Church of England to dump “sin” and “devil” from baptism rite?

The leading prelate of the Church of England, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, who recently called Pope Francis his own Person of the Year, has been a busy bee!

From The Mail:

[Archpb. of Canterbury] Welby [Anglican] casts out ‘sin’ from christenings: Centuries-old rite rewritten in ‘language of EastEnders’ for modern congregation

Parents and godparents no longer have to ‘repent sins’ and ‘reject the devil’ during christenings after the Church of England rewrote the solemn ceremony.
The new wording is designed to be easier to understand[Right.  When texts have less content they are easier to understand.] but critics are stunned at such a fundamental change to a cornerstone of their faith, saying the new ‘dumbed-down’ version ‘strikes at the heart’ of what baptism means.
In the original version, the vicar asks: ‘Do you reject the devil and all rebellion against God?’

Prompting the reply: ‘I reject them.’ They then ask: ‘Do you repent of the sins that separate us from God and neighbour?’, with the answer: ‘I repent of them.’
But under the divisive reforms, backed by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and already being practised in 1,000 parishes, parents and godparents are asked to ‘reject evil, and all its many forms, and all its empty promises’ – with no mention of the devil or sin.
The new text, to be tested in a trial lasting until Easter, also drops the word ‘submit’ in the phrase ‘Do you submit to Christ as Lord?’ because it is thought to have become ‘problematical’, especially among women who object to the idea of submission. [Hey! They’ve move beyond Jesus!  Just like the LCWR!]

The rewritten version – which came after reformers said they wanted to use the language of EastEnders rather than Shakespeare in services – is designed as an alternative to the wording in the Common Worship prayer book, rather than a replacement.
But insiders predict this draft will become the norm for the Church’s 150,000 christenings each year if, as expected, it is approved by the General Synod. It may discuss the issue as early as this summer.

But the idea has angered many senior members of the Church, who feel it breaks vital links with baptisms as described in the Bible. [Bible, Schmible. We are talking about the official State Church.]
Writing in The Mail on Sunday, former Bishop of Rochester Michael Nazir-Ali said the reform should be scrapped before it further reduced Christianity to ‘easily swallowed soundbites’.
And one senior member of the General Synod, who did not wish to be named, said: ‘This is more like a benediction from the Good Fairy than any church service.


Fr. Z kudos to that last guy.

For my Anglican readers, just remember that Benedict XVI, Pope of Christian Unity, provided you with an option: Anglicanorum coetibus.

In the meantime, for the Fishwrap types and the squishy who come around here, I hold out hope that you will soon see the Church of England issue Romanorum coetibus.

As you will remember, Romanorum coetibus is that document whereby our Anglican sisters and brothers will make provisions for disaffected catholics, offering them a safe-haven from the patriarchal oppression of Rome while preserving intact their most cherished traditions, such as clay cups, guitars, abortion clinic escort nuns, hand holding, the dream of female deacons, etc.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Benedict XVI, Francis, Liberals, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Our Catholic Identity, Pò sì jiù, Pope of Christian Unity, You must be joking! and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Jason Keener says:

    In a way, this is a good thing. The faster the Church of England collapses in upon itself, which it was bound to do as a man-made religion, the better. All of those good Anglicans seeking the truth will finally have no choice but to see the ruins around them and enter the true Catholic Church founded by Christ Himself.

  2. Priam1184 says:

    The Church of England is a dead man walking anyways but this is still annoying.

  3. APX says:

    You forgot ordination tambourines.

    I’m wondering, with this new Rite of Baptism for Dummies and People with Easily Hurt Feelings dumbing down the language to the point where they’re no longer rejecting sin, does it put the validity of their baptisms at risk for the requirement to indend to do what the Church does? At the rate this is going, I could see them start baptizing in the “Name of the Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier” in the near future.

