As we head to a wrap-up with the Rite of Penance, we’ll look at one of the early fruits of Vatican II’s liturgical reform, the Rite of Baptism for Children. As with the other rites, we’ll look mainly at the introduction (31 sections) followed by some of the ritual red and black text. The Rite is divided into seven chapters following the introduction: the rite for several children (32-71), the rite for one child (72-106), the rite for a large number of children (107-131), the rite when no clergy are available (132-156), the rite when the child is in danger of death and no clergy are available (157-164), the rite of bringing a baptized child to the church (known colloquially and inaccurately as “supplying the ceremony”) (165-185), a final chapter with various texts (186-249), followed by an appendix containing the Litany of the Saints with various invocations.
I’m aware that within some Christian circles, especially evangelical ones, there is some reticence about the practice of baptizing people before they reach the age of reason or adolescence. By all means, feel free to enter the discussion on this point whenever the Spirit moves you. Come prepared to discuss.
As a Catholic, I take a more traditional Christian approach: infant baptism is well-recorded from the second century and predates modern evangelicalism by at least a millennium and a half. My personal leaning is more with the big-O Orthodox: in favor of a unified initiation for infants, including confirmation and Eucharist.
Anyway, as our look at the Rite of Penance finishes up, we’ll start posting on Baptism. If we survive that, we should get to Confirmation by the middle of Lent, if all goes according to plan.