Why baptise infants rather than wait for them to be old enough to make their own choice?
Pietro Longhi, “The Baptism”, 1755 (photo: Public Domain)
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,”
From Fr John Hardon’s Modern Catholic Dictionary
The Catholic Church’s constant teaching is that children should be baptized soon after birth. The reason being that a child is born with original sin, which, in God’s ordinary providence, cannot be removed before the age of reason except by baptism with water. Through baptism an infant receives sanctifying grace, the infused virtures of faith, hope, and charity, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
The common teaching of the Catholic Church is that unbaptized infants who die do not enjoy the beatific vision but enter into a state of perfect natural happiness, commonly called limbo.
Catechism of the Counsel of Trent
Baptism of Infants Should Not Be Delayed
The faithful are earnestly to be exhorted to take care that their children be brought to the church, as soon as it can be done with safety, to receive solemn Baptism. Since infant children have no other means of salvation except Baptism, we may easily understand how grievously those persons sin who permit them to remain without the grace of the Sacrament longer than necessity may require, particularly at an age so tender as to be exposed to numberless dangers of death.
Does the Bible support the baptism of infants?
Yes, it does, though the evidence is indirect (deductive) as the word household implies every person, including infants:
Acts 16:15. . . she was baptized, with her household, . . .
Acts 16:33 . . . he was baptized at once, with all his family.
Acts 18:8 Crispus, . . . believed in the Lord, together with all his household; and many of the Corinthians hearing Paul believed and were baptized.
1 Corinthians 1:16 . . . I did baptize also the household of Steph’anas . . .