This is kind of embarrassing for me to be posting, but it feels even more embarrassing to talk to my priest (who has already mentioned my tendency to be overly scrupulous) about. Basically, I was baptized and raised as a Protestant. This last year I “converted” to Catholicism. I was so ready to receive the sacraments and everything, yet it wasn’t time for confirmation yet, so I talked to my priest and everyone and I got approval to receive my first Eucharist since I had already been “validly” baptized. Now at first before I asked for approval, they wanted to give me a conditional baptism, just to be sure that I had a valid baptism (as I was very young when I was baptized and didn’t remember everything about it). But since I asked, they allowed me, by profession of the faith, become a member of the church (which I was very thankful for, because I was more than ready for first reconciliation).
Now it kind of bothers me because I keep thinking “What if my original baptism actually wasn’t valid?”… My mom says that it was done “In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” in my old pastor’s pool… I feel like I’m being too anxious or scrupulous… And I asked about it in church and was told “It’s okay. Besides, it’s too late now anyway”… I feel pretty sure that I have been validly baptized, but that little chance freaks me out… Can anyone help to put my mind at ease or does anyone have any advice? Thank you!
Trust your mother’s memory - your baptism was valid. So you can stop worrying now.
I had the same qualms years after I joined the Church - but I got over it.
Relax and celebrate the fact that you have found what you are truly looking for!
Even in the unlikely event that you are wrong about you being validly baptized, God knows your sincerity and he will nonetheless give the grace you ought to have received.
So the saying goes, “God has bound grace to his sacraments, but God himself is not bound by them.” In other words, Jesus instituted the sacraments so that we may be reassured to receive his grace by these visible signs. Nonetheless, he is not restrained from giving his grace if the person does not receive the sacrament through no fault of their own.
This is why we recognize three different ways by which people receive the sacramental grace of baptism. The first is the ordinary way, through water and the Trinitarian formula. The second is baptism by blood, which is through martyrdom. The last is baptism of desire, which is an explicit or implicit desire to undergo baptism of water if informed of and given the chance to do so.
Obviously, in that unlikely event that you have not been validly baptized, you still fall under baptism of desire. So don’t worry! Even if you’re wrong, God will surely not deny you the grace or hold you culpable for it. God does not behave like a cunning hunter who eagerly awaits to ensnare you in his traps if you commit the slightest involuntary mistake. He wants you to be saved more than you do,
stop worrying about this. You were probably conditionally baptized because there was no certificate. I was baptized as an infant in the Methodist Church and the Catholic church accepted it as a valid baptism. Please stop worrying about this and move on.
If it makes you feel any better, there is something called “baptism of desire”. Usually, what this means if that if somebody lives in an area with no priests, no churches, and they want to get a baptism but cannot, then their desire for a baptism is what baptizes them without water or priests.
I’m sure, though, that it works in the exact same way here. You want to be baptized. And you are. If it does happen that you were not technically baptized, you are still validly baptized. If it does happen that your Protestant baptism somehow messed up, you are still validly baptized.
This doesn’t mean that the water and the words are unimportant. It simply means that if there was an accident or a mistake, God will accept your sincere desire for baptism and union with the Church in place of the usual formula. Nobody, nobody, nobody is damned by accident. Ever. Ever. Ever. You, I promise, based on what has been said here, will be just fine.
Was there any proof that you were baptized, such as a baptismal record of that particular protestant assembly?
If you were baptised with water using the Trinitarian formula, then you are baptised. Protestant pastors may not be Catholics, but they take baptism seriously. They’re no more likely to make a mistake than a Catholic priest is (i.e extremely unlikely).
This document lists which denominations have vlaid baptism and which do not.
I would echo what raikou said:
“So the saying goes, “God has bound grace to his sacraments, but God himself is not bound by them.” In other words, Jesus instituted the sacraments so that we may be reassured to receive his grace by these visible signs. Nonetheless, he is not restrained from giving his grace if the person does not receive the sacrament through no fault of their own.”
You have continued past baptism and into confirmation and first communion, by the hands of your priest or bishop, and you need to be comfortable now and joy in the fact you have received these sacraments.
So long as the original baptism was not in the mormon or Jehovah’s witnesses churches, it is more-than likely valid. It should have followed the format of the trinity, as you know.
Once again, though, God is not bound by His sacraments. And your desire, and progression down this path into the fullness of the sacraments is a certain and explicit desire.
Thanks to everyone for your replies! I asked my dad today as well (he was standing right next to me when I was baptized) and he also said I was baptized using the trinitarian formula. One of the big things is that the church I was baptized through is an “independent church”. So there really is no way of knowing what their normal procedure is, or if it is the same as it was. But I’m feeling a lot better now knowing it was using the trinitarian formula. As far as I’ve read, all that needs to be there is water, and “In the name of the Father, the son, and the Holy Spirit”, and I had both of those things, so I feel a lot better. Thanks again everyone
Various and many Protestant baptisms are judged valid. And thus no conditional baptism is to be done.
One may bring the matter to ones Pastor and he can bring the matter to the Chancery. They may then make a judgment. If prudent doubt remains -then a conditional baptism would be done.
Pray about it. I think the devil tries to play tricks on us when we find ourselves thinking such things. Maybe ask Jesus for comfort.
I think you will be fine.
I’m not sure if this list is 100% accurate. It states that all Pentecostal baptisms are done without the Trinitarian formula and thus invalid. This is only true of certain groups of radical Pentecostals, often called “oneness Pentecostals”, who reject the orthodox understanding of the Trinity. As far as I know, mainstream Pentecostals both preach the Trinity and baptize using the Trinitarian formula. My wife is a Pentecostal and she was baptized according to the Trinitarian formula to the best of my knowledge.
Yes, I witnessed an Assemblies of God baptism and it was done by immersion with the proper Trinitarian formula. The “oneness” Pentecostals,( also called the “apostolic” Pentecostals around here) are not Trinitarian.
The ‘oneness’ Pentecostals baptize “In Jesus’ name, Aymen.”
Their baptism is not valid at all.