St. Peter Canisius, Summa Doctrinae Christianae, 16th century, De Baptismi Sacramento:
“What is Baptism, and is it necessary to all? This is the first sacrament of the New Law and the most necessary, consisting in the external washing of the body and the legitimate enunciation of the words in accordance with Christ’s institution. It is a sacrament, I say, that is necessary not only for adults but also for little ones, and is no less efficacious for them in obtaining eternal salvation. All are born children of wrath; therefore even the little ones need cleansing from sin, for they cannot be cleansed and be regenerated as children of God without this sacrament. For as a general rule our Lawmaker declared, ‘unless a man is born again of water and the Holy Spirit he cannot enter the Kingdom of God.’”
Why does St. Peter Canisius use the phrase “For as a general rule”? That suggests there are some cases where one can be saved without reception of water baptism.
No, it doesn’t suggest that at all. He uses the word “generatim”, and you have to consider the context. St. Peter was writing in Latin, not in English. In context he’s speaking about two CLASSES of people: adults and infants. He teaches that baptism is necessary for both groups, and he emphasizes/concludes this point by stating that the Lawmaker declared “as a general rule… unless a man is born again of water and the Holy Spirit…” [Nam et generatim legislator edixit], using “generatim” to teach that the words of Jesus apply to all classes of people, not just specifically to infants or specifically to adults. They apply to the entire humanum genus (human race). It could also be translated “as a universal rule”. In his speech against the governor Verres, Cicero treats the terms “generatim” and “universe” as virtually synonymous: “... singillatim potius quam generatim atque universe loquar.” Further, as the video showed, St. Peter elsewhere in his catechism teaches that only those with faith and baptism can receive the remission of sins.
St. Peter Canisius, Summa Doctrinae Christianae, 16th century, Concerning faith and the symbol of the faith, #19: “The remission of sins, without which none can be justified and saved. This truly rich treasure did Christ obtain for us by a bitter death and His own precious blood, in order that the whole world might be freed from its sins and their perpetual punishments. Of this said treasure only those are made partakers through the grace of Christ who join themselves to Christ’s Church through faith and baptism, and persist in her unity and obedience.”
As the video also covers, when teaching that baptism is most necessary for salvation, he also gives footnotes to passages from Church fathers that specifically contradicted the idea that unbaptized catechumens can be forgiven or saved. In fact, the third passage he cites on this matter, which we did not discuss in detail in the video, comes from a letter believed at one time to have been written by Pope Clement. It is no longer considered authentic. However, that passage cited by St. Peter Canisius taught that “it is impossible” for someone to be saved without water baptism. That gives us another indication of what St. Peter was teaching in his catechism: no one is saved without water baptism based specifically on Trent, etc
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