Now that we’ve completed the bulk of the Rite of Penance (only three appendices on dispensations and communal services remain) let’s get into the meat of the Rite of Baptism for Children (henceforth (RBC). You can catch the first of the RBC posts here.
Subheading II treats “Ministries and Roles in the Celebration of Baptism,”and first place is given to the community. The rite describes this role as a “right” the child possesses.
4. The people of God, that is, the Church, made present by the local community, has an important part to play in the baptism of both children and adults.
Before and after the celebration of the sacrament, the child has a right to the love and help of the community. During the rite, in addition to the ways of congregational participation mentioned in the General Introduction to Christian Initiation no. 7, the community exercises its duty when it expresses its assent together with the celebrant after the profession of faith by the parents and godparents. In this way it is clear that the faith in which the children are baptized is not the private possession of the individual family, but the common treasure of the whole Church of Christ.
This is the tension many pastoral ministers face: the role of the community versus the family. Sometimes there is the sense that neither wants the other to intrude on the other’s “turf.” I’d see it as an opportunity, but one that requires the careful leadership of pastor, not his acquiesence to the status quo.