One Baptism!

Ephesians 4:4-6
There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all, who is above all and through all and in all.

Catholics don’t believe in justification by works.  We know there isn’t anything you can do to earn the initial justifying grace of God.  So we baptize babies.  Some people take umbrage at this, so much umbrage, in fact, that they insist on rebaptizing you as an adult if you were baptized as an infant.  But this is, in the end, to say that a person can only have the grace of God if they are smart enough to know what’s going on in baptism.  Catholics know that babies are just as entitled to the grace of God by their braininess as adults are: which is to say, not at all.  But God never said He’d give us His grace because we are smart.  He said He’d give it to us because He loves us.  So we baptize once and trust Him to do the job.  All subsequent baptisms just get you wet.  God heard the baptismal prayers offered for you the first time.

Mark Shea


Mark P. Shea is a popular Catholic writer and speaker. The author of numerous books, his most recent work is The Work of Mercy (Servant) and The Heart of Catholic Prayer (Our Sunday Visitor). Mark contributes numerous articles to many magazines, including his popular column “Connecting the Dots” for the National Catholic Register. Mark is known nationally for his one minute “Words of Encouragement” on Catholic radio. He also maintains the Catholic and Enjoying It blog and regularly blogs for National Catholic Register. He lives in Washington state with his wife, Janet, and their four sons.

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  • Guest

    My friends had their new baby baptized this past Saturday.  Their firstborn son was baptized, as an emergency in the hospital at birth, but the priest also baptized this young boy, Saturday with his baby brother.  This seemed a little unusual, for the Catholic church, but I do not know the guidelines for baptism of babies.  The little boy seemed delighted in the waters of the baptismal font though.  He seemed to sense how special the waters are.