Authority to Administer the Sacraments


#1

Hi everyone,
Trying to understand the following issue regarding authority and the sacraments.

My question is...Why does the Catholic Church believe ANY baptized Christian is
allowed to baptize but all other sacraments require ordination?

Jesus instructed his apostles to provide the Eucharist at the Last Supper, a
command many Catholics, including Brant Pitre and Scott Hahn, have suggested
established the Priesthood, but Jesus also commanded his apostles to baptize and
never commanded anyone else to do that either:

Matthew 28:16: Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where
Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some
doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on
earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am
with you always, to the very end of the age.”

So why is baptism treated differently?

Thanks in advance!

-Justin


#2

This was a highly contentious topic in the earliest days of the Church. In those days, there were a number of heresies, and people unwittingly joined heretical sects and were Baptized in them. When the heresy was exposed, those people wished to unite with the Catholic Church. Should the Church accept their Baptism?

The Early Fathers were sharply divided over this issue. My favorite ECF, St. Cyprian of Carthage, was perhaps the most vocal and effective opponent of the idea of accepting heretical Baptism. He would not even use the word "baptize" in this context - he referred to "those made wet by heretics." I think that's funny.

How can an unbaptized person perform valid Baptism? How can someone give what they do not have?

Alas for St. Cyprian, the Church determined that Baptism, as the gateway of salvation (and the only assured means of obtaining it) is not encumbered by the ontological nature of the minister. The Grace of Baptism comes from God, and God may pour out his Grace in any manner he chooses. The Church determined, by her divine authority to teach, that Baptismal Grace is made available even when the minister is not Baptized. Once this decision was made, opposition to it ceased.

So, basically the answer to your question is: Because the Church said so.

FWIW, in the Sacrament of Matrimony (in Latin theology), the bride and groom mutually confer the Sacrament upon each other. The deacon/priest/bishop witnesses the union and pronounces the blessing of the Church, but he is not considered to be the minister of the Sacrament. So Baptism is not unique in this regard.


#3

[quote="DavidFilmer, post:2, topic:320815"]
This was a highly contentious topic in the earliest days of the Church. In those days, there were a number of heresies, and people unwittingly joined heretical sects and were Baptized in them. When the heresy was exposed, those people wished to unite with the Catholic Church. Should the Church accept their Baptism?

The Early Fathers were sharply divided over this issue. My favorite ECF, St. Cyprian of Carthage, was perhaps the most vocal and effective opponent of the idea of accepting heretical Baptism. He would not even use the word "baptize" in this context - he referred to "those made wet by heretics." I think that's funny.

How can an unbaptized person perform valid Baptism? How can someone give what they do not have?

Alas for St. Cyprian, the Church determined that Baptism, as the gateway of salvation (and the only assured means of obtaining it) is not encumbered by the ontological nature of the minister. The Grace of Baptism comes from God, and God may pour out his Grace in any manner he chooses. The Church determined, by her divine authority to teach, that Baptismal Grace is made available even when the minister is not Baptized. Once this decision was made, opposition to it ceased.

So, basically the answer to your question is: Because the Church said so.

FWIW, in the Sacrament of Matrimony (in Latin theology), the bride and groom mutually confer the Sacrament upon each other. The deacon/priest/bishop witnesses the union and pronounces the blessing of the Church, but he is not considered to be the minister of the Sacrament. So Baptism is not unique in this regard.

[/quote]

Excellent answer! Thank you very much.


#4

I think this question was adequately answered and can be closed.


#5

The sacrament of marriage is also administered by the couple themselves. The priest is simply a witness.


#6

--Bump--

I know that you feel the question is completed.

But a non-ordained person can ONLY baptize in circumstances of immediate and approaching death.

If the person was to survive, they are required to visit a priest/deacon to make the sacrament more valid.


#7

[quote="andy92, post:6, topic:320815"]
If the person was to survive, they are required to visit a priest/deacon to make the sacrament more valid.

[/quote]

No, no, no, no, no. There is no such thing as a Baptism that is "more valid" (it is either valid, or it is invalid). There is no such thing as "conditional Baptism" if the requirements of Baptism are fulfilled (those being valid matter (water), form (Trinitarian), Intent ("to do what the Church does," even if the minister has no idea what that is), subject (anybody), and minister (anybody).

The "ordinary" minster of the Sacrament of Baptism is a priest or Bishop (a deacon is not an ordinary minister, but a priest may readily delegate this to a deacon).

The "extraordinary" (ie, not ordinary) minister of Baptism is ANYBODY who is capable of forming valid intent.

If the minister has valid intent, and uses water and the Trinitarian form, then Baptism is absolutely valid. There is no "re-baptism" in the Catholic Church if these criteria are met. Catholics are NOT anaBaptists. No Catholic priest will "re-baptize" someone who was Baptized in the Methodist or Episcopal or Lutheran or Presbyterian (etc) churches. This question was settled Doctrine nearly two millenia ago.


#8

Im sorry that comment came out that way. yes there is no such thing as a conditional baptism. My point was that say a car crashes on the freeway and the guy is bleeding to death. He asks you to baptism him. You as a non-ordained person could. However if my Divine Providence an ambulance shows up and he lives he would have to seek a local ordinary as to perfect his baptism. (i think perfect might be a better term than more valid.)

I can't find the canon law for what I am talking about but if I do find it i will post it to help explain where I am coming from.


#9

§2 If the ordinary minister is absent or impeded, a catechist or some other person deputed to this office by the local Ordinary, may lawfully confer baptism; indeed, in a case of necessity, any person who has the requisite intention may do so. Pastors of souls, especially parish priests, are to be diligent in ensuring that Christ's faithful are taught the correct way to baptise.

Link


#10

[quote="DavidFilmer, post:7, topic:320815"]
.

The "ordinary" minster of the Sacrament of Baptism is a priest or Bishop (a deacon is not an ordinary minister, but a priest may readily delegate this to a deacon).

.

[/quote]

To use your words, "no no no no". In the Latin rite, deacons are in fact "ordinary ministers" of baptism.

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

CCC


#11

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