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Infant Baptism in the Catholic Church.

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Introduction

Baptism- AO1 There are several parts to the ceremony of Infant Baptism in the Catholic Church. The first part of the ceremony is "the welcome" this begins at the door of the Church. The priest, parents and godparents trace the sign of the cross on the infant's forehead. The sign of the cross symbolises the saving power of the crucifixion of Jesus. The next part of the ceremony is the celebration of the Word of God. Now a reading from the Bible is read and the priest will then give a short sermon to the congregation explaining the reading. Prayers of the faithful or "Biding prayers" are then said for the child, the parents and the godparents. Prayers are said for the new life, the serious responsibilities taken by parents and godparents and there may also be a prayer asking the saints to pray for the child. The Exorcism and anointing is the next part of the ceremony. The priest sets the child free from original sin, (power and control evil has over mankind is driven out) through exorcism. The priest then anoints the child with the oil of catechumens on the chest. ...read more.

Middle

Water is used; it symbolises two things-death due to sin and evil and new life in Christ; water is a powerful and natural sign of life and death. The words said by the priest or minister when the baptism is taking place contains the formula of the Holy Trinity; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This symbolises that the child is a new Christian; shares in the new life of Christ; the Son and belongs to the Church family in the Holy Spirit. In Matthew 28:19 these words were used also, "Therefore go and make Christians of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." The oil of chrism is used, it is a symbol of consecration for special services in the family of God; the fragrant perfume is a sign of the beauty of Gods child. Also when a person/child is baptised they wear light or white clothing this symbolises forgiveness and new life. In baptism there are usually candles lit. The baptismal candles are lit from the big, main candle, i.e. the Paschal candle. The flame is a symbol of life and of knowledge; "I am the light of the world." ...read more.

Conclusion

I feel that baptising babies is pointless as babies can not recall their baptism and therefore they have not willingly gave themselves towards God and the Church, they can use this in later life as an excuse to break away from their faith and I feel that this argument should be accepted, after all the Church does teach that we shouldn't do anything we don't want to and this was not the persons own choice, e.g. underage drinking etc. Maybe this person might have turned into a good an strong Christian if they hadn't have been baptised as an infant, they personally may have preferred to live their life different and be baptised as an adult, fully understanding their commitments but it is to late for them to turn back and they could have already given up. In adult baptism the candidates know what's happening to them and they know exactly what they are doing and what they are getting into so it seems that in the long run it is more effective to be baptised as an adult as there is less chance of you breaking away from your faith. Infants cannot understand the benefits of baptism and even the thought of celebrating an occasion that the main person doesn't understand seems pointless. ...read more.

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