Back in Baguio City, Philippines, I have heard a policy being imposed by most Catholic parishes regarding baptism and I am not aware if this non-Vatican policy was instructed by the diocese or simply made as a parish policy. I have a friend who, with his wife is Catholic. Unfortunately they are still in a state of sin because they have not received the Church’s blessings through the sacrament of marriage. My friends wanted their baby to be baptized in the Catholic Church, but most of the Catholic parishes they went to gave them a condition that if they were not married in the Church, their baby cannot be baptized. This was consistently true when there was another couple whom we have treated to be our relatives encountered the same situation.
This has remained shocking for me. Why? Because the Catechism of the Catholic Church # 1246 clearly teaches that “Every person not yet baptized and only such a person is able to be baptized.”
The Catechism of the Catholic Church in # 1256 further goes to the extent that “In case of necessity, anyone, even a non-baptized person with the required intention can baptize. By using the Trinitarian baptismal formula.”
If the Catechism of the Catholic Church goes to the extent that even if the parent is not baptized, he or she can baptize the child when the need arises, how come the Parishes in Baguio that are supposed to seriously administer the Sacrament of Baptism are themselves blocking the infant from it? Is it just because the parents are still in the state of sin? Where’s the connection there? How does the sin of the parents prevent an innocent child from becoming a member of God’s Church, or God’s kingdom?
I did hear that single parents were granted the privilege to have their child baptized. Since baptism is a serious stuff for the Catholic Church believing that every child must have it, even the parents of a dying baby are granted authority to baptize their child before he/she is taken back by our Lord if there is no priest who can administer at that moment.
Isn’t it that Christ said, “Let the children come to me, do not hinder them”(Mark 10:14)? Why are these parishes hindering them now? What does it have to do with the parents not being married in the Church that the child is depleted of his right to become a member of God’s kingdom? Why hinder them when Jesus said we should not?
As an ordinary lay person, I may still be ignorant not to know the reasons behind this policy being imposed and I hope that one day, I may be enlightened. However, I will only be enlightened by the disciplines that do not go against any Church teachings and limit the mission she strongly stands for. I do hope that there is a fair and justifiable explanation based from the Tradition of the Church as to why these parishes have prevented a child to be a member of God’s kingdom.
I will look for answers myself as well as find someone who can answer to this. However, if there are no strong justification in the light of Truth that backs this up, then it only means one thing…This policy should then be undone.