In a recent discussion about justification and Baptism, a non-Catholic asked me to explain how the Catholic Church can Teach infant Baptism (i.e. baby baptism). The explanation is very simple, if one only takes into account the signs which Jesus performed when He walked with the Apostles.
The usual non-Catholic objections to infant Baptism is that infants can not express faith, nor repent of their sins. In this case, the individual even admitted that infants have no sins from which to repent. Something which, incredibly, most Protestants with whom I've discussed the topic, won't accept. Somehow, because Scripture says that "all have sinned", they interpret that to mean that even innocent babes have committed some sin at some time. Mind boggling.
But that's not the topic of this article, so let's proceed to explain how we know that infant Baptism is efficacious.
Baptism is the Sacrament of faith. And an adult must be able to express his faith in words and in works before he is admitted to the Throne of Grace to receive the regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.
189 The first "profession of faith" is made during Baptism. The symbol of faith is first and foremost the baptismal creed. Since Baptism is given "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit", the truths of faith professed during Baptism are articulated in terms of their reference to the three persons of the Holy Trinity.
But infants can not express their faith nor can they repent of any sins because they have not reached the age of reason.
So, to explain baby baptism, all one has to do is see the signs which Jesus performed for the parents who brought their ill and even deceased children to Him for healing. Here are a few:
Matthew 15:28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith[/B]: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.
This is the wonderful account of the Canaanite woman. Notice that the child never utters a word. Nor can she. But it is by the great faith of the mother that Jesus cures the child.
Let's look at another account. Note that the faith of the parent does not have to be a strong faith:
Mark 9:21 And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child.
22 And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us.
23 Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.
24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.
25 When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him.
26 And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him: and he was as one dead; insomuch that many said, He is dead.
27But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose.
So, in this case, the parents' faith was not great, like the Canaanite. And the child expressed no faith at all. Yet, Jesus saved him in accordance with the parents' wishes.
In the same way, Jesus will save our children in Baptism, in accordance with the faith of the Parents.