My extended family is gathering this weekend for a blessed event in a Catholic Family the baptism or christening of my new nephew. How I wish we could be there. It is a cause of celebration in the life of a Catholic Family. Many baptisms are celebrated in the context of the Mass. This extends the celebration to the church family too.
Why do Catholics Baptize?
- Christ Himself ordered His disciples to preach the Gospel to all nations and to baptize those who accept the message of the Gospel. In His encounter with Nicodemus (John 3:1-21), Christ made it clear that baptism was necessary for salvation: "Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." For Catholics, the sacrament is not a mere formality; it is the very mark of a Christian, because it brings us into new life in Christ.
- Baptism erases all sins (both original sin and personal sin) and their punishments. If one were to die immediately after Baptism, he would go straight to Heaven
- Baptism marks a person as belonging to God, it initiates him into the life of the church.
- Baptism infuses sanctifying grace, supernatural gifts, and virtues making us true adopted children of God.
So why do Catholics Baptize Babies?
- Simple: to remove original sin. Because of Adam and Eve’s fall from grace all humans are born with the mark of original sin. The sin of Adam and Eve. Baptism gives a baby a clean slate to start life.
- Because of the greatness of the eternal gift that is received during the Sacrament of Baptism, the Church does not desire to see anyone die without receiving this Sacrament.
- Because infant Baptism is a long standing tradition of the Church. Baptism and has been practiced from the second century on, and it is quite possible that, from the beginning when whole "households" received baptism, infants may also have been baptized," (Acts 16:15,33; 18:8; 1 Corinthians 1:16).
- Since baptism removes both the guilt and the punishment due to Original Sin, delaying baptism until a child can understand the sacrament may put the child's salvation in danger, should he die unbaptized.