Catholics believe that Baptism is the washing away of original sin and not the acceptance of the Holy Spirit. This confuses a lot of Protestant Brothers and Sisters for two reasons:
- We believe in Infant Baptism
Imagine my surprise from today’s Liturgy (Readings):
Now when the apostles in Jerusalem
heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God,
they sent them Peter and John,
who went down and prayed for them,
that they might receive the Holy Spirit,
**for it had not yet fallen upon any of them;
they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.**
Then they laid hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.
The bold is my emphasis, but I really wanted to focus in on that line. So a little background on Confirmation is that the Bishop (apostolic line, shepherd, etc) comes to the parish and lays hands on the confirmation candidates. It is very beautiful and stems from this very scripture from Acts 5:14-17. This is where a big part of confusion comes from when we baptize our infants. Baptism to a Catholic is simply washing away of the sin Adam and Eve left us. We are not expecting at that moment that the infant has accepted Christ, rather we are welcoming this child to the Body of Christ. At a Catholic Baptism the congregation raises a hand and promises to help raise this child in the fullness of the faith.
As scripture directs, a child will grow up being taught the faith. When they are old enough to be “born of water and Spirit,” they can receive their marching orders. It is at the time a young adult is confirmed that they are saying (or confirming) that they truly believe the teachings of Christ and the Church. Nifty eh?
I hope this clears up something, had to share after reading it.