A post that’s relevant to our recent focus here on Baptism just came across the feed.
From the Deacon’s Bench:
The Sunday after the Epiphany is the Sunday of the baptism of Jesus. And on each of these Sundays, year after year, Benedict XVI administered the first sacrament of Christian initiation to a certain number of children, in the Sistine Chapel.
Each time, therefore, he had occasion to pronounce the formulas supplied by the rite of baptism in effect since 1969. But two of the words in this rite never entirely convinced him.
And so, before renouncing the chair of Peter, he ordered that they should be changed in the original Latin, and as a result in the modern languages as well.
The current baptismal liturgy reads in Latin, Magno gaudio communitas christiana te (vos) excipit, “The Christian community receives [or welcomes] you with great joy.” But in Pope Benedict’s judgment — and I quite agree — that doesn’t quite capture the fullness of truth that the Church of God subsists in the Catholic Church. Even Protestant churches are “Christian communities.” But this is the Church that Christ founded and gave to us.
In practice pope Joseph Ratzinger, as a sophisticated theologian, wanted that in the baptismal rite it should be clearly said that it is the Church of God – which subsists fully in the Catholic Church – that receives those who are being baptized, and not generically the “Christian community,” a term that also signifies the individual local communities or non-Catholic confessions, like the Protestants.
The alteration is slight but profound: from now on, at the end of the rite of reception, before signing with the cross the forehead of the child or catechumen, the priest will now say, Magno gaudio Ecclesia Dei te (vos) excipit, “The Church of God welcomes you with great joy.”