Tuesday 16th October 2018

Home » Our Catholic Faith » Currently Reading:

The Sacraments Instituted By Christ… Frequent Questions About Baptism

December 24, 2017 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM

Part 8

Often, in the course of my talks on Catholic apologetics, the Catechism, and general Q & A on various aspects of Catholic doctrine, people ask me about the controversy regarding the question of what happens to babies who die, either by disease, serious birth defects, or abortion, without Baptism.
The common teaching of theologians is that infants who die without Baptism are not admitted to the beatific vision of Heaven, since they have not been cleansed of original sin; by the same token, they cannot suffer the pains of Hell, since they are free of personal sin.
After death, they must, therefore, enter a state of natural, but not supernatural, happiness, known as Limbo.
Pope Pius XII insisted that the supernatural order of things is entirely gratuitous on the part of God; that is, God was under no compulsion to create rational beings destined to Heaven. He can have created rational beings without necessarily ordaining them to the beatific vision, and rewarding them with a natural perfect happiness.
The same Pope said, “Under the present economy there is no other way of giving this [supernatural] life to the child who is still without the use of reason.…In the case of a grown-up person, an act of love may suffice for obtaining sanctifying grace and making up for the lack of Baptism. To the child still unborn or the child just born this path is not open.”
The Instruction on Infant Baptism says, “The Church has thus shown by her teaching and practice that she knows no other way apart from Baptism for ensuring children’s entry into eternal happiness.”
You may ask: What, then, is the happiness of Limbo? It is a state in which the souls are as fully happy on the natural level as human nature can be, a state similar to the happiness of Adam and Eve in Paradise. They enjoy a perfect, natural happiness.
Are the souls of the babies in Limbo in an infantile state? No, they are not. They are fully mature, and immortal, as their bodies will be at the General Resurrection.
Could God grant those souls the Beatific Vision? Of course, He could. It would be a gratuitous act of love on God’s part to grant the eternal happiness of Heaven to those souls, but we have no precise information in this regard.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 1261, says: “As regards children who have died without Baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, as she does in her funeral rites for them. Indeed, the great mercy of God who desires that all men should be saved, and Jesus’ tenderness toward children which caused him to say: ‘Let the children come to me, do not hinder them,’ allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism. All the more urgent is the Church’s call not to prevent little children coming to Christ through the gift of holy Baptism.”
Now we move to answer some objections against the Church teaching on Baptism.
1) “The Catholic method of Baptism by pouring water is un-biblical, since in the New Testament and in the early Church, Baptism was performed by total immersion in water.” (This is a common objection by fundamentalist Protestants and the Evangelicals.)
Reply:
a) It is not true that Baptism by full immersion into the water was the only method originally used. In Acts 16:33 we read that St. Paul, at very short notice, baptized a jailer and his family after midnight. It is not reasonable to suppose that there was always a man-size tub and loads of water in the jail, or a deep river nearby, with a secret door to lead the folks to the water in which to be baptized.
b) The Didache of the second century (chapter 7) mentions use of running water, but if not, “then pour water on the head thrice in the name of the Father and of the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”
c) St. Cyprian (d. 258) recognizes Baptism by infusion for the sick: of the dozen or more third and fourth-century baptisteries excavated in Greece, only two have fonts a meter or so deep, and most are under 50 cm, that is, knee-deep if full.
d) The same pattern is true of baptisteries found in Syria, Palestine, Egypt, and North Africa. A fresco from the first half of the third century in the Catacombs of St. Callistus, Rome, shows a Baptism being performed in water a few inches deep. From all these it is clear that an adult candidate stood in a shallow pool, and some water was gathered from it and poured over his head. Therefore, to allege that Baptism in the early Church was done by total immersion into water is simply not true. It is a historical lie, to put it bluntly.
2) “At our Baptism, our godparents promise that we would lead Christian lives. How can we be bound by a promise given by them without our knowledge and consent?”
Reply:
You miss the point. The obligation to lead a Christian life is not imposed on us by our godparents’ promises, but by the sacrament itself: Are we not, by our physical birth and without our consent, made members of a family and a nation? So, by our spiritual birth and without our consent, we are made members of the household of God.
3) “It is an injustice and a violation of personal freedom to be baptized unawares. Baptism should be proposed when a child is old enough to choose for himself.”
Reply:
By the same argument, no child should be made to rise, eat, or sleep, take medicine, bathe, learn how to speak, or go to school — until he freely desires to do any of these things. The truth is that parents must necessarily make choices for their children. Good parents want to pass on to their children the best that they can offer. And supernatural life has an immensely higher value than a good school, club membership, or diet.
4) “Does it not seem reasonable that children who receive Protestant Baptism are bound to practice the Protestant religion?”
Reply:
a) There is no such thing as Protestant Baptism. Baptism is a sacrament instituted by Christ and entrusted to His Church, the Catholic Church. Some Protestant communities have valid Baptism (because they have retained the true way of conferring it) and their children who validly receive the sacrament are made members of the Catholic Church.
5) “Since the Catholic Church has so many rules about Baptism, isn’t it just a sacramental invented by the Catholic Church?”
Reply:
No, it is not. The Church, in the exercise of her infallible authority, declares the institution of the Sacrament of Baptism by Christ to be a doctrine given to her by God Himself. This proof alone suffices for Catholics, but the proof from Sacred Scripture is added to give fuller instruction.
We read in the Bible that Christ said to Nicodemus, “unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:5); and later to the apostles, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 28:19).
These texts show above any doubt that Christ definitely proclaimed the necessity of Baptism, and showed precisely how the rite was to be administered: Christ, therefore, is the institutor of this sacrament in all its essential details.

