One sometimes hears of parents who do not baptize their children, saying that they are going to let the child choose for him/her-self what religion they want to be.  It was interesting to see the Holy Father, Benedict XVI, address this issue in a recent address.  He said [my emphases]:

In the end the question remains […] of the Baptism of children. Is it right to do it, or would it be more necessary to first undertake the catechumenal way to arrive at a truly realized Baptism? And the other question that is always asked is: “But can we impose on a child which religion he should or should not live? Should we not let the child choose?” These questions show that we no longer see in the Christian faith the new life, the true life, but we see a choice among others, even a burden that should not be imposed without having the assent of the individual. The reality is different. Life itself is given to us without our being able to choose if we wish to live or not; no one can be asked: “do you want to be born or not?” Life itself comes to us necessarily without our previous consent, it is given to us thus and we cannot first say “yes or no, I want or do not want to live.” And, in reality, the real question is: “Is it right to give life in this world without having had the consensus – do you want to live or not? Can one really anticipate life, give life without the individual having had the possibility to decide?” I would say: it is possible and right only if, with life, we can also give the guarantee that life, with all the problems of the world, is good, that it is good to live, that there is a guarantee that this life is good, is protected by God and is a real gift. Only the anticipation of the meaning justifies the anticipation of life. And because of this Baptism as guarantee of God’s goodness, as anticipation of the meaning, of the “yes” of God who protects this life, also justifies the anticipation of life. Hence, the Baptism of children is not against liberty; in fact it is necessary to give this, to justify also the gift — otherwise debatable – of life. Only the life that is in the hands of God, in the hands of Christ, immersed in the name of the Trinitarian God, is certainly a good that can be given without scruples. And thus we are grateful to God who has given us this gift, who has given us himself. And our challenge is to live this gift, to really live, in a post-baptismal journey, the renunciations of the “yes” and to live always in the great “yes” of God, and so live well.

See the full address here: