Why does the Catholic Church Baptize Infants?
A Brief Catechesis on the Sacrament of Baptism
This six-minute video that comes as part of the Sacraments 101 Series by Busted Halo excellently presents basic catechesis on the Sacrament of Baptism. In responding to the question, "Why does the Catholic Church baptize infants?" the discussion touches on the following topics:
WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Link) - This six-minute video that comes as part of the Sacraments 101 Series by Busted Halo excellently presents basic catechesis on the Sacrament of Baptism. In responding to the question, "Why does the Catholic Church baptize infants?" the discussion touches on the following topics:
-the grace of baptism: belonging into the family of God, and freedom from sin
-the driving force why the Catholic Church persistently celebrates the sacrament: the great commission of Jesus to his disciples, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." (Matthew 28:19)
-the rite, the symbols (water, oil, white garment, light), those involved
-the celebration of baptism in the Church as well as in emergency situations
-some misconceptions regarding the sacrament and the corresponding corrections
-and, of course, the invitation to live the grace of this beautiful sacrament every day of our life.
During my transitional deaconate, I had the wonderful opportunity to serve the Filipino Community in Rome at Santa Pudenciana. In this very active parish, it was not unusual that I baptized several babies on Sundays. In these celebrations, I often reminded my fellow Filipinos, particularly the parents, to refrain from competing against each other in running out of the church at the end of the baptisms. Filipinos have this peculiar belief that the first baby to make it out of the church would become the most successful among his/her newly baptized peers. There were two things that I mentioned in my light-hearted reminder:
-Practical: Babies might get hurt should a parent trip during the dash.
-Theological: In baptism, each of the babies is made son or daughter of God. To become son and daughter of God is a breathtaking honor that can only come from God Himself, and there is nothing that parents and even the children themselves could do to surpass this immeasurable honor.
Therefore, there is no need for any running competition. Rather, what is needed is the constant reminder to build up one another in living the commitments that we have made in this beautiful sacrament, something that can only be done when we truly see each other not as competitors but as brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church expresses her profound understanding of the significance of the Sacrament of Baptism in the opening paragraph on this article of the faith:
"Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit (vitae spiritualis ianua), and the door, which gives access to the other sacraments. Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons and daughters of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission: "Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration through water and in the word."
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