LEO XIII 1878-1903

The Faith and Intention Required for Baptism *


[Response of the Holy Of lice, March 30th, 1898]


1966a Whether a missionary can confer baptism on an adult Mohammedan at the point of death, who in his errors is supposed to be in good faith:


  1. If he still has his full faculties, only by exhorting him to sorrow and confidence, not by speaking about our mysteries, for fear that he will not believe them.


  1. Whatever of his faculties he has, by saying nothing to him, since on the one hand, he is not supposed to be wanting in contrition, and on the other, it is supposed to be imprudent to speak with him about our mysteries.


  1. If now he has lost his faculties, by saying nothing further to him.


Reply to I and 2: in the negative, i.e., it is not permitted to administer baptism absolutely or conditionally to such Mohammedans; and these decrees of the Holy Office were given to the Bishop of Quebec on the 25th of January, and the 10th of May, 1703 [see n. 1349 a f.].


To 3: regarding Mohammedans who are dying and already deprived of their senses, we must rely as in the decree of the Holy Office, Sept. 18, 1850, to the Bishop of Pertois, that is: “If they have formerly given indications that they wish to be baptized, or in their present state either by a nod or any other manner have shown the same disposition, they can be baptized conditionally; but where the missionary after examining all collateral circumstances so judges it wise,” . . . His Holiness has approved.

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