Have I really been baptized?


#1

Hey! Rather complicated story here but I'll keep it concise.

I live in China, where the Church is illegal, and thus have never been baptized in church. However my aunt, who was baptized Catholic, baptized me when I was an infant (this was in Europe, my non-practicing parents had the opportunity to take me to baptism but refused for unknown reasons).

However is this baptism valid? My aunt associates herself more as a Protestant than anything else. Also I've heard that only priests or clergy have the right to baptize, unless the person in question is in a state of emergency (such as being close to death).

Also if I do need to be baptized, will being baptized at a Patriotic Catholic Association (alleged Catholic churches in China, of which its bishops are appointed by the Communist Party and not by the Bishop of Rome) be valid? If that does not work, can I be bapized in a non-denominational service?

Thank you very much for understanding my tough situation, and God bless!


#2

[quote="Kurama, post:1, topic:330665"]
Hey! Rather complicated story here but I'll keep it concise.

I live in China, where the Church is illegal, and thus have never been baptized in church. However my aunt, who was baptized Catholic, baptized me when I was an infant (this was in Europe, my non-practicing parents had the opportunity to take me to baptism but refused for unknown reasons).

However is this baptism valid? My aunt associates herself more as a Protestant than anything else. Also I've heard that only priests or clergy have the right to baptize, unless the person in question is in a state of emergency (such as being close to death).

Also if I do need to be baptized, will being baptized at a Patriotic Catholic Association (alleged Catholic churches in China, of which its bishops are appointed by the Communist Party and not by the Bishop of Rome) be valid? If that does not work, can I be bapized in a non-denominational service?

Thank you very much for understanding my tough situation, and God bless!

[/quote]

If she baptized you with the Trinitarian forumula (I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit -- or Holy Ghost) and used water either by immersion or flowing...and if her intent was to do what the Church intended...then you are validly baptized.

As far as the Patriotic Catholic Association, I believe most of their bishops are validly consecrated (although I think some of them are illicit). From my understanding, their sacraments are valid.

Having said that, I would personally be very cautious about the sacrament of Penance in a Patriotic Catholic Association parish...I would not at all be surprised if the confessionals are bugged.


#3

[quote="markomalley, post:2, topic:330665"]
If she baptized you with the Trinitarian forumula (I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit -- or Holy Ghost) and used water either by immersion or flowing...and if her intent was to do what the Church intended...then you are validly baptized.

As far as the Patriotic Catholic Association, I believe most of their bishops are validly consecrated (although I think some of them are illicit). From my understanding, their sacraments are valid.

Having said that, I would personally be very cautious about the sacrament of Penance in a Patriotic Catholic Association parish...I would not at all be surprised if the confessionals are bugged.

[/quote]

Thank you :D

I still have doubts about the validity of my baptism though. Canon law only makes provisions for a lay person to baptize when the person is in danger (i.e. close to death):

***Can. 861 §1. The ordinary minister of baptism is a bishop, a presbyter, or a deacon, without prejudice to the prescript of ⇒ can. 530, n. 1.

§2. When an ordinary minister is absent or impeded, a catechist or another person designated for this function by the local ordinary, or in a case of necessity any person with the right intention, confers baptism licitly. Pastors of souls, especially the pastor of a parish, are to be concerned that the Christian faithful are taught the correct way to baptize.***

However outside the danger of death, Canon law states:

***Can. 868 §1. For an infant to be baptized licitly:

1/ the parents or at least one of them or the person who legitimately takes their place must consent;

2/ there must be a founded hope that the infant will be brought up in the Catholic religion; if such hope is altogether lacking, the baptism is to be delayed according to the prescripts of particular law after the parents have been advised about the reason.***

I was baptized with no hope of being raised in the Catholic faith, my parents are non-practicing and do not attend Mass (religion has always just been a cultural identity to them). Recently I have wanted to become closer to my Catholic faith...I really believe that the baptism I received as an infant was nothing else but water.

I feel that I should be properly baptized by a Priest or Deacon in Church with the full rite.


