I was rooting around over at In the Light of the Law and found an interesting bit of information.
The CDF has issued a response to questions about the use of the proper form for conferring the all important sacrament of baptism.
In short, in the Diocese of Brisbane, Australia, some priests at a parish church in performed thousands of invalid baptisms. They were changing the Trinitarian baptismal form to things like "I baptize you in the name of the Creator, and of the Redeemer, and of the Sanctifier’, or ‘I baptize you in the name of the Creator, and of the Liberator, and of the Sustainer’".
How stupid is that?
Remember: we have to get baptism right! Without baptism, you can’t receive the other sacraments.
The entry at the aforementioned canon law blog provides some background.
Take a look at In the Light of the Law
The rules on baptism are meant to be followed
When, back on 2 December 2004, I blogged about "Brisbane’s Bad Baptisms", I got an unusual number of nasty notes from folks who (assuming they agreed with my point that baptism in the name of the Creator, and of the Redeemer, and of the Sanctifier was invalid, and many did not agree), nevertheless took umbrage at my conclusion that those undergoing such rituals were not, in fact, any kind of Christian (pace the archbishop there), and that such persons, to be Christian, let alone Catholic, needed to be absolutely (not conditionally, pace 1983 CIC 869.1) baptized anew. "It wasn’t their fault they were baptized invalidly," wrote one unhappy reader, "how can you deny them the grace of God because of something they didn’t do?" Like, you know, I decide who gets God’s grace and who doesn’t.
Today, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith announced its ruling that any ‘baptism’ attempted "in the name of the Creator, and of the Redeemer, and of the Sanctifier" (or, to take another silly variation, "in the name of the Creator, and of the Liberator, and of the Sustainer") is invalid, and that persons who received such ‘baptisms’ . . . "have, in reality, not been baptised [and must] . . . be treated for all canonical and pastoral purposes with the same juridical criteria as people whom the Code of Canon Law places in the general category of non-baptised."
I won’t say that it feels good being shown right by an "authentic doctrinal declaration" from CDF, but it sure beats being shown wrong.
Anyway, sacraments are pretty tough things, designed by Christ to be administered even by fallen people. But sacraments have rules, instilled by the Lord, that must be followed. When his rules aren’t followed, real people miss out. So let’s get these folks baptized as Christ directed, and get back about the task of spreading his Good News as Jesus would have it spread.
Here is the CDF statement:
REPLY FROM DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH ON BAPTISMAL FORMULAE
VATICAN CITY, 29 FEB 2008 (VIS) – Made public today were the responses of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to two questions concerning the validity of Baptism conferred with certain non-standard formulae.
The first question is: "Is a Baptism valid if conferred with the words ‘I baptize you in the name of the Creator, and of the Redeemer, and of the Sanctifier’, or ‘I baptize you in the name of the Creator, and of the Liberator, and of the Sustainer’"?
The second question is: "Must people baptised with those formulae be baptised ‘in forma absoluta’?"
The responses are: "To the first question, negative; to the second question, affirmative".
Benedict XVI, during his recent audience with Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, approved these responses, which were adopted at the ordinary session of the congregation, and ordered their publication. The text of the responses bears the signatures of Cardinal Levada and of Archbishop Angelo Amato S.D.B., secretary of the dicastery.
An attached note explains that the responses "concern the validity of Baptism conferred with two English-language formulae within the ambit of the Catholic Church. … Clearly, the question does not concern English but the formula itself, which could also be expressed in another language".
"Baptism conferred in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit", the note continues, "obeys Jesus’ command as it appears at the end of the Gospel of St. Matthew. … The baptismal formula must be an adequate expression of Trinitarian faith, approximate formulae are unacceptable.
"Variations to the baptismal formula – using non-biblical designations of the Divine Persons – as considered in this reply, arise from so-called feminist theology", being an attempt "to avoid using the words Father and Son which are held to be chauvinistic, substituting them with other names. Such variants, however, undermine faith in the Trinity".
"The response of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith constitutes an authentic doctrinal declaration, which has wide-ranging canonical and pastoral effects. Indeed, the reply implicitly affirms that people who have been baptised, or who will in the future be baptised, with the formulae in question have, in reality, not been baptised. Hence, they must them be treated for all canonical and pastoral purposes with the same juridical criteria as people whom the Code of Canon Law places in the general category of ‘non- baptised’".