Can someone help me understand this baptism question?


#1

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.


#2

The 'pastor' did not baptize you. Jesus did and it sticks whether or not the pastor was into it.

BTW...I'm from Michigan, too...probably in the same general area judging from your reformed background..Welcome home to the 1 true faith dear sister!


#3

[quote="Armor_of_Light, post:2, topic:302402"]
The 'pastor' did not baptize you. Jesus did and it sticks whether or not the pastor was into it.

BTW...I'm from Michigan, too...probably in the same general area judging from your reformed background..Welcome home to the 1 true faith dear sister!

[/quote]

Dude...I'm in Grand Haven! :D

I thought the answer was probably something like "because its the Holy Spirit Who baptizes," therefore the regeneration occurs regardless of what the pastor believed; it just seems like a belief in the regenerative nature baptism ought to be present for the Church to recognize it.


#4

Are you my wife?

Hi honey!!

Just kidding…

Do you go to St. Pats?

PM me if you want I have a question for you…


#5

[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.

[/quote]

There was a difference of opinion regarding baptism that arose between Bishop Stephen of Rome and Bishop Cyrpian along with an African Synod of bishops.

There are early church documents which state that persons shall not be re-baptize except when done by a heretic.

Bishop Stephen did not think it was necessary to re-baptize those who were baptized by heretics, apparently, as long as they were baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. So form, took precedence over who administered the baptism. When such 'heretics' repented in order to enter the Roman Catholic Church, the laying of hands by the bishop was to be administered to the convert for the reception of the Holy Spirit.

From what I gather from the historical records, Bishop Stephen did not differentiate between a "Christian heretic' who converted, and a gnostic heretic who called himself a Christian, and who converted

Bishop Cyprian of Carthage and the synod of African Bishops believed that all who were baptized by 'heretics' needed to be re-baptized. The person who administered the baptism was considered to be just as important as the form of the baptism.

This is just my opinion, but if you do not believe that your baptism washed away your sins, you may want to ask for spiritual direction on whether you need to be re-baptized.

God's peace

micah


#6

[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.

[/quote]

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.

Matter: water.
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


#7

[quote="mercytruth, post:5, topic:302402"]
There was a difference of opinion regarding baptism that arose between Bishop Stephen of Rome and Bishop Cyrpian along with an African Synod of bishops.

There are early church documents which state that persons shall not be re-baptize except when done by a heretic.

Bishop Stephen did not think it was necessary to re-baptize those who were baptized by heretics, apparently, as long as they were baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. So form, took precedence over who administered the baptism. When such 'heretics' repented in order to enter the Roman Catholic Church, the laying of hands by the bishop was to be administered to the convert for the reception of the Holy Spirit.

From what I gather from the historical records, Bishop Stephen did not differentiate between a "Christian heretic' who converted, and a gnostic heretic who called himself a Christian, and who converted

Bishop Cyprian of Carthage and the synod of African Bishops believed that all who were baptized by 'heretics' needed to be re-baptized. The person who administered the baptism was considered to be just as important as the form of the baptism.

[/quote]

The consensus today seems to be that it is form over the minister of baptism UNLESS the minister is known to have a faulty understanding of the Trinity. (Presumably that would make it improper form since the words would mean something else.)

So that would seem to suggest that someone could be baptized by a non-Christian who understands what is meant by a Triune God but not by, say, a Mormon or Jehovah's Witness who either does not believe in the Trinity and/or who has a heretical understanding of the nature of the persons of the Trinity.

The Reformed Church generally has a correct understanding of the Trinity and intends to do what "The Church" does when She baptizes even if the Reformed disagree with Catholics about the nature of the"what".


#8

[quote="SMHW, post:7, topic:302402"]
The consensus today seems to be that it is form over the minister of baptism UNLESS the minister is known to have a faulty understanding of the Trinity. (Presumably that would make it improper form since the words would mean something else.)

