Baptism question follow up

I am getting a lot of mail about my latest rant on baptism.

I enjoyed this one, especially.

Text and photo from a reader with my emphases and comments:

Good Morning Fr. Z –

Just read your rant about Baptism. I thought you might enjoy this photo of the Baptism of our 6th child, Monica Philomena. We are very blessed to know both the Archbishop and Fr. John Paul Erickson, the Director of the Office of Worship for the Archdiocese [of Saint Paul and Minneapolis]; both celebrated the Baptism. They did a marvelous job of sticking to the Ritestraight out of the book. In fact – after the Baptism ceremony, my wife commented that there was a lack of “innovation” that she had seen in some of the other ceremonies[Amen.] After six children of our own and countless other Baptisms we have attended, we have seen about everything.

But here is the best part – and another reason for hope.

Monica has also been the “test baby” for two different practice Baptisms at the Saint Paul Seminary. Particular attention is being paid by the instructors to following the Rite (saying the black and doing the red). One of the practice Baptisms was for those men who were to be ordained to the Transitional Diaconate. We are very blessed to have seven transitional deacons this year, and God willing, seven new priests for the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis next May. Under the leadership of Archbishop Nienstedt, I am sure this trend will continue.

Great e-mail!  Thanks!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    But but but…stammer stammer–if I do it that way my individuality and creativity will not be recognized. And, and, and it’s all about me. Rules? Book? Anybody can do it that way. Only I can do it MY way.

    Seriously, it is so refreshing to see a Bishop demonstrate the beauty and sacredness of a Sacrament being administered in the intended manner. Wish there were more.

  2. Pes says:

    Constant adaption to suit individual tastes will effectively ensure that no common Catholic culture can either form, or endure.

  3. ssoldie says:

    A long time coming, but it is coming Oh! to get rid of the silliness, inovations,and abuses. Brick by Brick, Step by Step.

  4. Fr. Bryan Pedersen says:

    Is it an innovation to celebrate the baptism in a stational format? For example: begin the ceremony at the doors of the Church in the Narthex. Perform the initial interrogation, receive the name of the child, claim them for Christ (make them a catechumen), then move into the Church proper for the Liturgy of the Word or perhaps perform this Liturgy of the Word briefly in the narthex, then while processing to the Baptistry recite or sing some form of the litany of the saints, then at the entrance of the baptistry perform the exorcism and pre-baptismal anointing, then the renunciation and profession of faith, blessing of the water, final interrogation and then the baptism, perform the explanatory rites (presbyteral chrismation, white garment, and baptismal candle, and ephpheta rite), then go to the entrance of the sanctuary and while all face the altar crucifix recite the Lord’s prayer, then go to the altar of Mary for the blessing of the mother, then go to the altar of St. Joseph for the blessing of the father, then return to the entrance of the sanctuary for the blessing of all, and finally the dismissal. Is this procedure innovation? Is it abuse? Is it an attempt at some continuity with the older ritual without changing anything in it? What does the WDTPRS crowd have as a critique?

    –Fr. Pedersen

  5. David O'Rourke says:

    Regarding the test baby. What procedure is followed? Surley they don’t perform the actual rite. That would be counterfeiting a sacrament.

  6. Father Gregory says:

    Father Pedersen,

    What’s the “innovation” in what you described? You are following the rubrics as we have received them. The trip to the Mary and Joseph altars are not really parts of the rite of baptism, but by then the rite and it/s explanatory elements have been finished. What you have described is exactly what I do, except I do all the baptisms during the Sunday Mass as is recommended. Sounds good to me.

  7. Father Gregory says:

    Furthermore, immersion is a perfectly valid way of baptising and it is totally permitted by the liturgy in the ordinary form. There is absolutely no requirement for a “shell” even if made of solid gold, to be used to pour the minimal 2 drops of water to make the baptism valid. As long as the water is poured, sprinkled, or the candidated dunked, and the Trinitarian formula is used as well as the rubrics followed, and the priest has the intention, the sacrament is unquestionably valid as well as licit, and proper.

  8. Dave Pawlak says:

    I do remember seeing a pre-Vatican II item on baptism which specifically noted that immersion was a valid method of administration…

  9. Dave Pawlak says:

    I should have placed that comment in the previous thread…mea culpa…

  10. michigancatholic says:

    It’s pretty hard to counterfeit baptism, I’d think. In a pinch, even a layperson can baptize.

    Perhaps they just wanted the students to hold a baby in the right position for baptism or something like that. Because there are few babies nowdays, perhaps some of these young men haven’t held too many and didn’t know how to go about it. They’re men, remember. =)

  11. Julie says:


    What I like, and you can see it here, is how excited all the kids are. Morgan is in my arms taking everything in (pretty focused for a 2 year old), Michael has a big smile, Martin is nearly falling into the font to see the action. You can’t see Maggie’s face from here, but she’s glowing -as of course, are Mom and Dad. Remarkably -or not- the kids weren’t bored because they knew how special this event was due to the witness of their parents. I think that is equally refreshing.

  12. Ben D. says:

    “In a pinch, even a layperson can baptize” — heck, in a pinch, even a non-Christian can baptize. The Lord doesn’t want anybody to lose this opportunity, methinks.

  13. Stephen says:

    I know a priest who recently received a degree in Canon Law who, shortly after meeting a teenager named “Thor”, asked of some of the chaperons on this event “How do you baptize that?” Thought you might get a kick out of that. Knowing, as I’m sure we do, that baptism in the name of a pagan deity is scandalous at best.

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