Would my baptism be recognized?


#1

I just signed up to ask this question... I wasn't sure where to post it, I hope it is okay to ask here.

I have never been a regular church-goer, but I feel that a big part of that is not being raised in an immediate family of church-goers and now, a bit later in life, not feeling like I am part of a church. I am considering going through the RCIA as I would like to be more involved with the Catholic church, but I know there is the issue of whether or not I have been baptized.

My great grandmother was a devout Catholic, and my grandmother is as well. My mother was raised Catholic and received her First Communion, but she stopped going to church sometime in her teens. The story my grandmother told me is that my great grandmother knew that my mother did not go to church and she could not stand to think that her great granddaughter would not be baptized. So she drew a bath, prayed and asked God to bless the water, and baptized me herself while she and my grandmother prayed.

Obviously I have no record of this or even a memory, other than the story I was told. Is that sufficient grounds to be able to say "Yes, I am baptized"? If so, can I say that I was baptized Catholic? Will I be required to provide some kind of "proof"?

I've googled for answers but I can't find any decisive and clear answer.


#2

Its hard to know, without having more information about the circumstances or any record of it, but it is likely if your grandparents were than devout then your baptism was valid.

AS for it being recognised, I would tell this story to the Priest if you enter RCIA, however it is likely that, without records, you would be 'conditionally baptised', just to be sure. Baptism can only happen once, so it goes something like, if you were not baptised I baptise you in the Name of the Father.....


#3

Is it your intention to engage/re-engage with Church activity and obligation? If so, in the absence of records of your baptism you should seek a 'conditional' baptism - that is a baptismal ceremony that acts as a surety just in case you are not already baptised, or there was some sort of other irregularity.

This also allows the Church to present you with a certificate that you can proffer when and if further required.


#4

[quote="Cakemaker, post:1, topic:326947"]
I just signed up to ask this question... I wasn't sure where to post it, I hope it is okay to ask here.

I have never been a regular church-goer, but I feel that a big part of that is not being raised in an immediate family of church-goers and now, a bit later in life, not feeling like I am part of a church. I am considering going through the RCIA as I would like to be more involved with the Catholic church, but I know there is the issue of whether or not I have been baptized.

My great grandmother was a devout Catholic, and my grandmother is as well. My mother was raised Catholic and received her First Communion, but she stopped going to church sometime in her teens. The story my grandmother told me is that my great grandmother knew that my mother did not go to church and she could not stand to think that her great granddaughter would not be baptized. So she drew a bath, prayed and asked God to bless the water, and baptized me herself while she and my grandmother prayed.

Obviously I have no record of this or even a memory, other than the story I was told. Is that sufficient grounds to be able to say "Yes, I am baptized"? If so, can I say that I was baptized Catholic? Will I be required to provide some kind of "proof"?

I've googled for answers but I can't find any decisive and clear answer.

[/quote]

Just explain this to your priest and he will decide if he should Baptize you "on Condition" that it might not have been done correctly. I baptized a tiny baby many years ago that I thought was in danger of death, and they accepted that after I explained how I did it. His sister had dropped him on the stairs and he was unconscious and shaking. We were afraid he was dying. Thank God he survived but did have a fractured skull. God Bless and Prayers for you. Memaw


#5

God has more mercy and undertanding we can imagine. So, your baptism may very well be valid. The problem is that you have no certificate to show. So, as the others all ready did tell you, talk to your priest. And don't forget that those who want to convert are all ready in the heart of The Church who pray for them. (Lumen Gentium.)


#6

Yes it was a valid baptism.

If your grandparents did not report it to the parish (which they should have) then there will be no record. But, if your grandmother is stil alive she can sign an affidavit of baptism since she witnessed your great grandmother baptize you. This will suffice as evidence of baptism.

In absence of her affidavit, you can fill out your own citing what you were told by your grandmother. Your affidavit may or may not suffice since you were too young to remember the baptism.

After evidence is gathered, your pastor will decide whether or not a conditional baptism is necessary.


#7

[quote="1ke, post:6, topic:326947"]
Yes it was a valid baptism.

[/quote]

I was wondering how you can determine this from the original post, I am still learning but I just read that for a sacrament to be valid you need valid matter, form, intention, and mind. So my question is...would not this baptism only be valid if the grandmother baptized her in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (valid form)?

