ARE YOU REALLY BAPTISED?
BAPTISM OUTSIDE THE LARGER CHURCH CATHOLIC
Bishop Brian Kennedy, O.S.B.
The question has been brought forth that would accuse the Celtic Orthodox Church of being “unloving” because we reject as of no account the baptism of those outside the larger church catholic. From these ancient documents one can readily deduce that our praxis is that of the ancient church. The larger church catholic is defined as those having a valid Priesthood. It is an undeniable fact the ancient church followed this practice and did not give recognition to the baptisms of those baptized outside the church by supposed clergy who “have no altar” meaning are not validly ordained Priest by Bishops in Apostolic Succession. It was not until the time of Pope Stephen that the ancient practice was abandoned. Eventually the East fell into the same error.
The adverse effect on the church caused by this fracture from the ancient faith, order and worship of the church has resulted in some ranked among the clergy in the Roman Church and in all the Eastern Orthodox Churches who are not true clergy in that they never received an orthodox-catholic baptism. There are prominent men listed as Bishop in the various Orthodox Churches who are not validly ordained or consecrated because they were received into the church through chrismation and profession of faith when they should have first been baptized by a Priest who had been ordained by a Bishop in Apostolic Succession from the Apostles.
The dire consequences upon the faithful is they present themselves to the altar to receive the precious body and blood of Christ and in truth all they receive is bread and wine for lack of a true consecration. They humble themselves to receive absolution in the Sacrament of Confession and leave no better off than when they walked into the church. They present their precious children for baptism and they leave the church with their child still not baptized because of the lack of a validly ordained Priest.
Today the norm among the Roman Church and the Neo Orthodox Churches is to accept the baptism performed by Protestants. Sadly this was foretold in holy writ and is another sign of the present age of Apostasy from the faith as once delivered by the saints.
Not content to blaspheme the Holy Spirit by their never ending innovations in the faith, some boldly acclaim the baptism done by even atheist who deny the very existence of God. In their ever mutating heresies they use the Sacrament of Baptism as a weapon against those they find at odds with them over political matters.
The Russian Church will not accept the baptism of those in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the Ukraine and so they would attempt to re-baptize any from the Ukrainian Church who want to join the ROC. The motivation is politics. They would accept the baptism of a Protestant without a valid Priesthood but the Ukrainian Orthodox Church who has a valid Priesthood they reject. Ask then, who is being “unloving”?
THE TEACHING OF THE ANCIENT CHURCH FROM THE
CANONS OF THE HOLY APOSTLES
Holy Canons dealing with Baptism
1. Canons of the Holy Apostles (as recorded by St. Clement, Bishop at Rome)
Canon XLVI (46)
We order that a bishop or presbyter that recognized the baptism or sacrifice of heretics be defrocked. For ‘’what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?’’ (2 Cor. 6:15). (P, p. 51.)
Canon XLVII (47)
If a bishop or presbyter baptize anew anyone that has had a true baptism, or fail to baptize someone that had been polluted by the impious, let him be defrocked, on the grounds that he is mocking the cross and death of the Lord, and fails to distinguish priests from false priests. (P, p. 55.)
Carchedon-Carthage, 258 A.D.
Canon [I] (of St. Cyprian)
Decreeing now also by vote what we firmly and securely hold for all time, we declare that no one can possibly be baptized outside the catholic Church, there being but one baptism, and this existing only in the catholic Church. For it has been written: ‘’They have forsaken me the fountain of living water, and they dug for themselves broken cisterns that cannot hold water’’ (Jer. 2:13). And, again, Holy Scripture forewarning says: ‘’Keep away from another’s water, and drink not from another’s well’’ (cf. Pr. 5:15).
How can he who was not able to rid himself of his own sins, being as he is outside the Church, baptize and grant remission of sins to another? And even the question asked at the baptism is witness to the truth. For when we say to the examinee, ‘’Do you believe you shall receive eternal life and remission of sins?’’ we are saying nothing else than that in the catholic Church remission of sins can be given, and that it is impossible to receive this form the heretics, where the Church is not. And that is why the advocates of the heretics are obliged either to ask the question, or to do justice to the truth, unless they attribute the Church to them also.
Moreover, it is necessary that he who has been baptized be chrismated, so that receiving the chrism he become a partaker of Christ. But the heretic cannot sanctify oil, seeing that he has neither altar nor Church. It is not possible for there to exist any chrism whatsoever among the heretics. For it is obvious to us that oil can by no means be sanctified among them for such worthy use. And we ought to know and not ignore that it has been written: ‘’Let not the oil of a sinner anoint my head,’’ which the Holy Spirit even long ago declared in the Psalms (140:6); lest anyone be tracked down and led astray from the right way and be chrismated by the heretics, the enemies of Christ.
We understand remission of sins as being given through the Church. But how can one give what he does not himself have? Or how can one do spiritual works when he himself has not received the Holy Spirit? For this reason he who comes over to the Church ought to be renewed, so that within [the Church] he be made holy by the holy, as it is written: ‘’You shall be holy, even as I am Holy, says the Lord’’ (cf. Lev. 19:2; 20:7). And thus he who was deluded in error – being a man who, coming to God and seeking a priest, yet under the sway of error joined a sacrilegious [imposter] – might in the Church’s true baptism put off this very error. For to accept with approval those whom the heretics have baptized is to endorse the baptism they administer. For one cannot be only partially capable. If he had the power to baptize, then he could also impart the Holy Spirit. But if he was incapable of giving the Holy Spirit, in that being outside [the Church] he does not have it to begin with, then he does not have the power to baptize anyone who might come to him.
BAPTISM IN THE CELTIC ORTHODOX CHURCH