Author Topic: RCC Baptizes People within hours after "Death"  (Read 1357 times)

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Offline orthonorm

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RCC Baptizes People within hours after "Death"
« on: December 19, 2012, 03:17:11 PM »
This came up in another thread:

Catholic priests will baptize someone who died up to 3 hours after death.  But it is not a belief of baptizing the dead, rather more of a "what-if" and hoping the soul still is with the body at that point.  This is because not all organs shut down at the same time so in some form the person could still be alive.

Well, a Catholic priest told everyone in the room that.  Everyone in the room, including myself, are catechists for the RC Archdiocese (this was 3 years ago) and he was teaching about the 7 Sacraments and obviously the topic is on baptism.  And the session was a quarterly formal learning institute for all the catechists in the archdiocese.

Other than that, I have no source material.  I never bothered to research futher on the topic.

Comments from people who have lived in the RCC for a while? I would like to know, if possible, if this is a valid teaching, or perhaps an "odd pious practice"?

Since this is the OP, the topic is just whether or not your have ever heard or seen of such thing and perhaps some source material which covers it. (I don't want an RC vs. OC war of some sort.)

Thanks.
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Offline biro

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Re: RCC Baptizes People within hours after "Death"
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2012, 03:19:43 PM »
I used to have the giant hardcover book of RCC canon law. Then I sold it. This is one of those times I regret that.
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Offline choy

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Re: RCC Baptizes People within hours after "Death"
« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2012, 03:23:29 PM »
This came up in another thread:

Catholic priests will baptize someone who died up to 3 hours after death.  But it is not a belief of baptizing the dead, rather more of a "what-if" and hoping the soul still is with the body at that point.  This is because not all organs shut down at the same time so in some form the person could still be alive.

Well, a Catholic priest told everyone in the room that.  Everyone in the room, including myself, are catechists for the RC Archdiocese (this was 3 years ago) and he was teaching about the 7 Sacraments and obviously the topic is on baptism.  And the session was a quarterly formal learning institute for all the catechists in the archdiocese.

Other than that, I have no source material.  I never bothered to research futher on the topic.

Comments from people who have lived in the RCC for a while? I would like to know, if possible, if this is a valid teaching, or perhaps an "odd pious practice"?

Since this is the OP, the topic is just whether or not your have ever heard or seen of such thing and perhaps some source material which covers it. (I don't want an RC vs. OC war of some sort.)

Thanks.

As one who is leaving the RC communion and has a lot to criticize the RC about, I think this is a great practice and one that makes sense.  As I noted in the other thread, the idea here is we do not know if the soul has left the body or not.  This goes into the "well, we might as well try" rather than not try at all.  The assumption is that the soul is still (or could be still) with the body.  There is no belief that baptism has any effect on a body without a soul.

Offline orthonorm

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Re: RCC Baptizes People within hours after "Death"
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2012, 04:01:56 PM »
This came up in another thread:

Catholic priests will baptize someone who died up to 3 hours after death.  But it is not a belief of baptizing the dead, rather more of a "what-if" and hoping the soul still is with the body at that point.  This is because not all organs shut down at the same time so in some form the person could still be alive.

Well, a Catholic priest told everyone in the room that.  Everyone in the room, including myself, are catechists for the RC Archdiocese (this was 3 years ago) and he was teaching about the 7 Sacraments and obviously the topic is on baptism.  And the session was a quarterly formal learning institute for all the catechists in the archdiocese.

Other than that, I have no source material.  I never bothered to research futher on the topic.

Comments from people who have lived in the RCC for a while? I would like to know, if possible, if this is a valid teaching, or perhaps an "odd pious practice"?

Since this is the OP, the topic is just whether or not your have ever heard or seen of such thing and perhaps some source material which covers it. (I don't want an RC vs. OC war of some sort.)

Thanks.

As one who is leaving the RC communion and has a lot to criticize the RC about, I think this is a great practice and one that makes sense.  As I noted in the other thread, the idea here is we do not know if the soul has left the body or not.  This goes into the "well, we might as well try" rather than not try at all.  The assumption is that the soul is still (or could be still) with the body.  There is no belief that baptism has any effect on a body without a soul.

This is raises the question of when death happens (which is complex), but I would like to frame this within the pedestrian notion of: dad is dead, Father can you baptize him just in case?
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Offline choy

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Re: RCC Baptizes People within hours after "Death"
« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2012, 04:34:27 PM »
This is raises the question of when death happens (which is complex), but I would like to frame this within the pedestrian notion of: dad is dead, Father can you baptize him just in case?

