In this day and age, Christian ecumenical dialogue is made all the more difficult by rather vague statements of faith that, because certain groups bend over backwards to be inclusive and tolerant to the point of virtually becoming unitarian, require a great deal of patience to unpack in order to determine what certain communities actually mean by their choice of words. Even then, after all the unpacking is done, one is left with the sense that, because those same groups have virtually emptied language of meaning and thus reduced their creedal statements to that of the theological equivalent of carob (... it's just not chocolate!), the various partners in dialogue will never arrive at common ground because, frankly speaking, there is none. The common ground is merely shifting sand.
III. In the unity of the Godhead there be three persons, of one substance, power, and eternity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost: the Father is of none, neither begotten, nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son. (Italics added. They haven't forgotten their Catholic theological formulations!)
Belief in the Trinity — God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit — is central to the faith (shouldn't that be a capital "F", as in the Christian Faith?). God is the Father to whom we come, the Son through whom we come, and the Spirit by whom we come.The doctrine of the Trinity teaches belief in one God who exists as three “persons” with the word “person” having a different meaning from common usage today. The word comes from the Latin “persona” meaning the mask through which actors spoke in Greek plays; and this word was derived from the Latin words “per” and “sonare” meaning to speak or sound through. The original meaning of the word shows we are concerned not with a mask that hides, but with a medium that reveals. The one God comes to us in three modes. (Yikes!!)The doctrine of the Trinity arises from all that the Bible tells us about God as the Creator, the Redeemer, and the Sustainer. The New Testament writers portray Jesus through his words and actions as divine and the Son of God. (See John 1:1-3,14; Colossians 2:9, and Hebrews 1:1-3.)Adapted from Being a Presbyterian in Canada Today by Stephen A. Hayes, pp. 5-9. (1978)
from New Advent/Catholic Encyclopedia
The Monarchians properly so-called (Modalists) exaggerated the oneness of the Father and the Son so as to make them but one Person; thus the distinctions in the Holy Trinity are energies or modes, not Persons: God the Father appears on earth as Son; hence it seemed to their opponents that Monarchians made the Father suffer and die. In the West they were called Patripassians, whereas in the East they are usually called Sabellians.
Neutering the Trinity
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) answered the following questions on Feb. 1, 2008:
First question: Whether the Baptism conferred with the formulas «I baptize you in the name of the Creator, and of the Redeemer, and of the Sanctifier» and «I baptize you in the name of the Creator, and of the Liberator, and of the Sustainer» is valid?
Second question: Whether the persons baptized with those formulas have to be baptized in forma absoluta?
RESPONSESTo the first question: Negative.To the second question: Affirmative.
The technical expression "in forma absoluta" is in contrast with conditional baptism. In other words, there is no doubt as to the invalidity of baptism using the above-mentioned formulas.
(i)n 1975, the Anglicans, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Roman Catholic and United Churches in Canada announced that they had reached an agreement in which each Church does recognize as valid, baptisms conferred according to the established norms of the others. Unless there is evidence that a church’s established norms were not followed, these baptisms are presumed to be valid.—Pastoral Notes for Sacramental Sharing with other Christians in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon, August 22, 2008.
The Common Agreement on the Mutual Recognition of Baptism, approved by our (USCCB) Episcopal Conference and ratified by the highest authoritative bodies of the Presbyterian Church – USA, The Reformed Church in America, The Christian Reformed Church, and the United Church of Christ, affirms for Catholics that “there is no reason for doubting the validity of... baptism conferred in...[these] ecclesial Communities unless, in a particular case, an examination clearly shows that a serious reason exists for having a doubt about one of the following: the matter and form and words used in the conferral of baptism, the intention of an adult baptized or the minister of the baptism.” (Directory, no. 99 c.) It recommends to all Reformed congregations and their pastors the issuance of a baptismal certificate at the time of the baptism that attests to the use of baptismal washing and the baptismal formula(e) that the Catholic Church will accept as valid.
- the matter and form and words used in the conferral of baptism;
- the intention of an adult baptized or the minister of the baptism.
(A video) clip shows resident priest Terry Fitzpatrick baptising a young child with the words, "We baptise you in the name of the creator, sustainer and liberator of life", adding "who is also father, son and spirit".
The priest then added: "That's good, nice and cool" and invited "everyone to put water on him".Fr. Z. also weighed in on the antics of Peter Kennedy who was also committing abuses of the sacraments. The Archbishop of Brisbane had plenty to say, and rightly so, about two priests and a parish that was Catholic-in-name-only.