Methods of Baptism: Please Help a RCIA Member!


#1

Hi. I’m Catherine, I’m eighteen, and I’m currently in a RCIA group, and will be baptized this Easter season. However, I have seen so many conflicting arguments about various forms of baptism- that immersion isn’t explicitly stated in the Bible, that immersion best represents the Death and Resurrection, that affusion best represents the “infusion of the Spirit”.
:confused: :confused: :confused:
HELP!
Does any source of authority definitively state a superior method?
Which did you have? Which is most common?


#2

Catherine I did not vote because I think your poll makes so sense. The Church does not teach that one method is superior to the other so the votes of a bunch of Catholics on an internet forum is meaningless. You have no idea whether they are voting for a personal preference (which Catholics are entitled to have) or whether they are voting for something they have no right to vote about.

For what it is worth, I prefer immersion because that is what I am used to seeing. But I was baptized by affusion as were my parents, my siblings, my husband and my children. My preference has no bearing on the superiority of either method.

Immersion is supposed to be the method with the greater sign and I would agree with that. But signs do not make for the superiority of one method over the other.


#3

The best method is the one that's available in your parish!


#4

Catherine, As others have stated, there is no "best" method. All methods of baptism accomplish exactly the same result: removal of all sin (original and personal) and admittance into the Church. The important question is not how you were baptized but simply "were you baptized"?

Within the Catholic Church, affusion seems to be the most common. This is due in large part to the lack of large baptismal pools in most churches (parishes tend to favor small basins, instead).

At the risk of confusing matters, there is a third method where the catechumen stands waist deep in water while it is poured ofer his/her head. It is most likely that the early Church actually did this (as opposed to fully submerging the catechumen). My parish does this for adult baptisms (using a jacuzzi for the pool).


#5

[quote="SuscipeMeDomine, post:3, topic:298223"]
The best method is the one that's available in your parish!

[/quote]

This! :thumbsup:

God does not allow us to be half baptised... if your method of baptism is valid, then there is no need to parse words about whether or not you got the most baptised by however you had the rite done.

As to the poll, there wasn't an option for "one is not better than the other" so I can't vote in the poll...


#6

I would typically say affusion (pouring) is best for babies and young children because it is safer for them and especially if they are afraid of having their head put underwater (like my nephew who was recently baptized), and immersion for older children and up because it was probably the more popular way of baptizing the adults in the New Testament, and I agree that it best represents death and new life.

but it isn't about our preference, it is what you would prefer. Don't worry about the symbolism in choosing, just worry about what baptism does, which is the same for both ways. That is what matters. Go with whichever makes you more comfortable. If you prefer not to get extremely wet, then go with affusion. If you do want to go with symbolism, then choose the symbolism which best represents your view of what it means to be brought into the Body of Christ.

You are the only one who can make this call. You do not need to rely on the opinions of others.


#7

You may not have a choice. The priest or deacon doing the baptizing may make the choice. In any case, you are just as baptized whether by immersion or pouring.


#8

I am at a loss here. I’ll admit that I was away from the Church for many years, having left by neglect during the mid 1950’s, and didn’t return until about 8 years ago.
I realize that there were enormous changes in the Church as a result of Vatican II, but I have never heard of the Catholic Church practicing immersion Baptism…the Baptist Church, yes, but not Catholics, or the Anglican/Episcopal Church either for that matter.
I live in New York City, and have become fairly knowledgable about what goes on in the Church here, and I have never heard of Catholics practicing immersion Baptism here.
When did such a thing become acceptable, and where, and under who’s authority?


#9

[quote="SMHW, post:2, topic:298223"]
Catherine I did not vote because I think your poll makes so sense. The Church does not teach that one method is superior to the other so the votes of a bunch of Catholics on an internet forum is meaningless. You have no idea whether they are voting for a personal preference (which Catholics are entitled to have) or whether they are voting for something they have no right to vote about.

