Baptism in a non-Catholic church invalid?

I was explaining to my father that if a baptism be administered correctly (by natural water, in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, etc), even if the minister be a heretic, it is still valid. He then came back to me with that if a non-Catholic church be illegitimate, and the members of that church heretics, the wouldn’t the baptism be invalid? If a Satanist were to administer baptism in a correct fashion, would it not be invalid given that the minister is a Satanist?

It has to be in the correct formula by a recognized Christian church and that church has to believe in the definition of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit as laid out in the creed. If they use the above formula for their baptisms but don’t believe that Jesus is God the Son, truly human and divine, then their baptism is not excepted.

This is not correct. As long as the matter and form are proper, and the minister of baptism intends what the Church intends (water baptism in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, for the remission of sins and salvation of the baptized), then the baptism is valid. (There is, of course, still the question of liceity, which depends on the situation, but the question of validity is not in play.)

In an emergency, an atheist can baptize, and the baptism could be valid.

Actually, no. As long as the Satanist used the correct words, and intended to do what the Church does, it would be a valid Baptism.

Whether it would be licit or not is an entirely different story, and I’m not about to recommend parents to have their children baptized by Satanists, but in an emergency if no one else is available, he could do a valid Baptism.

What about this scenario, A child is baptized in the CC as a baby by a priest, at the request of his parents, but later on in life, they join a Pentecostal church and get full immersion baptism by the preacher by their own request, as at the time, they believed the Pentecostal church was better than the CC…would this ‘cancel out’ or trump his original catholic baptism?

When this type of baptism is performed, the very moment you come up from the water, they tell you that you are literally ‘born again’ and are brand new, all previous sins have been washed away.

I would not think so, but one never knows.

No. Baptism can only happen once. If the person was baptized as an infant, then the baptism in the other church didn’t do anything at all (and in fact, the person is apostate, which is a grave sin).

When this type of baptism is performed, the very moment you come up from the water, they tell you that you are literally ‘born again’ and are brand new, all previous sins have been washed away.

If this were the first time they were baptized, that would indeed be true. But a person can’t be re-baptized. For sins committed after Baptism, we have the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession). :slight_smile:

We dont accept Morman or JW baptisms. The Mormans baptize in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost, Amen. Even though they use a Trinitarian formula, they don’t believe in the Trinity, neither do the JWs.

Latter-day Saints baptisms are a special case which had to be pronounced by the Holy See, because they were previously of doubtful validity. It is not an automatic disqualification if the minister does not believe in the Holy Trinity. The litmus test is not the belief of the minister at all, it is his intention. What happened with the LDS is that the Catholic Church determined that the intention to baptize is faulty due to a disparity of belief.

From what I can gather about the Jehovah’s Witnesses, they do not use a Trinitarian formula at all in baptism, despite their alleged adherence to Sacred Scripture…

What many people fail to realize is that yes Baptism is “effected” or “performed” by the person (celebrant) but the effects actually come from GOD.

It does not matter what the celebrant thinks if he/she uses the proper matter and form and intends to Baptise the recipient as the Church prescribes, it is GOD who takes over and does the action by entering into that person (Holy Spirit).

And yes there is 1 Baptism, NO repeats. It is in the Apostles Creed.

The Church when has doubt that a person was properly Baptised does NOT blindly re-Baptise, a Conditional Baptism is performed instead.


I have read some very interesting things about baptism in a book on the Catholic sacraments. What if a baby is dying in a hospital? Any 'of the hospital’s personnel can baptize the baby at the request of the mother–he only has to intend doing what the Church intends. The baptizer needn’t be a Catholic. He only has to intend to do what the Church does, and the child is validly baptized.

Yes. The Catechism of the Catholic Church also talks about this possibility, my emphasis added:

1256 The ordinary ministers of Baptism are the bishop and priest and, in the Latin Church, also the deacon. In case of necessity, any person, even someone not baptized, can baptize, if he has the required intention. The intention required is to will to do what the Church does when she baptizes, and to apply the Trinitarian baptismal formula. the Church finds the reason for this possibility in the universal saving will of God and the necessity of Baptism for salvation.

While anyone *can *baptize, there are precautions which should be taken. Babies and children should *not *be baptized unless they are in imminent danger of death. For example, grandparents should not baptize children whose parents are not raising them Catholic, as then the children would be baptized without support for their state as Christians. This could cause serious problems if the children grow up and decide to be received into the Church–they would have already been baptized but would be treated as people who had not been baptized, getting “another” baptism to wash away their sins (which would be ineffective) in stead of Confession, which would be effective.

The Satanist would be shooting himself in the foot because the baptism would be valid!

This actually happens all the time in full immersion Protestant churches. Sacramentally speaking nothing has happened, but the person has made a public profession of faith as an adult. When baptized we are “marked as God’s own” so for us to “need” another baptism, or for the ability for another baptism to have effect, it would mean that God has “unmarked” or abandoned us. That is an impossibility. Though we can choose to abandon God, an suffer the resulting condemnation, that doesn’t “unmark” us.

As has been noted, by doing this they have formally walked away from the RC or other liturgical church, but they didn’t get “more baptized”.

Yes, I understand this, kinda what I was presuming, even though this did not result in a ‘more baptized’ state, it still should have absolved me of any prior sins, any sins since my last confession…right?

No. It didn’t do anything except get you wet.

To be absolved of your sins since your last Confession, you would need to come back home to the Catholic Church and make a good Confession.

Baptism only absolves sins for those who have not been baptized before.

If somebody didn’t know better than to get “rebaptized,” and if that person did feel perfect contrition for his sins while getting “rebaptized,” then that contrite heart would be the effective part against sins.

Not so fast.

1452 When it arises from a love by which God is loved above all else, contrition is called “perfect” (contrition of charity). Such contrition remits venial sins; it also obtains forgiveness of mortal sins if it includes the firm resolution to have recourse to sacramental confession as soon as possible.51

I’m having a really hard time understanding the distinction between belief and intention. I’ve asked this question before on these boards but the answers I received were frankly unsatisfactory. How is it possible for someone to intend to do something that they do not believe is true/correct/possible? How can an atheist who doesn’t even believe that original sin exists intend to remit original sin when she performs an emergency baptism? What exactly does the Catholic Church mean by “intending to do what the Church does”?

Another hypothetical question: the issue of Mormon baptisms have been brought up before. Let’s say that a particular Mormon man who baptizes his child is actually (unbeknownst to the others in his religion) a heterodox Mormon, and he actually deep down believes in the Trinity as articulated by the Nicene Creed and the effects of original sin. If he deep down actually “intends to do what the Church does” while he utters the words "I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen " would that baptism technically be valid despite it being performed by a Mormon inside a Mormon baptismal font?

To give an example, a young mother gives birth, but tragically the baby is dying. The mother can request an atheist nurse to baptize her baby before he dies. The atheist doesn’t believe in the faith, but respecting the wish of the mother, baptizes the baby in the correct form as the mother wishes. The nurse intended to perform the baptism as the Church does, even though she personally doesn’t believe in it.

The issue of the intention of the person performing the sacrament, and their personal worthiness/holiness/etc was hashed out in the early Church. Some believed only holy priests could offer up and confect a truth Eucharist. The Church correctly recognized that as long as the person is performing the sacrament as the Church intends, their personal holiness or level of belief has no effect on the sacrament. (thankfully so, can you imagine the nightmare of making sure your priest was “properly” holy so that your Confession was valid???)

Another hypothetical question: the issue of Mormon baptisms have been brought up before. Let’s say that a particular Mormon man who baptizes his child is actually (unbeknownst to the others in his religion) a heterodox Mormon, and he actually deep down believes in the Trinity as articulated by the Nicene Creed and the effects of original sin. If he deep down actually “intends to do what the Church does” while he utters the words "I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen " would that baptism technically be valid despite it being performed by a Mormon inside a Mormon baptismal font?

No, it wouldn’t, because they are specifically performing the baptism in a setting that contradicts the intention of the Church. They are specifically baptizing according to the Mormon faith.

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