Catholic and Protestant Ecumenical Recognition of Baptism

Leaders of U.S. Roman Catholic and some Protestant churches signed a historic agreement Tuesday in Austin by which the two traditions will formally recognize each other’s liturgical rites of baptism. Read more here.

See the document here.


  1. So, if I read this right, this agreement means that these Protestant churches (or their local assemblies, if practice differs from place to place) will use a formula for baptism closer to the Roman Catholic one, making explicit mention of three Persons of the Trinity — as opposed to recognition of baptisms performed without mention of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (i.e. “in the name of Jesus” only).

  2. Were PCUSA and UCC on the list of denominations with issues until now? Our archdiocese issues such a list from time to time, but I don’t have it at hand at the moment.

    The commitment to keep sacramental records is welcome.

  3. Christian Churches Together in the US is the sponsoring group, and their literature describes the opening worship ceremony as a celebration of the document.

    PCUSA and UCC are two of the 5 involved, with USCCB, Christian Reformed in NA, and Reformed ChurchIn America. Cardinal George is the bishops’ signer, so perhaps he said something about it in 2010 when he signed it.

    In addition to the Trinitarian formula, talks also covered sprinkling, maybe oils used.

  4. Have I been mistaken? I had always heard that baptisms with water and in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, were universally accepted as valid throughout the Christian community.

    1. @M. Jackson Osborn – comment #5:
      I was under that impression too. What is more difficult to determine is the intention of the minister. I have a parishioner who was baptized in a Baptist Church, dunked fully at the age of 12 and with the proper formula. However, he told her that Baptism is different for Baptists than Catholics, for it does not forgive sin, either original or actual–that occurred when she accepted Jesus Christ. So was there something wrong with his intention at the time of Baptism in terms of what the Catholic Church intends for baptism?

      1. @Fr. Allan J. McDonald – comment #6:
        Yes, I also was aware of this curious practice amongst Baptists. I think, as you say, that there is to their mind no remission of sin – only a belief that this is a saving act, which (oddly) if it turns out not to have been effective may be repeated. I suppose that only a Baptist could explain it properly. But of course they have no concept or acceptance of an ex opere operato sacrament which, by the power and guarantee of God’s word, is effacacious in and of itself when performed with right matter, form and intent.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *