Church teaching on baptism

Church teaching on baptism

C.V. Phillips

Mark Moriarty attacks John Young quite vehemently (September AD2000) for being "callous" in his article on infant baptism.

I, too, read John's article, and found nothing offensive. Challenging, yes! Offensive? No. It was simply presenting information regarding the importance of having children baptised as early as possible.

How was Mr Young to assure parents who have lost children before birth and baptism (as I have, incidentally), that their children are in heaven, when the Church does not teach that?

In Apologetics and Catholic Doctrine, by Archbishop Michael Sheehan, the author states: "The Roman Catechism teaches that it is sinful to delay Baptism unnecessarily, 'since infant children have no other means of salvation except Baptism".

And further: "The Instruction on Infant Baptism says, 'The Church has thus shown by her teaching and practice that she knows no other way apart from Baptism for ensuring children's entry into eternal happiness".

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says only that we are permitted to hope that there may be a way of salvation for such children.

In other words, if there is another way for these little ones to reach heaven, then God has not revealed it. Parents grieving the loss of a child this way should be assured that their child is definitely happy, but not be lied to with assurances that the Church is unable to give, at least at this point in time.

Burswood, WA

(Editor: We have received a flood of letters in response to John Young's article. It is not possible to publish all of them.)

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