And that is why, as the priest claimed, they would only do it until hours after the person is medically pronounced dead.  As noted in the other thread, when is a person dead?  We have people whose brain is barely functioning and whose heart and lungs are only working thanks to modern machines.  We still consider them alive and would baptize them.  Does the soul leave the body when the heart stops?  When the brain ceases all activity?  We don't know for sure and we may never know for sure, so this is just a case of trying than saying we know.  They don't claim to know, they just claim that in the oft chance that perhaps it may still have an effect, why not?  It is not like we're putting the Eucharist inside the mouth of a person about to be burried.

Offline Wyatt

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Re: RCC Baptizes People within hours after "Death"
« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2012, 04:54:24 PM »
I've only been a RC for five years, but I have never heard of this before. It sort of makes sense theologically though. Since we don't know when someone is completely dead or at what point the soul departs from the body, it is better to baptize just in case rather than not baptize at all when there was a chance that the person was still alive. However, I'm not totally sure how often this measure would be necessary. I mean, if someone is desiring to become Catholic and they die before their baptism, they would be saved via baptism of desire. If someone is medically dead but they did not believe while they were alive, would baptism help such a person?

Offline Deacon Lance

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Re: RCC Baptizes People within hours after "Death"
« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2012, 06:08:55 PM »
In my training I was taught that baptism should be administered as long as rigor mortis has not set in which is usually after three hours.
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Offline orthonorm

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Re: RCC Baptizes People within hours after "Death"
« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2012, 06:45:34 PM »
In my training I was taught that baptism should be administered as long as rigor mortis has not set in which is usually after three hours.

Interesting.

EDIT: Oh, and thanks.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2012, 06:46:01 PM by orthonorm »
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Offline Antonis

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Re: RCC Baptizes People within hours after "Death"
« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2012, 07:25:05 PM »
Isn't there an issue with the person being baptized being willing or not? Is this only done if it is known that the person desired baptism?
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Offline biro

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Re: RCC Baptizes People within hours after "Death"
« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2012, 07:37:40 PM »
Isn't there an issue with the person being baptized being willing or not? Is this only done if it is known that the person desired baptism?

I'm guessing it may be done if the person asked while they were at death's door.
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Offline choy

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Re: RCC Baptizes People within hours after "Death"
« Reply #10 on: December 19, 2012, 08:39:45 PM »
Isn't there an issue with the person being baptized being willing or not? Is this only done if it is known that the person desired baptism?

I'm guessing it may be done if the person asked while they were at death's door.

Yes.  This scenario would happen if a person is dying and the priest is on the way to the hospital to do the baptism and then the person dies while the priest is in transit.

Offline username!

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Re: RCC Baptizes People within hours after "Death"
« Reply #11 on: December 19, 2012, 09:59:01 PM »
In my training I was taught that baptism should be administered as long as rigor mortis has not set in which is usually after three hours.

Are ye taught too to use sand/dirt if no water is available?  I believe we are taught that too.  At least I was in the Orthodox realm.

Offline orthonorm

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Re: RCC Baptizes People within hours after "Death"
« Reply #12 on: December 19, 2012, 10:02:20 PM »
In my training I was taught that baptism should be administered as long as rigor mortis has not set in which is usually after three hours.

Are ye taught too to use sand/dirt if no water is available?  I believe we are taught that too.  At least I was in the Orthodox realm.

username!

Are you suggesting this rigor mortis "rule" holds within Orthodoxy at least in some places? Or are you just speaking of "emergency" baptisms using other elements than water?
« Last Edit: December 19, 2012, 10:02:37 PM by orthonorm »
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Offline username!

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Re: RCC Baptizes People within hours after "Death"
« Reply #13 on: December 19, 2012, 10:22:38 PM »
In my training I was taught that baptism should be administered as long as rigor mortis has not set in which is usually after three hours.

Are ye taught too to use sand/dirt if no water is available?  I believe we are taught that too.  At least I was in the Orthodox realm.

username!

Are you suggesting this rigor mortis "rule" holds within Orthodoxy at least in some places? Or are you just speaking of "emergency" baptisms using other elements than water?

sorry should have clarified, just speaking of emergency baptisms using elements other than water not anything about rigor mortis.

