More fruits of Summorum Pontificum: another “traditional” baptism


I received a nice note from a reader, PK, who reports about a baptism, with the older, traditional rite of baptism according to the Rituale Romanum.

Fr. Z.,
I read with great joy the account of the baptism in Rome at the Fraternity’s parish.
Recently we have had two "Tridentine" baptisms here in Lander, and while this news is much less interesting, I thought you might enjoy the attached photos.  The priest is the WCC chaplain.


I believe WWC is Wyoming Catholic College.

I always remember Lander, Wyoming.  I got a touch of vertigo near there one driving at night in a winter storm. …  between Lander and Farson, I think.


But there is neither snow nor vertigo in these photos:

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Prof. Basto says:

    Congratulations to the child and to the parents.



    No, per current canon law (since 1983) no veil is required, but, on account of a bimillenial tradition rooted in the express direction of St. Paul recorded in Scriptures, it would be nice and traditional for you to cover your head with your veil, and that is what is normally done and expected at traditionalist environments. You of course can choose a different kind of veil for that purpose, and there are different kinds, shapes, sizes, etc.

  2. o.h. says:

    Judging from the padded-looking edge, I’m guessing “that” is a baby sling/shawl, an attractive and eminently practical garment serving the same function as Irish mothers’ shawls in a distant century. A woman in our parish wears one, and it’s much better than trying to wear a separate sling and mantilla. Wish I’d had one in the infant days. Looks almost like something the Virgin Mary might have worn….

  3. Rachel says:

    Great pictures!
    In my neck of the woods the veil the woman is wearing is very much like a rebozo. They can be thick or thin material multi-colored or solid. All are very beautiful and very feminine. Beautiful and practical tradition for women and mothers.

  4. Anthony says:

    Question: Is it proper for the priest to wear the biretta during the rite or should he be bareheaded as he would be for the prayers at the Mass? Also, what is the rule for outside such as for graveside prayers at a funeral?

  5. Ken says:

    In addition to Anthony’s question about the biretta being worn, is it proper to wear a cope? I thought the dress was cassock, surplice and violet/white stole.

  6. a catechist says:

    I’m very sympathetic to veiling, but found this example to be very off-putting. My initial reaction was that it looked like a costume, far too much like the Mary outfit from the Christmas play. I could see it in a very cold church or an Arab country, but I don’t think anyone’s piety should stick out like pink bunny ears.

  7. Matt Q says:

    Great pictures!

    Rachael wrote:

    “In my neck of the woods the veil the woman is wearing is very much like a rebozo. They can be thick or thin material multi-colored or solid. All are very beautiful and very feminine. Beautiful and practical tradition for women and mothers.”


    I’d have to get used to that. Looks very Islamic to me. I think a nice lace mantilla would have been fine, but to each her own.

    I like the fact we can have the Sacraments according to the “Old” Book. It’s great having the kids baptized in a private service. Just about every Sunday, a dozen babies and their families line up as though they were going to a fancy-dress day-care. LOL Thank the Lord they are being baptized at all, but there is also something to be said for the older way which also provides an intimacy not to be found in a mass-baptism. Still kind of awkward though. At my parish you’d still be standing up front around the Holy Jacuzzi. ;)

  8. Matt Q says:

    Hey, I just noticed the last picture. Someone IS ON THE PHONE!! Grrr.

  9. Jon H says:

    In the Godfather, in the only traditional baptism I have ever seen (and perhaps others are in my boat), the baptist wears cassock, surplice, and red stole. Another priest can be seen in the background wearing cassock, surplice and purple stole. No birettas are worn There is also a cardinal present, perhaps this changes things?

    Here is a link:

  10. Jon H says:

    Well I’ll have to correct my last comment. After watching carefully the entire baptism scene which I linked, in what I think is a movie mistake, I noticed that, as the actual baptism (form and water) happens, the baptist suddenly has changed to a white stole. This happens with about 15 seconds left in the clip I have linked.

  11. Jon H says:

    Well I’ll have to correct my last comment. After watching carefully the entire baptism scene which I linked, in what I think is a movie mistake, I noticed that, as the actual baptism (form and water) happens, the baptist suddenly has changed into a white stole. This happens with about 15 seconds left in the clip I have linked.

  12. Paul says:

    Lets praise God and give thanks for a child’s baptism and loving parents who are trying to rediscover tradition. Every detail may not conform to ‘tradition’ or taste but rejoice that at least it looks like there might be a future to TRADITION. A future we might kill with our self righteousness towards those who are not as committed or informed as we are.

    Really, the surest way to discourage more interest in Traditional liturgy is to be so harsh and critical.


  13. Tony says:

    Fr. Z –

    Your brother and friend, Fr. Anthony Manuppella, is going to baptize my son using the traditional ritual at his church, St. Peter in Merchantville, NJ, on the solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul.

    Brick by brick.

  14. Joshua says:

    I am surprised…I know the people in the photographs, and the father, when I knew him, was not a huge fan of the older liturgy to say the least. He was, however, very strongly interested in and a partaker of Eastern spirituality (by that I mean Eastern Catholic), and a good guy, but still surprising to me

    Oh and to Jon, it is not a mistake. The priest wears a purple stole at the beginning, and then changes to a white stole. Also, it was custom for American priests to wear a cope. You will see this at weddings. Normally that vesture was reserved for a bishop when presiding at a wedding or baptism, but America likes taking pontifical things for normal priests.

  15. Tony: Please greet Fr. Manuppella for me!

  16. prof. basto says:

    Jon H,

    If I’m not mistaken, in The Godfather Baptism scene, for theatrical purposes, the three questions on the Catholic Faith are asked first, and the three questions on the renunciation of the enemy are asked later. That is an innacuracy, certainly done so as to match the renunciation of Satan with the most gruesome scenes of the killig job. Actually, also in the EF, the three questions on the renunciation of the Devil precede the three questions on the Catholic Faith, and are followed by the seventh question, that ascertains the will of receiving the Sacrament. So the Godfather Baptism scene is not very accurate in the first place.

  17. o.h. says:

    Well said Rachel.

  18. ALL: How the people are dressed is really not the point.

    I warn you all not to let the better be the enemy of the good.

    These folks are doing a wonderful thing.

    They are all young. None, probably having lived in the pre-Conciliar era.

    Yet here they are.

    Brick by brick.

    So, how X or Y is dressed is just a rabbit hole.

  19. captainbozo says:

    We had our first-born son baptized in the EF. My wife and I had been to one EF mass at that point, but after reading the two rites, there was really no comparison. It was the first traditional baptism at our Church since the new form was promulgated.

    This was all about a month before we began Tuesday morning mass in the EF at our church. Our priest had never celebrated either Mass or any of the sacraments in the EF, but he’s said the opportunity to do so has been a great blessing to him (as well as all of us who attend :) ).

  20. Dan Hunter says:

    My sister, by the Grace of the Holy Ghost, just had her 10 month old boy baptised in the Traditional Rite.
    The priest who baptised Alexander is the rector of Immaculate Conception Seminary in Huntington Long Island, the seminary for the Diocese of Rockville Centre, NY.

    By coincidence the priest, Monsignor McDonald, was the same man, he was a Deacon in 1966, who baptised me at St Dominics church in Oyster Bay Long Island.

    I, jokingly asked Monsignor McDonald, who is now about 68 years old, if he baptised me correctly, and he informed me that he actually made a mistake in the ritual.

    Apparently he forgot to invert his stole from the violet side to the white side after baptising me.
    He told me that the baptism did not take and I should be “rebaptised”.

    Bye Bye temporal punishment.

  21. PK says:

    Dear all,

    Just a quick reminder that the young lady holding the baby, and the gentleman in a blue shirt, are not the parents but the godparents. In the old rite of baptism the godparents have a MUCH bigger part to play — indeed, the parents themselves do not hold the baby once from start to finish. This is to symbolize that the order of grace, while building on nature, is distinct from it, and that the Church herself “steps in” and claims the child for her own, through the consent given by the godparents on behalf of the infant. Having had my children baptized in this rite, I can testify that it is a very humbling experience to have to “give up” your child like this, and a very powerful experience to receive the child back at the end, a new Christian, thanks to God alone, and not to you.

