Is Baptism valid if performed by a minister who does not intend to do what the Catholic Church does?


#1

Hello everyone. I was baptized a Pentecostal minister before I was received into the Church by the Sacrament of Confirmation and the Eucharist. Well, this Pentecostal church did and does not believe that Baptism washes away sins. So, this minister baptized me but not with the intention of the Baptism washing away my sins. Does the fact that he did not intend for it to wash away my sins make it invalid? I certainly intended for it to wash away my sins.


#2

As far as I know any human being can baptise as long as water is used for sprinkling , pouring or immersion , and the person being baptised is baptised in the name of the Trinity .


#3

The best thing to do is talk to your Priest. He can assure you if the Baptism is Valid, or perform a Conditional Baptism if there is reasonable doubt.

A Conditional Baptism is a baptism which is performed on the basis that a persons baptismal status is unknown. If they were previously baptised it has no effect. If they were not then they are properly baptised.


#4

I am watching this thread because I, too, have my doubts about this in general, not as it applies to me. I had Lutheran baptism as a child, but I never knew about it until I was in my 50s. I also had Pentecostal baptism as a child and was rebaptized as an adult after 15 years of "living in sin." I think perhaps that this question should have been directed to "Ask an Apologist" or to a canon lawyer.


#5

I would agree with this as far as the required elements. The intentions of the person baptizing are not what makes Gods grace possible. You could be baptized by an atheist! Because it is really only through the man, but God baptizing.

What is more of an issue, is why you and your parish went through confirmation and first communion before addressing this? They are responsible to ask if you were baptized, i believe. Then, you are responsible to answer::smiley:

Peace,
Michael


#6

Yes, Holly, your baptism is valid.

The intention must be to baptize. Error about the effects of baptism, do not impact validity.


#7

Not exactly true. Intention is a requisite part of a Sacrament. A priest, for example, is taught to focus his intent on elements of the Eucharist. But without that intent, the Eucharist is not confected. A seminary priest, for example, could instruct seminarians on how to say Mass, and demonstrate as a lecture. Even thought the matter, words and actions would all be present, the intent to actually Confect the Sacrament would not be there. The bread and wine used in the training would remain just that, bread and wine.

But the necessary intent required for Baptism is very low. All that is required is that the person simply intent to Baptize.

It does not require an intent, or even a belief that Baptism is even a Sacrament, only that the person know that they are attempted a Baptism, not just wetting the person’s head while saying words.

A well meaning atheist could validly Baptize, or a kind hearted Jew. All that is required is that intent to do what ever it is that Christians call ‘Baptism’

And God handles the rest.


#8

[quote="Holly3278, post:1, topic:323191"]
Hello everyone. I was baptized a Pentecostal minister before I was received into the Church by the Sacrament of Confirmation and the Eucharist. Well, this Pentecostal church did and does not believe that Baptism washes away sins. So, this minister baptized me but not with the intention of the Baptism washing away my sins. Does the fact that he did not intend for it to wash away my sins make it invalid? I certainly intended for it to wash away my sins.

[/quote]

Did he use the formula "I baptise you (name) in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost" while either sprinkling or dunking your head or full immersion in Water (H2O) ?
Any water is ok from the faucet, pool, river, lake or even sea/ocean does not matter.

If he did this.....his intentions are unimportant

Baptism is the only sacrament that can be given without needing a priest (yeah preferably done it proper in church and with the priest) but it is licit and valid still.
:D


#9

Marriage also does not require a priest for validity, as the couple themselves are the ministers of the Sacrament.

A priest or deacon is the normative witness to the marriage for Catholics, but that can be dispensed with.

That is why the Church recognizes marriages between two Baptized Protestants as fully Sacramental Marriages. A married protestant couple entering the Church are not re-Baptized, nor are they re-Married, as both those Sacraments are valid in other ecclesial communities.


