Recent Posts

Friday, 4 May 2012

On Baptism Again......

I shall get back to Pope Benedict XVI's encyclical on love after this post. I must write about the terrible confusion in the Church regarding the sacrament of Baptism. Now, I have written about this before, but the confusion is so widespread among Catholics, that a repetition is needed. I hope other people in catechesis and RCIA help clarify the confusion. It is almost as if some Catholics no longer believe in Original Sin.

We are all born with Original Sin. Baptism takes away the sin, which has separated us from God and grace.

So, what does baptism do?

One: it makes one a child of God. We are not born as adopted children of God; only once, in our life and with His Life, which is sanctifying grace, are we made children of God.

Two: it makes us co-heirs with Christ in eternal life and in the life of God on earth, with is the life of grace. Without baptism, we do not inherit heaven, nor the life of God, the Kingdom of God within. We receive the Indwelling of the Holy Trinity in baptism, not in any other way. We are heirs of God and heirs of heaven. (These points could be divided into three).

Three: we are given the means to achieve perfection, that is, through sanctifying grace. We are given the virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity. We are given the gifts to grow and develop the other virtues, not natural virtues, but supernatural ones.

Four: we are given salvation, which means, eternal life, if we cooperate with the graces and virtues given.

Five: we are made pleasing to God and just in His Eyes, through the Death and Resurrection of Christ, through the waters of baptism.

Six: we are given the means to gain merit. Only souls in grace, not those in mortal sin, can gain merit.

Seven: we are united with God in an intimate union.

All these items may be found in the Catechism of the Council of Trent, in the documents of the Church regarding baptism, and in the Scriptures, particularly the Letters of Paul and the Letters of John and in other catechisms, as well as the writings of the saints.

To believe that all people have access to heaven and the above gifts, as well as the state of grace becoming children of God without baptism is to be a heretic. It is too bad, but many Catholics fall into heresy for the following reasons.

One: like myself, there are children in our families, such as nieces, nephews, etc. who are not baptised and some people cannot bear the suffering of facing the truth about their state. I, for example, have a niece who is not baptised. This is a painful situation, but as I am not her parents, I can only pray that God will inspire her to be baptised someday.

Two: many Catholics cannot face the real tragedy of abortion, which is that the souls of these little victims may not be taken up into the Beatific Vision as those who are baptised. Unbaptized babies, as Blessed John Paul II stated, are in the mercy of God. But, we cannot assume that their state is the same as that of a baptised baby. Otherwise, we are denying the efficacy of the sacrament.

Three: many Catholics simply do not believe in Original Sin, hell, or purgatory. In other words, some believe in the heresy of universal salvation, which I think is the most common heresy in the world today.

Four: relativism regarding religions demands that baptism makes no difference as all good people go to heaven--this is a common heresy as well.

Five: the misunderstanding of the baptism of desire, which only applies to those over the age of reason who cannot because of serious circumstances, such as persecution, be baptised. Another person other than one's self cannot desire baptism for a second party.

Six: some Catholics believe all children are in a state of innocence simply because they are children. This is a sentimental idea which used to be common and still lingers on in some circles.

Seven: the misunderstanding of the Nature of God makes some think that God would never punish or damn a child. Now, invincible ignorance is always a possibility, but as I wrote in an earlier posting, children can choose evil and if not baptised, the choosing of good is much harder.

This list is not exhaustive. Now, I am going back to the great encyclical on love.....see next post later tomorrow


ellen said...

I am 68 years of age and have observed a huge change in attitude towards Baptism on the part of many Catholics. It is almost impossible to convince people that it is essential to baptize babies. As you say, they are sure babies are "innocent" and that a good and loving God would never deprive a child of heaven through no fault of its own. I do wonder whether it was prudent to suggest in the Catechism that God may find a way to offer salvation to unbaptized babies. Even though one may point out that the Catechism goes on to admit that this is only speculation and that the Church doesn't actually know of any way other than Baptism, people seem to latch on to the first part and ignore the second. Prolife people seem particularly vulnerable to worrying about the fate of all the aborted babies. I think this is a very serious problem for the Church.

Nicole said...

