I understand that the most prominent manner in which Catholics are baptized is by pouring. However, I saw somewhere that baptism by immersion is not considered wrong by the Catholic Church. (If this is incorrect, please let me know.)

So, my question is whether or not a person today can elect to be baptized by immersion. Obviously, this would not work well for an infant. So, does this happen? Has anyone seen this? How often does it occur or does it occur in certain countries or orders?

  • Actually, even infants are immersed in Eastern Catholic Churches. Commented Aug 11, 2013 at 3:26

1 Answer 1


There is no doubt: Yes, baptism by immersion is permissible.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has stated, while considering the validity of Mormon baptism:

I. The Matter. On this point there is no problem. Water is used. The Mormons practice Baptism by immersion (cf. Doctrine and Covenants [D&C] 20:74), which is one of the ways of celebrating Baptism (application of the matter) which is accepted by the Catholic Church.

The CDF actually rejected the validity of Mormon baptism, but using immersion was not one of the reasons for the rejection.

It also features in the Catechism:

1239: Baptism is performed in the most expressive way by triple immersion in the baptismal water. However, from ancient times it has also been able to be conferred by pouring the water three times over the candidate's head.

  • 3
    There's even better reason: Eastern Churches, including those in full unity with the pope (e.g. Greek Catholic Church, Melchite Catholic Church etc.) immersion is the regular form of baptism. About Western Catholicism, pouring is the regular form; I don't know what Canon law says about exceptions in this way (perhaps I'll try to find it later).
    – Pavel
    Commented Feb 23, 2013 at 14:36
  • @Pavel Canon Law says "according to the order prescribed in the approved liturgical books" but rather than try to find those online, I took the CDF statement as meaning that they knew what was in them. Commented Feb 23, 2013 at 15:03

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