“Are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life.” (Romans 6:3-4)
Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit, and the door which gives access to the other sacraments. Those being baptized are asked to reject sin and Satan, and to profess their faith in the Triune God. In the case of infants, parents, godparents, and the entire assembly do this on behalf of those who cannot yet speak for themselves.
Matter and Form of the Sacrament
The essential Rite of the Sacrament is the pouring of water three times over the head of the person (or the person is immersed three times) as the celebrant says, “(Name), I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
Effects of the Sacrament
- we are freed from sin and reborn as children of God
- we become members of Christ
- we are incorporated into the Church
- we are made sharers in the Church’s mission
Who can receive Baptism?
Only a person not yet baptized and only such a person is able to be baptized. A person can be baptized only once as a Christian, e.g., if a person was baptized as a Lutheran, he cannot be rebaptized when he converts to Catholicism. Baptism imprints on the soul an indelible spiritual character which consecrates the baptized person for Christian worship. Because of the character Baptism cannot be repeated.
Who Can Baptize?
The ordinary ministers of Baptism are the bishop and priest, and in the Latin Church, also the deacon. In the case of necessity, anyone, even a non-baptized person, who intends to do what the Church does, can baptize, by using the Trinitarian baptismal formula and pouring water over the head of the person.
Necessity of Baptism
In accordance with the Lord’s will, Baptism is necessary for salvation as is the Church herself, which we enter by Baptism.
Those who die for the faith, those who are catechumens, and all those who, without knowing the Church but acting under the inspiration of grace, seek God sincerely and strive to fulfill God’s will, can be saved even if they have not been baptized. With respect to children who have died without baptism, the liturgy of the Church invites us to trust in God’s’ mercy and to pray for their salvation.
Click here to view 4-minute movies on the Sacraments.