Baptism - Water doesn't touch skin
#21
(10-01-2020, 12:19 PM)Adventus Wrote: What is the theological meaning and value of water touching skin? I could see it more clearly if it only touched clothes or some other thing a person wears that is not part of the body, but hair is part of the body and also part of the head.

Well, I was looking at Sacramental Theology manuals, which are not likely to give a spiritual meaning of things, but from surrounding arguments, the notion seems to be that since the essence of Baptism is a kind of washing, and the primary thing washed when one is washed is the skin. Either the whole body (by immersion), or the head as the representative of the whole (infusion), must be washed.

The argument Noldin makes for validity is that, indeed, hair is part of the body, so one is washing the body and he thinks there no real doubt. All the others I know of say that they hold doubts about the hair only, just as they would about the baptism of another extremity, such as the arm or leg. I would assume that the thought here is that mere washing of the hair isn't washing the body. No one would judge if you just cleaned your hair in the sink, you took a bath.

Davis also suggests that a practice in some places to cover infants in olive oil to help moisturize their skin could also cause doubtful baptisms. Thus he says to remove doubt an infant so oiled should, while the water is flowing, be gently scrubbed with the hand to ensure that the water is not just running off, but actually touching the skin, and not the oil. He is not a rigorist theologian, but as a Jesuit, tends to be a bit more lax than the Dominicans I cited, and yet the more lax theologian is saying this is necessary to remove doubt.

If it were just a matter of whether something were permitted or sinful, one could take a good orthodox expert like Noldin, who had a contrary opinion, and act with confidence even against others who those something forbidden, because the Church allows us to take and follow a less certain opinion so long as it is not lax.

When it comes to the Sacraments, however, especially Baptism, we have to be morally certain that such an important Sacrament (the gateway to all others) is valid, and so, if there is reasonable doubt, we are obliged to fix those doubts. At the same time, there has to be a reasonable positive doubt, not just a worry or a maybe.

That all was very clearly taught me in seminary, and I am sure every traditional seminarian learns the exact same thing.

This is precisely why the pre-conciliar practice in the U.S. was, while holding the validity of Anglican and many other Protestant baptisms in themselves, to presume invalidity in individual cases so that validity needed to be proven, not the other way around. If it could not be, then a convert was conditionally baptized.

That might have been overly careful 70 years ago, but seeing as we've found invalid Catholic baptisms, it seems to me a prudent practice to investigate each Baptism for a convert and if validity is not proven, to conditionally baptize, just to remove any doubts.
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#22
One thought that occurs to me, and perhaps it is meaningless, but while hair might be part of the body, it is a mostly dead part.  Your visible hair is an accumulation of dead cells being pushed out by the hair bulb (which is alive) in your hair follicle.  This is why your hair doesn't hurt or bleed when it is cut, it is essentially a string of dead cells.  We don't cut or shave off our healthy skin.  I wonder if that might factor into the question?  Your skin is an undeniably important, and living, part of your body, while your hair isn't.  We might wash our hair much as we wash our skin but I'm not sure the hair constitutes a part of your body in the same manner as your skin.  At the very least, I can see why there are doubts about it in terms of baptism.  This might or might not be hairsplitting but since baptism is crucial to our salvation, removing any reasonable doubts about validity seems to merit serious consideration of questions like this.
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- Pope St. Pius X

"For there shall be a time, when they will not endure sound doctrine; but, according to their own desires, they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears: And will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables."
- 2 Timothy 4:3-4

"Therefore God shall send them the operation of error, to believe lying: That all may be judged who have not believed the truth, but have consented to iniquity."
- 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12
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#23
(10-01-2020, 03:11 PM)SeekerofChrist Wrote: One thought that occurs to me, and perhaps it is meaningless, but while hair might be part of the body, it is a mostly dead part.  Your visible hair is an accumulation of dead cells being pushed out by the hair bulb (which is alive) in your hair follicle.  This is why your hair doesn't hurt or bleed when it is cut, it is essentially a string of dead cells.  We don't cut or shave off our healthy skin.  I wonder if that might factor into the question?  Your skin is an undeniably important, and living, part of your body, while your hair isn't.  We might wash our hair much as we wash our skin but I'm not sure the hair constitutes a part of your body in the same manner as your skin.  At the very least, I can see why there are doubts about it in terms of baptism.  This might or might not be hairsplitting but since baptism is crucial to our salvation, removing any reasonable doubts about validity seems to merit serious consideration of questions like this.

