Holy Baptism holds the first place among the sacraments, because it is the door of the spiritual life; for by it we are made members of Christ and incorporated with the Church. And since through the first man death entered into all, unless we be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, we can not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, as Truth Himself has told us.
Because this is the very most important sacrament in the life of the Church there is a very well developed theology and Catechism to support it.
One of the very first things to know about Baptism is who the eligible "BAPTIZERS" are. The answer to this is one of the first things that Catholics learn when they are admitted to "CCD" or "Faith Formation Programs". The ordinary BAPTIZER, we call him the ordinary minister of baptism is the priest. Most Catholics bring a child to the church, present the infant to the priest who presides and performs the sacrament. But there are extraordinary ministers of Baptism too. Who are they?

Besides the conferring of baptism by a minister, there are other forms of "baptism". These different types of baptism have existed for a long time in the church. Can you name them?

If you care to peek around the corner to get the answers, click here.


  1. The extraordinary ministers of baptism are the laity. Any baptized Christian can baptize, in extraordinary circumstances...

    There are three baptisms: water, blood, and desire... the strict criteria of the other two's application is not at issue here. Although, perhaps that would be good to go into. That is, the issue of the BOD being historically only for the catechumen, like Sts. Felicita and Perpetua.


  2. Ah, Felicity and Perpetua. I was born on their feast day. Not on the day that they were martyred, mind you. There is a combination of Desire and Blood in their case. Of course it does make it easier to determine desire if the person is indeed a catechumen.

    A person need not be baptized in order to validly baptize another person in a dire emergency. To put the happiest possible face on it, a Catechumen for example could follow thye procedure of pouring plain water on the head of the unbaptized while saying, "I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit" with the intention of doing what the church intends.

  3. Thanks for the reminder... I read a document which said that even a "pagan" or an "apostate" can validly baptize... But, my question was, how could they ever do what the Church desires? Sounds almost schizophrenic...


  4. Laurence:
    You know, you're right. Let me just say that larely because of my friendship with some Chaldean Catholics from Iraq, I would not exclude the possibility of a good-hearted Muslim friend of a catechumen or a catechumen's child using peripheral knowledge of the baptismal rite to baptize a seriously wounded person.
    No matter what we think, the church takes that position to confirm and mandate the extreme importance of Baptism.

  5. It is (or should be) common knowledge that every human being may administer the sacrament of Baptism under real time extraordinary circumstances. Yes, that is true, anyone may baptize a person who is in the imminent danger of death. All that is required is that the baptizer "want to do what the church intends". It does not need to be a Catholic. It could be a serial killer. It could be a first grader who just heard of the Church's position. But remember, it must be a dire emergency and the baptizer must use ordinary water and pour it on the head of the dying person while saying, "I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit" and want to do what the Church intends. This is the doctrine of the Church. It is something in which we all believe.

    Remember that for you and me to administer Baptism, the person who is receiving the Baptism must be in imminent danger of death. We do not have the authority to baptize children just because we are quite sure that the parents will not present them to the church for baptism. We must respect the mind of the Church in these matters.