OBJECTION- What about the Good Thief and the Holy Innocents?
ANSWER- This was addressed already in the section on St. Augustine, but it will be repeated here for those who may be looking for it in this section of “Other Objections.” The Good Thief cannot be used as an example of baptism of blood primarily because the Good Thief died under the Old Law, not the New Law; he died before the Law of Baptism was instituted by Jesus Christ after the Resurrection. For that reason, the Good Thief, like the Holy Innocents, constitutes no argument against the necessity of receiving the Sacrament of Baptism for salvation.
Catechism of the Council of Trent, Baptism made obligatory after Christ’s Resurrection, p. 171: “Holy writers are unanimous in saying that after the Resurrection of our Lord, when He gave His Apostles the command to go and teach all nations: baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, the law of Baptism became obligatory on all who were to be saved.”
In fact, when Our Lord said to the Good Thief, “This day you will be with Me in paradise,” Jesus was not referring to heaven, but actually to hell. As Catholics know, no one entered heaven until after Our Lord did, after His Resurrection. On the day of the Crucifixion, Christ descended into hell, as the Apostles’ Creed says. He did not descend to the hell of the damned, but to the place in hell called the Limbo of the Fathers, the waiting place of the Just of the Old Testament, who could not enter heaven until after the Savior came.
2 Peter 3:18-19 “Christ also died once for our sins… In which also coming he preached to those spirits that were in prison…”
To further prove the point that the Good Thief did not go to heaven on the Day of the Crucifixion, there is the fact that on Easter Sunday, when Mary Magdalene met the Risen Lord, He told her, “Do not touch Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father.”
John 20:17- “[On the Day of the Resurrection] Jesus saith to her; Mary. She turning, saith to him; Rabboni, (that is to say, Master). Jesus saith to her; Do not touch me, for I have not yet ascended to my Father…”
Our Lord hadn’t even yet ascended to Heaven on the Sunday of the Resurrection. It is therefore a fact that Our Lord and the Good Thief were not in heaven together on Good Friday; they were in the Limbo of the Fathers, the prison described in 2 Peter 3:18-19. Jesus called this place Paradise because He would be there with the just of the Old Testament.
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