OBJECTION- If it is true that there is no such thing as baptism of desire or baptism of blood, then why didn’t any pope come out and condemn these theories as they were appearing in so many catechisms in the late 1800’s and following?
ANSWER- Baptism of desire and baptism of blood are shown in various ways to be excluded by the infallible teaching of the Catholic Church. The fact that no pope came out and explicitly condemned the theories by name doesn’t change that fact. The fact that no pope since the late 1800’s removed these theories from inclusion in catechisms doesn’t prove anything either. It was being taught in catechisms at the same time that one can be saved in a non-Catholic religion. To my knowledge, the heresy that souls can be saved in non-Catholic religions was not removed by express order of any pope. Does this mean that these popes believed in the heresy that one can be saved in a non-Catholic religion? Does this mean that it’s okay to believe the heresy that one can be saved in a non-Catholic religion? Absolutely not.
Popes are very busy people – with tons of responsibilities – so they can be unaware of what is being taught catechetically at the diocesan level. They rely on their bishops to preserve the faith in their respective dioceses, which unfortunately did not happen in the last 100 years. One example that is very interesting to consider in this regard is the fact that no pope ever ordered St. Thomas Aquinas’s opinion on the Immaculate Conception to be removed from the Summa Theologica, even though many of them were consistently recommending it!
St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Pt. III, Q. 14, A. 3, Reply to Obj. 1:
“The flesh of the Virgin was conceived in original sin, and therefore contracted these defects. But from the Virgin, Christ’s flesh assumed the nature without sin…”
St. Thomas taught that Mary was not conceived immaculate more than once in the Summa Theologica. Obviously, he taught this before the definition of Mary’s immaculate conception by Pope Pius IX in 1854, but to hold St. Thomas’s position after that time would be heretical. Yet, the popes from 1854 on consistently recommended the Summa Theologica to seminarians and priests without ordering that St. Thomas’s (now heretical) opinion be removed! This proves that the theory of baptism of desire can be contrary to defined dogma – and even heretical – and yet no pope ever ordered it to be removed from the catechisms, for whatever reason.
But I believe that the main reason why the false doctrine of baptism of desire was never explicitly condemned by name is the fact that God allows heresies to arise to see who will believe the truth and who won’t; and the denial of the necessity of Baptism and the necessity of the Catholic Church is the key heresy to the Great Apostasy.
1 Cor. 11:19: “For there must be also heresies: that they also, who are approved, may be manifest among you.”
 St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Pt. III, Q. 14, A. 3, Reply to Obj. 1.
Sign up for our free e-mail list to see future vaticancatholic.com videos and articles.