From a reader…
I recently learned that one of my family members took the initiative to illicitly baptize two “infants” (one under the age of one and the other almost 4 years old) herself because my brother refused to have his children baptized (his wife is not baptized and they are not validly married according to Canon Law).
Now what? Telling my brother and his wife would do more harm than good right now [Maybe not!] (he lets my mom take them to church on Sunday, and the oldest attends a Catholic pre-school, and my mom teaches him his prayers when she baby-sits for them, which would all likely stop if he found out about this), but eventually someone will have to let the cat out of the bag. [Yes.]
I’m assuming the parish my mom attends needs to know and make a record of it, but should the rest of the Rite be finished? Am I morally obligated to inform the parish if she doesn’t do it?
I’ve been praying and having Masses offered for them to be baptized, but this is not what I had in mind.
GUEST “FATHER” RESPONSE (slightly edited):
The questioner did not perform the baptisms, so she does not have direct knowledge of the validity of the administration of baptism.
Given that, it would be the decision of the person who did the baptisms to tell the parents that he or she administered the baptism validly. Before doing so, it might be a good idea to talk this out with the local priest. It’s hard to now in this too brief email/blog format what the situation is on the ground.
That said, should such information be communicated?
I would say yes, but the father should be strongly encouraged to have the children conditionally baptized at the local parish to insure the validity and to insure that the baptism is registered in the parish records.
The moderation queue is ON.