Catholic FAQ


We were unable to reach our goal for the summer but we have reached 98%
Please consider donating if you can and keep us in your prayers.


Latest Threads
newest posts



Go Back   Catholic Answers Forums > Forums > Liturgy and Sacraments
 

Welcome to Catholic Answers Forums, the largest Catholic Community on the Web.

Here you can join over 400,000 members from around the world discussing all things Catholic. Membership is open to all, Catholic and non-Catholic alike, who seek the Truth with Charity.

To gain full access, you must register for a FREE account. Registered members are able to:
  • Submit questions about the faith to experts from Catholic Answers
  • Participate in all forum discussions
  • Communicate privately with Catholics from around the world
  • Plus join a prayer group, read with the Book Club, and much more.
Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free. So join our community today!

Have a question about registration or your account log-in? Just contact our Support Hotline.

Closed Thread
 
Thread Tools Search Thread Display
  #1  
Old Feb 20, '09, 5:42 am
BostonMyrtleBea BostonMyrtleBea is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: March 27, 2007
Posts: 258
Religion: Catholic
Default Baptism vs Christening

This question has probably been asked a million times....

I have a question about Baptisms and Christenings. I am a practicing Catholic (born Catholic) and attended Catholic schools most of my life (including College).

My husband and I have just planned our first daughter's Christening. I got invitations printed, the Christening dress, etc... and then someone told me that we (Catholics) don't call the ceremony a Christening.

Well, I know that Baptism is one of the seven Sacraments, but growing up we had always called it a Christening (knowing the baby is getting baptized). To be honest, I thought only Baptists and other protestant religions called it a Baptism.

I really want to know more on the subject, but can't find official church documents that explain.

I found an old post from this site which talks about how the terms were no longer interchangeable after Vatican II but nothing else. http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=86202

I'm putting a document together to put into the invitations (with directions, the steps involved in the Rite of Baptism, etc...) and wanted to put a little blub on the subject. I'm hoping to find official sources on the subject. Any ideas where I can find them?

Thanks!
__________________
Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

Proud mommy!!!! Catherine Marie was born on November 9, 2008! She's our miracle preemie!!!!!

Proud mommy AGAIN!!! Theresa Elizabeth was born on October 12, 2010! She's our miracle full-termer!!!!
  #2  
Old Feb 20, '09, 6:10 am
Cluny Cluny is offline
Banned
 
Join Date: December 14, 2008
Posts: 2,365
Religion: Other
Default Re: Baptism vs Christening

To be honest, I thought only Baptists and other protestant religions called it a Baptism.

___________

It's known as Baptism in all the Eastern Churches, none of whom are Protestant.
  #3  
Old Feb 20, '09, 6:18 am
japhy japhy is offline
Forum Supporter
Book Club Member
 
Join Date: February 28, 2007
Posts: 5,733
Religion: Catholic (Roman Rite)
Default Re: Baptism vs Christening

Quote:
Originally Posted by BostonMyrtleBea View Post
someone told me that we (Catholics) don't call the ceremony a Christening.
Well, the definition of "christen" is "to baptize someone as a Christian", so the act of baptizing someone is "christening" them. The word "christen" is, in some ways, clearer than the word "baptism", because the word itself denotes a becoming-like-Christ: you are being "christ-ened".

The Modern Catholic Dictionary (by Fr. John Hardon) defines "christening" as: "Conferring the sacrament of baptism, with stress on giving the person a Christian name at baptism, or giving someone a Christian name even later on."

So while it may not be the "proper" name of the sacrament (which is Baptism), it is still a legitimate term. They're synonyms.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BostonMyrtleBea View Post
I thought only Baptists and other protestant religions called it a Baptism.


Quote:
Originally Posted by BostonMyrtleBea View Post
I really want to know more on the subject, but can't find official church documents that explain.
I can't find the term used in any Church documents I have digital copies of.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BostonMyrtleBea View Post
I'm hoping to find official sources on the subject.
I would quote the Modern Catholic Dictionary (as above).

Your daughter, Catherine Marie French, was born on my birthday!

(Also, I do not mean to be presumptuous or rude, but Catholics are strongly advised to baptize their children sooner rather than later, especially -- I would think -- in the case of a premature birth. For more information on the matter, I suggest you read Pastoralis Actio, a 1980 Instruction on infant baptism.)
__________________

My first book: The Prayers of the People
My second book: The Prayers of the Priest (now in print!)

My Blog: The Cross Reference
Follow me on Twitter @PrayingTheMass
  #4  
Old Feb 20, '09, 6:40 am
FrDavid96's Avatar
FrDavid96 FrDavid96 is offline
Regular Member
 
Join Date: October 13, 2008
Posts: 6,867
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: Baptism vs Christening

You won't find the word "christening" in any official Church document because it's not a word used by the Church. The word used is "Baptism" because that word describes the Sacrament which is conferred.

