Invalid Baptisms

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: I’m presuming that you have received  questions asking about the recent news stories about the  invalidity of a baptismal formula that uses “We” instead of “I”. 

In addition to raising a liturgical/sacramental question —it’s a PR disaster in the making. Former Catholics. Non Catholics. Faithful Body of Christ Catholics.  Young adult Catholics hanging on by a thread — many are angry about this.  

How to best respond?


A: The Vatican clarified its teaching about the baptismal formula a year and a half ago. There were some news reports right away, but nothing to compare with the most recent one concerning thousands of invalid baptisms performed by one priest over the years.

I can’t imagine that the Holy See expected to uncover this situation.

We can say several things: 

* The formula we use for baptism comes from Jesus’ own words at the end of Matthew’s gospel.
* The Church takes great care to ensure that the faithful celebrate the correct liturgy that is their right.
* In cases where no harm was intended, we can trust in God’s providence.
* But for the welfare of the faithful, pastoral ministers will bring the sacraments and come to the aid of all those affected.