Conditional Baptism Questions


#1

I am converting to Catholicism (joining RCIA later this year).
I used to go to a Methodist church, and I was baptized last year by a pastor (most likely Methodist) in Mexico.
I received a certificate.

Most likely it was done in the Trinitarian formula.

Methodists do use the Trinitarian formula, but the pastor lives and preaches in Mexico, so I question as to whether he was truly a methodist pastor (and hence would most likely use the Trinitarian formula).
There is also the certificate (I don’t currently have it, but pretty sure it says it was done in the Trinitarian formula).
The thing is I don’t remember the exact words the pastor said when I was baptized, and as the worried type of person I am, I am concerned as to whether it is truly a valid baptism.

Now here are my questions.

  1. Because I PERSONALLY am not completely certain that it was a valid baptism (Trinitarian), can I ask and receive a conditional baptism even if my certificate says it was done in that Trinitarian formula? (and we can’t contact pastor because he lives in Mexico). Is it ultimately the priest’s decision as to whether I can receive a conditional baptism or can I receive it because even though most evidence would point it to being a valid baptism, I personally am not certain that it was.

  2. I learned that the conditional baptism is private. But isn’t the confirmation and Eucharist usually taken place right after the baptism (for those with age of reason, like me)? If it is private, then is the conditional baptism done the day before and the last two initiation rites are the next day?


#2

You are going to have to speak with your priest and see what he says. In the two links I included below, one states it is valid and the other it is questionable. When in doubt, you will be rebaptized. Trust your pastor, he will do what’s right.

archtoronto.org/discipleship/documents/O04%20-%20Reference%20List%20of%20Baptismal%20Churches.pdf

archbalt.org/evangelization/worship/rcia/upload/Validity-of-Baptisms-and-Confirmation.pdf


#3

A Methodist baptism is almost certainly valid. It makes no difference if the pastor was “truly Methodist,” whatever that means. All Methodists pastors are laypersons. Consult your Catholic pastor and trust his decision.


#4

I just want to be as close to God as can be.
Whatever decision the priest makes, I can trust it in fullness?
I definitely don’t want to die while not having had a valid baptism.

Hypothetically, If something were to happen to me, and evidence only came up later that the baptism was not valid, then will I effectively have to suffer whatever consequence there was for not having received a valid baptism past death?
I just worry because I’m not 100% certain of the validity, since it was during a Missionary trip in Mexico (not in a church) and that I don’t remember what the pastor said.


#5

Yes. If your pastor has questions about the validity of the baptism he will conditionally baptize you. If he believes the baptism is valid – and Methodist baptisms are generally accepted by the Catholic Church – there will be no need for a conditional baptism.

  1. I learned that the conditional baptism is private. But isn’t the confirmation and Eucharist usually taken place right after the baptism (for those with age of reason, like me)? If it is private, then is the conditional baptism done the day before and the last two initiation rites are the next day?

If you are conditionally baptized then that is done privately. After that you would be treated as any other baptized candidate. You would have the opportunity to go to confession (in case your original baptism was valid and now you need to confess your sins since baptism), then sometime after that you would be received into the Church, be confirmed, and receive your First Communion. This wouldn’t necessarily be the next day but at some time in the near future.

To be clear, we do not REbaptize people. In the case of a conditional baptism, the priest would say “If you are not already baptized, I baptize you…” So either the original baptism was valid and this has no effect, or, if there was no valid baptism then this is the one baptism the person receives.

Yes.

There will be other times that you will also have to trust the priest. When he offers you absolution in confession you can believe it. When he consecrates the Eucharist you can believe it. He takes the sacraments seriously!


#6

If serious doubt remains after investigation - one would be conditionally baptized. You are very right to look into this and to follow through with expressing your doubts about it. Do not simply take say an RCIA persons word for it. It needs to be investigated -yours was not the normally Baptism experience in a Protestant Church.

If such is done -yes it is done privately prior to Easter. Followed by confession.


#7

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