Have you hesitated to baptize your infant? Maybe you have felt that it’d be better to wait until they are older and to allow them to make the decision on their own. This is how Laura’s sister feels. Laura calls in to ask Patrick Madrid why the Catholic Church practices infant baptism.
Patrick explains that baptism is seen as necessary for salvation and cites biblical passages to support this belief. He mentions that baptism represents being born of water and the Holy Spirit, as emphasized in John 3:5.
Patrick also refers to the event of Pentecost in Acts 2, where Peter instructs the people to repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of sins and the reception of the Holy Spirit. He notes that Peter’s command is not limited to adults, as he also speaks of the promise being for children. Patrick emphasizes that just as in the Mosaic Covenant, circumcision marked the covenant with God, infant baptism fulfills a similar purpose in the new covenant.
He explains that baptism replaces circumcision, with the effects of baptism being more powerful and encompassing. Patrick argues that if parents are willing to teach their children about God, Jesus, and moral values, it’s inconsistent to disregard the sacrament of baptism based on the child’s ability to make decisions.
Laura brings up her sister’s hesitation to baptize her baby due to wanting the child to make a personal choice about faith. Patrick counters this by questioning the selective approach to parental guidance. He suggests that if parents teach their children various moral and religious values, it doesn’t make sense to exclude baptism, a significant aspect of the faith. Patrick emphasizes that baptism is a parental responsibility and likens it to other teachings parents instill in their children.