In discussing this crucial dogma of the faith, I felt that it was important to address something to those of you who believe in baptism of desire, in order to sum up certain points.
First, when the facts are laid on the table, you must admit that baptism of desire has never been infallibly taught. The only two quotations from the infallible Magisterium that you even try to bring forward (Sess. 6, Chap. 4 of Trent and Sess. 7, Can. 4 of Trent) do not favor the theory of baptism of desire, as I have shown in this document. And that leaves you with nothing. In fact, your “best” piece of evidence (Sess. 6, Chap. 4) actually contradicts the theory of baptism of desire, by defining that John 3:5 is to be understood as it is written.
Yet, despite this fact, many of you (in fact, most of you “traditional” priests) continue to affirm that baptism of desire is something that every Catholic must believe. Many of you even withhold the sacraments from those who don’t accept it. Now that you know that you cannot prove that baptism of desire is a dogma, you must stop making this false assertion. You must cease condemning the Church’s understanding that John 3:5 is to be taken as it is written, and that there is only one baptism of water, or you will surely go to Hell.
And those who continue to make statements or publish books or tracts on baptism of desire, obstinately telling people that men can be saved without the Sacrament of Baptism, are heretically contradicting dogma and can feel the brunt of the anathema of Can. 5.
Pope Paul III, The Council of Trent, Can. 5 on the Sacrament of Baptism, Sess. 7, 1547, ex cathedra: “If anyone says that baptism [the Sacrament] is optional, that is, not necessary for salvation (cf. Jn. 3:5): let him be anathema.”
Secondly, almost all of you who believe in baptism of desire hold that it applies to those who don’t know Christ, the Trinity or the Catholic Church. Most of you come right out and admit that this “baptism of desire” saves members of non-Catholic religions, including Protestants. This is completely heretical and to continue to hold it or preach it is a mortal sin.
This perverted version of baptism of desire was never held by any saint, which is why you cannot quote saints who taught that members of non-Catholic religions can be saved or that baptism of desire applies to those who don’t know Christ and the Trinity. This perverted version of baptism of desire is totally heretical and was an invention of liberal heretics of the 19th and 20th century. It has been perpetuated by heretical catechisms and Protocol 122/49, which have been exposed in this document.
Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, Sess. 8, Nov. 22, 1439:
“Whoever wishes to be saved, needs above all to hold the Catholic faith; unless each one preserves this whole and inviolate, he will without a doubt perish in eternity.”
Finally, I address all who believe in baptism of desire, both the version held by saints and the version invented by modernists. The teaching of Pope St. Leo the Great, the Council of Florence, the Canons on the Sacrament of Baptism, and the Church’s understanding of John 3:5 prove that the theory of baptism of desire cannot be squared with Catholic dogma and therefore should not be taught under any form. Since obstinacy is the key to heresy, there is no doubt that belief in the saints’ version of baptism of desire (for catechumens only) has been held in good faith by many of you, as well as many other clerics and laypeople throughout history, as we have addressed in Section 17. But once the facts are shown to be clear and undeniable, as they are, so that the theory of baptism of desire can be shown to be undeniably at variance with Catholic dogma, one cannot continue to hold it and teach it in good faith.
Pope St. Leo the Great, dogmatic letter to Flavian, Council of Chalcedon, 451:
“Let him heed what the blessed apostle Peter preaches, that sanctification by the Spirit is effected by the sprinkling of Christ’s blood (1 Pet. 1:2)… It is He, Jesus Christ, who has come through water and blood, not in water only, but in water and blood. And because the Spirit is truth, it is the Spirit who testifies. For there are three who give testimony – Spirit and water and blood. And the three are one. (1 Jn. 5:4-8) IN OTHER WORDS, THE SPIRIT OF SANCTIFICATION AND THE BLOOD OF REDEMPTION AND THE WATER OF BAPTISM. THESE THREE ARE ONE AND REMAIN INDIVISIBLE. NONE OF THEM IS SEPARABLE FROM ITS LINK WITH THE OTHERS.”
