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Why We Baptize Infants

One of the difficulties of seeing the need for infant Baptism is that we live in the Entitlement Generation.  People assume that they deserve all the goods they desire just by being born. 

Just a few years ago people with very limited financial resources were knowingly awarded Liar Loans to buy $200,000 - $300,000 homes. The real estate agents, who had nothing to lose and high commissions to gain and collect, assured everyone that prices only go up, and so the collateral was in the bank so to speak.  When reality set in it led to the collapse of our economy and this greatly affected the banking and real estate industries.  Many people lost their jobs.  And many lost their homes through foreclosure.

Babies do not deserve heaven just by being conceived.  No one does.  Even a sinless person does not deserve heaven.  We are not entitled to heaven. It is a gift that we can only be made to merit by receiving the grace that Jesus won for us on the cross. 

Another reason people often fail to see the need for infant Baptism is because they fail to recognize the reality of Original Sin.  There are two kingdoms or two domains.

 John 12:31
“Now is the judgment of this world, now shall the ruler of this world be cast out”

Writing to Christians John says, “We know that we are of God, and the whole world is in the power of the evil one.”  1 John 5:19

Baptism is necessary to bring an individual into God’s Kingdom.  The Rite of Baptism includes an exorcism ritual, even when babies are baptized.  They are set free from Satan’s dominion by Baptism.  Because of the immaturity of those in our present culture who tend to exaggerate the importance of emotional perceptions, this fact is often downplayed.  This in turn has had an adverse effect on good catechesis.

Baptism saves us from being exiled from God by moving us spiritually from Satan’s domain into God’s domain, His Kingdom, that is into His Family, His Church, the Catholic –Universal - Church He founded on Saint Peter.

God’s Kingdom is at least partially made present here on earth in His Church.  Scott Hahn, Ph.D. explains it this way.


“The Three Theological Dimensions of the Kingdom of God

First … Jesus is the Incarnation of God’s Kingdom … Christ is the pearl and the treasure, which one will give everything to possess. …

Second … the Kingdom is understood as being present in the heart …

Third … the Kingdom is the Church … the mystical body of Christ … within whom Christ the King dwells …

... Kingdom parables of Matt. 13.  The Kingdom is compared to a field planted with both weeds and wheat …  a net that catches fish both good and bad … the Kingdom is a present, although mixed, reality … 

Jesus says, “unless one is born of water and the spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God”  (John 3:5)

… the Church in its essence is a heavenly reality.  The Church in heaven, the Church Triumphant, is the fullest realization of the Kingdom … however, it would be a mistake to deny that the Church Militant [ on earth ] manifests the Kingdom and indeed truly is part of the Kingdom, even if imperfectly so.  The dogmatic constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium states the relationship carefully and beautifully:  “To carry out the will of the Father, Christ inaugurated the kingdom of heaven on earth and revealed to us the mystery of that kingdom … The Church, or, in other words, the kingdom of Christ now present in mystery, grows visibly through the power of God in the world”  (LG § 3).  “The Church … receives the mission to proclaim and to spread among all peoples the kingdom of Christ and of God and to be, on earth, the initial budding forth of that kingdom.   While it slowly grows, the Church strains toward the completed kingdom and, with all its strength, hopes and desires to be united in glory with its King (LG §1.5).”
(Catholic Bible Dictionary, Dr. Scott Hahn, Editor, pages 511-512)

Catechism of the Catholic Church

865      The Church is ultimately one, holy, catholic, and apostolic in her deepest and ultimate identity, because it is in her that “the Kingdom of heaven,” the “Reign of God,” already exists and will be fulfilled at the end of time. The kingdom has come in the person of Christ and grows mysteriously in the hearts of those incorporated into him, until its full eschatological manifestation.

526      To become a child in relation to God is the condition for entering the kingdom. For this, we must humble ourselves and become little. Even more: to become “children of God” we must be “born from above” or “born of God.” Only when Christ is formed in us will the mystery of Christmas be fulfilled in us. Christmas is the mystery of this “marvelous exchange”:

1215    This sacrament is also called “the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit,” for it signifies and actually brings about the birth of water and the Spirit without which no one “can enter the kingdom of God.”

1257    The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation. He also commands his disciples to proclaim the Gospel to all nations and to baptize them. 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.62 The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude; this is why she takes care not to neglect the mission she has received from the Lord to see that all who can be baptized are “reborn of water and the Spirit.” God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments.

1225    In his Passover Christ opened to all men the fountain of Baptism. He had already spoken of his Passion … From then on, it is possible “to be born of water and the Spirit” in order to enter the Kingdom of God.

See where you are baptized, see where Baptism comes from, if not from the cross of Christ, from his death. There is the whole mystery: he died for you. In him you are redeemed, in him you are saved.


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