Baptism question

Can someone who is not baptised simply present themselves to a priest/pastor/reverend to be baptised.

I understand and believe that baptism leaves an indelible mark on the soul, bringing the soul into communion with Christ and the christian community.

I almost certainly will not be ready to be received into the catholic church next easter, if ever and dont want to wait years to be baptised.

But I know enough and believe enough to be Baptised - and I so heartfully want this.

How does it work? Can I just make contact with any religious priest and be baptised, eg, lutheran, catholic, methodist, or by being baptised by a certain minister in a certain faith, do they assume you are signing up to that faith?

I feel I am ready for baptism, if nothing else.

I think the catholic church accepts all baptisms if done in the trinitarian formula and with water.


For the Catholic Church, you will have to go through RCIA, the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults. You can’t just present yourself and be baptized the same day, from what I am aware of. And it makes sense especially with your situation, since its a time to discern the Catholic Church and help you to grow and learn. Also, when you receive the sacraments of initiation in the Catholic Church, you are then a Catholic. Confirmation not only gives you the gift of the Holy Spirit, but you are “confirmed” as a Catholic. The point of it isn’t to be baptized and then go off into the Lutheran Church, for example. I think it is the same for most Christian churches (maybe not for evangelicals since its a different ecclesiology), that when you are baptized, they also expect you to be part of that faith, if not that parish/church.

What do you know and believe? Is it what the Catholic Faith teaches?

Any baptism in the trinitarian formula is valid. Find a Church you are comfortable with, seek out that pastor, and begin asking what you must do to be baptised. The expectations may vary from communion to communion. It has bothered me, quite frankly, as I have read your posts that you are not baptised. The Lutheran view of Baptism causes me to feel this way, and to pray you will be baptised soon.


The Catholic Church accepts all baptisms done in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, by immersion or pouring. Also, the church doing the baptizing must worship the traditional Trinity (which is why we don’t accept Mormon baptisms, which use the same formula and water, but they differ on who the Persons of God are).

Umm… these statements seem to contradict each other. You aren’t ready to be baptized by the Catholic Church… but you’re ready to be baptized. Catholic baptism and the majority of other baptisms are the same. I don’t get it.:confused:

Yes, Im not ready to take on the whole mantle of catholicism, but I am ready to be baptised

Why are these contradictory?

Baptism is not a sacrament exclusive to the catholic church, and I wont be allowed to be baptised in the catholic church as an adult without going through the whole RCIA program, and becoming ‘catholic’ - thats my understanding, but I stand to be corrected.

I am not a baptised person.

I want to be baptised.

I dont want to wait years for this to happen as I feel I have developed far enough in my understanding of the Scriptures and Christianity to want to be baptised, using the trinitarian formula and water - a rite and ritual formula that will be recognised by the catholic church at some point in the future should I find myself at one with Rome and desire to be a catholic.

If that never happens, I do not want to die unbaptised.

Thats why Im asking how it works, and could I for example, present myself to a Lutheran or Methodist minister and ask to be baptised, without any further obligation to their particular denominations.

It is the desire to be baptised I want satiated, not any desire to as yet, belong to a particular denomination.

That is some way off for me, but not the desire to be an indelibly marked christian.

Our parish is currently looking into documents from the church, and verifying it with the diocese that; When an adult that is being brought into the church has never been baptized, they are to receive Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist, all at the same time. These are the Sacraments of Initiation.

One of our priests says it is at the pastor’s discretion, the other one says no, it all has to be done together, and the third one is so new, he’s just not sure. That’s why we’re checking at the diocese level.

Assuming that all three do have to be done together, that is usually done at the Easter Vigil, which is usually at the end of RCIA.

Now, confirmation can only be done by the Bishop, unless he gives his mandate to a parish priest. Again, usually only at the Easter Vigil.

Now, of course, if an individual is in peril of death, there is a whole new set of guidelines. (which don’t appear to apply here)

I’m not sure how it would work with alot of protestant churches, but I don’t think alot of them would go for just baptizing an adult and sending them on their way with no follow up.

I understand your desire to be baptized, and you are heading in the right direction for sure, but I’m not sure how well you’re going to fare with just getting baptized and nothing else.

Good luck in your journey.

From what I understand, you are ready to be baptized but do not want to go through RCIA to become Catholic (to recieve the other sacraments).

If you believe a lot of what the church believes, I personally would recommend you going through RCIA. RCIA is an inquiry of what the church believes as well as classes to have you become a full member of the Catholic church at the Easter vigil. Is there any way you could go an inquire about this, and maybe you will find all of this happening to you at the Easter vigil? Why do you feel as though it will take you “years”, I say you give RCIA a shot and if you dont think you can become “fully” Catholic. Then there are other alternatives.

You can go to Protestant churches and walk up to the pastor and ask to become baptized. Some churches require different things of you… For example some may have you attend some classes to be sure that you are prepared to be baptized. Some may just have you recite and prayer and you will be baptized then. I dont mean this offensively to any protestants but I think the church that gives out baptisms pretty quickly is the Baptist church. (I could be wrong, but I saw someone get baptized almost right on the spot when I went on a day retreat with my baptist friend). I think Lutherans may have you attend classes.

The only problem with baptism is that a lot of religions believe that you are coming into communion into their church. (The Catholic Church believes this). As if you want to be Catholic, but are baptised Protestant- why couldnt you have just waited kinda thing.

I am glad you want to be baptized, and I’m sorry the Catholic church doesnt have a prep class for just becoming baptized. I think you need to decide where your beliefs are held, and maybe attend that church for awhile.

I think this is an important question to ask you: say you do go to some church by your house and get baptized. And later find out you dont believe x, y, and z about this church. But you feel as though you believe what this other church is saying. Will you feel strange having been baptized in that church?

Sorry if I sound rude, I really dont mean it :slight_smile:

p.s. If you are interested in becoming Catholic, and really feel like this is for you… I want you to go through RCIA. It’s hard for me to tell you what church to go to to get baptized, because as Catholics we believe it is important to recieve your sacraments within your beliefs, and not exactly “church hop” if that makes and sense.

Hope this helps,

If you desire Baptism, why not just go to RCIA or even an Eastern Catholic Church and talk to the priest about it?

Quick update - my priest in RCIA says no chance - no baptism without going the full nine yards. So I wait and see what happens.

I think I know what you are saying.

You want to commit to being a Christian. You are not yet ready to commit to one branch of Christianity.

I am sure that my church would baptize you under those circumstances. I am sure that many other churches would also.

You do not NEED a minister to baptize you…You could find a lay person willing to do it

I think the important question here is: Do you want to be Catholic?

The honest answer is I dont know - I DO know I want to be baptised. I do not want to die unbatised.

That much I know for certain.

Well I mean what I said in my post was that if you do not get baptized in the Catholic Church will you eventually maybe regret that later if you want to be Catholic later?

If you are just going to go anywhere to get baptizied, you might want to find one closest to your beliefs. Some churches believe in believers baptism, and it has no impact on salvation.
The CC thinks something different. So you just need to research a little.

What are your problems with the other sacraments? Eucharist? Confession? Confirmation?
By the way, confirmation is a lot like baptism in a sense, that you are receieving the gifts of the Holy Spirit…

Ah okay. Well I personally would love for you to begin RCIA, since through RCIA, you not only learn more about the Church but about yourself. You don’t necessarily have to even commit to be baptized and confirmed at the end, just like even if you are in seminary, you can still drop out, even the day before graduation. But it seems that you want to be baptized immediately, which makes it difficult, especially since as a Catholic, I wouldn’t really advise you to go through another church if you think you want to be Catholic. I guess you’ll just have to listen to the non-Catholic advise for that.

From what I’m aware of, if you’re baptized by a lay person as BrianH recommended, if you want to become Catholic, you may have to be conditionally baptized, though I’m not 100% sure on that. But I guess that would fulfill your desire to be baptized sooner rather than later.

And from a Catholic perspective, if you began RCIA and you died during it, baptism of desire would apply. But that’s just a sidenote for you to consider.

You COULD find a certificate on-line and print the date and have those witnesses sign it. You can find the formula for baptism on-line as well. I found this at a Catholic site. I am not saying do not join the Catholic Church. On the other hand, there is something inside of my being, like perhaps others, who feel compelled to respond to this person wanting to be baptized.

What Must Be Done For A Valid Baptism?

ISSUE: What does the Catholic Church require for valid baptism?

RESPONSE: For valid baptism to occur, the Catholic Church requires proper matter, form and intention. The proper matter is “true and natural water.” The proper form requires the minister to pour, completely immerse in, or sprinkle water upon the candidate, while saying the words, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” The minister of baptism must intend to baptize as the Church intends.[1]

DISCUSSION: Scripture affirms the necessity of using water and the Trinitarian Formula for baptism (cf. Ez. 36:25; Mt. 28:19; Jn. 3:5). The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) and the Rite of Baptism for Children (RCIC) provide the norms for lawful baptism in the Catholic Church. These rites allow for two options in the method: immersion or the pouring of water. If a candidate is baptized by immersion, “The celebrant, immersing the candidate’s whole body or head three times, baptizes the candidate in the name of the Trinity.”[2] If a child is baptized by pouring, “The celebrant, taking baptismal water and pouring it three times on the candidate’s bowed head, baptizes the candidate in the name of the Trinity.”[3] If water is not poured or sprinkled on the head, the baptism would be valid, but illicit; i.e., it would be an authentic baptism but done in a way that deviates from the form prescribed by the Church.

   Provided the necessary matter, form and intention are present, the Catholic Church recognizes as valid all baptisms that occur outside her authority or in extraordinary circumstances.

   The use of anything other than true water renders the baptism invalid. The substitution of different names in place of “Father, Son and Holy Spirit,” in part or in whole, renders the baptism invalid.[4] For example, it is invalid to replace these three with other names, such as “the Creator, Redeemer and the Sanctifier,” a formula which does not necessarily affirm the Three Persons of the Trinity. This requirement is rooted in the specific instruction of Jesus Himself in commission His apostles to make disciples of all the nations (Mt. 28:19).

  Some Christian denominations sprinkle water rather than immerse or pour. Though unlawful in ordinary circumstances in the Catholic Church, sprinkling does bring about a valid baptism. Regarding intention of the minister, despite what religious affiliation the minister may adhere to, the baptism is valid as long as the minister intends what the Church intends. For example, a child is dying in a hospital. The nurse, who is Hindu, knows that the Catholic parents would want the child baptized. In their absence, she takes water, sprinkles it upon the infant and says the words, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Her intent is to baptize as the parents believe. The baptism is valid.

This is all accurate information, but if the person is not in peril of death, a valid baptism must be done by an ordained member of the clergy. That is why the word “minister” is used.

Just because you find and print a baptismal certificate online, have a lay person baptize an individual, does not make it a valid baptism. Baptisms done by a lay person can only be considered valid if the person being baptized was in peril of death, along with form, matter, and intention. ie. your example of a baby dying.

If that baptismal certificate is presented to the RCIA, or church, it would be investigated for validity. If there is any question of validity of a baptism, a conditional baptism is required.

As an RCIA administrator, I have seen this many times in the past, and there have been several baptisms from protestant churches that we have not been able to recognize. ie. the church or minister cannote be contacted for verification. So a conditional baptism was performed.

If at some point the OP thinks they may want to join the RCC, I would not recommend using information on the internet for a do-it-yourself baptism.

When an infant is baptized, it is the parents/guardian requesting it on the behalf of the child. As an adult, it is a matter of making an informed decision, and understanding everything it entails. As I said in a post early on, I don’t know of many churches that will do a baptism without some sort of follow up, or instruction.

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, 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

1259 For catechumens who die before their Baptism, their explicit desire to receive it, together with repentance for their sins, and charity, assures them the salvation that they were not able to receive through the sacrament.

So as you see, reading #1259, if you are interested in joining the Catholic Church, RCIA is the way to go.

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