Starting Wednesday Off Right: Baptism of Desire Edition

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12 comments on “Starting Wednesday Off Right: Baptism of Desire Edition

  1. St. Emerentiana was likely baptized. Catechumens in danger of death during the persecutions were always baptized. There was no universal belief in a means of salvation without the waters of regeneration, as illustrated by St. Augustine and St. Gregory Nazianzen. The imperative of Baptism was universal, and is illustrated over the history of the Church, especially in the heroic missionaries who were inspired with the zeal for souls, believing that the pagans would be lost without conversion. Even Ratzinger has noted this, wondering how the Church can survive without the belief that conversion is necessary for salvation — even though he in no way believes extra ecclesiam nulla salus.

  2. Well, St. Thomas Aquinas and the Council of Trent DID clarify the matter regarding those unable to avail themselves of Sacramental Baptism. So, yes, Baptism as a necessity has always been non-negotiable. In extreme cases of personal necessity, the “voto” does indeed suffice, however.
    /
    Rev. Ott’s “Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma”, approbated for its excellence universally, also points out that St. Emeritiana, as a catechumen, would have been subject to Church praxis that required a years-long catechesis prior to reception of the rituals of the Sacrament itself.

  3. In addition to good Dr. Ott, there are contained in this Cath. Encycl. Article from 1907, further and thoroughly sourced citations on the question:

    www.newadvent.org/cathen/02258b.htm#x

  4. St. Thomas did, but not Trent. St. Thomas described a catechumen who died by something called ill chance. Trent acknowledged that the will for Baptism was sufficient for justification, but nowhere did they say for salvation. In one of the canons on the sacraments, Trent distinguished justification and salvation and noted that desire (voto) was sufficient for justification. Also, the Roman Catechism after the council avoids saying that desire would suffice for salvation while noting that an adult might be in a better state than an infant, the latter being surely lost.

    As far as Ott and others, he imposes the ordinary (Catechumenate for years) in an extraordinary situation (about to be killed), while wanting us to profess the extraordinary (exception to Baptism) in ordinary times. In other words, he’s as invested in his opinion as I am in mine. So, I’ll defer to Rahner who noted that St. Augustine gave up any notion of an exception as he grew older. He’s an eminent theologian, too.

    Yes, I’m one of those heretical Feeney-ites. I think it’s time to reconsider this talk of salvation by desire from the perspective of nearly a millennium of it’s expanding influence. Has it brought about greater zeal for the salvation of souls? Or has it gone the other direction? By believing or disbelieving in BOD, we don’t change the eternal disposition of anyone. In other words, there are many opportunities for the Good God to bring a messenger with water to someone He is about to remove from this world, and He needn’t supply a live cam or iPhone to prove it, although many such instances have been recounted.

  5. Well, looks like we agree that we disagree. I’ll leave it at that.
    /
    By the way, you remain one of my favorite AQ friends and I invariably look forward to reading your comments.

