My Baptism Valid?
What Is Valid Baptism?
Baptism by a non-Catholic
Why is Baptism So Important?
Which Rite is Used?
November 8, 1997
by Fr. Lucian Pulvermacher, OFM Cap.
Although this newsletter
appears before the eyes of both those who love me and hate me, I have in
mind chiefly those of the true Catholic faith. Without any office,
under God, in His kingdom I make bold to address you in a weak form but
with a strong faith in the words of St. Peter (I Peter 1, 1&2).
“Simon Peter, servant and apostle of Jesus Christ:
to them that have obtained equal faith with us in the justice of our God
and Savior Jesus Christ. Grace to you and peace be accomplished in
the knowledge of God and of Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Those in God’s kingdom on earth have one Lord, one
Faith and one baptism.
Pope Pius XII died on October 9, 1958, and since
that time the whole world has lived through a dark period of nearly total
confusion. A steady flow of new people come into my life, some
permanently and some merely in passing, and frequently they confront me
with the question, “Father, what about my baptism?”
Baptism – Standing on Four Feet
Without trying to be facetious I will say: that
question is about as hard to answer as the question (awaiting the answer,
yes or no), “Have you stopped beating up your wife?” To that,
any sensible and good man will say: I will give you my answer after I have
explained myself to you.
If one has received any form of baptism at all,
there are always three possibilities;
If it is valid, no correction is made. If it
is invalid it is rectified by simply giving unconditional baptism.
If it is doubtful then every effort is to be made to see if it can be slipped
into a firm judgment that it is a valid baptism or just an invalid baptism.
The whole burden of this treatise is to put everybody’s baptism into one
of these three possible classes.
It is valid,
It is invalid, or
It is doubtful.
Baptisms that are always judged to be valid are
those that were given by a Catholic Deacon or a Catholic priest.
Obviously, we are not excluding the Pope and his Bishops, who (because
of their range of work) hardly ever give baptisms.
Validity of Baptisms
Next we turn to the baptisms given in case of necessity
by the Catholic laity. A simple question by the priest can usually
settle that question.
For baptism to be valid, the minister of the sacrament
must unite three things. There must be the right intention, the right
matter (properly used) and the proper form. Simply, the minister
really wants to baptize in the Catholic way; it is not just a game or a
test run. Then he must use just natural water, and he must administer
it so that it runs on the skin of the head of the one baptized. Just
running it over the hair (not hitting the skin) makes the baptism invalid.
It must run on the skin. Laying water on the skin without having
it run makes the baptism invalid. A washing sign must be present.
I mentioned the head. If the running water is applied to any other
part of the body, it makes a doubtful baptism, which must be repeated conditionally.
I am thinking of a breach birth. If the
body up to the head is born, and one fears that it will be dead before
the head is born, one is to baptize it conditionally, on any part of the
body. Then if it is alive, when the head is born, the baptism is
again given conditionally on the skin of the head. We will not put
up with a doubtful baptism.
The one and only valid form for baptism
"I baptize thee (or you) in the name of the
Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost (or Spirit)."
You may smile at this one. The Japanese grammar
has them say (under the direction of the Church): “In the name of the Father,
and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, I thee wash.” Obviously, in
cases of necessity their laity baptize with those words.
Baptisms by non-Catholics
The burning problem for this treatment is this:
“What about the baptisms given by ministers of non-Catholic religions?”
We know that the Greek and Russian Orthodox (non-Catholics)
religions guard their sacraments very carefully. They have their
official books for the sacraments. Hence, their baptisms, given with
their rituals, are readily judged to be valid. They want real baptism,
and the Catholic Church holds that heretics (here speaking of the Greek
Orthodox and Russian Orthodox) who give any of their sacraments with the
correct matter and form, also have the proper intention.
The burden of this treatise centers around the
baptisms give by the ordinary run of Protestants: be they Lutherans, Anglicans,
Baptists and the like. I realize that there may be exceptions to
what I know to be true, so keep this in mind.
The first thing to consider is that the Church
of England changed the rite of Holy Orders, so from that time on all Anglican
Orders were judged to be invalid. We know that the form (words) were
changed so that the intention of the sacrament was vitiated. Here
is how we deal with that problem. Even if those early fallen away
true (valid) bishops intended to give valid Holy Orders they could not
overcome the defect in the rite that they were forced to use. It
is as if one came to a roadblock, saying: Road Closed -- Bridge Out.
