How isn't my Baptism valid?


A few Weeks ago before i came into CCD i showed the instructors my Baptisimal certificate, and i was baptized in trinitarian formula, the problem is since it is non denominTional, it may not be valid and i may need to be rebaptized, is this wrong?


Assuming there was actual water involved and you were baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, it was probably valid. However, the Church may need to investigate the denomination and ensure that they believe in a Triune God because if they don’t understand the Trinity the same way, that can invalidate the Baptism. I’ve heard that often the denomination doesn’t want to have anything to do with it, so the Church provides a provisional Baptism just in case the first one was invalid. Better safe than sorry.


We can’t know the specifics of your case but…

In general, if you can show that you were baptized according to the Trinitarian formula all is well The problem is that there are some groups who baptize in the name of Jesus only rather than in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Or groups whose beliefs are so non-standard as to not really be Christian. Perhaps there has been problems with this non-denominational group in the past and your parish is being cautious? Usually parishes have a list of sects whose baptisms they consider valid. It could be that group may not be on any list so your parish needs to do some investigating.

In the case of doubt you would be given a conditional baptism. That means if your baptism was valid then nothing new will happen. But if your baptism was not valid for some reason then the new baptism would be valid. A conditional baptism is not “re-baptism”.

I would would wait a bit and see if you really need to be conditionally baptized.


I was baptized in the Name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit, it clearly says it on the certificate too, i even remember it since it was only a couple years ago.


The canon law for the Latin Church states:CIC Can. 845
§1 Because they imprint a character, the sacraments of baptism, confirmation and order cannot be repeated.
§2 If after diligent enquiry a prudent doubt remains as to whether the sacraments mentioned in §1 have been conferred at all, or conferred validly, they are to be conferred conditionally.
From the Archdiocese of Davenport, Invalid Baptism or no Baptism:

All non-Christian „baptisms”
Amana Church Society
American ethical Union
Apostolic Church (Apostolic Overcoming Holy Church of God) – sometimes
Apostolic Faith Mission
Bohemian Free Thinkers
Children of God (“The Family”)
Christian and Missionary Alliance (see below)
Christian Community Church (disciples of Rudolph Steiner)
Christians of the Universal Brotherhood
Church of Christ, Scientist (Christian Scientists)
Church of Divine Science
Church of Daniel‟s band
Church of Illumination
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons)
Church of Revelation
Erieside Church
General Assembly of Spiritualists
Hephzibah Faith Missionary Association
House of David Church
Jehovah‟s Witnesses
Some Communities of Mennonites
Metropolitan Church Association
Some communities of Moravians
National David Spiritual Temple of Christ Church Union
National Spiritualist Association
New Jerusalem Church (Swedenborg)
Pentecostal Churches (“Jesus only” or “oneness”)
People‟s Church of Chicago
Some communities of the Plymouth Brethren
Quakers (Society of Friends)
Reunification Church (“Moonies”)
Salvation Army
Spiritualist Church
Swedenborg (New Age)
United Society of Believers (Shakers)
Universal Emancipation Church


At “worst” the priest will give you a conditional baptism in private.


I think it’s easier to say where there is doubt, it’s better to baptize in the proper way just to be sure. :shrug: By your church being non denominational it’s harder to know exactly what their beliefs are. So when in doubt… I think it’s kind of like in a true or false situation where if only 1 part of the statement is false it makes the whole thing false. So if it can’t be known for sure what their beliefs are then that casts doubt on the whole thing because different non Catholic churches each do things differently.


You were validly baptized if you were baptized thus:

“I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”,

or any other ritual that involved three pours or immersions in water, invokes “I baptize you” and a Trinitarian formula, and it was not performed by Mormons (as Mormons use a superficially Trinitarian formula, but understand it in polytheistic terms).

All Trinitarian baptisms are valid; all anti-Trinitarian (or, in the case of “Jesus Name” movement, non-Trinitarian) baptisms are invalid. An unbaptized atheist (or a Hindu) could baptize a Muslim validly if he spoke the Trinitarian formula and poured water over or immersed therein the baptized thrice, as long as he intended to perform Christian baptism.

If you were baptized using a Trinitarian formula, you will not need to be baptized (there is no such thing as “re-baptism”, as a valid baptism can only be administered once; if the first was invalid, it was not a baptism, and therefore the second is the first baptism. The closest thing to “re-baptism” is conditional baptism.), and you will be received in to the Church by chrismation, I believe.

