Question on Adult Baptism

I’m curious to know how adults are baptised when it comes to the water. Are there three full submersions, or is water just poured over the head?

Poured over the head x3; I don’t personally know a parish that does full immersion.

If a church has a baptistery big enough, I’m sure the person could be immersed three times, but it is generally more frequent to have the water poured over their head three times.

I am assuming you mean in the Catholic Church. This varies. Both pouring and immersion are acceptable practices. Most parishes use pouring because the lack an appropriate space for immersions. I have never personally witnessed an immersion baptism in a Catholic Church. With pouring, the water is poured three times.

Usually when an adult is baptised into the Catholic Church they receive all three sacraments of initiation together (Baptism, First Communion, and Confirmation), also, even if they have not yet reached the customary age forConfirmation in that diocese. My oldest daughter was 12 when we entered the Church, and she was confirmed at that time, though in our diocese, the standard timing for Confirmation is the junior year of high school.

This is probably a question for the Apologetics, but is there any spiritual difference with the pouring of water as compared to submersion? And what you’re saying, though, is that even though the water doesn’t touch the entire body, the entire body is “submerged” in a sense?

The Catechism states about the sacraments that we believe that what is symbolized by the physical signs (in baptism water) and rite becomes a reality when proper form and matter are used. During the sacrament of baptism, the Holy Spirit is invoked and the priest (or deacon) speaks the prescribed words (I baptize you in the name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit) while performing the symbolic action (pouring water or immersing in water) with the proper matter (water). So if the Church has called it proper form and matter, the sacrament is complete. You are cleansed from original sin and any personal sin, and brought into new life in Christ. This is Catholic belief. Though immersion more obviously symbolizes all these things that occur, that the Church has declared pouring appropriate is enough, since the Church has been given the authority to do so by Christ Himself. You are either validly baptized or you are not. There is no better baptism or half baptism.

No, especially if pouring is the best you can do.

Full immersion (and there are many ways of doing this) might be the preferred method, but it’s not the amount of water that saves. God is not limited in this manner.

I have seen Baptism done by immersion. It’s kind of fun. :slight_smile:

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

CCC 1239 …Baptism is performed in the most expressive way by triple immersion in the baptismal water. However, from ancient times it has also been able to be conferred by pouring the water three times over the candidate’s head.

So both pouring or immersion are acceptable, but the Church recognizes immersion as the “most expressive way.” This is because Baptism effects a person’s death to sin and rising to new life in Christ. Symbolically, the plunging into the water (death) and emerging from the water (resurrection) is more clearly expressed through immersion.

Of course, we can’t go around saying that one is more valid than the other. Both are valid and both are acceptable.

Thank you for your replies :slight_smile:

Our Baptismal pool is shallow, a few inches deep. We have them stand in the pool and water is poured over them three times. Father uses a quart pitcher; so the get fully wet.

And the River Jordan is also only inches deep in many locations …

And many bathtubs are very shallow - as well … lots of churches [non catholic versions] have a bath tub behind a short wall where they do baptisms …

I was baptized in a river in Oregon at church camp … full immersion but the water was only aboiut three feet deep …

Our cathedral added an immersion baptismal font when they remodeled aout 14 years ago … many parishes do - if they have room and funding …

I know some parishes who use a stock tank during the Easter Vigil [for adults] … infants can be immersed in many traditional baptismal fonts - if the parishes desire …

Read the Didache … it list three forms of valid baptisms … all use water - and the Trinitatian formula from full immersion in a River or Lake to Pouring water … :thumbsup:

either method is acceptable, some churches especially newer ones have a font built in, or remodelled, to allow immersion of adults, others (like ours) get a portable pool or tub of some type set up for the Easter Vigil. Although our candidates do kneel in the water, it is poured over their heads from a pitcher 3 times because it is not deep enough for full immersion. Our new church is designed with full attention to RCIA esp. baptism and the font will be designed to allow either immersion or pouring, for adults, children or infants as the design is graduated.

I think my wife would have a heart attack if they baptized our babies by immersion. :eek: :wink:

I’m with her. :eek:

One of the earliest Christian writings is a cathechism called the “Didache” ('teachings of the 12")

It described how Baptism should be done and what are the preferred methods.

And concerning baptism, baptize this way: Having first said all these things, baptize into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in living water. But if you have no living water, baptize into other water; and if you cannot do so in cold water, do so in warm. But if you have neither, pour out water three times upon the head into the name of Father and Son and Holy Spirit.

‘Living water’ referres to a running stream, brook or river.

But it is done… it does not take lots of water or a very large baptismal font to immerse an infant … usually they just stick the baby in the water and still pour water over their heads …

Nor does it hurt them in any way …

My son immersed my infant granddaughter in a pool three times the other day - not baptizing - just having fun on vacation - held her while they went quickly under water and back up -…

She’s vey little, came up smiling every time :thumbsup:

If she were older we would be having her say - “Ah Ha” when she comes up [this is what the swim teacher instructs mothers and infants]… but D-GD is not old enough to talk yet :wink:

I am sure that you are absolutely correct that it can be done safely and even be fun for the baby. But just the idea of submersing the little one under water seems a little intimidating. :o

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