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Frequently Asked Questions
regarding
THE PROPER WORDS
FOR A VALID BAPTISM.


Q. 1. I once attended a Baptism in a non-Catholic Church where the minister used the words “in the name of the Creator, and the Redeemer, and the Holy Spirit.” I found this to be quite different from the Catholic Church where in the past, I only heard the word, "I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." Is there any specific regulations in the Catholic Church as to what words must be used in order for the Sacrament of Baptism to be valid?

A. 1. The Code of Canon Law states:

C.C.C. # 1239 "The essential rite of the sacrament follows: Baptism properly speaking. It signifies and actually brings about death to sin and entry into the life of the Most Holy Trinity through configuration to the Paschal mystery of Christ. 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."

C.C.C. # 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."

These are the exact words used by Jesus when He instructed His followers to administer the Sacrament of Baptism. [Matthew 28:19]

To be very clear on the matter, any baptism performed without the specific mention of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is not valid.

On February 1, 2008, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith stated simply that baptisms performed “in the name of the Creator, and of the Redeemer, and of the Sanctifier,” or “in the name of the Creator, and of the Liberator, and of the Sustainer” are not valid.

No priest or laypersons has the authority to change the words used in the Sacrament of Baptism. To do so render the Sacrament invalid, requiring that the person be rebaptised to ensure its validity.



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