Baptism

Last Monday, 15 Nov. at about 1:30 pst while listening to Catholic Radio KHOT 1240 AM I thought I heard some one say that only by a Catholic Baptism was a person incorporated into the Body of Christ. I may have misunderstood what I thought I heard because I didn’t hear the preceeding discussion nor any of the discussion which followed. However, thinking on this ( what I thougt I heard) impels me once again to display my igorance, and strange way of thinking.

I have come to believe that any Baptism which uses water, whether poured over ,or total immersion, and the prescribed Triune Formula is a valid Baptism and incorporates that person into the Body of Christ.

While our separated Brethren of the other various Christian denominations do not believe in Magisterium of the Catholic Church, nor it’s teachings, if they Baptise, that Baptism is recognised as valid by the Catholic Church.

If their Baptism is valid then they are incorporated into the Body of Christ. Even if our separated Brethren do not believe in the Eucharist I think that they share in the offering and the Graces of every Mass said throught the world. I think this because it is the Body of Christ ie the whole Church, and Christ Himself who is offering the sacrifice of he Mass. It is not only a Priest and the celebrating congregation, whether one accolyte or a crowd of thousands,it is the whole body of Christ. Since each Mass is a mysterious participation in that once and for all sacrifice of Jesus on the cross I believe that all who are in the Body of Christ share in its Graces.

I have come to think this because the REAL PRESENCE of Jesus does not depend on the belief of any one, including the priest who says the Eucharistic prayer. It only depends on the priest’s acceptance of valid Holy Orders and his standing with his Bishop.

[quote=Harry John]I thought I heard some one say that only by a Catholic Baptism was a person incorporated into the Body of Christ… I have come to believe that any Baptism which uses water, whether poured over ,or total immersion, and the prescribed Triune Formula is a valid Baptism…

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You’re BOTH right. Catholic Baptism is an ordinary requirement for salvation (though you also hear about extraordinary means, such as “Baptism by desire”). Baptism is a Sacrament instituted by Jesus Christ. There is, of course, “One Lord, one Faith, one Baptism” (Eph 4:5). Jesus did not institute a Catholic Baptism AND a protestant Baptism – He instituted one (and only one) Baptism, and it is the Catholic Baptism.

However, the Catholic Church also maintains that the validity of a Sacrament is not dependent on the worthiness of the minister. Thus, you are absolutely correct when you say,

I have come to think this because the REAL PRESENCE of Jesus does not depend on the belief of any one, including the priest who says the Eucharistic prayer.

In the same way, the validity of the Sacrament of Baptism is not dependent on whether the minister of the Sacrament accepts the full theology of it.

But the comparison falls short on one rather important point. The Eucharist requires valid Holy Orders (priest or bishop) of the minister, as do four other Sacraments. However, two Sacraments (Matrimony and Baptism) do NOT require Holy Orders at all for validity (though it would be illicit in the eyes of the Catholic Church for either Sacrament to be received by a Catholic outside the presence of a minister under Catholic Orders – but the Sacrament would still be valid).

The early Church struggled with this same issue. There were heretical sects (such as the Arians). Suppose someone converted to a heretical Christian sect and was baptized there, but later realized the errors of the sect and sought communion with the Catholic Church? Do we “re-baptize” that person? This was a very controversial point. The great St. Cyprian of Carthage (one of my favorite Saints) argued passionately against acceptance of such baptism (or “those made wet by heretics” as he put it), because the heretical ministers “could not give what they have not received.”

St. Cyprian was wrong. The Church maintained that Baptism by heretics was, indeed, valid (valid Orders are not required for this Sacrament), provided the other conditions (subject, matter, form, and intent) were fulfilled.

ANYONE can validly Baptize, provided s/he has the intent to Baptize and uses the proper matter (water) and form (Trinitarian formula). The protestant minister who performs a Baptismal ceremony (with water and the Trinitarian formula) is probably unaware that s/he is actually the minister of a Catholic Sacrament. But that’s exactly what s/he is.

Now when that same protestant minister blesses the grape juice and crackers… well, that’s a whole nuther story…

Following the preceding post, let me add that I’ve read St. Augustine’s “Against the Donatists” Book 1. He is very kind to St. Cyprian, in that he doesn’t denounce what he taught, and even shows that the Donatists are wrong as trying to show that Cyprian was “on their side” in the baptism issue. In the 2nd Book, he sets out what Cyprian actually taught and why.

St. Augustine, while strongly defending the validity of Christ’s Sacrament of Baptism outside the “Catholic Church” is very clear in saying that remission of sins only happens inside the Catholic Church. And even if they were remitted, all the remitted sins will return on a man if he remains deceitful in his schism. Like, the baptism takes “effect” so to speak when the person comes into communion with the Body of Christ, the Catholic Church. He says that “He that hateth his brother is still in darkness” and says that schism is an manifestation of hating your brother.

That’s a sample from Chapter 11 of that work.

[quote=Reformed Rob]St. Augustine…is very clear in saying that remission of sins only happens inside the Catholic Church.
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Right, but when a protestant minister (or ANYBODY) baptizes with water and the Trinitarian formula, s/he is acting in the capacity of a Catholic minister (because s/he is administering a Catholic Sacrament). On a spiritual level, this is happening within the Catholic Church (because it’s a Catholic Sacrament), even though the sign on the building might suggest otherwise.

And even if they were remitted, all the remitted sins will return on a man if he remains deceitful in his schism.

Well, yes, but I was answering in the assumption that the person was unaware of the schismatic nature of his sect when the Baptism was performed. As long as he remains sincerely unaware (not negligently or obstinately unaware) then he is not culpable for his participation in the schismatic sect and incurrs no personal sin. Of course, he denies himself the fullness of Grace available to him in the Catholic Church.

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