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The Celebration of the Christian Mystery

319

should be introduced into the life of faith, liturgy, and charity of

the People of God by successive sacred rites.”

47

1249

Catechumens “are already joined to the Church, they are

already of the household of Christ, and are quite frequently already

living a life of faith, hope, and charity.”

48

“With love and solicitude

mother Church already embraces them as her own.”

49

The Baptism of infants

1250

Born with a fallen human nature and tainted by original

sin, children also have need of the new birth in Baptism to be freed

from the power of darkness and brought into the realm of the

freedom of the children of God, to which all men are called.

50

The

sheer gratuitousness of the grace of salvation is particularly mani­

fest in infant Baptism. 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.

51

1251

Christian parents will recognize that this practice also

accords with their role as nurturers of the life that God has en-

trusted to them.

52

1252

The practice of infant Baptism is an immemorial tradition of the

Church. There is explicit testimony to this practice from the second century

on, and it is quite possible that, from the beginning of the apostolic

preaching, when whole “households” received baptism, infants may also

have been baptized.

53

Faith and Baptism

1253

Baptism is the sacrament of faith.

54

But faith needs the

community of believers. It is only within the faith of the Church

that each of the faithful can believe. The faith required for Baptism

is not a perfect and mature faith, but a beginning that is called to

develop. The catechumen or the godparent is asked: “What do you

ask of God’s Church?” The response is: “Faith!”

47

AG

14; cf. RCIA 19; 98.

48

AG

14 § 5.

49

LG

14 § 3; cf. CIC, cann. 206; 788 § 3.

50 Cf. Council of Trent (1546): DS 1514; cf.

Col

1:12-14.

51 Cf. CIC, can. 867; CCEO, cann. 681; 686, 1.

52 Cf.

LG

11; 41;

GS

48; CIC, can. 868.

53 Cf.

Acts

16:15, 33; 18:8;

1 Cor

1:16; CDF, instruction,

Pastoralis actio:

AAS 72

(1980) 1137-1156.

54 Cf.

Mk

16:16.

1259

403

1996

1123

168