From "Whispers in the Loggia" blog, 29 Feb. 2008:
In other things Vatican today, the Pope formally rejected two illicit
formulae of baptism as invalid.
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith published a "response" to a query on the validity of formulas such as "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" in the rite.
Replying that the formulas were, indeed, invalid, the Congregation also specified that anyone who had been baptized with said exhortations must be baptized again by a minister of the sacrament in forma absoluta -- the traditional baptism "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."
Dated 1 February but only made public this morning, the response was issued with the explicit approval of Benedict XVI. The decision dropped in Italian, French, Spanish, English and German alongside the definitive Latin.
First, let us recall the theology of why we say what we say. A description of something that is either an attribute or the work of God most strongly associated with a specific Person of the Godhead, could be called a title, but not a name. "The Son" is a name, or rather, part of a Name; but nowhere is "the Redeemer" revealed as a Name. "The Son" relates the Logos Himself to the Father, as "the Father" relates the first Person to the Son, without whom He is not Father. This speaks of the Son who is eternally begotten of the Father. The Holy Spirit is part of the Name as well, since this relates Him to the Father from whom He eternally proceeds, and speaks of his equality to the Father and the Son, whereas "Sanctifier" only describes one of His workings in relation to creation, specifically to man. Furthermore, St. Basil, in On the Holy Spirit, reminds us that the Risen Christ told us that the Name is not three names, but One Name. "In the Name.." not, "in the names."
Once again I take the liberty of quoting one of my own articles:
The first mention of prayer is ‘‘Then began men to call upon the Name of the Lord (Genesis 4.26).’’ In the greater glory of the New Covenant revelation, he teaches us: ‘‘In this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name’’ (Matthew 6.9). When uttering what is called the High Priestly Prayer, he addresses God with that same Name, ‘‘Father.’’ He says: ‘‘I have manifested Thy Name unto the men whom Thou gavest Me out of the world’’ (John 17.6). Whether we ever again can say the ineffable Name, we have this greater revelation by which we call God ‘‘our Father’’ –– the gift of the Father’’s love.
After rising from the dead, the Lord fully revealed the Divine Name by commanding us to baptize ‘‘in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost’’ (Matthew 28.19). We see that ‘‘The Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost’’ is the Name of God. The revelation of the Trinity did not come as an abstract proposition; it came in the life of Jesus Christ, intricately bound up in his salvation. So it is that the Creeds teach us the truth of the Trinity and also of our redemption in Christ; for the revelation of one is intimately tied up in the revelation of the other. And, only in this Person, our salvation himself, is God revealed and known (John 17.3). This is not an image created by human imagination, but rather the saving revelation.
Relevance for Continuing Anglicans