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Dear catholic.com visitors: This website from Catholic Answers, with all its many resources, is the world's largest source of explanations for Catholic beliefs and practices. A fully independent, lay-run, 501(c)(3) ministry that receives no funding from the institutional Church, we rely entirely on the generosity of everyday people like you to keep this website going with trustworthy , fresh, and relevant content. If everyone visiting this month gave just $1, catholic.com would be fully funded for an entire year. Do you find catholic.com helpful? Please make a gift today. Thank you. Wishing you a blessed Lenten season.

Should we baptize babies, considering they don’t know what baptism is?

Question:

Isn’t it wrong to baptize a baby? After all, they don’t even know what baptism is.

Answer:

On the contrary, it would be the best thing you could do for a baby. Baptism is a grace from God, not something we do for God. Grace does not depend on our intellectual achievements any more than it depends on any other human achievement. This is one of the many ironies inherent in opposition to the ancient Christian practice of infant baptism. To refuse baptism to a baby on the grounds that “the child isn’t able to understand what is happening” is to presume that God gives grace only to those who are smart or old enough to figure out how to get it. This is an implicit assumption of salvation by intellectual works specifically condemned by Scripture and Catholic teaching.

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