Infant baptism violates human rights, says former Irish president

Catholic News Agency | 6/25/2018 | Staff
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Dublin, Ireland, Jun 25, 2018 / 04:00 pm (CNA).- Former Irish President Mary McAleese has said that the baptism of infants is a form of coercion, calling on the Catholic Church to change its practice.

“You can’t impose, really, obligations on people who are only two weeks old and you can’t say to them at seven or eight or 14 or 19 ‘here is what you contracted, here is what you signed up to’ because the truth is they didn’t,” she said in a June 23 interview with The Irish Times.

Babies - Conscripts - Obligations - Obedience

Baptizing babies, she said, makes “infant conscripts who are held to lifelong obligations of obedience.”

McAleese, Ireland’s president from 1997-2011, is a student at Rome’s Gregorian University, pursuing a doctorate in canon law. Her doctoral dissertation criticizes Catholic practices regarding infant baptism, The Irish Times reported.

Parents - Catholic - Catholic - Church - Baby

“If your parents are Catholic and you are baptised in a Catholic Church, that baby becomes a member for life – according to the teaching of the church – of the church and it has rights and obligations,” she said.

McAleese said that in previous centuries, Catholics “didn’t understand that they had the right to say no, the right to walk away.”

Times - Right - Freedom - Conscience - Freedom

“But you and I know, we live now in times where we have the right to freedom of conscience, freedom of belief, freedom of opinion, freedom of religion and freedom to change religion. The Catholic Church yet has to fully embrace that thinking,”

“What the church has failed to do is to recognise that there has to be a point at which our young people, as adults who have been baptised into the church and raised in the faith, have the chance to say ‘I validate this’ or ‘I repudiate this,’” she added.

Interview

In the same interview, she...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Catholic News Agency
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