Is A Methodist Baptism Valid?

I was baptised in a methodist church when I was a baby 53 years ago. I became a Catholic only 5 years ago and find I am running into problems regarding the validity of my first marriage,I married in a C of E church and divorced 8 years later… I was told by my Priest if the baptism was not valid neither was my first marriage. Can anyone tell me if a Methodist Baptism is vaild in the eyes of the Catholic church?
ps. The Methodist church is no longer there and I have no documentation to prove I was baptised at all! Both my parents are dead and there is no one I can ask.

If the Biblical, Trinitarian formula was followed, water was used, and the priest intended to do what the Church does (ie. wash away original sin), then your baptism was valid.

If any of these points are in any doubt whatsoever, I would request a conditional baptism. This is an extremely serious matter.

“intend to do what the Church does” does not equal to “wash away original sin”. The former Holy Office declared valid Methodist baptisms where the minister had openly declared that it had no effect on the soul.

I’d love to see that document.

I was under the impression that if the one performing the baptism has a contrary intention to that of the Church, that the baptism is invalid.

Unless there is a doubt in a particular case due to the concrete circumstances of form or formula, baptism in a Methodist ecclesial community is considered valid.

However, I am surprised by what you relate concerning the priest’s assessment of your first marriage.

Provided that there were no other complicating factors, if you and your first husband were both free to marry and neither were Catholic, your baptismal status would have been irrelevant to the creation of a valid marriage by a wedding in the Church of England.

Plus, since the OP became Catholic 5 yrs ago, wouldn’t the baptism have been considered valid, or did she have a Conditional Baptism at the time she entered the Church?

In Christ,


That’s the thing. If he does indeed make a explicit contrary act of will to insert the heresy into his intention then it is invalid. But the mere fact that he does not believe it, or, as shown in the below response, even states it, does not mean he is conditioning his intention. He can still intend to do what the Church does.

If you look through old moral theology manuals, they explicitly state that one does not have to intend to confer the sacramental effects. This is evidenced by the fact that the Church accepts the baptisms of all major Protestant denominations knowing full well that many do not hold the correct doctrine on baptism. You can see, for example, the decree of the Holy Office in, I think, 1950., regarding the baptism in major Protestant denominations

The decree of Holy Office concerning baptisms of Methodists posed by the Vicar Apostolic of Oceania

S.C.S Officii
18 Decem. 1872

Vic. Ap. Oceaniæ Centr.

Dubium quoad Baptisma administratum ab hæreticis

In quibusdam locis nonnulli (hæretici) baptizant cum materia et forma debitis simultanee applicatis, sed expresse monent baptizandos ne credant Baptismum habere ullum effectum in animam ; dicunt enim ipsum esse signum mere externum aggregations illorum sectæ. Itaque illi sæpe catholicos in derisum vertunt circa eorum fidem de effectibus Baptismi, quam vocant quidem superstitiosam. Quæritur :

i) Utrum baptismus ab illis hæreticis administratus sit dubius propter defectum intentionis faciendi quod voluit Christus, si expresse declaratum fuit a ministro antequam baptizet, baptismum nullum habere effectum in animam?

ii) Utrum dubius sit baptismus sic collatus si prædicta declaratio non expresse facta fuerit immediate antequam baptismus conferetur, sed illa sæpe pronuntiata fuerit a ministro, et illa doctrina aperte prædicetur in illa secta?

Ad i. negative, quia non obstante errore quoad effectus baptismi, non excluditur intentio faciendi quod facit Ecclesia
Ad ii. Provisum in primo

I am not privy to the circumstances but one would think an evaluation was made along those lines.

For general principles in assessing non Catholic Christian baptism, however, one may wish to consult the 1993 Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism from the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity. It is among the general documents of that council at the Vatican website, and the treatment begins around no 92.

Yes it is valid and recognised by the Church. I was a Methodist before converting to the Catholic Church.

This just isn’t true.

I’m shocked a priest would tell you this. Your marriage may very well have been invalid, but whether or not you were baptized has nothing to do with it.

Is there anyone else you can talk to about starting a petition for a decree of nullity?

Also, when you entered the Catholic Church were you conditionally baptized or was there any investigation into your baptism at that time?

Perhaps what the priest was trying to say was that if the baptism was invalid then the first marriage would not be sacramental. A sacramental marriage depends on both participants being validly baptized (as well as other conditions.)

However a marriage needn’t be sacramental to be valid.

well you’ve certainly given me alot to think about…when I joined the catholic church I went through all the stages.(ie.RCIA) I assumed everything was okay…why is life so complicated!

Had you contracted a second marriage (whether or not you were still married) at the time you came into the Church? Examining marriages is usually part of being accepted into the Church. If you were divorced at the time you entered the Church any marriages would not have needed to have been examined.

Are you looking to marry someone now? Or are you looking to get a current civil marriage convalidated?

One of the things that I have come to realize is that not all priests know anyting about RCIA. They take part of one course on it and that is really not adequate. The remarks of your priest are antother example. The other thing is that many priests just don’t want to be bothered learning abou tit.

Yes, baptism performed in the Trinitiaran formula with the triple application of water is considered valid and is recognized by the CC. The Methodists use the Trinitarian formula.

The CC even recognizes baptisms performed by laypeople, such as what an ICU nurse may perform on a critically ill patient, as long as the Trinitarian formula and application of water are used.

Did you have to give evidence of your baptism at the time of your first marriage? The C of E may be able to help you with recreating the baptismal documentation from their marriage records. It’s worth a look.

I second the comments other posters made - since you were not bound by Catholic marriage laws, the validity of your marriage in the eyes of the CC turns on the rules that applied to you at the time.

That being said, perhaps your priest is saying that the C of E requires a valid baptism to exist before they will marry a couple. If that is true, and you didn’t have any evidence of your baptism back then, you may not have met the conditions to be validly married in the C of E. And if your marriage in the C of E was not considered valid by their legitimate church authorities, it probably wouldn’t be considered valid by our authorities either.

The Catholic Diocesean POC for the marriage tribunal (the annulment office) would be a better person to ask.

In answer to your question …I have married again, actually it was 23 years ago it was a civil marriage. So my husband and I weren’t even going to church then. it’s only been the past ten years we’ve started to get our spiritual lives in order…my husband was a cradle catholic and left 40 years ago.
it seems so hard to do the right thing. I even suggested to leave the church but my priest said he would be very sad if I made that decision and wanted me to stay. it’s all very messy. Why am I being judged for something that happened many years ago and was not even a chrsitian at the time .

I wonder if the priest had Pauline Privilege in mind – but even that would imply at least a conditional Baptism at the time of OP became a Catholic. If there was no conditional Baptism then the Methodist Baptism had to have been considered valid at the time.

never never never during RCIA compare your own experience or situation to that of another individual. as this discussion shows, there are many variables in OPs situation that apply only to him, not everyone, there is no way for us to make a judgement on his baptism, or his marital status. That is why the Church has a formal process for this.

OP may assume that his baptismal status was thoroughly investigated at the time he entered the Church and he is validly baptized (or is being investigated in the course of his preparation if it is ongoing). He needs to speak with the priest again and go over the facts of his marital situation and make sure he understands everything, because the info as he relates here, according to his understanding, is not correct. But since we don’t know all the circs we cannot make a judgment.

this poster may also assume everything was done properly in his case (as long as he was completely candid about his previous baptismal status, marriages etc. with the priest who prepared him).

There is no such thing as a “Methodist baptism”.
You are not baptized a Methodist, or even a Catholic.
You are baptized a Christian, and raised a Methodist or a Catholic.
The Church recognizes all baptisms, as long as they are in line with the command of Christ. (In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and with water.)
Now, having converted myself, I can tell you that you might have an issue with not being able to prove your baptism. I was baptized in the Presbyterian church, as a baby; luckily I was able to obtain verification of that. I’m sure your priest will see you through.

God bless!

One Baptism,one Faith

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit