Baptism - please help!

Hey everybody,
So I’ve been thinking a lot about this recently. I am currently a Protestant teen. My family has always attended non-liturgical style churches that do not do infant baptism, so I have not been baptized. In 2015, I will be in college and am most likely going to look highly into joining the Catholic church. Upon already years of research and personal study, I feel that the Catholic church is where I would most likely belong, and I highly doubt that will change within the next year and a half.

However, I have a question. Since I have not yet been baptized, should I:
a) Get baptized as a Protestant, knowing I will later convert
b) Wait to be baptized into the Catholic church

And I assume the Catholic church recognizes Protestant baptism should I choose to be baptized Protestant?

Just a quick thought. I personally think it would be best to be baptized Protestant but just want to make sure I’m doing the best thing. Thanks for the advice.

I would get baptized as soon as possible. The Catholic Church recognizes any baptism performed “In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.”

Anyone baptized in the Trinitarian formula, is Catholic. At least, that is what I say. Just not everyone knows :wink:


Welcome! It’s wonderful that the Spirit has led you to this stage of your journey!

However, I have a question. Since I have not yet been baptized, should I:
a) Get baptized as a Protestant, knowing I will later convert
b) Wait to be baptized into the Catholic church

And I assume the Catholic church recognizes Protestant baptism should I choose to be baptized Protestant?

Yes, the Catholic Church recognizes all Trinitarian baptisms. In fact, the Catholic Church considers Christians baptised in other communities to be “separated” catholics, not “non-catholics” - because we believe there is only One Church (One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism)

On the other hand - it might be deceitful for you to approach a Protestant Church for baptism when you do not intend to be in communion with that particular denomination. Depending on what kind of preparation for adult baptism they require, you might or might not actually put yourself in a position of lying, which would obviously NOT be an okay way to obtain access to a Sacrament.

On the other hand (third hand?) - there are plenty of local congregations of various Protestant denominations which do not do any kind of serious baptismal preparation, so it’s possible that no one would ask any awkward questions. But I still think it’s a less-than-honest way to begin your life as an initiated Christian.

Just a quick thought. I personally think it would be best to be baptized Protestant but just want to make sure I’m doing the best thing. Thanks for the advice.

Technically, the preparation of a catechumen (unbaptised) person for reception into the Church is different from the preparation of someone who is being received from a separated community (already baptised). But in practice, in most parishes, there is only one program of preparation - RCIA, the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. The actual rite of reception is different, but there is only one program of catechesis (instruction).

If you know where you are going to be going to school, you could contact the chaplaincy (if it’s a Catholic college) or the Newman Center (if it’s not) and let them know of your desire/intention to enter the Church. Tell them you’ve never been baptised and you would like to be baptised soon. It’s possible they would be willing to meet with you, assess your understanding of the commitment you would be making, and allow you to be baptised and then catechised after baptism (which is, after all, the process with infants . . .)

Blessings upon you and your journey!


Okay, first off, welcome! Here’s my two cents:

If you’re going to join the church, you probably have to go through RCIA. I think it would be worth it to wait for that time so that you are being baptized in the faith that you wish to enter into communion with. It would be better to be baptized in the Catholic Church rather than a protestant church if you intend to join the Catholic Church. Nevertheless, you have to go through a year of instruction to be confirmed anyway, so you might as well be baptized as well. It’s a convenience thing as well as an ethical thing.


Welcome home to the Catholic Church.

I would suggest that you follow the Catholic Church’s schedule of RCIA first and Then Baptism. Baptism is not magic. There is a reason for the schedule of RCIA first. RCIA stands for *Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. *It is a course that begins in September. The Christians in the early Church were not rushed into Baptism and then later placed into “a program.”

The Catholic Church’s recognition of Protestant Sacraments is conditional on the assumption that they are doing what the Catholic Church intends.

Scott Hahn has a REALLY great teaching on Baptism. See

His wife Kimberly has one too.

I believe it is imprudent to dispense with the format used in the early church, which is what the Catholic Church uses, although modified, that is shortened from 3 years to a six month process. The process is important. It is a time of grace. You already have the Baptism of Desire, so there is no reason to rush for it as if it were magic.

God Bless,

John - I would agree that the OP should go through the regular RCIA process. But I don’t believe that this was the process in the early church. I believe the NT and ECF indicate that it was common to baptize on the basis of the profession of faith and catechize afterward. This is certainly the case with the household of Cornelius, the Ethiopian eunuch, St. Paul, and the Philippian jailer.

Nevertheless, the usual process today is the usual process, and it is appropriate to follow the process put in place by our bishops.


Wouldn’t it be a lie to be baptized in a community that you do not wish to be a part of? I would see it as “using” them.

If you want to be a Protestant, then get baptized into a Protestant community. If you want to be a Catholic, then get baptized into the Catholic Church.

I think the correct answer is wait to get baptized in the Catholic Church if you think you will become Catholic. Baptism is a profession of faith and it would not be good for you to profess faith in something you believe to be falsek. Paul writes to the Corinthians, “Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. What? Know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.” If you intend to become Catholic, I would not pursue baptism until you can commit to follow the rules of the Church. Remember that for a Catholic it would be sinful to seek baptism from anyone who is not a licit minister of the sacrament. The fact that you are not yet Catholic, if you have a conviction that Catholicism is probably true, is not an excuse to do things that Catholics are forbidden to do.

Are you sure this is true? I thought the CCC said that anyone could baptise a person. Even an atheist could baptise a person in the Trinitarian formula and it would be considered a valid baptism by the Catholic Church

The preferred way is, obviously, via the Catholic priest.

Add “in danger of death” to your statement and you’re correct. If someone is in danger of death, they can be licitly baptized even by an atheist. If someone is not in danger of death, then they should be baptized as the Church outlines, by a priest or deacon.

Right. Just because someone is capable of baptizing validly does not mean they are licit ministers of baptism. The CCC is only stating that such a baptism is valid, not giving permission for Catholics to go seek baptism from their atheist (or, in this case, Protestant) friends.

[quote=QNDNNDQDCE]Remember that for a Catholic it would be sinful to seek baptism from anyone who is not a licit minister of the sacrament.

Why would a Catholic seek to be baptized? The very fact that one is Catholic implies that one has been joined to the mystical Body of Christ through Baptism, no?

Have people who are baptised into the Lutheran faith sinning then? Where does the CCC state that it is a sin if someone other than a bishop, a priest or a deacon adminsters the sacrament?

Here is the text from the CCC

1256 The ordinary ministers of Baptism are the bishop and priest and, in the Latin Church, also the deacon.57 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.

The part I bolded helps me to appreciate even more the wisdom and love of our Mother Church and God for us.

This is my understanding of Roman Catholic doctrine as well. And for what little it’s worth, this non-Roman catholic agrees. After all, God performs the baptism through the Word and in the water; this Sacrament is not dependent upon ordination or the worthiness of the baptizer (we ain’t Donatists now, is we?), but rather on the intent to create a new, regenerative life in the Spirit through the waters of baptism.

That said, it is [good and protective] custom for baptism to be normally administered by a called and ordained servant of the Word, but -again- not necessary. Baptism, on the other hand is necessary (Mark 16:16).

bc96 should be baptized as soon as possible - talk with a local priest about your intention to convert and ask it be done.:twocents:

It is the law.

Can. 844 §1. Catholic ministers administer the sacraments licitly to Catholic members of the Christian faithful alone, who likewise receive them licitly from Catholic ministers alone, without prejudice to the prescripts of §§2, 3, and 4 of this canon, and can. 861, §2.

OP specified that he intended to become Catholic. Therefore, he receives baptism licitly only from a Catholic minister with the appropriate faculties. If he believes the Catholic faith, he has an obligation to not flout the disciplines of the Church. OP indicated that he is near certain he will become Catholic, so he should not be seeking baptism from non-Christians or heretics. Unless OP is in danger of death, it is not necessary to be baptized immediately nor by an illicit minister. That is why there is a catechumenate, which is supposed to be a period of instruction and spiritual formation. When OP is ready, he should enroll himself in RCIA or whatever process has been established in his area.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (846) quoting from Lumen Gentium states,

Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.

No one is disputing that anyone can confer baptism validly. The issue is that OP’s conscience obliges him to seek baptism according to the prescriptions of the Church. Lutherans do not sin when they are baptized by Lutheran pastors because they don’t know better (which does not do away with the moral obligation to believe the Catholic faith be in communion with the Church). OP is not a Lutheran however because he is aware of the (at least probable) truth of the Catholic faith.

I am in a position where I was baptized in a church similar in ways to the JWs. I left that and was an Evangelical for almost 20 years, I never got rebaptized because there was no clear cut guidelines about the validity of my baptism and even whether baptism was necessary.

Once I learned that my baptism in the cult sect was not a valid baptism according to the Catholic Church (and I agree with them now) I also had those same two choices. I chose to wait and do it “right”.

Thanks for the additional explanation and references.

No problem!

I think it would be best for you to seek out a Priest or Deacon and ask them.

That’s not correct. Those baptised in the trinitarian formula outside the Catholic Church still need to be received into the Catholic Church when / if that time comes for THEM.

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