Saturday, March 1, 2008

Baptismal Formula

The Vatican's doctrinal watch-dogs, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), has recently ruled that Baptism done "in the name of the Creator, and of the Redeemer, and of the Sanctifier," are not valid! It's a popular formula, but it does have it's problems. Essentially, it defines the Trinity in "economic" terms, rather than relational ones. You see, the work of creation, redemption, and sanctification are performed by the three persons, anyway. So they decided that it was just not a sufficient expression to be "valid" at baptism.

Of course, this Western emphasis on understanding sacraments in terms of their validity or unvalidity is problematic in itself. I mean, we can say much more about them and their efficacy than whether it was "done right."

I can't really talk about feminist theology and the naming of God without referencing Sr. Elizabeth Johnson, CSJ, and her awesome book She Who Is. She's a brilliant, brilliant scholar who knows how to argue persuasively from within the tradition. If her stuff is of interest, you might also check out this essay she wrote about the things that have influenced her.

(incidentally, no, I have not forgotten to post about the Easter Influences question, I've just been too busy to synthesize the responses I got into a post.)


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