Non-Catholic Baptism effect

It is said that the non-Catholic, but still christian babtism , if having been using the same formula (Father son Holy Spirit) as well as water in a “correct” way, is considered a valid babtism even by Catholic standards.
My question is this. We know that the Protestant Church does not consider the babtism to be a washing away of the sin but rather a becoming member of Gods family. If this is so, does the fact that we accept the non-Catholich babtism as valid, does this mean that that babtism is washing away the original sin of the person allthough he does not intend this effect and does not believe it either?
I.e. is the effect of the babtism of the Lutheran person, in fact another than he himself thinks and intends it to be?

Yes, that is my understanding. If that were not the case, then any person so baptized and then coming into the Catholic Church would be baptized again.

A sacrament is an outward sign of an inward grace. The grace is present whether someone believes it or not. For example, if someone who is not a believer were to receive Eucharist, it would be the actual body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ whether they believed it or not. That is why Paul warns us not to partake unworthily and bring judgement on ourselves.

In the same way, valid baptism removes original sin no matter what is believed about it.

I can say, as a man baptized outside of the church and now in the church, that I definitely received graces even though I didn’t know it at the time.

Some Protestants do; some don’t. Many Catholics nowadays have baptism described to them in the erroneous way you note. The exact content of the doctrine is not so important to the efficacy of the baptism.

Well, you picked the wrong example. Lutherans believe in the washing away of original sin, the regenerative nature of the Sacrament of Baptism.


When one is discussing ‘Protestant beliefs’ one needs to be specific about which denomination one is describing. There are literally thousands of Protestant churches. The doctrines of Anglicans and Lutherans are very different from those of Baptists and Pentecostals. There is no one ‘Protestant belief’ about anything. There are some Protestants denominations that allow one to be Baptised multiple times.

All Baptisms performed in water, and according to the Trinitarian Formula are valid, even in the unlikely event that they are performed by a non-Christian.

Any denomination that subscribes to the Nicene Creed (virtually all Christian denominations) says it believes in “One Baptism for the forgiveness of sins.” But Baptism is also the initiation into the “Body of Christ”, so both views are actually correct.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit