John 3:3-5 "Jesus
answered and said to him: Amen, amen, I say to thee, unless a man be born
again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith to him: How can
a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's
womb and be born again? Jesus answered: Amen, amen, I say to thee, unless
a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the
kingdom of God."
Matthew 28:19 "Going therefore, teach ye all nations: baptizing them in the
name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost."
Acts 2:38-39 "But Peter said to them: Do penance: and be baptized every one
of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of your sins. And you
shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is to you and to
your children and to all that are far off, whomsoever the Lord our God shall
First, what are
the effects of Baptism? What does Baptism do? Baptism:
remits all sins
(both original sin and personal sin) and their temporal punishments. If one
were to die immediately after Baptism, he would go straight to Heaven (assuming
one presents no obstacles).
imprints an indelible
mark on the soul of the baptized which marks him as God's, initiates him
into the life of the Church, and allows him to receive the other Sacraments.
It is through Baptism that we are born again -- regenerated -- of water and
Spirit and receive new life.
grace, supernatural gifts, and virtues (according to the disposition of the
soul receiving the Sacrament and providing he puts up no obstacles), making
us true adopted children of God.
There is only one
Baptism, therefore the Sacrament may be received only once (if one is unsure
whether he was validly baptized, he is baptized conditionally. See below).
For those who have reached the age of reason, the Sacrament must also be
received in faith. If one does not have faith in Baptism but receives it
anyway, he is still validly baptized, but the fruits of his Baptism will
be delayed until he does have faith. In the case of infants, it is the faith
of the parents that operates until the child himself reaches the age of
There are a two ways to enter the Church through Baptism:
An emergency, bare-essentials baptism which can be performed anywhere, by
anyone -- Catholic, pagan, Jew, Protestant -- who uses the proper matter
and form and intends to do what the Church does when She baptizes.
Because of that last condition, Baptism by heretics or apostates should always
be followed by a conditional Baptism (see below). Note that Baptism must
only be administered to those who request it; Baptism must never, ever be
against the will of the person to be baptized, or his parents' will if he
is a child. Also, rest assured that those who, with contrite hearts, have
expressed a true desire for Baptism and have vowed to receive the Sacrament,
but die before receiving it are baptized "by desire." In any case, a person
baptized in a private Baptism should participate in the Solemn Rite of Baptism
if and when he is able.
Baptism by a priest, who is the usual minister of Baptism, during the Rite
of Baptism which includes ceremonies such as a formal renunciation of Satan
and all his works, exorcism, the use of water blessed at the Easter Vigil
or Pentecost, the imposition of blessed salt, an annointing with Chrism,
etc. One may be solemnly baptized as an infant; or by preparing oneself through
catechesis and being baptized by a priest outside the Easter Vigil; or, as
is most common, by being baptized at the Easter Vigil by a priest and after
a period of official catechesis.
The bare necessity
for Baptism -- and the procedure used to baptize someone in an emergency
-- is to say the following words while pouring clean water (hot or
cold, fresh or salt -- though cold and fresh is preferred) over the forehead
of the one to be baptized. The water must touch and flow over
the skin of the head:
I baptize thee
in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.
Ego te baptizo in nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti.
may occur in this formula -- e.g., the use of "christen" for "baptize," "you"
instead of "thee," "Holy Spirit" instead of "Holy Ghost," etc. -- but "baptize"
or "christen" must be used in the English language, the Most Holy Trinity
must be invoked using their Biblical titles, water must be used, it must
be at least poured over the forehead such that it touches the skin (immersion,
of course, is fine, too), and the words of Baptism must be said as
the water is being poured or as the person is being immersed. However,
the form written above is the precise method that should be encouraged and
that every Catholic should know and teach their children in case they ever
find themselves in the position of having to administer the Sacrament to
someone in emergency need. Ideally, there should be a triple pouring
or immersion -- once during each invocation of a Divine Person (e.g., "I
baptize thee in the Name of the Father [pour] and of the Son [pour] and of
the Holy [pour] Ghost").
