Baptism validity.

Rarely do I post personal questions, but here is one.

So my son was baptized four years ago by a priest. The priest had been a priest for about 2 years. Shortly after, (within 6 months) the baptism, he stood up at Mass announcing his decision to leave ministry because of celibacy. He then quickly “married” a man and took his last name. He is quite a vocal advocate and seems to have no faith at all now. But is a fanatic for the homosexual and liberal movements.

Logically I know if he intended what the Church intends then the baptism is all well and good. I also know that anyone can baptize regaurdless of ordination. He attended a questionable seminary in Europe that has since been closed.
Even with all of this info, my mind would be at ease about the baptism. Though it’s still sad when we pray for the priest who baptized us during the rosary at night. Though if anyone needs prayers it’s him!

I ran across a blog for priests who leave the priesthood that he posted on. He claims he never ever planned on being a priest despite his vows. He indicates that he took them knowing he didn’t want to.
So, how do I know that he “intended” what the church intends, when he opposes the church bitterly now and indicated a lack of sacramental belief even from his ordination?
Could this constitute not intending what the Church intends?

The whole situation sickens me. That the hands that confected the Eucharist now caress another man… geesh.

But honestly I do question the baptism in the back of my mind.

Is this a valid baptism canonically?

It sounds like, from your note of his later comments, that he is going through a series of mental gymnastics concerning his ordination.

I would find it a bit more than incredible that he would arrive at the place of ordination never intending to be ordained… It sounds like someone severely conflicted over his current choices in light of his previous choices, and he is trying to rewrite history.

You know he intended it by his actions and words. An atheist can baptize by intending to do what the Church does; and the atheist has no need of any belief that anything occurs by the baptism, other than water being poured over someone’s head.

Your priest was ordained, put in a parish, and did priestly things while in the parish. That certainly should suffice, if an atheist’s baptizing someone does.

Self-honesty is hard to come by for many, and seemingly impossible for some. He is exhibiting signs of being seriously troubled, including a “rewrite” of his history. His lack of intellectual/moral/spiritual equilibrium appears to be troubling him greatly, but has little to do with what he did “back then”.

Keep in mind that there have been Eucharistic miracles occurring as priests consecrated the Eucharist and had doubts.

A layperson can baptize validly, so whether the priest was validly ordained or not has nothing to do with the validity of your son’s baptism. This poor man seems very troubled. Pray for him.

I have followed your posts for years and I am deeply saddened that this has happened to you and your family. Like really, WOW! And I think I am dealing with “church scandals”. It bothers you, so ask your priest for a conditional baptism. After explaining your thinking, I think any priest would be willing to help you come to peace with the whole situation. And once you have some peace with how he treated your family it MIGHT be easier to pray for him.

I am sorry you have had to deal with this but at least you have a strong faith to lean on. Others I am sure have been lead astray by his actions.

Except that this isn’t what conditional baptism is intended to address, per se. And, they’re supposed to be rare beyond telling.

After explaining your thinking, I think any priest would be willing to help you come to peace with the whole situation.

Agreed. However, ‘conditional baptism’ isn’t the proper way to handle it…

The validity of a priestly ordination depends on matter (the imposition of hands by the ordaining minister), form (the words of the prayer of ordination), and the intent of the ordaining minister.

For validity, that’s all that’s needed. So, please, be at peace. It was a valid ordination and he was a valid priest.

He doesn’t make the claim that he didn’t intend all that sacraments that he performed, so… your child’s baptism was valid.

(And, in the extreme case in which a diocese finds that a particular priest could not have validly confected the sacraments, they will – although quite complicated and difficult – reach out and contact all who were married or baptized by the man, in order that they might receive the sacrament validly. You’re known to your priest? He hasn’t come to you with this concern? Then that means it was a valid baptism.)

If the priest properly performed the rite of baptism, it is presumed that he had the proper intention.


How horrible to have this dilemma. No matter how unworthy the priest or ordinand the laying on of hands changes the nature of the man to that of priest FOR EVER the intention unlike marriage isn’t a consideration and the sacraments administered by the priest no mattter how reprehensible he may be are totally valid. You would think the selfish man would have some thought for his former parishioners. I suppose it’s ‘ALL ABOUT HIM’ now. As with many other bloggers he appears to believe we care about their badly written musings

I’m so sorry this happened, but I am glad your children have such caring parents.
That child is blessed.

I’m sorry, this is bad advice, and I would hope that no priest would indulge in such an action. We believe in ONE baptism. It was done, according to the rules of the Church.
Whatever this priest says now is irrelevant.
I’m sorry OP that this bothers you, but this is where faith is so important, not in men, but in the Church.


I am sorry this has happened, I can see how it would be disturbing.

If someone else wrote this post Hoosier, I am sure you would tell them this: no one here can answer that with certainty. Talk to your parish priest, and follow what he tells you.