    (Someone thought there was a cellphone? It’s just a fellow scratching his ear!)

  22. js says:

    When the Tridentine form of Baptism was re-introduced in our Parish, ten years ago, for those parents who wanted Baptism right after Mass, the move from the vestibule of the Church (after Excorsisms) was done as Procession, with the Litany of the Saints sung by all. Veni Creator at the Baptism. A lovely and moving Ceremony, which allowed for the involvement of the Congregation.

  23. Ken says:

    I don’t think questions regarding whether a baptizing priest wears a cassock and surplice with stole, or a cope over it, is out of bounds. Hopefully the intent of a comment thread is not for the sole purpose of saying “this is great.” We already agree it’s great, or we wouldn’t be here. But I’d like to know what the direction is for details, such as dress, so when we do dozens more baptisms at our parish we do it right.

  24. Limbo says:

    Big sigh !! We can only please some of the people some of the time.

    Maybe the dear little Godmother arrived at the church quite bare and someone threw a shawl at her hoping it would cover her head and arms – use you imagination PLEASE !!

    The HUGE plus here is the new member of God’s church AND the fact that it was a Tridentine form of Baptism.

    Only one of our many children was blessed enough to be in the right place at the right time to have been baptised in this form – ten years ago.

  25. Cathy says:

    Our daughter had an EF baptism.
    I’d seen a lot of baptisms in my day, but never an EF one.
    I still get choked up when I marvel at its beauty.
    From the beginning, when, outside the church, Father gives the baby the end of his stole (purple on one side, white on the other – “Two, two, two stoles in one!”) and says to her, “Mary Elizabeth, enter into the Temple of God that you may have eternal life with Him” as you all enter together, to him breathing on her, to the thrice casting out of demons (“Therefore, accursed spirit, acknowledge your sentence, depart from this servant of God”) it is sublime.
    Another blogger had a fantastic series of posts when his little daughter was baptized, er, baptised:

    and here are the two different forms side by side:

    Long live the Pope!

  26. Peterk says:

    both of my children were baptized using the traditional form. The second was like pulling eye teeth from the pastor who said “we do baptisms once a month all at once.” I was sorely tempted to say “so, father do you then do all burials or weddings once a month?” but I held my tongue. He did finally agree to allow it to go forward as a long-time family friend and priest was to perform the baptism.

  27. I also think questions regarding vestiure is not out of place.I like to know if what I am doing is correcrt.

  28. joshua says:

    I am glad pk pointed out that they are the godparents. I should have known that, both from knowing the rite, and more importantly, I know the couple and did not stop to think that they had not yet had a baby…BTW,with the exception of the priest,probably, and the baby, the rest pictured are all Alumni of Thomas Aquinas College

  29. Ian says:

    A violet stole and a white stole are used for the baptism. Often this is accomplished by a pastoral stole where the one side is violet and the other white, allowing it to be inverted midway through the ceremony.

    A cope is not specifically forbidden, since it is not, properly speaking, a liturgical vestment. It is extra-liturgical episcopal vesture which is used sometimes for certain ceremonies by priests and others. The only time it is used within an actual part of the Mass is for a Pontifical Mass, when it is worn by the Assistant Priest. It is also used during the Solemn Singing of the Office.

    As far as I can tell, it is not proper for a priest to wear the cope for a baptism under the older form. The rubrics do not specifically instruct the use of the cope. They also do not forbid it and the cope is used in certain blessings. I’d have to check the Ceremoniale, but I believe a bishop always wears a cope when administering a blessing or most sacraments. It may also be the case that certain monsignori are also allowed this privilege as part of their limited use of pomtificals.

  30. Ian says:

    On second look, the priest here is using both a violet and white stole, but under the same white cope. Oops.

    A cope always matches the color of the stole. If a cope is allowed, it should be changed with the stole.

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