Anyone can baptize?

I am Catholic. Can I baptize a newborn even if the child’s parents are not Catholic?

It is not permitted, no. The Code of Canon Law states:
Can. 868 §1. For an infant to be baptized licitly:
[INDENT][INDENT]1/ the parents or at least one of them or the person who legitimately takes their place must consent;

2/ there must be a founded hope that the infant will be brought up in the Catholic religion; if such hope is altogether lacking, the baptism is to be delayed according to the prescripts of particular law after the parents have been advised about the reason.[/INDENT]
§2. An infant of Catholic parents or even of non-Catholic parents is baptized licitly in danger of death even against the will of the parents.[/INDENT]
Without both consent from the parents and a well-founded hope of the child’s being brought up a faithful Catholic, then, absent danger of death, he should not be baptized.

Also, as a layman (which I assume you are), you are not permitted just to go around baptizing people, absent necessity, without authority from the Church (which could be granted for instance if you were in a mission land with few priests). The function of baptizing properly falls to “a bishop, a presbyter, or a deacon,” see Canon 862.

If the child is in any danger of death, then yes. Danger of death doesn’t mean certainty of death, but for example a child would go into surgery or maybe you’re in a city in a middle of a war.

But as Mark has pointed out, ordinarily the Church forbids us as a discipline. It would be a mortal sin to break Canon Law.

The short answer is NO.

Baptising by someone who is not a priest is only allowed in cases of imminent death of the unbaptised and even then cannot be done if it is known the unbaptised did not or would not wish it or if its against the wishes of the parents of a minor. However, if an infant is in imminent danger of death and the parents are Catholic, but they do not give permission, the infant can be baptised against their wishes.

Agreed.

Baptising by someone who is not a priest is only allowed in cases of imminent death of the unbaptised and even then cannot be done if it is known the unbaptised did not or would not wish it or if its against the wishes of the parents of a minor.

Not quite. A deacon is not a priest, but still counts as an ordinary minister of baptism; and baptism against the wishes of the parents is permitted in the case of the danger of death, see the excerpt above.

You are right. I pressed too quickly and went in to edit but you beat me to it. In fact any infant in danger of death, whether the parents are Catholic or not, can be baptised even against the parents wishes.

Can. 868 §1 For an infant to be baptised lawfully it is required:

1° that the parents, or at least one of them, or the person who lawfully holds their place, give their consent;

2° that there be a well-founded hope that the child will be brought up in the catholic religion. If such hope is truly lacking, the baptism is, in accordance with the provisions of particular law, to be deferred and the parents advised of the reason for this.

**§2 An infant of catholic parents, indeed even of non-catholic parents, may in danger of death be baptised even if the parents are opposed to it. **

Thanks so much for this info. It helps seeing what the canon law staes. I only read the catechism.

Canon law only applies to Catholics, however. And even an atheist can validly baptize providing he or she uses the correct formula.

The atheist must use water and baptize with the intention of what the Church teaches. This is found in the CCC 1256.

Yes, but I don’t know if Protestants necessarily follow what the Church teaches in the CCC. Their baptisms appear to be valid as well.

You’ll have to take that up with the author of paragraph 1256 in the CCC. :slight_smile: Yes, their baptisms are valid with proper form and matter and maybe an ignorance of what the Church teaches. That is why when one comes into the Church they make a profession of faith. You do make a good point but I think that the CCC mentions this to exclude just anyone from baptizing and/or making a mockery of the sacrament…teachccd

The Catholic Church doesn’t recognize all protestant baptisms. Only those that meet our criteria of form and basic intention.

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