Can a Priest Baptize the Baby of a Same-Sex Couple?

In the photo above, a priest baptizes a baby that will be raised by two women. This took place at St. Cecilia’s in California on 7 May 2017. P/C USA Today’s Desert Sun.

When a large homeschooling family brings their 9th baby to be baptized, that infant, at the moment of baptism, dies to the original sin in which it was born, comes out of the water risen with Jesus Christ and is a tabernacle of the Blessed Trinity, now beginning life as a son or daughter of God. When two same-sex guardians bring an infant to be baptized, that infant, at the moment of baptism, dies to the original sin in which it was born, comes out of the water risen with Jesus Christ and is a tabernacle of the Blessed Trinity, now beginning life as a son or daughter of God. Did you catch the difference between the two? There is no difference at the moment of baptism. Both infants are validly baptized, regardless of the sins or lack of catechesis of the parents, regardless of the orthodoxy of the baptizing priest.

However, the new Code of Canon Law that was released under Pope John Paul II in 1983 says that for any child to be baptized, there must be a “well-founded hope that the child will be brought up in the Catholic religion.”—Can. 867.2.2. Many Catholic apologists and even canon lawyers today are making the mistake in believing that “the Catholic religion” includes only the sacraments. This is absolutely false. The Catholic religion has always, in every century, included these three things: Faith, Morals and the Sacraments.

So, can the Catholic faith be transmitted by same-sex guardians to a child? Yes. I am sure that many Catholic same-sex guardians of children can teach a child to believe in the Divinity of Christ and even the sinlessness of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Will same-sex guardians bring a child to other sacraments after baptism? Yes. I am sure that many baptized children will be brought by same-sex couples also to their First Communion. But what about teaching a child all the morals of the Catholic Faith? Will same-sex guardians include in their daily catechesis all sins against the sixth and ninth commandment? Will they include that sodomy is the most grievous sin against the 6th commandment? No, of course they will not include that in their catechesis. If they will not teach that, then they can not honestly say that there is a “well-founded hope that the child will be brought up in the Catholic religion.”—Can 867.2.2.

Objection 1: But won’t most children of even heterosexual parents also grow up with poor catechesis? Wouldn’t it be the heresy of Jansenism to assert that only the most-well catechized children should be admitted to the saving waters of baptism?

I respond: There is a different between negligence and opposition. There has always been a difference in the pastoral discernment of the Church’s eyes between parental negligence in catechesis (which the Church has always been quite patient with) versus active opposition to morals of the Catholic Faith (a malice against the salvation of a child which the Church has not been patient with.) In fact, if a “straight couple” told me that they were going to expose their child to “straight porn” from the age of five years old onwards, I would also refuse to baptize that baby. Such an attitude indicates opposition to the salvation of a child, as well as opposition to the articulated faith and morals of the Catholic Church. So also with sodomy. Sodomy is not only a mortal sin against the 6th commandment. It is one of only four sins that the Catholic Church infallibly teaches “cries out to heaven for vengeance.” The other three are homicide (including abortion), oppression of the poor (especially the widow and orphan) and injustice to the wage-earner. Thus, a family missing Sunday Mass for a soccer game is indeed a mortal sin, but it is not a mortal sin that “cries out to heaven for vengeance.” If the legal guardians of a child are going to teach that sins that cry out to heaven for vengeance are not offensive to God, then they can honestly not raise that child in the Catholic faith.

Objection 2: Homosexuals actions may be serious sins, then, but does any child deserve to be sacramentally-deprived for the sins of his or her guardians or parents?

Certainly, any child in danger of death, regardless of the sins of its straight parents or “gay guardians,” should immediately be baptized. But for a priest to baptize a healthy child without a well-founded hope of success in catechesis in later teenage years is actually more of a detriment to the salvation of that child than not. Demons target a baptized child more than an upbaptized child, just as demons target a priest more than a baptized layman. To increase the cross-hairs on a child’s head without the toolbox to engage in spiritual warfare (including the rejection of the sins of sodomy) would only be to exacerbate the spiritual attack that such child is subjected to. Sodomy is a magnet for diabolical oppression in a home, and even full possession of its inhabitants. Even if you do not believe in demons as much as me, ask yourself a practical question: Do you really expect a child being raised in a household of constant and unrpentant sodomy will make it to the age of 10 without some type of sexual sin, even if heterosexual sin? Let us see what the Holy Spirit in the Bible tells us about returning to habitually and unrepentant grave sin after coming to Christ via Baptism. The Holy Spirit tells us through the first Pope, St. Peter, that “the last state has become worse for them than the first” and that “it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness.” See here:

For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.”—2 Pt 2:20-22

Objection 3: So do you just want that child to go its whole life without baptism?

