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You are here: Documents > The Other Sacraments and Sacramentals > Christian Initiation, General Introduction  Back one page.

Table of Contents
Table of ContentsI. IntroductionIII. Offices and Ministries of BaptismEndnotes

II. Dignity of Baptism

3. Baptism, the door to life and to the kingdom of God, is the first sacrament of the New Law, which Christ offered to all, that they might have eternal life. [9] He later entrusted this sacrament and the Gospel to his Church, when he told his apostles: "Go, make disciples of all nations, and baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." [10] Baptism is therefore, above all, the sacrament of that faith by which, enlightened by the grace of the Holy Spirit, we respond to the Gospel of Christ. That is why the Church believes that it is its most basic and necessary duty to inspire all, catechumens, parents of children still to be baptized, and godparents, to that true and living faith by which they hold fast to Christ and enter into or confirm their commitment to the New Covenant. In order to enliven such faith, the Church prescribes the pastoral instruction of catechumens, the preparation of the children's parents, the celebration of God's word, and the profession of faith at the celebration of baptism.

4. Further, baptism is the sacrament by which its recipients are incorporated into the Church and are built up together in the Spirit into a house where God lives, [11] into a holy nation and a royal priesthood. [12] Baptism is a sacramental bond of unity linking all who have been signed by it. [13] Because of that unchangeable effect (given expression in the Latin liturgy by the anointing of the baptized person with chrism in the presence of God's people), the rite of baptism is held in highest honor by all Christians. Once it has been validly celebrated, even if by Christians with whom we are not in full communion, it may never lawfully be repeated.

5. Baptism, the cleansing with water by the power of the living word, [14] washes away every stain of sin, original and personal, makes us sharers in God's own life [15] and his adopted children. [16] As proclaimed in the prayers for the blessing of water, baptism is a cleansing water of rebirth [17] that makes us God's children born from on high. The blessed Trinity is invoked over those who are to be baptized, so that all who are signed in this name are consecrated to the Trinity and enter into communion with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They are prepared for this high dignity and led to it by the scriptural readings, the prayer of the community, and their own profession of belief in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

6. Far superior to the purifications of the Old Law, baptism produces these effects by the power of the mystery of the Lord's passion and resurrection. Those who are baptized are united to Christ in a death like his; [18] buried with him in death, they are given life again with him, and with him they rise again. [19] For baptism recalls and makes present the paschal mystery itself, because in baptism we pass from the death of sin into life. The celebration of baptism should therefore reflect the joy of the resurrection especially when the celebration takes place during the Easter Vigil or on a Sunday.

Table of ContentsI. IntroductionIII. Offices and Ministries of BaptismEndnotes

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You are here: Documents > The Other Sacraments and Sacramentals > Christian Initiation, General Introduction  Back one page.

Home | New | FAQ | Search | Forum | Links


All contents © copyright, 1998-2014
The Catholic Liturgical Library
http://www.catholicliturgy.com