Rorate Caeli
CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH
RESPONSES TO QUESTIONS PROPOSED
on the validity of Baptism conferred with the formulas
«I baptize you in the name of the Creator,

and of the Redeemer, and of the Sanctifier»

and «I baptize you in the name of the Creator,

and of the Liberator, and of the Sustainer»

QUESTIONS

First question: Whether the Baptism conferred with the formulas «I baptize you in the name of the Creator, and of the Redeemer, and of the Sanctifier» and «I baptize you in the name of the Creator, and of the Liberator, and of the Sustainer» is valid?

Second question: Whether the persons baptized with those formulas have to be baptized in forma absoluta?

RESPONSES

To the first question: Negative.

To the second question: Affirmative.

The Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI, at the Audience granted to the undersigned Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, approved these Responses, adopted in the Ordinary Session of the Congregation, and ordered their publication.

Rome, from the Offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, February 1, 2008.
William Cardinal Levada
Prefect

+ Angelo Amato, S.D.B.
Titular Archbishop of Sila

_________________________
RORATE Notes:
First response: Negative, i.e. such "baptisms" are not valid.
Second response: Affirmative, i.e. those who have been thus "baptized" are to be regularly baptized, and not under condition - cf. CIC, can. 869-, because there is no doubt that their previous "baptism" was invalid.

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

Viva o Papa!

Matthew said...

The tragedy is that this question had to be asked in the first place. Where were all the bishops when they received complaints about such practices? It's been going on for a very long time. Where were they???
How about baptizing with rose petals instead of water? Yes, that's also done by touchy-feely libs.

Anonymous said...

For some reason I can't read all the words on your site.

A.B.

Braadwijk said...

I actually had a theology teacher in high school who told us we could even baptize with sand, or using anything that flowed. What a crock.

Anonymous said...

Please forgive my ignorance, but who used to use such formulas? when I read the article I assumed these were from some protestant groups, and that the question was geared for converts from such groups to Catholicism. Please don't tell me that these were being used in Catholic baptisms!

New Catholic said...

Yes, such formulas have been more common in Protestant congregations, but they have also been used by some Catholics. Though the explanatory Note has not been published in its entirety, VIS made these excerpts available:

--
An attached note explains that the responses "concern the validity of Baptism conferred with two English-language formulae within the ambit of the Catholic Church. ... Clearly, the question does not concern English but the formula itself, which could also be expressed in another language".

"Baptism conferred in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit", the note continues, "obeys Jesus' command as it appears at the end of the Gospel of St. Matthew. ... The baptismal formula must be an adequate expression of Trinitarian faith, approximate formulae are unacceptable.

"Variations to the baptismal formula - using non-biblical designations of the Divine Persons - as considered in this reply, arise from so-called feminist theology", being an attempt "to avoid using the words Father and Son which are held to be chauvinistic, substituting them with other names. Such variants, however, undermine faith in the Trinity".

"The response of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith constitutes an authentic doctrinal declaration, which has wide-ranging canonical and pastoral effects. Indeed, the reply implicitly affirms that people who have been baptised, or who will in the future be baptised, with the formulae in question have, in reality, not been baptised. Hence, they must them be treated for all canonical and pastoral purposes with the same juridical criteria as people whom the Code of Canon Law places in the general category of 'non- baptised'".

Symeon said...

It doesn't have to be done by catholics to be relevant - Converts from protestantism were usually baptised properly, but some were "baptised" in this way, and would have to get a real baptism in order to start receiving the sacraments.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 1: you might be looking at the RSS feed, which only shows the first line of a post. New Catholic, maybe you could change it so the RSS feed shows the whole article?

Ambrosius said...

the text for the site has suddenly been all changed to white!

Accipiter said...

That's what I like: questions with clear-cut answers. Thank you Pope Benedict XVI!

schoolman said...

"That's what I like: questions with clear-cut answers."
============

I was thinking the same. The recent instructions from the CDF have been clear and concise.

Anonymous said...

Think of all the sacrileges of those unbaptized people receiving the other sacraments, including the Eucharist! When in the Church's history did the faithful have to go over the heads of their papally-approved bishops in 'full' communion with the Pope to assure themselves of the validity of their baptisms? No, no state of emergency here!

"unsquared circle"

New Catholic said...

"the text for the site has suddenly been all changed to white!"

