Religion Magazine

"Can a Baby’s Baptism Be Used by God to Convert the Parents?"

By Brutallyhonest @Ricksteroni

Piggybacking on the earlier story of Pope Francis baptizing a child born to parents wed in an "irregular" marriage, The Anchoress weighs in with wisdom... and mercy:

Yes, it is certainly an ideal thing if a baby is baptized to parents who have been converted, sacramentally married and (best-case scenario) freshly-confessed and in a state of grace. That is a great thing — it’s worth aspiring to.

But sometimes a child’s baptism must be part of a larger process of conversion — again, think of Calah Alexander’s story. In the thread I’m discussing she said pointedly: “. . .the mercy of one priest willing to baptize [her daughter] when everyone else [spouted legalisms] was the springboard for my Baby_baptismconversion. [Had her daughter been] refused the mercy of forgiveness because I was a sinner, I would not have converted no matter how much I believed.”

God’s ways are not our ways. We cannot say to people “if you have not achieved the ideal, you have no access to God, and neither should your children.” In scripture, God says he has given Christ the job of judgment. It is not even in the purview of the First Person of the Trinity, any more; God surrendered that to Christ Jesus, and Jesus — the JUDGE — made a point of telling us to “go and learn what this means: I DESIRE MERCY.”

Just as a baby conceived in rape is innocent of the act and ought not be destroyed because of the sin of a progenitor, Pope Francis has made it clear that children are not to be excluded from baptism and membership in the church because their parents — for whatever reason, and we folks in the pews rarely know the full stories behind them — have not managed (yet) to pull themselves together and get it all “just right.” Think of all of the women who have aborted their babies because society has told them “that one was conceived all wrong; it should not live, because it will require something of you!” And think of the women who have chosen to give birth to those children, anyway — even if their hearts were fearful or doubting — and have, through the love that comes with new life, been healed of their wounds, “re-born” themselves and sometimes, yeah, even converted.

Someone in the thread asked if the baptism, performed by the pope, was even “licit” given the “imperfection” of the parents standing proxy. All that is required for a baptism to be licit is for the pouring of water over the head and the Trinitarian formula — “I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.” This is why even lay people can, in emergency situations, baptize. As to whether parental proxies by imperfectly-Catholic parents are licit, well, I sure hope so because when my kids were baptized I was a pretty messy Catholic, myself, and I am only marginally better, now.

Please read the whole thing.

It's what every person considering the Catholic church ought to read.

Thank God for Catholics like The Anchoress... and like this Pope.

Carry on.

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