Follow-up question re: Possibly invalid Protestant baptism...
#1
A new quandary to discuss with regards to a possibly invalid Protestant baptism - I need the wisdom of all you Cannon Law scholars out there.

For those that are not familiar with my previous post, I was baptised in the Presbyterian faith in 1978; married and confirmed in the Catholic Church in 2001.  When I was married and confirmed no inquiry was made into the validity of my baptism - I was simply asked to provide a baptismal certificate and that was deemed good enough.  In the recent past it was brought to my attention that unless valid form and matter are used, a baptism can be invalid.  I have extensively researched my baptism (by aspersion/sprinkling) and have come to the conclusion that while my baptism was probably valid, there is no way to know for sure.  There is no photo/video record, my parents are not able to assure me 100%, and the Pastor who performed the baptism is deceased. 

I have consulted numerous sources, and the arguments to "leave it alone" have referenced "Ecclesia supplet" (which a Cannon lawyer has informed me does not apply here) and "Baptism by Desire" which seems like a reassurance that is shaky at best.  I want to be in the Catholic Church and a conditional baptism (not re-baptism) seems to be the way to achieve that.  But then I have opened a new can of worms...this is where I need the superior research skills of the Catholics on this board to help.

If I were to receive a conditional baptism, I would be good with respect to my baptism.  But what of my marriage and confirmation?  What would be required to bring them into the Church?  A conditional convalidation?  A conditional dispensation?  Do I need to be conditionally re-confirmed?  For the record, I have submitted this question to the Judicial Vicar where I live, who is out of office until next week, and I am curious what others may be able to tell me in the meantime.  Thanks for your help!

 
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#2
Just in case you're looking for a reason to set it behind you: it is my understanding (I have a friend who is a Presbyterian minister, whom I just asked) that Presbyterians baptize

A) with the formula "I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit"
B) with water
C) and with the intent to baptize.

It is my understanding that any such baptism is considered valid by the Church, performed by any person - even an unbaptized person!
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#3
(04-23-2010, 03:58 PM)kmd_long Wrote: If I were to receive a conditional baptism, I would be good with respect to my baptism.  But what of my marriage and confirmation?  What would be required to bring them into the Church?  A conditional convalidation?  A conditional dispensation?  Do I need to be conditionally re-confirmed?  For the record, I have submitted this question to the Judicial Vicar where I live, who is out of office until next week, and I am curious what others may be able to tell me in the meantime.  Thanks for your help!

I'm not sure that you will find anyone who thinks that  there is serious doubt about your baptism and who will give you a conditional baptism.  If you do find such a person you will have to see what he thinks should be done about the other Sacraments. I can't predict that.  Normally Catholics do not give conditional baptisms because of a very remote possibility that not enough water was used during the baptism. 

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#4


why didn't this question come up when you were confirmed?  priests should ask those to be confirmed if they have been baptized.  have you just had doubts since then?

you can't be confirmed again and i doubt that you can get a conditional baptism when you've already been confirmed.  you could have your marriage blessed or renew your vows on a significant anniversary, as we did on our 25th.  but it seems to me that you're fully Catholic now, having been confirmed and married in the Church with a valid Protestant baptism.

it doesn't matter that the pastor who baptized you is deceased, the church where you were baptized will have a record of your baptism.  call or write them and ask for it if having a record will reassure you.  Presbyterian baptisms are valid.


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#5
I'm not getting from your post why you're hung up on the idea that your baptism wasn't valid?

They 'sprinkled'? That's not a problem for us, we're not dunkers. Was it water? I can't imagine Presbyterians don't use Father, Son, Holy Spirit/Ghost...

what's the problem? What's with all the research in the first place? Seems odd, Presbyterians aren't JW's
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#6
(04-23-2010, 03:58 PM)kmd_long Wrote: A new quandary to discuss with regards to a possibly invalid Protestant baptism - I need the wisdom of all you Cannon Law scholars out there.

