Friday, February 29, 2008

Baptism as Jesus Commissioned

Today the Vatican released a document clarifying that only Baptisms done in the Trinitarian formula are valid. "I baptize you in the name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." Why will nothing else do?

"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you." Matthew 28:19.

Some priests and parishes in the past 40 years, concerned that the language of Jesus might be offensive to some women, altered the wording of baptism to say: "I baptize you in the name of the Creator, the Redeemer, and the Sanctifier," or "...in the name of the Creator, the Liberator, and the Sustainer." The impact is that, because they didn't do as Jesus commissioned, these people are not really baptized.

Let that sink in.

Then remember: "Amen, Amen, I say to you, no one can be enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Holy Spirit." John 5:3

No matter how fervent their belief, their desire, they have not been baptized as Jesus commands. The above Vatican statement says: "Clearly, the question does not concern English but the formula itself, which could also be expressed in another language" This isn't a matter of potayto/potahto. This is a matter of fidelity to Jesus Christ. I hope no one believes this is much ado about nothing.

The Impact
Remember that baptism is the foundational Sacrament of Christian Initiation. Without baptism there is no confirmation, no admittance to the Eucharist, no sacramental marriage, no valid ordination. YIKES!

So we must question our baptisms over the past 40 years. Once we know that reality, then we can proceed. If you have a serious question, contact your parish and especially your baptismal parish.

The blog "American Papist" has a lucid summary with sage advice at the end.

What will I do as a parochial vicar? I have no clue at this point.

Basic lesson? Do what Jesus commands. Follow the liturgical books, even when we think we know better, out of love for all souls to know Jesus as He commands.

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