Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Question concerning validity of baptism when minister uses “we” rather than “I,” 2003, Private.


A priest administered the Sacrament of Baptism using the words "We baptize you " rather than "I baptize you" as the Rite of Baptism prescribes. The question of the validity of the celebration of the sacrament was then posed to the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments. What follows is the Congregation's response in English.




CONGREGATIO DE CULTU DIVINO ET DISCIPLINA SACRAMENTORUM

Prot. N. _____

Dear _____,

This Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments acknowledges receipt of your letter dated _____, in which you inquire concerning the validity of Baptism administered according to a form employing the first person plural, rather than the singular.

Please be assured that the form that you describe, and in the manner that you describe it, does not cast into doubt the validity of the Baptism conferred. That is, if the three divine Persons are named specifically as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the use of the first person plural does not invalidate the conferral of the Sacrament.

The liceity of such a celebration, however, is quite another matter. This matter should not cause the faithful any distress as regards their own participation, but it is the responsibility of the celebrant of Baptism to confer the Sacrament in a way that is licit as well as valid, and any infraction such as the one you describe should be brought immediately to the attention of the local Bishop in his capacity as moderator of the liturgical life of the diocese (cf. canon 835, §1; Decree on the Pastoral Office of Bishops in the Church, Christus Dominus 15; The Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 26). It would be important to make clear in any such communication that your concern pertains to liceity rather than to the validity of the Sacrament.

Please be assured also that this Congregation remains ready to be of assistance if you should need to contact it again.

Thanking you for your concern and with every prayerful good wish, I am

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Undersecretary




Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Question concerning validity of baptism when minister uses “we” rather than “I,” 2003, Private, CLSA, Roman Replies and Advisory Opinions, 2003, 17-18.