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May I Baptize my Nephew Without his Parents’ Knowledge?


My nephew is four years old and has not been baptized. His parents do not want him baptized, so can I go ahead and baptize him without their knowledge?


Ordinarily, you cannot baptize him against the will of his parents. However, you could baptize him under the following conditions:

For an infant to be baptized licitly:

  1. the parents or at least one of them or the person who legitimately takes their place must consent
  2. there must be a founded hope that the infant will be brought up in the Catholic religion; if such hope is altogether lacking, the baptism is to be delayed according to the prescripts of particular law after the parents have been advised about the reason.

An infant of Catholic parents or even of non-Catholic parents is baptized licitly in danger of death even against the will of the parents. (CIC 868 §§1-2)

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