Sancta Missa - Rituale Romanum (Roman Ritual) - Baptism of adults - General Rules


1. An adult should not be baptized without his knowledge and consent, and then only after being duly instructed. Moreover, he must have true compunction for his sins. But in danger of death, if he cannot be more thoroughly instructed in the principal mysteries of faith, it suffices for baptism that he manifest in some way his assent to these mysteries, and promise in earnest that he will keep the commandments of the Christian religion if his life is spared. If he is unable even to ask for baptism, but has either earlier or in his present state indicated in some probable way the intention to receive it, he should be baptized conditionally. If afterward he recovers, and a doubt remains as to the validity of the baptism, he should be baptized conditionally.

2. Baptism of adults should be referred to the local Ordinary if convenient, so that he, if it is his pleasure, or one delegated by him may administer it with greater solemnity; if not, the pastor himself should baptize with all the prescribed ceremonies.

3. This solemn manner of baptism is most fittingly celebrated on the vigils of Easter and Pentecost, in accord with apostolic tradition.

4. Consequently, if at these seasons catechumens are being readied for baptism, it ought to be reserved to these two days if there is nothing to hinder it.

5. But if there should be any converts around the time of Pentecost or later who would take it ill to have their baptism delayed for a long period, and want to hasten it, they may be baptized sooner if they are properly instructed and prepared.

6. After due instruction the catechumen should be baptized in church or in the baptistery, assisted by a sponsor. But the catechumen himself makes the responses to the priest's questions, unless he is a deaf-mute or does not know the language; in which case he answers through the sponsor or another interpreter, or manifests his consent by a nod.

7. The priest who is to baptize adults, as well as the candidates themselves, if in good health, ought properly to be fasting. Unless prevented by grave reasons, immediately following baptism an adult should assist at Mass and receive holy communion.

8. For which reason baptism of adults should take place at a time of the day that would not impede receiving communion.

9. The feeble-minded and insane are not to be baptized, unless their condition stems from birth or before attaining the use of reason; in which case they are baptized in the manner of infants. However, if they have lucid intervals, they should be baptized during such a period if they manifest a desire for it. They should be baptized also when in imminent danger of death, provided that prior to losing their reason they showed a desire for baptism. People who are suffering from somnolency, or delirium should be baptized only when recovered and provided they are willing; but in danger of death they should be baptized if previously they manifested such desire.

10. The priest should inform himself of the candidate's status, particularly when dealing with strangers. In these cases let him make careful inquiry as to whether they were ever baptized elsewhere and whether it was done properly, thus precluding that someone already baptized should wrongly ask for it again--be it out of ignorance, error, selfish advantage, or any other reason.

11. In every case where, after due investigation, a reasonable doubt remains as to whether the person has been baptized really or validly, baptism should be administered again conditionally.

12. Prospective converts to the Catholic Church from heresy, in whose baptism either the necessary form or the matter was not used, should be baptized absolutely. But first they must be duly instructed in the Catholic faith. In a case, however, where in baptism by heretics the necessary form and matter were used, only the rest of the ceremonies should be added, unless the Ordinary decides otherwise for a good reason.

13. For the rest, one should study and observe all that is prescribed for baptism at the beginning of Chapter I.

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