Topic 8 It is not right baptise newborn infants

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Just imagine what would happen if parents said to their child: “Starting from now on, you will only eat green apples”. It could be alright, maybe the child likes green apples. But if his/her parents do not show him/her a red apple, he/she will never know about the difference, and he/she will never need to choose: him/her parents would just decide for him/her.

Apples are just an example. The issue of baptism is clearly much more important and complicated, because it has a strong influence on everyone's life.

On the other hand, someone could say that this is exactly the point: an infant lacks experience of life, so somebody else has to guide him or her and take the first decisions for him or her. In other words, parents should show the right path to follow. But the question is: how do we know if the path our parents want us to follow is the right one? Maybe that path is right for them but not for the child, and he or her will not acknowledge it until he/she grows up. This is why parents should avoid taking decisions about deeply subjective issues such as religion and should not impose baptism: children have to meet different opinions and learn that there are different religions by themselves, without the really strong influence that parents can have. They should be free to study about it if they want and then choose to have faith in what they decide is right.

There is another reason that makes me think that imposing baptism is not right: when a newborn infant receives baptism, he/her is automatically signed up in Vatican's archives, and he/she is counted as a Catholic. This creates false statistics: nowadays the Catholic Church bases its power mostly on the number of Catholics counted all around the world. But just to give an example, today in Italy, according to the so called "Annuario Pontificio", 98% of the population is baptized. Not surprisingly, according to Eurispes Statistics of 2005, only 87,8% of the population consider themselves Catholic. Someone could say that this does not matter: Italy has a long catholic tradition, so it is normal that newborns automatically join that Church whose roots are deeply bound to their country's history. But this is not what I would call “freedom”, because, in this way, Italy will be a Catholic country forever to the detriment of the free choice. There will be less space for other confessions and non-catholics will always be looked at as “strange”: this is why lots of people today choose to stop being part of the Catholic Church just asking to delete their names from the archives.

In conclusion, I believe that choosing the creed is an important matter of freedom: everyone should have the right to choose by himself or herself everything, from the less important thing to the most important one, from the colour of an apple to the Religion one decides to have faith in.

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