***My dear Catholic brothers and sisters in Christ…
In the Western Church, up to the 12th century, or better said, to the end of the 13th century, baptism through immersion was practiced. But then they began to baptize not only by pouring, but also by sprinkling.
As far as i know,in the Ambrosian rite,the method of immersion is used but i think it would be really nice if the rest of the Catholic church use the ancient form…like how we Eastern&Oriental Orthodox do it…
Most Catholic baptismal fonts are large enough for a baby to be immersed completely…
As a conservative traditionalist,would you like Pope Benedict XVI to bring back the triple immersion baptism as the norm?
you don’t even immerse them when you give them a bath, why would you do so for baptism? i can see many parents putting off baptism for this reason. its fine the way it is today and see no problem with it. immersing babies only put them in danger. also, the water must be a certain temperature, would parishes have the facilities to have the water at a certain temperature?
For no other reason than personal preference, I would not particularly like Pope Benedict to make baptism by immersion the norm. I think I see baptism by pouring as being more representative of innocence - like that of a young child being held over the font by his parents, as they present him to the Lord in baptism. That said, the baptism of a person by whichever method is beautiful - the present tradition of baptism by pouring may well change, as other traditions have changed over the centuries, and if the Holy Father were to judge that making baptism by immersion the norm would benefit the faithful spiritually, then I would not have a problem with it. I think I would share Choy’s opinion regarding the baptism of infants.
The following is an excerpt from the Catechism regarding baptism, and while baptism by immersion is certainly a method held in high esteem, it notes that baptism by pouring has also been used since ancient times:
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.
1240 In the Latin Church this triple infusion is accompanied by the minister’s words: “N., I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” In the Eastern liturgies the catechumen turns toward the East and the priest says: “The servant of God, N., is baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” At the invocation of each person of the Most Holy Trinity, the priest immerses the candidate in the water and raises him up again.
It was a revelation to me when I read the Rite of Baptism for Children the first time to see that it presumes a baptism by immersion and a child who needs to be dressed in the white garment with which he is presented. Of course it also says that pouring is a valid method.
We baptize babies by immersion all the time, there is no danger! You can do it easily without submerging the child’s face. We use a basket with a plastic liner and the water is warm. Modern fonts have heaters to allow for the warming of the water. We are looking at that as we modernize our church building.
Baptism by immersion was the initial preferred method of baptism, so having such a font is a great idea. Our Church does not have one. However, if we do start plans for one, I would like to point out that the truly preferred method of baptism was baptism in running water, as oppose do standing water. It would also be beneficial to have the water heated for the benefit of children and the elderly. Therefore, it will be my recommendation we buy a Jacuzzi.
*** This is seen in the 7th canon of the 2nd Ecumenical Council, which speaks of immersion; in the second homily concerning the performance of mysteries by St. Cyril of Jerusalem, it clearly states: “You have confessed the salvific confession, and having immersed yourselves thrice in water, came forth out of it,”* and in the words of St. Basil the Great: “Through three immersions and the same number of invocations is the great mystery of Baptism performed.”
The immersion into water, and specifically a triple immersion, and also a triple coming out of the water was not instituted arbitrarily or accidentally, but as the image of the Resurrection of Christ on the third day. “The water,” says blessed Basil, “has the symbolic meaning of death, and accepts the body as into a coffin.” How then, do we liken ourselves to the One Who descended into hell, imitating His burial through baptism?’’
The bodies of those who are baptized in water are buried, in a certain sense.
St. Cyril, in his commentary on the above words, says: "Thus, with the help of these signs you have represented the three-day burial of Christ because, as our Saviour was in the heart of the earth three days and three nights, so in the first coming up from the water you symbolized the first day of His sojourn under the earth, and through your immersion, you symbolized the night. For, as one who walks in the night sees nothing, and he who walks during the day does so in light, so you, having immersed yourself in water saw nothing, as if you saw nothing in the night, and having come forth from the water, you see everything as in daylight. You were both dead and then born. So the salvific water was for you both a coffin and a mother.’’ **
That’s very interesting. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a font suitable for immersion in an Irish church - even in the newest ones. I don’t know why baptism by immersion is almost unheard of here - perhaps it goes back to early Christian times when St Patrick and his successors would have been baptising hundreds of people per day & baptism by pouring was perhaps the easiest and quickest method…it’s certainly not due to a shortage of water - it’s just rain, rain, rain here at the moment
If you want to see an immersion font there is one featured in a youtube video that is quite popular now, the one about the ‘wedding finale’ where the photographer backs down the aisle photographing the couple and falls into the font. If you look closely you’ll see at the top a space for immersion of infants.
***Perhaps someone will say that it is dangerous to immerse infants in water? Then the example of the countless infants around the whole world, which the Eastern Church baptizes every day, or better said, every hour, by triple immersion with no danger to their lives, should suffice.
Finally, if someone would say that cold water in the winter time could be dangerous for an infant’s health,(Russia is Orthodox and it’s terribly cold and snowy:) ) he/she must know that there is no law which states that the water used in baptism must be cold or near freezing. It is possible to use water at room temperature, which is not as cold as that which is found outside.***
Interesting viewing alright…as one commentator said, “two for the price of one, a wedding and a baptism” !! It’s an interesting setup though - as I say, something quite alien to us here on the other side of the pond.
*** As the Catholic Encyclopedia* points out, non-immersion Baptism was (and still is, in Orthodoxy) always considered permissible in unusual circumstances – unavailability of sufficient water, illness or decrepitude, disability, maybe even a perceived need for secrecy in situations of persecution.
But baptism by pouring became the usual method in the West just on the eve of the Protestant Reformation.
You are from Ireland,right?
Up to the 12th century, triune immersion was still the only baptismal rite in Hibernia, although children were now substituted for adults.
At the Council of Cashel held in Ireland in the year 1172, triune immersion was still the correct mode of baptism:
‘‘This synod is worthy of note as representing the voice of all the archbishops and bishops in Ireland. It was attended also, by direction of Henry II of England, by two of his own clergy. The design of the synod was to procure conformity, ecclesiastical as well as secular, between England and Ireland.
It decreed, Can. 1, “That children shall be brought to the church, and shall there be baptized in pure water by trine immersion, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. And let this be done by the priests, unless in imminent danger of death it behoove that it be administered by another person and in any other place, and then let it be performed by any one, without distinction of sex or rank.” (Chrystal, History of the Modes of Christian Baptism, pp. 178-179).’’
doesn’t immersion call for, well, immersion? as in total immersion? i remember the Chaldean priest i talked to about baptism was telling me about the Chaldean Rite for baptism, and they have something like a bathtub to immerse the child. but also they wait 'til the child is a little older (a few months to a year?) to be able to immerse the child in water
i remember in my former parish there was a big font in front, it has a pool of some sorts, similar to small fountains. anyway, when they baptized catechumens there one Easter Vigil, it wasn’t deep enough for immersion, but they were kneeling in the water and Father got a big pitcher and scooped up a lot of water. after being poured on 3 times, you wouldn’t be able to tell if there were immersed or poured on