  6. I don’t think much of Ann Barnhardt as a theologian. She obviously has little or no training in the discipline. Of course, neither did St. Catherine of Siena, St. Theresa of Avila, etc.
    It also very much annoys me that she so often ends her epistles with the words “I hope this helps”, for it gives the impression — I hope unintentionally — that, just because *she* says it, it ought in itself to be helpful. If she truly thinks that, that is pure Liberalism in action.
    /
    That said, “The Spirit breatheth where He will”. She does have some excellent insights.
    For instance:
    “God, in His mercy, allows these lost souls to be tormented by demons, and by each other, AS A MERCIFUL DISTRACTION. Sit in stillness with that until it sinks in.”
    I wonder how many people will actually take advantage of this very good advice?
    /
    Now, here are my two cents, which I do NOT “hope will be helpful”, but which I hope are TRUE.
    /
    “Trent acknowledged that the will for Baptism was sufficient for justification, but nowhere did they say for salvation.”
    /
    That is totally irrelevant. What does it mean to be “justified”? Obviously, it means to be in a state of sanctifying grace. Obviously also, if one dies in a state of sanctifying grace, one goes to heaven (albeit one will most often have to pass through Purgatory first), for sanctifying grace is “a real and formal participation in the nature of God precisely as God” (Scholastic definition; see also II Peter 1:4). Is it possible for God to damn someone who participates in His own nature? Utterly and completely ridiculous.
    /
    I would surely like to see how water-only-salvation can be justified — pardon the pun — given the above facts.
    For let’s be perfectly clear; the heresy of Feeneyism consists precisely in this: In order to be saved, you are at the least absolutely required, WITH NO EXCEPTIONS, to be *explicitly aware* that you should have water poured on you, by *someone else*, and the words said by that person: “I baptise you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost”, and also while both you and the person baptizing you have the intention of doing what the Church does with that rite.
    Thus, for the Feeneyite, unless you fulfill these requirements, you go to hell, pure and simple. Your good intentions otherwise; your most profound and intense desire to do good and obey God, don’t count for ****. God will DAMN you just for your ignorance, or the lack of the opportunity to execute some mere external action.
    It’s totally perverse. It makes God into a Pharisee’s Pharisee; it turns Him into a slave to His own creatures; a slave to a merely material rite. It is blasphemous and damnable.
    /
    I DARE anyone to respond to this argument.
    /
    Oh, and BTW, I DO NOT “agree to disagree”…about *anything*. I recognize, gpm, that some truths are essential (i.e. dogmatic), and others not, but I respectfully ask you to consider whether agreeing to disagree about *anything* is not simply an expression of despair in the power of grace to enlighten us all and bring us to unity in the Truth.
    That said, and FWIW, in regard to both you and Cyprian, I can sincerely repeat your words: “You remain one of my favorite AQ friends and I invariably look forward to reading your comments.”

    • Your reply is childish, NIN. If God is an ogre for damning an adult who failed to get water, then what of the God who damns a child who was murdered in the womb before he could even sin?

      Flailing remonstrances, using the “strawGod” (as contrasted with strawman) argument of the divine ogre, etc., doesn’t do a thing for understanding doctrine and the providence of God.

      If distinguishing justification and salvation is irrelevant, why does Trent distinguish them?

      Session 7, Canon 4 of the Sacraments in General from the Decree Concerning the Sacraments

      If anyone says that the sacraments of the New Law are not necessary for salvation but are superfluous, and that without them or without the desire of them men obtain from God through faith alone the grace of justification, though all are not necessary for each one, let him be anathema.

      And just for good measure: Session 7, Canons 2 & 5 of the Canons on Baptism from the Decree Concerning the Sacraments:

      Can. 5. If anyone says that baptism is optional , that is, not necessary for salvation, let him be anathema.

      Can. 2. If anyone says that true and natural water is not necessary for baptism and thus twists into some metaphor the words of our Lord Jesus Christ: “Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost,” let him be anathema.

