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[Why do Catholics baptize babies?]

In the Old Testament, the Jews were required to CIRCUMCISE INFANT MALES as a sign of God's covenant with Abraham (Genesis 17:12-14). The Sacrament of BAPTISM REPLACED CIRCUMCISION for Christians: "In him also you were circumcised with a CIRCUMCISION MADE WITHOUT HANDS, by putting off the body of flesh in the circumcision of Christ; and you were buried with him in BAPTISM, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead" (Colossians 2:11-12). If circumcision was performed on infants, and baptism replaced circumcision, it makes sense that infants should be baptized.

Catholics believe that baptism wipes away all sin, including the original sin that we inherit from Adam and Eve. At baptism, we also receive the Holy Spirit. In Acts 2:38-39, Peter says, "REPENT, AND BE BAPTIZED every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children and to all that are far off, every one whom the Lord our God calls to him." Jesus Christ makes clear the importance of baptism in John 3:5, "Truly, truly, I say to you, UNLESS ONE IS BORN OF WATER and THE SPIRIT, he cannot enter the kingdom of God." He also says in Mark 16:16, "He who believes and is BAPTIZED will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned." Because of Jesus' emphasis of the importance of this Sacrament, the Apostles baptized whole households, including infants (Acts 16:15, 16:33, 18:8; 1 Corinthians 1:16).

There are no Bible passages that forbids infant baptism. In fact, Jesus tells us that little children are not to be kept from him: "Let the children come to me, do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it" (Mark 10:14-15).

The Church Father's writings are clear about this practice as well: "Baptize first the children; and if they can speak for themselves, let them do so. Otherwise, let their parents or other relatives speak for them" (St. Hippolytus of Rome, The Apostolic Tradition, 215 AD).

(Genesis 17:12-14 with Colossians 2:11-12; Mark 10:14-15; 16:16; John 3:5; Acts 2:38-39, 16:15, 16:31-34, 18:8; 1 Corinthians 1:16; The Apostolic Tradition)

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