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CATHOLIC TEACHINGS
REGARDING
THE BAPTISM OF INFANTS

The Roman Catholic Church, and the members of a few other religions such as the Anglicans and the Lutherans, believe in the effectiveness and practice of infant baptism. Members of other religions condemn such a practice. Their argument is that it is impossible for an infant to make an act of faith in order to receive the Sacrament.

The Catholic Church’s response to this argument is to follow the Biblical example of Jesus. Within the Holy Bible, there are numerous example of Jesus accepting the faith of one on occasions of salvation, forgiveness and healing of another. The Catholic Church has always modeled after these examples. In infant baptism, the faith of the parents and godparents/sponsors is required.

The following example involves Jesus accepting the faith of the Capernaum on behalf of the paralyzed servant. “When he entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, appealing to him and saying, ‘Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, in terrible distress.’ And he said to him, ‘I will come and cure him.’ The centurion answered, ‘Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only speak the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,” and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this,” and the slave does it...” “Jesus said, ‘Go; let it be done for you according to your faith.’ And the servant was healed in that hour.” [Mt. 8:5-10, 13]

Another Biblical example of Jesus accepting the faith of others for a sick person is when Jesus accepted the faith of those who brought the paralytic to Him. “When Jesus returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. So many gathered around that there was no longer room for them, not even in front of the door, and he was speaking the word to them. Then some people came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. And when they could not bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him: and after having due through it, they let down the mat on which the paralytic lay. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’” [Mk. 2:1-5]

Another argument that is made by our separated brothers and sisters is that no evidence of infant baptism is found in the Holy Bible. On the contrary, there is a lot of evidence to support infant baptism. Throughout the New Testament, passages are found that speak of the baptism of “whole households.” The Greek translation of this term includes children. The following passages make reference to households which means children of all ages, this including infants.

Paul said, “I did baptize also the household of Stephanas...” [1 Cor 1:16]

Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him.” [Acts 2:38-39]

He told us how he had seen the angel standing in his house and saying, “Send to Joppa and bring Simon, who is called Peter; he will give you a message by which you and your entire household will be saved.” [Acts 11:13-14]

“When she (Lydia from the city of Thyatira) and her household were baptized...” [Acts 16:15]

Then he (the jailer) brought them (Paul and Silas) out and said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" They answered, "Believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, you and your household. At the same hour of the night he took them and washed their wounds; then he and his entire family were baptized without delay.” [Acts 16:30-33]

“Crispus, the official of the synagogue, became a believer in the Lord, together with all his household; and many of the Corinthians who heard Paul became believers, and were baptized.”

[Acts 18:8] So you see, infant baptism was the norm, not the exception, in the early days of the Church. Such a practice has never changed in the Catholic Church.



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