Former Irish President says infant baptism is a form of coersion

Ireland.  The gift that keeps on giving.

I read at the NCRegister that former Irish President Mary McAleese thinks that infant baptism is a violation of human rights.

Baptizing babies, she said, makes “infant conscripts who are held to lifelong obligations of obedience.”

She is, apparently, working on a Canon Law degree with the Jesuits in Rome.  Jesuits.  Now she thinks she has come up with something.

More of her wisdom:

“Let’s be frank about it, very little of the magisterium — there are elements of it that are obviously infallible, things like the teaching on Christ and his divinity; but there are other things that over many, many centuries were taught with great passion that quietly now have been abandoned by the very magisterium that taught them.”

McAleese, who has previously advocated publicly for ending abortion restrictions in Ireland, same-sex “marriage” and women’s ordination to the priesthood, drew headlines earlier this year when she spoke March 8 at a women’s conference in Rome held outside the Vatican.

Of course the Church has some important things to say about the importance of baptism and its connection with…well… you know… salvation.

While God cannot be limited in any way, and it is possible for God to save whom it pleaseth Him to save, with or without baptism, we don’t know exactly how it works without baptism. We read in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

1257 The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation. He also commands his disciples to proclaim the Gospel to all nations and to baptize them. Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament. The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude; this is why she takes care not to neglect the mission she has received from the Lord to see that all who can be baptized are “reborn of water and the Spirit.” God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments.

While there are other sorts of baptism (e.g., desire, blood) baptism with water and the Trinitarian form is normative.

Infants, being human beings, are from conception guilty of Original Sin.  Baptism forgives that Sin and sanctifies the soul.

Infants may not have the same developed intellect and use of will that adults have, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have the effects of the sacrament of baptism.

Keeping in mind that under the old covenant infant males were circumcised, so to it seems consistent that infants be baptized.

Can. 867 §2 says: “If the infant is in danger of death, it is to be baptized without any delay.”

There is a 1980 Instruction on Infant Baptism from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

John 3:5: “Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Ave Maria says:

    Naturally this woman is welcomed at the Vatican….

  2. Matthew says:

    Gay Taoiseach, abortion on demand, crazy Mrs. McAleese. I’m going to start telling people I’m French.

  3. Charles E Flynn says:


    At this point, it might be worth the money for me to get a DNA test to find out what percentage of my mostly-Irish DNA is English, German, French, and Narragansett native American.

  4. Letholdus says:

    It seems some vipers have made their way back on to the island…

  5. GM Thobe says:

    The slow-motion train wreck which we behold can serve as a reminder that Cultural Catholicism, while excellent, is not sufficient on its own. It is a sobering warning to those of us fortunate enough to have inherited at least a semi-inculturated Faith that the corruption of the best is the worst, and how vehemently the worst comes. Fortunately the Irish are suitably blunt about this whole mess, and should they recover their senses en-masse, a good deal can be set right rather quickly.

  6. jaykay says:

    Matthew: I’ve taken to referring to him (?) as our first woman Taoiseach.

    As for Mouthy McAleese, the woman is intelligent, granted, and she wasn’t a bad President – inasmuch as anyone cares – but at this stage she really needs to get over herself (which would be a considerable feat of mountaineering, given her colossal ego) and stop morphing into a caricature of a Reverend Mother from the “baaaad ol’ days”.

    There are already many good reasons why the Priesthood is restricted to men. She’s fast transcending them and becoming numero uno.

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