Is it possible/valid for someone to baptize themselves

I would never, and have never heard of anyone I know doing it, but what does the Church teach?

I think that’s one of those things that’s just such an obvious “no” that they never bothered explicitly defining it. (at least not that I know of)

Why do Catholics believe that. ( I agree with you though)

no it is not.

Are you referring to a Baptism of Desire?
There is extensive discussion at the page below:

An excerpt:

  1. Substitutes for Sacramental Baptism

In case of emergency Baptism by water can be replaced by Baptism of desire
or Baptism by blood. (Sent. fidei prox.)

a) Baptism of desire (Baptismus flaminis sive Spiritus Sancti) Baptism of
desire is the explicit or implicit desire for sacramental baptism (votum
baptismi) associated with perfect contrition (contrition based on
Baptism of desire works ex opere operantis. It bestows Sanctifying Grace,
which remits original sin, all actual sins, and the eternal punishments
for sin. Venial sins and temporal punishments for sin are remitted
according to the intensity of the subjective disposition. The baptismal
character is not imprinted nor is it the gateway to the other sacraments.

I’ll take a stab at it (and anyone more knowledgable, feel free to correct, amend, whack me in the back of the head :slight_smile: )

The Sacraments are a tangible sign of God’s grace. and as such, they have to be transmitted from one person (usually an ordained priest, with exceptions for marriage – as IIRC, it’s actually the bride and groom administering the Sacrament on one another in the presence of the Church – and emergency baptism) to another to be effective, just as the gift of God’s grace is given to us by God and not generated somewhere within ourselves. Further, if one was able to administer Sacraments to themself, it would eliminate the need for Christ to have founded a Church, but also would open up the Sacraments for grave abuse (if one could just celebrate Reconciliation by oneself, for instance, a presumptious sort could abuse that one six ways from Sunday, pardon the expression)

At least that’s my take.

Self-Baptism is a practice allowed by some Pentecostal, Anabaptist, and Christadelphian sects in case one cannot be baptized by another person and there are no ministers to baptize you, but the Catholic Church states that the sacrament of baptism must have a minister, either or lay or ordained person, to perform the sacrament–the deacon, priest, or bishop being the ordinary ministers of the sacrament of baptism. It would therefore be invalid to perform the rites of baptism on oneself and for instance in the Eastern Church it is invalid even to have a layperson attempt to perform the rites of baptism in case of emergency. So I hope that answers your question.

No, you cannot baptize yourself. Baptism itself is a symbolism of us uniting ourselves to the death and resurrection of Christ. Every Sacrament is ministered by someone to show us that grace is not something that comes from within ourselves.

I think you pretty much nailed it.

Is it worth noting that even Jesus did not “baptize Himself” with water; He told John the Baptist to do so.


One cannot validly baptize oneself. Ever.

No Sacrament would take place.

But what if a person did so innocently and died? --Such could be a manifestation of his “Baptism of desire”.


  1. Is it possible to be saved without Baptism?


Since Christ died for the salvation of all, those can be saved without Baptism who die for the faith (Baptism of blood). Catechumens and all those who, even without knowing Christ and the Church, still (under the impulse of grace) sincerely seek God and strive to do his will can also be saved without Baptism (Baptism of desire). The Church in her liturgy entrusts children who die without Baptism to the mercy of God.

St. Thomas Aquinas answers in the Summa Theologica (III:66:5) that a person cannot baptize oneself because this would change the baptismal form “N. I baptize thee in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”

Likewise it would be a change of form to say, “I baptize myself”: consequently no one can baptize himself. For this reason did Christ choose to be baptized by John (Extra, De Baptismo et ejus effectu, cap. Debitum).

Pope Innocent III answered this question back in the 1206:

“You have, to be sure, intimated that a certain Jew, when at the point of death, since he lived only among Jews, immersed himself in water while saying: “I baptize myself in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.” We respond that, since there should be a distinction between the one baptizing and the one baptized, as is clearly gathered from the words of the Lord, when he says to the Apostles: “Go baptize all nations in the name etc.,” the Jew mentioned must be baptized again by another, that it may be shown that he who is baptized is one person, and he who baptizes another. . . . If, however, such a one had died immediately, he would have rushed to his heavenly home without delay because of the faith of the sacrament, although not because of the sacrament of faith.”

[From the letter “Debitum pastoralis officii” to Berthold, the Bishop of Metz, August 28, 1206] (Denzinger 413)

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