“Ask a Priest: What If I Didn’t Raise My Daughter in the Faith Well?”

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Q: My daughter will be giving birth in a few months’ time and has told me she will not baptize the baby. This is really upsetting, and I blame myself because I was a bad model for her. For example, I did not instruct her in the Catholic faith or send her to a Catholic school and only baptized her when she was 7 years old. I turned my back on the Church for decades and only returned about 10 years ago, by which time she had left home so she does not relate to the Church. And advice would be gratefully received. – J.F.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: I’m sorry to hear about your daughter’s decision not to baptize her baby.

As you imply, this decision is linked to the shaky formation in the faith she received when growing up.

But there is always hope. “For God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).

The first thing would be to intensify your prayers and sacrifices for your daughter and her family. Think about attending Mass more frequently, if not daily. Have a Mass celebrated for your daughter and the baby.

In the meantime, try to learn more about your faith. The better you know your faith, the better you might be able to explain it to her.

If it’s opportune, apologize to your daughter for not doing a better job in raising her in the faith. If she sees you repentant and humble and leading a devout life, that might give her something to ponder.

To learn more about the faith you might check out this list of books:


Other suggestions would be:

Search and Rescue: How to Bring Your Family and Friends Into or Back Into the Catholic Church, by Patrick Madrid.

The Essential Catholic Survival Guide, by Catholic Answers.

U.S. Catholic Catechism for Adults.

For now, have patience. It might take a while for your daughter’s conversion. But remember, God loves your daughter and her baby even more than you do. So there is reason for hope.

Count on my prayers.


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