Out of the few fathers that can be quoted in favor of baptism of blood being a possible replacement to actual Baptism, two of the very earliest statements supporting the idea come from St. Cyprian and Tertullian.
St. Cyprian, To Jubaianus (254): “Catechumens who suffer martyrdom before they have received Baptism with water are not deprived of the Sacrament of Baptism. Rather, they are baptized with the most glorious and greatest Baptism of Blood…”
Let’s examine this passage. While teaching baptism of blood, notice that St. Cyprian makes a significant error in the same sentence. He says:
“catechumens who suffer martyrdom before they have received Baptism are not deprived of the Sacrament of Baptism.”
This is completely wrong, even from the point of view of the baptism of blood/desire advocates. All baptism of desire and blood advocates readily admit that neither is a sacrament, because neither confers the indelible character of the Sacrament of Baptism. Hence, even the staunchest advocates of baptism of blood would admit that St. Cyprian’s statement here is wrong. Therefore, in the very SENTENCE in which St. Cyprian teaches the error of baptism of blood, he makes a significant error in explaining it – he calls it “the Sacrament of Baptism.” What more proof is necessary to demonstrate to the liberals that the teaching of individual fathers is not infallible and does not represent the universal Tradition and can even be dangerous, if held obstinately? Why do they quote such erroneous passages to attempt to “teach” the faithful when they do not even agree with them?
Furthermore, St. Cyprian’s errors in this very document (To Jubaianus) don’t end here! In the same document, St. Cyprian teaches that heretics cannot administer valid baptism.
St. Cyprian, To Jubaianus (254): “… in regard to what I might think in the matter of the baptism of heretics… This baptism we cannot reckon as valid…”
This is also completely wrong, as the Council of Trent defined that heretics, provided they observe the correct matter and form, confer valid baptism. But St. Cyprian actually held that it was from apostolic Tradition that heretics could not confer a valid baptism! And this false idea was opposed by the then Pope St. Stephen and later condemned by the Catholic Church. So much for the claim that St. Cyprian’s Letter To Jubaianus is a sure representation of apostolic Tradition! In fact, St. Cyprian and 30 other bishops declared in a regional council in 254 A.D.:
“We… judging and holding it as certain that no one beyond the pale [that is, outside the Church] is able to be baptized…”
This again proves the point: Jesus Christ only gave infallibility to St. Peter and his successors (the popes).
“And the Lord said: Simon, Simon, behold Satan hath desired to have all of you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and thou being once converted, confirm thy brethren.” (Luke 22:31-32)
Jesus Christ did not give unfailing faith to bishops, theologians or fathers of the Church; He only gave it to Peter and his successors when speaking from the Chair of Peter or when proposing a doctrine for the faithful to be believed as divinely revealed.
Pope Pius IX, Vatican Council I, ex cathedra:
“So, this gift of truth AND A NEVER FAILING FAITH WAS DIVINELY CONFERRED UPON PETER AND HIS SUCCESSORS IN THIS CHAIR…”
Another early father who is frequently quoted in favor of baptism of blood is Tertullian. His statement is the earliest recorded statement teaching baptism of blood.
Tertullian, On Baptism, 203 A.D.: “If they might be washed in water, they must necessarily be so by blood. This is the Baptism which replaces that of the fountain, when it has not been received, and restores it when it has been lost.”
But guess what? In the same work in which Tertullian expresses his opinion in favor of baptism of blood, he also makes a different and significant error. He says that infants should not be baptized until they are grown up!
Tertullian, On Baptism, 203 A.D.: “According to circumstance and disposition and even age of the individual person, it may be better to delay baptism; and especially so in the case of little children…Let them come, then, while they grow up…”
This contradicts the universal Catholic Tradition, received from the Apostles, and the later infallible teaching of the popes, that infants should be baptized as soon as possible.
Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, ex cathedra: “Regarding children… holy baptism ought not be deferred…”
But in addition to this, in the same work On Baptism, Tertullian actually affirms the universal teaching of Tradition on the absolute necessity of water baptism, contrary to the idea of baptism of blood.
Tertullian, On Baptism, 203: “… it is in fact prescribed that no one can attain to salvation without Baptism, especially in view of that declaration of the Lord, who says: ‘Unless a man shall be born of water, he shall not have life [John 3:5]…”
Thus, those who think that baptism of blood is a teaching of the Catholic Church simply because this error was expressed by a number of fathers are simply mistaken. As many or more fathers held that unbaptized infants suffer the fires of Hell and that heretics cannot validly baptize. The theory of baptism of blood was not held universally or constantly in Catholic Tradition and it has never been taught or mentioned by any pope, any council or in any Papal Encyclical.
 Jurgens, The Faith of the Early Fathers, Vol. 1: 598
 Jurgens, The Faith of the Early Fathers, Vol. 1: 593 .
 Jurgens, The Faith of the Early Fathers, Vol. 1: 591 .
 Denzinger 1837.
 Jurgens, The Faith of the Early Fathers, Vol. 1: 309 .
 Jurgens, The Faith of the Early Fathers, Vol. 1: 310a .
 Denzinger 712; Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils, Vol. 1, p. 576.
 Jurgens, The Faith of the Early Fathers, Vol. 1: 306.
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