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Q&A

Can a Stillborn Child Be Baptized?

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Can a Stillborn Child Be Baptized?

Answer:

First of all, I am so sorry for anyone in this situation. I know this is an unfortunate circumstance for parents. I sympathize.

According to the Catholic Church, if a baby is in danger of death, it needs to be baptized immediately. If there’s no priest or deacon available, then a layperson should baptize with water using the Trinitarian formula:

“I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

But if the child should die before receiving baptism, then there are other rites to be performed. The Book of Blessings contains an  Order for Blessing of Parents After a Miscarriage

Also, the Order of Christian Funerals contains prayers that can be made and has a section that includes prayers explicitly for deceased children. This can be used immediately following a death.

As for what happens to the children’s souls who die without baptism. The Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God. God is merciful and wants everyone to be saved, and the Church believes that the Lord, who is exceptionally loving to children, will bring every unbaptized infant to heaven.

As regards children who have died without baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, as she does in her funeral rites for them. Indeed the great mercy of God who desires that all men should be saved and Jesus’ tenderness toward children which caused him to say: “Let them come to me, do not hinder them” allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without baptism.

Catechism of the Catholic Church 1261

Can a Stillborn Child Be Baptized?

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