#4

Since non-Catholic baptisms are usually valid, yours most likely was. If a priest decides you should be re-baptized, it would likely be conditional.

I can understand your desire to be baptized again. I was baptized as a teenager in a Protestant chuch. The Catholic Church accepted the baptism as valid, even though I really wanted to be re-baptized. We don't always get what we want! :)


#5

You should discuss this with a priest. It makes no difference whether or not the priest is affiliated with the Patriotic Catholic Association. I would contact a Rectory and get an appointment to meet with a priest outside of the Confessional and discuss the matter with him.You can ask him to hear your Confession before you discuss your problem. In that way, the Priest is bound not to tell anyone about it. The secrecy of Confession is binding on all Priests regardless of politics.
You can avoid using any names and I am sure the priest will not ask you for them.


#6

You need to find a priest in the underground Church to receive you into the Church, since your baptism was probably valid. Ignore the posters who said that it would be ok to join the Patriotic Association. You shouldn't because it is schismatic.


#7

[quote="devoutchristian, post:6, topic:330665"]
Ignore the posters who said that it would be ok to join the Patriotic Association. You shouldn't because it is schismatic.

[/quote]

I agree. This website has some good info on this topic: cardinalkungfoundation.org/ar/ChineseCatholicPatrioticAsso.php


#8

[quote="Kurama, post:3, topic:330665"]
Thank you :D

I still have doubts about the validity of my baptism though. Canon law only makes provisions for a lay person to baptize when the person is in danger (i.e. close to death):

***Can. 861 §1. The ordinary minister of baptism is a bishop, a presbyter, or a deacon, without prejudice to the prescript of ⇒ can. 530, n. 1.

§2. When an ordinary minister is absent or impeded, a catechist or another person designated for this function by the local ordinary, or in a case of necessity any person with the right intention, confers baptism licitly. Pastors of souls, especially the pastor of a parish, are to be concerned that the Christian faithful are taught the correct way to baptize.***

However outside the danger of death, Canon law states:

***Can. 868 §1. For an infant to be baptized licitly:

1/ the parents or at least one of them or the person who legitimately takes their place must consent;

2/ there must be a founded hope that the infant will be brought up in the Catholic religion; if such hope is altogether lacking, the baptism is to be delayed according to the prescripts of particular law after the parents have been advised about the reason.***

I was baptized with no hope of being raised in the Catholic faith, my parents are non-practicing and do not attend Mass (religion has always just been a cultural identity to them). Recently I have wanted to become closer to my Catholic faith...I really believe that the baptism I received as an infant was nothing else but water.

I feel that I should be properly baptized by a Priest or Deacon in Church with the full rite.

[/quote]

**Can. 868 §1. For an infant to be baptized licitly:

**That is talking about licit (legally) as opposed to valid (did it happen or not).

And if there is a question, by all means go get baptized by a Catholic priest or a Catholic deacon. Let him know that you were baptized by your aunt, but you are not 100% sure of its validity. (In that way, he will "conditionally" baptize you...the condition being if your previous baptism either didn't actually happen or if it was not valid).


#9

Don't get involved with the patriotic church, they have no faculties as far as I am aware which means that the confessions they hear and marriages they witness would not be valid. If it is possible and safe to do so, go to see a priest who is loyal to Rome, he can hear your confessions and arrange for your Confirmation. Just please be careful.


#10

[quote="theyoungmonk, post:9, topic:330665"]
Don't get involved with the patriotic church, they have no faculties as far as I am aware which means that the confessions they hear and marriages they witness would not be valid. If it is possible and safe to do so, go to see a priest who is loyal to Rome, he can hear your confessions and arrange for your Confirmation. Just please be careful.

[/quote]

To my knowledge (although I could be wrong) one can licitly receive the Eucharist at a patriotic Church and their masses fulfill the Sunday obligation (if it's not already dispensed by the legitimate bishop of the diocese), however in order to be recieves into the Church, or to licitly be confirmed, married, or have your confession heard, you would need to go to a Catholic priest.


#11

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