Several dogmatic canons (and doctrinal teachings) of the Council of Trent preclude the possibility that "baptism of desire" is an actual means of either finishing Justification or achieving salvation. A LOT of people seem to believe that there were unbaptized martyrs (and that therefore it was a "baptism of desire" or "blood" that saved them), but really, the merits of Christ can only be applied to an individual, whether adult or infant, by the Sacrament of Baptism rightly administered in the form of the Church. I, personally, find it much more reasonable (and in keeping with the Council of Trent) that these martyrs baptized one another in the form of the Church, or were baptized in some other generally unseen way (i.e., by the human hands of Our Blessed Mother who was assumed into heaven bodily and could well baptize as she pleases) in the form of the Church.

From the Fifth Session of Trent:

3. If any one asserts, that this sin of Adam, - which in its origin is one, and being transfused into all by propagation, not by imitation, is in each one as his own, - is taken away either by the powers of human nature, or by any other remedy than the merit of the one Mediator, our Lord Jesus Christ, Who hath reconciled us to God in His own Blood, made unto us justice, sanctification, and redemption; or if he denies that the said merit of Jesus Christ is applied, both to adults and to infants, by the Sacrament of Baptism rightly administered in the form of the Church; let him be anathema: For there is no other name under heaven given to men, whereby we must be saved. Whence that voice; Behold the Lamb of God, behold Him Who taketh away the sins of the world; and that other; As many as have been baptized, have put on Christ. (Once again, it's by the Sacrament of Baptism rightly administered in the form of the Church by which the merit of Jesus Christ is applied both to adults and infants. -- Nicole)

From the Sixth Session of Trent:

Canon I. If any one saith, that man may be justified before God by his own works, whether done through the teaching of human nature, or that of the law, without the grace of God through Jesus Christ; let him be anathema. (What is "baptism of desire"? If it is a personal work of man to "desire" baptism, then this "desire" cannot save him, whether his knowledge of salvation comes by teaching of human nature or of the law without the grace of God applied to him by the sacrament rightly administered in the form of the Church. If this "desire" is rather a movement of blind passion, then it is hardly a device fitting the dignity inherent in man as a rational being. -- Nicole)

From the Seventh Session of Trent (On Baptism):

Canon II. If any one saith, that true and natural water is not of necessity for Baptism, and, on that account, wrests, to some sort of metaphor, those words of our Lord Jesus Christ; Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost; let him be anathema. (How do we presume to take away the true and natural water and then say that it is possible to be baptized by "desire" instead? -- Nicole)

Canon V. If any one saith, that Baptism is free, that is, not necessary unto salvation; let him be anathema. (How do we presume NOW to say that Baptism is necessary, yet it is not necessary (contradiction alert, i.e., violation of the First Vatican Council's teachings regarding the congruence of faith and reason), since one can be saved if he experiences this "baptism of desire"? -- Nicole)

I have no idea how a person can come to the conclusion that belief in "baptism of desire" as a means outside of the Sacrament of Baptism to come to salvation is not already a dead end closed off at the Council of Trent. I was greatly saddened to see this teaching placed like a drop of poison in an otherwise marvelous cake which was your blog post.

Supertradmum said...

ellen, first

I agree and it is not only messy pastoral theology at its worst, but heresy. Souls are lost through false tolerance and ignorance, or, stubbornness as to the Truth.

Supertradmum said...

I am not for the baptism of desire and was clarifying the position without going into detail. I thought I made it clear that it was only acceptable under very dire circumstances, such as underground Christians in China, for example, who greatly want to go out and baptize and cannot get to their converted brethren. I do agree with Trent. The Church has made some latitude for such emergency situations in the face of modern tyrannies. But, it is earlier than that, for example the 40 Martyrs of Sebaste, wherein one man left the frozen pond and another Roman took his place, moved by the example of the other 39, and is considered a martyr. This would mean he is not only saved but among the saints. There are other examples.

Supertradmum said...

Sorry, Nicole, last comment was for you.

Supertradmum said...

Nicole, I found some other names, but you may want to check these out-I do not include the Holy Innocents, as they died directly because of Christ and are sui generis--you might want to take time to look these up, as I just found a reference and no details. St. Genesius; St. Emerentiana, the foster-sister of St Agnes, was martyred before baptism, as were St Rogatien of Nantes (France) and St Victor of Braga (Portugal) among many other catechumens. Found on the Fraternity of St. Genesius site.

Again, this would not be the rule, necessarily...