QUAERITUR: Visiting priest and baptism with the OLD Rite

Here is a question from e-mail, useful for people and priests alike:

Dear Fr. Z.,

We are expecting our 6th baby in August and I asked our "Sunday" priest if he would come up to do the baptism at our local parish.   He said he would.  So, this morning I went and asked our local priest (brand new pastor here) if it would be OK with him.  He said since the Baptism would be in the old rite, he would have to check with the diocese to see if it would be OK. 

Is that required for a Baptism? 

He went on and on about how he could not just choose to say the Latin Mass because of uniformity.  I asked if that was really the case since the Pope had given permission to priests last year.  I  am just curious if that is the case.  He is an Indian priest and sometimes with the language and cultural barrier, I wonder if we don’t understand eachother too well.

First, kudos.  Have more babies.

Second, you are not asking for Mass.  You are asking for a Baptism.

Third, a pastor of a parish can use the old Rituale Romanum whenever he considers it opportune (in other words all the time).  He does NOT need permission.  And he can let any visiting priest (or his assistant) use the old rites also.  No problem.

Pope Benedict’s Summorum Pontificum says:

Art. 9, § 1.  Similarly, a pastor, everything having been well though out, can grant permission for using the older Ritual administrate of  the sacraments of Baptism, Matrimony, Penance and Annointing of the Sick, as the good of souls suggests.

So, a pastor can allow another priest to use the older Ritual and he can use it, obviously, himself.

No permission is needed from anyone but the pastor himself.

I would recommend against calling the chancery on this, to avoid getting some half-informed bloke ignorantly opining incorrectly or perhaps knowingly trying to confuse the issue with misinformation.

Best wishes and congratulations.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    We just had our son Benedict baptized in the old rite this past Sunday — it was beautiful! I hope everything works out for you!

  2. Ken says:

    I would recommend a lot of prepartion before the baptism. The ones I have attended, served at or acted as godfather for took massive planning. Unless the church has the proper “tools” and the priest and server already know the drill, it’s best to treat the situation as if you were a missionary in the dessert. (i.e. how does the candle get lit, what oil, is the water already blessed, why is the font empty, etc. etc.)

  3. Ken says:

    Desert, not dessert. It’s close to dinner time.

  4. Jack says:

    >>Second, you are not asking for Mass…

    According to the Summorum no additional permissions are required for a TLM. So don’t have the pastor call the chancery on that issue either.

  5. RichR says:

    If you want an old rite baptism, be sure and bring documentation. An educated laity is what, I believe, the Holy Father is counting on to make this work. He is, in effect, using the power of the purse to enforce his Marshall Plan.

    Guess who holds the purse? Joe and Mary Catholic.

    Yes, the priests should know all this, but sometimes they are busy and need lay people to help them with the appropriate homework. During this time of “myth-busting”, laypeople must assume that the hierarchy is still confused by urban legends regarding the MP. After a time of re-orientation, things will be more clear. Until then, just do your due diligence.

  6. David Palm says:

    Our fourth child was baptized in the Gregorian Rite and it was indeed beautiful. The “churching” blessing was special. Sometimes I really wonder about the other three, what with no exorcism and all…… ;o)

  7. LCB says:

    Don’t forget to email WDTPRS pictures of cute babies being baptized using the Roman Missal… for the good of souls, of course.

  8. CarpeNoctem says:

    You know, I would not infer anything bad out of this priest or what he is doing. ‘Asking the diocese’ may simply be a prudent move that any priest wanting to do the right thing would do. There’s a lot out there for pastors to know– what they can and cannot do, what they can and cannot permit– and believe it or not, they don’t know it all. Perhaps one can be thankful that he is trying to do his job right and won’t just let any “Joe and Mary Catholic” just do what they want. (It cuts both ways!)

    Now of course, I don’t know the situation. If he is using the diocese to put up a road block, and he is nervous that he can’t get the liturgical dancers, zoo animals, and their bongos out of the sanctuary in time for this celebration, that is a completely different thing.

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