As stated already, this is the famous dogmatic letter of Leo the Great to Flavian that was accepted by the dogmatic Council of Chalcedon, and received by the fathers of this great council with the famous cry: “This is the faith of the Fathers, the faith of the Apostles; Peter has spoken through the mouth of Leo.” It teaches that Justification from sin (the Spirit of Sanctification) is inseparable from water baptism. But to cling to “baptism of desire” is to hold the opposite: that sanctification is separable from the water of baptism. To hold to baptism of desire, therefore, is to contradict the dogmatic pronouncement of Pope Leo the Great. And those who obstinately contradict Leo’s pronouncement, even in regard to one iota, will become anathematized heretics.
Pope St. Gelasius, Decretal, 495: “Also the epistle of blessed Leo the Pope to Flavian… if anyone argues concerning the text of this one even in regard to one iota, and does not receive it in all respects reverently, let him be anathema.”
Pope Eugene IV, The Council of Florence, “Exultate Deo,” Nov. 22, 1439, ex cathedra: “And since death entered the universe through the first man, ‘unless we are born of water and the Spirit, we cannot,’ as the Truth says, ‘enter into the kingdom of heaven’ [John 3:5]. The matter of this sacrament is real and natural water.”
The following twelve arguments from the infallible teaching of the Chair of St. Peter (besides others) have been presented in this document. Every single one of the following points is a divinely revealed truth of Faith (a dogma), not a fallible opinion of some theologian. These points refute the idea of baptism of desire. And not one baptism of desire advocate can answer any of them.
1) The Catholic Church teaches that the Sacrament of Baptism is necessary for salvation (de fide, Trent, Sess. 7, Can. 5).
2) Unless we are born again of water and the Spirit, we cannot enter heaven (de fide, Florence, Exultate Deo).
3) The Church understands John 3:5 literally every time, as it is written (de fide, Trent Sess. 6, Chap. 4), and with no exceptions (de fide, Florence: Denz 696; and Trent: Denz. 791, 858, 861).
4) The Spirit of Sanctification, the Water of Baptism and the Blood of Redemption are inseparable (de fide, Pope St. Leo the Great).
5) All Catholics must profess only one baptism of water (de fide, Clement V, Council of Vienne).
6) There is absolutely no salvation outside the one Church of the faithful (de fide, Innocent III, Fourth Lateran Council), which only includes the water baptized.
7) Every human creature must be subject to the Roman Pontiff to be saved (de fide, Boniface VIII, Unam Sanctam), and it is impossible to be subject to the Roman Pontiff without the Sacrament of Baptism (de fide, Trent, Sess. 14, Chap. 2).
8) One must belong to the Body of the Church to be saved (de fide, Eugene IV and Pius XI), and only the water baptized belong to the Body of the Church.
9) Pope Benedict XII solemnly defined that all martyrs, virgins, confessors, faithful, etc. in Heaven have been baptized (Benedictus Deus, 1336, ex cathedra).
10) The Church is defined as a union of sacraments (de fide, Eugene IV, Cantate Domino; Boniface VIII, Unam Sanctam), which means that only those who have received the Sacrament of Baptism can be inside the unity of the Church.
11) All true Justification meets up with the Sacraments (de fide, Sess. 7, Foreword to the Decree on the Sacraments).
12) The Sacraments as such are necessary for salvation though all are not necessary for each individual (de fide, Profession of Faith at Trent and Vatican I; and the Profession of Faith for converts), which means that one must at least receive one Sacrament (Baptism) to be saved but one doesn’t need to receive them all.
 Denzinger 861; Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils, Vol. 2, p. 685.
 Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils, Vol. 1, pp. 550-553; Denzinger 39-40.
 Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils, Vol. 1, p. 81.
 Denzinger 165.
 Denzinger 696; Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils, Vol. 1, p. 542.
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