ASK FATHER: Emergency baptism of an adult

From a reader…

QUAERITUR:

I am a Police Officer and often am in situations where people are dying or close to death. Is it improper to baptize someone who is unconscious or having a seizure because they listen to music from Hell?

I like cops, so I’ll answer this one, and briefly.

I think one should only baptize an unconscious adult in danger of death if there was some indication that he wanted to be baptized before falling into unconsciousness.

Someone in a seizure who is not in danger of death should not be baptized.

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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7 Responses to ASK FATHER: Emergency baptism of an adult

  1. Lisa Graas says:

    I will have to go read up on this one. A desire for baptism would save him anyway. “Baptism of desire.”

    Baptism is necessary for one to go to heaven. I was thinking it’s a mercy to baptize in this situation. Clearly, I need to go read up on it.

  2. I think one should only baptize an unconscious adult in danger of death if there was some indication that he wanted to be baptized before falling into unconsciousness.

    Why?

  3. Magpie says:

    Hellish music causes seizures? Surely a scientific and spiritual study would be necessary before making definitive conclusions? They could just be epileptic.

  4. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    “I think one should only baptize an unconscious adult in danger of death if there was some indication that he wanted to be baptized before falling into unconsciousness.” Exactly right, imho.

  5. The Masked Chicken says:

    “Is it improper to baptize someone who is unconscious or having a seizure because they listen to music from Hell?”

    Forget the person. Baptize the iPod :)

    Actually, Magpie, I am sure that if people actually listened to music from Hell, they just might have seizures, but that is a far cry from listening to, “Hellish,” music. One cannot conclude that because a person listens to, “Hellish,” music (definition, please), that the person, themselves, is into occultism. Many people who listen to occult-inspired music are quite clueless.

    The Chicken

  6. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    Anita, it’s all in Augustine. Really.

  7. KateD says:

    I have a somewhat similar question about praying for/blessing people. When we pray outside the local abortion clinic, pro-aborts comment colorfully as they drive by. Many people praying will respond with a “God bless you”. Yesterday we received a sandwich……at high velocity…..with accompanying phrench phrases, in response to a blessing. Granted, the ‘God Bless You’s sometimes sound more edgy than kind. Personally, I try to resist the temptation to engage in any way, but even when I keep my head down and continue to pray quietly under my breath for the scales to fall from their eyes, etc., they will whip around the corner a second time yelling with more rage, and eventually end up standing in front of me in full screaming meemie mode. Jesus directs us to bless those who curse us, but is the situation we are dealing with similar to the one above? Should we not bless them if they are so obviously not wanting that? In one recent instance of a screaming meemie, I watched as she went from enraged to tender; her heart was definitely softened during a conversation with a sidewalk counselor. These are not psychologically troubled individuals (for the most part), they are just very angry…..and perhaps spiritually off. Thoughts?