Derived from the Latin word meaning ‘to wash’, baptism in the Middles Ages usually refers to a liturgical rite during which a minister, usually a priest, immerses in water an infant or adult catechumen three times while pronouncing the formula ‘I baptise you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit (cf. Mt. 28:19).

Many of the crucial features of baptismal theology had already been worked out in late antiquity through the efforts of thinkers such as Augustine of Hippo. By the Middle Ages, almost everyone shared a general outline of sacramental theology and rationale for infant baptism. Christian baptism has two consequences for an individual.