Infant Baptism

  • Obligation of Infant Baptism
    • As far as infant baptism is concerned, the new Code states :
      • in ordinary circumstances – Parents are obliged to see that their infants are baptised within the first few weeks after birth
      • in danger of death – an infant is to be baptised without delay (Can. 867, para. 2); the same rule applies to those who habitually lack the use of reason, because they are regarded as infants (Can. 99).
  • Pastoral Directives
    • Since the well-being of an infant’s future Christian life is closely related to the parents’ life of faith, the Church will not entrust parents with the task of nurturing an infant’s faith if they themselves do not practise the faith.
      The above Instruction declares:
      ‘Assurances must be given that the gift granted (by baptisim) can grow by an authentic education in the faith and Christian life, in order to fulfill the true meaning of the sacrament. As a rule, these assurances are to be given by the parents or close relatives, …..But if these assurances are not really serious there can be grounds for delaying the sacrament; and if they are certainly non-existent the sacrament should be refused’ (Can. 868, 2).
      • When parents ask to have their child baptised simply for worldly or superstitious motives, baptism should be refused or delayed until, through catechetical instruction, they can grasp the real significance of baptism.
      • Catholics who are married civilly must have their marriage regularized and return to Church life before their child may be baptised.
    • In any case, whenever baptism has to be deferred or refused, it must be made absolutely clear that this is being done not to exercise pressure on the parents, but because, in the circumstances, the probability of the child being educated and brought up as a Catholic is absent.
  • Practical Guidelines
    • Parents rather than other relatives should apply for their infant’s baptism;
    • when selecting godparents, parents should take into consideration the person’s spiritual maturity and his relationship with the child;
    • as a rule, parents should have the child baptised in their own proper parish (cf. Can.857, para. 2);
    • parents and godparents, whenever possible, should attend the instruction course arranged for them by the parish in order to fully understand the meaning of infant baptism and their responsibility;
    • infant baptism should normally be administered after the parents have obtained their child’s birth certificate (to avoid possible discrepancies in spelling of names, dates, etc.);
    • since infant baptism is a sacrament which admits one into the Church and is an occasion of joy for the Christian community, it should normally be administered at a communal Baptismal Service.
  • Requirements for Infant Baptism at Rosary Church, Kowloon
    • Child’s birth certificate
    • Parents’ marriage certificate
    • Parents’ baptismal certificate
    • Godparents’ baptismal and confirmation certificates
    • Contact Parish Office to make necessary appointment

(Acknowledgement – Hong Kong Catholic Church Directory )

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Published on: 21-01-2020 (Last modified: 27-08-2021)