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Catechism of the Catholic Church

The Baptism of infants

1250 Born with a fallen human nature and tainted by original sin, children also have need of the new birth in Baptism to be freed from the power of darkness and brought into the realm of the freedom of the children of God, to which all men are called. 50 The sheer gratuitousness of the grace of salvation is particularly manifest in infant Baptism. The Church and the parents would deny a child the priceless grace of becoming a child of God were they not to confer Baptism shortly after birth. 51

1251 Christian parents will recognize that this practice also accords with their role as nurturers of the life that God has entrusted to them. 52

1252 The practice of infant Baptism is an immemorial tradition of the Church. There is explicit testimony to this practice from the second century on, and it is quite possible that, from the beginning of the apostolic preaching, when whole "households" received baptism, infants may also have been baptized. 53


50 Cf. Council of Trent (1546): DS 1514; cf. Col 1:12-14.

51 Cf. CIC, can. 867; CCEO, cann. 681; 686, 1.

52 Cf. LG 11; 41; GS 48; CIC, can. 868.

53 Cf. Acts 16:15, 33; 18:8; I Cor 1:16; CDF, instruction, Pastoralis actio: AAS 72 (1980) 1137-1156.

English Translation of the Cathechism of the Catholic Church for the United States of America © 1997, United States Catholic Conference, Inc.