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Commentary
to the
Code of Canon Law
for the
Evangelical Catholic Church

 

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.

5.2 Baptism 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.

5.8 The 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.

5.11 Parents 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:

    §1 The parents or legal guardians, or at least one of them gives consent.

    §2 There be a founded hope that the infant will be brought up in the Faith of this Catholic faith community.

    §3 If 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.

    §4 A 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.

    §6 If aborted fetuses are alive, they are to be Baptized if possible.

    §7 Insofar 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.

    §2 Have 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.

5.15 A 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.

Baptism is 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 celebration.

The official text used for the sacrament of Baptism is the 1964 Rituale Romanum.

 

 

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