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Christos voskrese!

I have a very close friend who is exploring the possibility of entering the Catholic Church. He was nominally raised a Baptist (although I'm not sure if he was ever baptized) and spent the last 20 years bouncing around between agnosticism and Buddhism but always retained a respect for committed Christians and religion in general. He has recently come full circle and has accepted the Truth of Christianity and asked me last night about entering the Catholic communion. I was overjoyed at his interest and advised him to take it slow and with due study, as he's been known to jump into things headlong and come out the other end a bit scathed.

The thing is he's been divorced twice now and is engaged to a good friend of my wife who is a Methodist whose own faith was instrumental in his coming around. He hasn't asked yet, but he's an astute person and will most likely ask me what his divorces will mean as a possible convert as he explores Catholicism and prepares to get married. The marriage will most likely be a Methodist service.

Of course my first advice would be for him to talk to a priest about all this but I'd like to have some sort of answer for him when he does ask me about his situation vis-a-vis a possible future sacramental life in the Church.

We've invited my friend and his fiancee to Divine Liturgy on Thursday and will, of course, introduce them to our priest.

Any help/ideas would be much appreciated and please remember in your prayers BRANDON as he discerns his place.


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Mikey Stilts:

Christ is Risen!! Indeed He is Risen!!

This is an interesting situation. If he were never baptised, it might be that his now being baptised would give him a clean slate; even wipe out his past divorces and allow him to approach a marriage as if he were never married. Since only a baptised person can confer the sacrament on another person--according to the Western, Latin approach--he might have a clean slate after his baptism.

But he does need to bounce this off a priest. However, that being said, he should find one with lots of pastoral experience. I know of some cases where a priest with little practical experience gave people the wrong information and was unable to help them later when things soured and they walked away bitter.

In Christ Who is truly risen,

BOB

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There's also the possibility of Privilegium Paulinum if your friend is not baptised. Privilegium Petrinum could be sought if your friend is baptized but his previous marriages were non-sacramental and to unbaptized women.



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I have a very close friend who is exploring the possibility of entering the Catholic Church. He was nominally raised a Baptist (although I'm not sure if he was ever baptized) and spent the last 20 years bouncing around between agnosticism and Buddhism but always retained a respect for committed Christians and religion in general. He has recently come full circle and has accepted the Truth of Christianity and asked me last night about entering the Catholic communion. I was overjoyed at his interest and advised him to take it slow and with due study, as he's been known to jump into things headlong and come out the other end a bit scathed.

The thing is he's been divorced twice now and is engaged to a good friend of my wife who is a Methodist whose own faith was instrumental in his coming around. He hasn't asked yet, but he's an astute person and will most likely ask me what his divorces will mean as a possible convert as he explores Catholicism and prepares to get married. The marriage will most likely be a Methodist service.


As a former Baptist, Brandon was probably baptised if he was still a member when he was in his teens.

Following strict practices, Brandon would most likely be rejected because his situation is too complicated. But one cannot but think of the "Samaritan woman." Both situations are similar, yet Jesus was compassionate and the woman became a faithful and fervent disciple and evangelist.

I leave it up to the theologians and the bishop to make a decision, however, I would say that you don't have to be a fully accepted member of a parish to be a disciple of Christ in the Eastern (or any) Church. Even if one cannot receive the Sacraments, one can be blessed with holiness and become a shining example to traditional church members.

Lacking any pastoral guidance, I would recommend counselling along this line, that he is welcome to attend liturgy, service, church functions and charitable and prayerful works.

We are called to evangelize ALL people; we can't refuse to share our faith because of rules that technically make them unworthy.

Fr. Deacon Paul

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Hello,

This is what I would do:

1. Find a pastor who supports your friend's being received. You will find one.

2. With your pastor's approval, guidance and support, sort out the canonical issues. I don't think this should prove to be too complicated, but I am talking from my Latin experience.

3. With a road-map and a time-table in place, your friend should then decide the best way and time to formalize his own personal journey, that is, RCIA.

4. Your friend's fiancee will have to be on-board with this process and she may be asked for some concessions in the time and form of their wedding ceremony. I would recommend being upfront with this discussion.

I hope this helps.

Shalom,
Memo

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Thank you all for your replies. They have been most helpful. I just wanted something to tell him when he finally does ask the questions I know he will ask. I now have something concrete and a plan of sorts I can relay to him.

Thanks again! smile

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Last time I looked it was not impossible to obtain a dissolution of a marriage of an unbaptized person (because it was/is not sacramental). The Church normally regards Baptist "Baptism" as invalid (pity, because if you've ever seen it done you'll agree that it's impressive).

Fr. Serge

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Bless, Father!

What makes it invalid? Improper formula?

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Mike,

I think since most Baptist parishes act fairly independently it would be difficult to judge an individual Baptist "baptism" without interviewing the individual concerned. We have no way of knowing what words were said, what actions were taken, etc.

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Originally Posted by Serge Keleher
The Church normally regards Baptist "Baptism" as invalid (pity, because if you've ever seen it done you'll agree that it's impressive).

Fr. Serge


This is interesting as this isn't what I was told upon my reception into the Eastern Catholic Church. I was told that if I was baptized in the name of the Holy Trinity then it was a valid baptism. And if anyone knows Baptists, it's always full immersion!! grin


Confused,
Aaron

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My baptism was considered valid, as it was done in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. There are other denominations which baptize in Jesus' name only, those I was told would not be recognized.

I was told that if I questioned the validity of my baptism I could be conditionally baptized.

I'm curious as to which conditions other than the trinitarian would invalidate it.

Terry

Last edited by Terry Bohannon; 05/06/08 12:21 PM.
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My baptism was considered valid, as it was done in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.


That is not the only standard, as Mormons baptize using the Trinitarian formula, yet their baptisms are considered invalid by the Catholic Church. This is based on the fact that their meaning behind those words is so radically different than the Church's belief.

Regarding Baptist baptisms, the Catholic Church accepts those as valid - along with just about any mainline Protestant baptism done in the Trinitarian formula. This is because, unlike Mormons, they accept the doctrine of the Trinity as defined in the early Councils. I don't know about the Orthodox acceptance of these baptisms, but I would imagine most Orthodox Churches would re-baptize those converts.



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Since the Baptists (of whom there are several varieties) are not bound to a standard service book it is impossible to be certain of what, precisely, a given minister may or may not have said when baptizing someone. There is also serious uncertainty of what the "intention" of the minister might have been.

On the other hand, I remember the time one of our parishes purchased a redundant Baptist church - and discovered a lovely font, quite suitable for adult Baptisms. I was thoroughly envious. The only Orthodox Church where I've ever seen such a thing is the Orthodox Cathedral in Odessa, which has a magnificent Baptistery.

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"There is also serious uncertainty of what the 'intention' of the minister might have been."

That's true; one of the faults with Baptist churches becomes apparent when one pastor can have a catholic understanding of Christ and His mission while another minster denies the resurrection. Both would be validly Baptist. Both can't be right.

I took my pastor to be one of the former sort, so I didn't request to be conditionally baptized.

Terry

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I would like to add myself to the "Confused" group.

My understanding was that the Baptists did use the Trinitarian formula and, of course, they use water. Therefore, their Baptism should be considered valid.

Father, could you please clarify?

Thanks!

Shalom,
Memo

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