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A modern dictionary of Catholic terms, both common and obscure. Find accurate definitions of words and phrases.

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BAPTISM, MATTER AND FORM

Natural water that is poured or sprinkled on a person, or in which a person is immersed, is the matter or material element necessary for baptism. The pronouncing of the words is the form of baptism, namely: "I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." It is a disputed question whether in the early Church, besides the foregoing, baptism was also administered in the name of the Lord Jesus. What is certain is that the Catholic Church early declared the necessity of using the Trinitarian formula for valid baptism.

All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

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