We continue our examination of Guidelines for the Celebration of the Sacraments with Persons with Disabilities, With paragraphs 9 through 14, the document looks at Baptism. We can read a basic definition (9) and an encouraging mention of the role of the entire community, that every baptized person has “the right to the love and help of the community.” (10, citing the Rite of Baptism for Children 4, 10)
Canon law 868.1 is cited next in paragraph 11:
Baptism is to be made available to all who freely ask for it, are properly disposed, and are not prohibited by law from receiving it. In the case of infants and those who cannot request it for themselves, Baptism may be deferred only when there is no reason for hoping that the person will be brought up in the Catholic faith.
Availability doesn’t mean instantaneous; there are often preparation processes for a catechumenate, or in the case of infant baptism, the parents. Just the same, “Disability, of itself, is never a reason for deferring Baptism.” (11)
If an older person lacks the use of reason, then a parent or guardian consents to Baptism.
The next case mentioned is when parents are made aware of a “prenatal diagnosis of a life-threatening condition.” Baptism is not to be delayed in such a case when the child is born. Pastoral care for “any difficult prenatal diagnosis” is prescribed as well as “on-going support before and after the birth of a child, with special concern in the event of the death of a child.” (Ibid.)
All sensible stuff so far. In next post in this series we’ll look at issues of formation, catechumenate, community, and the role of parents and godparents. Meanwhile, comments?