EWTN Catholic Q&A
Question from marie on 11-30-2011:

Hello Fr. My grandchild who is almost 2 has not yet been baptized. His father was raised Catholic but has turned against the church. He is co-habitating. She wishes to have the baby baptized. She has the same mindset as my son. No religion in their lives. But it is comforting that their parental instinct about baptism has kicked in. They want me to arrange it. I cannot justify baptizing in my own Church seeing as they will not be renewing the vows which are part of the ceremony....plus the fact that they have no intention of raising the child in the faith. It will be a mockery on their part. So I'm going to suggest they get it done in a protestant church (that correctly states the words of baptizm). At least I'll be satisfied knowing the baptism is valid and hope that down the road they all come to their senses and come back to God. This is an all too common tale these days. Thank you

Answer by Fr. Jay Toborowsky on 12-02-2011:

Truth be told, as a Priest I would be torn in their situation. On one hand, one does not want to deny the graces that come from the Sacrament of Baptism to your grandchild. But on the other hand, Canon Law is specific in saying that there must be some "founded hope" that a child who is being Baptized will be raised in the faith. What you describe about your son and the child's mother is a common situation amongst younger (meaning under 40) Catholics: They want the ceremonies and rituals, but none of the obligation or responsibility. Why does she want the child baptized? She can't, on one hand, fear the doctrine of unbaptized children going to Limbo (which is inaccurate and outdated anyway), while at the same time not caring about the doctrine about sexual morality and cohabitation for herself and your son. You can't think of getting the child baptized in the same preventative way we think of getting children vaccinated against polio, measles, mumps, etc. If you're going to ask for Baptism, there should be faith behind it. Otherwise you're just looking for a party. Mind you, I'm not directing this at you personally; I'm writing these as if I was speaking to the couple.