Catholic Baptism vs. Protestant Baptism

I have a friend who recently told me when talking about religion that she once went to a catholic church and was scorned because she went to receive the Eucharist but she wasn’t catholic.

I know that is wrong and I told her why to my best effort and it was because she wasn’t baptized within the church but she was baptized in a protestant church.

She doesn’t understand a lot about it but she was like “it’s the same God” and I feel for her.

I tried to explain it but I I ran dry of good reasons and I want clarification and some insight from others.

How is protestant baptism different from catholic baptism? Is it invalid?

If one is baptized in the church but hasn’t attended mass since a child could they still receive the Eucharist if they start going again?

I’m very catholic and can usually explain a lot as I know a lot about my faith but I was bummed out as I couldn’t really offer a reason other than she needed to be baptized by a priest in the church to be able to receive Christ. And explaining how priests inherit their ability to administer the sacraments because Christ gave them the authority to do so.

She was very interested and respecting and listened but I felt I was leaving out stuff.

can anyone offer more insight?

Hi, Chaz,

There are three requirements for receiving the Eucharist (besides being in a state of grace). “Baptism for the forgiveness of sins and new birth” is only one of them, and if she was baptized in a Protestant church, by the proper formula (in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit), then she is validly baptized in our church, too.

Another is to live “in keeping with what Christ taught”; well, she may be doing this.

The one that probably keeps her from being eligible is that she must believe that what we teach is true - and if she did, she’d be a Catholic!

All of the above is from CCC 1355. See also CCC 1385-1387.

Even if she met those three conditions, if she does not believe in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, she is receiving unworthily. St. Paul said:

Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself. (1 Cor 11:27-29 RSV) (emphasis mine)

If we allowed her to receive, we might be allowing her to commit a mortal sin, and that would not be kind.

Hope this helps,


How is protestant baptism different from catholic baptism? Is it invalid?

In answer to this question, most times it isn’t- at least in form. For the Catholic Church to recognize a baptism, three conditions must be met.

  1. The minister must use the trinitarian formula, that is, “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

  2. The minister must baptise with the same intent as the Catholic Church.

  3. Water must be used, and it must run. Pouring and immersion are both acceptable, but I belive that in the case of sprinking, a conditional baptism is considered prudent in most cases.

The only time the Church would consider a baptism invalid is if it were known that any of these three conditions were not met. I.e.- baptism in the name of Jesus only.

If one is baptized in the church but hasn’t attended mass since a child could they still receive the Eucharist if they start going again?

Theoretically, yes. Practically, he or she would need adequate catechesis to prepare himself or herself for the sacrament of reconcilliation and Eucharist.

She was very interested and respecting and listened but I felt I was leaving out stuff.

You might have done, but sometimes it’s what we don’t say that makes the most impact. As long as you spoke with charity and love, the rest of the academic theology will be explained in due time. :slight_smile:

From the Guidelines for the Reception of Communion prepared by the (United States) National Conference of Catholic Bishops, November 14, 1996:
For our fellow Christians

We welcome our fellow Christians to this celebration of the Eucharist as our brothers and sisters. We pray that our common baptism and the action of the Holy Spirit in this Eucharist will draw us closer to one another and begin to dispel the sad divisions which separate us. We pray that these will lessen and finally disappear, in keeping with Christ’s prayer for us “that they may all be one” (Jn 17:21).

Because Catholics believe that the celebration of the Eucharist is a sign of the reality of the oneness of faith, life, and worship, members of those churches with whom we are not yet fully united are ordinarily not admitted to Holy Communion. …
These guidelines can be found on the inside cover of the missalettes used at Mass.

Notice that the bishops say that Catholics and (Trinitarian) Protestants share a “common baptism.” So, her baptism is not the issue that makes your friend ineligible to receive Holy Communion in a Catholic church.

Please, I could not let that statement go by without comment: “If we allow her to receive, we might be allowing her to commit a mortal sin, and that would not be kind” unquote and untrue, of course. How can one commit a mortal sin when one does not know the definition of a mortal sin nor has the intention of wrong doing to the least degree.

Her inability to receive Holy Communion in a Catholic Church has nothing to do with her Protestant Baptism. It has to do with the fact that she refuses to be fully united with the Catholic Church, the Mystical Body of Christ. She does not profess the same faith as the Catholic Church.

Heyy Chaz…

I am actually studying this at school…
and we found out that…

Evangelics believe that baptisms are only outward professions of faith, and that nothing “supernatural” happens when people are baptised.

But in the catholic church, they believe that baptism washes away all sins and is the gateway to salvation.