Of course if the grandmother is still living that can be easily conformed as well. Also, your RCIA leader may not know that a letter from a whiteness to your baptism will suffice. I had one who was determined to have me baptized even though I had a letter from my mother and from myself, (I was 11, and scared to death that the minister would drown me, so I remember the day quite well). Eventually we talked to the priest who got it all straitened out! Still not confirmed though so I may have to jump through hoops again at my new parish.


#8

=Cakemaker;10765237]I just signed up to ask this question... I wasn't sure where to post it, I hope it is okay to ask here.

I have never been a regular church-goer, but I feel that a big part of that is not being raised in an immediate family of church-goers and now, a bit later in life, not feeling like I am part of a church. I am considering going through the RCIA as I would like to be more involved with the Catholic church, but I know there is the issue of whether or not I have been baptized.

My great grandmother was a devout Catholic, and my grandmother is as well. My mother was raised Catholic and received her First Communion, but she stopped going to church sometime in her teens. The story my grandmother told me is that my great grandmother knew that my mother did not go to church and she could not stand to think that her great granddaughter would not be baptized. So she drew a bath, prayed and asked God to bless the water, and baptized me herself while she and my grandmother prayed.

Obviously I have no record of this or even a memory, other than the story I was told. Is that sufficient grounds to be able to say "Yes, I am baptized"? If so, can I say that I was baptized Catholic? Will I be required to provide some kind of "proof"?

I've googled for answers but I can't find any decisive and clear answer.

NO :)

The conditions you relate were not a life and death emergecy; which would be the ONLY time such a baptism could conditionally be accomplished.

That however is a NONE issue. One need not be baptized prior to RCIA and can be Baptized as a part of the iniation into the Catholic Church.:) This is NOT an unusual situtation.

So just see a priest and get things rolling:thumbsup:

God Bless you, Pat /PJM on CAF


#9

[quote="PJM, post:8, topic:326947"]
The conditions you relate were not a life and death emergecy; which would be the ONLY time such a baptism could conditionally be accomplished.

[/quote]

That would make it illicit, not invalid.

As others have already told the OP, she needs to contact her priest. If the baptism can be verified by the mother or grandmother everything may be fine. If the baptism can't be verified, the priest may perform a conditional baptism.


#10

[quote="PJM, post:8, topic:326947"]
NO :)

The conditions you relate were not a life and death emergecy; which would be the ONLY time such a baptism could conditionally be accomplished.

[/quote]

This is not correct. It would be illicit but valid, of course presuming it were done properly (which we have no reason to doubt given that the grandmother is Catholic).


#11

[quote="Honour, post:7, topic:326947"]
I was wondering how you can determine this from the original post, I am still learning but I just read that for a sacrament to be valid you need valid matter, form, intention, and mind. So my question is...would not this baptism only be valid if the grandmother baptized her in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (valid form)?

[/quote]

Because a devout Catholic grandmother fearing for the soul of her grandchild knows quite well how to validly baptize, and would take care to do so, and anyone who grew up on the Baltimore Catechism was taught how to baptize in an emergency.

I do not doubt that it was carried out properly, if illicitly.

Of course, the affidavit of baptism would be needed regarding the form used and in absence of this a conditional baptism should be done (which I already indicated in my first post).


#12

Would such a baptism actually make someone Catholic? And make them subject to canon law?


#13

Thank you all so much for your answers. When I first began to question whether or not I had a valid baptism, I wasn’t even aware that people could do that legitimately. I just enjoyed the story my grandmother told me, it made me think my great-grandmother was sassy and a force to be reckoned with (I was never old enough to get to know her before she passed). As if she had said “If her mother won’t do it, I’ll do it myself!” I told that story to a friend and she kind of scoffed, like “how dare she be so presumptuous as to think she had that authority”. It makes me happy to hear that she did, indeed, baptize me. And as a few of you have mentioned, if this is something that is well-known and taught, I have no doubt she did it correctly (“In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit”).

But I do still have the question of whether or not I would be considered “baptized Catholic”.


#14

You were probably validly baptized. All Baptisms done according to form and matter are valid, whether Catholic or not. As to whether you are baptized as a Catholic, you probably are, but this is something for you to ask your pastor. And since there is no evidence, including witnesses, he will most likely need to conditionally baptize you -- he might be willing to do that rather quickly.

It's no big obstacle -- not anything to be anxious about. Enjoy your journey! You will be preparing for the sacraments of Reconciliation, Confirmation and Eucharist (Holy Communion). But of course you will also receive instruction on Baptism and the other sacraments, on the faith and morals, and on prayer. The most important thing to keep in mind is that is all about your ongoing conversion in Jesus.


#15

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