The Exact Way to perform an emergency baptism?

From my understanding, for whatever reason, anyone can perform a baptism in an emergency. Consider the following scenario:

Imagine that Will Smith’s character is about to sacrifice his life to save you, as seen in this scene. Then would you like ask him if he believes in Jesus and wants to become a Christian? I mean in some sort of emergency situation like as seen in this post apocalyptic scenario, how would one go about performing an emergency baptism?


You take some water and dribble it on the forehead and say

I baptise you in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

Then if the child or adult survives…a more fomal rite can be given, but the soul has been given the Baptismal grace at the emergency rite. This is done or was done in maternity wards where the infant was near death . I do not know if this still is the case.

Isn’t it more proper to say: I baptise you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit? I think the words have to be exactly right for a valid baptism

I don’t think it matters. Holy “Ghost” and holy “spirit” are pretty much interchangable. Just translate it as best you can into your language. Obviously you couldn’t say “I baptize you in the name of the father, and of the son, and of the Cheese Pizza.”

Anyways, so you say the words, and THEN administer the water? Could you say, splash someones face into the ocean instead for a more dramatic effect?

I think the water must be poured while saying the words. Also, the water must be poured by the person saying the words.

the minimum to baptize validly…

say the words:

I baptize you in the Name of the Father
and of the Son
and of the Holy Spirit

don’t forget to have the intention of cleansing his/her sins and bringing him/her into the Church, which is the proper intent of Baptism

Is it a sin to baptise someone who doesn’t really have any way to get into RCIA due to parental restrictions and whatnot. Basically i am drawing comparisions to the centurion that Jesus healed. Let’s say i have a friend whos like 17 but has sort of uncooperative parents but is a righteous god fearing person. could I baptise him?

NO. Let the circumstances play themselves out. Otherwise, you are like the well-meaning little boy who helped the butterfly out of his chrysalis, to only find out later that the struggle of the chrysalis is what gives the butterfly his strength - the butterfly died.

God is allowing your friend these struggles in order to give him the strength he will need, to face a future trial. If you don’t allow him to undergo the struggle and endure patiently, he will fail at that future task.

We must never baptize anyone outside of the proper authority of the Church, except if there is a realistic and immediate danger of death.

The word “Amen” is not found in any of the formulae for Baptism used by the Church.

For Children and for adults # 97;Baptism For Children, # 384 Christian Initiation of Adults ; The Roman Ritual Revised, Volume 1 - THE RITES I (NCCB and confirmed by the Apostolic See) The formula is as Choy described 3 post previously.

The only thing that comes close to this, is the recommendation formulary for children #97] where immersion is substituted for the pouring, in other words the infant is immersed in the baptismal bath three times in place of the pouring of the water three times. There seems to be no correlation to this for adults.

What is amazing, is that, under the right conditions, and in a case of extreme urgency, even a heretic , with the proper intentions, could confer the sacrament of Baptism in the case of extreme necessity and if there were no other way.

I think that illustrates just how dearly God would love us all to receive this sacrament.

It is only necessary to have the intention to do whatever the Church intends; the baptizer need not even be aware of what that is. Thus Jewish doctors and nurses have on occasion baptized dying babies in the hospital. The prescribed ritual and instructions used to be on the wall of all hospital nurseries, my nurse friends tell me.

yes. that is what is in the Catechism, which is derived from Canon Law and other related Church documents

there’s three things needed for a valid Baptism

  1. valid matter - clean water. you can’t just pour any liquid
  2. valid form - the words, the Trinitarian Formula, “I baptize you in the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”
  3. valid intention - that is to have the same intention as the Church when she baptizes.

the ordinary ministers are the bishop, priest and deacon. anyone else can baptize, regardless of faith. even an atheist or heretic. but anyone who is not an ordinary minister is asked to NOT to perform baptisms outside of extraordinary circumstances

so yes, if the person (or in the case of small children and infants, their parents) wishes to receive the graces of Baptism and be part of the Church of Jesus Christ, and the baptizers acknowledges this and knows that by his actions would deliver this to the person receiving the baptism, regardless if he believes it or not, the intention is valid

Even ordinary ministers of Baptism are restricted in certain senses :

**Can. 862 **

“Except in a case of necessity, no one is permitted to confer baptism in the territory of another without the required permission, not even upon his own subjects.”

There are good reasons for this.

All Catholic Baptisms need to be registered…(even emergency Baptisms performed in a hospital should be registered in the territorial parish where the sacrament was administerd) Order is essential here and, for practical purposes,maintaining sacramental records would be all but impossible to maintain if everyone were going around baptizing … even ordinary ministers outside their territorial jurisdiction.

Canons 875-878 ( CHAPTER V.THE PROOF AND REGISTRATION OF THE CONFERRAL OF BAPTISM ) prescribe just how meticulously these records are supposed to be kept

Most parish sacramental records are kept in a vault or fire-proof filing cabinet at least.

Some potential problems when sacramental records are not available:

Funerals, marriages, etc.

Consider someone who is following the call to become a priest. He must produce his Baptismal and Confirmational records before proceeding. Imagine that the records were not available; then they would need to proceed with a conditional Baptism of that candidate , so as to avoid anabaptism…complications arise.

A lot of good reasons why our Holy Catholic Church does things a certain way …:thumbsup:

I know a priest who is a White Father (Missionaire d’Afrique). He told me that rare cases do exist where individuals have been baptized because they were in danger of death, but have recovered later. They (Church) consequently kept records of these baptisms and made efforts to keep track of these individuals for the rest of their lives.

( BTW @ SnakeMauler : The salt water itself, from the ocean ,is considered to be valid remote matter (natural water) for use in Baptism … can’t comment on the rest though.


I know a priest who said that he suspects that about half of the children he ‘baptizes’ have already been baptized by their grandmothers over the kitchen sink! I think it’s just a hangover of old Scots/Irish traditions, as well as the tendency for grandparents to worry and be overprotective.

For it to be valid, it must be water, it must be in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and the one baptizing must intend to do what the Church does (bring the biptized into the Church). At least that is the way I understand it. The exact wording is not important, as liturgical form in reformable, but the primary signs must remain intact.

so your question really has nothing to do with the hypothetical situation posed in OP

it is illicit for your to baptize your friend unless he is in immediate danger of death. The Church knows best, her wisdom goes back 2000 years and comes directly from Christ. Your friend simply has to wait a few months until he is no longer a minor, take instructions and prepare for reception into the Church in the manner the Church prescribes. What you can do for your friend in the meantime is find him good books and websites to read, answer his questions, invite him to Mass with you, invite him to your youth group events, and most of all, provide a model for how a devout, committed Christian lives.

And pray for him, of course.

Going back to the Ecumenical Councils, it should be
I baptize you in the name of the Father,
And of the Son,
And of the Holy Spirit.

Pouring is a permitted replacement (and now pretty much the norm for babies) for full immersion.

Then within the next day they’re open, go register the baptism with the nearest parish. The rest of the formal elements (the anointing with oil, etc) can be done later by the priest or deacon should the child survive that long.

Even a miscarried Fetus should be baptized, per canon law, when possible.

of course

since you’re delving more into Canon Law, the Church also forbids baptisms at home and in hospitals, except of course in the case of emergencies. so you cannot baptize a healthy baby in the hospital just because you want to, even if you’re a priest. same case in a home.

Can. 860 §1. Apart from a case of necessity, baptism is not to be conferred in private houses, unless the local ordinary has permitted it for a grave cause.

§2. Except in a case of necessity or for some other compelling pastoral reason, baptism is not to be celebrated in hospitals unless the diocesan bishop has established otherwise.

Here is** how to perform an emergency baptism in the case of a miscarriage.**

Thank you - this should be in the pamphlet rack in every Church bathroom. :slight_smile:

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