So that would seem to suggest that someone could be baptized by a non-Christian who understands what is meant by a Triune God but not by, say, a Mormon or Jehovah's Witness who either does not believe in the Trinity and/or who has a heretical understanding of the nature of the persons of the Trinity.

The Reformed Church generally has a correct understanding of the Trinity and intends to do what "The Church" does when She baptizes even if the Reformed disagree with Catholics about the "what".

[/quote]

The OP states that her former church did not believe that baptism accomplished anything. If this is true, the OP has a dilemma, and I would agree with her.

God's peace

micah


#9

I'm afraid that I don't know the answer to the OP's question. It appears not to have been answered. The form was probably correct. It is likely the proper matter was used. The OP more likely than not had the right intention. My understanding is the OP is asking how can their baptism be valid is the minister lacked the necessary intent. A very important question, which requires a definite answer.

@SecretaryMonday: I would suggest you pose your question to your priest.


#10

[quote="mercytruth, post:8, topic:302402"]
The OP states that her former church did not believe that baptism accomplished anything. If this is true, the OP has a dilemma, and I would agree with her.

God's peace

micah

[/quote]

I don't think so, because the Church only requires that the minister intend to do what the Church does, that is, to baptize. It does not require the minister intend what the Church intends or to have proper belief in the regenerative effect of baptism. This is why the heathen and atheists can validly baptize in an emergency.


#11

To me it sounds like your baptism was valid, but if you have serious doubt you can receive a conditional baptism. That might at least put your mind at ease. But I think your best bet is to talk to a priest.

Welcome home! :thumbsup:


#12

Reformed baptism is valid per these Catholic documents:

google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=4&ved=0CDkQFjAD&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.archbalt.org%2Fevangelization%2Fworship%2Frcia%2Floader.cfm%3FcsModule%3Dsecurity%2Fgetfile%26PageID%3D45377&ei=cryBUIu7MoP69gSt04HQAQ&usg=AFQjCNE7imy1sq8vh9OfPPnFrMYiSyP6mA&sig2=VAVSx7ZLvcPaVfm05DgaHg&cad=rja

davenportdiocese.org/lit/liturgylibrary/Policies/litInvalidBaptism.pdf


#13

[quote="SecretaryMonday, post:1, topic:302402"]
I did not have to be re-baptized after converting to Catholicism.

[/quote]

This means someone with knowledge and authority looked into your Baptism and determined that it was valid. No worries :D


#14

[quote="porthos11, post:10, topic:302402"]
I don't think so, because the Church only requires that the minister intend to do what the Church does, that is, to baptize. It does not require the minister intend what the Church intends or to have proper belief in the regenerative effect of baptism. This is why the heathen and atheists can validly baptize in an emergency.

[/quote]

This is why Mormon baptisms are invalid. Because the church is realizing that proper form does not sanctify the intent. How can an atheist do what the church does if the atheist does not believe in the forgiveness of sins, nor believe in God? An atheist can only perform the action of baptizing in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. This form done by an atheist does not merit anyone, otherwise, Mormon baptisms would be valid.

It is time to rethink the definition of a valid baptism. The Orthodox have never thought of Mormon baptisms as being valid. Why? For a variety of doctrinal reasons.

I think this whole issue of invalidating Mormon baptisms confirms that Bishop Cyprian and the African Synod were on the right side of history.

God's peace

micah


#15

[quote="Matthew_Holford, post:9, topic:302402"]
I'm afraid that I don't know the answer to the OP's question. It appears not to have been answered. The form was probably correct. It is likely the proper matter was used. The OP more likely than not had the right intention. My understanding is the OP is asking how can their baptism be valid is the minister lacked the necessary intent. A very important question, which requires a definite answer.

@SecretaryMonday: I would suggest you pose your question to your priest.

[/quote]

I think the minister DID have the right intent. The minister intended to baptize in accordance with the proper form of the Church.

