Canon 5: Baptism
5.1 Baptism is
necessary for salvation in fact or at least in intention, by which
all people are freed from their sins, are reborn as Children of God
and, configured to Christ by an indelible character, are
incorporated into the Church, as validly conferred only by washing
with true water together with the required form of words.
should be administered in accord with the order prescribed within
the approved liturgical books.
5.3 One who is
not of sound mind non sui compos is equated with an infant; so far
as Baptism is concerned.
5.4 Baptism is
to be conferred either by immersion or by pouring with the
prescriptions of the proper authority being observed.
5.5 The proper
place for Baptism is in a church or oratory.
5.6 As a rule
adults are to be Baptized in their own local parish church, and
infants are to be Baptized in the parish church proper to their
parents, unless a just cause pastorally suggests otherwise.
5.7 Outside of
cases of necessity, Baptism is not to be conferred in private homes,
unless with the permission of the local ordinary.
ordinary minister of Baptism is a bishop, priest, or deacon in good
standing, with due regard that the prescriptions of the proper
authority be observed.
5.9 To be
Baptized, it is required that an adult have manifested the properly
formed will to be Baptized, be sufficiently instructed in the Truths
of Faith and in Christian obligations and be tested in the Christian
life by means of the Catecumenate; the adult is also to be exhorted
to have sorrow for personal sins.
5.10 Unless a
grave reason prevents it, an adult who is Baptized is to be
Confirmed immediately after Baptism and participate in the
celebration of the Eucharist, also receiving Communion.
and legal guardians are obliged to see that infants are Baptized.
5.12 An infant
that is in danger of death is to be Baptized without any delay.
5.13 For the
licit Baptism of an infant, it is necessary that:
parents or legal guardians, or at least one of them gives consent.
be a founded hope that the infant will be brought up in the Faith of
this Catholic faith community.
there is a doubt whether one has been Baptized or whether Baptism
was validly conferred and the doubt remains after serious
investigation, Baptism is to be conferred conditionally.
foundling or abandoned child is to be Baptized unless upon diligent
investigation proof of Baptism is established.
§5 A child
who is legally adopted is to be Baptized unless upon diligent
investigation proof of Baptism is established.
aborted fetuses are alive, they are to be Baptized if possible.
as possible, one to be Baptized is to be given a sponsor who is to
assist an adult in Christian initiation.
5.14 To be
admitted to the role of sponsor, a person must: §1 Be designated by
the one to be Baptized, by the parents or legal guardians in the
case of an infant, or in their absence, by the pastor and is to have
the qualifications and intention of performing this role.
completed their sixteenth year.
§3 Be a
member in full standing within this Church.
§4 Not be
the father or mother of the one to be Baptized.
Baptized person who belongs to a non-Catholic ecclesial community,
or another validly consecrated Catholic community may act as a
witness to the Baptism, together with a member in full standing
within this Church.
5.16 A person
who enters into a family by means of legal adoption is to be
considered a natural born, legitimate child as far as the provisions
of this Code of Canon Law are concerned.
Canon 5 focuses on the theology and sacramental nature of Baptism.
efficacious—it removes the guilt of original sin and regenerates the
soul, freeing one from the slavery of sin and conferring justifying
grace, leaving an indelible mark on the baptized which can never be
removed (not even by mortal sin) and marks the believer with the
“seal.” It actually accomplishes that which it
symbolizes—death to sin and the new birth of the Holy Spirit.
Baptism is therefore the Gateway to the Christian life—to justifying
grace, to membership in the Catholic Church, to communion with
Christ, his sufferings and baptism, to the common priesthood of all
believers, etc. Baptism is thus also necessary—for salvation,
justification, sanctification, etc., and since children are born
with original sin, they too must be baptized. Christian Baptism is
prefigured in the crossing of Jordan into the promise land, in
Noah’s ark as a symbol of salvation, and above all in the Exodus as
a symbol of liberation from bondage. Water has always been a symbol
of life and fruitfulness, yet the water of the sea is a symbol of
death, and thus represents the death of Christ and consequently the
death of the believer who dies with Christ through Baptism.
Canon 5.2 dictates
who the minister of Baptism can be. The celebration of Baptism
in this Church is extensive and detailed. Although only a bishop,
priest, or a deacon ordinarily administers baptism, in case of
necessity, anyone who sincerely wished to truly perform the
celebration may do so. All not yet baptized are subject to baptism,
but since baptism can never be repeated, only those not yet baptized
can be candidates. For the celebration of baptism, many
rituals must be performed—exorcisms, the consecration of the
baptismal waters, confession of faith, triple immersion (or triple
pouring) in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the
post-baptismal anointing which symbolizes the anointing of the Holy
Spirit, the white garment which symbolizes the putting on of Christ,
the candle which symbolizes the enlightened neophyte and the
transformation of this one from darkness to light (even the light of
the world), and finally, the solemn blessing which concludes the
The official text used for the sacrament of Baptism is the 1964