Is there a good encyclical or other papal writing on baptism?


The popes can only repeat the New Testament and the Catechism:

I don’t know of any recent encyclical that speaks solely of Baptism, but it is mentioned in a number of them.

A good way to find other writings is to start with the section in the Catechism on Baptism and then look at the footnotes. That will help you find lots of places in Scripture, Church documents, and the writings of the Saints and Early Church Fathers where Baptism is discussed.

The Catholic Topical Index that came with my Verbum software lists the following citations from papal encyclicals for Baptism:

Dom. et Viv. 9, Redemptoris Missio 46, 71, Ut Unum Sint 66, Spe Salvi 10, Redemptoris Missio 50

As you can see, the Baptism references are just a paragraph or two in each document. But it’s all good stuff. :slight_smile: All of those encyclicals are on the Vatican website.

These aren’t encyclicals, but Pope Francis devoted a series of general audiences to a catechetical series on the Sacraments, and he dealt with Baptism in two of those audiences:

Pope Francis, Catechesis on Baptism - January 8, 2014 and January 15, 2014.

He also did a catechesis on the Creed in another set of general audiences, and one of those was devoted to the part that talks about Baptism: November 13, 2013.

Pope Paul VI also did general audiences, and one of them was about who belongs to the Church. But he dealt with that by talking about what baptism means, so it applies too: June 1, 1966.

Please let me know if that is what you are looking for. God bless!

Fair enough, but if there exists an encyclical about the Eucharist, there can exist an encyclical about Baptism

Indeed. :slight_smile:

I don’t know of any one in recent history (the past 100 years), but it’s possible there is one earlier. Although, when I look at the footnotes in the Catechism, I only see references (besides Scripture and liturgical texts) to some Early Church Fathers, the Council of Florence, the Council of Trent, and one citation for a CDF document. If there was a papal encyclical on Baptism, I would think it would have been cited somewhere in there.

The Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith does have a few documents regarding Baptism:

Those mostly concern practical matters, but Pastoralis actio looks pretty good.

There haven’t been any real disputes or changes about Baptism, so there hasn’t been much need. There are lots of patristic texts about Baptism, and lots of good theologians who’ve written about it, too.

Now, if somebody comes up with something novel, like the guys from medieval Scandinavia who were trying to Baptize babies in beer or in thoroughly frozen ice or snow, you can expect some texts to come out. Or if the Pope notices massive ignorance or lack of enthusiasm for Baptism, he might write one. But for now, things seem sufficiently okay.

(In case you’re wondering, no, you can’t baptize people in beer, and the water has to be in a form thawed enough to drip onto somebody’s head. Steam or plasma don’t count, either.)

There was an encyclical letter from the first pope that says “Baptism now saves you”.

The letter was the first encyclical of Peter and it was in the 3rd chapter and the 21st verse.

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