At least one other reader (a Firefox 2.0.0.12 user) has complained, though we have not been able to see any problem in our own Firefox or IE views - which makes it pretty hard for us to fix. If someone else is having this problem and knows how to help us, please contact me at newcatholic AT gmail DOT com .

Anonymous said...

THE PROBLEM OF NOT BEING ABLE TO READ COMMENTS IS CAUSED BY THE FIREFOX BROWSER.
USE ANOTHER BROWSER TO VIEW RORATE-COELI COMMENTS.

Anonymous said...

Another invalidating abuse is when the matter is incorrectly applied, when water doesn't flow on the head. Another one would be when one minister pours while another says the form. There should be a thorough investigation of abuses in the administration of baptism.

Anonymous said...

Forgive my ignorance, but isn't true that everyone can baptize in extremis?
So, in that case what should be the correct formula?

Anonymous said...

It's not only a Firefox problem. I have had this problem in Opera for well over a year.
The text is there, it just has the same colour as the background. I just press Strg+A to mark all text and make it visible.

Anonymous said...

Re Protestants converting to Catholic: I have ALWAYS Baptized them, sometimes conditionally and sometimes absolutely. Baptism is too important. We were told to "accept" the protestant "baptism" of of concerts. Well, I never did and I never will.
For the last 45 years the feminist and gay ideologies have invaded not only the hierarchy of the Church, but the expression of its Doctrines.
Bishops, where have you been? Stop playing with the prots and Jews, and come to your senses. Tend to the CATHOLICS for which you were made Shepherds.

Anonymous said...

How many millions were "baptized" in this heretic manner?

W said...

Re Protestants converting to Catholic: I have ALWAYS Baptized them, sometimes conditionally and sometimes absolutely. Baptism is too important. We were told to "accept" the protestant "baptism" of of concerts. Well, I never did and I never will.

When I converted, I insisted upon conditional baptism. I was "baptized" by immersion as a teenager. The "baptism" was done in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost, but I can't be assured that the "intent to do as the church does" was present in the presiding "minister" because he didn't believe in the baptismal remission of sin or that baptism is necessary to salvation.

In my opinion, all Protestants should be baptized upon conversion. You never really know otherwise if you are baptized at all...

José María Delfino Carpené said...

No se inglés. Por favor, he buscado en la pag. del vaticano la copia de la Congregación y todavía no está.
Podría Ud. decirme en castellano las preguntas y las respuestas.
jmfelfino80@hotmail.com

New Catholic said...

Estimado Señor,

La traducción en lengua española está disponible aquí.

Gracias.

Anonymous said...

I was told when I entered the Church in 1986 that my Baptist baptism was valid, and therefore I was not even conditionally baptized. But, I reflected for years on this, and I came to the conlusion in January 2006 that Baptist baptisms are NOT valid, since they do not regard baptism as anything more than a symbol or a "witness" to one's faith. And so I sought out a sympathetic priest who baptized me conditionally - it was such a relief, and my wife was there to welcome me into the Church, just as I had been there to welcome her at her Baptism. God does work in mysterious ways, but I just wish I had been Baptized when I converted... We must pray for all the souls who have been deceived by those who would distort the Faith and the Sacraments. Satan attacks the Sacraments because he knows therein lies the source of Grace.

poeta said...

Anonymous at 22:14:

The valid formula for Baptism is "I baptize thee in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost." The person baptizing must speak it while pouring water (or otherwise causing it to flow) across the head of the person being baptized.

poeta said...

I should add that "you" and "Spirit" can be used in place of "thee" and "Ghost."

Anonymous said...

This mess is a definitive proof that the bishops cannot be trusted. They are responsible for this mess. I am waiting now for a contradiction by one of our illustrious bishops that all protestant baptism are valid and that the Vatican does not mean what it said. Wait and see.
Things like this happen because of what goes on in Catholic seminaries. Feminist nuns and deviant priests ought not to be teaching Catholic seminarians. Our bishops are responsible for promoting heresy and deviance because many, if not most of them, are themselves heretics and deviants.

Jordan Potter said...

Anonymous 12:35 said: But, I reflected for years on this, and I came to the conclusion in January 2006 that Baptist baptisms are NOT valid, since they do not regard baptism as anything more than a symbol or a "witness" to one's faith. And so I sought out a sympathetic priest who baptized me conditionally - it was such a relief, and my wife was there to welcome me into the Church, just as I had been there to welcome her at her Baptism. God does work in mysterious ways, but I just wish I had been Baptized when I converted...