  4. Clinton R. says:

    What does the Church of England stand for? If they don’t know, then they will continue their decay like the branch separated from the tree, and soon die. For those who are still ensnared in the errors and heresies of the CofE, may they come home to the Catholic Church, the Bride of Christ. +JMJ+

  5. ClavesCoelorum says:

    Thank Heaven I escaped from the CofE to Holy Church just about a month ago. They’re rowing “gently down the stream”, and sometimes not so gently.

  6. Muv says:

    Last month a friend and I took a trip through Monmouthshire and Herefordshire, visiting the graves of two of the Forty Martyrs, St. David Lewis and St. John Kemble. We ended up in Hereford, where there is a relic of St. John Kemble at the church of St. Francis Xavier. We also went into Hereford Cathedral to visit the medieval shrine of St. Thomas de Cantilupe and pay our respects to him. This is what we found:-

    Last week I visited Hereford Cathedral again, this time with my husband. I spotted a plaque on the main wall of the cathedral, hidden behind the shrine, recording the fact that the restoration of the shrine was financed by, inter alia, the local Freemasons. An internet search yielded the following:- (scroll down for the relevant article)

    Draw your own conclusions. Nothing surprises me any more about the Church of England.

  7. Martlet says:

    “Do you reject stuff which, in your personal opinion, isn’t nice?”

    “I do.”

    “Do you consent to the splashing of a little bit of water on your baby’s head?”

    “I do.”

    “Then welcome the newest member of the Church family and we will see you again when s/he wants to get married.”

  8. Kerry says:

    Cute outfit. If someone using the passive voice is thought to dislike the jewelry about his neck, will he abandon the Cross also?

  9. Martlet – brilliant! :)
    Last Wednesday according to the BBC News Channel the Archbishop of Canterbury said in his New Year’s message that people should aim to be inspired by, and copy Nelson Mandela. After hearing this I got online and wrote an email to my parish priest saying I liked his message of that morning, about trusting the coming year to the patronage of Our Blessed Lady much better.

  10. incredulous says:

    Ridiculous man made religion and heretical state church.

    But a close comparison is required. They don’t like the word submit in addition to devil and sin. No surprise. However our own CCC seems to engage in its own politically correct purging of St. Paul by never mentioning the word submit when discussing marriage. (1616. 1655).

    Haven’t we purged the concept of the devil, sin and submission from our general religious practice and in the case of submission from our (VCII) catechism? Therein lies the breakdown of the church, the family and society. IMO.

  11. PA mom says:

    Have to agree with Incredulous. After reading the Epiphany water blessing, it would clearly appear that our own Church rites have undergone significant meaning reduction also.

    Can Pope Francis be convinced to correct the Book of Blessings was done to the translation of the Mass?

  12. Mightnotbeachristiantou says:

    I think in this day and age the wording is not bad. In fact, I think it is more specific.
    What I find fun is no one complain about dropping God from the baptismal rite.

  13. robtbrown says:

    The word “prophetic” is being tossed around often these days, usually coupled with vague sentimentalism.

    Leo XIII’s Apostolicae Curae, however, was truly prophetic.

  14. robtbrown says:

    PA mom says:

    Can Pope Francis be convinced to correct the Book of Blessings was done to the translation of the Mass?

    This pope doesn’t seem at all oriented toward liturgical reformation. Unless the above was a project almost finished, I doubt that anything will be done.

  15. LadyMarchmain says:

    Marlet, hilarious! Thank you for the first huge laugh of the day. Good thing my Mystic Monk coffee was still brewing and I hadn’t taken a sip yet.

    APX: I’ve heard “In the name of Source, Mediator, Sustainer” and all kinds of pixilated nonsense.

    Mightnotbe: Good point.

    The sand is running away in rivulets on all sides.

    Incredulous, PA Mom: Unfortunately, the Catholic Church has been letting the tide in also, which is why we need Fr. Z to tell us the Latin and what the prayers used to say.

  16. Suburbanbanshee says:

    How are “sin” and “the devil” not in the vocabulary of East Enders? Or do they mean that the long-running UK soap opera doesn’t mention such things?

