Question about conversion to the Catholic Church

I was born a Protestant and was christened in the United Church of Canada. For those of you who are unaware, it is a church that was founded in the early 20th century when the Presbyterian, Methodist and Congregational churches in Canada unified into one single church.

In any case, as a teenager, I received a Catholic education and I grew to be fundamentally at odds with the church I was baptized into. The church’s policy of supporting abortion, sanctioning gay marriage and gay ordination etc. only pushed me closer to the Roman Catholic Church.

A few years ago, I made the decision to convert but my pastor felt that RCIA classes were not necessary for me because of my education in a Catholic school and because I studied Catholic theology at a Catholic university. He spoke to me for a few weeks to get an understanding of where my mind was, what stage my spiritual development was at, and before he made his decision about whether or not to make me attend RCIA classes, he quizzed me on just about every subject relating to the faith that you can imagine.

Anyways, I was welcomed into the Catholic Church BUT he re-baptized me. I thought nothing of it because I assumed that my christening in a church like the United Church was probably invalid (given their questionable beliefs)… but recently, I have become concerned that my re-baptism should not have been performed.

I know this is probably something that I should not worry about, but in some sense, I feel guilty. I feel like my confirmation, first communion and reconciliation were “botched” because I shouldn’t have been re-baptized to begin with. Maybe I am wrong and maybe I am over-thinking things, but this has been bothering me and I would like some opinions on this.

Thank you for your patience and understanding,

Quit worrying about it.

The conditional baptism (which is probably what you had) is just in case the previous baptism was not valid.

One thing that is important to remember is that for a valid baptism, the person administering it must intend to do what the Catholic Church does and since most n-C communities do not intend to perform a sacramental baptism that washes away sins because they do not believe in it then you needn’t feel guilty or worry about it my friend. :slight_smile:


I would not worry about it at all - it was a conditional baptism.
My son was baptized in a Presbyterian church when he was 5 months old, and after watching the video, we realized that the pastor said, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, name of the Son, name of the Holy Spirit.” I knew right away that this was incorrect because it is ONE name, not three names. I believe that God honored our intent but we still had our son conditionally baptized after we were received in the Catholic Church.
My other two children were also baptized by different Presbyterian ministers. One believes that baptism is to be given to children of at least one believing parent because Scripture says they are holy and it is done to show that they belong to the “visible Church.” The other (much closer to Catholicism) believes that baptism “saves you” in the sense that it brings you into the covenant family of God and that in baptism God makes you His child and you are adopted into the Kingdom. Because their baptisms were performed validly (“In the name of the father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”), our priest did not require them to be conditionally baptized.

As Church Militant said, it was probably a conditional baptism. If your christening in your former church was a valid baptism, then the conditional baptism had no effect. Your baptism stands. If it was not valid, then your conditional baptism WAS your baptism.

It’s actually a valid form. The standard Catholic form is, “I Baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” (ego te baptizo in nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti).

That’s grammatical shorthand for, “I Baptize you in the name of the Father, and in the name of the Son, and in the name of the Holy Spirit.”

This pastor used a slightly different grammatical shorthand, but it is still a Trinitarian form and should be considered valid by the Catholic Church. The form need not be identical word-for-word as long as it is Trinitarian.

David Filmer,
Thank you for your reply. I know the presbyterian pastor did not intend it to be “names of the…” because he holds orthodox Trinitarian views, but watching the video it seemed as if there was a sloppiness & carelessness about the way the baptism was performed and that small alteration of the denomination’s baptismal rite pushed it over the edge for me. Hard to describe, but it just seemed very wrong to me upon watching it.

Our priest didn’t necessarily think it needed to be re-done but did so because I requested it. Also, my son is in the middle and enjoys every opportunity to feel special, so we didn’t think it would hurt anything to have him conditionally baptized.

I’m not sure if this really applies and I understand the point you are making about the abbreviation, but this is part of the reason why I did not feel comfortable with the way it was done - from the Catechism:

233 Christians are baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: not in their names,55 for there is only one God, the almighty Father, his only Son and the Holy Spirit: the Most Holy Trinity.

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