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Author Topic: Immersion vs. Infusion  (Read 14476 times) Average Rating: 0
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The Caffeinator
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« on: December 10, 2003, 07:10:40 PM »

I just wanted to get the discussion started on what you all think is the nature of the difference between Orthodox and Catholics regarding baptisms by immersion and by infusion.

Personally, I have yet to form an opinion, but I think it shows that Catholics are less stodgy about form. If it's valid, Catholics wouldn't worry about it. As to whether it is licit or not, it is within the competence of individual churches to decide for their own.

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« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2003, 05:13:10 AM »

I tend towards your point of view, even though I'm from a Patriarchate that rejects infusion as being valid.

I'll take a look through the early material. There's a reference in the Didache for instance to varieties of forms of baptism.

What weight should be given to the apparent fact that the West was universally immersing folk until the post-Schism period?

PT
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« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2003, 09:09:34 AM »

Baptism by infusion? Is that where you steep the candidate in a vat of warm holy water until a cross appears on his forehead?
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« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2003, 09:28:40 AM »

Irregardless of what Orthodoxy teaches, I don't think it matters.

If I truly love the Lord, attempt to live by his teachings, accept him as the Christ, etc., do you really think it will matter whether I have been sprinkled or immersed? Do you think that the Lord will condemn me because I followed the teaching of my church and accepted the "wrong" form of Baptism? Isn't it all about what's in the heart?

I am not sure, but does it even say anything in Acts or even the Gospels what constitutes a "correct" baptism?

Besides, I still do agree with the Baptist idea that Baptism should be a choice of the individual when they are old enough to make the decision.  Shocked  Now, I see nothing wrong with Baptizing infants (and I will do that with any future children that I may have) but does it really "take" if that child does not live a Christian life?

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« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2003, 09:36:08 AM »

 Now, I see nothing wrong with Baptizing infants (and I will do that with any future children that I may have) but does it really "take" if that child does not live a Christian life?


True, BUT if the sponsor(s), godparents, discharge their honor properly and help bring up the child in the Church, it will "take". Smiley

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« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2003, 09:51:02 AM »

The early fathers teach that baptism is not magic. It provides a new life and opportunities for living in a new relationship with God but if that life is not sustained and nourished and nurtured then our baptism becomes something that judges us and not saves us.

If I have been baptised then I should live as one who has received new life. If I don't then the graces I received at baptism are being wasted.

PT
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« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2003, 09:56:34 AM »

.. but if that life is not sustained and nourished and nurtured then our baptism becomes something that judges us and not saves us.

But hopw is this FAIR if it is applied to an infant who was not given a choice in the matter? Sounds to me like the Baptists got it right.
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« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2003, 10:07:02 AM »

.. but if that life is not sustained and nourished and nurtured then our baptism becomes something that judges us and not saves us.

But hopw is this FAIR if it is applied to an infant who was not given a choice in the matter? Sounds to me like the Baptists got it right.

I guess though if one thinks in terms of a convenental community rather than individualism, baptism for infants makes sense, especially if it's the New Testament "equivalent" to O.T. circumcision.  Those born under the Old Covenant had no choice regarding their own circumcision.    I guess it's a matter of training up the child in the way he or she should go and then leaving it to the child and God.

I do share your concern about those being baptized as infants who later on don't show any evidence of Christ in their lives.  However, the same can be said of those in Evangelical communities who make a "profession of faith", are baptized, then exhibit no change of life over time.  :-";"xx
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« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2003, 10:15:15 AM »

But hopw is this FAIR if it is applied to an infant who was not given a choice in the matter? Sounds to me like the Baptists got it right.

Why should an infant have a choice? I don't let my kids choose whether they go to school or not, I don't let my 13 year old daughter decide whether she's going to wander round town at night. I choose whether my kids are inoculated against measles and mumps. I tell my kids what choices they have when it comes to food. I make choices for my kids all the time. it's my job. I'm their Dad.

But you're suggesting that when it comes to their relationship with their creator God I should suddenly be hands off? If my kids need to be baptised to begin their relationship with God then I'll see that they're baptised.

PT
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« Reply #9 on: December 12, 2003, 10:16:19 AM »

... those being baptized as infants who later on don't show any evidence of Christ in their lives.  However, the same can be said of those in Evangelical communities who make a "profession of faith", are baptized, then exhibit no change of life over time.  :-

How? It was a conscious choice made by the "evangelical". But certainly not in the case of an infant.
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« Reply #10 on: December 12, 2003, 10:19:51 AM »

I do share your concern about those being baptized as infants who later on don't show any evidence of Christ in their lives.  However, the same can be said of those in Evangelical communities who make a "profession of faith", are baptized, then exhibit no change of life over time.  :-


Who are we to judge what goes on in people's lives? If I look at my own life I see more than enough sin to deal with. Am I truly baptised? Well I need to be converted each day and live out my baptism each day. I'm certainly not in any place to judge how anyone who has been baptised lives in their inner life.

The Pharisee sure had the appearance of one who had his life together and I'm sure that many Christian Pharisees like me, restrained from gross sin by upbringing rather than lack of desire, have the appearance of living out their baptism.

I wonder how many publicans actually have a better image in God's eyes, coping with all sorts of issues I don't know about but repenting far more than I do in my mediocre sin.


PT
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« Reply #11 on: December 12, 2003, 10:20:29 AM »

But hopw is this FAIR if it is applied to an infant who was not given a choice in the matter? Sounds to me like the Baptists got it right.

Why should an infant have a choice? I don't let my kids choose whether they go to school or not, I don't let my 13 year old daughter decide whether she's going to wander round town at night. I choose whether my kids are inoculated against measles and mumps. I tell my kids what choices they have when it comes to food. I make choices for my kids all the time. it's my job. I'm their Dad.

But you're suggesting that when it comes to their relationship with their creator God I should suddenly be hands off? If my kids need to be baptised to begin their relationship with God then I'll see that they're baptised.

PT

Can you sign a contract on behalf of your child that will make that child responsible for what you signed when he/she reaches legal age?

I am not saying that you should not do everything that you feel is your job as a Christian parent.
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« Reply #12 on: December 12, 2003, 11:17:58 AM »

Baptism by infusion? Is that where you steep the candidate in a vat of warm holy water until a cross appears on his forehead?


I think you have to use iodine to see if the person is "converted" yet.

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« Reply #13 on: December 12, 2003, 11:24:50 AM »


I wonder how many publicans actually have a better image in God's eyes, coping with all sorts of issues I don't know about but repenting far more than I do in my mediocre sin.

PT


Slava Isusu Christu!

Earlier this year I had a rather upsetting experience that led to a long instrospective period where I practically flogged myself over the tiniest transgressions and basically made myself feel like a worm, regardless of Christ's love for me.  

While reading the Gospels one night, I came across the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican and came to the same conclusion you did, Peter.  My struggles are nothing compared to my brothers and sisters who live but a few blocks from me, amidst temptations I only read about in the paper and see on television.  My struggles are nothing compared to theirs.

Soon after, I re-read St. Therese's Story of a Soul and was struck again by her realization that we can even learn to love our weaknesses, because it is precisely because of those weaknesses that God loves us so much, sending His Son to be our Savior.

I'm feeling much better now.
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« Reply #14 on: December 12, 2003, 11:33:49 AM »

Can you sign a contract on behalf of your child that will make that child responsible for what you signed when he/she reaches legal age?

Surely my children are responsible as they take responsibility. At the beginning I am wholly responsible but over time they take more and more responsibility for themselves until they enter adulthood. Even then there are other who still have some responsibility for them. As a parent I am still responsible, but not in the same way, so is their priest, their husbands and wife.

This is life.

At first I am responsible to ensure that my children regularly attend church services and receive the Holy Mysteries and participate as far as is appropriate in the transforming life of Christ in the Church. As they grow older they will start to be responsible for themselves more and more, for their spiritual life as well as for their sinfulness.

No contract is required. Just as I never signed a contract when I was baptised and became a Christian. The grace of baptism is ALL God's. It is God who illuminates us. There is very little real difference between the infant being brought by faitjhful parents and friends to the saving laver and there finding God's loving presence, and an adult, also brought by friends and concerned folk and writers and lecturers and email posters, who also finds God at the baptismal 'pool of Siloam'. Neither the infant nor the adult save themselves. One knows that he needs saving, the other does not yet know but still needs to be saved, it is God in both cases who is the most important presence and the one who acts.

If God is real and Christianity is true, and I cannot even think that it is not, then I must act as if it is true. There are no choices. My children need to be baptised and urged to Church and encouraged to believe. Just as there is no choice about whether or not I teach them that the world is flat or round. I must bring them up based on what is true, and what is true is Christianity.

PT
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« Reply #15 on: December 12, 2003, 11:48:58 AM »

.. but if that life is not sustained and nourished and nurtured then our baptism becomes something that judges us and not saves us.

But hopw is this FAIR if it is applied to an infant who was not given a choice in the matter? Sounds to me like the Baptists got it right.

Infants are not judged by the same standards as adults.

And of course the Baptists have it all wrong.

The Apostles baptized entire families nearly 2,000 years before "the pill" (see Acts 10:44-48; 11:14; 16:14-15, 33; 1 Cor. 1:16). Are to we to assume that those families consisted entirely of consenting adults?

St. Paul said the children of believers - or of one believer and an unbeliever - are holy (1 Cor. 7:14).

Baptism is the new birth, the "first resurrection." It restores the fellowship with God broken by the Original Sin of Adam and Eve.

It is not necessary that it be the product of some conscious, intellectual choice.

If it were, then where would that leave the mentally disabled?

But baptism is not a guarantee of ultimate salvation, even for those who are batized as adults.
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« Reply #16 on: December 12, 2003, 12:31:33 PM »

Dear Deacon Peter:

Going back to thread subject, the relevant provisions of the DIDACHE on baptism follow:
------------------------------------------------------------------------
n++CHAPTER 7

7:1  But concerning baptism, thus baptize ye: having first recited all these precepts, baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in running water;

7:2  But if thou hast not running water, baptize in some other water, and if thou canst not baptize in cold, in warm water;

7:3  But if thou hast neither, pour water three times on the head, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

As Br. Max mercifully reminds us once in while, talk amongst yourselves. Grin

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« Reply #17 on: December 12, 2003, 12:38:03 PM »

I do share your concern about those being baptized as infants who later on don't show any evidence of Christ in their lives.  However, the same can be said of those in Evangelical communities who make a "profession of faith", are baptized, then exhibit no change of life over time.  :-


Who are we to judge what goes on in people's lives? If I look at my own life I see more than enough sin to deal with. Am I truly baptised? Well I need to be converted each day and live out my baptism each day. I'm certainly not in any place to judge how anyone who has been baptised lives in their inner life.

I think you misunderstood me.  I'm not suggesting we go around, look at people's lives, and determine who is ultimately saved or not.  That is God's business.  I am suggesting that some people display the fruit of the Spirit and some do not.  Christ said that people would know we are His disciples if we "loved one another".  John in his first Epistle said that if we say we love God and don't love our brothers we are liars.  And this love is not mere sentiment but (ideally) should be expressed in action.  Now, all of us fall short of perfectly doing this, but for those who are abiding in Christ, there should be proof in their life whether they were baptized as infants or after they made a "conscious decision".

Quote
The Pharisee sure had the appearance of one who had his life together and I'm sure that many Christian Pharisees like me, restrained from gross sin by upbringing rather than lack of desire, have the appearance of living out their baptism.

Good point.  Of course, the Pharisee's attitude in his prayer certainly portrayed a contempt for his fellow man.  Also, the attention the Pharisee drew to himself when giving alms betrayed (that we could see, according to Christ) selfish motivations.


Quote
I wonder how many publicans actually have a better image in God's eyes, coping with all sorts of issues I don't know about but repenting far more than I do in my mediocre sin.

Another good point.  You mentioned something about restraint from gross sins because of your upbringing.  C.S. Lewis discussed how people with different starting points and struggling with different sins will be judged somewhat differently by God.  I guess this is what is meant by "to much is given, much is required".  And while we are to pursue holiness ("without which no one will see God"), I agree that God looks more for a repentent heart than one who is merely adhering to a check list of external "dos and don'ts" (while showing coldness to his brother or sister).


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« Reply #18 on: December 12, 2003, 12:42:46 PM »

.. the relevant provisions of the DIDACHE on baptism follow:
------------------------------------------------------------------------
n++CHAPTER 7

7:1  But concerning baptism, thus baptize ye: having first recited all these precepts, baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in running water;

7:2  But if thou hast not running water, baptize in some other water, and if thou canst not baptize in cold, in warm water;

7:3  But if thou hast neither, pour water three times on the head, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

In other words, just DO it. Because it is the ACT of FAITH that is important.
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« Reply #19 on: December 12, 2003, 12:43:53 PM »

I'm just about to leave work but this looks a useful source of information and references for the practice of baptism by immersion. I'll read it when I get home - esp. the section titled "Action".

http://dlibrary.acu.edu.au/research/theology/ejournal/aet_1/Ferguson.htm

I'd appreciate it if some others did as well.

PT
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« Reply #20 on: December 12, 2003, 01:13:38 PM »

I personally dont believe the Catholic Church as Valid Sacraments in the first place, just from reading some of the canons of St. Basil.

In Christ
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« Reply #21 on: December 12, 2003, 01:21:09 PM »

The Orthodox baptism of adults (and teenagers) that I have witnessed has been by effusion (pouring) rather than by immersion.

I have only seen infants actually immersed.
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« Reply #22 on: December 12, 2003, 01:26:37 PM »

ByzChristian:

How erudite of you for passing judgment on the validity of the Sacraments of the Catholic Church.! Shocked

Not surprising, of course, coming from an Orthodox-wannabe who is just a recent convert to Catholicism from protestantism! Tongue

Wonders just never cease!

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« Reply #23 on: December 12, 2003, 01:31:56 PM »

Who wants to take bets on how soon ByzChristian joins the ROAC? I got 20 on next Easter.
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« Reply #24 on: December 12, 2003, 01:38:41 PM »

Are we talking actually join or just being in the catechumenate 400 miles from the nearest ROAC parish, expounding on graceless heretics while still being one himself?
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« Reply #25 on: December 12, 2003, 01:58:47 PM »

.. the relevant provisions of the DIDACHE on baptism follow:
------------------------------------------------------------------------
n++CHAPTER 7

7:1  But concerning baptism, thus baptize ye: having first recited all these precepts, baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in running water;

7:2  But if thou hast not running water, baptize in some other water, and if thou canst not baptize in cold, in warm water;

7:3  But if thou hast neither, pour water three times on the head, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

In other words, just DO it. Because it is the ACT of FAITH that is important.

Yes, but I feel that many (probably mostly Catholics and Protestants but some Orthodox as well) use that as an excuse to buck tradition and not immerse just because it is "inconvenient".  Basically, a weak copout.

Linus, I've seen at least a dozen adult baptisms in immersion.  My parish (OCA) does it - we have a big tub.
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« Reply #26 on: December 12, 2003, 02:03:29 PM »

.. the relevant provisions of the DIDACHE on baptism follow:
------------------------------------------------------------------------
n++CHAPTER 7

7:1  But concerning baptism, thus baptize ye: having first recited all these precepts, baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in running water;

7:2  But if thou hast not running water, baptize in some other water, and if thou canst not baptize in cold, in warm water;

7:3  But if thou hast neither, pour water three times on the head, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

In other words, just DO it. Because it is the ACT of FAITH that is important.

Yes, but I feel that many (probably mostly Catholics and Protestants but some Orthodox as well) use that as an excuse to buck tradition and not immerse just because it is "inconvenient".  Basically, a weak copout.

Linus, I've seen at least a dozen adult baptisms in immersion.  My parish (OCA) does it - we have a big tub.  

Elisha -

Cool!

I wasn't knocking adult immersion; I've just never seen it done in the Orthodox Church; but then my attendance at baptisms has been limited to mostly infants.

 Grin

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« Reply #27 on: December 12, 2003, 02:41:24 PM »

Quote
Are we talking actually join or just being in the catechumenate 400 miles from the nearest ROAC parish, expounding on graceless heretics while still being one himself?

Maybe we need to get two grids ready. I say, the easter after next for his re-Baptism into the ROAC.
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« Reply #28 on: December 12, 2003, 03:20:50 PM »

Re-baptism?  Don't you mean first baptism?  Because ROAC are the sole inheritors of grace and only their baptisms count!  Only a graceless heretic would think otherwise!
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« Reply #29 on: December 13, 2003, 01:02:07 PM »

Just throwing this in. It's from an encyclical of 1895 by the Pat. of Const. and his bishops:

"VIII. The one holy, catholic and apostolic Church of the first seven Ecumenical Councils baptized by three immersions in the water, and the Pope Pelagius speaks of the triple immersion as a command of the Lord, and in the thirteenth century baptism by immersions still prevailed in the West; and the sacred fonts themselves, preserved in the more ancient churches in Italy, are eloquent witnesses on this point; but in later times sprinkling or effusion, being privily brought in, came to be accepted by the Papal Church, which still holds fast the innovation, thus also widening the gulf which she has opened; but we Orthodox, remaining faithful to the apostolic tradition and the practice of the seven Ecumenical Councils, 'stand fast, contending for the common profession, the paternal treasure of the sound faith."

PT
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« Reply #30 on: December 13, 2003, 03:06:07 PM »

Quote
Baptism by infusion? Is that where you steep the candidate in a vat of warm holy water until a cross appears on his forehead?

DP: from the OED online:

Infusion:

Quote
6. The action of pouring on water in baptism, as opposed to immersion; = AFFUSION.
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« Reply #31 on: December 13, 2003, 03:10:05 PM »

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"VIII. The one holy, catholic and apostolic Church of the first seven Ecumenical Councils baptized by three immersions in the water, and the Pope Pelagius speaks of the triple immersion as a command of the Lord, and in the thirteenth century baptism by immersions still prevailed in the West; and the sacred fonts themselves, preserved in the more ancient churches in Italy, are eloquent witnesses on this point; but in later times sprinkling or effusion, being privily brought in, came to be accepted by the Papal Church, which still holds fast the innovation, thus also widening the gulf which she has opened; but we Orthodox, remaining faithful to the apostolic tradition and the practice of the seven Ecumenical Councils, 'stand fast, contending for the common profession, the paternal treasure of the sound faith."

The early Church celebrated the Liturgy in the catacombs. But look at us, graceless heretics all, celebrating in buildings built for that purpose! There's a lot of things the early Church did that we don't do today. Christianity is a revealed religion.
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« Reply #32 on: December 13, 2003, 03:12:44 PM »

The early Church celebrated the Liturgy in the catacombs. But look at us, graceless heretics all, celebrating in buildings built for that purpose! There's a lot of things the early Church did that we don't do today. Christianity is a revealed religion.

What's that supposed to mean?

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« Reply #33 on: December 13, 2003, 03:53:34 PM »

In a nutshell...

While doctines may not change, disciplines do.
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« Reply #34 on: December 13, 2003, 04:26:47 PM »

While doctines may not change, disciplines do.

Well that is itself a doctrinal point and in the context of baptism is disputed. Also it is at least interesting that until the medieval period the West was universally practicing immersion. Why the change? And with what justification?

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« Reply #35 on: December 13, 2003, 04:58:37 PM »

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Also it is at least interesting that until the medieval period the West was universally practicing immersion.

Universally is the wrong word, I think. Most of the time, they practiced immersion, but infusion and sprinkling were known to be used as well. And as to why? I've told you my guess...it's cold in northern and northwestern Europe, and you can't baptize anybody in ice!
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« Reply #36 on: December 13, 2003, 05:00:46 PM »

I'd be interested in knowing how the Russian Orthodox have done it historically, and if they go thru the trouble of immersing during winter, have they always, and what lengths have they gone to, to do so?
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« Reply #37 on: December 13, 2003, 05:06:11 PM »

Universally is the wrong word, I think. Most of the time, they practiced immersion, but infusion and sprinkling were known to be used as well. And as to why? I've told you my guess...it's cold in northern and northwestern Europe, and you can't baptize anybody in ice!

Immersion was certainly the practice even among the Anglo-Saxons. And since baptism usually took place at Pascha it need not have required the breaking of any ice?Huh

Universal is the wrong word I agree but it seems to have been universally encouraged in the West until some centuries after the RC/EO Schism.

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« Reply #38 on: December 13, 2003, 05:07:00 PM »

I'd be interested in knowing how the Russian Orthodox have done it historically, and if they go thru the trouble of immersing during winter, have they always, and what lengths have they gone to, to do so?

That's a good idea. It can't get much colder than a Russian church.

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« Reply #39 on: December 13, 2003, 06:20:16 PM »

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Universal is the wrong word I agree but it seems to have been universally encouraged in the West until some centuries after the RC/EO Schism.

I think there may be historical evidence still...In the middle ages (I just have the faintest memory of this from classes, so correct me if I'm wrong), there was an epidemic of infanticide in the West, and so the need for baptism soon after birth became more emphasized.

Also, there was a little ice age sometime around the 13th c? which left Europe muy frio.
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« Reply #40 on: December 13, 2003, 06:44:58 PM »

I'm trying to see where and when affusion became commonplace. The NEw Schaff-Herzog enc. says:

"The first extended discussion of the question is found in the epistle of Cyprian to Magnus written about the middle of the third century. Being asked whether those can be deemed legitimi Christiani, "Christians in full standing," who, being converted in sickness are non loti sed perfusi, "not immersed in the water but having it simply poured over them," he gives an affirmative opinion but does so with the very greatest hesitation. His words are: "So far as my poor ability comprehends the matter;" and "I have answered your letter so far as my poor and small ability is capable of doing;" and "So far as in me lies I have shown what I think." He disclaims any intention of saying that other officials should recognize affusion as baptism and even goes so far as to suggest that those who have thus received affusion may on their recovery from sickness be immersed. But, citing various sprinklings in the Mosaic ritual, he gives the view, that necessitate cogente, immersion being out of the question, those who have been poured upon may be comforted by being told that they have been truly baptized ( Cypriani epist., lxxv [lxix], 12-14; A N F, v, 400-401). This epistle makes it clear beyond all controversy that in the third century the ordinary baptism was immersion, and that even in the Latin Church there were those who declared it the only baptism. It further appears with equal clearness that affusion was never practised in the Apostolic Church, for had the apostles resorted thereto even in a single instance Cyprian would certainly have known the fact and would never have presented so mild an apology for a usage which had apostolic precedent, nor indeed would any one have taken exception to the practise.  2. The Testimony of Cyprian.
 
For a thousand years the resort to the use of affusion was justified only on the ground of necessity. And the supposed necessity existed in the idea that baptism was essential to salvation and so that when immersion, the established rite, was out of the question, something must be put in its place or the soul would be lost. The use of affusion would never have been thought of except for the idea that water baptism was essential to salvation."

So I guess part of the hesitancy from the Orthodox side is that affusion is OK in extremis but should not be used normally. Is it a bit like using some other liquid than wine for communion in a Soviet gulag but this being unacceptable and invalid outside of such extremis circumstances. I'm only thinking out loud.

But there are some references here to theological reasons for affusion not being normal. I'll have to read St Cyprian again.

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« Reply #41 on: December 13, 2003, 06:46:47 PM »

The Latin Church in the Middle Ages says:

"For a long time submerging infants as well as adults in water was regarded as a duty, except in the case of illness, when they were to be baptized. Immersion was thus the only regular mode of administering baptism; infusion, that is, the act of pouring water on the head, was an exception, a kind of dispensation for the sick. It was only in the twelfth century that this state of things began to change, and that one dared baptize by infusion, children who were not ill. The innovation made slow progress. In the thirteenth century, St. Thomas referred to it as a practice little diffused, and little to be recommended. According to him, immersion is the most common, the most praiseworthy, and the surest. In the fifteenth century the situation was reversed. Then baptism was most commonly administered by infusion. Yet immersion was still practised in certain countries. It did not disappear until the eighteenth century. "

It is interesting for the dates and the reference to Thomas Aquinas deprecating affusion.

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« Reply #42 on: December 13, 2003, 06:53:27 PM »

Just some more history, not meant to be proof of anything. But certainly Hugh doesn't seem to know of the regular normal practice of affusion.

Hugh of St Victor - De Sacramentis c.1134 says:

"Many profound mysteries lie hidden in all these things and of these we will touch upon a few which should be brought to mind. A house to be dedicated is a soul to be sanctified. Water is penance washing away the stains of sins. Salt is the divine sermon which stirs by chiding and flavors the insipid things in the heart. The threefold aspersion is the threefold immersion of purifying through water. "

and

"He is also anointed between the shoulders, where the strength is for carrying a burden, that he may receive fortitude for carrying the burden of the Lord. Then he is asked whether he believes in God, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, in one Catholic church, in the remission of sins, and in eternal life. After this response of faith, he is washed of the stains of age with a threefold immersion, and, having put on the new man, he is buried with the three-day death of Christ, as the Apostle says: "All we, who are baptized in Christ Jesus, are baptized in his death. For we are buried together with Christ by baptism into death; that as Christ is risen from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we also may walk in newness of life," (Cf. Romans 6, 4, and 5). For the threefold immersion is the threefold cleansing of thought, speech, and operation. "
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« Reply #43 on: December 13, 2003, 07:02:23 PM »

Finally before I go to bed. The Church in Anglo-Saxon England says:

"In later Saxon times fonts must have been very generally used in churches, but little survives. In the earliest days of Christianity baptism was performed whenever possible in running water by total immersion, and this was the practice of Augustine of Canterbury, and Paulinus, both of whom made use of rivers for mass baptisms. That the more individual method of baptism was also practised, however, is clear from Bede's statement that Augustine and his companions used St Martin's, Canterbury, for mass, preaching, and baptising. The early English Church followed the primitive custom whereby baptisms were generally confined to great festivals. Such a custom emphasised the solemnity of the sacrament and its corporate character. Nothing remains, however, in England of the early system of separate baptisteries, built in conjuction with the more important churches, and regarded as possessing the monopoly of baptisms, which in theory at least should be administered only by the bishop, the father of all his people. On the Continent there are many surviving traces of baptisteries, especially in Italy, where the practice continued well down into the middle ages."

The seperate baptisteries were built for immersion and would have been within at least a wooden building, so with a bit of a fire it shouldn't have been to hard to get a bit of luke warm water in the font to keep the ice at bay. And in March/April that shouldn't have been so bad.

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« Reply #44 on: December 13, 2003, 07:17:44 PM »

Here's a link to an image from a 14th century English manuscript showing baptism by immersion in a parish church

http://www.corpusdesign.co.uk/baptism.jpg

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« Reply #45 on: December 13, 2003, 07:38:37 PM »

The abbot Corlet sets forth the history thus . . . : "In the Orient in the first centuries, baptism was administered by means of a total submersion in the rivers and probably in the baptistries, and not excluding an immersion mixed with infusion (pouring), which has been preserved to the present day in almost all cases in the oriental region. In the Occident, from the fourth to the eighth century, there was a partial immersion in the baptisteries. . . . From the eighth to the ninth, vertical and complete immersion of children in fonts. During this period, and in the whole course of the Middle Ages, various procedures were used for the baptism of adults, when it was not possible to submerge in the bottom of the fonts; from the eleventh to the thirteenth centuries, horizontal and complete immersion in fonts. In the thirteenth and fourteenth, sometimes partial immersion accompanied by infusion, rarely infusion alone. In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, infusion alone was employed, and immersion was preserved until our time in the Mozarabic and Ambrosian rites; to be noted also the reestablishing of immersion in some religious sects. . . . Nevertheless, in the Latin Church ...along with baptism by immersion, there were employed, if only in exceptional cases, as in case of baptizing a sick or dying person, infusion or sprinkling, which was called baptism of the sick (baptimnus clinicomcm ). If indeed, in the Latin Church, immersion prevailed until the sixteenth century, infusion and sprinkling were adopted from the thirteenth century. The form in use today is infusion
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« Reply #46 on: December 16, 2003, 01:19:53 AM »

One of the things that people over look in this debate is  that the Renaissance mind felt that bathing was unhealthy.  They believed that the bath houses and later the very act were connected to the spread of the plague.  NOW if you felt that, would you immerse your child that you love into a "bath?"
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« Reply #47 on: December 16, 2003, 03:04:35 AM »

I'm not sure how much impact that would have had.

I doubt very much that the Renaissance mind had much force in much of Western Europe, and we are talking 13th/14th century rather than 15th/16th anyhow.

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« Reply #48 on: December 16, 2003, 05:25:34 AM »

Slava Isusu Hristu!

The Holy and Divine Mystery of Baptism is a most profound inscrutable thing.  In Orthodoxy we do not cast this most glorious Mystery before the un-illumined mind.  The Dogmas of  our Orthodox Faith are to be taught and learned with much fasting and prayer.  Remember: "The Doors, the Doors, in Wisdom let us be attentive!"  It is in the uncreated Divine Energy that we are to understand as the Fathers understood and to know as they knew.  Let us cease from this banal treatment of the Mystery and have recourse to prayer and fasting.  

The canonical Principle of Strictness requires threefold-Immersion, but by the Apostolic Authority of the Hierarch the canonical Principle of Economia may be used in regard to this Mystery in its modality i.e. pouring three times.  Abuses of Economia by clergy if left un-repented of are an issue between them and the Judgement Seat of Christ, not our judgement. Amin.

In Christ,


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« Reply #49 on: December 16, 2003, 06:15:25 AM »

Why should the sarament of baptism not be discussed?

It will be very hard to come to an understanding if no-one is allowed to discuss theology and practice.

We should all pray more but God has also given us a mind.

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« Reply #50 on: December 16, 2003, 07:31:22 AM »

Slava Isusu Hristu!

Dear Peter:

In Orthodoxy we do not approach Dogmas in a surgical manner.  To theologize in Orthodoxy is to be in prayer and to receive the Grace of the All-Holy Spirit to understand Truth.  Holy Things cannot be understood without the aid of prayer and fasting.  My spiritual Father has told me never to read Scripture or the Philokalia unless I have fasted and prayed.  When a disconnect has happened between learning about the teachings of Orthodoxy and the aescetic life then heresy is the rational end of such mental praxis.  In Orthodoxy the highest part of us is called the Nous;  it is the part that is in constant Communion with the Holy Trinity.  It is through the Nous that the Apostles received Revelation and the Fathers could interpret rightly and guard and explicate Orthodoxy correctly.  The Jesus Prayer helps us to be raised to the Nous and to receive the Blessed Communion of Sophia and be Enlightened.  Never forget that the Protestant and Latin forms of studying and learning are disconnected from the Noetical and the Eastern manner of study is founded on a life of Christian Aesceticism.  As Eastern Christians we are to approach Truth with the most Reverence and care.  We are not to debate with those whose intention is not to learn to be transformed and we are not to handle Dogmas and teachings without washing the hands of our mind with prayer and fasting not only in the Divine and Holy Liturgy and other services, but also the life of the Domestic Church.

in Christ and the Theotokos,



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« Reply #51 on: December 16, 2003, 08:41:03 AM »

Eastern Christians we are to approach Truth with the most Reverence and care.  We are not to debate with those whose intention is not to learn to be transformed and we are not to handle Dogmas and teachings without washing the hands of our mind with prayer and fasting not only in the Divine and Holy Liturgy and other services, but also the life of the Domestic Church.

I agree wholeheartedly with you concerning the need for prayer and fasting, but are you suggesting that our Roman Catholic and Protestant friends here have no intention or desire to be transformed?

The sinner

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« Reply #52 on: December 16, 2003, 08:44:51 AM »



 Holy Things cannot be understood without the aid of prayer and fasting.  My spiritual Father has told me never to read Scripture or the Philokalia unless I have fasted and prayed.  When a disconnect has happened between learning about the teachings of Orthodoxy and the aescetic life then heresy is the rational end of such mental praxis.  

Good point.  I have often found that trying to read the Scriptures without prayer and preparation before, I either can not concentrate on what I was reading, or take the wrong meaning from it, or become bored (mainly in reading Leviticus or Deutoronomy) .  When I prepare myself, understanding is much more clear and I have a more active interest in what I am reading even to the point where I can not stop.  There is no doubt that prayer and reading the Scriptures go together.
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« Reply #53 on: December 16, 2003, 09:14:27 PM »

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Also it is at least interesting that until the medieval period the West was universally practicing immersion.

Universally is the wrong word, I think. Most of the time, they practiced immersion, but infusion and sprinkling were known to be used as well. And as to why? I've told you my guess...it's cold in northern and northwestern Europe, and you can't baptize anybody in ice!


Well...Russia is a LOT colder than western Europe, and the Russian Orthodox Church still baptized via immersion.  The Didache speaks of infusion in terms of scarcity of water--not how chilly the water is.

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« Reply #54 on: December 16, 2003, 09:45:24 PM »

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Also it is at least interesting that until the medieval period the West was universally practicing immersion.

Universally is the wrong word, I think. Most of the time, they practiced immersion, but infusion and sprinkling were known to be used as well. And as to why? I've told you my guess...it's cold in northern and northwestern Europe, and you can't baptize anybody in ice!


Well...Russia is a LOT colder than western Europe, and the Russian Orthodox Church still baptized via immersion.  The Didache speaks of infusion in terms of scarcity of water--not how chilly the water is.

gbmtmas

Not to rain on your parade, but Western Europe does have its cold spots, all reached by Rome in the Middle Ages-Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Northern Britain, Denmark, etc.

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« Reply #55 on: December 16, 2003, 10:13:09 PM »

Quote
Also it is at least interesting that until the medieval period the West was universally practicing immersion.

Universally is the wrong word, I think. Most of the time, they practiced immersion, but infusion and sprinkling were known to be used as well. And as to why? I've told you my guess...it's cold in northern and northwestern Europe, and you can't baptize anybody in ice!


Well...Russia is a LOT colder than western Europe, and the Russian Orthodox Church still baptized via immersion.  The Didache speaks of infusion in terms of scarcity of water--not how chilly the water is.

gbmtmas

Not to rain on your parade, but Western Europe does have its cold spots, all reached by Rome in the Middle Ages-Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Northern Britain, Denmark, etc.

Bos.

I don't know how it's "raining on my parade" since my point was that colder climate/water is no *necessary* pretext for infusion since immersion was universally practiced in a very large country whose climate is quite cold.  Sorry to rain on your parade.

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« Reply #56 on: December 16, 2003, 11:56:38 PM »

I'm not sure how much impact that would have had.

I doubt very much that the Renaissance mind had much force in much of Western Europe, and we are talking 13th/14th century rather than 15th/16th anyhow.

PT

It grew up out of the Late medieval period, but became firmly entrenched in the renaissance mind.
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« Reply #57 on: December 17, 2003, 12:44:08 AM »

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Also it is at least interesting that until the medieval period the West was universally practicing immersion.

Universally is the wrong word, I think. Most of the time, they practiced immersion, but infusion and sprinkling were known to be used as well. And as to why? I've told you my guess...it's cold in northern and northwestern Europe, and you can't baptize anybody in ice!


Well...Russia is a LOT colder than western Europe, and the Russian Orthodox Church still baptized via immersion.  The Didache speaks of infusion in terms of scarcity of water--not how chilly the water is.

gbmtmas

Not to rain on your parade, but Western Europe does have its cold spots, all reached by Rome in the Middle Ages-Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Northern Britain, Denmark, etc.

Bos.

I seem to recall a very famous carving ( a woodcut, perhaps?) of Bishop Poppo  (hope I remembered that name correctly) baptizing Harald Bluetooth, the Viking King of Denmark and grandfather of Knut the Great. As I recall, the good bishop was immersing the king in what looked a wooden barrel full of water.
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« Reply #58 on: December 17, 2003, 03:39:08 AM »

Since we know that many of the saints in the British Isles would immerse themselves in the sea or in the freezing cold streams and rivers for hours and hours as part of their ascecis I find it hard to imagine that they would consider a few moments exposure to cold, not necessarily freezing, water to be a difficulty when baptising infants.

As gbmtmas has said, Russia is a lot, lot colder than even Northern Britain, and baptism by immersion remains the practice there, and was the practice here for 1000 years. Why was it universal in the British Isles for so very long, all through the Orthodox Catholic period, if the cold water was an impediment to its practice?

I am sure we must look for another reason.

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« Reply #59 on: December 17, 2003, 09:19:51 AM »

Ok...A) bear in mind a couple of things...and seminarians/clergy...double check me on this....ADULT conversions were usually done at Pascha, but infant baptisms were usually done in the Orthodox Church at 40 days.  in Protestant churches at that time frame, IIRC, it was the custom to baptise children the first Sunday after their birth, regardless of weather. BUT...and this is the thing, here...I have read of Puritan churches in America 1600ish which speak of the ice being broken on the baptismal fonts...but, what was the practice of the Orthodox Church? Meaning, duh, guys...OK, muy frio, as the quote says, but did it not occur to anyone to put some warm water into the font as they were dipping these shivvering little babies?  I'm betting that to everyone other than New England Puritans, it did. Can anyone help out with a historical reference? (We don't use room temperature water NOW, in my home parish, in AUGUST)

Thanks Vicki for sharing this.  I didn't realize that the Puritans actually baptized their infants.  For some reason, not having read much about them, I had them associated with the Anabaptist approach.  Do you recall, from your reading, the manner in which they baptized (immersion, infusion, etc)?

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« Reply #60 on: December 17, 2003, 09:21:36 AM »

Some parishes today say horse troughs for adults Smiley

I was baptized (thrice immersed) in a large plastic pool that my parish rented--right on the front lawn of the Church.

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« Reply #61 on: December 17, 2003, 10:59:47 AM »

I was baptized as a teen in the Mad River, VT in July.  Smiley  I had not been baptized as a child since my parents could not agree on which church in which to have me baptized.  SO when I finally was baptized, it was my own choice.  Our church offers both infant Christening and adult baptisms.  Infants we sprinkle, adults get dunked.  I know that some churches like to dunk 3 times one for each person of the trinity. Personally, I say just dunk'em once and hold them under until they REALLY repent Grin
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« Reply #62 on: December 17, 2003, 11:17:10 AM »

If I were building a new Orthodox Church I'd like to have a baptistery like the one at Ravenna with a central pool big enough to walk into.

I was baptised by my own choice in the Plymouth Brethren by my Dad, and then baptised when i became Orthodox. I had no issues with tha because in my first baptism any sacramental grace or understanding was absolutely rejected. It was not believed or intended to do what Orthodox-Catholic doctrine proposes. So it was not a sacrament as far as I was and am concerned.

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« Reply #63 on: December 17, 2003, 06:00:54 PM »

Peter: we have a baptismal pool for adult baptisms in a separate sanctuary - it’s in the floor, covered and empty except when needed.  It's very handy!  I’ve assisted at many baptisms in that pool.  Especially since we do not have a convenient out door site near us - I wouldn't dunk anyone in the Monongahela for fear of loosing them in the murk. Trouble is that you have to fill it at least 48 hours in advance - even in the summer time - so that the water can warm up!
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« Reply #64 on: December 18, 2003, 04:43:25 AM »

In the PB's we had a hot tap as well as a cold tap so the temperature could be raised a bit as it was filling.

When my infant son was baptised by immersion we did add some warm water because didn't want him catching cold.

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« Reply #65 on: December 18, 2003, 09:08:26 AM »

When my baby daughter Anna was baptized by immersion in the Orthodox Church in December of 2002, the water, which had at one point been warm, was cold by the time she was actually dunked in it.

We dried her off and dressed her pretty quick afterwards, however.

It sure perked her up!  Grin




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« Reply #66 on: December 18, 2003, 12:37:20 PM »

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I am sure we must look for another reason.

Well, I think the reasoning is good, albeit that Russia MAY have baptized by immersion. I'm imagining plague ridden Europe, people dying off, and babies being baptized in freezing cold water and then dying shortly thereafter. It would have seemed to the Europeans that immersing a baby in ice cold water would complicate things, and would make the baby more susceptible to the plague, or whatever other bad diseases there might be.
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« Reply #67 on: December 18, 2003, 12:49:44 PM »

But do you/we have any evidence that this was the reason. The Russians have always baptised by immersion and its a whole lot colder and they had the plague too, it wasn't just Europe. But it was just the churches under Roman Catholic control that changed. If there were several Orthodox churches that had also at the same time then I'd consider it to have weight.

Why only Roman Catholic countries?

I'll look on Questia again and see if there is anyone who's looked at this.

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« Reply #68 on: December 18, 2003, 01:20:54 PM »

Honestly, I don't think the Latin change in this regard was motivated by hygenic concerns, or worry over illness.

Like every minimalization the Latins employed after the schism, it was employed at first for practical reasons, and then kept in place just to "prove" something to those who had problems with it.

Case in point...

It is almost certain that the Latins began the practice of communicating their congregations "under one species" (the Host) for purely practical reasons.  While I'd have hoped they'd have taken a que from the East, and simply introduced the use of the spoon (which makes concerns about spillage, or people palming the Holy Gifts just as irrelevent, without depriving them of the basic form of Communion which it is obvious Christ desired His followers to receive at the Eucharist), this was their "pragmatic" solution, which in turn they could justify on the grounds of "concommittance" (the teaching that, strictly speaking, because Christ is Risen, one cannot receive only His Body when receiving the Host, or only His Precious Blood when drinking from the Chalice; rather, since He is alive and living, one, by connection, receives both in each "species.").

And when the inevitable occured (some complained on the grounds of apostolic tradition), the Latins became more dogged - now rather than simply existing for practicality's sake (and perhaps, in the popular consciousness, to re-inforce clericalism...since the priests certainly did receive "both kinds"), the practice (oddly enough) stood to "resist the heretics" (those who denied, explicitly or implicitly, "concommitance".)

It was long similar with Baptism - I suppose it's "easier" and on the whole less difficult, to pour a little water over someone's head, then dunk them whole and entire into a baptismal pool.  In a minimalistic mentality, the only question was "is this valid?"  And since the Latins answered "yes" to this, they went ahead and did it.  Then, round aboutly, when some people complained (on the grounds of tradition and apostolic practice), they became more stubborn in the practice, simply to confound these dissenters.

I think it is a terrible thing, when Divine Services in general (not just Baptism in particular) are treated in such a calculating way.  Is this the Spirit of the New Testament?  "Do the least we can possibly get away with, just enough so that we can get through the door"?

The problem with such a mentality, is that in our fallen state, the minimalist attitude itself (and not necessarily all of it's particular manifestations) will doom us to self satisfaction, even a "bargaining" mentality towards God, in which we figure "I jumped through the necessary hoops; it's all good."  This is totally alien to the mind of the Fathers - and I include those of the west, first and foremost.

Don't get me wrong - such questions are not totally without value.  However, when they become the way pastoral/liturgical decisions get made, I fear it is poisonous, as it will, one way or another, affect not only people's attitudes within the Temple, but outside of it as well.

Thus, even though the Didache says that if necessary, baptism by infusion is permissable, it certainly does not portray this as the ideal.  And why?  Because while it certainly fulfills some kind of "minimal" symbolism needed to "show" in figure the invisible grace of the Mystery, it leaves out so much.  While baptizing someone with a little water on the head does minimalistically symbolize "washing" and reflects baptism's Trinitarian aspect, does it reflect buriel in Christ, and Ressurection?  Does it even fully demonstrate the total cleansing of the soul which Baptism affords, the way immersing somone in a font (or natural body of water) does?

This "calculating" (it's the best term I can think of) attitude is infectious.  This is part of the reason why in Catholicism the economy of salvation began to be treated solely in a judicial/legal context; even penance was reduced to this (with indulgences serving as a way to avoid them, or at least mitigate them - based on the understanding that the primary purpose of penance is not reform and real, objective change in the soul...but rather the "paying up" of something you owe to God, which strictly speaking can be done by someone else if He's willing to accept that.)

I'm not saying that the particular practice of "baptism by pouring" as a policy is responsible for all of this; only that it is a manifestation of a fundamentally flawed way of thinking.

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« Reply #69 on: December 18, 2003, 02:03:29 PM »

I would add that in Northern Russia affusion was sometimes practiced, so Orthodoxy is not without its exceptions.  On the otherhand, the Ambrosian Rite kept and keeps triple immersion as its practice.  

One thing that seems to underly these types of discussion is a Byzantine (and seemingly Coptic) chauvinism, that is no less wrong than the preeminence the Roman Rite felt it had.  Each Church has the right to decide for itself how liturgically things will be handled within the Catholic and Apostolic Tradition, clearly afusion is within it.  Criticisms of what is a better symbol miss the point, becasue each Rite has different emphases and symbols that inevitably conflict with another of a different Church.  A few examples: The Armenians do not mix water into the wine as everyone else does.  Why? Because they view that as a symbol of corruption as they do leaven, which is why they use unleavened bread.   And no, they did not adopt this from the Latins as is often assumed, their own manuscripts show they practiced this long before the crusades, as did the Assyrians who only later adopted leavened bread.  Now this flies in the face of what we Byzantines and Copts believe concerning mixing water with the wine or using leavend bread, yet the Copts maintain communion with the Armenians.  Should the practice of affusion then be held as a reason for non-communion or calling baptism by this method invalid?  I think it should not.  For if this is they case then we all have a lot more problems before communion can be achieved.

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« Reply #70 on: December 18, 2003, 04:01:00 PM »

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No evidence...I am asking IF anyone has any....Saints...adults...and their ascesis is one thing...and does NOT translate to infants. People realized even then that the sudden shock of being plunged in ice water can kill...(can stop the heart) and that infants are fragile. SO...DID they warm the water? OR just allow infant mortality to soar?  I think from most examples of patristics and monastic writings I have read the rule is to be strict with yourself and merciful to others...I can't imagine someone other than a Puritan saying "Gotta be harsh with the little sprog"...I don't know what was done in Russia...I'm curious enough to research it, though.

I've heard it from a medievalist that babies were indeed baptized in outdoor water fonts until infusion became popular, and many died in the process.

AFAIK, hot water wasn't as easy to come by back then. They didn't have it on tap. Wink I challenge anybody here to fill with warm water a medieval baptismal font in the dead of winter, without hot water on tap. Smiley
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« Reply #71 on: December 18, 2003, 04:18:15 PM »

I accept you points and can assure you that I am not a Coptic chauvinist.

But it seems a legitimate and reasonable question to ask why immersion was universal in the West until AFTER the schism with Eastern Orthodoxy. If the West had a practice of affusion from the beginning then that would be a different set of evidence, but the practice of both baptism and communion changed from being wholly consistent with universal practice to being dissonant in just a hundred years or so and after the schism with the East. It seems entirely sensible to ask what the reason for this change was and what it means.

The Armenians are the oldest Christian nation in the world. They have not changed a practice after a millenia. This is different to the Armenians ceasing to use leaven after say 1300 when it would again be reasonable to ask why they changed. But they have not changed.

I don't think I am saying that affusion is practically a necessary obstacle. But the reason for the change is also expedient to ask. In the case of communion we find that priests who tried to communicate their people in both kinds were threatened with excommunication. This is again a different situation. If communion in one kind were allowed and becae common that is one thing, but if the universal practice which had been used for a millenia became illegal then that seems to me to indicate a change of thinking and not only practice.

All of the fonts I have seen from the period in question are ALL inside churches. They stood near the door to the church. It is not difficult to add hot or warm water to a font. It requires a fire, a metal pot filled with water and perhaps a bucket. All of these are readily available. My own son was baptised by immersion in a cold Anglican church font. It was filled with cold water and we carried a container of hot water a few hundred yards from my parents house and topped the font up with it to take the chill off. He was in the font for about 15-20 seconds and was wrapped up warm immediately afterwards.

The Roman fonts I know of in the UK were all inside wooden structures and were not outside.

Why would the water have been ice water and why then was baptism by immersion the constant rule for 1200 years in Europe if it was so deadly? Why also should we have faith that we can't be made ill by communion but should not have faith that the life-giving waters of baptism will kill our children?

PT
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« Reply #72 on: December 18, 2003, 04:46:20 PM »

British Church history is one of my favourite subjects, and I'm doing an MA in Celtic Christianity, so my interest is not purely, or even majorly from a Orthodox-Roman comparative persepective.

I note in Birth, Marriage, and Death: Ritual, Religion, and the Life-Cycle in Tudor and Stuart England by David Cressy; Oxford University Press, 1997 p139

"As a leader of the Marian counterreformation, Bishop Bonner sought to restore the traditional manner of trine (triple) immersion that had so recently been subverted. Were there any in the diocese, he asked in 1554, 'that will not suffer the priest to dip the child three times in the font, being yet strong, and able to abide and suffer it . . . but will needs have the child in the clothes, and only to be sprinkled with a few drops of water?' In the interest of purity and simplicity English protestants eschewed this 'thrice dipping' of popish baptism and sought to punish it if it occurred."

It would therefore seem, and I will now try to track down Bishop Bonner, that in England baptism by triple immersion was the normal practice even until the reformation.

PT
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« Reply #73 on: December 18, 2003, 05:33:35 PM »

Not proposing this as a proving anything at all, but from the Schaff Ency.

"The Greek word baptizein means "to dip," "to submerge." When we read in the Septuagint (II Kings v, 14) that Naaman went down into the Jordan and "baptized himself" (Gk. ebaptisato), we are compelled to understand a dipping; and there is cited from Greek literature not a single instance of the use of the word in which the idea of submersion is not involved. Wherefore it is held that the rite of baptism as spoken of in the New Testament was always a burial in water and that the command to baptize is a command to immerse. The burial in water has always been the practise of the Greek Church, its older patriarchates holding that there is no other baptism (Stanley, Eastern Church, Lecture i). The Baptists and some other bodies in Western Christendom hold rigidly to this view. Immersion is the only catholic act of baptism, the only one whose validity is recognized semper et ubique et ab omnibus. The burial in water continued to be the standard usage of the Roman Church for more than a thousand years. Thomas Aquinas speaks of it as "the more common" usage. It was the practise in Britain till the reign of Elizabeth, and is still demanded in the order of the Church of England for the baptism of infants unless the parents shall certify that the child is weak. Though pouring or sprinkling is now employed rather as a matter of convenience, effusion was for many centuries resorted to only in case of necessity.

b. Testimony of Cyprian.

The first extended discussion of the question is found in the epistle of Cyprian to Magnus written about the middle of the third century. Being asked whether those can be deemed legitimi Christiani, "Christians in full standing," who, being converted in sickness are non loci sod perfusi, "not immersed in the water but having it simply poured over them," he gives an affirmative opinion but does so with the very greatest hesitation. His words are: "So far as my poor ability comprehends the matter;" and "I have answered your letter so far as my poor and small ability is capable of doing;" and "So far as in me lies I have shown what I think." He disclaims any intention of saying that other officials should recognize effusion as baptism and even goes so far as to suggest that those who have thus received affusion may on their recovery from sickness be immersed. But, citing various sprinklings in the Mosaic ritual, he gives the view, that necessitate cogente, immersion being out of the question, those who have been poured upon may be comforted by being told that they have been truly baptized (Cypriani epiat., lxxv, [lxix], 12-14; ANF, v, 400-401). This epistle makes it clear beyond all controversy that in the third century the ordinary baptism was immersion, and that even in the Latin Church there were those who declared it the only baptism. It further appears with equal clearness that affusion was never practised in the Apostolic Church, for had the apostles resorted thereto even in a single instance Cyprian would certainly have known the fact and would never have presented so mild an apology for a usage which had apostolic precedent, nor indeed would any one have taken exception to the practise.

c. Origin of Affusion.

For a thousand years the resort to the use of effusion was justified only on the ground of necessity. And the supposed necessity existed in the idea that baptism was essential to salvation and so that when immersion, the established rite, was out of the question, something must be put in its place or the soul would be lost. The use of affusion would never have been thought of except for the idea that water baptism was essential to salvation."
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« Reply #74 on: December 18, 2003, 05:40:30 PM »

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we are compelled to understand a dipping; and there is cited from Greek literature not a single instance of the use of the word in which the idea of submersion is not involved.

This is false. When the pharisees washed themselves before eating, the word "baptizein" was used. Are we to think they bathed before eating? It doesn't just mean "to dip, to submerge." False, false, false.
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« Reply #75 on: December 18, 2003, 05:47:23 PM »

This is false. When the pharisees washed themselves before eating, the word "baptizein" was used. Are we to think they bathed before eating? It doesn't just mean "to dip, to submerge." False, false, false.

Surely it does mean "to dip, to submerge" in this instance. It means that ones hands are dipped and submerged in the water. It does not mean "to bathe" it means "to submerge in water". And in the context it is fairly obvious that this means the Pharisees washed their hands by submerging in water.

You have just pulled out this one phrase from the encyclopaedia. What about the statement that baptism by immersion was universal until the medieval period and that Aquinas says it is the normal mode and that in England it was the practice until the Reformation?

Also what's your opinion of the teaching of St Cyprian who opposes the normal form of baptism by immersion to that of pouring, thereby showing that whatever the meaning of the Greek word baptizo the Christian meaning was a washing by immersion in the normal form.

PT
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« Reply #76 on: December 18, 2003, 06:18:02 PM »

It doesn't just mean "to dip, to submerge." False, false, false.

Sorry Caffeinator but it does mean precisely that.

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« Reply #77 on: December 18, 2003, 06:40:17 PM »

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The word Baptism is derived from the Greek word, bapto, or baptizo, to wash or to immerse.

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02258b.htm#II

I appreciate the symbolism of baptism by immersion, but I too was baptized into Jesus' death, by infusion.
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« Reply #78 on: December 18, 2003, 06:47:06 PM »

I think the situation in which baptism by infusion becomes the norm is analagous to private confession, with private penances. In the early Church it was thought that penance need be public and severe. The form changed, and it is within the authority of the Catholic Church to recognize such confessions as valid, to establish private confession, private penance as the norm for our Church, and likewise with baptism.
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« Reply #79 on: December 18, 2003, 06:58:16 PM »

I don't think that is what I am questioning now. I am rather asking why in England baptism by immersion was the norm until the reformation and was still being encouraged by Catholic bishops there, and was the norm throughout the West for 1300 years.

My question is why did it change to a non-Catholic form, that is, a form that had never been recognised anywhere as normative.

It can be for practical reasons, but what are they, or it could be for doctrinal/theological reasons, what are they? But it doesn't just happen and in England it obviously didn't until the Anglican Church was established. And in the time of Aquinas it hadn't happened as much.

So why did it happen. The reasons surely must determine how the change should be viewed?

PT
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« Reply #80 on: December 18, 2003, 07:02:48 PM »

Well, I've tried to put it in its historical context, although honestly I wasn't there. The theology is the same. We are baptized into Christ's death and resurrection, for the forgiveness of sins, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. And we always were. Smiley

One of the things that keeps me Catholic is that I couldn't in good conscience allow myself to be re-"baptized." I've told God too many times that I acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
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« Reply #81 on: December 19, 2003, 03:55:02 AM »

Hi, I wasn't there either. I wouldn't have minded the Old English period but I'm not such a fan of the post-Conquest period.

But we must be able to dig up some evidence. I am surprised in fact how little seems out there. Might be a good article in it. If England preserved baptism by immersion then what other countries did, and until when? England is further north than Italy so the cold water argument seems to fall down.

I am not suggesting that it is a major obstacle, or that you have not been baptised. It's not for me to say that at all. But it has become problematic for my own Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate and if I am to be able to write or comment in favour of the RC practice it is necessary at least for me to be able to explain how this change took place and why.

PT
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« Reply #82 on: December 19, 2003, 05:22:42 AM »

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The word Baptism is derived from the Greek word, bapto, or baptizo, to wash or to immerse.

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02258b.htm#II

Incorrect. It only means "wash" in the sense that something is completely submerged. "Wash" is a derived meaning from the act of submersion in water. Bapto and baptizo do not have the meaning of "wash" in any other sense.

Remember, they did not have pipes bringing water to showers or taps over wash basins back then.

BTW, I work at the Centre for the Greek Language in Thessaloniki, Greece. I may not be an authority on the Greek language, but the people I work with are  Cool.

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« Reply #83 on: December 19, 2003, 09:28:42 AM »

Summary of my opinion on this matter...

Strictly speaking, as an act of economy (when circumstances merit it), baptizing by infusion ("pouring") is both "valid" and "lawful."

As a pastoral policy ("the rule") however, it is deficient.  To make it the norm, is to confuse condescension with "the ideal", and in so doing we end up deviating from the Apostolic Tradition.  However, I will say that even so it has been admitted as "valid", as the reception of RC converts to Orthodoxy has demonstrated.

I know this may not be the thinking of everyone here, but this is where I'm coming from - my trouble is not so much with the strict "validity" of the form, so much as making what is supposed to be "exceptional" the norm, and the great loss this entails.

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« Reply #84 on: December 19, 2003, 09:52:48 AM »

Dcn. Lance,

Quote
I would add that in Northern Russia affusion was sometimes practiced, so Orthodoxy is not without its exceptions.

Can you give details on this, and any contextual info?

Quote
One thing that seems to underly these types of discussion is a Byzantine (and seemingly Coptic) chauvinism, that is no less wrong than the preeminence the Roman Rite felt it had.

As Peter has said of himself, I will say of myself - there is not a question of blind chauvenism here.  Rather, I find it odd that the Latins would for so long adhere to the universal practice of the Church, and then change it - and with no good reason that anyone here can discern (I think by this point the "cold water kills" or "hygiene" argument has been discounted.)

Quote
Each Church has the right to decide for itself how liturgically things will be handled within the Catholic and Apostolic Tradition, clearly afusion is within it.

Do they have such absolute mastery over the sacraments?  I certainly do not support this idea.  For the Orthodox, part of the concern is the fact that this became normal in the RCC, after it had (from the Orthodox p.o.v.) gone into schism (thus this practice is not evidence of something healthy members of the Church were doing in the west, prior to the close of the first millenia A.D.)

Quote
Criticisms of what is a better symbol miss the point, becasue each Rite has different emphases and symbols that inevitably conflict with another of a different Church.  A few examples: The Armenians do not mix water into the wine as everyone else does.  Why? Because they view that as a symbol of corruption as they do leaven, which is why they use unleavened bread.

As for which is "better symbolism" in the case of Baptism, your argument here is lacking, since the Scriptures themselves go into the details of what Baptism signifies, and they use the normative Apostolic practice of immersion (which is strictly speaking what the very word "baptism" means) to illustrate this...

Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:4)

Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. (Colossians 2:12)

Once again, the word "baptism" means "immerse".  In Strong's KJV Greek NT Concordance, we find the following for "baptizo"...

Quote
Strong's Number 907

Definition

1. to dip repeatedly, to immerse, to submerge (of vessels sunk)
2. to cleanse by dipping or submerging, to wash, to make clean with water, to wash one's self, bathe
3. to overwhelm

Not to be confused with [Strong's #] 911, bapto. The clearest example that shows the meaning of baptizo is a text from the Greek poet and physician Nicander, who lived about 200 B.C. It is a recipe for making pickles and is helpful because it uses both words. Nicander says that in order to make a pickle, the vegetable should first be 'dipped' (bapto) into boiling water and then 'baptised' (baptizo) in the vinegar solution. Both verbs concern the immersing of vegetables in a solution. But the first is temporary. The second, the act of baptising the vegetable, produces a permanent change. When used in the New Testament, this word more often refers to our union and identification with Christ than to our water baptism. e.g. Mark 16:16. 'He that believes and is baptised shall be saved'. Christ is saying that mere intellectual assent is not enough. There must be a union with him, a real change, like the vegetable to the pickle! Bible Study Magazine, James Montgomery Boice, May 1989.

Ignoring James Boice's Reformed/Baptistic sounding bias against anything (no matter how obvious) smacking of "baptismal regeneration", the linguistic exposition here is sound, and is the same as everything else I've read on the topic.

While one can get a secondary meaning of "washing" from this term, this is an understanding that comes via association, not what the word itself actually menas - it is also an understanding (washing) which is culturally/historically sensitive, since it can only come about as the result of a time/place when people would have submerged their hands into a basin of water, or for whom washing the body would involve "taking a bath" (since they would have not have had faucet taps or showers back when this term was being used in relation to such common washings.)

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« Reply #85 on: December 19, 2003, 10:01:24 AM »

But do you/we have any evidence that this was the reason. The Russians have always baptised by immersion and its a whole lot colder and they had the plague too, it wasn't just Europe. But it was just the churches under Roman Catholic control that changed. If there were several Orthodox churches that had also at the same time then I'd consider it to have weight.

Why only Roman Catholic countries?

I'll look on Questia again and see if there is anyone who's looked at this.

PT

Oh that's easy!! Because God told the pope to change things and since Russia was full of "GRACELESS HERETIC" schismatics - you guys never got the memo!! Grin
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« Reply #86 on: December 19, 2003, 10:16:28 AM »

I know this may not be the thinking of everyone here, but this is where I'm coming from - my trouble is not so much with the strict "validity" of the form, so much as making what is supposed to be "exceptional" the norm, and the great loss this entails.

I agree with everything Seraphim has written. And I concur with his opinion that what is troubling is not the strict validity of RC baptisms, which I can accept, especially since the theological and sacramental meaning seems the same in both Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism, rather it is hard to see why the manifest symbolism of the ancient and universal and Western as much as Eastern pratice would or should be abrogated.

Is there a movement anywhere in Roman Catholicsm to restore baptism by immersion? Do the Byzantine Catholics baptise by immersion?

I still think there is a good article in this subject since it seems there is no obvious source of information about how and where and why and when this change took place.

I think that St Cyprian would take a stronger line on the issue than I would, and I understand that my bishops take this Cyprianic view. I'm not convinced that I do, but I'm also not sure that dialogue has progressed so far that this is the only outstanding issue, which, if it were, I would probably support the validity of RC baptism.

PT
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« Reply #87 on: December 19, 2003, 11:11:12 AM »

Seraphim,

I will have to dig that up for you.  I seem to recall that it was said this was done in the Novgorod region, I assume because of the severe cold.

When I refer to chauvinsim I refer to the Byzantine and Coptic Churches as a whole, not you or Subdeacon Peter personally.

But while we are speaking of deviating from Apostolic practice the Eastern Churches have done this also.  The Didache states quite clearly that the norm is immersion in running water as Our Lord was, to my knowledge this is rarely, if ever, done.  Immersion in a font is itself a deviation, although to a different degree than affusion, from the Apostolic norm but this is never brought up.

My point is affusion was/is acceptable although not preferred by the East.  To claim that this is invalid or unacceptable is, in my opinion wrong, and an attempt to creat yet further division by decrying the practice of another.

Why did the Latin Church do this?  Out of convenience and minimalism? In part probably.  But please note that Latins could say the same thing about our practice of having priests chrismate instead of the bishop.  Also we tend to forget the Roman Rite of antiquity was very sober.  The simplest action was preferred and it seems this one out in baptism.  Anything that resembles the East in the Roman Rite is a Gallican Rite import.

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« Reply #88 on: December 19, 2003, 11:22:13 AM »

Subdeacon Peter,

In the Latin Church new parishes are usually built with immersion pools.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church as well as the Sacramentary praise the fuller symbol of immersion an recommend it with out requiring it.

In the Byzantine Church baptism of infants is by immersion, but affusion is normal for adults in my experience, although I am sure there are some priests who would bring in the kiddie pool  a la My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

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« Reply #89 on: December 19, 2003, 11:30:33 AM »

Thanks for the info Deacon Lance.

I must suggest though that the COP is not being chauvinistic, but rather takes a stricter Cyprianic line. It also has difficulties in Egypt with the presence of the Coptic Catholic Church which I guess make relations more strained than they might be. This is not an excuse. I do tend towards the more economical line.

PT
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« Reply #90 on: December 19, 2003, 11:48:32 AM »

When I was going to be baptized, the assistant pastor suggested that it should be by immersion, but the pastor said infusion. Maybe this issue will not be such an obstacle in dialogue after all. Smiley Although I appreciate the sincere search for answers here. I just don't know.
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« Reply #91 on: December 19, 2003, 12:27:33 PM »

Dcn. Lance,

You bring up two very strong points, perhaps the two best offered so far in denfense of this late-in-coming Latin practice.  However, in them, I do not perceive so much a rebuttal of the observation that the RC practice on Baptism is not minimalistic or falling away from the ideal - rather, it is a pseud-absolution of the RC practice, by pointing to the perceived short comings of Eastern practice (IOW, at best, an argument for silence on the grounds that to do otherwise, Easterners become hypocrites.)

Quote
But while we are speaking of deviating from Apostolic practice the Eastern Churches have done this also.  The Didache states quite clearly that the norm is immersion in running water as Our Lord was, to my knowledge this is rarely, if ever, done.  Immersion in a font is itself a deviation, although to a different degree than affusion, from the Apostolic norm but this is never brought up.

This is a good point (keeping in mind however, the Didache is only one source on this subject - but a good point nonetheless, particularly given the antiquity and acceptance in early Christendom of this document).  However, I do not find it a convincing argument, for the following reasons...

- The Didache, going down a descending list of norms for Baptism says "if thou hast not" (ex. but if thou hast not running water, baptize in some other water, and if thou canst not baptize in cold, in warm water;).  I think a stronger argument can be made for the impracticality of finding a suitable river to baptize someone in, than the alleged impracticality of finding any sufficient amount of water to baptize someone in (by immersion.)

- I also happen to know, that when the situation allows it, most Orthodox Priests will opt to Baptize someone in a lake or river (this is particularly true of monasteries, which are very often established near bodies of water.)

Most significant however, is how we should read the Didache in light of the broad Tradition of the Church, the canons, etc.  The Didache, while briefly offering norms on this subject, gives little in the case of details.  For example, this is all we read...

Quote
7:1 But concerning baptism, thus baptize ye: having first recited all these precepts, baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in running water;

7:2 but if thou hast not running water, baptize in some other water, and if thou canst not baptize in cold, in warm water;

7:3 but if thou hast neither, pour water three times on the head, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

7:4 But before the baptism, let him who baptizeth and him who is baptized fast previously, and any others who may be able. And thou shalt command him who is baptized to fast one or two days before.  (Didache, Chapter 7)

However, we know full well that as far as the Church (including the West, even up until after the "Great Schism") was concerned, there was an immense amount of qualification to be added to the above formula.

For example, while baptizing in a river ("living water"...which I would imagine would not be a lake even, but moving, flowing water, like in the River Jordan) may have been "more the ideal" based on it's outward simultude to the historical manner of Christ's Baptism at the hands of St.John the Baptist (and the primitive Apostolic practice immediately after Pentecost, which was largely a matter of practicality - unless one can think of a better way of baptizing crowds of converts), this was not regarded by the Canons of the Church or the popular thought of the Church in any age as touching upon the "essential symbolism" of the sacrament.

OTOH, save until the rise of the post-schism Latin practice (and perhaps some anomalies, like the apparent Russian example you mentioned - it's also worth mentioning that this wouldn't have been the only situation where local anomalies in baptismal norms occured...Spain had a much more serious one than this, for example...yet the Church never cited this as "precedent"), no canonical jurisprudence or Patristic comment would have envisioned the relationship of the practice of "pouring" as being on par to the relationship of "immersion in a font" to "immersion in a river".  In fact, the contrary is quite explicit, as I'm sure you'd recognize as well - Baptisms "by pouring" were viewed as only being permissable in situations where it was absolutely necessary (a genuine lack of sufficient water, or the infirmity of the person to be baptized.)

IOW, the relationship between "Baptism by immersion in a river" to "Baptism by immersion in a Baptismal Pool/Font" was one of "ideal historical simultude" (to the Baptism of Christ in the Jordan), which if practical, certainly would be a preferable option...where as the relationship between "Baptism by immersion in a Baptismal Pool/Font" and "Baptism by pouring" was viewed (in the case of the latter) something only justified by real necessity.

And this comes back, once again, to the "why"; why is this?  Because the term "Baptizo" itself, undoubtedly refers to immersion.  That is simply what the term means, no matter what anyone wants to believe.  This is undoubtedly preserved, in the practice of Baptizing in the still waters of a Baptismal Pool inside of a Church.  However, it is only by the most strained reasoning, that the basic meaning of this word is in any way satisfied by the practice of letting water flow over the head (and presumably, wherever else it may run down on the body.)

It is because of the generosity of the Church, that this most "strained" practice barely cuts the mustard as far as "validity" is concerned.  Given this, the problem of actually prefering this practice (let alone making it the norm, and even disciplining those who advocate the Apostolic norm) remains.

Quote
My point is affusion was/is acceptable although not preferred by the East.  To claim that this is invalid or unacceptable is, in my opinion wrong, and an attempt to creat yet further division by decrying the practice of another.

While some make it an issue of "validity", I am not one of them (nor would it seem does the Russian, or even at various times, including our own, the Greek custom - since both have/do receive RC converts without Baptizing them again, and certainly both recognize, as did the Fathers, the "validity" of Baptizing someone, in the case of an emergency, via pouring).

Rather, what is under discussion, is the prudence/wisdom of making such an exceptional practice (with lengthy explanations of why it remains exceptional in Orthodoxy, and was such in the pre-schism Latin Church as well) "the norm", as well as the consequences of such a decision.

Quote
Why did the Latin Church do this?  Out of convenience and minimalism? In part probably.  But please note that Latins could say the same thing about our practice of having priests chrismate instead of the bishop.

This is the second "good point" I think you've made (but once again, it's strength is not undoing the criticism of "illegitimate minimalism" or other criticisms - rather, it's sole strength is in perhaps making the Orthodox seem hypocritical for pointing out someone else's short comings, while not acknowleding their own alleged short comings in similar matters).

The question of Bishops (as opposed to Priests) Chrismating neophytes is more complicated than the surface explanation you're giving would make it seem.  This subject is very much related to the historical growth throughout the entirity of Christendom of the Bishop's territory.

In the earliest times (as I am quite sure you are aware) each city would have had it's own Bishop - and it was entirely likely, that every Sunday Liturgy would have been celebrated by him, with the Christians of that city congregating to his Altar.

The same would have been true of the reception of new Christians (young or old) - he would not only have Chrismated all of them, but also would have Baptized all of them as well.

Given this, it would have been extremely abnormal in early Christianity (save for emergency cases) for someone to have been Baptized and Chrismated at different times - the two Mysteries were not viewed as being autonomous, but as being part of the same reception into the Church ("be Baptized" and "receive the Holy Spirit" - it's hard to picture St.Peter, in saying these words, imagining them as anything but part of a singular initiation.)

As the Bishop's territory grew beyond a city, typically to ecompass also the country side, or other neighbouring, smaller cities (or within larger cities, the congregation grew to a point where several local Temples were needed at different parts of the city), the role of his Presbyters increased as well.  In many respects, the role now played by Presbyters in parishes is very similar to that of Bishops in the early Church.  The Presbyters increasingly became the resident "vicar" of their Bishop in a given Parish.  This is basically the same situation Orthodoxy finds itself in today (the same is true of the RCC.)

Given these factors, I think (if anything) it is the LATIN practice which seems more questionable in this regard - the unity of Baptism-Chrismation is more "of the essence" than the latter's ministration by a Bishop (while leaving the former to the parish Priest).  The argument might go differently, if the Latins insisted that Bishops be both solely responsible for Chrismation and Baptism, but this is not the case - in principle, they recognize the rectitude of extending these ministries of the Bishop through the hands (which are really an extension of his own) of the Presbyters.

Now, I understand that there is some decent rationale for at least leaving part of the "initiation rite" to the Bishop (symbolizing in a more direct way, his acceptance of the persons being Chrismated as his own...hence, at least part of the meaning of the western term "Confirmation.")  However, I think (as would Orthodoxy in general) that this is outweighed by the good in keeping Baptism-Chrismation together.  Not to mention the really strange abnormality to appear in the West, of non-Chrismated persons receiving Holy Communion (while still awaiting for their Chrismation; an abnormality which survives to this day in many of the fondest memories of Roman Catholics - their first confession/communion taking place years prior to their being Confirmed.)

However, if there was any doubt on this subject (which practice is to be preferred - the Orthodox one, or the latter RC one), they are put to rest by the admission of the RCC itself after Vatican II.  At least in the case of adult converts, the RCIA program for their reception, takes for granted that they will be baptized and confirmed by their parish priest, at the same time, and then giving said persons communion immediately afterwards.

Thus, rather than a case of sheer pragmaticism (and certainly not minimalism), I think even the Latins themselves recognize that the Orthodox practice in this regard, best preserves the highest good, even when faced with new/trying circumstances (the highest good being the unity of the "rites of initiation", to borrow an RC phrase.)

Quote
Also we tend to forget the Roman Rite of antiquity was very sober.  The simplest action was preferred and it seems this one out in baptism.  Anything that resembles the East in the Roman Rite is a Gallican Rite import.

Some points...

- Yes, the ancient Roman Rite (the form you're speaking of is so remote, that it even predates St.Gregory the Great) was quite sober (perhaps in some ways being similar to the Armenian practices) - but they also Baptized by immersion (saw pouring as a matter of economy), and kept the unity of Baptism-Chrismation.

- I'm not convinced that the more "spartan" character of ancient Latin practice, is tantamount to "minimalism" or a "minimalistic" attitude.  I think it is simply a difference between simpler and more elaborate forms.  For example, if you went back far enough in the Christian East, you'd probably find similarly "simpler" practices, like those of Rome.  The Liturgy of the Church, has undoubtedly undergone a flowering and greater explication.  I think the only thing we get out of the Roman situation (being "more spartan") is the observation that the Latins were a little "behind" in this regard (sorry for the use of that term...I do not mean it in a depractory way, I just mean in terms of liturgical expansion and elaboration).  That they eventually began incorporating Gallican elements, and expansions of the liturgy of their own making, is evidence enough of this continuum of development.

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« Reply #92 on: January 29, 2004, 03:41:25 PM »

  Did anyone happen to mention the Didache yet?
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« Reply #93 on: January 29, 2004, 04:52:03 PM »

I think so, but they concensus among the Orthodox is that it infusion for the Didache was for extreme circumstances only. IIRC
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« Reply #94 on: January 29, 2004, 05:10:56 PM »

I think so, but they concensus among the Orthodox is that it infusion for the Didache was for extreme circumstances only. IIRC


  If that's so, it makes sense.
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« Reply #95 on: January 30, 2004, 04:53:25 PM »

http://www.catholic.com/library/Baptism_Immersion_Only.asp

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« Reply #96 on: January 30, 2004, 04:56:44 PM »

I was going to edit in this quote from the above link, but I forgot that the edit option is disabled. Can anybody verify this quote?

Quote
But immersion is not the only meaning of baptizo. Sometimes it just means washing up. Thus Luke 11:38 reports that, when Jesus ate at a Pharisee’s house, "[t]he Pharisee was astonished to see that he did not first wash [baptizo] before dinner." No one in ancient Israel practiced immersion before dinner, but the Pharisees "do not eat unless they wash [nipto] their hands, observing the tradition of the elders; and when they come from the market place, they do not eat unless they wash themselves [baptizo]" (Mark 7:3-4a, emphasis added). So baptizo can mean cleansing or ritual washing as well as immersion.
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« Reply #97 on: January 30, 2004, 05:08:10 PM »

Let me say that I do not consider that RC baptism by infusion is not a true baptism.

But the problem I have with the article is that it ignores history. The almost universal practice of baptism in the East and in the West was immersion, for most baptisms until the middle ages. As we have already seen in the UK immersion struggled on in some Roman Catholic contexts until the Protestant Revolution of the 16th/17th centuries.

So it seems to me to be a little weak to be arguing that baptism could be taken to include what has now become a majority practice in the West when in fact no Christian writer of any community would have considered infusion to be normal for 1300 years. None of the Fathers of East or West writing on baptism considered baptism by infusion anything other than an acceptable means in an emergency or in difficult circumstances. Nor did any writer I have noticed ever suggest that infusion could be normative since the word baptism included the concept of pouring or sprinkling. All took baptism to mean a thorough washing, an immersion or at least a complete covering with water.

And the practice of the West supports this as being entirely the normative understanding for 1300 years. One only has to look at the nature of baptisteries as widely located as the small one in the ruins of Richborough Roman fort a few miles from me - big enough for a man to kneel in and be covered to the chest - or the great Imperial ones in Italy - where immersion was obviously the form of baptism practiced.

It may perhaps be fundamentalist - although that term should not normally be used in any argument that wishes to convince people - to insist that only immersion is a true baptism, but it seems to me that East and West were agreed for 1300 years or more that baptism by immersion should be normative for important theological and spiritual reasons.

I believe that it would be beneficial to the Roman Catholic communion to restore the normative practice of immersion, without there being any need to suggest that infusion is invalid. But according to all of our shared fathers it is certainly not considered normative, nor as spiritually beneficial. That isn't Orthodox chauvinism speaking but it is my understanding of the practice and teaching of the West before the change to infusion which we never got to the root of.

It would certainly be one less obstacle to reconciliation and would be surely only of benefit since the opportunity would be afforded of reinforcing the substance of the Church's teaching about the meaning of baptism.

PT
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« Reply #98 on: January 30, 2004, 05:12:34 PM »

I was going to edit in this quote from the above link, but I forgot that the edit option is disabled. Can anybody verify this quote?

I would say that none of our Churches take a Protestant view of Scripture. We do not ask 'what are the possible ranges of meaning' and then say that because baptizo could mean a washing therefore this is how we will develop our theology of baptism -And in fact to wash ones hands is to immerse them not to sprinkle them - rather we ask how our Churches have understood these passages. And it is clear that for 1300 years baptism meant immersion save in exceptional circumstances such as imminent death, lack of water or severe illness.

So I would suggest that the author should not be taking this line of reasoning. If the Church did not follow this interpretation then nor should we. Otherwise we really are doing what Protestants do. Reading the Bible, with a Greek dictionary in one hand, and seeing what we can discover.
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« Reply #99 on: January 30, 2004, 05:15:01 PM »

Let me say again, to be clear, I am not saying that RC baptism is not valid. But I do think that something which has a universal witness for longer than 1300 years is important, and I have already quoted RC bishops of as late as the 16th century who taught their priests that immersion was the only proper (that is normal not valid) form.
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« Reply #100 on: January 30, 2004, 06:31:56 PM »

Maybe I'm repeating myself, but I think it comes down to modern society just being lazy with regards to immersion.  No one wants to bother to actually get wet, mess up their clothes and hair and have to change.  It's just inconvenient.  Of course, so is going to church, but that's part of modernism as well.  Sad
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« Reply #101 on: January 30, 2004, 08:59:18 PM »

Well, immersion is lauded (or rather, is to be lauded) in RCism, and I think it may possibly make a comeback.

I haven't dared to ask this question until now, but I have to wonder...we baptize by infusion, it's valid, it's within the competence of our hierarchy to make such decisions. So what difference does it make?
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« Reply #102 on: January 31, 2004, 03:20:41 AM »

Hiya

Without doubting the validity of baptism by infusion I think I have to say that I am not sure that it is within the competence of any hierarchy to make such a change, a change which overturns the clear teaching of the Western and Eastern Fathers, and the universal practice of all Christians from the time of their unity through into the 14th-15th centuries.

Or at least I think I would dispute the wisdom of such a change.

It would be, it seems to me, like saying that the hierarchy have the competence to remove the need for fasting during X or Y period of the year. On the one hand I am aware that at some point it was within the competence of the hierarchy to codify and require such ascecis, but on the other hand it seems to me that fasting having become a universal praxis of the whole church it is then not within the competence of a hierarchy to remove the requirement to fast.

I think that the difference between an infusion and an immersion is great in terms of the suitability of the form to symbolise the sacrament. We are not being sprinkled as though something external was being performed upon us, but we are dying to self, being buried, and then being raised to new life. It is something that affects our whole being.

It also signifies a commitment to the faith, since as has been stated it requires that we get wet. When my son was baptised the service took well over an hour with anointings, exorcisms and baptism. But most christenings take 15-20 minutes with perhaps three of four children all being christened at the same time.

Of course length of service does not make something good or better, but it seems to me that the effort required in following the ancient and universal praxis of baptism makes it clear that a complete commitment is being called for. It is not an external action of the priest but an internal dying to self. Infusion does not represent this.

A summary of the notes I have previously mentioned:

Pope Pelagius is quoted in the Encyclical of 1895 as saying that baptism by immersion is a command from the Lord.

Thomas Aquinas says that infusion is a practice not to be recommended.

Hugh of St Victor describes immersion as being buried with Christ and has no thought of infusion being normal.

Abbot Corlet says infusion was known as the baptism of the sick and only employed for that purpose.

During the Marian resoration of Catholicism in England Bishop Bonner condemned those who would bring their children in clothes to be sprinkled instead of employing the triple immersion.

So it seems clear, as far as I can see, that even in late Roman Catholicism, immersion was considered the norm by some bishops, and even at the time of Aquinas infusion had not become usual. And the West, as the East, seem to give importance to the form of immersion as properly signifying dying and being raised to life.

Is the situation not a bit analogous to a bishop in some penal situation decidiing to use a piece of sliced bread for the liturgy because absolutely nothing else was available and the prosphora was completely impossible to bake. Now it might be considered that such a liturgy was still valid and that God would fill up what was missing, but if after the penal times that bishop started teaching that in fact a piece of sliced bread was more convenient than baking prosphora and was in fact just the same as using prosphora then some complaint might justifiably be made.

Infusion doesn't represent the substance of baptism as well as immersion, that is why the West and East always considered immersion normative, and why RC bishops still considered it normative, certainly in England, as late as the 16th century. I am not sure that it is within the competence of bishops to overturn such universal praxis and so many voices from the RC communion such as Thomas Aquinas who reject the practice of infusion as being normative.

Something is lost by making infusion normative....your own tradition is filled with arguments against it.

But I do still consider it valid. But validity doesn't mean that it is to be recommended outside of the traditional circumstances in which it was always used in the past.
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« Reply #103 on: January 31, 2004, 04:11:24 PM »

peterfarrington writes:

Is the situation not a bit analogous to a bishop in some penal situation decidiing to use a piece of sliced bread for the liturgy because absolutely nothing else was available and the prosphora was completely impossible to bake. Now it might be considered that such a liturgy was still valid and that God would fill up what was missing, but if after the penal times that bishop started teaching that in fact a piece of sliced bread was more convenient than baking prosphora and was in fact just the same as using prosphora then some complaint might justifiably be made.



In the light of the above, what do you opine is the current states of the historic Azymes controversy now that the WR Orthodox use unleavened bread to celebrate mass?

Also, I have noticed in many RC Churches the installation of a baptismal pool.  But I do not think they will be baptizing by immersion.  I believe they have the catechumen stand in the pool and water is poured over the entire body from the head down.  I am extremely uncomfortable with this and perhaps also with immersion in an RC Church, not that I am against it (immersion) but that this change is likely the inspiration of just another liberal lay or religious Catechist that is more interested in putting on a good show than in any true consideration of and appreciation for history and tradition.

I perceive that the pouring water on the head and down on the entire body was likely inspired by those pictures in some bibles and elsewhere of Jesus standing in the Jordan while the "Forerunner" poured water over his head, etc.

Jim C.
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« Reply #104 on: January 31, 2004, 04:21:46 PM »

Well the Armenian Apostolic Church has always used unleavened bread to symbolise that Christ was without sin. This was their practice from the very beginning of the Church. It is accepted by all of the sister Churches within the Oriental Orthodox communion, and of course by all Christians before Chalcedon, as an acceptable variation with an internal theological basis.

But the Armenian bread is not a wafer. It is still real bread. I find the issue with the later Western praxis and with some WR praxis is that what is offered is not really bread but is a wafer.

I am not saying this as though I was an authority, but as an interested person I'd like to know when and where and why the West began to use wafers rather than bread, leavened or unleavened?

I agree with you cautionary attitude since I know of Protestant churches who have introduced some catholic/orthodox liturgical elements with no supporting theology but because they do indeed add a sense of drama. Better to practice infusion with the right theology than immersion with the wrong one.

PT
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« Reply #105 on: February 02, 2004, 09:06:57 PM »

I am not even going to start! I am already in way over my head with immersion/infusion. Tongue

But I would ask EOx and OOx faithful to pray that God supply whatever is missing in RC tradition. Perhaps your prayers will restore immersion to the Church, etc.
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« Reply #106 on: February 02, 2004, 09:08:45 PM »

One last thought. Whether the (unconsecrated) hosts are "wafers" or "bread," they have only two ingredients. Water, and flour. So perhaps it is not so much a defect in form, but a change in discipline.
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« Reply #107 on: February 03, 2004, 05:36:54 AM »

For myself, I honestly wish only the best for the RC communion. I do not consider either of these issues to be the main controversies which we need to deal with.

PT
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« Reply #108 on: February 03, 2004, 01:21:17 PM »

I am not even going to start! I am already in way over my head with immersion/infusion. Tongue

But I would ask EOx and OOx faithful to pray that God supply whatever is missing in RC tradition. Perhaps your prayers will restore immersion to the Church, etc.

What do you mean by missing?  Does this mean a defect in matter or form?  If so, it goes to the very existence of the sacrament (or Holy Mystery on this Forum!) as the RCC teaches it.  No amount of prayers on the part of the faithful will make up for a defective sacrament.  That would be like the faithful praying to God to make the Real Presence happen should some foolish priest use oreo cookies and scotch whiskey in place of wheat bread and grape wine!

I hate Oreos but I love scotch!  I'd much prefer Macaroons or Oatmeal cookies but definitely after the Liturgy in the communal center during the fellowship hour.  And make my scotch the 12 year old variety--and leave the bottle!

BTW, there is immersion and "heavy" infusion going on in the RCC today in many innovationist parishes.  I say innovationist because I am not convinced personally that they are trying to restore an ancient practice which is a good thing to restore.  They are being typically fadish as is customary for the post-Vatican II "with it" establishment.  If they were truly into restoration of ancient practices then why aren't they agitating with their RC bishops to restore Chrismation to where it really belongs rather than delaying it to late adolescence as it is usually practiced within the RCC today?

If I seem sort of touchy about Chrismation it is because my 16 year old son and 14 year old daughter are currently in a formation program for the Sacrament of Confirmation.  This is late even by traditional RCC practices.  The Holy Mysteries in my understanding are supposed to be supernatural encounters with God (in the Holy Spirt).  The essential approach to Chrismation formation is much more worldly than I like to see.  It is becoming a bar mitzvah of sorts, Christian style.  I don't like it!  BTW, I favor the Orthodox and EC practice of administering the 3 Sacraments of Initiation to infants.  Yes! I believe in infant Holy Communion!  Infants are either fully members of the Christian community or they are not.


Jim C.
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« Reply #109 on: February 03, 2004, 01:45:26 PM »

Hey, Jim,

No, I know that we have the fullness of Truth in the Catholic Church, and that our sacraments are truly sacraments, grace-filled and valid. But note that by the word "tradition," I employed the lower case t. I know our Tradition is without spot. But when Orthodox see our Church they often wonder at things like baptism by infusion, and wafer hosts. I know we have valid sacraments, I know there is no defect in form for either baptism or the Eucharist (because it is our Church who makes those decisions.) But I think it would be a grand ecumenical gesture to ask prayers from EOx and OOx regarding tradition. I think we RC's could learn a lot from them regarding this. Smiley
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« Reply #110 on: February 03, 2004, 01:48:38 PM »

Quote
Yes! I believe in infant Holy Communion!  Infants are either fully members of the Christian community or they are not.

But how would RC's administer unleavened bread to an infant?
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« Reply #111 on: February 03, 2004, 02:43:51 PM »

But how would RC's administer unleavened bread to an infant?

Probably not all that differently from an Orthodox priest communicating an infant except the Roman Catholic priest would not use a spoon.

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« Reply #112 on: February 03, 2004, 03:48:36 PM »

I don't think it would be all that hard for RC priests to commune infants from the chalice with a spoon.  I forget if a liturgical spoon is mentioned in the previous edition of the GIRM, but I remember reading about a type of liturgical straw, and even saw pictures of Paul VI using one at his coronation Mass (I think).  I think bringing back the straw and communing infants that way (using the straw sorta like a dropper) would be easy enough.  Barring either of these, one could do what our priests do: dip a finger in the Precious Blood and place a drop in the infant's mouth.  

I don't think the communing of infants in the Roman Catholic Church is a problem from the standpoint of exactly how one goes about doing that.  Rather, the problem is whether or not the RCC thinks it important enough to change the existing practice.
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« Reply #113 on: February 03, 2004, 04:00:22 PM »

All the more reason for prayers from charitable Orthodox!
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« Reply #114 on: February 03, 2004, 04:16:41 PM »

. . . I think bringing back the straw and communing infants that way (using the straw sorta like a dropper) would be easy enough.  Barring either of these, one could do what our priests do: dip a finger in the Precious Blood and place a drop in the infant's mouth.  


I think I prefer the "dip a finger . . . " method to a straw or dropper.  It seems more natural when it comes to feeding a baby with the Bread of Life!

Whenever I ponder the issue of communicating infants I am always reminded of John 6:53:



Jesus said to them, "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.



Babies need life within themselves too!
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« Reply #115 on: February 03, 2004, 05:20:35 PM »

mitzvah of sorts, Christian style.  I don't like it!  BTW, I favor the Orthodox and EC practice of administering the 3 Sacraments of Initiation to infants.  Yes! I believe in infant Holy Communion!  Infants are either fully members of the Christian community or they are not.

I must admit that I really enjoy taking my 4 year old, and previously as a 3 year old, to commune with me at the liturgy. And it is real hard explaining deep theological concepts to a 3/4 year old who has a sharp mind. We are currently at the point where he replies to my wife, who complains that we stink of incense when we come home, that it needs to be smelly so Jesus can smell it (He thought that answer up himself), and having started to teach about the eucharist that it is special food God gives us to help us be good he comes up to me from time to time after he's been naughty and tells me that he thinks he needs to go to church and have some more special God food. I am still stuck when he asks (usually in the middle of the Liturgy and in a loud whisper) 'when is the Holy Ghost coming then!'.

[Please forgive any heresy, you can imagine that with a head full of theology it is both hard and also refreshing to have to suddenly try and answer a 4 years olds theological questions]

I also appreciate your point about the potential for faddism even in modernist circles. I have noted that the concept of liturgy has started being referenced in evangelical circles, which is both a great opportunity for the truth but also creates the possibility of simple faddism.

PT
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« Reply #116 on: February 03, 2004, 05:25:43 PM »

As far as heresy from a child goes, I know where you are coming from. My ten year old niece sometimes likes to play priest. And of course, I tell her, "girls can't be priests." But then she says, "it's just pretend." What the hay? She's ten!
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« Reply #117 on: February 03, 2004, 06:04:43 PM »

I must admit that I really enjoy taking my 4 year old, and previously as a 3 year old, to commune with me at the liturgy. And it is real hard explaining deep theological concepts to a 3/4 year old who has a sharp mind. We are currently at the point where he replies to my wife, who complains that we stink of incense when we come home, that it needs to be smelly so Jesus can smell it (He thought that answer up himself), and having started to teach about the eucharist that it is special food God gives us to help us be good he comes up to me from time to time after he's been naughty and tells me that he thinks he needs to go to church and have some more special God food. I am still stuck when he asks (usually in the middle of the Liturgy and in a loud whisper) 'when is the Holy Ghost coming then!'.

[Please forgive any heresy, you can imagine that with a head full of theology it is both hard and also refreshing to have to suddenly try and answer a 4 years olds theological questions]

I also appreciate your point about the potential for faddism even in modernist circles. I have noted that the concept of liturgy has started being referenced in evangelical circles, which is both a great opportunity for the truth but also creates the possibility of simple faddism.

PT


You know, Peter, whenever I comment on my preference for admission of infants to the Holy Eucharist in the "real world" as opposed to cyber-space, people invariably bring up the fact that an infant (or even a young child) doesn't know what he/she is receiving.  This is bunk!

The Lord of Creation can communicate with an ant if He so wishes.  Why not a baby?  Besides, I don't understand the Holy Eucharist myself.  Oh I can spout off doctrines like the Real Presence, transsubstantiation (for those of you are are RC's!), the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the unity of the Body of Christ, . . . . but when I come down to it, I'm not sure my understanding of the Holy Mysteries is that much more elevated from the understanding of a baby!  People who talk about the "understanding" of Holy Communion try to put limits on God . . . limits that are not part of His Being.

I have a funny story to relate (I hope!) that your son's story reminds me of.  Way back in the Old RC Church (late 1950's), my younger brother, Paul (about 3 years old), during mass asked my Dad out loud within hearing of most of the congregation:  "What's the priest doing, Dad?"  My father whispered back, "He's drinking the consecrated wine."  "Oh . . ." my brother exclaimed out loud again.  Then there was a "pregnant pause" of 5 seconds or so after which my brother sounded off again in a very loud voice . . .  

"What's the matter . . . doesn't he like beer?"

This brought the whole house down--belly laughs in the midst of a very sacred part of the mass.  The priest seemingly managed to control himself--his back was to us, naturally!--but I'll bet he smiled!

Your son had the purpose of incense exactly right.  I am reminded (again) of one the most beautiful phrases in the entire bible--from Ps 140 (LXX):



Let my prayer ascend before thee as incense, the lifting up of my hands as an evening sacrifice.



Yes, let us stink of prayer.  I really can't wait for Great Lent to start so I can assist at the Presanctified liturgy!

Kids say the darnedest things.  Your son obviously is more advanced theologically at his age than my brother was at the same stage in life . . . perhaps even more than you or I are!  Think about it.

Thanks for a WONDERFUL story!

Jim C.

PS:  Yes . . . let's communicate infants too!

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« Reply #118 on: February 03, 2004, 06:19:55 PM »

Yes I'm sure my son is in a better position than I am. It is a joy to be with him and to know that he will grow up in an Orthodox Catholic environment whereas it took me 20 odd years to first start noticing the Catholic spiritual tradition and finally 30 years to end up baptised into Orthodoxy.

I hope he will be able to assist in the liturgy with me in due course. He was very proud to take the collection last Sunday and I'm sure we had a bigger collection because of it. Smiley

You are so right that our own understanding fails before the mystery of the eucharist, it is not a time for head knowledge.

PT
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