Why cannot a foetus be Baptized in the womb?
I know you cannot pour Holy Water over their head three times, in the name of the Father, and of the Son , and of the Holy Spirit, because that child is still deeply and physically within their mother.
Since the Incarnation, all water has been made Holy. In every raindrop and every cup of tea exists a molecule of water that once resided within the Saviour’s body, or which touched His skin.
I posit that the amniotic fluid that bathes an unborn child is thus Holy. All then to effect a Baptism is the Holy words of the Rite.
Would it not be possible, nay desirable, for a Catholic woman who discovers that she is pregnant to Baptize her unborn child in utero? All Baptized Christians can Baptize in an emergency, and pregnancy is an emergency waiting to happen, in my humbling experience.
I genuinely want to hear people’s answers to my query.
According to a US-based pro-life association of priests :
Questions & Answers
Submitted by: A on 7/21/2014
Answered by: Fr. Frank Pavone
Topic: Baptize unborn babies
Is it possible for us to baptize the unborn babies who are going to be aborted?
The Catholic Church teaches the supreme power of prayer, and urges all people to include in their prayers the lives and salvation of children in the womb. This is particularly urgent because of the danger such children have from abortion.
The Church also teaches that there is one baptism for the forgiveness of sins (see Eph.4:5), and that this sacrament can be administered by anyone in cases of emergency.
There is a difference, however, between baptism itself and prayer. Baptism is a sacrament which, in order to be valid, must be administered by the actual pouring of water upon the person being baptized, while these exact words are said “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” (see Mt. 28:19). Baptism is administered to those who are alive. In cases where it is doubtful that the person is alive, the sacrament is administered conditionally.
If, therefore, a person is not in the actual presence of the preborn child, his/her spiritual activity toward that child is to be considered as prayer, and should not be called baptism. There is only one baptism. There are not two (physical and spiritual). There are, however, always opportunities for prayer for the protection of these children.
One may “spiritually adopt” such a child, in which case one’s prayers are offered especially for a particular baby in danger of abortion. One may also pray that the child will be brought safely to the waters of baptism, always acknowledging the difference between that prayer and the act of baptism itself.
Having said that, although there is only one Baptism, there are three ways to be baptised in the Catholic Tradition.
By the Spirit, which is apart from a supernatural Baptism by God Himself, also considered to be the state of for example an anointed catechumen who might suddenly pass away before the Easter time, and some other such particular cases.
By Blood, which is to die as a martyr for the Christian Faith and in a state of Conversion to Christianity even though one may not be baptised by water.
See also :
5. Secondly, taking account of the principle lex orandi lex credendi, the Christian community notes that there is no mention of Limbo in the liturgy. In fact, the liturgy contains a feast of the Holy Innocents, who are venerated as martyrs, even though they were not baptised, because they were killed “on account of Christ”. There has even been an important liturgical development through the introduction of funerals for infants who died without Baptism. We do not pray for those who are damned. The Roman Missal of 1970 introduced a Funeral Mass for unbaptised infants whose parents intended to present them for Baptism. The Church entrusts to God’s mercy those infants who die unbaptised. In its 1980 Instruction on Children’s Baptism, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith reaffirmed that: “with regard to children who die without having received Baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, as indeed she does in the funeral rite established for them”. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (1992) adds that: “the great mercy of God who desires that all men should be saved [1Tim 2:4], and Jesus’ tenderness toward children which caused him to say: ‘Let the children come to me, do not hinder them’ (Mk 10:14), allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism”.
6. Thirdly, the Church cannot fail to encourage the hope of salvation for infants who die without Baptism by the very fact that she “prays that no one should be lost”, and prays in hope for “all to be saved”.
79. It must be clearly acknowledged that the Church does not have sure knowledge about the salvation of unbaptised infants who die. She knows and celebrates the glory of the Holy Innocents, but the destiny of the generality of infants who die without Baptism has not been revealed to us, and the Church teaches and judges only with regard to what has been revealed. What we do positively know of God, Christ and the Church gives us grounds to hope for their salvation, as must now be explained.
