Why are Protestant Baptisms accepted in RCC?


Why does the Roman Catholic Church find most protestant baptisms valid? I’ve heard some are not considered baptisms. Our neighbor was Presbyterian and he’s converting to Roman Catholicism and joining our church! :slight_smile:
I’ve seen a Presbyterian baptism once. If I recall correctly, the minister splashed water on the baby’s head said it was a “symbol” of how Jesus was baptized. How is that considered a valid baptism in the RCC church?


The Catholic Church recognises any baptism with the trinitarian formula to be valid.


I see, thanks. I had no idea.


It depends on the Protestant baptism in question. As long as it follows the proper form – water sprinkled or poured or the person immersed, and done in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – it is considered valid.

Which is good, because I don’t agree with my pastor’s sacramental theology but I know that my future children will be truly baptized regardless of our disagreement :slight_smile:


You’re welcome! It’s something I first learned on CAF too :smile:


What’s your pastor’s theology?


He’s a Reform Anglican (I’m an Anglo-Catholic), so he takes the more Calvinist view that Baptism just makes you a member of the church. Nothing there about any actual effects on the person’s soul.


Well as a Roman Catholic, I would reject almost everything from Calvin. :slight_smile:
I’m not as familiar with Anglo-Catholicism, are they in communion of the RCC?


No, it’s not really an official designation. It’s a descriptive term for Anglicans who are very similar to Catholics in belief and practice. We, too, would reject almost everything from Calvin. You have to keep in mind that the Anglican Church has gone through phases because its grounding is primarily ecclesiastical, rather than confessional like most Protestant denominations. As a result, there are Anglicans who are quite Calvinist except for his ecclesiology and there are Anglicans who are quite Catholic except for the Papacy.


Its not that they are Protestant, but that they are Trinitarian…Baptism does not make a Catholic or a Protestant, it makes a Christian; a child of God!

Disclaimer – I am expressing my opinion and not looking for validaiton or argument, so I limit my input to a single post per thread. Send me a PM, and I will be happy to continue the discussion without monopolizing this fine venue.


DId he say “I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit?”

If he did, the baptism is valid.


If it included water, and the usually assumed intention to do what the Church does, in that sacramental action.


The OP explicitly mentioned water, and of course the intention, in the case of Presbyterians, can be assumed to be a given.

I’m sure the OP’s question revolves around a similar misconception as in another thread, that an erroneous understanding of the sacrament results in a defective intention. It does not, or at least, not necessarily. You stated it exactly as it is to do at least what the Church does.


This is the one criteria that I never really understood. If one disagrees with what the Catholic Church teaches about baptism (which was the case with myself at the time as well as the Baptist pastor who baptized me), then how can they intend to do what the Catholic Church does?


Yes, it would be, in most instances, unless there was something specific to call the sacramental intent in question. Otherwise, all other aspects of the action being valid, the assumption is that the intent would be facere quod facit ecclesia.

As to missing the water comment, keep in mind that I am old.


Because the intention to do what the Church does is all that suffices. In this case, to do what the Church does is “baptize”. Not “wash away original sin” or “regenerate” or “infuse sanctifying grace.” That’s all great and even preferred, but not necessary. Just “baptize”, with the implicit “as the Christians do.” This is why an atheist, who does not believe the first thing about God, original sin, or baptism, can still validly baptize if his intention is to simply do whatever it is the Catholic Church asks of him.


That clears things up actually, thank you!


Intent being internal in nature, one could never so determine, as one could from the external elements. So the assumption is that any baptism with valid external elements (subject, form, matter, minister (which is a tricky one), is valid as to intent; do to what the Church does in the act. If something permits a contrary judgement (permits a determinatio ex adiunctis), then the act is judged invalid.

Remember that an atheist, with all other factors valid, and with a determination to do what ever the Church does in this action, silly as that might be in the mind of the atheist, validly baptizes.


As said, so it is.


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