Off-topic, but in book 4 of Jaroslav Pelikan’s The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine, the story is related where in certain areas the priests were so illiterate and uneducated that they repeated the Latin formulas by rote memorization - and repeated them incorrectly. The example given was thus: In nomine Patria, et Filia, et Spiritua Sancta, which, being interpreted, is, “In the name of the Country, the Daughter, and the Spirit”; the Pope ruled the baptism to be valid from the intent of the priests administering it, although this has no relevance on your situation.


Question: why is the Salvation Army listed as having invalid baptism? They have orthodox Trinitarian beliefs.

(Is it that they do not practice water baptism? I know the Arminian-Holiness movement, of which the Salvation Army is a part, places more emphasis on Baptism of the Spirit and sanctification [as over against justification, cf. Christian perfection] and believes that water baptism is unnecessary for salvation - but many churches, such as the Baptists [of which many or most Evangelicals are], do not believe that baptism is necessary for salvation, but perform valid baptisms; all of the traditional Protestants - Calvinists/Reformed, Lutherans, Anglicans, etc. - believe in baptismal regeneration, the last time I checked.)


Basically, it is not that the Church is saying that you are unbaptized, but that it has not been convinced that you are baptized. If you are convinced that you are baptized, that’s great, and should you be correct then no further ceremony actually does anything other than make the record keepers happy.

However, the Church would rather be safe than sorry. Really, even if your priest determines that he cannot say with certainty that you were baptized and you really were, the solution is not that big of a deal - even if you are 100% absolutely certain that your baptism was valid, if you can’t convince whoever you’re dealing with, it’s probably best to just grin and bear it and get the conditional baptism. Again (from what it sounds like), no one is saying that you definitely aren’t baptized, nor are they saying that you have admit that you’re not baptized, nor even that you have to think it particularly likely that you aren’t baptized, only that the Church must be certain as well as you.

So the priest will say something like “if you are not baptized, I baptize you…” and, should you be correct, absolutely nothing will happen. But on the off chance that you are incorrect, no matter how miniscule that chance may be, the situation will be fixed.


In all likelihood, you are already validly baptized but if the Church has some reasonable doubt about the theology of your old denomination, you may be administered a conditional baptism. Here, the minister pronounces, “If you are not yet baptized, then I baptize you, etc.” This way, the minister conditions his intention on the absence of a baptismal character and is therefore kept from committing objective sacrilege.

Those coming from communities the Church knows to have invalid baptism such as Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses, she baptizes in the absolute form, i.e. “I baptize you…” no ifs.


Salvation Army: Yes, it is because they do not practice water baptism.


Well i have been told that if you are validly baptized and if you hold to Catholic teaching then you are part of the Church, since my parish may not accept my Baptism, am I not part of the Church? Does this mean i cannot call myself a Catholic Christian?


Catechism of the Catholic Church

1249 Catechumens "are already joined to the Church, they are already of the household of Christ, and are quite frequently already living a life of faith, hope, and charity."48 "With love and solicitude mother Church already embraces them as her own."49


Ahh okay, so i may call myself Catholic?


From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

Who belongs to the Catholic Church?
838 "The Church knows that she is joined in many ways to the baptized who are honored by the name of Christian, but do not profess the Catholic faith in its entirety or have not preserved unity or communion under the successor of Peter."322 Those "who believe in Christ and have been properly baptized are put in a certain, although imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church."323 With the Orthodox Churches, this communion is so profound "that it lacks little to attain the fullness that would permit a common celebration of the Lord’s Eucharist."324

Assuming your baptism is valid, the above is true. Once you make your profession of faith then you can call yourself a Catholic in all senses of the word, through merit of your baptism, and also administratively.

[size=3]While your baptism is key, please don’t discount the administrative part. That would be a mistake that many Catholics make when they try “to leave” the Church.


You are a candidate for full initiation into the Catholic Church. (A Catechumen is unbaptized.)

If you call yourself a Catholic it would likely cause confusion to others so I’d be careful about doing so.


I’m confused myself, if I have to be rebaptized dosent that mean I’m a Catechumen?


Well at this point your whole situation is confused. If there is continued doubt about your baptism I would think you would be publicly treated as a candidate. If it is determined that your baptism was definitely invalid then you’d be treated as a catechumen. I’m sorry about that.

I am not sure if you have gone through any of the (RCIA) rites yet. I believe that it is not proper to call yourself a Catholic until you have at least gone through a Rite of Acceptance or Rite of Welcoming. But I don’t know all the ins and outs of RCIA so I can’t say for sure.


im in Rcia already

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