Implications of the Sacrament of Baptism
Sep 11, 2017
The Catholic Church stresses the importance of the Sacrament of Baptism in the following ways. First, the Church urges that in families in which at least one parent is Catholic, parents in these families arrange for the baptism of their child as soon after the birth of the child as is possible. This is because at Baptism, one becomes a child of God and a member of the Church. One can never be too young to receive these blessings. What more precious gift can the Lord offer to any person than that which is conferred in the Sacrament of Baptism?
The importance of infant Baptism is not intended to imply that children who die before being baptized are not welcomed into heaven. The Church does not intend to restrict the presence and working of our Lord’s redeeming love to Sacraments which He Himself has instituted. The Sacraments have been given for our well-being and not we for the Sacraments.
In our Parishes, persons can be baptized either within the celebration of a weekend Mass or apart from Mass. Celebrating baptisms within Mass highlights the communal nature of this Sacrament. Being baptized should never be regarded as a private matter, especially when families choose to have their children baptized apart from Mass.
The Sacrament of Baptism has significant ecumenical implications. The Roman Catholic Church recognizes as valid the Baptisms of non-Catholic Christian communities that baptize persons with water in the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. It is because of Baptism that members of both Catholic and non-Catholic faith communities can regard and relate to one another as Christians.
If and when a person who has been baptized in a non-Catholic faith community wants to join the Catholic Church, that individual is regarded as one who is preparing to come into the Full Communion of the Catholic Church. That person is not to be baptized again.
The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) process is really designed for persons who have not been baptized. Both non-baptized persons and persons baptized in non-Catholic faith communities who want to explore the Catholic Faith and possibly join the Catholic Church are invited to contact Judy Pompei (419-589-3585) to learn what needs to be done in their respective situations.
One’s baptismal situation has implications for marriage. When a Catholic and an unbaptized person want to be in a marriage that is recognized by the Catholic Church, the one who prepares couples in this situation for marriage needs to apply to the Chancery to obtain a dispensation in order for these marriages to be recognized by the Catholic Church. Obtaining a dispensation from the Chancery is not to be done when a Catholic marries a baptized non-Catholic person and the baptism of the non-Catholic person can be established. This assumes that these marriages would occur within a Catholic parish church. If a Catholic and a baptized non-Catholic person want to be married in the parish church of the non-Catholic baptized person, then a Dispensation from the Catholic Form needs to be obtained.
Baptism highlights the truth that being a Christian is God’s gracious gift to us. Baptism reminds us that the Lord takes the initiative in reaching out to us. Hopefully, our on-going development as Christians will be that of proactive gratitude for all that the Lord gives to us and would continue to do in and through us.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Fr. Nelson Beaver – Pastor