Before resigning, Benedict XVI ordered changes to Novus Ordo Baptism Rites

Just before abdicating, Benedict XVI (the Pope of Christian Unity) approved a decree to make a change to the Novus Ordo or Ordinary Form Rite of Baptism:

In the decree published in “Notitiae”, 557-558, Ian.-Feb. 2013, 1-2, pagg. 54-56, “communitas christiana” is changed to “Ecclesia Dei” in paragraphs 41, 79, 111, 136, and 170 of the second “editio typica,” or normative, in Latin, of the 1973 rite for the baptism of children.

Paragraph 41 concerns properly speaking the “Ordo Baptismi pro pluribus parvulis” (the rite of baptism for multiple children).

Paragraph 79 the “Ordo Baptismi pro uno parvulo” (the rite for one child).

Paragraph 111 the “Ordo Baptismi pro magno numero parvulorum” (the rite for a large number of children).

Paragraph 136 the “Ordo Baptismi parvulorum absente sacerdote et diacono a catechistis adhibendus” (the rite celebrated by catechists in the absence of a priest or deacon).

Paragraph 170 the “Ordo deferendi ad Ecclesiam parvulum iam baptizatum” (the rite for bringing into the Church a child already baptized).

Here is the text of the decree:


Prot. N. 44/13/L


Vitae et regni ianua, Baptismus est sacramentum fidei, quo homines incorporantur unicae Christi Ecclesiae, quae in Ecclesia catholica subsistit, a Successore Petri et Episcopis in eius communione gubernata.

Unde Congregationi de Cultu Divino et Disciplina Sacramentorum visum est variationem quandam in editionem typicam alteram Ordinis Baptismi Parvulorum inducere, eo ut in eodem ritu melius in lucem ponatur tradita doctrina de munere et officio Matris Ecclesiae in sacramentis celebrandis. Dicasterium proinde ea, quae sequuntur, disponit:

Ordo Baptismi Parvulorum in posterum sic recitet:

1. “41. Deinde celebrans prosequitur dicens:
N. …, N. (vel Filioli), magno gaudio Ecclesia Dei vos excipit. In cuius nomine ego signo vos signo crucis; et parentes vestri (patrinique) post me eodem signo Christi Salvatoris vos signabunt.
Et signat ununquemque parvulum in fronte, nihil dicens. Postea invitat parentes et, si opportunum videtur, patrinos, ut idem faciant”.

2. “79. Deinde celebrans prosequitur dicens:
N. …, magno gaudio Ecclesia Dei te excipit. In cuius nomine ego signo te signo crucis; et parentes tui (patrinique vel et matrina) post me eodem signo Christi Salvatoris te signabunt.
Et signat parvulum in fronte, nihil dicens. Postea invitat parentes et, si opportunum videtur, patrinum (matrinam), ut idem faciant”.

3. “111. Celebrans prosequitur dicens:
Filioli, magno gaudio Ecclesia Dei vos excipit. In cuius nomine ego signo vos signo crucis.
Producit signum crucis super omnes infantes simul, et ait:
Et vos, parentes (vel patrini), infantes in fronte signate signo Christi Salvatoris.
Tunc parentes (vel patrini) signant parvulos in fronte”.

4. “136. Catechista prosequitur dicens:
Filioli, magno gaudio Ecclesia Dei vos excipit. In cuius nomine ego signo vos signo crucis.
Producit signum crucis super omnes infantes simul, et ait:
Et vos, parentes (vel patrini), infantes in fronte signate signo Christi Salvatoris.
Tunc parentes (vel patrini) signant parvulos in fronte”.

5. “170. Deinde celebrans prosequitur dicens:
N. …, magno gaudio Ecclesia Dei, cum parentibus tuis gratias agens, te excipit testificaturque te iam ad Ecclesia fuisse receptum. In cuius nomine ego signo te signo Christi, qui tibi in Baptismate vitam largitus est et Ecclesiae suae te iam aggregavit. Et parentes tui (patrinusque vel et matrina) post me eodem signo crucis te signabunt.
Et signat infantem in fronte, nihil dicens; postea invitat parentes et, si opportune videtur, patrinum, ut idem faciant”.

Ego infrascriptus Congregationis Praefectus, haec Summo Pontifici Benedicto XVI exposuit, qui, in audientia die 28 mensis ianuarii 2013 eidem concessa, textum praesentem editionis typicae alterae Ordinis Baptismi Parvulorum modo sopradicto posthac variari benigne statuit.
Quae statuta de Ordine Baptismi Parvulorum statim ab omnibus, ad quos spectant, serventur et inde a die 31 mensis martii 2013 plenum habeant vigorem.
Curae autem Conferentiarum Episcopalium committitur ut variationes, in Ordine Baptismi Parvulorum factae, in editiones eiusdem Ordinis lingua vernacula apparandas inducant.
Contrariis quibuslibet minime obstantibus.

Ex aedibus Congregationis de Cultu Divino et Disciplina Sacramentorum, die 22 mense februarii 2013, in festo Cathedrae sancti Petri Apostoli, datum.

Antonius Card. Cañizares Llovera, Praefectus

Arturus Roche, Archiepiscopus a Secretis

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    Love that “parvulus”: a beautiful word.

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  3. StWinefride says:

    It’s a shame Pope John-Paul II didn’t make changes to the Rite of Baptism after he said the following in 1992. But perhaps he wasn’t allowed to…

    Pope John-Paul II General Audience 25th March, 1992
    Baptism: Entry into the life of Grace (my emphasis)

    4. …“Consider yourselves … dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus”.
    In this sense Baptism enables us to share in the Death and Resurrection of Christ, in His victory over the forces of evil. This is the meaning of the baptismal rite, in which the candidate is asked: “Do you reject Satan?”. He is asked to make a personal commitment to total freedom from sin, and thus, from the power of Satan: the commitment to fight, throughout his earthly life, against the seductions of Satan. It will be a “good fight” which will make the individual more worthy of his Heavenly calling, but also more perfect as a human person. For this double reason, the request and acceptance of this obligation ought also to be made at the baptism of an infant, who replies through his parents and godparents. In the power of this Sacrament he is purified and sanctified by the Spirit, who fills him with new life as a participation in Christ’s life

    (only in Italian and Spanish on – the above is not my translation)

    There must be a return to the celebration of the Traditional Form of the Sacraments.

    Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!

  4. Dr Guinness says:

    Or just use the ‘Old Rite’.

  5. StWinefride says:

    Dr Guinness: Or just use the ‘Old Rite’.

    Of course! :) What upsets me though is how many Catholics,now, have access to the traditional Sacraments?! The supreme law of the Church is always the salvation of souls – If there are deficiencies in the first of the Sacraments of Initiation – Baptism, then there’s a big problem and if a Pope, in 1992, could see this, why on earth did he not correct the existing Rite or order that the Traditional Rite be used. I suppose he did try and do something by alerting the faithful.

    Thankfully Pope Benedict XVI issued Summorum Pontificum. Deo Gratias.

    From Summorum Pontificum:

    Art. 9, §1 The parish priest, after careful consideration, can also grant permission to use the older ritual in the administration of the sacraments of Baptism, Marriage, Penance and Anointing of the Sick, if advantageous for the good of souls.

    I’m sure Pope Benedict was being very diplomatic when drawing up S.P. but personally, I don’t like “after careful consideration” – what’s to consider? It’s obvious the Traditional Sacraments are far superior. And I don’t like “if advantageous for the good of souls”. That’s obvious too as Pope John-Paul II has alluded to one advantage in his General Audience, quoted above. And of course, there’s the lack of the exorcisms. A prayer of exorcism, which is found in the New Rite is not an Exorcism in the true sense. Anyone can pray. But only a Priest can say:

    “Exorcizo te, immunde spiritus, in nomine Patris + et Filii + et Spiritus + Sancti…”

    “I exorcise thee, unclean spirit, in the name of the Father + and of the Son, + and of the Holy + Spirit, that thou goest out and depart from this servant of God, N. For He commands Thee, accursed one, Who walked upon the sea, and stretched out His right hand to Peter about to sink. Therefore, accursed devil, acknowledge thy sentence, and give honor to the living and true God: give honor to Jesus Christ His Son, and to the Holy Spirit; and depart from this servant of God, N. because God and our Lord Jesus Christ hath vouchsafed to call him (her) to His holy grace and benediction and to the font of Baptism”.

    Not only did “they” remove the exorcisms but it’s evidence that “they” were also trying to devalue the Priesthood.

    Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!

  6. Fr AJ says:

    Why O why didn’t Pope Benedict do more of this while still Pontiff? There are so many changes like this that he could have made over the years. The addition of St. Joseph to the other Eucharistic Prayers and now this change to the Baptismal Rite, wonderful! Yet so much more could have been done.

  7. Fr AJ says:

    St. Winefride, I’m not sure what change you wanted JPII to make to the Rite. “Do you reject Satan?” is asked in the new Rite. I’m reading your post and it sounds like you are saying it is not. Also, there is a Prayer of Exorcism done before Baptism in the new Rite as well.

  8. Elizabeth D says:

    I like this news, it just strikes me as beautiful.

  9. mamajen says:

    Agree with others about the Old Rite. Our priest used the Old Rite, in English, for the baptism of our youngest recently. It was the most beautiful thing I have ever witnessed! I wish I had known to request it for my older son. The other form just pales in comparison, even if done well.

  10. StWinefride says:

    Fr AJ, in the Old Rite of Baptism it is the Godparents/Sponsors who renounce Satan on behalf of the infant. The same Rite was/is also used for older children/adult converts.

    For nearly 1800 years the Church was happy with this. Since 1970, in the New Rite of Baptism for children, the Godparents/Sponsors are the ones who renounce Satan. Nobody does this on behalf of the child anymore.

    Why? What has changed?

    Pope John-Paul speaking in 1992 says: the request and acceptance of this obligation ought also to be made at the baptism of an infant, who replies through his parents and godparents.

    As in the Old Rite.

    I don’t have all the answers but Pope John-Paul II is saying that it matters that Satan is renounced on behalf of the child, in which case I would rather that he had amended the New Rite, which as Pope I believe he should and could have done.

    There is a comparison between the two Rites below. There used to be a side-by-side comparison on someone’s blog but I can’t find it at the moment.

    This is the prayer for Exorcism in the New Rite:

    Almighty and ever-living God,
    you sent your only Son into the world
    to cast out the power of Satan, spirit of evil,
    to rescue man from the kingdom of darkness,
    and bring him into the splendour of your kingdom of light.
    We pray for this child:
    set him (her) free from original sin,
    make him (her) a temple of your glory,
    and send your Holy Spirit to dwell with him (her).
    We ask this through Christ our Lord.

    In the Old Rite, the Priest commands Satan and his minions to leave! He speaks to them directly! Again for about 1800 years this is how it was.

    In answer to whether exorcism should precede Baptism, St Thomas Aquinas answers that:

    Whoever purposes to do a work wisely, first removes the obstacles to his work; hence it is written: “Break up anew your fallow ground and sow not upon thorns.” Jeremiah 4:3

  11. Dan says:

    “It’s obvious the Traditional Sacraments are far superior. ”

    Not according to Holy Mother Church.

  12. StWinefride says:

    Oh ok – I’ll take back the “far superior” and downgrade to “superior”!

    Here’s Fr Thomas Crean OP, on the Rites for the Dying:

    First of all, then, how do the Traditional rite of anointing and that promulgated by Pope Paul VI in November 1972 differ? Well, quite considerably. One could even argue that of all the seven sacramental rites, it is the Rite of Extreme Unction which has been most affected by the post-Conciliar revision. For here alone among the seven sacraments do we find a change not only in the prayers surrounding the essence of the sacramental act, but also both in the sacramental form itself and in the proximate matter. But before coming to that, let us consider the general structure of each rite.

    And Fr Gabriel Amorth on Exorcism. Luckily Pope John-Paul II and the then-Cardinal Ratzinger stepped in and gave permission for Priests to continue to say the Old Rite of Exorcism. This is getting confusing!!

    And our own Fr Z says that the Book of “Blessings” isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on!!

    Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!

  13. Supertradmum says:

    In 1988, I got permission for the use the old rite for Supertradson’s baptism. Anyone can ask, and the priest who performed the sacrament was not a TLM priest (few and far between then), but one willing to do it in that way. Always ask. I remember it like it happened yesterday…very cool.

  14. Geoffrey says:

    The sacramental rites in the Ordinary Form can be beautiful as well, if they are done correctly… and with a pinch of Latin thrown in for good measure!

  15. samwise says:

    @ Fr. AJ,

    Oddly enough, St. Joseph’s intercession and fests had been left out of the liturgy for centuries after the Church fathers. Most likely, he was just taken for granted.

  16. samwise says:

    @ Geoffrey,

    What is with the subliminal Latin? Yeah, it’s a doorway langauge to many of today–but it’s not Biblical (I say this knowing that my Patron Saint is Jerome). And don’t get me wrong, I love Latin, but our Lord spoke Aramaic!
    You don’t see Maronite or Byzantine Catholics going around demanding more access to their liturgy. In fact, did you know that Francis is bi-ritual in this regard?
    Why not propose the Byzantine form of baptism as normal? We need to be in greater solidarity with our brethren in the Middle East, martyred daily…

  17. phlogiston says:

    Marvelous. Now if only the funeral rite could be corrected to eliminate the syrupy, non-Catholic references to being consoled by the assurance of being reunited with the departed. Of course we have no such assurance. Hence the need to pray for the dead. And ourselves.

  18. PA mom says:

    So, are you saying the when baptismal promises are repeated during Mass a minor exorcism of some form is occurring on all who answer “yes”?

  19. kittenchan says:

    So for those of us who don’t want to drag out our old Latin textbooks and spend all afternoon translating, what’s the upshot? What exactly happened?

  20. moon1234 says:

    While they may be beautiful, one wonders WHY the sacrament was altered. Technically the form, matter and intention are very minimal for baptism. The rest of the externalities to the sacrament are what is being discussed. ALL of the sacraments can be boiled down to just a few words, the proper matter and intention. Is that what we strive for as Catholics?

    The new rite of Baptism is very much seen as a community initiation rite than it is the removal of original sin. Removing the exorcism, blissing and imparting of salt, they entrance procession into Church, etc. are all very important for us to remind us just what exactly is going on at a Baptism.

    As yourself WHY these parts of the sacrament of baptism were removed? What did the faithful GAIN or lose by this action?

    Just because something is beautiful does not necessarily make it efficacious or better.

  21. StWinefride says:

    PA Mom: Yes.

    Fr Ray Blake: “It is worth reminding ourselves that the threefold renunciation of Satan as part of the renewal of baptismal promises is a minor Exorcism“.

  22. Athelstan says:

    This is way overdue.

    Naturally, some folks are having a nutty (as Fr. Z would put it) over this at a couple progressive outlets. It’s seen as “unecumenical,” which is surely one of the gravest of sins that one can commit.

    Now, if only we could restore all the old exorcisms…

  23. Geoffrey says:

    samwise said: “What is with the subliminal Latin? …Why not propose the Byzantine form of baptism as normal?”

    I am a Roman Catholic of the Roman Rite, the official liturgical language of which is Latin. Other liturgical rites have their own proper language, and they should be used. The Byzantine form of baptism should be the norm for Roman Catholics of the Byzantine Rite, but not for Roman Catholics of the Latin Rite!

    moon1234 said: “Just because something is beautiful does not necessarily make it efficacious or better”.

    Playing ‘advocatus diaboli’, one could say that about the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. The Second Vatican Council did mandate some specific changes when it came to the sacred liturgy, though I think we can all agree that what we have now is not what the Council Fathers intended.

  24. Stephen Matthew says:

    Just a tiny nitpick, it would be rather difficult to find many Byzantine Roman Catholics, though certainly there are many Byzantine Catholics in communion with the See of Rome, that does not, however, make them Roman, as Roman is not in any way one of the essential marks of the universal church, in-spite of the necessary role of the Petrine ministry.

    StWinefride, et all,
    Great care must be used when speaking of the sacraments of the church. No one should set any of the seven sacraments against another, nor should any form of the sacraments by set against another form. Keep in mind the externalities of the sacramental form do not change what God, in His soveriegn wisdom and all abundant grace, does for us and the church in and through the sacraments. What does change is our proper disposition, receptivity, appreciation, attitudes. As the blessed Thomas said all is received according to the mode of the receiver, though obviously the objective reality of what is given remains according as it is given, but subjectively according to how received. Also, the prayers of the liturgical rites are and ought to be a… channel of grace… in their own way, for the celebrants, for those receiving the sacraments, and for all joining these prayers; certainly this aspect may actually differ from one form of a sacrament to another, and very carefully consideration can be given to the relative merits or deficiencies, but to be bandying about judgement about one sacrament being superior or inferior, which has at its heart the faulty premise that these are not in fact one in the same sacrament in different forms, is frankly dangerous.

  25. StWinefride says:

    Stephen Matthew, thanks, you make some valid points.

    Regarding the Sacrament of Baptism, I would just like to clarify that I do believe that as long as the Priest uses the correct matter and form, a person is validly baptised.

    Fr Thomas Crean, OP, in his article states the following at the end:

    Of course the same sacramental grace is made available in either form of the anointing; but it is permissible to wonder whether the Traditional rites for the sick and dying do not convey more powerfully the seriousness of death, and hence dispose the sick man to receive this sacramental grace more fruitfully, and those present to pray more earnestly for the salvation of his soul”.

    I have heard several other Priests complain about the new Book of Blessings. Father Z explains himself here:

    The new, dreadful, De benedictionibus – let it be swept away and forgotten – changes the theology of blessings in a way hitherto unimagined. In a nutshell, the new, post-Conciliar book eliminates – horribile scriptu – the distinction between invocative and constitutive blessings. The “blessings” in the new book don’t really bless things in the same way that the older ritual intended to bless things. They talk in a vague way about God’s favor on those who might walk nearby or use the thing”.

  26. Dan says:

    StWinefride: You cite individual priests. I think you will find no Church document that refers to the sacraments, as celebrated in the extraordinary form, to be superior to those celebrated in the ordinary form.

    Summorum Pontificum states that some of the sacraments may be celebrated in the extraordinary form as the good of souls suggests it. If they were in fact superior, then the good of souls would always suggest it. The ordinary form, however, remains.

    I get it, I really do. Many people have a great love for the extraordinary form, and they want to share the treasures they have found within it. But not everyone is going to have that experience. This is why we now have two equal forms of the Roman Rite.

  27. StWinefride says:

    Dan: who needs Church documents?!

    Put the two Rites side-by-side and it will all become clear!

  28. Dan says:

    StWinefride: I, for one, need Church documents because they help me sort out the difference between the mind of the Church and my own personal preferences.

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