Baptize an infant licitly

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q:  We have a child in the parish whose mother is a non-practicing Catholic and whose father is not religious. The Catholic grandparents want to arrange the baptism of the child. Can we do it?


A:  Canon 868 §1/2 says that to baptize an infant licitly, “there must be a founded hope that the infant will be brought up in the Catholic religion.” If there is no hope, the canon continues, the baptism may be delayed, and the parents are to be advised about the reason.

Hence, the law does not require that parents personally bring up the child, but it assumes that the parents have been involved in the process.

Prudently, I would talk to the parents in person to be sure that I’m getting the straight information from the grandparents. Then, if I was convinced that the parents were OK with it, and that the grandparents were trustworthy, and that it’s reasonable that the child will have access to the grandparents for the next 16 years or so, then, theoretically, yes, the baptism could take place.