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Current Affairs

Invalid baptism

Date: 19 February 2022 Tags: Religions

Issue

A Roman Catholic priest has resigned following a revelation that he misspelled words during baptism ceremony, making them invalid.

 

Background

Baptism is a ritual for initiating individuals in a religious order. Baptism in Roman Catholics is carried out by a pastor.

 

Details

  • The Vatican says that a baptism becomes invalid if a cleric alters the ritual language during the ceremony in such a fundamental way that it undercuts its meaning.

  • The priest in question had presided over baptism ceremonies for more than two decades in Arizona, California and also Brazil. He acknowledged that he used incorrect baptismal formula.

 

Misspelled phrase

  • The phrase used by priest was “We baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” instead of the singular “I baptize you….”

  • The Vatican already ruled that it was incorrect because “we” symbolizes congregation doing the baptizing instead of “I” of Jesus Christ, working through the priest.

 

Significance of baptism

Baptism in Christian faith is considered “necessary for salvation”. Without baptism, there is no entry into eternal beatitude (heaven).

 

Other cases of wrong baptism

  • Previously there were cases of priests learning that their baptism was invalid after the Vatican declared that use of word “we” was invalid.

  • Priests were making the baptism a community affair involving parents, godfathers and community by using the word “we”.

  • But actually, the priest represents Jesus Christ while baptizing individual and it is required that the word “I” is used.

 

Effects of decision

Many faithful, who were baptized wrongly, will be worried that their sacramental history was invalid. It would have been better if the baptism was recognised but method flagged.