82. b) God does not demand the impossible of us. Furthermore, God’s power is not restricted to the sacraments: ‘Deus virtutem suam non alligavit sacramentis quin possit sine sacramentis effectum sacramentorum conferre’ (God did not bind His power to the sacraments, so as to be unable to bestow the sacramental effect without conferring the sacrament). God can therefore give the grace of Baptism without the sacrament being conferred, and this fact should particularly be recalled when the conferring of Baptism would be impossible. The need for the sacrament is not absolute. What is absolute is humanity’s need for the Ursakrament which is Christ himself. All salvation comes from him and therefore, in some way, through the Church.
86. b) Some of the infants who suffer and die do so as victims of violence. In their case, we may readily refer to the example of the Holy Innocents and discern an analogy in the case of these infants to the baptism of blood which brings salvation. Albeit unknowingly, the Holy Innocents suffered and died on account of Christ; their murderers were seeking to kill the infant Jesus. Just as those who took the lives of the Holy Innocents were motivated by fear and selfishness, so the lives particularly of unborn babies today are often endangered by the fear or selfishness of others. In that sense, they are in solidarity with the Holy Innocents. Moreover, they are in solidarity with the Christ who said: “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me” (Mt 25:40). How vital it is for the Church to proclaim the hope and generosity that are intrinsic to the Gospel and essential for the protection of life.
102. Within the hope that the Church bears for the whole of humanity and wants to proclaim afresh to the world of today, is there a hope for the salvation of infants who die without Baptism? We have carefully re-considered this complex question, with gratitude and respect for the responses that have been given through the history of the Church, but also with an awareness that it falls to us to give a coherent response for today. Reflecting within the one tradition of faith that unites the Church through the ages, and relying utterly on the guidance of the Holy Spirit whom Jesus promised would lead his followers “into all the truth” (Jn 16:13), we have sought to read the signs of the times and to interpret them in the light of the Gospel. Our conclusion is that the many factors that we have considered above give serious theological and liturgical grounds for hope that unbaptised infants who die will be saved and enjoy the Beatific Vision. We emphasise that these are reasons for prayerful hope, rather than grounds for sure knowledge. There is much that simply has not been revealed to us (cf. Jn 16:12). We live by faith and hope in the God of mercy and love who has been revealed to us in Christ, and the Spirit moves us to pray in constant thankfulness and joy (cf. 1 Thess 5:18).
103. What has been revealed to us is that the ordinary way of salvation is by the sacrament of Baptism. None of the above considerations should be taken as qualifying the necessity of Baptism or justifying delay in administering the sacrament. Rather, as we want to reaffirm in conclusion, they provide strong grounds for hope that God will save infants when we have not been able to do for them what we would have wished to do, namely, to baptize them into the faith and life of the Church.
Thank you Jabba!
I was taught at school that baptism took place some time after birth at the parish font with parents and God-parents present or represented, except in cases of emergency when the rule book went out the window and you used your initiative.
Initiative would be required in cases of a sudden death of a new -born, or for example, if the baby or/and foetus were known to be in danger of death within the womb. Then an improvised Christening, the form is not important only the intent, is certainly called for.
First Epistle Of Saint Paul To The Thessalonians 5:
 And may the God of peace himself sanctify you in all things; that your whole spirit, and soul, and body, may be preserved blameless in the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Soul has No Age. The Spirit equally has no Age. The Body however is in the passible State. The term dual is inappropriate for man who is triparte.
We were taught in the convent that if there is probability of the baby not surviving birth and the mother’s longing for her baby to be Baptized, would gain for her unborn child Baptism of desire …..has Baptism of Desire gone the same way as did Limbo?
has Baptism of Desire gone the same way as did Limbo?
Certainly not 🙂