Definitely,speak to your parish priest to allay your fears or concerns. A priest who is in a state of mortal sin at the time he performs at Mass, Consecration of the Eucharist or other sacraments does not affect the validity of the sacrament. The Church, the Body of Christ makes up for what is lacking in this priest.

Thanks to all who have responded!

A couple clarifications.
I don’t question the validity of the baptism based on the validity of the priesthood. As was stated. An atheist can baptize. Everything about the validity would make sense except for these following issues.
1). Now that we have the wonderful internet we have much more access to personal information than before. So, because of this blog, a public diary of his theological mindset we have this problem. During the time he was planning his exit, did he intend baptism? Can his blog be used as evidence of his mindset with the Church.
2). Should I open an inquiry into the validity if the sacrament? How would one go about that? The diocese may not be aware of the blog.
3. Would his word suffice? I could, actually ask him… would that be appropriate.

Deep down I know the advice on this next part I would give. I would literally slap sense into myself if I read this out loud, but would it bring me peace if I just did it?

Is there harm in it? Even if it’s theologically ridiculous?

It is true that there have been “priests” who did attempt sacraments that were not valid. In that case the diocese makes every attempt to contact those who were effected and have them receive valid sacraments. I was just reading about this yesterday. I am not sure where but I can try to find it.

For the record I said to inquire about at conditional baptism. Not to demand one.

I know many grandmothers who have baptized the kids “in the bath water”. My priest cautions against it. Among the reasons, he said that then you would be “held” responsible for their Catholic up bringing. That argument wouldn’t hold water for you.

And I know we believe in ONE baptism. But I always thought the other baptisms some people do are “just free baths”. So I am not sure of the harm.

I do find it interesting that you OP of all people are considering it. But I really do believe in the sacraments and the affects they have on people. I don’t think they are just photo ops. I think they “work” and impart grace. I would have difficulty if I thought my children were not baptized. I think it would drive me crazy. Just being honest.

For two years, according to your post, he acted as a priest. Had this occurred on the first day he entered the parish - or the first week - and then he got up and stated that he never intended to be a priest and was simply going through the motions, that would leave everything ---- where? It would leave it in the same place as an atheist who baptized the child, and said he did not believe that baptism “did anything”. The atheist still would have done what the Church would do, and his belief would be irrelevant.

Two years? This isn’t about his belief. He did what the Church intended.

He is in mental chaos. If you go and ask him, the greater likelihood is that you are going to get a chaos answer, which will drag you down to his level of chaos. He is living a lie, openly, and knows he is living a lie openly. What do people do when they lie openly? They compound it with more lies.

If you want to ask a liar a question which will likely provoke more lies, what do you really think you will get - truth?

I understand your feelings and angst. The church has an answer for that, and it is reflected in the answers herein. Speak to your parish priest if you think you need to follow this further than your question here.

But for your own sanity, stay away from any contact with the former priest. Asking “what if”, especially to him, is risking entering a mental bottomless hole. He needs your prayers. You have mine.

And by what the Church teaches, your son is a baptized Catholic.

Did he intend to become a priest, after all the years of education, and after stepping forward during the ordination ceremony when called by his bishop?

He can now say anything he chooses, any lie, to try to “redeem” himself in his now lifestyle choice. What he did then speaks volumes more than what he says now. Expecting someone who is openly living a lie to speak the truth which brings up contradictions to the current lie is, to be blunt, a fool’s errand.

Unless he started seminary in high school, it is likely he had and was aware he had SSA before he got to seminary. The SSA has moved beyond attraction to follow through. I seriously doubt that he did not know and understand what the Church taught about SSA, and he knew, and knows, he cannot live out his current lifestyle and still act as a priest.

So he never intended to be ordained? Hogwash. He stepped forward. And then he spent two years doing what priests do.

Including baptizing your son and every other person he baptized; and saying every Mass he said. And every confession he heard, And administering the Sacrament of the Sick to every person who requested it. And witnessing every marriage he witnessed. And any confirmations he might have done on Holy Saturday.

Again, I will pray for you. Speak with your pastor if this still eats at you; then let it go, give it to God, and move on.

I would do anything that set my kind at rest. I think you have to for peace of mind. I can’t begin to imagine how much this callous self serving eejit has hurt your family. You know yourself the answers to all your questions you need to hear it from a Bishop really. And I know for a certanyty that the Bishop would willingly advise you.

If you don’t question the validity of the Sacrament, why all the questions? :shrug:

Just because you read it on the Internet, does not mean it is true. People will say all sorts of things to justify their actions, especially in their own minds.

Stop reading this blog if it concerns you so much. If you are still concerned, take it to your confessor or spiritual director. To be honest, I believe this is more about “you” and where you are in your faith journey than it is about concerns over validity, but that’s just my humble opinion.

This ^

I really sympathize with you, Hoosier, and I’m very sorry this has happened to you and your family. :hug3: If this happened to my child I would be just as concerned as you. Unfortunately I don’t have any advice but just wanted to say I understand your concerns.

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