5.1.5 Reception of Infants Into the Catholic Church

1. Pastors are to take care that infants are properly received into the Catholic Church whenever baptism would not effect this reception by itself, and that this is properly recorded. (See #5.G.5 Recording Reception into the Catholic Church).

2. When a baptized child under 14 is adopted by Latin Catholic parents, the child becomes ascribed by the law itself to the Catholic Church of the parents. However, the facts of baptism and the proper ascription to a Church sui iuris of the child must be recorded in the baptismal register of the proper parish of the adoptive parents. (See #5.G.4.4 and #5.G.5 Recording Reception into the Catholic Church.) [1]

3. In other cases, when an infant of a Catholic parent or parents was baptized apart from danger of death and by someone other than a Catholic bishop, priest or deacon, one of the following actions must be taken. [2] In both cases, the proper ascription of the child to a Church sui iuris must be recorded as well. [3]

   a. The Rite of Bringing a Baptized Child to the Church is used with suitable adaptation and properly recorded according to the norms of #5.G.5 Recording Reception into the Catholic Church; or

   b. The parents declare their intention, even orally, to the pastor (or to another priest or deacon as his representative) that the infant be Catholic. Recording the details of this action in the baptismal registry of the parish establishes evidence of the act of reception by the Catholic minister. (See #5.G.5 Recording Reception into the Catholic Church.)

4. The third norm above is also to be followed when an infant of non-Catholic parents was baptized by a non-Catholic minister, or by another person with the proper intention to confer Christian baptism, and the parents now want the infant received into the Catholic Church.

5. However, the chancery is to be consulted first if the parents are members of an Eastern Catholic Church or of an Eastern Church not in Communion with the Catholic Church (i.e., Orthodox), or if the minister of baptism was a priest of any of those Churches. (See #5.1.8 regarding any request to baptize an infant of Eastern Catholic or Orthodox parents.)

[1] See letter of Archbishop Pietro Sambi, apostolic nuncio, to USCCB General Secretary, p.n. 17,437, March 2, 2011. It cites and attaches the translation of a response from the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts, p.n. 12900/2011, January 26, 2011 to the prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Church.

[2] The ordinary ministers of the sacrament in c. 861 §1 are bishops, priests and deacons.

[3] c. 535 §2, De Concordia Inter Codices

Date approved by Bishop

Posted by
Msgr. S. J. Raica, chancellor