Was John the Baptist born without original sin?

By March 23, 2015 11 Comments

Full Question

A priest told me that John the Baptist was born without original sin because he was baptized when he encountered Jesus at the time of Mary’s visit to Elizabeth, while both were in their mothers’ wombs. True or false?


There is indeed a pious Christian speculation that John the Baptist was freed from sin when he was filled with the Holy Spirit in his mother’s womb (cf. Luke 1:15, 41-44), but this is not something the Church has declared to be doctrine. The Church certainly has not taught that John the Baptist was baptized in his mother’s womb, if by that is meant the kind of baptism that babies receive after birth.


  • Catholic Say / Q&A / Was John the Baptist born without original sin?
    Was John the Baptist born without original sin? Yes of course He was Conceived Without Sin.
    John’s father, Zachary (or Zacharias), was, like Mary’s father, Joachim, subject to Original Sin. But God did not preserve John the Baptist from the stain of Original Sin at his conception. So John, like all of us descended from Adam, was himself subject to Original Sin. But then a wondrous event occurred. Mary, having been told by the Angel Gabriel at the Annunciation that her cousin Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, was pregnant in her old age (Luke 1:36-37), went to help her cousin (Luke 1:39-40).

  • Sean says:

    I think it’s the Greek Orthodox that believe we are born with the consequences of Original Sin from Adam but not the guilt … and baptism washes the consequences and condition away. Not sure if I give clarity to the belief or not … I know it is not what the Catholic Church teaches. That being said, perhaps John the baptist was created by God and born in a similar nature. Just speculating though … not building a false premise in any way that would be considered heresy. Please do a teaching/study on this.

  • Edwin Subijano says:

    Even if John was born without original sin it doesn’t mean he is the same as Mary the Mother of God. Mary was conceived without original sin !!! Nothing in scriptures states that John was also conceived without original sin. And I’m not sure if he was born without original sin. Maybe so, if he was baptized by Jesus while still in his mother’s womb.

    • BA Blumenthal says:

      You said, “Mary was conceived without original sin !!!” But there is no scriptural backing for this… Mary gave Jesus his human side… but Joseph was not his Father… God was… so ONLY Jesus, not Mary, or John the baptist, or anyone else on the planet was born without the original sin from Adam. I don’t know where people get these kinds of ideas or why. It is so false. It is not in line with God’s word. It is the foolish wisdom of men!

  • Elmer Dante says:

    I think we need to reflect on how the Church has treated St. John the Baptist in its liturgical life. Other than Our Lord’s and Our Lady’s nativities, his is the only other nativity celebrated in the calendars of both the Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches. Most other saints are commemorated on the anniversaries of their deaths (i.e., their anniversaries of their “births” in heaven). Clearly the collective witness of the universal Church suggests that there was something special about the birth of St. John the Baptist.

  • Robert Morgan says:

    Where in the Bible does it say that Mary was born without original sin?

  • Mary lLou says:

    He was born Jewish. Just like Jesus so what does baptism have to do with it? It is not part of the jewish faith is it?

  • Maurice Judge says:

    Yes he was born a Jew and died a Jew.Just like his brothers and sisters.
    Dogmatic detail was added later.

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