[quote="SecretaryMonday, post:1, topic:302402"]
I was baptized in a Reformed denomination and, because this was done in the name of the Trinity, I did not have to be re-baptized after converting to Catholicism. However, my former church did not believe that baptism "did anything"; it was symbolic of obedience only.
I am not questioning whether or not my baptism was really valid, but I don't understand why the Church can accept a baptism if the pastor had no intention of it being regenerative. The requirements for valid baptism include the intention to do what the Church does when She baptizes; shouldn't this include the "regenerative" part?
I appreciate anyone's help in better grasping this.
The Catholic Church recognizes the validity of Baptism when the proper matter and form are used and when both the baptizing minister and the person being baptized have the proper intention according to canon law.
Can. 853 Apart from a case of necessity, the water to be used in conferring baptism must be blessed according to the prescripts of the liturgical books.
CIC Can. 854 Baptism is to be conferred either by immersion or by pouring; the prescripts of the conference of bishops are to be observed.
Form: “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”
Can. 850 Baptism is administered according to the order prescribed in the approved liturgical books, except in case of urgent necessity when only those things required for the validity of the sacrament must be observed.
Intention: "intends to perform what the Church performs".
Exultate Deo of Pope Eugene IV
Approved by the Council of Florence. Holy Baptism holds the first place among the Sacraments, because it is the door of spiritual life; for by it we are made members of Christ and incorporated with the Church. And since through the first man death entered into all, unless we be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, we cannot enter into the kingdom of Heaven, as Truth Himself has told us.
The matter of this sacrament is true and natural water, and it is indifferent whether it be cold or hot. The form is: ‘I baptize thee in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.’ We do not deny, however, that the words: ‘Let this servant of Christ be baptized in the name of the Father of the Son and of the Holy Ghost’ or ‘This person is baptized by my hands in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost’ constitute true baptism. Because since the principal cause from which baptism has its efficacy is the Holy Trinity, and the instrumental cause is the minister who confers the sacrament exteriorly, then if the act exercised by the minister be expressed, together with the invocation of the Holy Trinity, the sacrament is perfected.
The minister of this sacrament is the priest, to whom it belongs to baptize by reason of his office. In case of necessity, however, not only a priest or deacon, but even a layman or woman, nay, even a pagan or heretic can baptize, provide he observes the form used by the Church, and intends to perform what the Church performs. The effect of this sacrament is the remission of all sin, original and actual; likewise of all punishment which is due for sin. As a consequence, no satisfaction for past sins is enjoined upon those who are baptized; and if they die before committing any sin, they attain immediately to the kingdom of Heaven and the vision of God
The Catholic Encyclopedia, New York: Encyclopedia Press, 1907, vol. II, pp. 258-259