    Seems to me that the vocabulary of East Enders has been known to be pretty strong about a number of things not mentioned in this sailing-close-to-pretend baptismal ceremony.

  17. Unwilling says:

    Martlet, bene!

  18. majuscule says:

    Oh come on, maybe the media has misinterpreted what the dear archbishop really meant …


  19. Supertradmum says:

    Well, I am really rude to point out that satan has already entered into the back door of this Christian denomination, so what is the point about baptism?

    My son was baptized in the EF, with permission, of course. I wanted to exorcism bit. Was lovely.

  20. Angie Mcs says:

    At my church, I have at times observed that the baby is not taken into the sanctuary until the parents and godparents firmly vow to reject Satan. Then the party goes into the church to the baptismal font. I could say that in these days particularly, a newborn child needs the strength of adults who have rejected Satan. But I am certain that this applies to other times as well. The devil doesnt take a holiday, nor has he ever, and it is foolish to give him any more room to do damage. I am glad I had my children baptized Catholic at the request of my husband. I wasnt Catholic at the time. My youngest daughter had the most devout, wonderful Catholic godmother who sadly passed away too young. I miss her as a friend, but now that I have converted, I miss her even more. She was a fighter, and died a painful death, but always clutching a crucifx in her hand and praying to Jesus. It is an item I cherish and use myself when I need strength. To water down ones fight against the evil one is to leave oneself totally open to wandering off the true road. I cant believe any Christian Church would do this to an innocent child.

  21. mamajen says:

    Well, this gives me another reason to roll my eyes (privately, of course) next time my mother-in-law tries to convince us that the C of E is superior. That picture kind of says it all.

    Our priest used the Old Rite (though in English) for our youngest’s baptism, without us asking for it. It was completely fascinating, and very beautiful to witness. I wish we had done the same for our oldest.

  22. What is that on the Archbishop’s crosier, Fr. Z? Looks to me like what used to be called a “church mouse.” What symbolism might that denote?

  23. Unwilling says:

    Motley Mouse

    The Telegraph seems to have taken the story down, but the caption has enough to get the facts.

  24. StWinefride says:

    What looks like a mouse on the crozier is in fact a Rock Badger – amusing story:

  25. iPadre says:

    Ut requiescant in pace!

  26. theophilus says:

    The people who are proudly pointing at the CoE should remember that three more fingers are pointed back at us.

  27. Kathleen10 says:

    How foolish people are, and how many of them!

    It would be nice if Anglicans all came on over, very nice. But if not, they need to start creating some “lio”. I am positive, if 5000 Anglicans make some persistent noise about this, it could all go away and they could keep sin and the devil. You know what I mean.

  28. PA mom says: Can Pope Francis be convinced to correct the Book of Blessings was done to the translation of the Mass?

    No need. Just go back to the Rituale Romanum.

  29. Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says:

    Use of the old Rituale is not guaranteed as an option, and, as we have seen during this pontificate, use of older forms can be restricted…e.g. the Franciscans of the Immaculate. My instict is that we’ll see more and more restrictions during this pontificate.

  30. FrankWalshingham says:

    What do you expect from a so called religion founded for the sole purpose of letting the lecherous king called Henry VIII marry whatever concubine he wanted at the time?

  31. LadyMarchmain says:

    St Winefride, thank you! I needed another laugh. That’s what happens when you try to use the updated translations!

  32. liquidpaw says:

    Please don’t publish too many things of this nature. The way things are in Rome these days they might catch wind of it and think it is a good idea.

  33. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Jonathan Petrie concludes this article, “The baptism ceremony had not been altered for more than 400 years until it was changed in 1980. This is the third revision in 30 years”, having said the rewritten version “is designed as an alternative to the wording in the Common Worship prayer book, rather than a replacement.”

    Going to the relevant part of the latter online, one reads, “This definitive edition incorporates amendments to the initiation services made in 2000 and 2005.”

