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What, me worry?

By Phil Lawler ( bio - articles - email ) | Nov 23, 2004

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[Bathersby] said Father Peter Kennedy, of St Mary's, should ask parents if they wanted their children re-baptised. [See the item below.]

As every educated Catholic child should know, you can only be baptized once. You can't be rebaptized. If you were baptized once, the second ceremony has no effect.

And if you weren't baptized...

But that's the point. If Father Kennedy has been performing invalid baptisms for the past decade, perhaps (calculating roughly from the statistics furnished in the Courier-Mail story) 500 times in all, this is no small matter. Scores of children are not yet incorporated into the Mystical Body, not open to the action of sanctifying grace. There are-- hello?!-- scores of children who may be deprived of the means of salvation because of this pastor's unchecked arrogance.

And the archbishop's response (as the Courier-Mail relates it, at least) is to tell the pastor that he should desist, and ask the parents if they want to repeat the ceremony-- for effect, this time. The tone of the response (and again, we're dependent on the Courier-Mail account, which may be skewed) suggests that this is a matter of preference. Which do you prefer: one lump or two; smoking or non; valid baptism or fraud?

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at CatholicCulture.org. See full bio.

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