If I'm playing in a basketball game and I intend to throw the ball in the air in a legal manner and it just happens to go in the proper basket then I score even if I was not trying to score any points. In the case of baptism the Church just requires a legal toss at the correct time. (My poor analogy would have the ball always going in the basket if the rules were properly followed. :rolleyes:) The Church doesn't require that we throw the ball with intention of scoring.


#16

[quote="Vico, post:6, topic:302402"]

Because since the principal cause from which baptism has its efficacy is the Holy Trinity,...

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.

[/quote]

By this I understand that, as mentioned previously, it is actually God Who baptizes and brings about the effect, not primarily the intention of the minister.

[quote="SMHW, post:7, topic:302402"]

The Reformed Church generally has a correct understanding of the Trinity and intends to do what "The Church" does when She baptizes even if the Reformed disagree with Catholics about the nature of the"what".

[/quote]

This kind of makes sense to me; the apparent discrepancy is a disagreement over the nature of the "what" rather than a failure to do the "what". (Does it depend on what "is" is? Sorry, lol...:D)

[quote="Matthew_Holford, post:9, topic:302402"]
I'm afraid that I don't know the answer to the OP's question. It appears not to have been answered. The form was probably correct. It is likely the proper matter was used. The OP more likely than not had the right intention. My understanding is the OP is asking how can their baptism be valid is the minister lacked the necessary intent. A very important question, which requires a definite answer.

@SecretaryMonday: I would suggest you pose your question to your priest.

[/quote]

Yes, that is basically what I was asking. I understand that the Church accepts my baptism because it was Trinitarian (and, as others have mentioned, its the Trinity Who is responsible for the effects of baptism), its just difficult for me to understand how the "intent" was there. I guess a "partial intent" is sufficient, though; the pastor intended to offer a Christian Trinitarian baptism even though he had a different concept of what that baptism did.

I suppose I could request a conditional baptism just to be really, really, really sure, but I'm not actually worried so much as I'm just confused. :shrug:


#17

[quote="SecretaryMonday, post:16, topic:302402"]
By this I understand that, as mentioned previously, it is actually God Who baptizes and brings about the effect, not primarily the intention of the minister.

This kind of makes sense to me; the apparent discrepancy is a disagreement over the nature of the "what" rather than a failure to do the "what". (Does it depend on what "is" is? Sorry, lol...:D)

Yes, that is basically what I was asking. I understand that the Church accepts my baptism because it was Trinitarian (and, as others have mentioned, its the Trinity Who is responsible for the effects of baptism), its just difficult for me to understand how the "intent" was there. I guess a "partial intent" is sufficient, though; the pastor intended to offer a Christian Trinitarian baptism even though he had a different concept of what that baptism did.

I suppose I could request a conditional baptism just to be really, really, really sure, but I'm not actually worried so much as I'm just confused. :shrug:

[/quote]

You may find this helpful for understanding intention. This document is about Holy Orders, but also applies in general with regards to intention.

On the Nullity of Anglican Orders (1896) of Pope Leo XII:33. With this inherent defect of "form" is joined the defect of "intention" which is equally essential to the Sacrament. The Church does not judge about the mind and intention, in so far as it is something by its nature internal; but in so far as it is manifested externally she is bound to judge concerning it. A person who has correctly and seriously used the requisite matter and form to effect and confer a sacrament is presumed for that very reason to have intended to do (intendisse) what the Church does. On this principle rests the doctrine that a Sacrament is truly conferred by the ministry of one who is a heretic or unbaptized, provided the Catholic rite be employed. On the other hand, if the rite be changed, with the manifest intention of introducing another rite not approved by the Church and of rejecting what the Church does, and what, by the institution of Christ, belongs to the nature of the Sacrament, then it is clear that not only is the necessary intention wanting to the Sacrament, but that the intention is adverse to and destructive of the Sacrament.
papalencyclicals.net/Leo13/l13curae.htm

