Monday, September 22, 2014


 As I look over the EF's Baptismal Rite, it truly is a rite of exorcism and truly situates baptism within the context of presenting a person (symbolically in a child in infant baptism) to God, holy and blameless, robed in white for salvation at judgment. The EF Rite is eschatological and powerful although there are some elements recovered in the revised rite that could easily be inserted such as a formal greeting at the beginning,  securing the the most prominent role of the parents in the rite itself, Scripture reading, the Litany of Saints, consecration of baptismal water and a final blessing and solemn blessing and dismissal at the end.

By comparison the revised rite is very limp and superficial not only in terms of salvation and Christ's Church the means to it, but also in recognizing evil and its source, the devil and that God's power is greater. There is no ignoring the devil or damnation or sin and evil. The revised rite is whitewashed.

In the ancient rite, the Ephphetha is prayed prior to the anointing with the Oil of Catechumens, thus prior to the actual baptism, where is seems to be best situated.

This is the prayer that accompanies it in the OF which is done at the end of the baptism after the anointing with Chrism, giving of baptismal garment and candle:

The Lord Jesus made the deaf hear and the dumb speak. May he soon touch your ears to receive his word, and your mouth to proclaim his faith, to the praise and glory of God the Father. Amen.

In the EF  this is the prayer well prior to the actual baptism:

Ephpheta, that is to say, Be opened, for an odor of sweetness. Be thou, devil, begone; for the judgment of God shall draw near.

This is the OF's prayer for the Anointing of with Sacred Chrism:

God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has freed you from sin, given you a new birth by water and the Holy Spirit, and welcomed you into his holy people. He now anoints you with the chrism of salvation. As Christ was anointed Priest, prophet and King so may you live always as members of his body, sharing everlasting life. Amen.

This is the EF's same prayer:

May the Almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath regenerated thee by water and the Holy Ghost, and who hath given thee the remission of all thy sins, may He Himself + anoint thee with the Chrism of Salvation in the same Christ Jesus our Lord, unto life eternal.

This is the OF's clothing with white garment:

You have become a new creation, and have clothed yourself in Christ. See in this white garment the outward sign of your Christian dignity. With your family and friends to help you by word and example, bring that dignity unstained into the everlasting life of heaven..

The is the EF's:

Receive this white garment, which mayest thou carry without stain before the judgment seat of our Lord Jesus Christ, that thou mayest have life everlasting.

The OF's lighted candle:

Receive the light of Christ. Parents and godparents, this light is entrusted to you to be kept burning brightly. This child of yours has been enlightened by Christ. He/she is to walk always as a child of the light. May s/he keep the flame of faith alive in their heart. When the Lord comes, may they go out to meet him with all the saints in the heavenly kingdom.

The EF's lighted candle:

Receive this burning light and keep thy Baptism so as to be without blame: keep the commandments of God that when the Lord shall come to the nuptials, thou mayest meet Him together with all the Saints in the heavenly court and mayest have eternal life and live for ever and ever.


Anonymous said...

Father, if you have come to the conclusion that the EF of Baptism is "better" (which of course it is) than why not just make use of it all the time, in English. Nobody knows the difference anyway and Pope Benedict said that you can do this.

I just came from 2 baptisms, each a liturgical nightmare. At the first baptism the priest (wearing a green stole) had to get suited up with a microphone and battery pack, and made incredible work out of passing out little booklets that no one used because he never followed what was in them anyway. All this to baptize 1 child. And he felt he had to explain EVERYTHING he was doing. His nonstop running commentary made the ceremony twice as long and extremely annoying. The second baptism was with our pastor, who doesn't wear pants or shoes ever. Just a tee shirt, shorts and flip flops with a dirty see through alb thrown on top with a children of the world stole. I wasn't aware that was a liturgical color but whatever. He to felt the need to explain was ridiculous. Where does it say in the Roman Ritual that priests are to give a running commentary on everything they do? I can only imagine the liturgical nightmares going on in South America and Europe. What has happened to the Catholic Faith?

JusadBellum said...

A friend of ours' baby was baptized with the EF and it was very beautiful and attended not only by the dozen of us friends but as chance had it, also by a dozen other 'strangers' who happened to wander into the Church at that moment and stayed for the sacrament.

I think this was one of those knee jerk "baby/bathwater" problems of the 1970s where so much genuine beauty and wisdom was chucked overboard in the name of 'making things relevant and modern' only to be replaced with slap dash, ad hoc, and stale formulas which really downplay the drama of Salvation history and our connection to our ancestors.

Catholicism is historic, not 'a-historic'. We need to maintain a link with the past vs. some amorphous, vague, misty 'future' which some invoke to justify their own lusts for power or authority.

I could see a synthesis were someone explains the parts of the Baptismal rite ahead of time, has bi-lingual Latin and English booklets with small commentaries printed up in them to help folk follow along. That sort of thing just makes good sense.

But the EF compared to some of the rubrics of our kids' baptisms (no two the same) wins hands down.

Anonymous said...

Jesus was about 30 when He was baptized. Don't we like to follow His lead? We do when we're deciding who can be priests (married Jews?).

Anonymous said...

Jesus also walked into a river. He didn't just get sprinkled on his head. Hmmm...

How am I to know which things I should do just like He did, and which things I can change around?

Anonymous said...

Father, I want to take this opportunity to say "Hello!" from Alaska and to thank you for using the EF form Baptism for Gianna back in 2011. We were both elated and surprized to learn it was likely the first EF baptism in St. Joseph's since the liturgical changes.
We miss you and St. Joseph's but enjoy keeping up by reading your blog.
Neil H.