The Celebration of the Christian Mystery
should be introduced into the life of faith, liturgy, and charity of
the People of God by successive sacred rites.”
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.”
“With love and solicitude
mother Church already embraces them as her own.”
The Baptism of infants
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.
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.
Christian parents will recognize that this practice also
accords with their role as nurturers of the life that God has en-
trusted to them.
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.
Faith and Baptism
Baptism is the sacrament of faith.
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!”
14; cf. RCIA 19; 98.
14 § 5.
14 § 3; cf. CIC, cann. 206; 788 § 3.
50 Cf. Council of Trent (1546): DS 1514; cf.
51 Cf. CIC, can. 867; CCEO, cann. 681; 686, 1.
48; CIC, can. 868.
16:15, 33; 18:8;
1:16; CDF, instruction,