The word christening itself came about because some non-catholics deny the efficacy of infant baptisms, and instead do a sort of "naming" ceremony for newborns.

The baptism ceremony should have its emphasis on the Sacrament of Baptism. The emphasis should not be on the "naming" part, although that is an important part of the overall ritual.

In some contexts, the word has found a way into "everyday" Catholic vocabulary. There's nothing wrong with using the word--the important thing to do is to baptize the child.

In our vocabulary (secular as well as religious) we often use "unofficial" words, and since everyone knows what we're talking about most of the time, it doesn't mean very much ("that's not a shovel, it's a spade" or "that's not a spatula, it's a turner"). If someone says "Father will wear a purple robe on Ash Wednesday" we don't need to say "no, Father will wear a violet chasuble". If it's an RCIA class and we're going over the names of vestments that might be a time to correct the speaker, but in everyday use, we simply shrug it off because we understand what's being said.

Sometimes using the wrong word can indeed cause confusion, and in those cases, we should not use a "substitute" word even if everyone does know what we mean.

Baptism is the corrrect word, and it's the word we should be using. But to casually use the word christening instead usually doesn't amount to much. In a CCD or RCIA class, I would insist on using the word "baptism", but in casual conversation, "oh well..."
  #5  
Old Feb 20, '09, 6:41 am
BostonMyrtleBea BostonMyrtleBea is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: March 27, 2007
Posts: 258
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: Baptism vs Christening

Japhy,

Your post was very helpful - exactly what I needed I appreciate your quick response.

Also, what a coincidence about the birthdays!

I had disucssions regarding her birth with the baptism coordinator, but nobody suggested she should be baptized early (though I should have thought of that myself). My parish wouldn't let me get her baptized until I went to the class, forms, etc... I couldn't make the class for quite some time as she was not hospitalized in our town and they only held it once per month. I even had all of the sponsor certificates ready before I attended the class, but they refused to schedule the baptism without all steps completed.

I'm not angry about it or trying to place blame or anything. I'm just sort of explaining why I didn't have it done earlier. Just following the rules

Regardless, our girl is now quite healthy, happy to say. She already comes to Mass with me several times a week and I can't wait for her big day
__________________
Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

Proud mommy!!!! Catherine Marie was born on November 9, 2008! She's our miracle preemie!!!!!

Proud mommy AGAIN!!! Theresa Elizabeth was born on October 12, 2010! She's our miracle full-termer!!!!
  #6  
Old Feb 20, '09, 6:46 am
BostonMyrtleBea BostonMyrtleBea is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: March 27, 2007
Posts: 258
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: Baptism vs Christening

Quote:
Originally Posted by FrDavid96 View Post
You won't find the word "christening" in any official Church document because it's not a word used by the Church. The word used is "Baptism" because that word describes the Sacrament which is conferred.

Baptism is the corrrect word, and it's the word we should be using. But to casually use the word christening instead usually doesn't amount to much. In a CCD or RCIA class, I would insist on using the word "baptism", but in casual conversation, "oh well..."
Thanks for your info. I definitely don't want confusion and am very glad I asked
__________________
Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

Proud mommy!!!! Catherine Marie was born on November 9, 2008! She's our miracle preemie!!!!!

Proud mommy AGAIN!!! Theresa Elizabeth was born on October 12, 2010! She's our miracle full-termer!!!!
  #7  
Old Feb 20, '09, 7:27 am
BostonMyrtleBea BostonMyrtleBea is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: March 27, 2007
Posts: 258
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: Baptism vs Christening

Quote:
Originally Posted by japhy View Post
(Also, I do not mean to be presumptuous or rude, but Catholics are strongly advised to baptize their children sooner rather than later, especially -- I would think -- in the case of a premature birth. For more information on the matter, I suggest you read Pastoralis Actio, a 1980 Instruction on infant baptism.)
I was just thinking... I notice that document was from 1980, but Limbo was only recently booted out of the system. Maybe now that Limbo is not a factor, that might have been the reason for no rush w/ my parish. Just a thought...
__________________
Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

Proud mommy!!!! Catherine Marie was born on November 9, 2008! She's our miracle preemie!!!!!

Proud mommy AGAIN!!! Theresa Elizabeth was born on October 12, 2010! She's our miracle full-termer!!!!
  #8  
Old Feb 20, '09, 7:29 am
thistle thistle is offline
Forum Elder
 
Join Date: August 23, 2005
Posts: 19,924
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: Baptism vs Christening

Quote:
Originally Posted by BostonMyrtleBea View Post
This question has probably been asked a million times....

