How much theological understanding must Protestant's have to baptize validly?

For a protestant baptism to be considered valid in the eyes of the Church, does it simply have to follow the form (i.e. sprinkling or immersion with water, in the name of the Father, Son, Holy Spirit), or does it also have to have the same intent (forgiveness of sins and receipt of the Holy Spirit)? How do I help a protestant friend determine if his baptism was valid?

Dear Mario,

It is not necessary for Protestants–or anyone to hold the Catholic theology of baptism for it to be valid. Most Protestant baptisms are valid–even though they may not see it as anything more than a symbol.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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