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Frequently Asked Questions

Q. 1. Does the Catholic Church allow baptism by sprinkling? My grandmother said that was the way she was baptised as a child. Do I correct her, indicating that baptism is done by pouring, not sprinkling?

A. 1.I believe that your grandmother is telling the truth. Back in 1917, the Code of Canon Law did permit baptism by sprinkling as a licit (legal) manner of baptizing. The new Code of Canon Law of 1983 states that now "Baptism is to be conferred either by immersion or by pouring." Some Church experts indicate that sprinkling is still a valid way of administering the Sacrament of Baptim, but it is illicit (illegal) and therefore it should not be used. That means that although sprinkling during the Sacrament of Baptism would be valid, it is not the Catholic Church approved way of doing it.

The pouring of water over a person's head provides assurance that the person has been baptised. When water is sprinkled over a person, it can be questionable if the Sacrament was properly administered. The pouring of water during the Sacrament of Baptism can be done from the hand, with an object such as a shell, or a jug. This excludes sprinkling drops from one's fingers.

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