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Q&A

Was this priest wrong to refuse to baptize a seriously ill newborn?

Question:

The chaplain of our local government hospital refused to baptize a sick newborn. The doctors told the family to get the priest because the infant was in critical condition. When the priest arrived and found out that the parents were temporarily absent, he refused to administer emergency baptism and confirmation. A few hours later, when the baby was about to die, the doctor administered emergency baptism. I am a doctor who has done at least one emergency baptism and taught other medical students to do the same; I find the actions of the priest hard to understand. Did the priest have sufficient grounds to refuse administering emergency baptism to a dying infant whose parents were not around?

Answer:

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