Interesting thought.

I guess technically the skin is also mostly (on the outer layer) dead cells, but not a very thick layer, easily removed to get to still living cells (unlike hair), and while if you remove your hair you will look odd, but still be alive and human. Remove your skin and you will be appreciably less alive. So at the very least there is something different between hair and the skin.

In the end, I'm not sure why theologians made the distinction, but it's made frequently enough to bother me, and if I saw a baptism that only touch hair (and did not appreciably wet the hair), I'd be concerned.

That's the one point I was making. The other was that Fr Z, I think, dropped the ball on that question, given he is a a self-professed "ossified manualist" and yet cited no manuals for that answer, most of which would have given the opposite position from what he claimed.
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#24
I don't find the theological distinction particularly moving. I find it odd they would see hair on par with other extremities after giving some sort of primary meaning to the head. And washing your head alone isn’t washing the body either (which is likely why they choose to use the word skin rather than body in some texts); and it doesn’t appear that the entirety of the head alone is an issue, so I don’t particularly understand the reasoning there. Aquinas seems to have preferred full immersion and it may have been precisely to avoid all this.

If it were a matter of washing away, one could argue that one spends more time and effort on hair than on the body. Especially if one wishes to nail the point home of "washing away". But then again, some people are bald. I actually find SeekerofChrist more convincing; if it wasn't for the fact that as a whole, people are made up of dead and living matter.
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#25
(10-01-2020, 02:50 PM)MagisterMusicae Wrote: This is precisely why the pre-conciliar practice in the U.S. was, while holding the validity of Anglican and many other Protestant baptisms in themselves, to presume invalidity in individual cases so that validity needed to be proven, not the other way around. If it could not be, then a convert was conditionally baptized.

And a very wise policy it was. I was 'baptised' in a Presbyterian Church. Their baptisms are theoretically done with valid form and matter. In my case, however, I was 'baptised by having a rosebud dipped in water and then tapped on my forehead three times. The rosebud was then given to my Mum as a keepsake.

I was validly baptised when I was ten or ele
ven by our Methodist Pastor and I can personally attest to the validity of both form and matter then.
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#26
I'm talking with the Archimandrite tomorrow. I'd like to get the issue resolved immediately. It may be he has more insight to give me.
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#27
(10-01-2020, 04:28 PM)jovan66102 Wrote:
(10-01-2020, 02:50 PM)MagisterMusicae Wrote: This is precisely why the pre-conciliar practice in the U.S. was, while holding the validity of Anglican and many other Protestant baptisms in themselves, to presume invalidity in individual cases so that validity needed to be proven, not the other way around. If it could not be, then a convert was conditionally baptized.

And a very wise policy it was. I was 'baptised' in a Presbyterian Church. Their baptisms are theoretically done with valid form and matter. In my case, however, I was 'baptised by having a rosebud dipped in water and then tapped on my forehead three times. The rosebud was then given to my Mum as a keepsake.

I was validly baptised when I was ten or ele
ven by our Methodist Pastor and I can personally attest to the validity of both form and matter then.

My mother was baptized and confirmed two years ago.  When she was going through the RCIA process, the priest and the lay volunteers asked if she had been baptized and she mentioned her baptism some years before in a Pentecostal community.  There wasn't much questioning past that and it wasn't until I did some investigating that I found out it was a Oneness Pentecostal group that did not use the Trinitarian formula.  Mother, who did not remain in that group for long, hadn't even realized this (she was baptized by them shortly after her mother's death, a time of great grief for her).  If I hadn't done the digging, the parish priest would have only "confirmed" her on the Easter Vigil, instead of baptizing her first.  The old policy would have avoided this kind of thing altogether, and I can't imagine how many people with dubious (or outright invalid) baptisms have, at this point, not been conditionally baptized.
"For the true friends of the people are neither revolutionaries nor innovators, but traditionalists."
- Pope St. Pius X

