When/why did the Catholic Church move from the Baptism Jesus led with as an example for accepting Him, and following Him to the sprinkling of water in infancy?
i think you are confused. Sprinkling is not a valid method of baptism in the Catholic Church.
In what way would we know in what form of baptism Jesus was baptized. The word baptism can apply to simply washing(baptize) your hands, or sprinkling(batpize) water over your head to cool yourself on a hot day.
The first document that describes how to baptize ( earlychristianwritings.com/text/didache-roberts.html ) states:
Chapter 7. Concerning Baptism. 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. But before the baptism let the baptizer fast, and the baptized, and whoever else can; but you shall order the baptized to fast one or two days before.
!ke, I think sprinkling is valid. . .
Immersion, pouring, and sprinkling are I believe the three valid forms, always with water as the liquid.
The water must move over the person for it to be a certain Baptism.
Sprinking without the volume implied with pouring would be theologically doubtful.
And, to answer your question, pouring has always been a valid option. The Didache ( a mid 1st Century work on the Baptism and education of catechumes), had this to say about Baptism
Concerning Baptism. 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. But before the baptism let the baptizer fast, and the baptized, and whoever else can; but you shall ask the baptized to fast one or two days before.
So that the historical record of how the very early (1st Century) Church Baptized at catechumen.
I have always understood that both are correct. A lot has to do with where the baptism takes place. For instance: in the desert where there is a small amount of water and no place for immersion or in the frozen winters of the north where it would be impractical and dangerous to immerse a person. As far as I can see, immersion certainly has a greater emotional impact but that is the only difference.
Sprinkling is not valid.
Can.* 854 Baptism is to be conferred either by immersion or by pouring; the prescripts of the conference of bishops are to be observed.
As the Catholic Encyclopedia attests there are three valid forms of washing in Baptism which are dipping (immersio), pouring-on (infusio) and sprinkling (aspersion). Immersion was a common form of Baptism from Christian antiquity up to the 13th century as early writers like St. Jerome (Against the Luciferians, 8) and St. Basil (De Spiritu Sancto, 27) have written about it. Tertullian of Carthage considers (Against Praxeas, 26) threefold immersion as a sign of being baptised into the Three Divine Persons. Though infusion and aspersion grew in popularity the Encyclopedia reports immersion was still found at certain places near the Late Renaissance times.
In the Latin Church, immersion seems to have prevailed until the twelfth century. After that time it is found in some places even as late as the sixteenth century. Infusion and aspersion, however, were growing common in the thirteenth century and gradually prevailed in the Western Church.
I could not find anything saying that currently sprinkling is acceptable. However, it apparently was at one time: catholic.com/tracts/baptism-immersion-only
"Cyprian advised that no one should be “disturbed because the sick are poured upon or sprinkled when they receive the Lord’s grace” (Letter to a Certain Magnus 69:12 [A.D. 255]). Tertullian described baptism by saying that it is done “with so great simplicity, without pomp, without any considerable novelty of preparation, and finally, without cost, a man is baptized in water, and amid the utterance of some few words, is sprinkled, and then rises again, not much (or not at all) the cleaner” (On Baptism, 2 [A.D. 203]). Obviously, Tertullian did not consider baptism by immersion the only valid form, since he says one is only sprinkled and thus comes up from the water “not much (or not at all) the cleaner.”
I don’t know whether baptism by sprinkling is valid (though I very strongly suspect that it is), but it is a mistake to suppose that this canon establishes that it is not. Laws concerning the sacraments very often establish norms more stringent than the bare minimum necessary for validity. For example, with the Eucharist, the Code says “The bread must be only wheat,” (Can. 924 § 2), but actually leavened bread is also valid matter; with baptism, “For an adult to be baptized, the person must have . . . been instructed sufficiently about the truths of the faith and Christian obligations” (Can. 865 § 1), but obviously an uninstructed person can be validly baptized (see id. § 1).
The problem with sprinkiling is that the water must flow over the skin, and this cannot be guaranteed with a sprinkle
It is to be noted that it is not sufficient for the water to merely touch the candidate; it must also flow, otherwise there would seem to be no real ablution. At best, such a baptism would be considered doubtful
I have always heard that sprinkling is not valid for baptism, that the water must at minimum be poured. Many catholic churches have immersion baths for baptism.
My thought on the validity of sprinkling is that only the very lightest of sprinklings would fail to produce drops that pour down the head. So long as it is a heavier sprinkling you would still have water passing over the head and so the requirements for sacramental validity would, I think, still presumably be met.
That said the doubt many Catholics have about the validity of sprinkling, and the association of sprinkling with certain Protestant denominations (I think I would be correct in naming the Anglicans and Methodists, and perhaps the Lutherans) and among the more educated with the rites of Germanic heathenry, certainly means the practice would be at minimum pastorally imprudent.
So are you aware that at times the Jordan river was a mere trickle? What about people who live in the desert? Do you believe that God would make them travel far away to be baptized by immersion? What until the river flowed again?
On Pentecost, the Apostles baptized 3000 people. It was likely in the temple area. It is likely that they used pouring of water and not immersion. While immersion was used in the early Church, it is unlikely it was universally done with immersion.