Fr. Luis Ladaria explains:** Right intention is the intention to do what the Church wants, what Christ wants
** Even non-Catholics can validly administer Baptism. In every case, however, it is the Baptism of the Catholic Church, which does not belong to those who separate themselves from her but to the Church from which they have separated themselves (cf. Augustine, On *Baptism *1, 12,9). This validity is possible because Christ is the true minister of the sacrament: Christ is the one who truly baptizes, whether it is Peter or Paul or Judas who baptizes (cf. Augustine, *Treatise on the Gospel of John *VI,1,7; cf. CCC n. 1127). The Council of Trent, confirming this tradition, defined that Baptism administered by heretics in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, with the intention of doing what the Catholic Church does is true Baptism (cf. DH 1617).
ewtn.com/library/theology/mormbap1.htm


#18

[quote="Vico, post:17, topic:302402"]
You may find this helpful for understanding intention. This document is about Holy Orders, but also applies in general with regards to intention.

On the Nullity of Anglican Orders (1896) of Pope Leo XII:33. With this inherent defect of "form" is joined the defect of "intention" which is equally essential to the Sacrament. The Church does not judge about the mind and intention, in so far as it is something by its nature internal; but in so far as it is manifested externally she is bound to judge concerning it. A person who has correctly and seriously used the requisite matter and form to effect and confer a sacrament is presumed for that very reason to have intended to do (intendisse) what the Church does. On this principle rests the doctrine that a Sacrament is truly conferred by the ministry of one who is a heretic or unbaptized, provided the Catholic rite be employed. On the other hand, if the rite be changed, with the manifest intention of introducing another rite not approved by the Church and of rejecting what the Church does, and what, by the institution of Christ, belongs to the nature of the Sacrament, then it is clear that not only is the necessary intention wanting to the Sacrament, but that the intention is adverse to and destructive of the Sacrament.
papalencyclicals.net/Leo13/l13curae.htm

Fr. Luis Ladaria explains:** Right intention is the intention to do what the Church wants, what Christ wants
** Even non-Catholics can validly administer Baptism. In every case, however, it is the Baptism of the Catholic Church, which does not belong to those who separate themselves from her but to the Church from which they have separated themselves (cf. Augustine, On *Baptism *1, 12,9). This validity is possible because Christ is the true minister of the sacrament: Christ is the one who truly baptizes, whether it is Peter or Paul or Judas who baptizes (cf. Augustine, *Treatise on the Gospel of John *VI,1,7; cf. CCC n. 1127). The Council of Trent, confirming this tradition, defined that Baptism administered by heretics in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, with the intention of doing what the Catholic Church does is true Baptism (cf. DH 1617).
ewtn.com/library/theology/mormbap1.htm

[/quote]

Thanks! :cool:


#19

[quote="SecretaryMonday, post:18, topic:302402"]
Thanks! :cool:

[/quote]

I think you should accept that the Church has told you that your baptism is valid. I would agree that no matter what human ministers do it is God who actually provides the sacrament and its graces. I suppose all the minister has to intend is that you are baptised and entered into membership of the Christian Faith. If the minister had to intend to baptize you in a way the Catholic Church understands the sacrament, then baptisms performed by non-Catholics could never be valid. We, however, do know that such baptisms can be valid. Welcome home!:)


#20

[quote="Matthew_Holford, post:19, topic:302402"]
I think you should accept that the Church has told you that your baptism is valid. I would agree that no matter what human ministers do it is God who actually provides the sacrament and its graces. I suppose all the minister has to intend is that you are baptised and entered into membership of the Christian Faith. If the minister had to intend to baptize you in a way the Catholic Church understands the sacrament, then baptisms performed by non-Catholics could never be valid. We, however, do know that such baptisms can be valid. Welcome home!:)

[/quote]

Oh I agree, I believe that I received a valid baptism in the eyes of the Church; I was just curious how She understood that whole "intent" part. Thanks for the welcome, by the way! :)


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