If I want to become part of the Catholic Church from a Protestant Church of Christ, do I need to get baptised again?

I grew up in a Protestant Church of Christ since I was a baby. I was baptised when I was eleven and baptised again when I was seventeen.

I have a few questions in regard to this:

It’s my understanding that, in the Catholic Church, baptism is a sacrament. By nature of a sacrament (in difference from a sacramental) the spiritual state of the recipient of the sacramental does not matter during the sacrament. i.e. a groom who is in the state of mortal sin when he gets married is still validly married.

Does the same apply to baptism? I ask because I understand that the Catholic Church accepts baptisms from some Protestant churches as valid sacraments. I don’t necessarily have to be baptised again to become Catholic.

Where I’m struggling, is with my second baptism at age 17. The day of, I was reading my bible and I came across some verses that I really didn’t like. Romans 9 for those of you familiar with the controversy surrounding that chapter. I had never seen the verses before and I was struggling with intense doubt at the time. I got baptised with shaky knees and I didn’t even know if I wanted to do it. I poured out my soul to God in tears when I got home.

Now, I understand that the Catholic Church teaches one baptism. Once baptised, it cannot be undone or redone. Does this, coupled with the fact that the spiritual state of a person does not matter during a sacrament mean that my baptism was valid? If I wanted to get baptised Catholic when I decided to convert, could I do that? Would it be a lack of faith? Or a sin?

Thank you for your time, patience and consideration :slight_smile:

Baptism can only be done once, because it leaves an indelible mark on one’s soul. So the question really is: was your baptism valid?

In order for a baptism to be valid, minimally, you need the following three things (besides the person to be baptised):

  1. The proper Matter: this is water. Not tea, not vinegar, not motor oil, but water. It must be poured over the candidate’s head or the candidate can be immersed during the Form (i.e., the prayer). A heavy sprinkling would also qualify, though not ideal.

  2. The proper Form: the person performing the baptism (the “minister”) must say “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” as the water is applied.

  3. The proper Intent: the minister must have in mind what the Church wants regarding the baptism. It does not matter if the person is a Protestant, Catholic, Muslim, or even atheist–so long as during the baptism he intends what the Church intends (that you be validly baptized).

Thus, for a baptism to be valid, it need not be done by a Catholic priest in a Catholic church in order for it to be valid (although that would be the ideal). Remember: a valid baptism is a valid baptism, and the Catholic Church will treat any valid baptism as such. For the record, Mormon “baptisms” and those performed by Oneness Pentecostals (among some others) are NOT valid because they do not meet all three conditions.

If there is any doubt about the validity of your baptism, your parish priest can “conditionally” baptize you. Basically, this means that he will go through the ritual with you but you would only receive the sacramental graces if you truly had never been baptized properly in the first place. There is no such thing as a “second” baptism.

More info:
cuf.org/FileDownloads/baptform.pdf

I hope this has helped. Let us know how you do!

“If there is any doubt about the validity of your baptism, your parish priest can “conditionally” baptize you. Basically, this means that he will go through the ritual with you but you would only receive the sacramental graces if you truly had never been baptized properly in the first place. There is no such thing as a “second” baptism.”

This is true. In my instance, I was baptized properly at age 5 in a Landmark Missionary Baptist Church. However, that church when contacted had no record of my baptism. I had family present of course, including my baptist minister father, but my family did not want to state they had been witness to that for purposes of helping me join the Catholic Church. My sister would have been willing, but alas, she is younger and was an infant at the time of my baptism (she is five years younger). So, I was conditionally baptized. When I found out during my RCIA year I was to be conditionally baptized…and KNOWING I had been baptized, and REALLY KNOWING I had committed many mortal sins, I got myself to confession, and made my first confession. I was deeply convicted to do so. Then I was conditionally baptized at Easter Vigil.

My sister came into the Catholic Church a year later. Again, the Missionary Baptist Church did not have a record of her baptism (I think baptism being a “mere symbol” to them it’s not important enough they keep good records). So, I wrote a letter about when I witnessed her baptism, and that it was met the three conditions, etc., etc., I had the letter notarized and sent to her DRE and the priest in that parish accepted that and my sister then had confession, first communion, confirmation and was brought into full union with the Catholic church.

Talk to your DRE and/or priest. They will help you settle any issues about that.

God Bless You in your journey home to the Church. I thank God every every every day for bringing me to his Church.

So, if I want to become Catholic, I may get baptized again “conditionally” if any of my previous baptisms were valid, and “validly” if they weren’t. And there’s nothing wrong with me doing that?

Conditional Baptism will only be performed if there was any doubt in the validity of your previous Baptism. It depends, some denominations would Baptize in the name of Jesus only. Others would use a gender neutral Trinitarian Formula, the Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier. Both are invalid Baptisms and you would need to be Baptized again. But if you come from a denomination that is sure to use a valid Baptism, then you do not need to be Baptized again. Some denominations made switches, and these are the ones that may have doubtful validity.

Your priest would make the call. You’d have to trust him on that.

Mort, if there is doubt as to whether your earlier baptisms were valid, then you would be baptized conditionally. If it is known for certain that neither of them were valid, then you would be baptized in the Church without condition. If it is known for certain that one of the previous baptisms was valid, then you would not be baptized again upon your entrance into the Catholic Church. I hope that helps. :slight_smile:

thank you. This answers all my questions pretty well.

Dear Fellow Brother in christ: Please realize You have already been baptized perhapsyou have not been given proper training but we do accept one baptism no matter where you received it. In Cannon Law 869 if it is questionable as to whether the act occured you could speak with a priest and he could give you a conditional baptism only if it was decided that was necessary. the Catholic church has a program called Rite of Christian Initiation. They begin with an inquiry class and many of your answers could be addressed there and your faith could be given a better sense of direction. As Catholics we see Baptism and Confirmation as sacrament that bring you into the fullness of the Church. Once you have a better understanding of the faith you will then be more able to accept your past, the termonology, and have a better understaning of what God is calling you to. I pray that if you trust and seek your answers in God he will lead you to the faith you are called. Contact any local area priest and ask about what you need to do to begin this process. I assure you I know many converts and they sometimes end up knowing more about our faith than myself. I have been catholic since the age of 5 and it has been a number of years since I was 5. Like the Prodigal Son that luke talks about in Chapter 25 verse 20 “The father always sits waiting with His arms outstretched ready to embrace you”
Peace your sister in Christ. Midget01

If your first baptism was valid…you will not be baptized again. Baptism is only one time sacrament…

stormy

But one extra thing about this is that water must touch your head in order for it to be valid.

By the way, Lepanto, thanks for the signature… I stole yours! :smiley:

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