From a reader…
Recently, a baby in Texas was temporarily removed from her mother’s womb for life saving spine surgery. After the 20 minute surgery, the baby was returned to the womb, and was born healthy several months later. (Truly a great pro-life story – Link to BBC story HERE.) My question: Could that baby have been validly and licitly baptized under emergency guidelines while out of the womb (presuming it was safe to do so, etc.), even though it was not “born” for another few months? Thank you.
I read that story. It is amazing what can be done today.
Yes, it would have been possible to baptize the child before being replaced.
Babies can be baptized. An unborn baby is a baby. An unborn baby can be baptized.
The baby in the story could easily have been baptized using the short, emergency form. There could be no possibility of anointing with chrism, the Ephphatha, etc.
Moreover, for a long time there has been a procedure in an emergency to baptize in utero.
Manualists, et al., write of a procedure in which, using a syringe as in amniocentesis, a solution of water and mercuric chloride was introduced such that it reached the child. Leo XIII in 1905 approved of answers to dubia – back when dubia received answers – issued by the Holy Office about the validity of such a baptism. The Holy Office said that it was permitted and it was valid. In that case, however, I should think that conditional baptism would be prudent after live birth if possible.