The Baptism of Infants

Infant Baptism has been practiced since apostolic times. Infants need to be baptized because through this Sacrament, they are freed from Original Sin and are welcomed into the community of the Church, where they have access to the fullness of the means of salvation.
Their parents, godparents, and the parish community commit themselves to their ongoing formation in faith and knowledge of the tradition of the Church. The best gift that parents can give their children is a life in the Church. “The Church and the parents would deny a child the priceless grace of becoming a child of God were they not to confer Baptism shortly after birth (CCC, no. 1250; cf. Code of Canon Law [Codex Iuris Canonici ; CIC], can. 867). However, the Church also teaches that the Baptism of an infant may be postponed if there is not a “founded hope” that the child will be brought up in the Catholic Faith (CIC, can. 868 §2). There are the children—born and unborn—who die without Baptism. The Church entrusts them to the mercy of God, who wills that all people be saved. We recall Christ’s tender welcome of children saying, “Let the children come to me and do not hinder them” (Mk 10:14). Because of this the Church confidently hopes for the salvation of children who die without Baptism.