“Love the Lord with all your heart, and with all your soul,
and with all your MIND”--Matt
Question: Why don't Catholics baptize the way Jesus was baptized (i.e. by full immersion)?So some Jehovah's Witnesses (JWs) came to my door recently, and we had a short and sweet discussion.
One comment that they made was that they "baptized the way Jesus was", meaning that they baptize by full immersion. This was an unspoken criticism, I think, of the way Catholics baptize.
I found this comment curious because it seems that they took one characteristic of Jesus' baptism--that he was fully immersed, but not any of the others. That is:
- they don't baptize their converts in the , as Jesus was.
- they don't even baptize in any river (even one down the street) as Jesus was.
- they don't baptize when the convert is 30-ish, as Jesus was.
- they don't get baptized by their cousin named John, as Jesus was.
And another curiosity is that Catholics actually do recognize baptism by immersion as a valid way to confect the sacrament. So this JW's comment was merely expressing some misinformation she may have had about Catholic baptism.
Catholics can be baptized by
- pouring (also known as infusion),
- or by immersion.
Incidentally, it's not only JWs who claim that the only valid baptism is through full immersion. There are many Christians who do not view infusion or sprinkling as a permissible way to baptize--for the same reason that JWs do: because Jesus was baptized by immersion.
I think that Catholics would be right to ask other Christians why they take one aspect of Jesus' baptism (immersion) and apply it to their baptism rite, but not any of the other aspects (in the River Jordan, by his cousin, at age 30, wearing a robe and sandals, after eating fish...etc etc etc).
*Regarding water being required for baptism: this speaks to the proper form and matter for sacraments. For example, the Eucharist is not valid if a priest "consecrates" grape juice and Oreos. Baptism is not valid if water is not used.
**Regarding using the Trinitarian formula: there are a few sects of Christianity that claim that baptism must be done "IN JESUS' NAME," not using "the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit", citing Acts : Peter (said) to them, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This is another example of the chaos and confusion that arises from individuals interpreting the Scriptures divorced from the authority of the Church, which received the faith that was once for all handed down to the holy ones.--Jude 1:3.
"Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect" - 1 Peter