"For there shall be a time, when they will not endure sound doctrine; but, according to their own desires, they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears: And will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables."
- 2 Timothy 4:3-4

"Therefore God shall send them the operation of error, to believe lying: That all may be judged who have not believed the truth, but have consented to iniquity."
- 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12
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#28
(10-01-2020, 05:36 PM)SeekerofChrist Wrote:
(10-01-2020, 04:28 PM)jovan66102 Wrote:
(10-01-2020, 02:50 PM)MagisterMusicae Wrote: This is precisely why the pre-conciliar practice in the U.S. was, while holding the validity of Anglican and many other Protestant baptisms in themselves, to presume invalidity in individual cases so that validity needed to be proven, not the other way around. If it could not be, then a convert was conditionally baptized.

And a very wise policy it was. I was 'baptised' in a Presbyterian Church. Their baptisms are theoretically done with valid form and matter. In my case, however, I was 'baptised by having a rosebud dipped in water and then tapped on my forehead three times. The rosebud was then given to my Mum as a keepsake.

I was validly baptised when I was ten or ele
ven by our Methodist Pastor and I can personally attest to the validity of both form and matter then.

My mother was baptized and confirmed two years ago.  When she was going through the RCIA process, the priest and the lay volunteers asked if she had been baptized and she mentioned her baptism some years before in a Pentecostal community.  There wasn't much questioning past that and it wasn't until I did some investigating that I found out it was a Oneness Pentecostal group that did not use the Trinitarian formula.  Mother, who did not remain in that group for long, hadn't even realized this (she was baptized by them shortly after her mother's death, a time of great grief for her).  If I hadn't done the digging, the parish priest would have only "confirmed" her on the Easter Vigil, instead of baptizing her first.  The old policy would have avoided this kind of thing altogether, and I can't imagine how many people with dubious (or outright invalid) baptisms have, at this point, not been conditionally baptized.

These are great examples as to why heresy is such a huge concern. Because of it, we have Protestants making up their own baptismal formulas, risking countless souls.
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"For there shall be a time, when they will not endure sound doctrine; but, according to their own desires, they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears: And will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables." - 2 Timothy 4:3-4
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#29
(10-01-2020, 04:02 PM)Adventus Wrote: I don't find the theological distinction particularly moving.

I'm not sure how a particular point "moves" you is the best standard for judging whether it is correct or not.

(10-01-2020, 04:02 PM)Adventus Wrote: I find it odd they would see hair on par with other extremities after giving some sort of primary meaning to the head. And washing your head alone isn’t washing the body either (which is likely why they choose to use the word skin rather than body in some texts); and it doesn’t appear that the entirety of the head alone is an issue, so I don’t particularly understand the reasoning there. Aquinas seems to have preferred full immersion and it may have been precisely to avoid all this.

If it were a matter of washing away, one could argue that one spends more time and effort on hair than on the body. Especially if one wishes to nail the point home of "washing away". But then again, some people are bald. I actually find SeekerofChrist more convincing; if it wasn't for the fact that as a whole, people are made up of dead and living matter.

And since I was referring to Sacramental Theology manuals, which do not look to providing the exact reasoning behind every statement made, but the essential parts of the theology, along with the practical details on administering a Sacrament properly, I am not suggesting that this is the logic behind their distinction. As I wrote, I was trying to suggest based on their statements what their reasoning might be.

That said, I'm going to go ahead and form my opinion based on said experts, even if I don't understand the reasoning, unless there is some serious reason to doubt, rather than set some arbitrary standard that I've created.

That is not to suggest that discussion of the reasoning is not important and good, but when we have several orthodox theologians saying "doubtful" and one acknowledging this, but then saying that he thinks it valid, while acknowledging the other experts have concerns, I would suggest such inquiry into reasoning come only after defaulting to at least the majority opinion of theologians.
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#30
I spoke with the Archimandrite just now and he said that the necessity of the water touching the skin is only a Latin requirement.
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