Should babies scheduled for infant euthanasia be baptized?

Recently, a priest told me that one problem with euthanasia is that a person who declares the intention to receive assistance to commit suicide cannot receive the last rites. Attempts at suicide are a mortal sin.

The Church takes the view that human lives are of incomparable value, not property to be disposed of. That was the view from earliest times. One of the Church’s earliest documents condemned abortion, for example.

Clearly, progressive culture feels differently.

Always use abortion as a guide when estimating what lawmakers’ reassurances actually mean.

This is not a problem for liberal churches. They can, if they wish, write euthanasia liturgies, with celebrations to follow the decease. But then they claim no continuous history with and fidelity to the apostolic tradition; indeed, they think they have transcended it.

But can we consider, for a moment, the effect that fidelity will have on nominal Catholics?

Nominal Catholics, their faith rotted out by religious education in tax-funded schools, are long accustomed to seeing their faith as a sort of social wallpaper. God can’t really mean that you can’t abort your kid or marry your sibling or yourself or whoever you like of whichever sex, or help have your granny put down–if you feel like it. How dare anyone claim that?

Either these people drop out and the Church much diminishes or else the Church accommodates them and—ironically—dies by its own hand. That is, there is no historical continuum between the Church of which St. Peter was the Rock and an organization that blesses all these things, with group hugs all round. It would be better if the newly enlightened would just drop out, but the progressives among them will want to subsume the Church.

Now, where it gets really interesting is with child euthanasia. Already a fact in the Netherlands (surprisingly common) and Belgium. Be sure it is coming here too, whatever the protestations otherwise. Always use abortion as a guide when estimating what lawmakers’ reassurances actually mean.

So what about Catholic high school grads, now parents, requesting baptism of a child who is about to be euthanized? Well, one approach might be: The child may as well die a Christian even if there is nothing to be said regarding the faith of the parents.

A now long-deceased priest who had ministered in pre-Mao China told me that the nuns who delivered babies would baptise each child, then leave. They knew perfectly well that second daughters would not usually be permitted to live. But what were they to do? China was not and never had been a Christian country and the idea of women as having equal dignity was unknown.

But we are in a different situation. The parents claim to be Christians; otherwise, they wouldn’t be asking. Should they be excommunicated? And on what terms?

What if the parents sneak away to put the child down discreetly after the baptism? The consultants and religious ed people who really own and largely run the daily life of the church will be all for softening the tone and being as understanding as possible of their grief and sorrow and anguish and pain and the really, really hard decision that they bravely had to make.

As Cool kicks in, many people appear helpless. Euthanasia is spreading across Europe despite, as Newsweek explains

Boer, the ethicist, has some theories. Once a supporter of euthanasia, he’s now one of its most vocal critics. Among the reasons for the euthanasia boom, Boer suggests, is propaganda. Over the past decade, he says, Dutch journalist Gerbert van Loenen has been tracking a series of documentary films that depict euthanasia in a wholly positive light. “They do ask certain questions,” Boer says. “But they systematically ignore most critical questions, so that the general public is presented with an opinion that is completely good, and has no risks. This is contagious.”Another key factor: It’s getting easier each year to qualify for euthanasia. In the beginning, most of those eligible were terminally ill. Now doctors are helping people die if they no longer want to bear depression, autism, blindness or even being dependent on the care of others.

It can’t easily be stopped because, for example, at least half the U.S. population no longer believes human beings are special. No. In the near future, only government will be special, and will essentially be run by grievance groups. And most citizens will not even be assets, producers of wealth.

As the right to kill works its acid on all our lives — we’re all the fetuses now. On the bright side, there are jobs with the government in it.

Anyone who is serious about being a Catholic Christian today could face considerable hostility for even making know the true nature of the social change toward acceptance of euthanasia, and will need to take counsel.

See also: My dog had a peaceful death, so…

  • disqus_sRQwVYwiEu

    The Magisterium, Tradition and Canon Law are clear on this the child ought be baptised and the actions of the parents Anathema Sit; Excommunicated however if they bury their pride and come to know God, they might find reconciliation

    • Then the Church must prepare for quite serious persecution.

    • carolmickle

      That may be so, but under more than one priest, my local church won’t baptize children of people who are Catholics in name only–meaning they aren’t registered parishioners, or the parents haven’t made their confirmation, so aren’t really full adult members in their faith.

      • That’s wise. It’s getting to the point where a church could get drawn in.

      • I don’t understand that. Surely it’s about the child, not the parents.

        • Why mislead the child? The Catholic Church allows infant baptism on the understanding that the child will be raised as a Christian. Where it is evident that that is not so, it is best not to baptize, except if the child is in danger of death: Enter the euthanasia parents … But then, when THEY claim to be Catholics, with some higher form of enlightenment than was granted to the Apostles who walked with Christ, the Church must act or die. Or as one commenter put it, Anathema sit.

      • Alain

        In my long life time that has always been the practice, so your local church is not an exception.

    • Alain

      I am not sure the present pope follows all that.

    • SMC_BC

      I think the Catholic Church will decline a request for a priest to baptize a child parents doomed to be killed else the Church appear to support euthanasia. Instead, I think such parents will be reminded baptism is the one Sacrament anyone can do and the Commandment ‘Thou shalt not murder’.

      • disqus_sRQwVYwiEu

        I say again what I said before, no one can do a Baptism any time, there are specific circumstances when a Baptism can be conducted by other than a Priest or Deacon.

