Religious or civil baptism, the differences

Religious or civil baptism, the differences

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Faith is the main difference between religious and civil baptism. If believers generally turn to religious baptism, atheists can opt for civilian sponsorship. Overview of both types of ceremonies.

Religious baptism, a sacrament

  • In the Catholic religion, baptism is the first sacrament the believer receives. It is on this occasion that the child, accompanied by his godfather and his godmother, enters the Christian community to which he will belong all his life. Most religions, moreover, have this type of ceremonies, even if they can take on different rituals and meanings.
  • To organize a Catholic baptism, one must approach the priest of his parish and attend baptism preparation meetings, during which parents reflect on the religious values ​​they wish to inculcate in their child.
  • In addition, the religious ceremony itself takes place during a special mass, during which the child is blessed for the first time in his life.

Civil baptism, a republican sponsorship

  • Established in 1794, during the separation of Church and State, civil baptism is an alternative to religious baptism since it makes it possible to give a godfather and a godmother to a child, without any religious connotation.
  • If we had to compare the two processes, we could say that this ceremony celebrates, in a way, the entry of the child into the community of the Republic.
  • Organized by the majority of the town halls, the civil baptism does not fit into a legally established regulatory framework. Each municipality can, indeed, organize its ceremony as it sees fit, even if in fact, each ceremony ends with the signature of a certificate of civil sponsorship.

And legally, what are these two baptisms worth?

  • Catholic baptism, like civil baptism, has no legal value. They constitute only a moral commitment on the part of the godfathers and godmothers. This means that in the event of the death of the parents, these two baptisms do not confer any specific right on the officially chosen persons.
  • Republican baptisms do not appear on the register of civil status or on the official register of civil ceremonies.
  • Nevertheless, parents may choose to appoint a godparent as guardian of the child if they die. This designation is then made by way of testamentary or notary.