Protestant friends upset/offended by conditional baptism?


I had to get a conditional baptism to enter the Catholic church. There is no doubt in my mind that my original baptism (which I clearly recall) was valid, but I was told since I couldn’t provide an exact date I had to be conditionally baptized anyways. The trouble is this got back to my protestant friends and some of them are quite offended. Basically they see it as a “rebaptism” of someone who has a perfectly good baptism and find it offensive that mine wasn’t accepted. Truth to be told I almost agree with them - it seems somewhat disrespectful to do a conditional baptism for defects of paperwork without any real doubt of the validity of the original baptism. I was there, I’m quite sure I was baptized.

How would you answer this?


The Catholic Church Documents everything.
We each have at our main Parish a Copy of Baptism Confirmation and Mariage.
In my case Three churches.
The Church I was Baptized in have a copy of my Baptism.
The Church I was Confirmed in has a copy of my Baptism and Confirmation.
The Church I had my Marriage Recognized has a Copy of my Baptism, My wife’s Baptism from the Church of the Nazarene, Our Marriage License, My Confirmation and our Marriage into the Catholic Church.

They needed a copy of my wife’s Baptism to Verify she was Baptized in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy spirit.

Some Protestant Denominations do not believe in the trinity.

So this is why they have to make absolutely sure you are indeed baptized in the Trinity and since you have no record they can’t just take your word because you could be wrong or and then for them to confirm you would be heretical or sacrilege.

For whatever Reason they Recognize the Authority of a Baptism and not a Marriage I do not know why this is it never has made sense to me considering the same Pastor that Baptized my wife Married us.

A lot of people get upset over some of this but rules are rules.


“Rule are rules and they have to be sure” are hardly going to help protestant friends who think this is an example of putting man-made rules above God’s rules. Especially when I was baptized as an adult in a denomination the Catholic church recognizes as believing in the trinity and which has a recorded trinitarian baptismal form.


Well, the formula of conditional baptism is very clear. “If you are not already baptized…” clearly indicates that if you ARE already baptized it is valid and not repeated and that you are not being “re-baptized”.

Having not been involved in the investigation and subsequent decision in favor of conditional baptism, I cannot speak to any specifics of your case. The law states:

Can. 869 §1. If there is a doubt whether a person has been baptized or whether baptism was conferred validly and the doubt remains after a serious investigation, baptism is to be conferred conditionally.

§2. Those baptized in a non-Catholic ecclesial community must not be baptized conditionally unless, after an examination of the matter and the form of the words used in the conferral of baptism and a consideration of the intention of the baptized adult and the minister of the baptism, a serious reason exists to doubt the validity of the baptism.

Can. 876 To prove the conferral of baptism, if prejudicial to no one, the declaration of one witness beyond all exception is sufficient or the oath of the one baptized if the person received baptism as an adult.


Well, actually, they can and in fact it’s the law.

Can. 876 To prove the conferral of baptism, if prejudicial to no one, the declaration of one witness beyond all exception is sufficient or the oath of the one baptized if the person received baptism as an adult.


If they are Protestant, why do they care what the Catholic Church does? The issue is not ecumenical, it is their prejudice.


Here is a detailed explanation from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia of the process to be used in determining whether conditional baptism is necessary.


Yeah I agree. Seems the friends are just stirring the pudding most likely out of some anti-Catholic prejudice. To the OP don’t worry about. In the view of the Catholic Church since baptism confers actual Grace it’s better to be safe. Don’t ever forget the priest who receives you into the Church is talking responsibility for you in the eyes of God. If he is not 100% sure he’s not going to take a chance.


No I wouldn’t worry about those people. These are the people who genuinely do want to understand, but can’t understand how the church can teach that there’s no such thing as rebaptism and that protestant trinitarian baptisms are acceptable but turn around and rebaptize someone who’s clearly already baptized. These aren’t baptists either, generally, so they also believe in infant baptism and actual grace via baptism.

That’s generally the core of the objection. They say baptism can’t be redone and attempting to redo it means you think the grace might not have “stuck” the first time around. So they look at our conditional baptism, especially in cases like mine where it doesn’t look like there was much doubt (and the reason given to me wasn’t that there was any doubt but that it couldn’t be recorded right), and think that it’s showing an elevation of rule and regulations over the truth of baptism.

I was told that a certificate was required and that anyone unable to present a baptismal certificate from some denomination listing the name and place of the baptism had to be conditionally baptized. The baptist church I grew up in did not issue such certificates - since they practiced adult baptism it was not seen as necessary.


1ke,Thank you


You will have to try and start thinking like a Catholic not a Protestant, if the Church through the Priest thought you had to have conditional baptism so be it, the Lord has brought you this far go further in faith, I feel you must have been complaining to your friends hence there imagined offense, and since they are not Catholic nor understand things Catholic, why are they getting involved, only you that have been through RCIA know and should be telling your friends this is the way its
done in case no paper work can be found, I had to have the full thing having been Jewish, and that was that.

Please keep learning about your new faith it does not stop at RCIA,
EWTN on television
Eucharist prayer.
Sermons at Mass.

Start on a positive note, Lord I am here to do Your Will.


Pretty offensive assumptions there.

Matter of fact they were curious about what I went through, and a lot of them find the idea that the church will take paperwork but won’t take someone’s word for it pretty offensive - especially given that the reason I was told was basically “well your evidence is good but we have to have a specific date to record in the register.”


The only offensive assumption here was your friends telling you that how offended they were that you had to have conditional baptism and you agreed with them, the Catholic Church has set Rules and one of them is you have to have paper work that you have been baptised in the Trinitarian Formula as maybe denominations do not…

There is no big deal about it, I was so excited I would have done anything I was told to do.
If you read "Ike " it goes into detail .


Well as has already been said the Catholic Church doesn’t practice rebaptism. The Creed said at every mass states “I believe in one baptism for the remission of sins.” So if your first baptism was true and complete what the priest did was not a baptism. If it was not true and complete then it was. The Church isn’t violating God’s precepts, it’s making absolutely certain that they are followed. There have been canons regulating baptisms since at least the 3rd century. It’s nothing new. :wink:

I would also point out that the reality is for the most part baptist don’t see baptism as anything other than a sign that you believe. They typically don’t see the baptism itself as conveying Grace. Some baptist baptize with triple immersion, some single immersion. Some use the Trinitarian formula, some baptize only in the name of Jesus. That knowledge probably played a part in the priests’ decision to conditionally baptize you.


So I should tell them to not have any interest in or curiosity about Catholicism unless they have only positive thoughts instead? Or to never mention that they disagree - and strenuously - with the Catholic church even though we frequently argue theology? Or should the faithful of the Church never question their priests or wonder why things are or if they need to be done a certain way?

Right but for most Christians - especially the people asking who are not baptist - you do not redo the rite. Redoing the rite without grave need would be a serious problem, and shouldn’t be undertaken for them unless there was real doubt about the person’s baptism. And in their (and my) view there shouldn’t have been doubt about mine.

And again, the major problem is that the way it was explained to me there were no real epistemic doubts about my baptism, but the register required that there be a specific date and since nothing I had came dated it had to be redone. That seems odd to me.


when my wife and I got our marriage recognized in the Catholic Church I had to present her baptismal certificate he had lost it and we had to go to her church the Church of the Nazarene and get a new copy the church has a book of records and from those records we could take the date and create a new certificate.
All the Pastor had to do was sign it.
try going to the church were baptized in and see if they have a book of records ane can make a new certificate with the date.


Converting last year from the CofE, I was simply asked if I knew when I was baptised (it was when I was a baby and I’m now in my 50s). As it happened, I had a baptismal certificate which my late parents had kept with other family papers and photos, so I could give the exact date and place. However, if I hadn’t had that, the administrator and priest would have been happy to take my word that I was baptised. I was also confirmed in the CofE in my teens, which of course wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t been baptised.

Come to think of it, I have a photograph taken outside the church from my baptismal day, too. :slight_smile:


It’s not always in one direction. My former independent, KJV-only, fundamentalist church would never accept a Catholic baptism. A potential member who had been baptized Catholic would have to be re-baptized in a full immersion baptism.

Not only Catholic baptisms, that church would require re-baptism of anyone joining from any other faith tradition. The phrase used was that baptisms were recognized only from churches of “like faith and practice.”

People who were baptized around the usual age of reason, about eight to ten years old, were often re-baptized as adults. People would feel they weren’t “right with the Lord” when they were originally baptized, so they did it again.


There are two basic issues.

The first is that the Catholic Church views sacraments differently than many other Christians. First, we have seven, not one or two. Second, we believe they actually confer grace, while some Christians believe that - for example Baptism - a sacrament merely signifies the grace already given.

With that mind, the Catholic Church sees Baptism as the sacrament that opens the door to the other sacraments. You can’t lawfully and effectively receive the benefits of the Eucharist, or Penance, or Holy Orders if you have not been baptized. In fact, knowingly giving those sacraments to an unbaptized person is a grave sacrilege.

So, it is important that the Church be absolutely certain that you have been baptized when receiving you into the communion. A record is made which either records the baptism, records the support for the baptism in the other church, or records the conditional baptism due to lack of the proper documentation for the baptism in the other church.

It really says nothing about the other church’s baptism or your honesty. It has to do with the need to record the baptism properly.

The only situation that I am aware of where you would be baptized without exception is the reception of former members of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints, and that is because their notion of Baptism is so different than ours the Church can’t recognize it.



Talk to your priest, he can explain it better than we can. The second Baptism was only ‘on condition’ the first one was not valid for some reason unknown to all. IF the first one was valid the second one doesn’t count. It’s only a precaution. Before you can receive any of the other Sacraments, the Church has to be positive you were properly Baptized first. She doesn’t take anyone’s word for it. Some people do lie you know and that’s to bad but you should be thankful the Church is so careful. Don’t get hung up on this, go on with your Catholic Faith and enjoy learning the beauty of the Faith. God Bless, Memaw

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