Bishops Approve Document on Baptism

Catholic News Service reports that US bishops approved an historic document recognizing baptisms from four Protestant Churches.

From CNS:


BALTIMORE (CNS) -- In what Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory of Atlanta called "a milestone on the ecumenical journey," the U.S. Catholic bishops affirmed an agreement to recognize baptisms in four Protestant church communities. By a 204-11 vote Nov. 16 in Baltimore, the bishops approved the "Common Agreement on Mutual Recognition of Baptism," which was drawn up over the past six years by a team of scholars from the Catholic-Reformed dialogue group, made up of representatives of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Christian Reformed Church in North America, Presbyterian Church (USA), Reformed Church in America and United Church of Christ. Archbishop Gregory, chairman of the bishops' Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, said in a statement after the vote that the agreement "will allow Catholic ministers to presume that baptisms performed in these communities are 'true baptism' as understood in Catholic doctrine and law." He added: "The presentation of a baptismal certificate by Reformed Christians who wish to come into full communion with the Catholic Church, or to marry a Catholic, assures Catholic ministers that the baptism performed by a Reformed minister involved the use of flowing water and the biblical invocation of God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit." While other bishops' conferences around the world have entered into similar agreements with Protestant communities in their regions, the document is unprecedented for the U.S. Catholic Church.


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Jim McCrea
8 years 2 months ago
When does a "sect" become a "church?"  Must it be encompassed by Rome in order for that to happen?
Mark Harden
8 years 2 months ago
Since the Catholic Church has always recognized baptisms by Protestant sects, when done in a Trinitarian formula, etc., this seems to be merely a formal recognition of this? I don't understand this as any sort of ecumenical earthquake, that's for sure. 
Liam Richardson
8 years 2 months ago
It's what's not said that is the hermeneutical key here.

Baptisms that do not employ the formula of the traditional referent names for the persons of the Holy Trinity are not being recognized, and there is an undertaking to make sure that certifications reflect that.

Frankly, this is even, very sad to say, an issue in some Catholic churches that made the error of changing the form of baptismal formula, thus making a certification that it had been conducted in accordance with the ritual questionable at best.

The underlying issue is when there is uncertainty about whether the form and matter of the sacrament are in question, it raises the specter of conditional baptisms and even unconditional baptisms.


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