I have a question about Baptisms and Christenings. I am a practicing Catholic (born Catholic) and attended Catholic schools most of my life (including College).

My husband and I have just planned our first daughter's Christening. I got invitations printed, the Christening dress, etc... and then someone told me that we (Catholics) don't call the ceremony a Christening.

Well, I know that Baptism is one of the seven Sacraments, but growing up we had always called it a Christening (knowing the baby is getting baptized). To be honest, I thought only Baptists and other protestant religions called it a Baptism.

I really want to know more on the subject, but can't find official church documents that explain.

I found an old post from this site which talks about how the terms were no longer interchangeable after Vatican II but nothing else. http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=86202

I'm putting a document together to put into the invitations (with directions, the steps involved in the Rite of Baptism, etc...) and wanted to put a little blub on the subject. I'm hoping to find official sources on the subject. Any ideas where I can find them?

Thanks!
Actually Christening is a term used by Protestants and never by Catholics.
  #9  
Old Feb 20, '09, 7:33 am
BostonMyrtleBea BostonMyrtleBea is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: March 27, 2007
Posts: 258
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: Baptism vs Christening

Quote:
Originally Posted by thistle View Post
Actually Christening is a term used by Protestants and never by Catholics.
Uh oh!! Maybe I was the only one? hahaha

Quote:
Baptism
A Lifelong Calling
Nicholas Lohkamp, O.F.M.
Father Lohkamp explores the meaning of Baptism not as an isolated event in the spiritual life, but a deep and profound mystery that shapes and calls us throughout our lives. "Christening challenges me to be true to my calling. It challenges me to follow Jesus daily with the help of the Spirit," he writes. "ÖTo live every day to the glory of the Father, to live every day as a member of the Church, thus, to be a Catholic."
__________________
Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

Proud mommy!!!! Catherine Marie was born on November 9, 2008! She's our miracle preemie!!!!!

Proud mommy AGAIN!!! Theresa Elizabeth was born on October 12, 2010! She's our miracle full-termer!!!!
  #10  
Old Feb 20, '09, 7:38 am
Phemie Phemie is online now
Forum Master
 
Join Date: November 27, 2007
Posts: 13,349
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: Baptism vs Christening

I would never use the word 'Christening' for baptism. You christen a ship by smashing a bottle of champagne on the hull, hardly a baptism. Non-Catholic churches also christen babies but don't baptize them. I really don't think the terms are interchangeable, no matter what Japhy's dictionary says.

Actually, the Modern Catholic Encyclopedia (Liturgical Press 1994, Nihil Obstat Robert C. Harren: Imprimatur: Jerome Hanus, OSB, Bishop of St. Cloud, Minnesota) defines 'christening' as "The aspect of the baptismal ceremony in which the one baptized takes a Christian name." So they don't see the terms as interchangeable either.
  #11  
Old Feb 20, '09, 7:41 am
BostonMyrtleBea BostonMyrtleBea is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: March 27, 2007
Posts: 258
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: Baptism vs Christening

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phemie View Post
I would never use the word 'Christening' for baptism. You christen a ship by smashing a bottle of champagne on the hull, hardly a baptism. Non-Catholic churches also christen babies but don't baptize them. I really don't think the terms are interchangeable, no matter what Japhy's dictionary says.

Actually, the Modern Catholic Encyclopedia (Liturgical Press 1994, Nihil Obstat Robert C. Harren: Imprimatur: Jerome Hanus, OSB, Bishop of St. Cloud, Minnesota) defines 'christening' as "The aspect of the baptismal ceremony in which the one baptized takes a Christian name." So they don't see the terms as interchangeable either.
I think for now on, I'll call it a Baptism. I can't change the invites, but changed my little document that I'm sending with the invitations. Have to admit that I'll probably still call the dress a Christening gown.
__________________
Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

Proud mommy!!!! Catherine Marie was born on November 9, 2008! She's our miracle preemie!!!!!

Proud mommy AGAIN!!! Theresa Elizabeth was born on October 12, 2010! She's our miracle full-termer!!!!
  #12  
Old Feb 20, '09, 7:43 am
japhy japhy is offline
Forum Supporter
Book Club Member
 
Join Date: February 28, 2007
Posts: 5,733
Religion: Catholic (Roman Rite)
Default Re: Baptism vs Christening

Quote:
Originally Posted by BostonMyrtleBea View Post
Maybe now that Limbo is not a factor, that might have been the reason for no rush w/ my parish.
The non-existence of Limbo doesn't change the Church's urgent call for baptism. If that is your parish's mindset, they're taking liberties that they shouldn't.
__________________

My first book: The Prayers of the People
My second book: The Prayers of the Priest (now in print!)

