Q: We are in the process of updating our Baptism forms and had a question about what is listed on the Immaculate Conception form.
If a parent indicates that they were not married in the Catholic Church, what is the next step?
We have two new young clergy assigned to the parish who are asking that the Baptism not be scheduled till there is a meeting with one or another clergy member.
I appreciate your blog and read it often so value the direction/guidance you can provide to us.
A: Thanks for your comments on my blog.
Your two new young clergy are thinking exactly as I do. If someone filling out our online baptismal request form indicates that the parents do not have a marriage recognized by the Catholic Church, I ask that we not schedule the baptism until I have meet with them.
Our pastoral associate gives the parent(s) my contact information. I prefer that they contact me for the appointment; those who do not may lack a sincere commitment.
My concern for this meeting is pastoral. I ask questions such as these:
* Why are you not married in the church?
* Are you planning a church wedding?
* Can I help you overcome any obstacles to a church wedding?
* If you are not practicing your faith fully through the sacramental life of the Church, how do you plan to form your children in the faith?
If I have reasonable assurance that the child will be brought up in the faith of the church, then we schedule the baptism. We don’t punish the chid for the irregular marital status of the parents.
If the parents come back to us two to four years later with another request, and if they still have not been married in the church, I ask another version of the same questions, a little more pointedly.
You can find more about baptismal preparation in my book, Your Child’s Baptism.