For what it is worth, I prefer immersion because that is what I am used to seeing. But I was baptized by affusion as were my parents, my siblings, my husband and my children. My preference has no bearing on the superiority of either method.

Immersion is supposed to be the method with the greater sign and I would agree with that. But signs do not make for the superiority of one method over the other.

[/quote]

I apologize if anyone was confused by the poll- maybe the "Which Do you Prefer" should have been bolded.


#10

Most of the older churches have baptismal fonts like you are used to, but the newer ones often have baptismal pools built, also many that remodel put them in. The practice of immersion is from the beginning of Christianity. The Didache, a document from the first century outlines the baptismal procedure, and the preferred method is immersion. However, if there is not adequate water to immerse, the method of pouring can be used. You can google this document and it is very interesting to read, and you will find many familiar practices in it.

I think we mostly started to pour because of lack of water to immerse. We were immersing long before the Protestant Reformation, as the Didache shows.


#11

[quote="CB_Catholic, post:10, topic:298223"]
Most of the older churches have baptismal fonts like you are used to, but the newer ones often have baptismal pools built, also many that remodel put them in. The practice of immersion is from the beginning of Christianity. The Didache, a document from the first century outlines the baptismal procedure, and the preferred method is immersion. However, if there is not adequate water to immerse, the method of pouring can be used. You can google this document and it is very interesting to read, and you will find many familiar practices in it.

I think we mostly started to pour because of lack of water to immerse. We were immersing long before the Protestant Reformation, as the Didache shows.

[/quote]

Thanks! :thankyou:
I was wondering if there was an authoritative source that stated a preferred method, and there it is.


#12

That is not what Carolyn said.
The Church, in present day, has no “preferred” method
and it is not up to the person being baptized to decide how it it done.
I strongly suggest that you take this issue to your RCIA team.


#13

[quote="CBlackwell7594, post:11, topic:298223"]
Thanks! :thankyou:
I was wondering if there was an authoritative source that stated a preferred method, and there it is.

[/quote]

No, I was only telling what is written in the Didache--that immersion is not new, but a very old practice, and at that time, it says immersion is the preferred method. However, I don't know if the Church has a preferred method today. The poster had not heard of the Catholic Church practicing immersion, and I was only pointing out that it is within our tradition.

The Didache is not an authorative Church document for today, it is an historical one.


#14

I voted immersion becuase my Orthodox church as a rule uses it. But it is not the laying down backward method that Bapists and some other Protestants use. We do immerse babies as well. But in places where it’s too cold to immerse affusion is used and it’s completely acceptable.


#15

Hello Catherine, If you follow what the majority of Catholics do and have done for centuries, you can’t go wrong. You will be in the same league as about 1.1 billion Catholics, including the Pope, who were sprinkled rather than dunked.


#16

[quote="CB_Catholic, post:13, topic:298223"]
No, I was only telling what is written in the Didache--that immersion is not new, but a very old practice, and at that time, it says immersion is the preferred method. However, I don't know if the Church has a preferred method today. The poster had not heard of the Catholic Church practicing immersion, and I was only pointing out that it is within our tradition.

The Didache is not an authorative Church document for today, it is an historical one.

[/quote]

When I read the actual 'Rite of Baptism for Children', Canadian edition, I realized that everything in the rubrics of the ceremony presumes immersion with pouring as an option, not the other way around. You don't realize that if you only have the booklets often given to parents with the words of the ceremony in it.


#17

You do have a choice, even if someone tells you otherwise.


#18

Oh?

My parish does not have an immersion-type font. The only “choice” is to be baptized by pouring as the person leans over the font.

I suppose there is another choice. If someone insisted on being baptized by immersion they could participate in RCIA at some other parish where the baptismal font is more to their liking. That strikes me as a trivial reason to leave a parish.


#19

LIKE!


#20

Hi CBlackwell,

I have to ask a question. Why would you want to be soaking wet for the rest of the experience? You can’t run out and change clothes. Baptism isn’t the end of your wonderful welcome into the church, there’s more. :confused:


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