        • SMC_BC

          For clarity:

          Catechism of the Catholic Church:

          1256 The ordinary ministers of Baptism are the bishop and priest and, in the Latin Church, also the deacon.57 In case of necessity, anyone, even a non-baptized person, with the required intention, can baptize 58 , by using the Trinitarian baptismal formula. The intention required is to will to do what the Church does when she baptizes. The Church finds the reason for this possibility in the universal saving will of God and the necessity of Baptism for salvation. 59

          • disqus_sRQwVYwiEu

            Exactly what I said

          • SMC_BC

            How does that change anything I wrote? It doesn’t. A kid about to be euthanize can be baptized by anyone.

          • disqus_sRQwVYwiEu

            Learn English, then read what you wrote “I think the Catholic Church will decline a request for a priest to baptize a child parents doomed to be killed else the Church appear to support euthanasia. Instead, I think such parents will be reminded baptism is the one Sacrament anyone can do and the Commandment ‘Thou shalt not murder’.” In no circumstance such as this would an Ordained Priest or Deacon deny the child baptism. Your argument as to who may or may not baptise is faulted

          • SMC_BC

            You’re a rude one.

            Are you sure baptism wouldn’t be denied? I know a priest who refused baptism to a child because the parents are homosexuals, he refused because he was certain the child wouldn’t be brought up in the faith being raised in such a household.

            On a similar note, recently, bishops sent out a letter to the faithful warning them they could be denied Last Rites and Catholic funerals if they undergo doctor-assisted suicide.

            Back to the topic, I think it’s unlikely Catholic parents would euthanasia anyone. However, uneducated in-name-only ‘c’atholics might.

            It seems to me priests who baptize children under such circumstances could give the impression the Church supports the parents choice of euthanasia; thus, giving scandal.

            The necessity of baptism would be obvious to the faithful. They know they have the right to baptize the kid themselves just as it reads in the catechism. Ergo, like I wrote and as read in the Catechism, anyone can baptize.

  • FivePointSpurgeon

    IF only Baptism saved. The Roman church’s false theology strikes again.

    • FIvePoint Spurgeon, how will your church handle this?

      • FivePointSpurgeon

        I’m not a prophet nor the son of a prophet but here goes.

        Reformed Theology holds to the five solas of the Reformation. One of which being “solo Deo Gloria” (Only for God’s Glory). Anything that happens does because of God’s Decree. The euthanized infants are being murdered, full stop. God allows this to happen to further His glory. If even just one person sees this and realizes that he, along with all the rest of us humans, are sinners and affronts to a Holy God, that would be an example of glorifying God.

        Baptism does not save and there’s no Biblical reference that says it does. The Roman church believes it makes one “saveable”. Baptism requires one to enter into it voluntarily after answering God’s Call. That’s what the elect does.

        Furthermore, there’s no Biblical reason to think that these children are certain to go to Heaven. Limbo and purgatory are traditions of Man and are totally unbiblical also. God calls His elect; perhaps some of these infants are/were, perhaps not.

        • Frances

          Back in the day, had a woman arguing the same in our parish church. This issue was that parents who were only nominal Christians were requesting baptism for terminally ill infants. So this woman explained that the new “kinder” approach was to point out that baptism was not necessary for salvation, and that special prayers were preferable. I pointed out to this woman that – as one who had faced the possibility of a new-born child dying – as far as I was concerned her approach was a slap in the face, with the implied comment of “…we don’t want to waste our precious sacrament on your doomed child”. Added that I had kept my prayer book handy during the crucial time; our child would not die without baptism. Not that I believe infant baptism is in any way an inoculation against Hell; it’s just that I wanted this child to be publicly affirmed as a Christian and one of the Christian family.

          • FivePointSpurgeon

            “it’s just that I wanted this child to be publicly affirmed as a Christian and one of the Christian family.”

            That’s the rub here. You can’t affirm the child as a Christian, neither can the parents or the priest. Only a person can do it themselves. That’s part of the reason last rites mean nothing: you can’t pray someone into heaven.

            Another of the continuing reasons as to why the RC faith does not give one peace. Besides struggling with “What can I do to make God happy?” and “Have I fallen from Grace?” (Both unbiblical and unchristian ideas), it’s that it does not give one peace. You’re always struggling with the works-based ideas of the RC church.It cannot give you peace. Instead of worrying about the fate of the child or trying to “affirm it as a Christian” (again, you can’t do that. Christian-ness requires Grace derived from Faith and a child (especially new born) cannot affirm Christ and ask for repentance), leave it in the hands of a sovereign, loving God. It’s not up to you or anyone else, it’s God’s Supreme Sovereign Will.

          • Frances

            Spurgeon – Oh yes, I could, and I would have, given the need. A few months later, said offspring was baptized into the Christian church and welcomed as a member of the Christian family who had prayed for the health of both mother and child during my problem pregnancy and premature birth. That’s how it is among those of us who go for infant baptism. Said offspring grew up in our Christian community and – with friends, made own commitment at confirmation.

  • The problem with suicide, assisted or otherwise, is that no one knows whether death is better or worse than life. Maybe you’re in great physical or mental pain. You think that killing yourself will rid you of it? But maybe killing yourself will throw you into another world where your pain and suffering will be much worse. Who knows? It is a gamble, and therefore not a wise escape. Out of the frying pan into the fire.