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St. Thomas Aquinas
Catechetical Instructions

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  • Baptism
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Having considered the Sacraments in general, it is now necessary to say 
something about each one in particular. First, we consider Baptism, of 
which it must be known that the matter of this Sacrament is natural water, 
and it makes no difference whether it is cold or warm. In artificial 
waters, however, such as rose water, one cannot baptize. The form of 
Baptism is: "I baptize thee in the name of the Father and of the Son and of 
the Holy Ghost." The minister of Baptism ordinarily is the priest, whose 
office it is to baptize. In case of necessity, however, not only a deacon 
but also any lay person, even a pagan or a heretic, can baptize as long as 
he observes the form specified by the Church, and intends to act according 
to the intention of the Church. If a person is baptized by these not in a 
case of necessity, he received the Sacrament and must not again be 
baptized; but the grace of the Sacrament is not received, because such 
persons are not truly deputed to baptize outside of cases of necessity, 
and, hence, they act contrary to the law of the Church regulating reception 
of the Sacraments.14

. The priest is the ordinary minister of Baptism. In case of necessity, 
however, anyone who observes the proper form and intention can baptize 
validly but not licitly; and an adult who permits himself to be baptized 
without necessity by a layman would be acting illicitly, but the baptism is 
valid. For such conduct places an "obex" (obstacle or hindrance) to the 
reception of grace. The grace of the Sacrament is revived ("reviviscitur") 
with at least contrition, and probably attrition, or simply by an act of 
perfect contrition.

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