More on “Holy Ghost”

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q. The recent post about the validity of using Holy Ghost in place of Holy Spirit when celebrating a baptism caught my attention.

With the emergence of liturgical books for celebrations for Ordinariates associated with Anglicanorum Coetibus, I have noticed the general permission to substitute to more classic English form for the more contemporary one. On the question of the sacramental formula Article 17 of the Introduction to Infant Baptism of Divine Worship: Occasional Services addresses the point directly regarding changing the formula. With the exception of the sacramental formula for the administration of Holy Baptism, the words “Holy Ghost” may be used in place of “Holy Spirit” throughout the rite according to local custom.

On a related note regarding validity of using “Holy Ghost” in place of “Holy Spirit,” the Anglican Book of Common Prayer makes use of “Holy Ghost” and the Catholic Church accepts the validity of baptism performed according to this rite.

I hope this is of interest and assistance.


Q. As a note on : given that the Book of Common Prayer uses “Holy Ghost” and we recognize those Anglican baptisms as valid, not to mention the fact that some (i.e., older) editions of the Baltimore Catechism give “Holy Ghost” in the formula to be used for baptism, it is indubitably the case that, unless the minister means someone or something other than the Holy Spirit when saying “Holy Ghost”, the use of the words “Holy Ghost” is not an invalidating factor. 

Obviously, we who have taken the Oath of Fidelity are bound to “maintain the observance of all ecclesiastical laws”, including those respecting the sacramental formulae (and all other liturgical laws).Interestingly, the Book of Divine Worship: Occasional Services, used by the Personal Ordinariates of Our Lady of Walsingham, of the Chair of St. Peter, and of Our Lady of the Southern Cross, specifies that the only time in the entire rite of baptism when “Holy Ghost” may not be used instead of “Holy Spirit” is in the baptismal formula itself, despite “thee” being an acceptable substitute for “you”.


A. Thank you both for these insights. I have the 2014 edition of Divine Worship: Occasional Services from the Catholic Truth Society of London, which is used by the Ordinariate in the United States as well. Indeed, the Order of Baptism uses the words “thee” and “Holy Spirit” but the introductory article 17 permits the use of “Holy Ghost.”

I also have the 1979 The Book of Common Prayer for The Episcopal Church, published by The Church Hymnal Corporation in New York. It uses “Holy Spirit” in the formula.

I’m grateful for these additional references.