on baptism

An unexpected question on baptism led to the Code of Canons again, and I’ve learned something surprising.

By church law, we seem to assume that only children are baptized.  Canon 27 says this:

On the Administration of Holy Baptism

  1. In the administration of the Sacrament of Baptism, the sponsors must have been themselves baptised, and shall, if possible, be communicants.
  2. In default of others, the parents of the child may be admitted as sponsors, and in cases of necessity, of which the cleric administering the Sacrament shall be judge, one sponsor shall be deemed sufficient.
  3. While the Sacrament of Baptism shall normally be administered in church, the clergy may baptise elsewhere when, by reason of some impediment, the child cannot be brought to church.
  4. …  [tells you what to do if you’re not sure if someone’s been baptized]

Time for a new canon, then?  (though I fear the poor committee on cannons would never get a night’s sleep if we insisted that all canons were accurate, useful and appropriate for current teaching and practice.)

5 thoughts on “on baptism

  1. I realise this does not help in ordinary circumstances, but I went to a Convent school. Every one of us was carefully taught how to administer baptism in a crisis, and I spent years looking for a suitable crisis.

  2. No, but I told my children, and the little devils confessed in later years that they had themselves validly and with intent baptised my youngest before the official church service. Mercifully they never told me, their father of the priest, who would have had fifty thousand fits.

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