You just cannot muddle through.
In my experience I never came upon a case in any
Protestant religion where they had an official ritual for giving baptism.
Hence, in all their baptisms the matter and form came (and still
comes) from each individual minister or small group. How can I say
Here are some examples:
If I had to deal with that newly baptized child I
would still have my doubts: since the rite was new to the minister, and
he did so without a ritual. If I were there to see the matter and
form properly observed I would accept the baptism as valid.
On Okinawa I had a male (married) cook/house keeper.
He studied the Catholic religion with me, and he petitioned to become a
Catholic. I asked him how his Protestant baptism was given.
He told me that the Protestant catechist poured the water while the Protestant
minister said the words. Clear enough, he had an invalid baptism.
The pouring of the water and the saying of the words must be said by the
I saw on a TV show the baptism of a baby by a Protestant
minister. The minister touched his hand into water, and he just put
his dampened hand on the head of the baby as he said the correct form.
There was no attempt on his part to make the water run on the skin (making
the rite a WASHING). If not even one drop of water flows on the head,
then it is invalid. Here we have no assurance that even one drop
ran over the skin of the child’s head, so we have a baptism that is doubtful;
did it run, or did it not run, hangs in the air! That baptism must
be done over conditionally. “If thou art not baptized, I baptize
thee in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.”
On Okinawa, I learned this from a Catholic chaplain.
All the chaplains are united in one base chapel. Hence, they communicate
with one another quite freely. One day a Protestant chaplain told
the Catholic chaplain (obviously a priest) that he had a request from a
family in his parish for the baptism of their infant child. He told
the Catholic chaplain that this was a first for him, and he did not know
how to baptize. He asked the priest how he baptizes infants.
The priest pulled out his Catholic Ritual, and he showed him exactly how
we baptize. The Protestant chaplain (a minister) said it sounds good,
and he would do it that way too, and, of course, without a book in his
In the seminary we dealt with all the above points
of theology. One point that you must treat with the utmost respect
is the doctrine that heretics (all non-Catholics) can administer valid
sacraments, provided they have the proper matter, form and intention.
We cannot see the intention, but the Church has
made a presumption of fact in regard to the intention of any minister who
knows what he is doing. If the minister knows the Catholic Church,
and he intends by the baptism he gives, to DO what the Church DOES, then
he has the proper intention. Do not say he does what the Church “intends.”
That is not stated correctly.
When I became an assistant priest in a big parish
in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, I became involved in conversions, obviously.
The priest, who had charge of me and several other classmates of mine,
went though the accepted procedure in that parish, and likely in every
single parish in the United States. We young priests, green out of
the seminary, wanted to study the procedure of the Protestant baptisms
of each convert. This seasoned priest said, “I know all that theology,
and I know the practice of the Church where we work, and we just go ahead
and baptize conditionally all converts from Protestantism.”
It is likely that over the years priests had made
their investigations over and over again, and they always came up with
a doubt of the validity of the matter and/or form in Protestant baptisms.
Furthermore, such investigations would be time-wise,
and money-wise extremely costly. If I had one convert baptized as
a Protestant in South Africa and another one from North Alaska, I could
spend most of my time on the road on wild goose chases, something even
common sense already would forbid.
Years ago I saw a picture of a baptism given by
a non-Catholic minister where he was pouring the water over the large shock
of hair. No way could the water even hit the skin of the head.
This nonsense is so universal that in my experience in the U.S.A., Japan,
and Australia, unless you know for sure otherwise, one is to presume that
all Protestant baptisms are doubtful, and therefore, they must be done
over conditionally, as I explained above.
While I was on Okinawa word got there that President
Nixon’s daughter converted to the Catholic Church. That was a time
when “ecumenism (as it is called)” was all-aglow, the world over.
Well, Nixon’s daughter had the option to received conditional baptism or
not. (Remember -- this was as the Novus Ordo was just getting started).
She asked for and received conditional baptism. Since the publicity of
that baptism was so great, it reached a Protestant minister on Okinawa,
and he was offended. I will bet that he would have a hard time to
prove that the priest and Miss Nixon were wrong.
Why Baptism is So Important
In conclusion, just why is it that a valid
baptism is so terribly important? Here is the reason. A valid
baptism is the one and only door to all the other sacraments. If
one with an invalid baptism goes to confession, gets Communion and so forth,
all those sacraments are invalid. Even Holy Orders and matrimony
will be invalid. I know a case on the Island of Amami Oshima where
I labored in real mud from 1948 to 1952. There a boy in a Catholic family
received the sacraments from me many times. He later went to the
seminary, and he could not produce a baptismal certificate, because of
the war and persecution, so he had to be baptized conditionally before
ordination. The entire family had always been Catholic, and they
presumed that he was baptized, but not one single member of the family
remembered that he had been baptized.
Which Rite of Baptism?
During the past 21 years I have had to puzzle over
many of the baptisms that were conferred during the change-over from the
true Church to the satanic Novus Ordo Church. Some priests used the
new Rite of baptism of the Novus Ordo as soon as it came out, and other
priest held back - continued to use the true Rite even years later.
I would work on the language used. If the Rite used by a SLOW
TO MOVE priest was in Latin I judged he used the true Rite, and if he used
English I judged that he used the Novus Ordo (to me) doubtful rite, and
I did it over conditionally. I cannot stress this too much.
If there is even a small but real doubt as to the validity of a baptism
it is to be done over conditionally. Thus we are safe, and we obey
the law that: “no valid sacrament may be repeated without sacrilege.”
Ther are 2 documents which you should refer to
with regard to baptism. I carry these with me wherever I go.
The New Vatican II Rite of
Baptism - "Is is Valid?", and
How a Lay Person is to Administer
Just recently the Novus Ordo Pope (John Paul II)
declared St. Therese of the Child Jesus (also known as the “Little Flower”)
to be a Doctor of the Church. She now poses with the crucifix in
her left hand and a scholarly tome in her right hand with her roses around
both of them. On the tome is written: Doctor Ecclesiae
- October - AD 1997.
New "Doctor of the Church"
Behind that picture (Is it still holy, after that
defilement?), I printed the following instruction. THERE ARE NO WOMEN
DOCTORS OF THE CHURCH. We have been informed that John Paul II just
now declared St. Therese of the Child Jesus a DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH.
For those who do not know it, St. Therese of Avila and St. Catherine of
Sienna were also declared DOCTORS OF THE CHURCH since the death of Pope
The true Catholic Church over the centuries absolutely
refused to declare any woman to be a Doctor of the Church. The reason
for that is found in the Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians (14, 34
& 35). We read:
“Let women keep silence in the churches: for
it is not permitted them to speak but to be subject, as also the law saith.
But if they would learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home.
For it is a shame for a woman to speak in the Church.”
God created Adam, and He made the body of Eve from
the body of Adam. Adam alone represents the whole human race.
All the rest of us are his offspring, including Eve. Hence, God placed
Eve and all women below men, and that being the case women are not in a
position to teach men (and women) in an official forum. The history
of the Church teaches us that the Church, by God’s direction cannot and
will not declare any woman to be a Doctor of the Church.
Therese of the Child Jesus is a great Saint in
heaven, and we have that truth from a true Pope. It seems that John
Paul II has some hidden agenda. Could it be that he wants to get
some mileage out of her holiness and popularity? By making her great
he probably thinks that he makes himself great in the eyes of world, and
I believe the diabolical trick will give him good mileage with the yet
sincere and pious Novus Ordo Catholics (Protestants, nevertheless).
I will admit that God gives spiritual lights to
women for the good of the Church. However, God will not destroy the
proper order of His creation because of the gifts He gave them. One
of the sins against the Holy Ghost (an unforgivable sin, as is taught in
the Catechism) is to envy the spiritual gifts of another. One tells
God that He is not free to do with His gifts as He wishes: terrible blasphemy!
Women who are envious of men commit the same kind of sin against the Holy
Ghost. God ordained a special happiness for you women just as you
are, in His creation. Thank God for your place in creation and get
on with the work of your eternal salvation.
By means of prayer, fasting and alms deeds please
assist the poor souls in purgatory. What do we do for them? We help
them by shortening their excruciating punishments. Once they are
finished with their purgation they go to heaven where they stand before
the throne of God to praise and thank Him forever. Likewise, they, from
that position in heaven, petition God to help us here on earth, and if
we go to purgatory to shorten our sufferings there. Gain all the
indulgences you can for them also. God will reward you for all your
acts of mercy towards His suffering “brethren.”
November – The Month of the Poor