Catholic FAQ


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.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search Thread Display
  #1  
Old Oct 27, '09, 4:46 am
SisterSnowflake's Avatar
SisterSnowflake SisterSnowflake is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 21, 2008
Posts: 304
Religion: Catholic (RCIA Class of 1994)
Default Can You baptize Yourself??

Oh, my!

My tenth grade theology students (all boys) have a perplexing question. In the event of an emergency, anyone, even a non-Christian, can baptize. What if nobody else is present? Can you baptize yourself?

I can find no evidence either for OR against this (looked in universal catechism, U.S. adult catechism, and even canon law!).

We know all about baptism by desire, but what about actual water baptism?

We had some great discussions about this at the convent last night!

Thanks in advance.

God bless.

Sister H.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old Oct 27, '09, 5:55 am
Br. Rich SFO Br. Rich SFO is offline
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: June 3, 2004
Posts: 11,454
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: Can You baptize Yourself??

Quote:
Originally Posted by SisterSnowflake View Post
Oh, my!

My tenth grade theology students (all boys) have a perplexing question. In the event of an emergency, anyone, even a non-Christian, can baptize. What if nobody else is present? Can you baptize yourself?

I can find no evidence either for OR against this (looked in universal catechism, U.S. adult catechism, and even canon law!).

We know all about baptism by desire, but what about actual water baptism?

We had some great discussions about this at the convent last night!

Thanks in advance.

God bless.

Sister H.
No, a person cannot Sacramentally Baptize themselves. The best they can do is pray for the Grace of Baptism through Baptism of Desire, although not equal to Sacramental Baptism it may suffice for salvation.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old Oct 27, '09, 6:23 am
NHInsider's Avatar
NHInsider NHInsider is offline
Regular Member
Forum Supporter
 
Join Date: November 23, 2008
Posts: 2,492
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: Can You baptize Yourself??

I would also suggest that, presuming this hypothetical situtation is in extremis (why else?) that if the person died expressing desire for Baptism, the Lord would honor that desire, and if instead he survived, he would present himself for sacramental Baptism at the soonest opportunity.
__________________
"Strive for peace with all men, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord." Heb. 12:14

Crossed the Tiber 1980 (no, I can't swim)
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old Oct 27, '09, 6:28 am
ckempston ckempston is offline
Banned
 
Join Date: March 10, 2008
Posts: 1,674
Religion: Christian
Default Re: Can You baptize Yourself??

The wording of the Catechism wouldn't seem to exclude "self" from being both the baptized and the baptizer:

V. WHO CAN BAPTIZE?

1256 The ordinary ministers of Baptism are the bishop and priest and, in the Latin Church, also the deacon.57 In case of necessity, anyone, even a non-baptized person, with the required intention, can baptize58 , by using the Trinitarian baptismal formula. The intention required is to will to do what the Church does when she baptizes. The Church finds the reason for this possibility in the universal saving will of God and the necessity of Baptism for salvation.59

As long as the requirements for validity are met, it seems to me that all other factors, even if they are normative, are not as required.

And this would not be without Biblical precedent. Naaman dunked himself seven times in the Jordan and was cleansed.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old Oct 27, '09, 6:43 am
Br. Rich SFO Br. Rich SFO is offline
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: June 3, 2004
Posts: 11,454
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: Can You baptize Yourself??

Quote:
Originally Posted by ckempston View Post
The wording of the Catechism wouldn't seem to exclude "self" from being both the baptized and the baptizer:

V. WHO CAN BAPTIZE?

1256 The ordinary ministers of Baptism are the bishop and priest and, in the Latin Church, also the deacon.57 In case of necessity, anyone, even a non-baptized person, with the required intention, can baptize58 , by using the Trinitarian baptismal formula. The intention required is to will to do what the Church does when she baptizes. The Church finds the reason for this possibility in the universal saving will of God and the necessity of Baptism for salvation.59

As long as the requirements for validity are met, it seems to me that all other factors, even if they are normative, are not as required.

And this would not be without Biblical precedent. Naaman dunked himself seven times in the Jordan and was cleansed.
No, you are misinterpreting the Catechism.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old Oct 27, '09, 6:47 am
SisterSnowflake's Avatar
SisterSnowflake SisterSnowflake is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 21, 2008
Posts: 304
Religion: Catholic (RCIA Class of 1994)
Default Re: Can You baptize Yourself??

Thanks, everyone!!

Teenage boys come up with many interesting questions...things I would never have thought of, left to my own devices!
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old Oct 27, '09, 2:59 pm
ckempston ckempston is offline
Banned
 
Join Date: March 10, 2008
Posts: 1,674
Religion: Christian
Default Re: Can You baptize Yourself??

Quote:
Originally Posted by Br. Rich SFO View Post
No, you are misinterpreting the Catechism.
Right. Yeah, that's real easy to say. Could you explain?
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old Oct 27, '09, 7:31 pm
Joe Kelley Joe Kelley is offline
Forum Elder
 
Join Date: June 24, 2004
Posts: 15,900
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: Can You baptize Yourself??

