Another baptism question - vows?


#1

Hello! I was a c-section baby, and I think I might be a c-section convert to Catholicism. I wasn't baptized Catholic but I'm here anyway.
I received Christian baptism as a Protestant. In the preparation classes for this, we learned that baptism was only an outward sign of belief and obedience and unity with the church that didn't effect anything and was unnecessary for salvation. They specifically rejected "the errors of the Romanists" about baptism.

My former church was VERY non-sacramental (kind of sad really :p) and we were given to understand that baptism was just something you did; it was special, but not that special. The staff was surprised when my dad asked about a baptismal certificate; they didn't do certificates. So dad bought certificates for us (me and my sister) and the pastor agreed to sign them.

At first I was concerned because I didn't understand how Catholicism could accept a baptism as having "proper intention,...to do what the Church does when She baptizes" when the denomination rejects the Catholic understanding of it. I have decided that this is because it is not the Church, but the Holy Spirit, Who regenerates through baptism; therefore the Church can't have the intention to regenerate folks when She baptizes, so if a non-Catholic has no intention of offering regenerative baptism, it is still possible for them to intend to do what the Church does.

My question is about baptismal vows. At one point I renounced my baptism and I would like to make an "official" renewal of it (I did attend the Easter Vigil and followed along with the group renewal of the baptismal vows), but I don't know how this works for someone with my background.
Did I even make baptismal promises? Was the fact of being baptized itself a vow? I don't understand how I can renew promises that I never made.


#2

In the Catholic Church, the promises (Do you renounce Satan? I do., etc.) are made either by the person being baptized (if an adult) or by the godparents on his behalf (if he's an infant). Some Protestants maintain this tradition or have something similar, but many do not.

So in your case, having been baptized in a "low church" setting, the promises were not made. So you made the promises at Easter Vigil. Great! Now you've made them. Next Easter you can publicly renew them. And of course you can renew them privately at any time, daily if you wish.


#3

[quote="SecretaryMonday, post:1, topic:322425"]
I didn't understand how Catholicism could accept a baptism as having "proper intention,...to do what the Church does when She baptizes" when the denomination rejects the Catholic understanding of it.

[/quote]

When the Church says "proper intention" what's meant is intent to baptize. This would exclude, for example, pretending to baptize an actor for the purposes filming a movie or dunking a person as a practical joke while horsing around. In those cases, no baptism is actually intended, merely the appearance of baptism.

But when Southern Baptists (for example) baptize people, they're not just playacting. They really do intend to baptize, to do what the Apostles did and what Christians have always done. Sure, they have some incorrect ideas about what baptism does and doesn't do. But they do intend to do baptism.

[quote="SecretaryMonday, post:1, topic:322425"]
At one point I renounced my baptism

[/quote]

The character imparted by baptism is indelible, there's no way to get rid of it. "Renunciation" could be a sin someone needs to confess, but it had no effect on whether you were baptized. :)

[quote="SecretaryMonday, post:1, topic:322425"]
I would like to make an "official" renewal of it (I did attend the Easter Vigil and followed along with the group renewal of the baptismal vows)

[/quote]

That's the official way to do it. You're also doing it every time you pray the Creed. :)


#4

When the Church determines if a baptism was valid – the part about “doing with the Church intends” – can also be taken to “do what Christians do” --even if the persons understanding of it was incorrect. An atheist who baptizes his dying friend cause his friend asks him to baptize him --can validly baptize. A Christian who does not hold the fullness of the Faith can will often be baptizing because Christ said to. The Church looks into the matter. If a prudent doubt remains then she gives a “conditional baptism”.

As to the baptismal promises – one then can be said to have made them when one was received into the Church. And one can renew them often as one likes (I do everyday in a short form).

Here is a great reading from Pope Benedict XVI

vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/homilies/2006/documents/hf_ben-xvi_hom_20060108_battesimo_en.html


#5

[quote="aspirant, post:3, topic:322425"]
When the Church says "proper intention" what's meant is intent to baptize. ...

The character imparted by baptism is indelible, there's no way to get rid of it. "Renunciation" could be a sin someone needs to confess, but it had no effect on whether you were baptized. :)

[/quote]

Yes, I understand, and I've brought it to Confession. I was thinking of a baptismal renewal being more an act of reparation, not a "re-baptism".

[quote="Ad_Orientem, post:2, topic:322425"]

So in your case, having been baptized in a "low church" setting, the promises were not made. So you made the promises at Easter Vigil. Great! Now you've made them. Next Easter you can publicly renew them. And of course you can renew them privately at any time, daily if you wish.

[/quote]

[quote="Bookcat, post:4, topic:322425"]

As to the baptismal promises -- one then can be said to have made them when one was received into the Church. And one can renew them often as one likes (I do everyday in a short form).

[/quote]

Thanks - I also try to make a short renewal of my baptism and Confirmation daily, but it seemed awkward to be 'renewing' something that I hadn't made, so I will just consider it taken care of.

[quote="Bookcat, post:4, topic:322425"]
Here is a great reading from Pope Benedict XVI

vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/homilies/2006/documents/hf_ben-xvi_hom_20060108_battesimo_en.html

[/quote]

*"We can give two replies to the question, "How will this happen?". This is the first one: through Baptism each child is inserted into a gathering of friends who never abandon him in life or in death because these companions are God's family, which in itself bears the promise of eternity.

This group of friends, this family of God, into which the child is now admitted, will always accompany him, even on days of suffering and in life's dark nights; it will give him consolation, comfort and light.

This companionship, this family, will give him words of eternal life, words of light in response to the great challenges of life, and will point out to him the right path to take. This group will also offer the child consolation and comfort, and God's love when death is at hand, in the dark valley of death. It will give him friendship, it will give him life. And these totally trustworthy companions will never disappear.
"*

I have friends! Cool. :D


#6

[quote="SecretaryMonday, post:5, topic:322425"]

Thanks - I also try to make a short renewal of my baptism ....daily, but it seemed awkward to be 'renewing' something that I hadn't made, so I will just consider it taken care of.

[/quote]

When one made it the first time -- at the Easter Vigil -such can be said to be when one made such explict promises for the first time .....


#7

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