      • I appreciate your response to my challenge, Cyprian, and I don’t mind at all your accusation of childishness.
        You ask:
        “If God is an ogre for damning an adult who failed to get water, then what of the God who damns a child who was murdered in the womb before he could even sin?”
        I answer:
        God does NOT “damn” an aborted child — at least not in the sense that He sends that child to the hell of TORMENTS. Ann Barnhardt, and apparently you (and also, by chance a very good Feeneyite friend of mine, who shall remain nameless) are taking the word “hell” in the very concise sense that Ann expresses, and that Anthony reiterates: ““Only hell exists outside of the Beatific Vision. ”
        The problem with ‘hell’ understood in this sense is that it is a throwback to a pre-Christian notion. In the Old Testament the English word ‘hell’ is represented by ‘sheol’. Sheol means simply the place where ALL the dead (excepting those in heaven) go, and it includes the good, the evil and innocent children (See Fr. John Steinmuller, Catholic Biblical Encyclopedia, article Sheol).
        In Christian theology, ‘hell’ has come to have the very specific meaning of the place where *only* the DAMNED go. This is because, in Traditional theology, and because of the facts of the Revelation of Christ, we now make a distinction of places in the afterlife; there is hell (in the strict sense of the word, as I’ve mentioned), there is purgatory,there is the limbo of the children, and there is heaven. Those who use the word ‘hell’ in any other than this Traditional sense are causing great confusion, and are scandalizing people (in the strict sense of *that* term).
        Aborted babies go to Limbo, which as any Traditional catechism can tell us, is a place — NOT of torments — but of *natural* happiness.
        It is NOT hell, as we have understood that term for over a thousand years. Yes, in Ann’s Feeneyite/Old Testament understanding of the term, aborted children are in “hell” (because they are not in the presence of God) — but they are not in hell in the CATHOLIC sense of the term.
        /
        “If distinguishing justification and salvation is irrelevant, why does Trent distinguish them?”
        I did not say that Trent does not distinguish between justification and salvation. What I said was: “What does it mean to be “justified”? Obviously, it means to be in a state of sanctifying grace. Obviously also, if one dies in a state of sanctifying grace, one goes to heaven.” In other words, if one DIES justified, one is saved.
        Some Feeneyites apparently want to believe that one can die justified and in the state of sanctifying grace, but because they have not had some mere external rite performed on them, will nevertheless NOT be saved. That’s totally perverted.
        /
        This quote:
        “If anyone says that the sacraments of the New Law are not necessary for salvation but are superfluous, and that without them or without the desire of them men obtain from God through faith alone the grace of justification, though all are not necessary for each one, let him be anathema.”…
        actually proves my point.
        Did you forget the part that says “OR without the DESIRE of them”?
        And let’s not forget that little phrase: “…let him be anathema”. That means those who deny that, at least sometimes, the desire of the sacraments can supply for the actual physical reception of them are…heretics.
        That’s why I said Feeneyism is (at least objectively) a heresy.
        /
        “Can. 5. If anyone says that baptism is optional , that is, not necessary for salvation, let him be anathema.”
        Similarly Canon 2.
        Of course. But for those familiar with Catholic theological terms, the word ‘necessary’ can be taken in several gradations of strictness. I mention the two that are relevant.
        1) Necessity of means, or absolute necessity. Necessity of means is: Get the external rite done — or else — no excuses, and no good intentions accepted.
        2) Necessity of precept: It has been commanded that you get the external rite done, and if you CAN get it done, you must do so — or else. If you can’t get it done, and it is really not your fault, you can be excused — for the moment at least.”
        In Canons 5 and 2, Trent unquestionably intends the word ‘necessary’ in the second sense. If it did not, it would be completely IMPOSSIBLE to understand the wording “or the desire for them”, which is found in Canon 4.

  7. Chastisement duly noted and received gratefully, NIN.
    /
    I recall reading Abp. LeFebvre’s remark that he, too, had to daily examine his conscience for any remaining influences of liberal viruses inhaled, unwittingly, throughout his lifetime.
    /
    “Rarely deny. Seldom affirm. Always distinguish.” Why I keep forgetting to DO that instead of merely remembering it, now and again, is bothersome.

  8. Anne Barhardt wrote: “Only hell exists outside of the Beatific Vision. The domain of hell called ‘The Limbo of the Innocents’ does not involve torment, but it is hell because it is outside of God.”
    If Limbo involves a natural happiness, then how can it be “outside of God”? Furthermore, if only Hell exists outside of the Beatific Vision, then are we of the Church Militant and of the Church Suffering now in hell?

    • Your questions are the natural result of confusion caused by Ann’s homemade “theology”.
      /
      Limbo IS outside of God — exactly because it is merely natural.
      But it is NOT hell. See my explanation in my response to Cyprian.
      Fundamental concepts that help:
      Natural = created.
      Supernatural = uncreated = God (or things directly connected to Him).
      /
      Thus the natural happiness in Limbo is whatever kind of contentment can be found in mere creatures.
      /
      “If Limbo involves a natural happiness, then how can it be “outside of God”? Furthermore, if only Hell exists outside of the Beatific Vision, then are we of the Church Militant and of the Church Suffering now in hell?”
      /
      If we are to follow Barnhardtian theology, then the Church Militant and the Church Suffering are indeed in hell.
      Your logic is flawless.
      Ann’s, however, is not.

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