I don't have a source at hand, but have seen good authority that one cannot baptize himself, or confer any other sacrament on himself. On the other hand, one can be baptized by anyone - non-Catholic, non-Christian, whatever. All that is necessary is that they intend to do whatever the Church intends. Just the intent; they don't even need to know what that includes. There used to be, and hopefully still are instructions posted in the baby wards of hospitals as to what any one available is to do if a Catholic infant is in danger of death.
__________________
I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live,
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old Oct 28, '09, 2:25 am
LilyM's Avatar
LilyM LilyM is offline
Forum Elder
Forum Supporter
 
Join Date: February 1, 2006
Posts: 33,197
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: Can You baptize Yourself??

One cannot baptise themselves any more than one can confer the sacrament of penance upon oneself - and surely we all know that not even a priest can do that.

In the catechism we read the following:

815 What are these bonds of unity? Above all, charity "binds everything together in perfect harmony."265 But the unity of the pilgrim Church is also assured by visible bonds of communion:
- profession of one faith received from the Apostles;

-common celebration of divine worship, especially of the sacraments


So what part of a person supposedly baptising themself makes that supposed sacrament a visible bond of communion or a common celebration of divine worship? A bond and a common celebration surely requires at least two people, no?
__________________

Christ The Lord Is Risen Today! Alleluia!!


God bless and keep our new Pope Francis - Viva il Papa!
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old Oct 28, '09, 3:54 am
AJV AJV is offline
Banned
 
Join Date: August 4, 2005
Posts: 4,112
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: Can You baptize Yourself??

Quote:
Originally Posted by ckempston View Post
Right. Yeah, that's real easy to say. Could you explain?
Theologians usually give different reasons for this such as:

(1) In the economy of grace, God has chosen to make us part of the communion of believers. We are all dependent on each other in some way or another, and each has a role to play in dispensing God's gifts of grace. God, although he is not bound to, associates us with his work . This is why we have the communion of saints, is it not? Baptism with at least another person is a communal act, with the entire Church. It's not a "me and my salvation"

(2) With regard to the specific form of baptism, it supposes two people "I baptize you" likewise, though less obvious, for the indirect forms used in the Eastern Churches.

Any book going into the theology of the sacraments will give a complete explanation of why the minister of a sacrament cannot administer a sacrament to himself (or herself, in the case of baptism)

The Catechism will not give every single last detail because else it would be too bothersome to read (and it's already quite bulky) If one were to read "anyone" as literal then we could say anyone means a dead person, an angel, a devil, etc. all of which are not possible.

The analogy with Naaman cannot hold, because Naaman was not receiving baptism. It may be taken as a type or figure of baptism, but we can't extrapolate from it. On the contrary, we see in the NT that everyone was baptized by someone else. Some theologians even point out the necessity of someone else for baptism by indicating that Christ himself left us this positive example in being baptized by St. John the Baptist and not baptizing himself.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old Oct 28, '09, 9:46 am
ckempston ckempston is offline
Banned
 
Join Date: March 10, 2008
Posts: 1,674
Religion: Christian
Default Re: Can You baptize Yourself??

Quote:
Originally Posted by AJV View Post
Theologians usually give different reasons for this such as:

(1) In the economy of grace, God has chosen to make us part of the communion of believers. We are all dependent on each other in some way or another, and each has a role to play in dispensing God's gifts of grace. God, although he is not bound to, associates us with his work . This is why we have the communion of saints, is it not? Baptism with at least another person is a communal act, with the entire Church. It's not a "me and my salvation"
Of course, but we're talking about someone in extremis, not the normative method.

Quote:
(2) With regard to the specific form of baptism, it supposes two people "I baptize you" likewise, though less obvious, for the indirect forms used in the Eastern Churches.

Any book going into the theology of the sacraments will give a complete explanation of why the minister of a sacrament cannot administer a sacrament to himself (or herself, in the case of baptism)
Are we talking about only the Seven Sacraments here? Is Baptism of Desire still a sacrament? (asking seriously, because I don't know). Because the "minister of the sacrament" (the person desiring baptism) would also be the recipient. If God somehow makes an exception here, it's a little ridiculous to say that God wouldn't make an exception for someone baptizing themselves on a deserted island. The answer someone gave in regard to the Baptism of Desire seems to leave room for doubt. Why not remove doubt and baptize yourself? Other Sacraments likewise leave room for the sacrament to still occur without a minister - the same end is achieved with the Sacrament of Penance through a "perfect act of contrition." So, to say it's impossible to have a sacrament without a minister seems incorrect.

Quote:
The Catechism will not give every single last detail because else it would be too bothersome to read (and it's already quite bulky) If one were to read "anyone" as literal then we could say anyone means a dead person, an angel, a devil, etc. all of which are not possible.
That's a little ridiculous. Even taking "anyone" literally, you would reasonably assume the baptizer is capable of performing the act. A dead person is not capable.