I respond: Of course I want that child (and its same-sex guardians) to come to all the sacraments, but faith and repentance must come first. If the same-sex guardians of a baby actually do claim to teach the fulness of the Catholic faith to that child while growing up, then perhaps there is a good chance that he or she will want to be baptized a Catholic in his or her teenage years. This decision may also include the difficult decision of that teenager having to reject the homosexual sins of his or her guardians, at least in an implicit manner (as no charitable priest would demand an explicit rejection of such sins in public!) In any case, I would baptize such a teenager who was raised by same-sex guardians if he were to strive his best to be a Catholic. Notice that there is no request of moral perfection (à la Jansenism) for anyone approaching baptism or even confession. Nevertheless, the blatant and conscious and manifest rejection of any part of the Catholic Faith (including the 6th Commandment) is not an acceptable approach to any sacrament.

The early Catholic Church in the Roman Empire often baptized children of the age of reason who had rejected the paganism of their parents, even if the teenager’s approach to Christ was opposed by his or her parents (See Lk 14:26 and Mt 10:37.) Of course, it would be even better if his or her parents would accept Jesus Christ and also be saved. This is the same today for those in same-sex civil unions. In fact, if a same-sex couple had confessed their sins with repentance and firm resolution of amendment never to commit sodomy again and then approached me for the baptism of their baby or toddler, I would indeed baptize that baby. Still, I would ask that couple to refrain from Holy Communion until they lived separately, yes, even after a good confession. This is because Holy Communion is a public act, and reception of Holy Communion (even by celibate chaste people living together) is still a scandal. I hold this even for heterosexual couples awaiting an annulment, too, even if they are chaste. In other words, any straight or “gay” couple receiving Holy Communion while living together (even in continence) remains a public scandal.

Many beginning Catholic bloggers and even seasoned but misguided apologists today believe that the Council of Trent (an infallible Council of the 16th century) promoted the sacraments while Protestantism promoted faith. This is not true. A closer look at Trent reveals that no adult should approach baptism (or other sacraments) without first demonstrating supernatural faith and repentance of all their sins. What about infant baptism? Can an infant demonstrate supernatural faith? Of course not, as infants do not have much reason. Thus, the Church has always taught that either the parent or the godparent must demonstrate supernatural faith in proxy (in place) of the child. Remember: The sacraments are not magic tricks. The sacraments are not only ineffectual without faith, but even dangerous to salvation without faith. In short, the sacraments are quite worthless to salvation without supernatural faith. The Council of Trent below refers to an adult preparing for baptism, but the same must be said about the required supernatural faith (as well as hope and charity and adherence to all the commandments) in proxy of the infant via the total repentance of the godparents:

For, although no one can be just, but he to whom the merits of the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ are communicated, yet is this done in the said justification of the impious, when by the merit of that same most holy Passion, the charity of God is poured forth, by the Holy Spirit, in the hearts of those that are justified, and is inherent therein: whence, man, through Jesus Christ, in whom he is ingrafted, receives, in the said justification, together with the remission of sins, all these (gifts) infused at once, faith, hope, and charity. For faith, unless hope and charity be added thereto, neither unites man perfectly with Christ, nor makes him a living member of His body. For which reason it is most truly said, that Faith without works is dead and profitless; and, In Christ Jesus neither circumcision, availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but faith which worketh by charity. This faith, Catechumen’s beg of the Church-agreeably to a tradition of the apostles-previously to the sacrament of Baptism; when they beg for the faith which bestows life everlasting, which, without hope and charity, faith cannot bestow: whence also do they immediately hear that word of Christ; If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. Wherefore, when receiving true and Christian justice, they are bidden, immediately on being born again, to preserve it pure and spotless, as the first robe given them through Jesus Christ in lieu of that which Adam, by his disobedience, lost for himself and for us, that so they may bear it before the judgment-seat of our Lord Jesus Christ, and may have life everlasting.—Council of Trent, Session VI on Justification, Chapter 7

And whereas the Apostle saith, that man is justified by faith and freely, those words are to be understood in that sense which the perpetual consent of the Catholic Church hath held and expressed; to wit, that we are therefore said to be justified by faith, because faith is the beginning of human salvation, the foundation, and the root of all Justification; without which it is impossible to please God, and to come unto the fellowship of His sons: but we are therefore said to be justified freely, because that none of those things which precede justification-whether faith or works-merit the grace itself of justification. For, if it be a grace, it is not now by works, otherwise, as the same Apostle says, grace is no more grace.—Council of Trent, Session VI on Justification, Chapter 8