Emergency Baptism


#1

If an adult is unconscious and is near death and has never been baptized, can you give them an emergency baptism or do you have to have their permission first?


#2

:popcorn: Hmm, I’ma just wait and see. :slight_smile:


#3

I’m of the understanding that you should never baptize an unconscious person unless they have (at some point while conscious obviously, lol) previously stated that they wanted to become a part of the Church. If you don’t know this information, they should not be baptized, but you CAN (and should) pray over the unconscious person.


#4

:compcoff: i’ll be here too.


#5

Thanks for your answer. :slight_smile:


#6

Google: Emergency Baptism used when in Catholic Church?

You’ll find several references. This one is clear and concise: kencollins.com/instructions/how-04.htm


#7

Can.* 865 §1. For an adult to be baptized, the person must have manifested the intention to receive baptism, have been instructed sufficiently about the truths of the faith and Christian obligations, and have been tested in the Christian life through the catechumenate. The adult is also to be urged to have sorrow for personal sins.

§2. An adult in danger of death can be baptized if, having some knowledge of the principal truths of the faith, the person has manifested in any way at all the intention to receive baptism and promises to observe the commandments of the Christian religion.


#8

Holly, I disagree with Delaine in this case.

The Sacrament of Baptism forgives all sins committed prior to it. (CCC 1263)

So, if you give an emergency Baptism to someone who has not previously been baptized, and they die, they go straight to Heaven.

And, if they do survive, the graces it imparts just might make them more willing to listen. That’s hpw I interpret CCC 1280, anyway. I could be wrong.

I may not be able to get anyone to Heaven against their conscious will, and I will not force it on them. But if they’re unconscious, and in danger of death, that’s an emergency. They may not have the chance to change their minds.

They can thank me later - assuming I make it to Heaven!


#9

I think in this case, you have to follow the Holy spirit. If the spirit is calling you to preform one you do, otherwise no. Only the holy spirit knows the person's heart. Your access to the person will also depend on what job one has in those circumstances.


#10

[quote="Holly3278, post:1, topic:299562"]
If an adult is unconscious and is near death and has never been baptized, can you give them an emergency baptism or do you have to have their permission first?

[/quote]

Since we have both the Latin Catholic canons (CIC) and the eastern Catholic canons (CCEO) to work with, take a look at CCEO 682.2 for clarification. The unconscious danger of death baptism can occur under two conditions.

Canon 682
1. For a person who is no longer an infant to be baptized, it is required that he or she manifest a desire to receive baptism and be sufficiently instructed in the truths of the faith and be tested in the Christian life; the adult is to be exhorted to have sorrow for personal sins.
2. A person who is no longer an infant and who is in danger of death can be baptized, if he or she has an understanding of the principal truths of the faith and in any way manifests the intention of receiving baptism.


#11

Thanks everyone. I appreciate the answers, especially the Canon Law. :slight_smile:


#12

Sorry! Scratch Post #6, above, as I copied the wrong address in haste. Although the author of that site says to not baptize when one is unconscious and also gives a reference to paragraph 1284 in the Catechism for the Catholic Church, the site I referenced is not a Catholic Site; I listed it in error.

I had intended to give you this address: www.stpatrickyork.org/greatadventure/MassDVDs/TheMassQuestions.pdf

If you fish around even more, you’ll find pages of addresses that you can pull up with essentially the same information. Leave baptizing to a priest when at all possible. If you’re truly in an Emergency Baptism situation, you can administer the sacrament, but you shouldn’t do so for an unconscious person unless you definitely know that the person wanted to be baptized. However, if the person had a desire to be baptized, the Baptism of Desire would be valid, so your actually baptizing him/her with water wouldn’t be necessary.

Rest content that God knows what’s in our hearts and innermost thoughts. The older a person becomes, and the sicker a person becomes, he also becomes more aware of his own mortality and the short time he has remaining here on earth. Although we can’t hear their prayers and internal conversations with God, we can be at peace knowing that God won’t forsake one of His children who wants to be with Him, even if that child has fallen into a coma without having been officially baptized.

Again, I apologize for having been in too much of a hurry.


#13

We went over it here :slight_smile:

Back then I was trying to find out if there was some “guideline” on this (see post), still trying to find out.


#14

I have a related question. If someone was baptized unconsciously because of an emergency but they did not want to be baptized or had made known their desire to not be baptized, would the baptism still wash away all of their sins? In other words, does the efficacy of the baptism depend upon the intention/desire of the person being baptized?


#15

[quote="Holly3278, post:14, topic:299562"]
I have a related question. If someone was baptized unconsciously because of an emergency but they did not want to be baptized or had made known their desire to not be baptized, would the baptism still wash away all of their sins? In other words, does the efficacy of the baptism depend upon the intention/desire of the person being baptized?

[/quote]

For an adult, there must be intention, or there is no sacrament of baptism received.

c) With regard to these Christians, where an official ecclesiastical attes- tation has been given, there is no reason for doubting the validity of the baptism conferred in their Churches and ecclesial Communities unless, in a particular case, an examination clearly shows that a serious reason exists for having a doubt about one of the following: the matter and form and words used in the conferral of baptism, the intention of an adult baptized or the minister of the baptism. 111

111 Cf. *CIC, *can. 869, 2, and Unitatis Redintegratio[FONT=Times][size=3] chap. III.
[/size][/FONT]
http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/chrstuni/general-docs/rc_pc_chrstuni_doc_19930325_directory_en.htmlCIC Can. 869
§1. If there is a doubt whether a person has been baptized or whether baptism was conferred validly and the doubt remains after a serious investigation, baptism is to be conferred conditionally.
§2. Those baptized in a non-Catholic ecclesial community must not be baptized conditionally unless, after an examination of the matter and the form of the words used in the conferral of baptism and a consideration of the intention of the baptized adult and the minister of the baptism, a serious reason exists to doubt the validity of the baptism.
§3. If in the cases mentioned in §§1 and 2 the conferral or validity of the baptism remains doubtful, baptism is not to be conferred until after the doctrine of the sacrament of baptism is explained to the person to be baptized, if an adult, and the reasons of the doubtful validity of the baptism are explained to the person or, in the case of an infant, to the parents.


#16

You could probably do a conditional Baptism, as they do if someone is not sure if they've received it. You would probably just say before the words of Baptism something like: "if this person has the desire to enter the Church" then the words of Baptism. Please correct me if i'm wrong.


#17

You are NOT permitted to baptise an unconscious person except in the situation described in Canon Law.
All Catholics are bound by Canon Law.


#18

:popcorn:


#19

you should have their permission - or some reasonable evidence that they would have given their permission.


#20

I honestly can't see how it can possibly do any harm. The person will never know unless they recover and you decide to tell them. If they recover and refuse to accept God and still don't want to be baptized, any baptism would be automatically null and void and there's no point in bringing it up unless they do. I guess if they die and get to the gates of heaven they will decide to be either grateful for the baptism and prepare for heaven in purgatory, or to reject it entirely and opt for the other place. Either way, you're doing your best for their soul and other than praying for them there's little else you can do. I was always taught if in doubt, err on the side of baptism.


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