Quote:
The analogy with Naaman cannot hold, because Naaman was not receiving baptism. It may be taken as a type or figure of baptism, but we can't extrapolate from it. On the contrary, we see in the NT that everyone was baptized by someone else. Some theologians even point out the necessity of someone else for baptism by indicating that Christ himself left us this positive example in being baptized by St. John the Baptist and not baptizing himself.
Namaan is not the only example, you have the Israelites passing through the sea, and Noah and his family in the Ark, both of which are types of Baptism explicitly referenced in the New Testament. In both cases, it was God directly who did the "baptizing" and there was no other "minister".
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old Oct 28, '09, 10:21 am
Br. Rich SFO Br. Rich SFO is offline
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: June 3, 2004
Posts: 11,454
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: Can You baptize Yourself??

Quote:
Originally Posted by ckempston View Post
Of course, but we're talking about someone in extremis, not the normative method.



Are we talking about only the Seven Sacraments here? Is Baptism of Desire still a sacrament? (asking seriously, because I don't know). Because the "minister of the sacrament" (the person desiring baptism) would also be the recipient. If God somehow makes an exception here, it's a little ridiculous to say that God wouldn't make an exception for someone baptizing themselves on a deserted island. The answer someone gave in regard to the Baptism of Desire seems to leave room for doubt. Why not remove doubt and baptize yourself? Other Sacraments likewise leave room for the sacrament to still occur without a minister - the same end is achieved with the Sacrament of Penance through a "perfect act of contrition." So, to say it's impossible to have a sacrament without a minister seems incorrect.



That's a little ridiculous. Even taking "anyone" literally, you would reasonably assume the baptizer is capable of performing the act. A dead person is not capable.



Namaan is not the only example, you have the Israelites passing through the sea, and Noah and his family in the Ark, both of which are types of Baptism explicitly referenced in the New Testament. In both cases, it was God directly who did the "baptizing" and there was no other "minister".
"Perfect Act of Contrition" is not a Sacrament and Baptism of Desire and Baptism of Blood are not Sacraments.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old Oct 28, '09, 10:49 am
ckempston ckempston is offline
Banned
 
Join Date: March 10, 2008
Posts: 1,674
Religion: Christian
Default Re: Can You baptize Yourself??

Quote:
Originally Posted by Br. Rich SFO View Post
"Perfect Act of Contrition" is not a Sacrament and Baptism of Desire and Baptism of Blood are not Sacraments.
Gotta love your one-line responses with no references, just the expectation that someone take it on your authority. By your statement, do you simply mean that these are not one of the Seven Sacraments, or that they are not sacramental at all? Sacramental in a very general sense would seem to be anything that conveys God's Grace, which could be a prayer, fasting, reading the Scriptures, etc. Didn't Augustine say something about there being thousands of sacraments?
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old Oct 28, '09, 4:29 pm
Zooey's Avatar
Zooey Zooey is offline
Forum Master
Prayer Warrior
 
Join Date: March 9, 2005
Posts: 14,543
Religion: Methodist
Default Re: Can You baptize Yourself??

Quote:
Originally Posted by SisterSnowflake View Post
Thanks, everyone!!

Teenage boys come up with many interesting questions...things I would never have thought of, left to my own devices!
I just am posting to say, that I really just love your students!! That must be a fascinating class.
God bless you as you teach,and your students as they learn.
__________________
Servant of Feline Forces--"the New Kids" (Mona, born 2010, & Tara, born 2011)

And now our own dear Bro, too, has crossed over the river, where he rests under the shade of the trees...
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old Oct 28, '09, 5:45 pm
Br. Rich SFO Br. Rich SFO is offline
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: June 3, 2004
Posts: 11,454
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: Can You baptize Yourself??

Quote:
Originally Posted by ckempston View Post
Gotta love your one-line responses with no references, just the expectation that someone take it on your authority. By your statement, do you simply mean that these are not one of the Seven Sacraments, or that they are not sacramental at all? Sacramental in a very general sense would seem to be anything that conveys God's Grace, which could be a prayer, fasting, reading the Scriptures, etc. Didn't Augustine say something about there being thousands of sacraments?
They are not Sacraments, as in 7 Sacraments. I try not to call anything else "sacraments" because it does cause confusion. The term Sacramental or Sacramentals for Holy Water, Candles, Blessings etc. is generally well understood.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Go Back   Catholic Answers Forums > Forums > Liturgy and Sacraments

Bookmarks

Tags
baptize yourself?

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
8451Meet and talk,talk talk
Last by: suko
5142CAF Prayer Warriors Support Group
Last by: tawny
4424Devotion to the Sorrowful Mother
Last by: DesertSister62
4037OCD/Scrupulosity Group
Last by: eschator83
3863SOLITUDE
Last by: beth40n2
3734Let's empty Purgatory
Last by: DesertSister62
3317Petitions Before the Blessed Sacrament
Last by: grateful_child
3282Poems and Reflections
Last by: PathWalker
3223Catholic Vegetarians & Vegans
Last by: Rifester
3109For seniors and shut- ins
Last by: RevDrJBTDDPhD



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 9:32 pm.

Home RSS Feeds - Home - Archive - Top

Copyright © 2004-2014, Catholic Answers.