Ask a Priest


Apr 13, 2015

How can I explain to non Catholics why we baptize children?

Asked at 11:10 pm on April 13th 2015

Dear Rosa:

The Catechism has a good explanation about baptism. It says:

“1257 The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation.60 He also commands his disciples to proclaim the Gospel to all nations and to baptize them.61 Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament.”

Later on it explains:

” 1267 Baptism makes us members of the Body of Christ: “Therefore . . . we are members one of another.”72 Baptism incorporates us into the Church. From the baptismal fonts is born the one People of God of the New Covenant, which transcends all the natural or human limits of nations, cultures, races, and sexes: “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body.”73

1268 The baptized have become “living stones” to be “built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood.”74 By Baptism they share in the priesthood of Christ, in his prophetic and royal mission. They are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, that [they] may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called [them] out of darkness into his marvelous light.”75 Baptism gives a share in the common priesthood of all believers.”

Regarding children the Catechism explains that:

“1252 The practice of infant Baptism is an immemorial tradition of the Church. There is explicit testimony to this practice from the second century on, and it is quite possible that, from the beginning of the apostolic preaching, when whole “households” received baptism, infants may also have been baptized.”

You can find some quotes on this from the early centuries here. There is also a detailed explanation of infant baptism in this article. It has some useful Scripture references and also points out how baptism replaced circumcision for infants.

Replied at 03:59 am on April 14th 2015