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(Piero della Francesca. Baptism of Christ. [Source])
I often hear atheists and apostates say:
"My parents had me baptized without my consent!"
Firstly, it's a bit annoying to hear this said with a negative tone of voice. These people practically start by saying: "My bloody parents...".
Our parents, and especially our mother, have suffered a lot for us. If they had us baptized, it's probably out of love. I know many parents who, seeing their child become seriously ill, would be eager to give a kidney, a lung, even their life to save their child. If you want to complain about having been baptized, the minimum respect you owe to your parents is to mention the fact they did it out of love, and that baptized or not, you owe them eternal gratitude.
Secondly, we never hear the atheists and apostates complain that their Moms often bathed them when they were babies, without their consent. Neither do they complain about having been vaccinated without their consent, even if perhaps they are alive today because of that.
Consent and religious freedom are good and beautiful things, and normally we must obtain a person's consent. On the other hand, to consent, you must be mentally competent. If you've lost your mind (because you're senile, for example), or don't quite have it yet (because you're a baby), it's normal and praiseworthy that a significant other makes certain decisions for you.
Thirdly, people who complain about having been baptized seem to contradict themselves. According to them, God doesn't exist, or at least the teachings of the Catholic Church are false. In that case, wouldn't Baptism be just a bit of water on the forehead? Did you take your shower this morning? Yes? Are you terrorized because some religious cult claims that "the Evil Spirits" flow out of the showerheads that haven't been exorcised by the Village Medicine Man? No, not at all. So why do atheists worry because they were baptized?
Fourthly, some atheists and apostates seem to think the Catholic Church doesn't require the consent of the person being baptized. This is false: (1) you have to want to be baptized; (2) children must not be baptized against the will of their parents; (3) one must not baptize a person who has lost his or her mind, if this person didn't show their intention to be baptized while they were still mentally competent. [Summa Theologica, III, q. 68. a. 7, a. 10, a. 12].
The Catholic Church baptizes children of Catholic parents, even if these children are too young to consent to, or refuse Baptism. Many reasons support this decision:
1) "Born with a fallen human nature and tainted by original sin, children also have need of the new birth in Baptism" [CCC, #1250].
2) "The sheer gratuitousness of the grace of salvation is particularly manifest in infant Baptism" [CCC, #1250], which is repulsive to the proud who would like man to redeem himself without God.
3) The child in his mother's womb doesn't eat with his own mouth, but with his mother's mouth. It's somewhat the same for the Baptism of children. The baptized child renounces Satan and his works, and proclaims his faith in Jesus Christ, not with his own mouth, but through the mouth of his Mother the Church, which will bear him in Her bosom until the child is old enough. [Summa Theologica, III, q. 68. a. 9].
All that being said, a very serious question must be asked: are atheists and apostates being blinded unconsciously? These atheists and apostates who complain about having been baptized without their consent, are they really free today? Are they fully aware of what is happening to them?
1) The existence of God doesn't depend on our consent. If God doesn't exist, we can't make Him exist, and if He does exist, we can't kill Him. On the other hand, we are free to seriously investigate His existence. All the atheists we know blindly believe that God is dead, instead of having solid arguments, whereas Catholics know we can scientifically prove the existence of God [Denzinger #4206].
2) Death is coming, and it doesn't give a hoot about our consent. Whether we believe or not in the effectiveness of Baptism, death is coming. Many people prefer to blind themselves with entertainment, instead of facing death and preparing for it. But Catholics know that "the Way of Christ leads to life" [Mt 7:14], but that the other way "leads to damnation" [Mt 7:13].
3) Our children are going to ask us embarrassing questions, without our consent. What are apostates and atheists going to answer to questions like: "Daddy, why am I not baptized?", or "Mommy, why do we exist?", etc. Are they going to say: "My dear little boy, I renounced my faith, for reasons I've forgotten and that I've never made the effort to scrutinize"? or "My beautiful little girl, you are only the chance result of a purposeless Evolution, you don't have a spiritual soul, and your thoughts are only an epiphenomenon of matter"? Parents are supposed to transmit the light of truth to their children, not their blindness.
4) Our surroundings influence us, without our consent. Do atheists and apostates realize up to what point their opinions on Catholicism are "prefabricated" by others? Are they aware of all the covert manoeuvres being made to lead them away from Catholicism? (See among others concerning this topic: The Sacrament of "Disevangelization") Do they really want to be atheists and apostates, or are they being manipulated? If what this web site claims is true, and that you are an apostate or an atheist baptized in the Province of Quebec, then you are probably a victim of the "system" without knowing it.
Atheists and apostates who were baptized in their childhood have several options to "cleanse the original stain that the Sacrament of Baptism has made on the white garment of their unbelief". The worst option is to write to their Bishop to tell him that they officially renounce their Catholic Faith.
Many years ago, I met a person who had chosen this option. This lady was a Jehovah's Witness, going door to door. Actually, she didn't talk, since it was the other woman with her who was doing all the arguing. But at some point of time this lady sadly burst out saying: "When I became a Jehovah's Witness, I was forced to send a letter to my Bishop to tell him I was renouncing my Catholic Faith. He never answered. Nobody called, or wrote to me, or came to visit me. But in the Bible it is written that Jesus is the Good Shepherd, the shepherd who seeks out the lost sheep."
Madam, wherever you are, in the name of the Catholic Church, I beg your forgiveness. If I ever see another sheep getting lost, and I don't do anything, may the fire from Heaven come down to punish me.
Even without my consent!
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