Can we baptize our baby in the Church though we are not married?

Can we baptize our baby in the Church though we are not married?

Full Question

Is it possible for my girlfriend and me to baptize our baby in the Catholic Church even though we are unmarried?


Every Catholic parent has a duty to baptize their children in the Church. The code of Canon says:

“Parents are obliged to take care that infants are baptized in the first few weeks; as soon as possible after the birth or even before it, they are to go to the pastor to request the sacrament for their child and to be prepared properly for it” (CIC 867 §1).

But to validly baptize your child, the Church demands that 

For an infant to be baptized licitly:

1/ the parents or at least one of them or the person who legitimately takes their place must consent;

2/ there must be a founded hope that the infant will be brought up in the Catholic religion; if such hope is altogether lacking, the baptism is to be delayed according to the prescripts of particular law after the parents have been advised about the reason.

An infant of Catholic parents or even of non-Catholic parents is baptized licitly in danger of death even against the will of the parents.

CIC. 868

However, as is the usual case in the Church, “An infant in danger of death is to be baptized without delay.” CIC. 867

Can we baptize our baby in the Church though we are not married?

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  1. Hold a moment.
    Taking at face value the question and answer given.
    “[T]here must be a founded hope that the [child] will be brought up in the Catholic religion”
    Why are the parents, boyfriend and girlfriend?
    To raise the child in the Catholic religion means firstly that the parents must set an example. That the parents are not married to each other is evidence that they are themselves not practicing the Catholic religion, and therefore evidence that the child will not be brought up in the Catholic religion.
    Therefore the answer is no.
    But I won’t just leave it at “no”.
    What is the reason they are not married?
    Why do they want their child baptised given that they are not living the Catholic religion themselves?

  2. What if the parents circumvent the rules and send the baby with an aunt or uncle to be baptized? To me it should be much more about the baby’s safety than about the actions of the parents. The baby cannot help that the parents are stupid. But if that baby dies in a car crash next week, then what? Sorry kiddo, it’s Limbo for you. Baptism is easy and free. To deny a child this because of the actions of the parents is incredibly unfair and dangerous.

    1. They don’t even have to know each other. The mother’s cousin can be one Godparent, and the father’s roommate can be the other.
      MAybe this is what’s tripping you up: If the Godparents are two singles living together as a married couple, that can pose a problem because you and the Godparents are promising to bring the child up in the faith. I think the priest may feel because everyone is just living together, maybe they don’t understand the faith well enough to pass it on. Does that make sense? Could that be the problem? Finding two Confirmed Catholics in good standing is becoming more and more of a problem these days.

    2. That can’t be right. My own godparents were an aunt and uncle from each side of the family, and we’re too young to be married. And this was just before Vatican II.

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