Catholics rebaptizing?


I wasn’t so sure about this:

Was it a common practice before Vatican II to rebaptize (conditional baptism) of non-Catholics with trinitarian baptisms?


It was a common practice, but don’t get it wrong here–conditional baptism is not “rebaptism.” No one can be re-baptized. Baptism is a once-only thing that leaves an indelible mark on the soul.

Conditional baptism for converts was usually done privately, in the presence of the godparents/witnesses of the converted. The form for it is “If you are not already baptized, then I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

For more, consult these websites:



Yes, non-Catholic converts were “Conditionally Baptized” before entering the Church through Confirmation and Eucharist before the RCIA. As they are still, in the RCIA if there is serious questions about the validity of their non-Catholic Baptisms.


Would this have been common if and when the converts were coming from ecclesial communities with known trinitarian baptism (i.e. Lutheran, Methodist, Anglican) and had documentation it had occured?


One of the people in my RCIA was conditionally baptized. It seems my priest could not determine if the non-Denominational baptism this person received in her early teens used the Trinitarian formula. My priest went to great lengths to investigate this, including trying to contact the old church and minister. Apparently, the church is now defunct and they could not locate the minister.

My priest baptized her privately before her confirmation at the Easter Vigil service.


Hi Tsuzuki,

As you know, Mormons don’t really believe in the Trinity as we do. They believe in three gods acting as one. We believe that there is one God in three persons.That is the root of the problem. It is not enough to use a Trinitarian formula, but to believe in one God.



Mormon baptism is a tricky thing…

The formula applied by the Mormons might appear to be a Trinitarian formula. But in reality, while the formula of the Mormons is similar to the formula of the Catholic faith, there is no fundamental doctrinal agreement in its application. The Mormon invocation of the Trinity is not a true invocation of the Trinity because the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, according to them, are not three persons in which subsists the one Godhead, but three gods who form one divinity.

The Mormons believe that the divinity originated when three gods decided to unite and form the divinity in order to bring about human salvation. Furthermore, the Mormons believe that God the Father is an exalted man, a native from another planet, who has acquired his divine status through a death similar to that of human beings, this being a necessary way of becoming divine. God the Father has relatives and this is explained by the doctrine of infinite regression of the gods who initially were mortal. God the Father has a wife, the Heavenly Mother, with whom he shared the responsibility of creation. They procreated sons in the spiritual world. Their firstborn was Jesus Christ, equal to all men, who acquired his divinity in a pre-mortal existence. Even the Holy Spirit was the son of heavenly parents. The Son and the Holy Spirit were procreated after the beginning of the creation of the world known to mankind. Four gods were directly responsible for the universe, three of whom established a covenant and therefore formed the divinity.

As can be appreciated, the Mormon baptism does not in any way contain the doctrinal belief that is associated with the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. The words, “Father, Son and Holy Spirit,” have for the Mormons, a totally different meaning than that of the Christian faiths.

While this is only one reason, that being sufficient to affirm that the Mormon baptism is not valid, there are other reasons. Over and above the Mormon belief that there is no real Trinity, the Mormons do not believe in original sin, nor that Christ instituted baptism. Based on this, those who believe that they were baptized in the Mormon religion, must be baptized in the Catholic faith upon their conversion because they were never validly baptized as commanded by Jesus and taught by the Catholic faith.

This conclusion was handed down to the Catholic Church by The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in July, 2001.


Here is what the Vatican has to say about Mormon baptism.

**Question: **Wheter the baptism conferred by the community «The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints», called «Mormons» in the vernacular, is valid.
Response: Negative.

Unfortunately, it is only one word with no explanation.


Conditional baptisms can be administered for various reasons. When I was received into the Church, I was conditionally baptized. My original baptism took place in a Congregational church, when I was ten, so I remembered it clearly. The pastor was a personal friend of my parents, and completely orthodox in his beliefs (not all Congregational ministers are), and the baptism was in the name of the Trinity. However, the pastor held a pan of water, and simply dipped his hand into it and laid it on the top of my head while he pronounced the baptismal formula. This had always bothered me, and the priest who received me agreed that there was enough doubt whether any water actually touched my skin to make a conditional baptism a good idea…


The problem with mormons is that they often use the same terminology but when you get deeper into their doctrines you will see that what on the first sight seemed orthodox is in fact a complete heresy. Even their understand of God is different from the Christian one. They will say that they believe in Trinity and that Father, Son and the Holy Spirit is one God but in fact what they mean that God is made out of three distinct beings with the same purpose. Plus Mormonism isn’t even monotheistic - it’s a henotheistic religion.

For this reason their baptism can’t be valid.


I think if there is any question. My dh was in the Methodist, valid baptism, and we know because his parents are still alive and verify everything, but we went onto other faiths for awhile and were baptized again because we were ignorant and baptism seems to be a popular thing to do in a lot of churches. Now as I am back I asked my priest and he said it was because I didn’t know and my parents are also still alive and relatives can verify so if my dh comes to the Church he will not need to be baptized but he may want to anyways. If you got baptized as an older child or adult then can’t remember I would say do over, many non-C faiths baptize but do not give it any proof like a certificate etc.


Before the days of Vatican II and Ecumenism, generally speaking the Catholic Church did not really look into the validity or Form of Protestant Baptism. With Ecumenism the Church has spent some time looking at the Form of different Protestant Baptisms and most diocese have a list of accepted Baptisms and those that need more scrutiny.


Welcome , this is good as you will also understand it better right?
I’m just learning all about how to explain it to my family who are some Catholic and some are Luthern and so we must find out before relatives leave us because they will be gone and then we will never find out.



The Catholic Church states very clearly that Conditional Baptism is not to be used haphazardly. We are never to give the impression that we are Re-Baptizing. Which is why Conditional Baptism is always done privately.


What do you mean by “privately”, Br. Rich? The reason I ask, when I was received, on a Saturday morning, there were at least 20 people there, I was baptized conditionally, made my first Confession and then the priest said Mass and I received my First Communion. For some reason, and I didn’t ask why, I was not confirmed–that came several years later…


If you will be considering yourself “rebaptized” then you are arguing with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

There is no “rebaptism” in the Catholic Church. We say this quite clearly in the Nicene Creed. It is an article of faith.


You will not be “Re-Baptized” AFTER RCIA! You will be Baptized for the first time at the Easter Vigil. The Catholic Church does NOT accept Mormon baptism, You are presently not Baptized.


These are all quotes from the FALSE gospel of the Mormon religion.


That is a whole lot of words to say that Mormon baptism is not an acceptable or valid Christian Baptism.

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