    So, the text of 14 years or in some cases 9 years ago (hey, some of it was even from 34 years ago), is so – old? replete with the potentially difficult or obscure? – that a better (!) alternative is called for…

    Incremental alternativism? The book called Common Worship is also officially “an alternative […] rather than a replacement.” But has it not in actual practice largely eclipsed the Book of Common Prayer? That has “Dost thou [in the name of this Child] renounce the devil and all his works, the vain pomp and glory of the world, with all covetous desires of the same, and the carnal desires of the flesh, so that thou wilt not follow nor be led by them?”

  34. David Zampino says:

    This grieves me. It grieves me beyond words.

    Leaving aside for a moment the Reformation and the issues surrounding it (yes, I know . . . I teach it) there was a time when the Church of England , especially in its High Church and Anglo-Catholic forms, had something to contribute. The Caroline Divines; the Tractarians; the dignity and beauty of liturgy; the musical patrimony (admit it — the translations of St. Thomas Aquinas’s Eucharistic hymns by John Mason Neale are far superior to anything ICEL has given us . . . ) all were things of great value.

    And to be reduced to this?


  35. Mike says:

    Quoth Angie Mcs:

    I cant believe any Christian Church would do this to an innocent child.

    Nor I, but the definition of Christian in certain circles is about as reliable as the definitions of reasonable and (ironically) relevant.

  36. msokeefe says:

    The Catholic Church watered down the rite of Baptism after Vatican II. We are no better.

  37. Patrick-K says:

    So now that the Church of England is “catching up with the modern world” and becoming “relevant to today’s society,” etc., it must be bursting at the seams with 100% church attendance and thousands of converts … right?

  38. AvantiBev says:

    Catholic or Protestant, I have seen plenty of bishops over the last 40+ years who think their mission is not to preach Christ, crucified and risen, but rather to be Bishop I-Won’t-Harsh-Your-Buzz.

  39. Adam Michael says:

    This reform is to be expected from a Church, which long divorced from ancient and apostolic Tradition, is bound to eventually become corrupted from the spirit and expectations of the world. However, it is somewhat surprising that this reform would occur during the tenure of Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, whose professed love for Pope Francis does not extend to imitation since the current Roman Pontiff has a firm belief in the reality of the devil – a belief that he expresses often and in serious terms.

  40. With respect to Anglicanism (and U.S. Episcopalianism) I have but one observation, Whether Welby knows it or not,

    ???, ???, ???, ??????

    All that remains to be determined is the numbering of its remaining days.

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer

  41. Well, this blog software doesn’t render Hebrew characters or else the question marks in the above comment would have read as the Hebraic mene, mene, tekel, upharsin.

  42. Pingback: Daily Bodily Penances: Examples & Tips -

  43. Unwilling says:

    Thanks for the link to the older Latin. Fascinating to look these things over carefully. It would be nifty to have posted the Latin for the newer wording beside the newer English too. The newer rite and options and even the rubrics seem very good. No loss of diabolic reminders.

    Why are there plural options (-ant) occasionally in the Latin?

  44. uptoncp says:

    Venerator Sti Lot – You could say that BCP and Common Worship in the CofE are in similar positions to Latin and the vernacular among Roman Catholics – what is the official alternative is the de facto norm. And yes, these draft proposals would form (as amended and once approved – they are currently out for trial use in a handful of parishes) an alternative option (alongside existing alternative options) within the “alternative” form of service.

  45. Venerator Sti Lot says:


    Yes, well said: “the official alternative is the de facto norm.” All this had got me wondering, ‘How “Latin” is the background to (this part of) the BCP baptismal rite?’

    The Prayer Book Dictionary (1912), available at Internet Archive seems a useful source. It reports that Sarum had “Abrenuntias Sathanae? Et omnibus operibus ejus? Et omnibus pompis ejus?” It suggests a debt, directly or indirectly, to a Gallican rite (probably the Mozarabic, which was available in print), for “the world”, and says the compilers of 1549 added “the flesh”.

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