I wrote this because my teacher is standing behind me…

Hope this helps…

Have a nice day :smiley:

Well I have been studying sacraments in my SOR class and we have found that the major reason Catholics would disagree with a Protestant taking Catholic communion is because in the Catholic faith, you must be baptised to receive the communion. As protestants assign a different set of values and meanings to their baptism, it does not acheive the same purpose as a Catholic baptism. In the eyes of the Catholic church, a protestant is not washed of their “original sin” because they do not practice the baptism or believe in it the same way. This difference in baptism translates to a difference in communion, hence the anger your friend received. Hope she doesn’t mind converting for the next service :thumbsup:

Hey Chaz :slight_smile:

Tell your friend not to worry. In Catholicism, Baptism is very important in the faith as when children are baptised, they are given salvation from their sins and therefore cannot receive communion unless they are baptised. In contrast, Evangelical religions or protestant churches remain to think that Baptism is only a public or out wards recognition and profession of faith. Even though there is no major reason why she couldn’t’ RECIEVE communion, it is respect and recognition of the faiths of Christian denominations.
Please pass this onto your friend :thumbsup:

Hope this was helpful! :thumbsup:;):D:cool:

coolkid101 :thumbsup:

well personally i think its completly up to her. Her faith is not something that can be chosen for her, she needs to make this decision on her own. If she decides to accept the Eucharist then that is up to her, but she needs to have complete and utter faith in God to fully be accepted. My personal opinion is that it is the same god, construed and conformed to fit a certain belief. I believe that if you believe in the same God, the way you worship him and the way you accept him should not be oppressed by mere human constraints.

Heyyy Chaz

We had to do research for this and my teacher is standing over making me post something so here’s what we discovered.


  • belief that something supernatural occurs + new life is given. The receipiant is born again through the process of the Sacrament of Baptism
  • Grace of God is received
  • Baptism of babies because it is a spiritual need → people feed children before they can make a decision to want to eat and so this is following this idea.


  • outward sign of a profession of faith rather than the receipt of sacramental grace as conferred in Catholicism
  • water washes away the sin.
  • adults are mainly baptised so that they can make an informed decision + because Jesus was an adult when he was Baptised
    -full dunk of bodies in water because that’s how Jesus was Baptised
  • it represents death - you must die in order to be reborn
  • infants don’t need Baptism for they are able to ride of the faith of their parents - that is their parents faith saves them until they are old enough to make an informed decison.

Hope this helps.

To Chaz0426,
I have been researching this topic in detail and have come to some interesting conclusions that may help to understand this situation.
There are a few differences in relation to baptism in the Catholic Church views this as a sacrament and the Protestant Church sees it as a testimony.
Also, the way that Catholics are baptised is also different and is conducted with different beliefs. Catholics perform baptism to wash away sin and to find salvation whereas the Protestants do so a profession of faith.
Due to the belief that as an infant, the child is not able to understand such a sacrament, Protestants are only baptised as adults and are fully submerged in water, like the was Jesus was baptised.
This represents’ death’ and that you have been reborn.
Although these seem to be only minor differences that should not impact Protestants from receiving Eucharist from a Catholic Church, the way that inner beliefs are expressed as outer actions is different because like with baptism, Protestants view Eucharist as a symbol.
I hope this helps with your research, stay cool!
From Mrs McCoolio

Hi Chaz! (:
In response to your query, there are a number of differences between the Protestant beliefs and the Catholic ones! Firstly, baptism in the Catholic Church is mean to wash away any sin, and leave the person with a clear conscious and on the road to salvation! When people are baptised in the Catholic way, their heads are sprinkled with water, whereas in the Protestant church, only the adults are baptised. They are also fully dunked in the water! Water is important for baptism, as it symbolises many of the Catholic and Protestant beliefs. Most Protestants believed that water represents death, and that you must die in order to be reborn! How awesome!
I hope this helped with your research, stay cool!
From Mr. McCoolio.

Chaz Fazz, :slight_smile:

There are a few things that are different between catholic baptism and protestant baptism.
First is that Catholics believe in what the bible say that it is baptism that washes away sins as the inner meaning whereas protestants believe it is the profession of faith as the inner meaning.

Catholics also say that everyone can be baptised infants to adults; however the Protestants only say that is it the adults who consciously proclaim Christ are the ones that should be baptised.

Hope I helped you mate!


