Baptized "a Christian"


Hi, all

A guy at work (in a Catholic school) insists that we are not baptized as “Catholics” or any other variant, but as “Christians”.
Therefore, a baptized person can attend any Christian church and receive the sacraments (if any) on offer.

Is this right?

What do the various churches think about this?


He is correct that there is only one valid Christian baptism. Does this mean that a Catholic can participate in a protestant communion? No. Does it mean that someone who does not share the Catholic belief in the Eucharist can take Communion in a Catholic Church? No.


Great. Thanks for the reply paulfromiowa.

To press further:
If someone gets baptised in, say, a Pentecostal church, and they later realise that the Catholic church is the real thing, do they need to be re-baptised?

I know two people who have converted to Catholicism and have been through a baptism ceremony. They had previously been baptised as infants in another denomination.


It depends on the denomination. For valid baptism, it needs to be done with water and “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” Some groups that “baptize” do not do this so Catholics do not consider it a real baptism.

If a baptism cannot be verified, a conditional baptism may be performed. It is not a re-baptism. Baptism can only happen one time - it leaves a mark on the soul.

Catholics also receive anointing at baptism. If, say, a Catholic baby is in danger of death and receives an emergency baptism, then pulls through, they may later go through the parts of the Church rite they missed, although the pouring of water is not repeated.


A valid baptism is a valid baptism regardless of who performs it. It is possible to have an invalid baptism. In cases where one is not sure whether someone has been baptized properly or not, a conditional baptism is held to ensure the person is baptized.


If you’re looking for answers from Protestants, might want to hop over to Christian forums and ask there.

But, from a Catholic perspective, baptism does bring us all into the Body of Christ (provided it is properly done, as one poster also mentioned). That can never be undone and never needs to be done again. In this way, a properly baptised Protestant is already a Catholic - because he is part of the living, breathing Body, which is the Church.

However, the Apostolic Churches - the Catholic and Orthodox - will not (and should not) admit anyone to communion or any other sacraments that will not recognise the authority of the bishops (and in the case of the Catholic Church, the Pope) of that communion.

Now some people call this “political”, but the reason for this is simple: Christ gave authority to His Apostles to teach and discipline His Church. (This is in Scripture. It is also in Scripture that the Apostles appointed successor “bishops”, or overseers.) He also gave them the ability to confect and perform the sacraments.

Now all of the Sacraments are a sign that you wish to follow not only Christ and the Bible, but His Church and His Apostles, because you believe them to be true authorities. So how can a Protestant, who does not recognise the genuine authority of our bishops and their priests, come to receive that which he does not believe in?

I don’t know why Protestants think authority does not matter. They used to, centuries ago. Closed communion existed for a reason, and that was because communion (although not a sacrament among Protestants) is a sign that you not only follow Jesus Christ, but you follow Him as the church teaches - if you are a Presbyterian, you follow Jesus as the Presbyterian church teaches. If you are a Lutheran, Missouri Synod, you follow him as that Church teaches. It would be a mistake for a Lutheran, a Calvinist, and a Pentecostal to all proclaim they follow Jesus in largely the same way.



Somewhat true. Everyone who is baptized is essentially baptized as a Catholic, because there is only one Baptism and only one Church. Those who are baptized outside the visible communion of the Catholic Church are still united to the Church, but not members of the Church.
Catholic is not “one version among many” but the only true and complete version of Christianity.

Therefore, a baptized person can attend any Christian church and receive the sacraments (if any) on offer.

Is this right?

No it’s very wrong, and on several different levels.

  1. Participating in the Sacraments not only presumes visible communion, but requires it. Those outside the Church (even if they are Christian) are generally not able to participate in the Sacraments. There are some exceptions to this (such as time of war, persecution and disaster). Marriage might also be a valid Sacrament if the other conditions for validity are also met.

  2. If what is “on offer” (to use your phrase) is not a valid Eucharist, then Catholics certainly may not receive it. The ecclesial communities which arose from the Reformation do not have a valid sacrament of Ordination (none of them). This means that their attempts at ordination are invalid and their attempts at Communion are invalid.
    We cannot receive Communion if there is no Communion to be received.

What do the various churches think about this?

A distinction must be made between churches and ecclesial communities. Those communities who have preserved Apostolic Succession (again, this excludes all Reformation communities) are churches. Those who lack Apostolic Succession likewise lack the fullness of the sacraments, and they are properly called “ecclesial communities.”


That depends on whether or not the Protestant attempt at Baptism was in-fact a valid baptism.

If it was valid, then the person being received into the Church is not re-baptised; because a person can only be baptized one time.

If the validity was questionable, then the person is baptised conditionally (“if you were never baptized, I baptize you in the Name of the Father…”)

If the attempt at baptism was not valid (“I baptize you in the name of the creator, redeemer, sanctifier…”) then the person is baptized; not re-baptized, but baptized for the first time.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit