Infant Baptism – Part 1

The necessity of infant baptism

Ask a question about why Catholics baptize babies and the response is often “in case they die.” Leaving aside the questions about the fate of unbaptized children for now (CCC 1261), this is a fundamentally flawed answer for a number of reasons. The truth is, we baptize babies (and anyone else) in case they live. Baptism initiates the sacramental life, provides visible assurance of God’s Grace, and marks the person as a worthy recipient of all God has to offer. This worthiness does not come from the person, but from God, and infant baptism underscores the fact that God initiates the saving action. We are all as helpless as infants when it comes to bringing about our own salvation, but this is most obvious in an infant. Just as we expect a child to be washed and presentable before sitting down to an elegant dinner with us, God cleanses us and makes us worthy to sit at His table. The sooner we are cleansed, the sooner we can enjoy God’s company at table. Baptism is also a visible assurance of God’s Grace, provided we believe Christ’s own words. There is no need for the baptized child to question later, “was I baptized?” There is even a certificate. With the assurance that the event happened, and that it means a promise of Grace, the child can grow in confidence, with no doubt of God’s love and support. Even in sin, there is the confidence that repentance will be met with mercy, and that where there is no repentance, God will continue to call and look for the return of the prodigal. A baptized person need never doubt God’s love. Neither does anyone else, as God loves all, but the baptized person has received proof. Baptism is also a visible sign that the child deserves all the Church has to offer. The parents are bound by Baptism to treat their child as their beloved brother or sister, not just a child, and certainly not chattel. With some sensible restrictions, the Church cannot rightfully refuse to minister to that child, so Baptism brings an obligation to all baptized others, including the saints. The child is baptized priest, prophet and king, to become part of the Body of Christ, no less than anyone else, and with this in mind, how could any parent not desire it?

For further reading:

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If Christianity is true, why doesn’t everyone follow it?


If Jesus is the one and only way to the father, why hasent the whole world embraced Him? Why do we have various other religions? — from ‘M’

Our Answer:

Ever since Adam, the whole world has hidden from God. We hide behind
the many religions we have invented, we hide behind the masks we wear
and the masks we put on God. We hide from God because we sin and
because we want to go on sinning, and because we are ashamed of all
this. At the same time, we desire God, so we try to find some middle
ground where we can feel righteous but not get too close to God. When
Jesus brought the world too close to the Father, the world put him to
death, hoping to gain some distance, but instead it broke Heaven open
and Grace poured out on everyone, making it even harder to hide God
from ourselves.

Hiding from God is more difficult than ever, but at the end of the
world, it will be impossible.

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Ambitious Generals

We had reason to examine Shakespeare’s play, Julius Caesar, and considered the question of where (and if) the Senate went wrong and why Rome “”let slip the dogs of war.”” Caesar’s ambition, could it have been controlled or thwarted by gentler means at an early stage? In applying such works of art as this to our lives, especially with regard to spirituality, what ambitious generals threaten our peace and drive us to the civil war which so often divides the tortured and conflicted human soul? Within us there are talents that can be managed for our benefit and the good of others, with the drives for accomplishment, affection, friendship, sex, food, rest, recreation, novelty and others being like generals who wish to marshal our time, resources and attention for their cause. Like the Roman Senate, we have the power of sanction (von Hildebrand: Transformation in Christ), the ability to control these generals so long as we do not allow any of them to become too powerful.

Like the Roman Senate, we often come to know our peril too late, when one or more of our passions has already crossed the Rubicon and our freedom has fallen with us left “”to find ourselves dishonourable graves”” (Act I Scene 2). Just as the Senate was driven to extreme and undesirable measures toward liberation from a tyrant, so we then must deprive ourselves of pleasures and endure want as means toward liberation from the drives and passions that impinge upon our freedom and make us less than we would wish, and much less than God desires for us. Unlike the Roman Senate, driven to tyrannicide, we have a greater General, one who desires our freedom and liberation, and this is where the similarity to the play ends. For (as St. Paul and Gandhi agree), we do not war against kingdoms but against ourselves and our defects, and we require one like us, and greater than ourselves, for our relief. We fight with Christ, our General, through prayer and fasting, through self denial and meditiation on our eventual fate, when we return to dust. We will outlive our drives and passions, so we are rightly their masters. This is our gift, free will, and we are defended by Christ, who will never take this gift away, but counsels us to protect our freedom by keeping lesser generals in their place, lest they become ambitious and proclaim themselves our rulers.

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Power, Enslavement and Youth

The current political environment is illlustrative of the human condition. Power consists of the ability to make others do one’s bidding, and economics is a tool for power, possibly the best. Whoever controls wealth, whether private (employers) or public (welfare, grants and defense/education), controls those who are needy or greedy. Jesus calls us to freedom, and this call is a danger to those in power or those who desire it. For those who respond, the siren song of government handouts, programs and wealth without labor is less compelling. Jesus calls us to clarity as well, for when the human mind is not befuddled by lust, greed and pride, marketing pitches are less effective. We begin to see through the empty promises made by Wall Street or Pennsylvania Ave.

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Earthly things can become gods to us

I have one question. I remember reading on this website that earthly things can become gods to us. My pastor was talking to me about this and I was wondering if you guys would know how an earthly thing can become a god to the eyes of men?

First of all, nearly anything can become either more important than God or important enough to get in the way of living a Christian life, but here are some examples:

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Sloth and Suicide

A reader asked on January 2, 2010:

discuss sloth as it relates to suicide. watching history channel-ie, dantes devine comedy

Suicide can come from Sloth, especially from despair, but this is often driven by other sins.

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Changes to the Mass for 2010

A few changes to the words of the Mass may be coming in 2010 for Catholics in the United States of America. Here are a few articles with information on them, and one response to a question on “”The Lord Be With You.”” The changes simply return us to the words of the Mass from before the English language introduction, more directly translated. Here are links to the details:

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Happy Advent and Merry Christmas


 We will be making a conscious effort to wish everyone  


a Merry Christmas this year …  


Our way of saying that we are celebrating  


the birth Of Jesus Christ.  


We are asking everyone to please do the same.  


And if you’ll pass this on to  

 Your email buddies, and so on…  


Maybe we can prevent one more  


American tradition from being lost in the sea of  


“”Political Correctness””, 

And more importantly, to remind us all

of the Reason for the Season.  



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The Pledge of Martin Treptow

Private Martin Treptow was mentioned in U.S. President Ronald Reagan’s first inaugural speech. This was the pledge he wrote in his own hand during World War I:

“”America shall win the war. Therefore, I will work. I will save. I will sacrifice. I will endure. I will fight cheerfully and do my utmost, as if the whole issue of the struggle depended on me alone.”” — Quoted from

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