How would i (as a lay person) perform a Baptism?


#1

Here’s the situation: just recently found out a bartender I know just had a stroke and -]/-]is in a coma, near death. I fear that she is a non-believer, and I know that she hasn’t led an exemplary life (drug usage involved).

Would I as a lay person, be allowed to perform a baptism on her? (Of course I would first try to find in out if she has already been baptized). Also, would it be permissible to baptize an individual in this instance without consent ? (In coma)…


#2

A couple things: First, my understanding is that a lay person may only baptize if the person is in imminent danger of death. I do not think being in a stable coma would count, since a priest or deacon could do so later.

Second, I’m pretty sure in order to baptize an adult who is incapable of expressing her desire to be baptized, there would have to be a reasonably certainty that she would have desired it. (For instance, if he was taking RCIA classes). I do not think baptizing incapacitated people who have never expressed interest in it would be considered a good idea.

But if you’re concerned about her, the best bet is just to talk to a priest. Express your concern, and ask what can be done.

EDIT: I am in no way an expert on this sort of thing, but the wording of the following canon seems to support what I just said:

“Can. 865 §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.”

(Which seems to imply that if such a thing is not present, then that the baptism ought not be done.)


#3

Talk to your pastor about this. Generally, you should not consider trying to baptize someone whom you do not know well. Pray for the sick person instead.


#4

No it would not be permissible.

Can. 865 §1 To be admitted to baptism, an adult must have manifested the intention to receive baptism, must be adequately instructed in the truths of the faith and in the duties of a christian, and tested in the christian life over the course of the catechumenate. The person must moreover be urged to have sorrow for personal sins.

§2 An adult in danger of death may be baptised if, with some knowledge of the principal truths of the faith, he or she has in some manner manifested the intention to receive baptism and promises to observe the requirements of the christian religion.


#5

Thanks for info


#6

I disagree, since unless a doctor is present a lay person would have no idea if the coma is “stable” or not. Even then, doctors make mistakes all the time.

That said, it doesn’t sound as if this person is a candidate for baptism since he sounds like he doesn’t want it.


#7

Go to the hospital and ask for the info for the priest who serves that hospital. Speak to him about your friend and ask that he check in on her specifically and see what he can do to help her spiritually. Then say some prayers for her, and offer up your prayers at Mass for her.


#8

At least theoretically, it would be possible to baptize such a person just by the wording of the canon. In this case, it appears that the person is not in danger of death. However, were someone in that danger, it could be broadly read that that person “has manifested in any way at all the intention to receive baptism” in order to actually be baptized. The dying person need only have said “I think I would like to be baptized some day” in order to manifest “in some way” the desire for Baptism.

Practically speaking, we should not as lay persons go around baptizing except in the most extreme cases, and our theology of Baptism and death should not have us fearing for the mortal souls who do not receive Baptism “through no fault of their own.” I am merely suggesting that, in theory, consent is the easiest hurdle to leap.


#9

As a deacon, I would not baptize this person unless they were asking to be, which does not sound like the case or I had assurances form family or someone close that they had strongly expressed during their life that they wanted to be. As God gave them freedom of choice in life to follow Him or not, that same same freedom needs to be respected by the living.
Just because some said they would like something, does not make that a strong desire. I would like to go to Ireland some day doesn’t make it a deep desire.
As the canon was posted, laity can baptize in event of impending death.
Deacon Frank


#10

The canon reads “Can. 865 §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.”

It nowhere says that this must be a deep desire it says “manifested in any way at all.” This, to me, seems like a choice on behalf of those writing the canon to express that Baptism is of such great importance that a little desire is sufficient to Baptize someone in a dire situation, as they were in danger of death.


#11

In the case of the OP’s example there is not even a hint of any desire never mind a deep desire.
In fact nothing that the canon states applies to the OP’s example. In that situation a baptism must not be done.
You may not assume any or all parts of the canon apply. You must know. If you do not know you may not baptise.


#12

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