Is Baptism Valid?

My son was baptized about 3 years ago. The deacon at our parish performed the baptism because our priest had another engagement. However, he could not find the oil so performed the baptism without it. I have always wondered if this makes the baptism invalid. Any thoughts?


No, the only things required for a valid baptism are water poured three times and the words “I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” As long as you had that your baby is validly baptized.

Phemie is correct.

In an emergency, anyone may baptize, as long as they do as Phemie described.

The oils, exorcism rites etc. are part of the optimal ceremony, but are not required.

Is even trilpe dipping/pouring necessary? I thought that water and the trinitarian formula were the irreducible elements. Otherwise most people coming in from evangelical churches would need to be rebaptized, since those communities generally dunk once, in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

the Deacon is an ordinary minister of Baptism
the oil is not necessary for valid baptism, only the water, poured, and the proper words, “I baptize you in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”

immersion or pouring is necessary. there is no prescription on how many times. it could be once or three times. as long as the person is immersed and the Trinitarian Formula is used

from Canon Law
Can. 854 Baptism is to be conferred either by immersion or by pouring; the prescripts of the conference of bishops are to be observed.

as you see, it doesn’t mandate a number of pouring or immersing/dunking


Can. 861 §1. The ordinary minister of baptism is a bishop, a presbyter, or a deacon, without prejudice to the prescript of can. 530, n. 1.

(Canon 530 specifies: “The following functions are especially entrusted to a pastor: . . . 1/ the administration of baptism; . . . .” Consequently, we can say that the deacon is as much an ordinary minister of baptism as a bishop or a non-pastor priest.)

Sorry, Choy, I don’t know why I read your post as saying that the deacon is not an ordinary minister of baptism, but I did – and you didn’t. Oops! :blush:

Hello SimonDodd,

Strictly speaking, no, the triple immersion/pouring is not required for validity. But, it is called for by the Rite of Baptism, at the mention of each of the Persons of the Trinity. Of course, this is the current Latin Catholic Rite. Other communities have their own practices and the history of the Catholic Church shows that both one and three immersions/pourings has been used at various times and places.


Mark, given the amount of time we have spent on this board, i’m quite surprised neither of us has gone blind yet :smiley:

there is actually a reason for doing it three times. i remember our former pastor explain the significance of triple immersion and i’ll post it when i remember the exact words. but again, its not a necessity or requirement.

LOL, no doubt. I think we can expect to go crazy long before we go blind, though! :slight_smile:

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