You came to the wrong conclusion. There was no need for you to be conditionally re-baptised. The Catholic Church maintains that in emergencies even a non-Christian can validly baptise. Now, it is very unlikely that a non-Christian could have a correct understanding and belief regarding the effects of the sacrament of baptism, and yet the Church still maintains that non-Christians can validly baptise. If a non-Christian who lacks proper faith in the Church's doctrine of baptism can baptise in an emergency, how could a Baptist believer in the Trinity not be able to validly baptise? Unless and until the Church rules that Baptist Trinitarian baptisms are invalid, there is no reason to conclude that Baptist baptisms are invalid. (Canon 869 provides that conditional baptism should be administered to a non-Catholic Christian only if doubt remains "after serious investigation" -- a privately coming to the conclusion that one's baptism could not be valid is NOT a "serious investigation," which must involve the Church and her ordained ministers who have been given the grace to conduct such investigations and make a determination of validity.)

For a valid baptism, you need valid matter, valid form, and proper intent. You do not need a proper understanding of Catholic sacramental theology -- what you need is to intend to baptise, and for anything beyond that, "ecclesia supplet." Otherwise the Church would have been in grievous error for the past 2,000 years that She has accepted the validity of baptisms performed by heretics. Pope St. Stephen of Rome and St. Cyprian of Carthage clashed on this point back in the third century A.D. -- St. Cyprian was wrong, the Pope was right.

Anonymous said...

If anyone can baptize validly in an emergency, does that mean if it isn't an emergency it isn't valid? Or is that just illicit, in which case virtually all protestant baptisms are illicit? Then should illicit baptisms be repeated by a priest, or, if not, doesn't that deprive the soul of those actual graces that result from a valid and licit reception of the sacrament, just as a nuptial mass imparts actual graces upon the soul that would not be received by a protestant (equal to civil) marriage ceremony?

The point being I always thought it beneficial to go through the church's sacraments upon conversion just on the basis of actual graces alone.
Joe B

Jordan Potter said...

If anyone can baptize validly in an emergency, does that mean if it isn't an emergency it isn't valid? Or is that just illicit, in which case virtually all protestant baptisms are illicit?

Yes, if it isn't an emergency, it is valid but illicit. All Protestant baptisms are illicit. If I recall correctly, Pope St. Stephen of Rome (or someone) likened heretical but valid baptisms as the birth of illegitimate children whom the Catholic Church finds abandoned and loves and gladly adopts when the children accept her as their Mother. (I'm probably botching the analogy, but I don't have the time right now to look up the quote.)

Then should illicit baptisms be repeated by a priest, or, if not, doesn't that deprive the soul of those actual graces that result from a valid and licit reception of the sacrament, just as a nuptial mass imparts actual graces upon the soul that would not be received by a protestant (equal to civil) marriage ceremony?

The point being I always thought it beneficial to go through the church's sacraments upon conversion just on the basis of actual graces alone.


The Church says that if someone is validly baptised, even illicitly, then baptism must not be repeated. To insist on baptising a validly baptised person is the heresy of Anabaptism. And if it were beneficial to re-baptise someone who does not need to be baptised, then the Church would not have a law forbidding re-baptism. If someone is already baptised, then a re-baptism is not a baptism at all -- there is no sacrament being celebrated, and so no actual graces to be received from the celebration of a valid and licit sacrament. Those graces would be received through the celebration of Confirmation.

Here is Canon 869:

1. If there is a doubt whether one has been baptised or whether baptism was validly conferred and the doubt remains after serious investigation, baptism is to be conferred conditionally.

2. Those baptised in a non-Catholic eccesial community are not to be baptised conditionally unless, after an examination of the matter and the form of words used in the conferral of baptism and after a consideration of the intention of an adult baptised person and of the minister of the baptism, a serious reason for doubting the validity of the baptism is present.

3. If the conferral or the validity of the baptism in the cases mentioned 1. and 2. remains doubtful, baptism is not to be conferred until the doctrine of the sacrament of baptism is explained to the person, if an adult, and the reasons for the doubtful validity of the baptism have been explained to the adult recipient or, in the case of an infant, to the parents.

Anonymous said...

Jordan Potter said...
"If anyone can baptize validly in an emergency, does that mean if it isn't an emergency it isn't valid? Or is that just illicit, in which case virtually all protestant baptisms are illicit?

