Illicit baptism


Okay , I did something that I did not think was a sin, but now I think it might be. I baptized my grandson and my niece when bathing them. 16 month old and 3 yrs old. I felt like it was a busybody kind of thing to do,but I meant it for their good. I just read that only priest may baptize, was this a sin?


If you think the reason you sinned by baptizing your grandkids is because only a priest can baptize, then you can relax. You got some wrong info. Anyone can baptize as long as it is in the name of The Father, Son, and Holy spirit. I cant say if you performed a valid baptism or not though. I would relax. You said that you meant well :slight_smile:


It was definitely illicit because they weren’t in danger of death. OTOH, as the grandmother of an unbaptized 2 year old, there but for the grace of God go I. I’ve had to fight with myself to not do the same thing and the only reason I haven’t is that I would be placing responsibilities on him that his mother has no intention of teaching him about - and I only see him once or twice a year so I can’t do that.

Now that you’ve baptized them and are sure you’ve done it right, go to your priest and tell him so that their baptisms are entered into the Parish register. That will ensure that if there is ever a question, the information is available.


You say you are Protestant in your profile. If so, and if your children/grandchildren are non Catholic, this was not an illicit baptism. You are correct that the priest is the ordinary minister of baptism in the Catholic Church. A Catholic should not baptize a child outside danger of death, and certainly not without parental permission.

To the degree you did this behind the parents’ backs or against their wishes, certainly you may have some culpability for sin. But if you did it with their knowledge or at least implicit approval then it was neither sinful nor illicit as none of you are members of the Catholic Church.

And while it would not be recorded in the Catholic baptismal register if the parties are all non Catholics, you should certainly record it somewhere. Maybe a family bible or on paper kept with birth certificates. Note the names of the baptized, who performed the baptism, any witnesses, date, place and manner – the formula used and pouring of water.


Are you sure this is a good idea?

The baptism she gave them is only valid if she baptized them* intending to confer the sacrament as the Church intends it.* It is very possible, since her intention was in question, that it could possibly not be valid. In this case, should they convert, they would need to receive a conditional baptism.

This is a tentative situation.


This is not accurate. The person conferring baptism need not have any intention to confer a sacrament. Their intention needs to be to baptize. That is sufficient to do what the Church intends.

Plus the OP is not Catholic. Therefore no report to the priest.


Good advice, except for a small ommission. The ordinary ministers of baptism are bishop, priest, and deacon; not only priests. I’m sure you know that it is obvious you were just commenting on the remark of the OP.

You comment about going behind teh parent’s back would be the largest issue as I see it. They are responsible for their children, not the grandparents. Only if you, the grandparent were leagal gardian could this not be an issue.

closed #8

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