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Chapter 15. Baptism: Becoming a Christian • 191

birth (CCC, no. 1250; cf.

Code of Canon Law


Codex Iuris Canonici


CIC], can. 867). However, the Church also teaches that the Baptism of

an infant may be postponed if there is not a “founded hope” that the

child will be brought up in the Catholic Faith (CIC, can. 868 §2).

There are the children—born and unborn—who die without Baptism.

The Church entrusts them to the mercy of God, who wills that all people

be saved. We recall Christ’s tender welcome of children saying, “Let the

children come to me and do not hinder them” (Mk 10:14). Because of

The Elect enter the stage of

Purification and Enlightenment


occurs during the season of Lent. They prepare themselves for

the reception of the Sacraments of Initiation by prayerful reflec-

tion. On the third, fourth, and fifth Sundays of Lent, the Scrutinies

are celebrated. These rites, which take place during Mass, offer

opportunities for the Elect to reflect on the full meaning of the

step they are preparing to take. They are meant to bring God’s

illuminating Word to the Elect so that whatever is weak or sinful in

their hearts can be healed and so that whatever is good in them

can be strengthened. The parish community joins them by exam-

ining their own lives and interceding with God for the Elect. This

period concludes at the Easter Vigil, when the Elect receive the

Sacraments of Initiation and become full members of the Church

and are called neophytes.

From Easter to Pentecost, there is a period of postbaptismal

catechesis, or


. This is a time for the neophytes, or

newly initiated, along with the members of the parish to come

closer together as a faith community to examine more deeply

the Gospel, to share in the Eucharist, and to do works of charity.

During this joyful time, the neophytes’ enthusiasm can inspire the

faithful of the parish, who in turn can share their experiences of

the faith with them.