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Submitted by: A on  7/21/2014
Answered by: Fr. Frank Pavone
Topic: Baptize unborn babies
Is it possible for us to baptize the unborn babies who are going to be aborted?

The Catholic Church teaches the supreme power of prayer, and urges all people to include in their prayers the lives and salvation of children in the womb. This is particularly urgent because of the danger such children have from abortion.

The Church also teaches that there is one baptism for the forgiveness of sins (see Eph.4:5), and that this sacrament can be administered by anyone in cases of emergency.

There is a difference, however, between baptism itself and prayer. Baptism is a sacrament which, in order to be valid, must be administered by the actual pouring of water upon the person being baptized, while these exact words are said "I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit" (see Mt. 28:19). Baptism is administered to those who are alive. In cases where it is doubtful that the person is alive, the sacrament is administered conditionally.

If, therefore, a person is not in the actual presence of the preborn child, his/her spiritual activity toward that child is to be considered as prayer, and should not be called baptism. There is only one baptism. There are not two (physical and spiritual). There are, however, always opportunities for prayer for the protection of these children.

One may "spiritually adopt" such a child, in which case one's prayers are offered especially for a particular baby in danger of abortion. One may also pray that the child will be brought safely to the waters of baptism, always acknowledging the difference between that prayer and the act of baptism itself.

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