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Feminist formula makes Baptism invalid, Vatican rules February 29, 2008

The Vatican has warned that Baptism is not valid when the celebrant uses a popular new formula.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) released a statement on February 29 saying that a baptism "in the name of the Creator, and of the Redeemer, and of the Sanctifier," is not a valid Christian sacrament.

The invalid formula, the Vatican statement points out, arises from feminist ideology, and an attempt "to avoid using the words Father and Son, which are held to be chauvinistic."

However, the revised formula can "undermine faith in the Trinity," the CDF says. Citing the Gospel of St. Matthew, the CDF notes that Jesus ordered his apostles to baptize "in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit." That formula is an "adequate expression of Trinitarian faith" and a response to Christ's command, the CDF notes; "approximate formulae are unacceptable."

Anyone who has been baptized using that formula should be re-baptized, the Vatican document states. For canonical purposes, the CDF states, people who were baptized with that new formula should be considered unbaptized.

The February 29 document was a response to questions from the English-speaking world. The Vatican notes that while the novel formula has been used mostly by English-language clerics, the same formula could be expressed in other languages.

The statement from the CDF was specifically approved by Pope Benedict XVI, the Vatican notes. The document was signed by Cardinal William Levada and Archbishop Angelo Amato, the prefect and secretary, respectively, of the CDF.

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