#10

When the Church determines if a baptism was valid – the part about “doing with the Church intends” – can also be taken to “do what Christians do” --even if the persons understanding of it was incorrect. An atheist who baptizes his dying friend cause his friend asks him to baptize him --can validly baptize. A Christian who does not hold the fullness of the Faith can often be baptizing because Christ said to.

The Church looks into the matter of validity regarding baptisms. If a prudent doubt remains then she gives a “conditional baptism” (Confirmation too would follow…). (One can bring the matter to ones Pastor and he can even contact the chancery office.)

(Of course one is to be baptized in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…I note this for some I think do not.)


#11

I should mention here that when we judge the validity of the baptism rendered by a non-Catholic minister, it’s not that the intention of the minister is unimportant, but rather that it is presumed if they perform the action the Church does. That is, if a Pentecostal preacher has no theology of baptism, but baptizes with water (proper matter) poured over the head and in the Trinitarian formula (proper form), the intent to do what the Church does is presumed via the action.

-ACEGC


#12

The fact that you were admitted into the Church and confirmed means that the Church already determined that your baptism is valid. If your baptism wasn’t valid, then you wouldn’t able to be validly confirmed.


#13

[quote="Brendan, post:7, topic:323191"]
Not exactly true. Intention is a requisite part of a Sacrament. A priest, for example, is taught to focus his intent on elements of the Eucharist. But without that intent, the Eucharist is not confected. A seminary priest, for example, could instruct seminarians on how to say Mass, and demonstrate as a lecture. Even thought the matter, words and actions would all be present, the intent to actually Confect the Sacrament would not be there. The bread and wine used in the training would remain just that, bread and wine.

But the necessary intent required for Baptism is very low. All that is required is that the person simply intent to Baptize.

It does not require an intent, or even a belief that Baptism is even a Sacrament, only that the person know that they are attempted a Baptism, not just wetting the person's head while saying words.

A well meaning atheist could validly Baptize, or a kind hearted Jew. All that is required is that intent to do what ever it is that Christians call 'Baptism'

And God handles the rest.

[/quote]

I agree. There is truth in what you are saying. The tiny element of another person intending to help someone seek Gods forgiveness is indeed inevitable if they are baptizing them with water and in the name of the Trinity.

Thanks
Michael


#14

There must have been adequate evidence of valid baptism for this to happen. :slight_smile:

:thumbsup:


#15

Valid sacraments require proper matter, form, intent and minister. If intent to do what the Church does (even if not understood) is lacking, then the baptism is invalid (other than the possibly of baptism by desire in certain circumstances).

Mormon baptisms (for example), which meet the other criteria, lack proper intent and are therefore not valid.


#16

There’s a difference between an atheist who doesn’t believe in baptism but uses the proper matter and form and a Mormon who baptizes with an incorrect understanding about the Trinity. The atheist, since he is using proper matter and form, is implied to be doing what the Church intends through baptism, even if he doesn’t acknowledge or fully understand it. This, then, would represent a valid baptism. For the Mormon, since his intention definitely is incorrect, the baptism is invalid.

-ACEGC


#17

I think of it this way:

The hypothetical atheist baptizer, wishing to help his believing friend in dire circumstances, generally intends to do “what Christians do.”

LDS Mormons, believing Christianity to be apostate, do not intend to do “what Christians do” but, rather, what the LDS do.


#18

[quote="Bookcat, post:10, topic:323191"]
When the Church determines if a baptism was valid -- the part about "doing with the Church intends" --

[/quote]

This requirement is even too high; one is not even required to intend what the Church intends. One only needs to intend to do what the Church does, i.e. to baptize.


#19

Some Pentecostal baptisms are recognized as valid by the Catholic Church. I think the Oneness Pentecostal churches have invalid baptisms because they baptize in the name of Jesus, rather than in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.


#20

Your understanding is correct. My Pentecostal baptism was in the Church of God (Cleveland, TN), which uses the trinitarian formula. If there had been a certificate of some kind from that baptism, it would have been sufficient. Catholicism for Dummies lists both Church of God and Assemblies of God as having valid baptisms.


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