What is the formula necessary for a baptism to be considered valid in the Catholic Church? Clearly stated as in Matthew 28: 'in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit'. Seems pretty straightforward and clear-cut, doesn't it? Well of course people have taken it upon themselves to reinvent the wheel that Christ himself forged. Now the Vatican has spoken. The following quote is taken directly from the Vatican website:
First question: Whether the Baptism conferred with the formulas «I baptize you in the name of the Creator, and of the Redeemer, and of the Sanctifier» and «I baptize you in the name of the Creator, and of the Liberator, and of the Sustainer» is valid?
Second question: Whether the persons baptized with those formulas have to be baptized in forma absoluta?
To the first question: Negative.
To the second question: Affirmative.
The Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI, at the Audience granted to the undersigned Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, approved these Responses, adopted in the Ordinary Session of the Congregation, and ordered their publication.
Rome, from the Offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, February 1, 2008.
William Cardinal Levada
Angelo Amato, S.D.B.
Titular Archbishop of Sila
According to Catholic Culture:
An attached note, signed by Monsignor Antonio Miralles, professor of dogmatic theology at the Pontifical Holy Cross University, explained that the responses "concern the validity of baptism conferred with two English-language formulae within the ambit of the Catholic Church. [...] Clearly, the question does not concern English but the formula itself, which could also be expressed in another language."
"Baptism conferred in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit," the note continued, "obeys Jesus' command as it appears at the end of the Gospel of St. Matthew. [...] The baptismal formula must be an adequate expression of Trinitarian faith, approximate formulae are unacceptable."
"Variations to the baptismal formula — using non-biblical designations of the Divine Persons — as considered in this reply, arise from so-called feminist theology," being an attempt "to avoid using the words Father and Son which are held to be chauvinistic, substituting them with other names," the note clarified. "Such variants, however, undermine faith in the Trinity."
In a commentary on the responses, Cardinal Urbano Navarrete, former rector of the Pontifical Gregorian University, clarified: "The response of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith constitutes an authentic doctrinal declaration, which has wide-ranging canonical and pastoral effects. Indeed, the reply implicitly affirms that people who have been baptized, or who will in the future be baptized, with the formulae in question have, in reality, not been baptized.
"Hence, they must them be treated for all canonical and pastoral purposes with the same juridical criteria as people whom the Code of Canon Law places in the general category of 'non-baptized.'"
This implies that if they have received other sacraments, they are invalid as well and should be re-administered.
The Catholic Church recognizes most baptisms if they used the formula as noted above and if the intent is the same as what it is in the Catholic Church. The Church has spoken and the baptisms conducted within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) are invalid. Their formula is correct, but their doctrine concerning the Holy Trinity is erroneous, they do not recognize Original Sin and more. For more on the topic, click here.