Baptizing a Dying Person


Is it appropriate to baptize a dying person who is unresponsive, not knowing if they had intentions to ever be baptized?

The Case:
The scenario is a cancer patient who had been unresponsive for several days, on ventilation, listed as having no religion in their chart. They are unable to give consent to baptism, but are also unable to deny being baptized. Would it be appropriate to give them a conditional baptism (If you are not already baptized, then I baptise you in the name of…) before they pass away? The family cannot be reached and the patient is going to die soon. What should a Catholic healthcare worker do?



Can.* 865 §1. For an adult to be baptized, the person must have manifested the intention to receive baptism, have been instructed sufficiently about the truths of the faith and Christian obligations, and have been tested in the Christian life through the catechumenate. The adult is also to be urged to have sorrow for personal sins.

§2. An adult in danger of death can be baptized if, having some knowledge of the principal truths of the faith, the person has manifested in any way at all the intention to receive baptism and promises to observe the commandments of the Christian religion.

Defer to their priest.


I would have thought that yes, you could baptize because we don’t know…

However, God is able to work outside the sacraments and knows the heart.


As 1ke said it would not be appropriate unless it is known either through that person or someone who was close to that person, preferably family of some sort, though if a friend knew or whoever else that too would be fine. It's quite unfortunate that someone in relation to them could not be contacted but you must not baptize someone out of their will.

We hope our Lord has mercy on him and we should pray, but that is all we can do without knowing.

Here is a video from my diocese of a priest(from my diocese)who discusses baptizing an unconscious person but as he says in the video the man's family stated he would have wanted to be baptized. Just thought I would include this of an appropriate example!:thumbsup:


Sola Animarum, am I correct?

For the salvation of the soul

Comparing it to

Anoiting of the sick being given to a person whi is in comma.


There is no way of knowing the person’s preferance. They have free will even at this point in life and to have that respected. They have made a choice in thier life and if it is not to have faith or religion, then you cannot make that decision for them now.
As a Catholic Health care worker, you can pray for them and leave the repose of their sole in God’s hands.

Deacon Frank


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