For those that are not familiar with my previous post, I was baptised in the Presbyterian faith in 1978; married and confirmed in the Catholic Church in 2001.  When I was married and confirmed no inquiry was made into the validity of my baptism - I was simply asked to provide a baptismal certificate and that was deemed good enough.  In the recent past it was brought to my attention that unless valid form and matter are used, a baptism can be invalid.  I have extensively researched my baptism (by aspersion/sprinkling) and have come to the conclusion that while my baptism was probably valid, there is no way to know for sure.  There is no photo/video record, my parents are not able to assure me 100%, and the Pastor who performed the baptism is deceased. 

I have consulted numerous sources, and the arguments to "leave it alone" have referenced "Ecclesia supplet" (which a Cannon lawyer has informed me does not apply here) and "Baptism by Desire" which seems like a reassurance that is shaky at best.  I want to be in the Catholic Church and a conditional baptism (not re-baptism) seems to be the way to achieve that.  But then I have opened a new can of worms...this is where I need the superior research skills of the Catholics on this board to help.

If I were to receive a conditional baptism, I would be good with respect to my baptism.  But what of my marriage and confirmation?  What would be required to bring them into the Church?  A conditional convalidation?  A conditional dispensation?  Do I need to be conditionally re-confirmed?  For the record, I have submitted this question to the Judicial Vicar where I live, who is out of office until next week, and I am curious what others may be able to tell me in the meantime.  Thanks for your help!

 

Your baptism sounds valid to me. I wouldn't worry about it if I were you. In fact, worrying about it is probably unhealthy and is perhaps a sign of scrupulosity, a condition that one should take every precaution to avoid.
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#7
There is a list, somewhere, I read of the different denominations the Catholic Church recognizes as having valid baptisms (I can't for the life of me remember where this list is).  Here's a piece which I found online which may calm your fears:

http://wapedia.mobi/en/Baptism?t=5.


4. 4. Recognition of baptism by other denominations

The Catholic, Lutheran, Anglican, Presbyterian and Methodist Churches accept baptism performed by other denominations within this group as valid, subject to certain conditions, including the use of the Trinitarian formula. It is only possible to be baptized once, thus people with valid baptisms from other denominations may not be baptized again upon conversion or transfer. Such people are accepted upon making a profession of faith and, if they have not yet validly received the sacrament of confirmation or chrismation, by being confirmed. In some cases it can be difficult to decide if the original baptism was in fact valid; if there is doubt, conditional baptism is administered, with a formula on the lines of "If you are not yet baptized, I baptize you…." [132]

In the still recent past, it was common practice in the Roman Catholic Church to baptize conditionally almost every convert from Protestantism because of a perceived difficulty in judging about the validity in any concrete case. In the case of the major Protestant Churches, agreements involving assurances about the manner in which they administer baptism has ended this practice, which sometimes continues for other groups of Protestant tradition. The Catholic Church has always recognized the validity of baptism in the Churches of Eastern Christianity, but it has explicitly denied the validity of the baptism conferred in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. [133
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#8
(04-23-2010, 03:58 PM)kmd_long Wrote: I have consulted numerous sources, and the arguments to "leave it alone" have referenced "Ecclesia supplet" (which a Cannon lawyer has informed me does not apply here)  

The Catholic Church Confirmed you, after necessary inquire about your baptism. The confirmation without baptism would be invalid. The Ecclesia supplet applies to your Confirmation which (for the unlikely case if the Presbyterian Baptism would be invalid) provides also the validity of your baptism

The legal principle is that that prohibiting rules shall be interpreted strictly, allowing rule widely (Jus habenti favitur = The Law favors the possessor)
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#9
Oh wait guys I think this might be a troll thread :doh:
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#10
(04-24-2010, 11:24 AM)ardens Wrote: Oh wait guys I think this might be a troll thread :doh:

If it is a troll thread, there are probably lurkers who learned something from the answers to her questions, i.e., mainstream Protestant baptisms are valid and accepted by the Catholic Church.

If it's not a troll thread, we have given a new member a good welcome. 
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