The Sanctifying Function of the Church
» The Sacraments
Canon 849.The Sanctifying Function of the Church
Baptism, the gateway to the sacraments, is necessary for salvation, either by actual reception or at least by desire. By it people are freed from sins, are born again as children of God and, made like to Christ by an indelible character, are incorporated into the Church. It is validly conferred only by a washing in real water with the proper form of words.
» The Sacraments
» The celebration of baptism
Baptism is administered according to the rite prescribed in the approved liturgical books, except in a case of urgent necessity when only those elements which are required for the validity of the sacrament must be observed.
The celebration of baptism should be properly prepared. Accordingly:
1° an adult who intends to receive baptism is to be admitted to the catechumenate and, as far as possible, brought through the various stages to sacramental initiation, in accordance with the rite of initiation as adapted by the Episcopal Conference and with the particular norms issued by it;
2° the parents of a child who is to be baptised, and those who are to undertake the office of sponsers, are to be suitably instructed on the meaning of this sacrament and the obligations attaching to it. The parish priest is to see to it that either he or others duly prepare the parents, by means of pastoral advice and indeed by prayer together; a number of families might be brought together for this purpose and, where possible, each family visited.
§1 The provisions of the canons on adult baptism apply to all those who, being no longer infants, have reached the use of reason.
§2 One who is incapable of personal responsibility is regarded as an infant even in regard to baptism.
Apart from a case of necessity, the water to be used in conferring baptism is to be blessed, in accordance with the provisions of the liturgical books.
Baptism is to be conferred either by immersion or by pouring, in accordance with the provisions of the Episcopal Conference.
Parents, sponsors and parish priests are to take care that a name is not given which is foreign to christian sentiment.
Though baptism may be celebrated on any day, it is recommended that normally it be celebrated on a Sunday or, if possible, on the vigil of Easter.
§1 Apart from a case of necessity, the proper place for baptism is a church or an oratory.
§2 As a rule and unless a just reason suggests otherwise, an adult is to be baptised in his or her proper parish church, and an infant in the proper parish church of the parents.
§1 Each parish church is to have a baptismal font, without prejudice to the same right already acquired by other churches.
§2 The local Ordinary, after consultation with the local parish priest, may for the convenience of the faithful permit or order that a baptismal font be placed also in another church or oratory within the parish.
If, because of distance or other circumstances, the person to be baptised cannot without grave inconvenience go or be brought to the parish church or the oratory mentioned in can. 858
§2, baptism may and must be conferred in some other church or oratory which is nearer, or even in some other fitting place.
Canon 860.The Sanctifying Function of the Church
§1 Apart from a case of necessity, baptism is not to be conferred in private houses, unless the local Ordinary should for a grave reason permit it.
§2 Unless the diocesan Bishop has decreed otherwise, baptism is not to be conferred in hospital, except in a case of necessity or for some other pressing pastoral reason.
» The Sacraments
» The minister of baptism
§1 The ordinary minister of baptism is a Bishop, a priest or a deacon, without prejudice to the provision of can. 530,
§2 If the ordinary minister is absent or impeded, a catechist or some other person deputed to this office by the local Ordinary, may lawfully confer baptism; indeed, in a case of necessity, any person who has the requisite intention may do so. Pastors of souls, especially parish priests, are to be diligent in ensuring that Christ’s faithful are taught the correct way to baptise.
Except in a case of necessity, it is unlawful for anyone without due permission to confer baptism outside his own territory, not even upon his own subjects.
Canon 863.The Sanctifying Function of the Church
The baptism of adults, at least of those who have completed their fourteenth year, is to be referred to the Bishop, so that he himself may confer it if he judges this appropriate.
» The Sacraments
» Those to be baptized
Every unbaptised person, and only such a person, can be baptised.
§1 To be admitted to baptism, an adult must have manifested the intention to receive baptism, must be adequately instructed in the truths of the faith and in the duties of a christian, and tested in the christian life over the course of the catechumenate. The person must moreover be urged to have sorrow for personal sins.
§2 An adult in danger of death may be baptised if, with some knowledge of the principal truths of the faith, he or she has in some manner manifested the intention to receive baptism and promises to observe the requirements of the christian religion.
Unless there is a grave reason to the contrary, immediately after receiving baptism an adult is to be confirmed, to participate in the celebration of the Eucharist and to receive holy communion.
§1 Parents are obliged to see that their infants are baptised within the first few weeks. As soon as possible after the birth, indeed even before it, they are to approach the parish priest to ask for the sacrament for their child, and to be themselves duly prepared for it.
§2 If the infant is in danger of death, it is to be baptised without any delay.
§1 For an infant to be baptised lawfully it is required:
1° that the parents, or at least one of them, or the person who lawfully holds their place, give their consent;
2° there must be a founded hope that the infant will be brought up in the Catholic religion subject to §3; if such hope is altogether lacking, the baptism is to be delayed according to the prescripts of particular law after the parents have been informed of the reason.
[revised wording according to m.p. De concordia inter Codices, 31.V.2016]
§2 An infant of catholic parents, indeed even of non-catholic parents, may in danger of death be baptised even if the parents are opposed to it.
§3. An infant of non-Catholic Christian parents is baptized licitly if the parents, or at least one of them or the person who lawfully takes their place requests it and if it is physically or morally impossible for than to obtain access to the actual ministry.
[new paragraph added by m.p. De concordia inter Codices, 31.V.2016]
§1 If there is doubt as to whether a person was baptised or whether a baptism was conferred validly, and after serious enquiry this doubt persists, the person is to be baptised conditionally.
§2 Those baptised in a non-catholic ecclesial community are not to be baptised conditionally unless there is a serious reason for doubting the validity of their baptism, on the ground of the matter or the form of words used in the baptism, or of the intention of the adult being baptised or of that of the baptising minister.
§3 If in the cases mentioned in §§1 and 2 a doubt remains about the conferring of the baptism or its validity, baptism is not to be conferred until the doctrine of the sacrament of baptism is explained to the person to be baptised, if that person is an adult. Moreover, the reasons for doubting the validity of the earlier baptism should be given to the person or, where an infant is concerned, to the parents.
An abandoned infant or a foundling is to be baptised unless diligent enquiry establishes that it has already been baptised.
Canon 871.The Sanctifying Function of the Church
Aborted foetuses, if they are alive, are to be baptised, in so far as this is possible.
» The Sacraments
In so far as possible, a person being baptised is to be assigned a sponsor. In the case of an adult baptism, the sponsor’s role is to assist the person in christian initiation. In the case of an infant baptism, the role is together with the parents to present the child for baptism, and to help it to live a christian life befitting the baptised and faithfully to fulfil the duties inherent in baptism.
One sponsor, male or female, is sufficient; but there may be two, one of each sex.
Canon 874.The Sanctifying Function of the Church
§1 To be admitted to undertake the office of sponsor, a person must:
1° be appointed by the candidate for baptism, or by the parents or whoever stands in their place, or failing these, by the parish priest or the minister; to be appointed the person must be suitable for this role and have the intention of fulfilling it;
2° be not less than sixteen years of age, unless a different age has been stipulated by the diocesan Bishop, or unless the parish priest or the minister considers that there is a just reason for an exception to be made;
3° be a catholic who has been confirmed and has received the blessed Eucharist, and who lives a life of faith which befits the role to be undertaken;
4° not labour under a canonical penalty, whether imposed or declared;
5° not be either the father or the mother of the person to be baptised.
§2 A baptised person who belongs to a non-catholic ecclesial community may be admitted only in company with a catholic sponsor, and then simply as a witness to the baptism.
» The Sacraments
» The proof and registration of the conferral of baptism
Whoever administers baptism is to take care that if there is not a sponsor present, there is at least one witness who can prove that the baptism was conferred.
To prove that baptism has been conferred, if there is no conflict of interest, it is sufficient to have either one unexceptionable witness or, if the baptism was conferred upon an adult, the sworn testimony of the baptised person.
§1 The parish priest of the place in which the baptism was conferred must carefully and without delay record in the register of baptism the names of the baptised, the minister, the parents, the sponsors and, if there were such, the witnesses, and the place and date of baptism. He must also enter the date and place of birth.
§2 In the case of a child of an unmarried mother, the mother’s name is to be entered if her maternity is publicly known or if, either in writing or before two witnesses, she freely asks that this be done. Similarly, the name of the father is to be entered, if his paternity is established either by some public document or by his own declaration in the presence of the parish priest and two witnesses. In all other cases, the name of the baptised person is to be registered, without any indication of the name of the father or of the parents.
§3 In the case of an adopted child, the names of the adopting parents are to be registered and, at least if this is done in the local civil registration, the names of the natural parents in accordance with §§1 and 2 subject however to the rulings of the
If baptism was administered neither by the parish priest nor in his presence, the minister of baptism, whoever that was, must notify the parish priest of the parish in which the baptism was administered, so that he may register the baptism in accordance with can. 877
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