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Baptizing the Babies of Same-Sex Couples

How should the pastor proceed when a same-sex couple comes forward, wanting their child to be baptized?

baptism

It is already the case that we get many heterosexual couples wanting their children baptized, even though they are married outside the Church or even cohabitating. In these situations, I will not absolutely forbid baptisms, but I will beseech the couples to do what they can to regularize the relationship. Of course, if the couples have broken up or were only casual with which to begin, then it would be madness to insist upon them marrying. The child should be the fruit of a bond that has blossomed, not an element to manipulate in favor of a marriage that would otherwise never occur. These couples sacramentally married or not, still signify bonds that are in accordance with natural law.

Same-sex unions violate both divine positive law and our understanding of what is and is not “according to nature.” There is no way to make it right unless the couple separate. I had a situation of this sort back in the 1990’s. The grandfather came to see me quite upset because his daughter and her female lover had asked to have their child baptized and the priest said no. They did not know where to turn. The grandfather begged that something might be done. I asked that he send his daughter “and her friend” to see me. I had to disguise the revulsion I felt in hearing their story. They wanted a child and so made an appeal to a gay man. He masturbated into a spoon and then the lesbian couple used the semen to amateurishly inseminate the willing partner. As it turned out, she conceived and they had a little boy. Sometime later I heard there was legal wrangling with the homosexual neighbor who wanted his rights as the biological father. It is my understanding that today many lesbian couples do not even know the source of the seed and the insemination is accomplished through fertility clinics.

Both of the ladies who came to see me were raised in the Church and had attended Catholic schools. The grandfather of the mother had told me that he would do all in his power to make sure the child received a Catholic upbringing. I was blunt with the women, but no one was in the dark about how difficult a situation this was. I asked them point blank, “Can you promise me that despite your relationship you will raise this child as a Catholic, teaching him his prayers and taking him to Mass? They were both polite and agreeable. They both promised. It was not a compromise with which I was happy, but the alternative would punish the child for the sins of others. It seemed to me there was sufficient hope that the child would be raised as a practicing Catholic. I ended up baptizing the child. A person’s salvation might be at stake. In retrospect, I cannot recall what was written in the baptismal registry. I think only the name of the mother was inserted. I did tell them that the choice they made would be difficult. Because of their union, they would not be welcome to receive the Eucharist themselves. Nevertheless, they were adamant that they would still go to Mass and make sure their boy would receive all his sacraments. I recommended that they quietly live their lives, respecting the moral teaching of the Church even though they felt unable to realize it in their relationship. Here too they were agreeable. They felt no need to make their baby the poster child for a cause. I instructed them about how baptism makes the child an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven, a member of the Church, an adopted son or daughter of the Father, kin to Christ and a temple of the Holy Spirit. I added that baptism washes away original sin and invokes saving grace.

Despite their dissent and self-imposed alienation from the Church because of their lifestyle, I urged the couple to pray daily, placing their needs and weakness before the Lord for healing. I wanted them to know that while I disagreed about their personal lifestyle choices; God still loved them and that the Church would not turn her back on them. While their living together was a public statement against Church teaching, it did not have to be a deafening announcement. I urged them to do all they could to avoid scandal, both for themselves and the Church. I felt they had been truthful with me. Otherwise, it is doubtful that I would have offered the sacrament. The godparents were Catholics who were living their lives wholly in accordance with the commandments and precepts of the Church. While always important, here it was absolutely crucial.

