Can I baptize someone if I am not a priest?


My wife watches a 2 year old boy whose parents will not have him baptized. My wife mentioned this to our monsignor and he said we can baptize the boy ourselves, without water even, as long as we baptize him and say, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit”. Is this valid?


No. First, for a baptism to be valid, the baptizer must immerse or pour water on the head of the one being baptized, while pronouncing the invocation of the Most Holy Trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Catechism of the Catholic Church no. 1278).

Second, a child cannot be baptized against the parent’s wishes (Can. 868). However, Canon Law allows for the following exceptions: 1) Can. 868 §2. An infant of Catholic parents or even of non-Catholic parents is baptized licitly in danger of death even against the will of the parents 2) Can. 870 An abandoned infant or a foundling is to be baptized unless after diligent investigation the baptism of the infant is established. 3) Can. 871 If aborted fetuses are alive, they are to be baptized insofar as possible.

Can only a priest baptize? While the ordinary minister of baptism is a bishop, a priest, or a deacon, in the case of necessity, anyone, even a non-baptized person, with the required intention, can baptize, by using the Trinitarian baptismal formula. The intention required is to will to do what the Church does when she baptizes (CCC 1256).

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