Yes, if it isn't an emergency, it is valid but illicit. All Protestant baptisms are illicit. If I recall correctly, Pope St. Stephen of Rome (or someone) likened heretical but valid baptisms as the birth of illegitimate children whom the Catholic Church finds abandoned and loves and gladly adopts when the children accept her as their Mother. (I'm probably botching the analogy, but I don't have the time right now to look up the quote.)

Then should illicit baptisms be repeated by a priest, or, if not, doesn't that deprive the soul of those actual graces that result from a valid and licit reception of the sacrament, just as a nuptial mass imparts actual graces upon the soul that would not be received by a protestant (equal to civil) marriage ceremony?

The point being I always thought it beneficial to go through the church's sacraments upon conversion just on the basis of actual graces alone.

The Church says that if someone is validly baptised, even illicitly, then baptism must not be repeated. To insist on baptising a validly baptised person is the heresy of Anabaptism. And if it were beneficial to re-baptise someone who does not need to be baptised, then the Church would not have a law forbidding re-baptism. If someone is already baptised, then a re-baptism is not a baptism at all -- there is no sacrament being celebrated, and so no actual graces to be received from the celebration of a valid and licit sacrament. Those graces would be received through the celebration of Confirmation.

Here is Canon 869:

1. If there is a doubt whether one has been baptised or whether baptism was validly conferred and the doubt remains after serious investigation, baptism is to be conferred conditionally.

2. Those baptised in a non-Catholic eccesial community are not to be baptised conditionally unless, after an examination of the matter and the form of words used in the conferral of baptism and after a consideration of the intention of an adult baptised person and of the minister of the baptism, a serious reason for doubting the validity of the baptism is present.

3. If the conferral or the validity of the baptism in the cases mentioned 1. and 2. remains doubtful, baptism is not to be conferred until the doctrine of the sacrament of baptism is explained to the person, if an adult, and the reasons for the doubtful validity of the baptism have been explained to the adult recipient or, in the case of an infant, to the parents."

It seems to me that, given the necessity of baptism (now rather debatable) for salvation, there can be little harm in baptizing "sub conditione" persons who have scruples about the validity of their own baptisms. Having been done in the last cohort that received the Old form in Latin, I am glad to have complete peace of mind on that score. I wouldn't want to deny that another.

"unsquared circle"

Anonymous said...

Thanks. Clears that up. Communion supplies any missing actual grace - very interesting. Probably applies to the nuptial mass as well.
Joe B

Jordan Potter said...

Unsquared said: It seems to me that, given the necessity of baptism (now rather debatable) for salvation, there can be little harm in baptizing "sub conditione" persons who have scruples about the validity of their own baptisms.

The proper medicine for scruples is a better formation of the conscience, and the sacrament of confession, not indulgence of the scruples. When it comes to baptism, we ought to avoid even the suggestion of the heresy of Anabaptism, and therefore grant conditional baptism only when it is called for. Scrupulosity is not an occasion for granting conditional baptism.

Having been done in the last cohort that received the Old form in Latin, I am glad to have complete peace of mind on that score. I wouldn't want to deny that another.

I know the validity of the Mass of the reformed Roman Rite is questioned or denied by certain traditionalists, but this is the first time I've come across a suggestion that the reformed rite of baptism is of questionable or absent validity. If we accept the traditional Catholic doctrine of baptism, then we must conclude that the reformed Roman Rite of baptism is unquestionably valid.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't take a genius to know that the Roman Catholic Church should never have borrowed /copied/immitated anything from the Protestant tradition. This tendency has done nothing but help destroy Roman Catholic Faith and tradition.
Examples:

