Private Baptism

Private Baptism The Church, even in her most ritualistic periods, has always held that, in case of danger or sickness, baptism might be administered at any time or in any place. In Thessaly, when baptism was restricted to Easter, many died without it, and in consequence the old prohibitions were mitigated, the font being hallowed at Easter and Pentecost for occasional use. Children, if in danger, might be baptized on the day of their birth, by a decree of the councils of Gerona, 517, and Winchester, 1071; and the Constitutions of Othobon, 1268. According to Roman Catholic teachings, the vessels in which any have been baptized are to be carried to church and there applied to some necessary use, and not to any common purpose, out of reverence to the sacrament (Langton's Constitutions, 1223); and the water with which baptism was ministered was to be thrown into the fire, or carried to the church to be put into the font. The vessel, Lyndwood says, was to be large enough to permit immersion, and was to be burned or deputed to the use of the Church, by Edmund's Constitutions of 1236; that is, as Lyndwood explains, "for washing the church linen." Wooden vessels were burned. In England, in the Anglo-Saxon period, children, if sick, were brought to the priest, by Elfric's Canons, 957, who was to baptize them, from whose district soever they were brought, without delay.

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