Vatican rejects deviations from approved baptismal wording

Pope Francis speaking at the Nagasaki hypocenter memorial. Ciro Fusco-EPA

Pope Francis has decreed there could be no changes to the baptismal wording used by the Catholic Church, the Vatican confirmed on Thursday.

During a Catholic baptism, which marks a person’s entry into the Catholic community, the exact words of the formula have to be pronounced – even small changes are forbidden – the Vatican said.

The so-called doctrinal note regarding the baptismal wording was signed by Curial Cardinal Luis Ladaria and approved by the pope.

The baptismal formula is “I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” and formulations using different wording, such as “we baptize you,” were forbidden, the Vatican said.

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Other prohibited formulas included “In the name of the father and of the mother, of the godfather and of the godmother, of the grandparents, of the family members, of the friends, in the name of the community we baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

The Vatican said that the baptism is performed in the name of the Church and not in the name of the person performing the baptism.

Changes to the wording amounted to “old temptations with questionable pastoral motives,” according to the note.

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