1) The Novus Ordo both in words and rubrics is 80% copied/inspired from Protestantism, and had 5 Protestant ministers help develope/create the Novus Ordo in 1969.
2). Most music in Roman Catholic Church in the USA is Protestant. Even OCP (Oregon Catholic Press), which supplies us in the parises with those "wonderful" monthly Mass booklets in the pews lists Music 95% from the Protestant Church, or contemporary "Catholic" hymns which draws inspiration from Protestant theology.
3). The "wreckovation" of Church interiors after Vatican II to more reflect/immitate a Protestant theology and Church interior.
4). Communion in the Hand, and from the "Common Cup", since the 16th Century both Protestant traditions originally used to criticize/mock/repudiate Roman Catholic traditions and belief in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.
5). the "Reconcilliation Rooms" which replaced the traditional box-like confessionals in most USA Roman Catholic parishes. The term "Sacrament of Reconcilliation", and the practice of "Reconcilliation Rooms", was borrowed from the Episcopal Church, in branches of it which do celebrate their "Sacrament of Reconcilliation".....not all branches of the Episcopal Church use/acknowledge the rite.
6). Mass "versus populum", instead of the traditional "ad orientam" posture of priests. Discarding the traditional magnificent Catholic altars in favor of Protestant style "altar tables"
7).Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, "altar girls", and MARRIED Perminant Deacons.....all copied from Protestantism.
8). a more "PASTORAL" approach in ruling, guiding, shepherding the Faithful, rather than the traditional Catholic model for priest, bishop, Cardinal, Pope as seen before Vatican II. The emphasis on being "pastoral" rather than disiplinary or governing when necessary has lead to a breakdown of traditional Catholic disipline, traditions, models, values, etc. The "pastoral" model....thinking of the person rather than of their soul, is Protestant tradition and practice.

SO, had the Catholic Church never ventured into the dubious field borrowing from Protestantism, but rather glorified and proudly maintained our own heritage and traditions, then this disiplinary warning from the CDF would never have been necessary.

I feel sorry for the many infants who were baptised according to this ridiculous and totally heretical formula. I am sure some have died not knowing they never were really baptised. But I am sure that God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit nevertheless welcomed them into Heaven, knowing that the fault for an erroneous baptism was not the blame of the child/individual, but the blame of those who performed the ceremony.

Anonymous said...

Jordan Potter is correct; according to traditional Catholic theology the baptism of all protestants and Anglicans is valid (nota bene: Mormons are not protestants) because what is necessary for validity is

1. real water
2. contact of the water with any part of the body (the head is proper but not essential)
3. the correct phrase said in the active or passive voice signifying that the person is baptised in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.
4. The INTENTION TO DO WHAT THE CHURCH DOES.

Note THE INTENTION TO DO WHAT THE CHURCH INTENDS WHEN SHE DOES WHAT SHE DOES is not necessary.

Why?

Because Christ who established the law of Baptism never required this higher grade of assimilation between the minister of baptism and the Church, so as to save more souls.

However, note that certain persons, baptised as Adults in either the Catholic Church or outside of Her communion did not receive the grace of baptism, though they did receive the mark of baptism, because to receive the grace of baptism (justification), you need to have been repentent of all your sins not only in general, but according to species and number.

The the baptised man who was sorry for offending God, but not sorry for the adultery he commited 22 years ago, never was justified in his baptism.

And this is the reason why many baptised in the Protestant sects might experience that they have not the grace of baptism, because they were poorly catechized (who can doubt it); which also happens in many NO parishes today, on account of the ignorance of many poorly trained clergy.

If you are such a person, you can regain the sanctifying grace of baptism by going to confession, in which you should confess that you were not properly disposed in penitence at the moment of baptism, to receive all the graces of the sacrament, and state whether this was out of ignorance or malice on your part.

Br. Alexis Bugnolo
www.franciscan-archive.org

Anonymous said...

"Having been done in the last cohort that received the Old form in Latin, I am glad to have complete peace of mind on that score. I wouldn't want to deny that another.

I know the validity of the Mass of the reformed Roman Rite is questioned or denied by certain traditionalists, but this is the first time I've come across a suggestion that the reformed rite of baptism is of questionable or absent validity. If we accept the traditional Catholic doctrine of baptism, then we must conclude that the reformed Roman Rite of baptism is unquestionably valid."

Sorry. The point was that I was baptized when tinkering with the procedure was unthinkable by a Catholic priest. I don't at all question the validity of the NO baptism, impoverished a rite as it is...assuming of course it is actually used and not, as with everything else in the NO, "improvised" upon.

In any age when people do what they want, even in such serious matters as baptism, I think it better to err on the side of caution. There seems very little threat of a huge upsurge of anabaptism in our day. If no video exists of a questionable baptism, and the person is troubled over it, do it "sub conditione". It is a serious enough matter--I say it again--to err on the side of caution.
"unsquared circle"

Jordan Potter said...

Thank you for your clarifying comments, Unsquared. I didn't understand what you were trying to say. And thank you, Brother Alexis, for your most helpful comments as well.

Anonymous said...

"Where were the bishops when..."

The same place they were when people brought to them legitimate accusations against clergy. They were sticking their heads in the sand, hoping it all would magically go away. But that's not the way it works, now is it?