If there is any doubt that Baptism validly took place, that is, according
to the method above, a "conditional Baptism" is later administered. A conditional
Baptism is also the style of private Baptism used when baptizing someone
who is not sure he is baptized. The words of a conditional Baptism are:
If thou art not
baptized, I baptize thee in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of
the Holy Ghost.
Si non es baptizatus (-a), ego te baptizo in nomine Patris, et Filii, et
Baptism should always be followed, if possible, by the formal Solemn Rite
First things first:
Catholic parents should arrange for the Baptism of their newborn as soon
as possible. Do not delay! It should be the first thing on the new parents'
minds (well, maybe just after they count fingers and toes...).
The name you choose for your child should, ideally,
be that of a Saint; at the least, he should not be given a name that conflicts
with the Faith or recalls anything unsavory. The name you, as a Christian
parent, give your child is known as his "Christian name" for a reason (note
that he will receive a new name at Confirmation, too).
When planning for a Baptism, sponsors (called "godparents" in the case of
children) are chosen -- by the parents or by the catechumen himself, if he
is of age -- to stand up for the catechumen during the Rite. The godparents
act as witnesses and perform ritually in the same way that the Jewish
kvatterin ("godmother") and kvatter ("godfather") pass a child
to be circumcised from the former to the latter until the child reaches the
mohel (the rabbi who circumcises).
There should, ideally, be one male and one female for this task, both baptized
Catholics who are in good standing with the Church and who've reached the
age of sixteen. If two sponsors are unavailable, one will suffice. Among
those who may not act as sponsor are: members of religious orders,
spouses in respect to each other, parents in respect to their own children,
infidels, heretics, members of condemned secret societies, and public sinners
(Note: the 1983 Code of Canon Law does not mention that spouses may not sponsor
each other and that members of religious orders may not act as sponsors.
As to Christian heretics, it says that while Protestants may not act as sponsors,
they may act as "witnesses").
The spiritual relationship formed between sponsor and the the one sponsored
is so close that, traditionally speaking, it is considered an impediment
to marriage if a sponsor were to attempt to marry anyone s/he sponsors, or
even a parent of the one sponsored (the 1983 Code of Canon Law doesn't mention
What Sponsors Do
In the case of children, the role of the godparent is to be that of "spiritual
guardian" who takes up any "slack" in the child's catechesis, helps ensure
that his godchild learns the Faith, and prays for the godchild throughout
his life. St. Thomas Aquinas writes in his Summa Theologica III-67-8:
Now it has been
stated...that godparents take upon themselves the duties of a tutor. Consequently
they are bound to watch over their godchildren when there is need for them
to do so: for instance when and where children are brought up among unbelievers.
But if they are brought up among Catholic Christians, the godparents may
well be excused from this responsibility, since it may be presumed that the
children will be carefully instructed by their parents. If, however, they
perceive in any way that the contrary is the case, they would be bound, as
far as they are able, to see to the spiritual welfare of their godchildren.
This is a very
solemn obligation, not one to be entered into lightly. Parents should choose
their child's godparents very carefully and select traditional Catholics
who know the Faith, understand the obligations of godparenting, and are willing
and able to live up to them. Parents and godparents should work together
for the goal of helping the child to know, love, and serve God! During the
Rite of Baptism, the godparents will answer for the child, that is, they
will make the replies to the questions asked by the priest of the one to
Sponsors for adults should express the same type of concern for the newly
baptized soul, helping to ease the person into Church life and answer questions
that may arise. During the Rite of Baptism, the sponsors for adults stand
silent, with a hand on the candidate's shoulder (and sometimes signing the
catechumen with the Cross, in some variations of the Rite); the one to be
baptized answers the priest's questions himself.
it is common for
sponsors to give a gift to the newly baptized on the day of his Baptism,
and also common for the godparents of children to give gifts throughout the
year, on days such as Christmas,
Name Days, and birthdays -- to sort of act as
an aunt or uncle would toward the child on special days such as these. These
gifts need not be anything expensive, of course, but should be religious
often follow Baptism -- especially after the Baptism of babies; they are
usually small "family and close friends affairs" involving the serving of
dessert and coffee. At these parties in Spanish cultures, the godfather will
throw handfuls of coins to the children to scamper to gather up for "good
it is typical for
guests at a Christening to give small gifts or cards to the newly baptized
on the day of his Baptism, just as it is the custom for guests to do so for
those who receive their First Communion,
who are Confirmed, or who receive the Sacraments
of Holy Matrimony or
it is customary
to give the priest a stipend for his time, especially for a "stand-alone"
Baptism, i.e., a Baptism that does not take place during the course of a
regularly scheduled Mass.
The Rite of Baptism Itself
If the one to be baptized enters the Church during the most gorgeous Easter
Vigil, the Rite of Baptism takes place during the Mass itself, after the
the Saints and the
Blessing of the Baptismal Waters. If the one to be baptized is an infant,
the Baptism takes place as soon as possible after birth. Otherwise, Baptism
may take place any time the priest agrees. When adults are baptized, they
usually receive Confirmation and their first
Holy Communion at the same time.
Infants are dressed in beautiful white christening gowns -- gowns which often
become heirlooms and are carefully packed away to be used by future children
(you might see baby boys dressed in tiny little white suits); these special
christening outfits, which can be homemade or purchased at Catholic gift
stores, aren't necessary, of course, but Baby should be dressed in white.
Adult catechumens will wear either their "Sunday best" or, possibly, white
albs, especially if they are received into the Church during the Easter
Baptism can take place as a "stand alone" ceremony, or in the context of
a Mass. The Rite itself is divided into 4 parts with different sub-parts,
each bringing the catechumen further into the church building with each step,
symbolizing initiation into the Church Herself:
Part I: In the
Narthex of the Church:
The Questioning, the Exsufflation, The Sign of the Cross, The Imposition
of Hands, The Imposition of Salt
Part II: Admission
into the Church Building:
Exorcism, The Sign of the Cross, The Imposition of Hands, The Admission into
the Church, The Credo and Pater
Part III: In the
The Solemn Exorcism, The Ephphetha, The Renunciation of Satan, The Annointing
Part IV: At the
The Profession of Faith, Baptism, The Annointing with Chrism, The White Linen
Cloth, The Lighted Candle, The Last Words of Good Will
(Note that if a person is to be baptized during the Easter Vigil, the first
3 parts above might take place some time earlier than the Vigil itself. Then,
during the Vigil, the rite is continued again starting with the Part IV.)
The Rite of Baptism
Outside the Church
The priest (wearing
a violet stole), sponsors, and the catechumen stand in the narthex of the
church, symbolizing that at this point, the candidate is not a member of
N., what do you ask of the Church of God?
N., quid petis ab Ecclesia Dei?
does Faith offer you?
quid tibi præstat?
then you desire to enter into life, keep the commandments. Thou shalt
love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart and with thy whole soul and with
thy whole mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.'
igitur vis ad vitam ingredi, serva mandata. Diligis Dominum Deum tuum ex
toto corde tuo, et ex tota anima tua, et ex tota mente tua, et proximum tuum
The priest then
breathes 3 times on the candidate in the form of a Cross, recalling the Spirit
(breath, wind, "ruach") of God.
forth from him (her), unclean spirit, and give place to the Holy Spirit,
ab eo (ea), immunde spiritus, et da locum Spiritui Sancto Paraclito.
The Sign of
The priest now
makes the Sign of the Cross with his thumb on the candidate's forehead and
the Sign of the Cross both upon your forehead + and also upon your heart
+; take to you the faith of the heavenly precepts; and so order your life
as to be, from henceforth, the temple of God.
signum Crucis tam in fronte, quam in corde, sume fidem cælestium
præceptorum: et talis esto moribus, ut templum Dei iam esse possis.
us pray: Mercifully hear our prayers, we beseech Thee, O Lord; and by Thy
perpetual assistance keep this Thine elect, N, signed with the sign of the
Lord's cross, so that, preserving this first experience of the greatness
of Thy glory, he (she) may deserve, by keeping Thy commandments, to attain
to the glory of regeneration. Through Christ our Lord.
Preces nostras, quaesumus, Domine, clementer exaudi; et hunc electum tuum
(hanc electam tuam), N. crucis Dominicae impressione signatum (-am), perpetua
virtute custodi; ut magnitudinis gloriae tuae rudimenta servans, per custodiam
mandatorum, ad regenerationis gloriam pervenire mereatur (-antur). Per Christum
The priest places
his hands on the candidate's head.
us pray: Almighty, everlasting God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, look
graciously down upon this Thy servant, N., whom Thou hast graciously called
unto the beginnings of the faith; drive out from him (her) all blindness
of heart; break all the toils of Satan wherewith he (she) was held: open
unto him (her), O Lord, the gate of Thy loving kindness, that, being impressed
with the sign of Thy wisdom, he (she) may be free from the foulness of all
wicked desires, and in the sweet odor of Thy precepts may joyfully serve
Thee in Thy Church, and grow in grace from day to day. Through the same Christ
our Lord. Amen.
Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, Pater Domini nostri Iesu Christi, respice dignare
super hunc famulum tuum (hanc famulam tuam), N, quem (quam) ad rudimenta
fidei vocare dignatus es: omnem caecitatem cordi ab eo (ea) expelle: disrumpe
omnes laqueos Satanae, quibus fuerat (-ant) colligatus (-a); aperi ei, Domine
ianuam pietatis tuae imbutus (-a), omnium cupiditatum foetoribus careat (-ant),
et ad suavem odorem praeceptorum tuorum laetus tibi in Ecclesia tua deserviat,
et proficiat de die in diem Per eundem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
the same Christ our Lord.
eundum Christum Dominum nostrum.
Now the priest
puts a little blessed salt in the candidate's mouth.
Salt is the symbol of that wisdom which gives a relish for the sweetness
of divine nourishment; preserves, by the teaching of the Gospel, from the
corruption of sin, and prevents evil passions from growing in men's souls.
Adult catechumens might be signed on the brow, ears, eyes, nostrils, mouth,
breast, and between the shoulders before the imposition of salt. If this
procedure is followed, afterwards the candidate will kneel, recite the Our
Father several times, and a Cross is made on his forehead, first by the sponsor
and then by the priest.
Receive the salt of wisdom; let it be to thee a token of mercy unto everlasting
life. May it make your way easy to eternal life.
accipe sal sapientiæ: propitiatio sit tibi in vitam æternam.
be with you.
And with your spirit.
Et cum spiritu tuo.
us pray: O God of our fathers, O God the Author of all truth, vouchsafe,
we humbly beseech Thee, to look graciously down upon this Thy servant, N.,
and as he (she) tastes this first nutriment of salt, suffer him (her) no
longer to hunger for want of heavenly food, to the end that he (she) may
be always fervent in spirit, rejoicing in hope, always serving Thy name.
Lead him (her), O Lord, we beseech Thee, to the laver of the new regeneration,
that, together with Thy faithful, he may deserve to attain the everlasting
rewards of Thy promises. Through Christ our Lord.
Deus patrum nostrorum, Deus universae conditor veritatis, te supplices exoramus,
ut hunc famulum tuum (hanc famulam tuam) respicere digneris propitius, et
hoc primum pabulum salis gustantem, non diutius esurire permittas, quo minus
cibo expleatur caelesti, quatenus sit semper spiritu fervens, spe gaudens,
tuo semper nomini serviens. Perduc eum (eam), Domine, quaesumus ad novae
regenerationis lavacrum, ut cum fidelibus tuis promissionum tuarum aeterna
praemia consequi mereatur. Per Christum Dominum nostrum.
the same Christ our Lord.
eundum Christum Dominum nostrum.
Admission into the Church Building
The priest makes
the Sign of the Cross over the
candidate three times and says:
|Priest: I exorcise
thee, unclean spirit, in the name of the Father + and of the Son, + and of
the Holy + Spirit, that thou goest out and depart from this servant of God,
N. For He commands Thee, accursed one, Who walked upon the sea, and stretched
out His right hand to Peter about to sink. Therefore, accursed devil, acknowledge
thy sentence, and give honor to the living and true God: give honor to Jesus
Christ His Son, and to the Holy Spirit; and depart from this servant of God,
N. because God and our Lord Jesus Christ hath vouchsafed to call him (her)
to His holy grace and benediction and to the font of Baptism.
te, immunde spiritus, in nomine Patris + et Filii + et Spiritus + Sancti,
ut exeas, et recedas ab hoc famulo (hac famula) Dei N.: ipse enim tibi imperat,
maledicte damnate, qui pedibus super mare ambulavit, et Petro mergenti dexteram
porrexit. Ergo, maledicte diabole, recognosce sententiam tuam, et da honorem
Deo vivo et vero, da honorem Iesu Christo Filio eius, et Spiritui Sancto,
et recede ab hoc famulo (hac famula) Dei N, quia istum (-am) sibi Deus et
Dominus noster Iesus Christus ad suam sanctam gratiam, et benedictionem,
fontemque Baptismatis vocare dignatus est.
The Sign of
The priest again
makes the Sign of the Cross on the candidate's forehead
this sign of the holy Cross, which we make upon his (her) forehead, do thou,
accursed devil, never dare to violate.
hoc signum sanctae Crucis, + quod nos fronti eius damus, tu, maledicte diabole,
numquam audeas violare.
the same Christ our Lord.
eundum Christum Dominum nostrum.
For the final time,
the priest lays his hand on the candidate's head
us pray: O Holy Lord, Father Almighty, Eternal God, Author of light and truth,
I implore Thine everlasting and most just goodness upon this Thy servant
N., that Thou wouldst vouchsafe to enlighten him (her) with the light of
Thy wisdom: cleanse him (her) and sanctify him (her), give unto him (her)
true knowledge; that, being made worthy of the grace of Thy Baptism, he (she)
may hold firm hope, right counsel and holy doctrine.
Aeternam, ac iustissimam pietatem tuam deprecor, Domine, sancte Pater omnipotens,
aeterne Deus, auctor luminis et veritatis, super hunc famulum tuum (hanc
famulam tuam) N, ut digneris eum (eam) illuminare lumine intelligentiae tuae:
munda eum (eam), et sanctifica: da ei scientiam veram, ut, dignus (-a) gratia
Baptismi tui effectus (-a), teneat (-ant) firmam spem, consilium rectum,
Christ our Lord.
Christum Dominum nostrum.
the Church Building
The priest lays
the end of his stole on the candidate as a symbol of his priestly authority,
and admits him into the church building, which is the symbol of the Church
of Christ. If the catechumen is an adult and was annointed in Part I above,
he may be asked to lie prostrate before the Altar in adoration of Christ
before this next step.
enter thou into the temple of God, that thou mayest have part with Christ
unto life everlasting.
ingredere in templum Dei, ut habeas (-ant) partem cum Christo in vitam aeternam.
The Credo and
I believe in God the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and in
Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,
born of the Virgin Mary; suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead,
and buried. He descended into Hell. On the third day, He rose again from
the dead. He ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God the
Father Almighty; from thence shall He come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Ghost, the holy Catholic Church; the communion of saints;
the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting.
Credo in Deum, Patrem omnipotentem, Creatorem cæli et terræ.
Et in Iesum Christum, Filium eius unicum, Dominum nostrum: qui conceptus
est de Spiritu Sancto, natus ex Maria Virgine, passus sub Pontio Pilato,
crucifixus, mortuus, et sepultus: descendit ad inferos; tertia die resurrexit
a mortuis; ascendit ad cælos; sedet ad dexteram Dei Patris omnipotentis;
inde venturus est iudicare vivos et mortuos. Credo in Spiritum Sanctum, sanctam
Ecclesiam catholicam, Sanctorum communionem, remissionem peccatorum, carnis
resurrectionem, vitam æternam. Amen.
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy
will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation: but deliver us from evil. Amen.
Pater noster, qui es in cælis, sanctificetur nomen tuum. Adveniat regnum
tuum. Fiat voluntas tua, sicut in cælo, et in terra. Panem nostrum
cotidianum da nobis hodie. Et dimitte nobis debita nostra, sicut et nos
dimittimus debitoribus nostris. Et ne nos inducas in tentationem: sed libera
nos a malo. Amen.
In the Nave of the Church
|Priest: I exorcise
thee, every unclean spirit, in the name of God the Father + Almighty, in
the name of Jesus + Christ, His Son, our Lord and Judge, and in the power
of the Holy + Spirit, that thou be depart from this creature of God N, which
our Lord hath deigned to call unto His holy temple, that it may be made the
temple of the living God, and that the Holy Spirit may dwell therein. Through
the same Christ our Lord, who shall come to judge the living and the dead,
and the world by fire
te, omnis spiritus immunde, in nomine Dei + Patris omnipotentis, et in nomine
Iesu + Christi Filii eius, Domini et Iudicis nostri, et in virtute Spiritus
+ Sancti, ut discedas ab hoc plasmate Dei N, quod Dominus noster ad templum
sanctum suum vocare dignatus est, ut fiat templum Dei vivi, et Spiritus Sanctus
habitet in eo. Per eundum Christum Dominum nostrum, qui venturus est iudicare
vivos et mortuos, et saeculum per ignem.
The priest takes
a little spittle and touches the ears and nostrils of the candidate with
it. For health reasons, the use of spittle may be omitted. This rite comes
from Mark 7:33-35, when Jesus healed the deaf-mute: "And taking him from
the multitude apart, he put his fingers into his ears: and spitting, he touched
his tongue. And looking up to heaven, he groaned and said to him: Ephpheta,
which is, Be thou opened. And immediately his ears were opened and the string
of his tongue was loosed and he spoke right.".
that is to say, Be opened, for an odour of sweetness. Be thou, devil, begone;
for the judgement of God shall draw near.
quod est, Adaperire. In odorem suavitatis. Tu autem effugare, diabole;
appropinquabit enim iudicium Dei.
do you renounce Satan?
I do renounce him.
all of his works?
omnibus operibus eius?
I do renounce him.
all his pomps?
omnibus pompis eius?
I do renounce him.
The priest annoints
the candidate with the oil of catechumens on
the heart and between the shoulders in the form of a Cross, saying:
|Priest: I annoint
you + with the oil of salvation in Christ Jesus our Lord, that you may have
te linio Oleo salutis in Christo Iesu Domino nostro, ut habeas vitam
At the Font
The priest removes
his violet stole and puts on a white one.
do you believe in God the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth?
credis in Deum Patrem omnipotentem, creatorem cæli et terram ?
I do believe.
you believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son our Lord, Who was born and Who
in Iesum Christum, Filium eius unicum, Dominum nostrum, natum, et
I do believe.
you believe in the Holy Ghost, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of
Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life
et in Spiritum sanctum, sanctam Ecclesiam catholicam, Sanctorum communionem,
remissionem peccatorum, carnis resurrectionem, et vitam æternam?
I do believe.
and Form of the Sacrament)
If the one to be
baptized is a baby, the godparents take him to the font (the godmother holds
him in her arms, the godfather touches the baby's shoulder with his right
hand); if he is an adult, the sponsor puts his right hand on the shoulder
of the one to be baptized.
will you be baptized?
The priest pours
water over the head of the candidate three times, once after each mention
of the Divine Persons. The water he uses will have
been consecrated during the Easter Vigil or on the Eve of the Pentecost.
As he pours the water, the priest says these words (or the words of a conditional
|Priest: I baptize
you in the name of the Father + and of the Son + and of the Holy +
ego te baptizo in nomine + Patris, et Filii, +, et Spiritus + Sancti.
the Almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who hath regenerated
thee by water and the Holy Spirit, and who hath given thee the remission
of all thy sins, may He Himself + anoint thee with the Chrism of Salvation,
in the same Christ Jesus our Lord, unto life eternal.
omnipotens, Pater Domini nostri Iesu Christi, qui te regeneravit ex aqua
et Spiritu Sancto, quique dedit tibi remissionem omnium peccatorum, ipse
te + liniat Chrismate Salutis in eodem Christo Iesu Domino nostro in vitam
be with you.
And with your spirit.
Et cum spiritu tuo.
The White Linen
This priest takes
a white linen cloth -- symbolizing the purity of a soul cleansed from all
sin, and a relic of the days when the newly baptized wore white albs for
8 days -- and places it on the head of the candidate.
this white garment, which mayest thou carry without stain before the judgment
seat of our Lord Jesus Christ, that thou mayest have life
vestem candidam, quam perferas immaculatam ante tribunalem Domini nostri
Iesu Christi, ut habeas vitam æternam. Amen.
The priest gives
the candidate or the sponsor a lighted
this burning light, and keep thy Baptism so as to be without blame: keep
the commandments of God, that when the Lord shall come to the nuptials, thou
mayest meet Him together with all the Saints in the heavenly court, and mayest
have eternal life and live for ever and ever.
lampadem ardentem, et irreprehensibilis custodi Baptismum tuum: serva Dei
mandata ut cum Dominus venerit ad nuptias, possis occurrere ei una cum omnibus
Sanctis in aula caelesti, habeasque vitam aeternam, et vivas in saecula
Last Words of
go in peace and the Lord be with you. Amen.
vade in pace et Dominus sit tecum. Amen.
Thus ends the Rite of Baptism. 1 If
the newly baptized one is an adult, the Rite
of Confirmation typically immediately follows. Then, if this all
takes place during a Mass, he is given his First Holy Communion after the
One's Baptismal candle should be kept so it may be used during one's wedding
and funeral. It should be stored with the Sick Call
set so that it might be used, too, for one's
Unction (if one's baptismal candle becomes unusable
or is lost, another blessed candle may be used, such as one blessed at
Renewal of Baptismal Promises
During the Easter
Vigil Mass each year, all the baptized renew their Baptismal promises. At
this Mass, we recite the Litany of the Saints,
but stop halfway through (after the prayer to "All ye holy Saints of God").
At this point, the Baptismal waters are blessed, and then follows the renewal
of our baptismal promises. We renew our promises by answering the questions
(as a group) posed in the Renunciation of Satan and in the Profession of
Faith above. The Pater is recited, and then a prayer that God keeps us in
Christ. This is followed by a sprinkling of the congregation with the baptismal
waters, and then finishing the Litany of All Saints.
Two Other Ways
the Fruits of this Sacrament may be Received
In addition to
the normative Baptism by water and Spirit that Christ commands, there are
also the merciful "Baptism of Desire" and "Baptism of Blood." While Christ
has given us the Sacrament as outlined above, and we are bound to obey Him,
the fruits of sacramental Baptism may be had through these two other means.
We must remember that while we are bound by the Sacraments, God is
not, and He can pour out His graces in other ways.
Baptismus flaminis sive Spiritus Sancti -- "Baptism of Desire" (also
called "Baptism of Fire") -- is the supernatural benefits of the Sacrament
of Baptism granted, by the grace of Christ, to someone who explicitly or
implicitly vows to receive Baptism but who, through no fault of his own,
is unable to receive water Baptism as Christ desires and commanded. In order
to be "baptized" in this way, one must have faith in God, be penitent, be
animated by charity, and have the will to obey God's commands (which
includes the command to be baptized in water and Spirit), even if not properly
catechized. This sort of Baptism is summarized by St. Augustine (A.D. 354-430)
in City of God:
For whatever unbaptized
persons die confessing Christ, this confession is of the same efficacy for
the remission of sins as if they were washed in the sacred font of baptism.
For He who said, "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot
enter into the kingdom of God," made also an exception in their favor, in
that other sentence where He no less absolutely said, "Whosoever shall confess
me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven;"
and in another place, "Whosoever will lose his life for my sake, shall find
it." And this explains the verse, "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the
death of His saints." For what is more precious than a death by which a man's
sins are all forgiven, and his merits increased an hundred fold?
It is formally
mentioned in Session 7, Canon 4 of the Council of Trent:
If anyone says
that the sacraments of the New Law are not necessary for salvation, but that
they are superfluous; and that men can, without the sacraments or the
desire of them, obtain the grace of justification by faith alone, although
it is true that not all the sacraments are necessary for each individual,
let him be anathema.
sanguinis -- "Baptism of Blood" -- is the supernatural benefits of the
Sacrament of Baptism granted, by the grace of Christ, to someone who is martyred
in defense of the Faith. This sort of Baptism is explained by St. John Chrysostom
Do not wonder that
I called martyrdom a baptism: indeed there too the Spirit comes with much
abundance, and words there the remission of sins and a wonderful and astonishing
purification of the soul; and as those who are baptized by waters are washed,
so those who suffer martyrdom are washed in their own blood.
"Baptism of Desire"
is a much-abused concept in the Novus Ordo world, twisted beyond recognition
such that it leads to the false idea of universal salvation, to a denial
of the need to be a part of the Church to be saved, and to disobedience to
Christ's command to preach the Gospel and to baptize.
2 Its meaning must be kept crystal-clear:
the Church's teaching is that Baptism -- which includes "Baptism of Desire"
and Baptism of Blood" -- is necessary for salvation, as it is how one enters
the Church, outside of which there is no salvation. Those who are able
to be baptized by water and Spirit must be baptized by water and Spirit.
Those who are unable to receive the Sacrament in the normal way, but
would receive the Sacrament if he were able, might receive
sanctifying grace, under the conditions above, and be united to the soul
of the Church. Meanwhile, we are to preach the Gospel and bring all to the
Church -- the source of the Sacraments which are media of grace. This is
what we were told to do by Christ, and what we must do! Those
we can't reach are left to the mercy of God, and we can only pray -- but
never presume -- that their souls are illuminated before death so they are
contrite for their sins and filled with a love for God that can save them
per the sanctifying grace of "Baptism of Desire," thereby uniting them with
the soul of the Church outside of which there is no salvation.
In many old churches
you might find a door on the "North" side of the Church -- to your left as
you face the sanctuary -- known as the "Devil's Door." Due to popular custom,
this door would have been kept open during Baptisms so that the devils driven
out during the Exorcism would have a portal through which to depart.
Also, see the infamous Baptism scene from "The Godfather" (1972) off the
Fun Stuff page.
1 In the revised version of Baptism, there are
two separate Rites of Baptism, one for children under the age of 7, and one
for adults. The primary focus of the new rite is initiation into the Church
community rather than the remission of sins. The two exorcisms and the imposition
of blessed salt are omitted.
Because of the abuse of the notion of "Baptism of Desire," a good and holy
priest, Father Leonard Feeney (d. 1978), came to deny this teaching altogether.
His position, which became known as "Feeneyism," was formally condemned under
the pontificate of Pope Pius XII in 1949; he was excommunicated in 1953,
and then the excommunication was lifted in 1972. His spiritual children,
known perjoratively as "Feeneyites," tend to be, other than regarding this
one issue, wonderful traditional Catholics who act out of a misunderstanding
and a noble desire to fight the watering down of Catholic teaching by those
who abuse the idea of "Baptism of Desire" and deny the dogma of extra
ecclesiam nulla salus ("outside the Church there is no salvation"). Their
extreme wariness of the denial of extra ecclesiam nulla salus was
prescient, especially in light of the harm caused by the post-conciliar Church's