Father Z: How anyone can perform a baptism in an emergency

In case of an emergency, anyone – even a non-believer – can baptize an infant validly.  They must cause water to flow on the head while saying – and it must be the same person – the words “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”  That short form and the pouring of water on the head is all that is needed for valid baptism in an emergency.  Some medical personnel, such as nurses, will often be sensitive during emergencies and will even know what to do.

If the water cannot for some reason be poured on the head, then it can be poured over another part of the body.  If that is the case, however, then there must be a conditional baptism performed if the child survives.

In either case, when the child survives the full rites surrounding the baptism should be celebrated when possible.

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