In the wake of renewed media attention for that strange and imaginary concept of ‘debaptising’, and following the Church celebrating the Baptism of the Lord last Sunday, some words by our Holy Father on, you guessed it, Baptism:
“Dear brothers and sisters, what occurs in the Baptism that in a few moments I will administer to your children? It is this: they will be forever united in a profound way with Jesus, in the mystery of this power of his, that is in the mystery of his death, which is the font of life, to participate in his resurrection, to be reborn in a new life. This is the wonder that today is repeated also for your children: receiving Baptism they are reborn as children of God, participants in the filial relation of Jesus with the Father, able to turn toward God calling him “Abbà, Father” with complete confidence. Upon your children too the heavens have opened, and God says: these are my children, children in whom I am pleased. Inserted in this relation and liberated from original sin, they become members of the one body that is the Church and are now able to live in the fullness of their vocation to sanctity so as to have the possibility of eternal life, obtained for us by Jesus’ resurrection.”
Pope Benedict XVI spoke these words in his homily fo the Mass in which he baptised 20 children, an annual tradition on the Feast of the Lord’s Baptism. One of the things we can infer from this is that Baptism is so very much more than a membership act. Having oneself removed from the Church’s records does not break the seal of Baptism, and one will forever remain one of God’s adopted children, adopted out of His own free will. The doors to God are always open, and our “vocation to sanctity” within the “one body that is the Church” remains forever. Whether we’re in a parish’s records or not.