be baptized otherwise. Read here and here for more info on why a baptism in secret won’t count, but here’s the gist of it:
Note that Baptism must only be administered to those who request it; Baptism must never, ever be against the will of the person to be baptized, or his parents’ will if he is a child.
Post # 15
If you are going to go to church every Sunday as a family, I do think that you should baptize your baby. It is a beautiful way to welcome him/her as a member of the church, which you are if you go to church every Sunday.
Most Catholics don’t even go to church!
Post # 16
There are really no downsides to baptizing/sprinkling your infant (unless you see conforming to Catholic traditions wrong), and it’ll get your in-laws off your case. It doesn’t obligate you or your child to anything. My grandparents are Lutherans (who believe in infant baptism), my parents are non-denominational with Baptist leanings (who believe in first belief, then baptism.) My parents had my brother sprinkled, but not me. My grandparents were VERY concerned until I was baptized. I’d say do it, but then I avoid trouble.