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 Post subject: Shells for baptism
PostPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2005 9:56 pm 
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Citizen
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Joined: Wed Jan 15, 2003 1:03 pm
Posts: 484
Location: Raleigh, NC
Religion: Eastern Orthodox
Friends,

Sometimes I see baptisms are performed in the RCC with a shell used to scoop up the water to pour. Is this a normal and widespread custom, and if so, does it have any symbolic meaning?

Also, what part of the body does water have to hit for the baptism to be valid? If it just hits the hair I have heard it said it is invalid; it must run down the forehead. But then again, this came from a source known to be critical of the modern RCC so I just want to be sure.

Of course in the Orthodox Church we baptise by triple immersion in normal circumstances. That can get tricky when the baby is oiled up with the "oil of gladness" first though haha.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2005 10:14 pm 
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Jedi Master
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Joined: Sat Nov 20, 2004 5:58 pm
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It gets trickier when cool water causes the baby to release his own stream of water. :)

RCC baptism may be by immersion, but pouring water will suffice. In either case, the child should be immersed three times or have water poured three times. The water must flow on the head, i.e. cannot simply be sprinkled. I know of no rule that says it must hit the forehead. As for shells, they are a small 't' tradition - shells having often been used as a symbol of an apostle (James?) and of a pilgrim. I'm not sure if there is other symbolism involved. Personally, I find the use of a shell to be odd. In infant baptisms I make sure that the child is just above the surface of the water and then cup the water in my hand. For adults, I scoop the water with a clear bowl. In either case, the person baptized gets a dousing.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2005 5:09 am 
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Jedi Master
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James is correct.

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