My Blog: The Cross Reference
Follow me on Twitter @PrayingTheMass
  #13  
Old Feb 20, '09, 7:58 am
BostonMyrtleBea BostonMyrtleBea is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: March 27, 2007
Posts: 258
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: Baptism vs Christening

Here's something interesting! I just called over to some family in Ireland. They call it Christening as well! I knew my brother would (as my family did) and so does his wife's family (all Ireland born and bred). So, at least I'm not alone and everybody KNOWS the Irish are very Catholic

Well, at least I know I'm not crazy and have heard it called Christening before (by Catholics).

I'm glad to have the official word, though. Thanks a bunch for all of your feedback.
__________________
Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

Proud mommy!!!! Catherine Marie was born on November 9, 2008! She's our miracle preemie!!!!!

Proud mommy AGAIN!!! Theresa Elizabeth was born on October 12, 2010! She's our miracle full-termer!!!!
  #14  
Old Feb 20, '09, 8:02 am
Joe 5859's Avatar
Joe 5859 Joe 5859 is offline
Forum Elder
 
Join Date: February 1, 2007
Posts: 16,706
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: Baptism vs Christening

Quote:
Originally Posted by FrDavid96 View Post
You won't find the word "christening" in any official Church document because it's not a word used by the Church. The word used is "Baptism" because that word describes the Sacrament which is conferred.

The word christening itself came about because some non-catholics deny the efficacy of infant baptisms, and instead do a sort of "naming" ceremony for newborns.

The baptism ceremony should have its emphasis on the Sacrament of Baptism. The emphasis should not be on the "naming" part, although that is an important part of the overall ritual.

In some contexts, the word has found a way into "everyday" Catholic vocabulary. There's nothing wrong with using the word--the important thing to do is to baptize the child.

In our vocabulary (secular as well as religious) we often use "unofficial" words, and since everyone knows what we're talking about most of the time, it doesn't mean very much ("that's not a shovel, it's a spade" or "that's not a spatula, it's a turner"). If someone says "Father will wear a purple robe on Ash Wednesday" we don't need to say "no, Father will wear a violet chasuble". If it's an RCIA class and we're going over the names of vestments that might be a time to correct the speaker, but in everyday use, we simply shrug it off because we understand what's being said.

Sometimes using the wrong word can indeed cause confusion, and in those cases, we should not use a "substitute" word even if everyone does know what we mean.

Baptism is the corrrect word, and it's the word we should be using. But to casually use the word christening instead usually doesn't amount to much. In a CCD or RCIA class, I would insist on using the word "baptism", but in casual conversation, "oh well..."
What Fr. said!
__________________
Joe (Average Joe Catholic)


The Catechesis of the Popes
__________________
The more I follow the online discussions ... the more I follow the debates and disagreements in the Church about administrative unity, or the concerns expressed about the moral or personal or administrative or leadership failings of the bishops or the clergy, the more I become convinced that whatever might be the truth of these concerns, ALL of this is simply a distraction. No, itís more than that. Itís a justification, an excuse, for not helping each other and those outside the Church fall in love with Jesus Christ. How easy it is to talk about everything, but about Jesus hardly at all.

- Fr. Gregory Jensen
  #15  
Old Feb 20, '09, 8:48 am
Chatter163's Avatar
Chatter163 Chatter163 is offline
Regular Member
 
Join Date: April 24, 2005
Posts: 3,320
Religion: Roman Catholic
Lightbulb Re: Baptism vs Christening

Quote:
I was just thinking... I notice that document was from 1980, but Limbo was only recently booted out of the system. Maybe now that Limbo is not a factor, that might have been the reason for no rush w/ my parish. Just a thought...
Limbo was never "in" the system, as it was never a teaching of the Church, only a speculation by theologians. It was never a formal part of the faith.
Closed Thread

Go Back   Catholic Answers Forums > Forums > Liturgy and Sacraments

Bookmarks

Thread Tools Search Thread
Search Thread:

Advanced Search
Display

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


Prayer Intentions

Most Active Groups
8298Meet and talk,talk talk
Last by: GLam8833
5063CAF Prayer Warriors Support Group
Last by: Vim71
4350Devotion to the Sorrowful Mother
Last by: James_OPL
4035OCD/Scrupulosity Group
Last by: 3DOCTORS
3849SOLITUDE
Last by: Prairie Rose
3607Let's empty Purgatory
Last by: James_OPL
3257Poems and Reflections
Last by: PathWalker
3210Catholic Vegetarians & Vegans
Last by: 4elise
3183Petitions Before the Blessed Sacrament
Last by: Amiciel
3063For seniors and shut- ins
Last by: ineeda



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 11:49 am.

Home RSS Feeds - Home - Archive - Top

Copyright © 2004-2014, Catholic Answers.