EENS and ¿Invisible? Catholics
(09-17-2012, 02:20 AM)Doce Me Wrote: [quote='Doce Me' pid='1076311' dateline='1347758274']
I believe that a godparent is not an absolute necessity for a valid baptism.  Even without a godparent, the supernatural virtue of faith (a supernatural habit) is infused into a baptized baby, although the baby is unable to make an act of faith until it reaches the age of reason. The explicit faith of the godparents stands in place of but is not a absolutely necessary substitute for the faith of the baby.  This is how I understand it.

It seems that an infant is baptized by the faith of the Church, although he can not make a personal explicit act of faith until he reaches the age of reason and so is able to use his intellect and will. (Usually the Church acts through the sponsors/godparents  (the Catholic Encyclopedia says that this is necessary for solemn baptisms), but not if they are not available or are not faithful.)

This is my conclusion from what St. Thomas says here:
"S.T. III Q68 A9 Whether children should be baptized?" Wrote:Objection 2. Further, Baptism is the sacrament of faith, as stated above (39, 5; 66, 1, ad 1). But children have not faith, which demands an act of the will on the part of the believer, as Augustine says (Super Joan. xxvi). Nor can it be said that their salvation is implied in the faith of their parents; since the latter are sometimes unbelievers, and their unbelief would conduce rather to the damnation of their children. Therefore it seems that children cannot be baptized.

Reply to Objection 2. As Augustine says, writing to Boniface (Cont. duas Ep. Pelag. i), "in the Church of our Saviour little children believe through others, just as they contracted from others those sins which are remitted in Baptism." Nor is it a hindrance to their salvation if their parents be unbelievers, because, as Augustine says, writing to the same Boniface (Ep. xcviii), "little children are offered that they may receive grace in their souls, not so much from the hands of those that carry them (yet from these too, if they be good and faithful) as from the whole company of the saints and the faithful. For they are rightly considered to be offered by those who are pleased at their being offered, and by whose charity they are united in communion with the Holy Ghost." And the unbelief of their own parents, even if after Baptism these strive to infect them with the worship of demons, hurts not the children. For as Augustine says (Cont. duas Ep. Pelag. i) "when once the child has been begotten by the will of others, he cannot subsequently be held by the bonds of another's sin so long as he consent not with his will, according to" Ezekiel 18:4: "'As the soul of the Father, so also the soul of the son is mine; the soul that sinneth, the same shall die.' Yet he contracted from Adam that which was loosed by the grace of this sacrament, because as yet he was not endowed with a separate existence." But the faith of one, indeed of the whole Church, profits the child through the operation of the Holy Ghost, Who unites the Church together, and communicates the goods of one member to another.

Interesting. Yes, I suppose this would have to be the case in the absence of faithful godparents.

Thank you!

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