And it came to pass that the One True Church of Rome, through its medieval adventures in self-love, and though it never changes ("semper eadem"), actually lost touch with an actual early tradition, the ancient rite of baptism, it having become replaced by "no more than a formula recited over the one to be baptized by the priest who administers the sacrament." This is from Joseph Ratzinger in his "Principles of Catholic Theology" (pg 34). Ratzinger goes on to cite Saint Hippolytus on baptism:
"In recent times, to has become no more than a formula recited over the one to be baptized by the priest who administers the sacrament. But this was not always the case. In the early Church it had, evening the fourth or fifth century, the form of a dialogue. According to the Traditio Apostolica of Hippolytus of Rome, which dates from the third century, but is, nevertheless, to a large extent representative also of the earlier form of baptism, the officiating priest asked first: "Do you believe in God the Father, the Lord of all?" To this, the catechumen responded: "I do believe". Thereupon he was immersed in water. There followed a question about the Son, which was similar in content to the christological articles of our Apostles' Creed, and a question about the Holy Spirit, after each of which the catechumen was again immersed in water. He was then anointed with the baptismal oil. It is clear from what has been said that the baptismal formula was, in its oldest form, a confession of faith.In the context of "ancient unwritten traditions," this is one of those that has been mentioned earlier, although, one might ask, how, if "tradition" and especially "the unwritten traditions of the Apostles" was so important to the early church, how in the world did they lose it?"
I say this to make a point about how highly Hippolytus is regarded -- what an exceptionally fine source he has become of historical information about the early Roman church. Because he is also an exceptional source for other things as well.
Here is a line from Hippolytus that Roman Catholics of our day are not likely to like: "He who is ordained as a bishop, being chosen by all the people, must be irreproachable."
We won't bother to trace either the source or the history of THAT saying at this time, but my point in writing today is to provide the "primary source" for Alexander Greco, who asked for it.
Hippolytus (c. 170-c. 236): And the hearers of Callistus (bishop, c. 217-22) being delighted with his tenets, continue with him, thus mocking both themselves as well as many others, and crowds of these dupes stream together into his school. Wherefore also his pupils are multiplied, and they plume themselves upon the crowds (attending the school) for the sake of pleasures which Christ did not permit. But in contempt of Him, they place restraint on the commission of no sin, alleging that they pardon those who acquiesce (in Callistus’ opinions). For even also he permitted females, if they were unwedded, and burned with passion at an age at all events unbecoming, or if they were not disposed to overturn their own dignity through a legal marriage (διὰ τοῦ νομίμως γαμηθῆναι), that they might have whomsoever they would choose as a bedfellow, whether a slave or free (εἴτε οἰκέτην εἴτε ἐλεύθερον), and that a woman, though not legally married, might consider such a companion as a husband. Whence women, reputed believers, began to resort to drugs for producing sterility, and to gird themselves round, so to expel what was being conceived on account of their not wishing to have a child either by a slave or by any paltry fellow, for the sake of their family and excessive wealth (διὰ τὴν συγγένειαν καὶ ὑπέρογκον οὐσίαν). Behold, into how great impiety that lawless one has proceeded, by inculcating adultery and murder at the same time! And withal, after such audacious acts, they, lost to all shame, attempt to call themselves a Catholic Church! And some, under the supposition that they will attain prosperity, concur with them. During the episcopate of this one, second baptism was for the first time presumptuously attempted by them. These, then, (are the practices and opinions which) that most astonishing Callistus established, whose school continues, preserving its customs and tradition, not discerning with whom they ought to communicate, but indiscriminately offering communion to all. And from him they have derived the denomination of their cognomen; so that, on account of Callistus being a foremost champion of such practices, they should be called Callistians. ANF: Vol. V, The Refutation of All Heresies, Book IX, Chapter VII.
Greek text: οὗ οἱ ἀκροαταὶ ἡσθέντες τοῖς δόγμασι διαμένουσιν ἐμπαίζοντες ἑαυτοῖς τε καὶ πολλοῖς, ὧν τῷ διδασκαλείῳ συρρέουσιν ὄχλοι. Διὸ καὶ πληθύνονται, γαυριώμενοι ἐπὶ ὄχλοις διὰ τὰς ἡδονάς, ἃς οὐ συνεχώρησεν ὁ Χριστός· οὗ καταφρονήσαντες οὐδέν ἁμαρτεῖν κωλύουσι, φάσκοντες αὐτὸν ἀφιέναι τοῖς εὐδοκοῦσι. Καὶ γὰρ καὶ γυναιξὶν ἐπέτρεψεν, εἰ ἄνανδροι εἶεν καὶ ἡλικίᾳ γε ἐκκαίοντο ἀναξίᾳ, ἠ ἑαυτῶν ἀξίαν μὴ βούλοιντο καθαιρεῖν διὰ τοῦ νομίμως γαμηθῆναι, ἔχειν ἕνα, ὃν ἂν αἱρήσωνται σύγκοιτον, εἴτε οἰκέτην εἴτε ἐλεύθερον, καὶ τοῦτον κρίνειν ἀντὶ ἀνδὸς μὴ νόμῳ γεγαμημένην. Ἐνθεν ἤρξαντο ἐπιχειρεῖν πισταὶ λεγόμεναι ἀτοκίοις φαρμάκοις καὶ περιδεσμεῖσθαι πρὸς τὸ τὰ συλλαμβανόμενα καταβάλλειν, διὰ τὸ μήτε ἐκ δούλου βούλεσθαι ἔχειν τέκνον μήτε ἐξ εὐτελοῦς, διὰ τὴν συγγένειαν καὶ ὑπέρογκον οὐσίαν. Ὁρᾶτε εἰς ὅσην ἀσέβειαν ἐχώρησενὁ ἄνομος μοιχείαν καὶ φόνον ἐν τῷ αὐτῷ διδάσκων· καὶ ἐπὶ τούτοις τοῖς τολμήμασιν ἑαυτοὺς οἱ ἀπηρυθριασμένοι καθολικὴν Ἐκκλησίαν ἀποκαλεῖν ἐπιχειροῦσι, καὶ τινες νομίζοντες εὖ πράττειν συντρέχουσιν αὐτοῖς. Ἐπὶ τούτου πρῶτως τετόλμηται δεύτερον αὐτοῖς βάπτισμα. Ταῦτα μὲν οὖν ὁ θαυμασιώτατος Κάλλιστος συνεστήσατο, οὗ διαμένει τὸ διδασκαλεῖον φυλάσσον τὰ ἔθη καὶ τὴν παράδοσιν, μὴ διακρῖνον, τίσι δεῖ κοινωνεῖν, πᾶσιν δʼ ἀκρίτως προσφέρον τὴν κοινωνίαν· ἀφʼ οὗ καὶ τὴν τοῦ ὀνόματος μετέσχον ἐπίκλησιν καλεῖσθαι διὰ τὸν πρωτοστατήσαν τῶν τοιούτων ἔργων Κάλλιστον Καλλιστιανοί. Philosophumena sive Omnium Haeresium Refutatio, Liber IX, §12, PG 16C:3386-3387. (This work by Hippolytus is found in Migne among the corpus of Origen).