Marriage without proof of baptism


#1

I am preparing to start marriage preparation at the church that my boyfriend and I attend. He is a catholic and I am not. I just found out that the Methodist church I grew up in has no record of my baptism. Since I was baptized in middle school, I know that it happened and vaguely remember the time span, but there has been several total staffing changes in the church since then and they, apparently, don’t keep files that old. I’ve asked my parents, but they don’t have any kind of paperwork and since it was a going down to the river type thing, there are no photos or video.

My boyfriend and I are set to start marriage prep in two weeks and I was wondering how big a deal it is that I don’t have a certificate of baptism or the like. Should I try to find a revival or some such and renew my baptism, or would that be out of line?


#2

Discuss it with your parish priest. If your valid baptism can not be confirmed, perhaps a conditional baptism could be done in conjunction with your marriage preparation.


#3

Hello,

You should not try to be baptized again if you are sure you were/are already baptized. It can only happen once. If you and your parents all testify to the fact that you were baptized, and presuming that the baptism is considered valid by the Catholic Church (which I’m sure it would be if this was in a Methodist community), then that will be more than enough evidence. It is not a big deal that you don’t have a certificate. Just be sure to tell all of this to the priest and he should have no problem making sure everything is in order.

Dan


#4

Talk to the priest who is preparing you for marriage.

I can only speculate based on my involvement with RCIA (the process for people who want to become Catholic). There are differences based on whether someone is baptized or not. If there’s a baptismal certificate that’s great, but not everyone has one. We could accept other kinds of evidence.

Someone who was old enough to remember being baptized could give that information. We could also use letters from parents, godparents, grandparents, or other people who were at the baptism. The church might have some record, even something like a newsletter that says “these children were baptized on Sunday…”

The main questions are whether you were baptized with water and whether it invoked the Trinity (“I baptized you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit”).

Mostly, talk to your priest and see what would be acceptable.


#5

Add me to the list of people who say that you should talk to the priest. Also, do NOT attempt to be ‘re-baptized’.

I can’t speculate as to what the priest will say/do; but he will know what to do. Tell him what you told us, and everything will work out for the best.


#6

There are many non-Catholic Christian churches that do not keep baptismal records. Methodists typically do keep such records, but obviously there may be exceptions.

It is a simple matter of you and/or your parents completing an affidavit of baptism. The parish pastor will have such forms available.

This is not an unusual situation at all.


#7

When my wife and I got married, she was Catholic and I had never been Baptized. The Bishop gave us a Dispensation to get married at a Nuptial Mass. I converted to the Catholic church 4 years later. That was back in 1966 in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.


#8

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