Offline Peter J

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Re: RCC Baptizes People within hours after "Death"
« Reply #14 on: December 20, 2012, 08:26:54 AM »
Isn't there an issue with the person being baptized being willing or not? Is this only done if it is known that the person desired baptism?

I'm guessing it may be done if the person asked while they were at death's door.

Yes.  This scenario would happen if a person is dying and the priest is on the way to the hospital to do the baptism and then the person dies while the priest is in transit.

True. I think a more common situation would be a stillborn or an infant who died shortly after birth.
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Offline Justin Kolodziej

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Re: RCC Baptizes People within hours after "Death"
« Reply #15 on: December 20, 2012, 01:13:32 PM »
In my training I was taught that baptism should be administered as long as rigor mortis has not set in which is usually after three hours.

Are ye taught too to use sand/dirt if no water is available?  I believe we are taught that too.  At least I was in the Orthodox realm.
That would be invalid...even beer is invalid. It has to be recognizable as water.
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Offline OrthoMEX

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Re: RCC Baptizes People within hours after "Death"
« Reply #16 on: December 20, 2012, 01:56:05 PM »
Well When president kennedy died the last rights were administered after the doctors stopped working on him so to abide by cannon the doctors did not pronounce till 1 o clock even though cpr was stopped at around 12:40 ish.

Offline choy

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Re: RCC Baptizes People within hours after "Death"
« Reply #17 on: December 20, 2012, 02:35:36 PM »
That would be invalid...even beer is invalid. It has to be recognizable as water.

The Pope is allowed to baptize with beer.  Not because he's the Pope, but because he's German




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Offline Wyatt

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Re: RCC Baptizes People within hours after "Death"
« Reply #18 on: December 20, 2012, 03:26:52 PM »
In my training I was taught that baptism should be administered as long as rigor mortis has not set in which is usually after three hours.

Are ye taught too to use sand/dirt if no water is available?  I believe we are taught that too.  At least I was in the Orthodox realm.
As a child in Lutheran school, I remember being taught that in the case of emergencies, you could use your own spit to baptize. Not sure if such a practice exists in the Catholic or Orthodox Church. I remember thinking it was kind of strange. Although, for Lutherans (Missouri Synod anyway), the urgency of baptizing is quite high because they believe a baby will go to hell if it doesn't get baptized before its death.

Offline domNoah

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Re: RCC Baptizes People within hours after "Death"
« Reply #19 on: January 05, 2013, 09:46:08 AM »
Isn't there an issue with the person being baptized being willing or not? Is this only done if it is known that the person desired baptism?

In Catholicism You cannot perform a baptism unless you have a reasonable belief that the person desired it.  To do otherwise would be sinful.
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Offline theistgal

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Re: RCC Baptizes People within hours after "Death"
« Reply #20 on: January 05, 2013, 10:17:35 AM »
Isn't there an issue with the person being baptized being willing or not? Is this only done if it is known that the person desired baptism?

In Catholicism You cannot perform a baptism unless you have a reasonable belief that the person desired it.  To do otherwise would be sinful.

Proof? 

Also, wouldn't apply to children, right?
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Offline domNoah

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Re: RCC Baptizes People within hours after "Death"
« Reply #21 on: January 08, 2013, 10:06:14 PM »
Isn't there an issue with the person being baptized being willing or not? Is this only done if it is known that the person desired baptism?

In Catholicism You cannot perform a baptism unless you have a reasonable belief that the person desired it.  To do otherwise would be sinful.

Proof? 

Also, wouldn't apply to children, right?
To your first question

Can. 865 §1 To be admitted to baptism, an adult must have manifested the intention to receive baptism, must be adequately instructed in the truths of the faith and in the duties of a christian, and tested in the christian life over the course of the catechumenate. The person must moreover be urged to have sorrow for personal sins.

§2 An adult in danger of death may be baptised if, with some knowledge of the principal truths of the faith, he or she has in some manner manifested the intention to receive baptism and promises to observe the requirements of the christian religion.

To Your second question

Canon 867

§2 An infant of catholic parents, indeed even of non-catholic parents, may in danger of death be baptised even if the parents are opposed to it.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2013, 10:06:34 PM by domNoah »
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Offline theistgal

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Re: RCC Baptizes People within hours after "Death"
« Reply #22 on: January 09, 2013, 12:10:38 AM »
That's what I meant, you know, that children don't usually express a desire for baptism but we do so anyway.
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