Funny thing, my Study of Religion class decided to do some investigating for you. We found that Catholic believe in orginal sin while Protestants believe in recognising faith as an adult. The catholic belief of orginal sin and then the cleansing of it comes from the belief of need in salvation. This slavation can be either passed down by generations or renewed at a baptism in the Catholic Denomination. On the other hand, Protestants do not believe in the outer actions to process faith but do believe in the convenent of renewal therefore the reason for reinforcing the idea of adults getting baptised. This belief comes from the idea that Protestants believe faith is an uniting of Jesus and baptism is a represenation of that belief. Lastly, the Protestant faith believe that the ritual of baptism is a rebirthing into enternal life with Jesus in the Kingdom of God because any time before baptism is death then burial awaiting the rebirth.

Hope this helps!!
Alfie 1094

hey chaz
i agree with your friend when she said that “its the same God”, and it wasn’t the fact that she had been baptised protestant that stopped her from recieving eucharist but more the fact that she had different beliefs from those of Catholics as she is protestant
We are studying this in school at the moment and Catholics believe that baptism washes away the original sin from Adam and Eve whereas Protestants believe that baptism is a profession of faith. Catholics are generally baptised as infants while protestants are baptised as adults. Really the main difference between the two baptism and the reason your friend could not recieve eucharist in a protestant church is because the beliefs of the two denominations of Christianity are different.
Hope this helps :slight_smile:

when the minister of the sacrament presents the Precious Body and/or Precious Blood of Christ, the recepient says, AMEN. this is not a mere script followed by the minister and communicant, but by saying AMEN, the communicant states his belief that what he/she is receiving is indeed the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ

also, the effects of the sacrament goes beyond the reception of the Body and Blood of Christ. when you receive communion, you unite yourself to the Mystical Body of Christ, which is the Church. if you are not a part of the Church, it means you do not fully believe and accept all the teachings of the Church. if you do, you’d be Catholic. but the fact that a person is not, then that person cannot be in communion with the Church

so the issue goes beyond being baptized. most Protestants would have valid baptism, while a few do not because they do not follow the proper form nor use the Trinitarian Formula.

Well there are a few differences between the two denominations in referral to their doctrines and identity. Protestants focus on the bible completely. They believe that the bible alone is the revelation to all human kind. So for Protestants, the baptism is seen as a profession of faith. In other words, showing belief in God and the scriptures of the Bible. Whilstt Catholics see baptism as a sacrament of cleansing. Moving on, your friend is going against the values of Catholics, but maybe in her perspective and what she believes in, it may seem okay. Even though it seems wrong to do so, I say let her continue doing what she feels the need to. Good thing is she shows a certain faith in God

cheers mate:D

Hi everybody!
I think that it is wonderful that you are posting on the forum. You must have a very good teacher to plan such an innovative and informative lesson that enables you to construct ideas rather than being spoon fed them. Claps for him/her. If your teacher is a woman and unmarried I’d love to meet her (wink) I’m a single man (sad face)…
Anyway the questions that you raise are very interesting. I agree that there are definitely some interesting differences and similarities between Catholic and Protestant baptism that most likely stem back to the faith’s core values. The Protestants see baptism as a testimony. It is a ritual which makes public a commitment to God that the person has already accepted. Nevertheless it is a spiritual event and does involve the transcendent (which is something I think some of you get confused by) because the person is coming into contact with God to say the formal ‘yes’. It is sort of like a wedding is the formalisation of the “I love you” said at the engagement.
The Catholic Church by comparison considers baptism a sacrament in the sense that what is said to happen – a person is made clean – actually happens. For Catholics, those baptised are cleansed of original sin and a given an indelible (permanent) mark which labels them as God’s children and arms them with the tools necessary to live a holy life. Hence, babies are baptised because they need this spiritual nourishment. By contrast, Protestant’s only baptise adults as they need to make a testimony before the rite is received.
The differences in the rituals stem from the fact that Protestant’s do not seek answers in tradition but in scripture alone. In the Bible, Jesus was baptised in a river as an adult. Catholics however look to the bible and to the tradition of the church to guide their practise. Early church documents indicate that children were baptised as well and adults ( see 21) and so Catholics baptise children as well as adults. Also, I believe that difference arises because of the two faiths’ interpretation of the term sacrament. As I said before, Catholics see a sacrament as actually effecting what they symbolise. Protestants generally see them as symbols. Peter Kreeft has a great article on this – I wonder if your wonderful teacher can provide you with it? Having said this however the symbolism of baptism in both denominations is very similar. Water as a sign of death and rebirth and the cross as a sign of death, redemption and the trinity is to key to both rituals. Perhaps you should research more on symbolism and meaning and differences and similarities of baptism across Christian denomination?
Anyway, peace out homies and stay holy.
Bill Ding

interesting point Bill

now this makes me wonder, are Protestant baptisms, even if they use the proper form and the Trinitarian Formula, lacking intent just because the concept of their baptism is different from a Catholic’s?