By Bro. Peter Dimond
IT’S A FACT THAT EVERY SINGLE SAINT AND DOCTOR IN THE HISTORY OF THE CHURCH WHO BELIEVED IN BAPTISM OF DESIRE ONLY APPLIED IT TO CATECHUMENS WHO BELIEVED IN JESUS CHRIST AND THE TRINITY.I hate to have recourse to practical arguments, since all dogmas are not only to be professed, but also interiorly believed:
Pope St. Pius X condemned the following Modernist proposition on July 3, 1907 in “Lamentabili Sane”: “The dogmas of faith are to be held only according to a practical sense, that is, as preceptive norms for action, but not as norms for believing.”- CondemnedHowever, with this issue, if we move away for a moment from all of the dogmatic arguments which refute baptism of desire (found here: The Book: Outside the Catholic Church There is Absolutely No Salvation), there are a few practical considerations which show that it’s absurd and foolish for people to make an issue of defending “baptism of desire.” As stated above, the saints who believed in baptism of desire only applied it to those who believed in Jesus Christ and the Trinity. That’s why there aren’t any quotes from saints or doctors stating that a Jew or a Buddhist or a Muslim can be united to the Church through his “invincible ignorance.” Therefore, any person defending “baptism of desire” is spending all of his time and effort trying to convince people that unbaptized catechumens don’t need to be baptized. How many people fall into a situation where they die just before baptism? Almost none. Further, baptism of desire advocates don’t know that such individuals are saved, not only because the opposite is infallibly true, but because they cannot say, even in their own minds, that such individuals infallibly had the proper dispositions to receive “baptism of desire.” Thus, even if it were true that such a tiny number of individuals could be saved (which it isn’t), what good can possibly come out of insisting that they can? The answer is none. Anyone who thinks about it should admit that no good comes out of this effort, but only indifferentism from those many individuals who will conclude – and the millions who have concluded – that because a catechumen can be saved without baptism, others can as well. Since only bad results can and have from the insistence that baptism is not necessary for catechumens, what good is there in fighting for it? Why on earth can’t they simply affirm as St. Ambrose, St. John Chrysostom and St. Augustine did, that all – including catechumens – need to be baptized for salvation?
St. Ambrose, De mysteriis, 390-391 A.D.: “You have read, therefore, that the three witnesses in Baptism are one: water, blood, and the spirit; and if you withdraw any one of these, the Sacrament of Baptism is not valid. For what is water without the cross of Christ? A common element without any sacramental effect. Nor on the other hand is there any mystery of regeneration without water: for ‘unless a man be born again of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.’ [John 3:5] Even a catechumen believes in the cross of the Lord Jesus, by which also he is signed; but, unless he be baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, he cannot receive the remission of sins nor be recipient of the gift of spiritual grace.” (Jurgens, The Faith of the Early Fathers, Vol. 2: 1330.) St. John Chrysostom, Hom. in Io. 25, 3: “For the Catechumen is a stranger to the Faithful… One has Christ for his King; the other sin and the devil; the food of one is Christ, of the other, that meat which decays and perishes… Since then we have nothing in common, in what, tell me, shall we hold communion?… Let us then give diligence that we may become citizens of the city above… for if it should come to pass (which God forbid!) that through the sudden arrival of death we depart hence uninitiated, though we have ten thousand virtues, our portion will be none other than hell, and the venomous worm, and fire unquenchable, and bonds indissoluble.” St. Augustine, 391: “When we shall have come into His [God’s] sight, we shall behold the equity of God’s justice. Then no one will say:… ‘Why was this man led by God’s direction to be baptized, while that man, though he lived properly as a catechumen, was killed in a sudden disaster, and was not baptized?’ Look for rewards, and you will find nothing except punishments.” (Jurgens, The Faith of the Early Fathers, Vol. 3: 1496.)Why can’t they simply affirm, with Jesus Christ and the Council of Trent, that unless a man is born again of water and the Holy Ghost he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God?
Pope Paul III, The Council of Trent, Sess. 7, Can. 5 on the Sacrament of Baptism, 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.” Pope Paul III, The Council of Trent, Can. 2 on the Sacrament of Baptism, Sess. 7, 1547, ex cathedra: “If anyone shall say that real and natural water is not necessary for baptism, and on that account those words of Our Lord Jesus Christ: ‘Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Spirit’ [John 3:5], are distorted into some sort of metaphor: let him be anathema.” Pope Eugene IV, The Council of Florence, “Exultate Deo,” Nov. 22, 1439, ex cathedra: “Holy baptism, which is the gateway to the spiritual life, holds the first place among all the sacraments; through it we are made members of Christ and of the body of the Church. And since death entered the universe through the first man, ‘unless we are born again 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.”Why can’t they simply affirm, with Pope Clement V and the infallible Council of Vienne, that there is only one baptism of water which must be confessed by all Catholics?
Pope Clement V, Council of Vienne, 1311-1312, ex cathedra: “Besides, one baptism which regenerates all who are baptized in Christ must be faithfully confessed by all just as ‘one God and one faith’ [Eph. 4:5], which celebrated in waterin the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit we believe to be commonly the perfect remedy for salvation for adults as for children.”Why can’t they simply affirm, with Pope Pius IX, that there is one Lord, one Faith and one Baptism and that it is unlawful to proceed further in inquiry?
Pope Pius IX, Singulari Quadem: “For, in truth, when released from these corporeal chains, ‘we shall see God as He is’ (1 John 3:2), we shall understand perfectly by how close and beautiful a bond divine mercy and justice are united; but, as long as we are on earth, weighed down by this mortal mass which blunts the soul, let us hold most firmly that, in accordance with Catholic teaching, there is ‘one God, one faith, one baptism’ [Eph. 4:5]; it is unlawful to proceed further in inquiry.”The fruits of this theory (or if you want to call it a perversion of the original false theory) are undeniably horrible – indeed abominable – since it is a fact that basically everyone who denies the necessity of Christ hides under the supposed “shield” of “baptism of desire” to justify his or her heresy. Even baptism of desire advocates cannot deny this fact. Baptism of desire, in our day, is truly and literally a false Christ: it “saves” people – according to almost every “Catholic” today – who don’t even believe in Jesus Christ. So, why can’t people simply affirm with the Council of Trent – which only mentions the word “catechumens” one time in its dogmatic teaching and states that catechumens don’t have the Faith which gives life eternal – that all must be baptized to be saved, and move on?
Pope Paul III, Council of Trent, Session 6, Chap. 7 on Justification, ex cathedra: “… the instrumental cause [of Justification] is the Sacrament of Baptism, which is the ‘Sacrament of Faith,’ without faith no one is ever justified… This Faith, in accordance with Apostolic Tradition, catechumens beg of the Church before the Sacrament of Baptism, when they ask for ‘faith which bestows life eternal,’ (Rit. Rom., Ordo Baptismi).”In light of these considerations, any reasonable person would have to admit that it is absurd – IT IS FOLLY, since it accomplishes nothing good but only evil – to obstinately insist that men don’t need baptism. Any sincere and reasonable person would agree that all must be baptized for salvation and move on. But those who tenaciously defend the idea of “baptism of desire” cannot simply affirm that all must be baptized for salvation and move on (even though this is defined by the Church) because those who tenaciously and obstinately defend “baptism of desire” (in the face of the infallible arguments against it, and in the face of the facts refuting the false objections in its favor) are evil. They have an evil spiritual element working in them that thwarts reason and good sense, which is rebelling against the necessity of Our Lord Jesus Christ and the Catholic Faith. That’s the only reason for their evil and abominable insistence that men don’t need baptism. They are accomplishing nothing except spreading the idea that Jesus Christ and the Catholic Faith are not necessary for man’s salvation. If it were just a matter of unbaptized catechumens, then they would never tenaciously (in the face of all the arguments) defend baptism of desire. They tenaciously defend baptism of desire because there is more at stake for them than the catechumen issue. When these tenacious defenders of baptism of desire appear before the Judgment Seat of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the one who laid down the requirement that unless a man is born again of water and the Holy Ghost he cannot enter the Kingdom of God (John 3:5), they will be condemned to eternal damnation not only for tenaciously denying His truth that all men must be baptized (a solemnly defined dogma), but also for obstinately asserting something (that one doesn’t need His baptism) which does not benefit anyone, even from their false perspective that certain men can be saved without baptism. There are so many arguments (not from fallible teaching, but infallible teaching) which refute baptism of desire. They come from dogmatic teaching on Church membership, dogmatic teaching on subjection to the Roman Pontiff, dogmatic definitions on the Sacrament of Baptism, dogmatic teaching on the Church’s literal understanding of John 3:5, etc. Any good-willed person who considers all of it will agree that no one can be saved without baptism. However, when we consider the practical reasons discussed above in conjunction with the infallible teaching on the necessity of baptism, one can only scratch his head, dumbstruck at the foolishness and the bad will of those who, in accomplishing nothing but spreading a false Christ and a false path to salvation, tenaciously defend the idea that baptism is not necessary. They do this to no effect other than to spread religious indifferentism and give non-Catholics a reason for remaining unbaptized and outside the Church. Their tenacious defense that men don’t need baptism is simply an attack on Our Lord Jesus Christ, His necessity and His salvation, which He has connected with His Baptism:
1 Peter 3:20-21: “… when they waited for the patience of God in the days of Noe, when the ark was a building: wherein a few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. Whereunto baptism being of the like form, now saveth you also…” Titus 3:5- “Not by the works of justice, which we have done, but according to his mercy, he saved us, by the laver of regeneration, and renovation of the Holy Ghost…”And to think that people are being thrown out of “traditional” chapels for holding that all men must be baptized… it’s evil and abominable.
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