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.
A good verse to support infant baptism is Acts 6:33.
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.
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?
“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.
God Bless you all!