Rebaptism?


Question
I hope this isn’t too personal or off-topic, but I read that you were rebaptized upon your reception in the Roman Catholic Church. May I inquire whether that is true, and if so, why you felt that was appropriate?

Answer
I received “conditional baptism.” This was the case because the Methodist church at which I was baptized had lost my record and certificate. The pastor who baptized me has since left the ministry and was not available. Since we had no records, I received conditional baptism because there was no empirical evidence of the event.

Conditional baptisms should not be foreign to Anglicans. The 1928 Book of Common Prayer describes the reasons for conditional baptism at the end of the baptism rite:

¶ If there be reasonable doubt whether any Person were baptized with Water, In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost (which are essential parts of Baptism), such Person may be baptized in the manner herein appointed; saving that, at the immersion or the pouring of water, the Minister shall use this Form of words.

IF thou art not already baptized, N., I baptize thee In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

It is worth noting that the Catholic Church believes that baptism leaves anindeliblee seal on the soul and therefore cannot be repeated. It also recognizes all Trinitarian Protestant baptisms as valid. However, in cases in which baptism is not certain, a conditional baptism is administered.

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