  • Today the situation is evidently becoming more common. Either through insemination or adoption, lesbians and homosexuals are becoming parents. Despite their battles with the Church, some still feel an attraction to her message of salvation and sacraments. They want to share this with their children. This is no longer a singular aberration. How do we proceed?
  • Do we have Archdiocesan policies to deal with these situations? Should the Chancery be consulted on each and every case that comes forward? I know the local policies in Washington stipulate that there should be two godparents and that they should be representative of each gender.
  • Can a same-sex family structure constitute a true family?
  • Can parents perpetually in a state of mortal sin genuinely witness to the faith and Gospel?
  • Given the canon law problems, should registries list only one partner or can both be acknowledged?
  • It would be easy enough to list the mother alone but in adoption, there is the claim of two mothers. Should one be listed in the side annotation?
  • We were recently informed to stop listing children as legitimate or not legitimate. Should there not be remarks about a same-sex union?
  • As for liturgical adaptation, will we need a special liturgy to get around the language of a mother/wife and father/husband?
  • Priests will routinely omit the blessing over the mother and father when couples are not married in the Church. Is this justified and should the blessing be omitted over same-sex couples? I would think so.
  • While it is probably good to seek out Archdiocesan consultation, would priests need higher permission to perform such baptisms?
  • Do we have programs in place to offer pastoral care to these children and households after baptism?
  • Would these children be welcome in our Catholic schools?

I can well understand that one answer would not fit all. There might sometimes be little or no hopeful sign that the responsibilities that come along with baptism would be fulfilled. Some treat baptism like magic or as an empty cultural rite of passage. Activists might even exploit a request for baptism to ridicule the Church or to make a political statement. This is where it becomes all the more problematical.

Priests are supposed to be good stewards of the sacraments. And yet, many of us are fearful that we cannot even safeguard the Eucharist at Mass because of policies that place a greater weight on public scandal than actual spiritual readiness and ecclesial unity. Here too, there may be times that being a good steward will mean saying no and facing repercussions. Is it a passive capitulation to just throw up our hands and leave it to God to straighten out?  I suspect so.

One Response

  1. Congratulations! You have proven yourself a true Vatican II heretic and Novus Ordo compromiser! Here you have clearly betrayed the Roman Catholic faith to keep peace and to appease perverts.

    Where is your head? Sticking to your guns and refusing baptism, might force some of these couples to separate and to begin living moral lives. Instead you are willing to accept empty promises. If they really cared about these children they would break up with their partners, seek out reversal medical treatment and get married to someone of the opposite sex. If they cannot straighten their act, pun intended, then they should could a celibate life and give the children over to a loving and normal heterosexual couple. If they really cared about these children, that is what they would do. Instead, these poor babies become props in their campaign for social acceptance and normalcy. You said yourself the homosexuality is an offense to almighty God. It is a violation of the laws of nature. How can we possibly think these children will be raised properly while they are daily exposed to such sordid mortal sin? We hear so much today about what the Catholic Church is doing against child molestation; and yet here, these endangered children are going to be quietly surrendered into the hands of homosexuals. Your commenter [E] saw the same issue as I do— most cases of priestly misconduct is same-sex. If this is the case with gay clergy then why not these gay “lay” couples?

    These children might get some of the sacraments, but what happens when they get old enough to start asking questions? Do you think the two mommas are going to teach Catholic morality? No, they are going to say that the Church is WRONG! Their anger and resentment will be translated to the child. Maybe they will even try to convince him or her that he or she shares their same-sex attraction? “Mommy, why do you and my other Mommy never take communion?” Response, “That’s because we are not welcome and the Church thinks we are going to hell when we die.” I am sure the kid will be moved to a heightened Catholicity at this point… nope! Or maybe they will be like the Buddhist Lesbian gal in Maryland who forced the dismissal of an orthodox pro-life priest when he refused to give her communion (at her mother’s funeral)? Will they just come up anyway? Promises are made to be broken, that’s the mantra of our times! That will communicate that it is okay to dissent on Church teaching. Follow what you want, the Church doesn’t care. You can all follow Pope Francis’ lead, “Who am I to judge?”

    Who? Supposedly Christ’s Vicar on Earth and the bearer of the keys to the kingdom of heaven… that’s who!

    FATHER JOE: Wow! Well I guess that is certainly another perspective— but so harsh. I would emphasize hope and compassion, as well as the need to avoid bigotry.

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