+ + +

(Raymond de Souza, KM, is a Knight of the Sovereign and Military Order of Malta; a delegate for International Missions for Human Life International [HLI]; and an EWTN program host. He is a militant pro-life writer and apologist, addressing live audiences and delivering talks on television, radio, and online. To date he has given over 2,500 presentations in 38 countries of the six continents. He is available to speak at Catholic events, both large and small, anywhere in the Free World, in four languages — English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese. Website: www.RaymonddeSouza.com.)

Share Button

2017 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Twitter Feed

Load More...

‘Just glad we ruined Kavanaugh’s life’: Pro-abortion Left responds to Supreme Court defeat

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Judge Brett Kavanaugh is now Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and the left-wing forces who pulled out all the stops to defeat him show no signs of cooling down anytime soon. The Senate voted 50-48 on…Continue Reading

Pope selects youth from pro-gay Vatican consultant’s media org to attend Synod

October 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — The four young people from Canada now at the Vatican synod on youth are all from Salt and Light Media. The Toronto-based media outlet is run by Basilian Fr. Thomas Rosica, who is also on…Continue Reading

Youth Synod Archbishop apologizes to young Catholics for sex abuse, ‘unbeautiful liturgies’

ROME, October 4, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Archbishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney, Australia, has issued an extensive mea culpa at the Vatican Youth Synod for all the ways in which the hierarchy and members of the Church have failed young people — whether…Continue Reading

Michigan AG seizes Catholic dioceses’ records in sex abuse investigation

(CNN)Michigan authorities have seized records from every Catholic diocese in the state as part of an investigation into possible sexual abuse by clergy, the dioceses said in separate statements released Wednesday. The Archdiocese of Detroit, and dioceses in Gaylord, Grand…Continue Reading

Vatican cardinal reproves US archbishop for criticizing Youth Synod’s working doc

VATICAN CITY, October 1, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A second prominent cardinal has publicly rebuked Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput for publishing last week a letter critical of the controversial working document being used at the upcoming Youth Synod in Rome. At a press conference at the Vatican…Continue Reading

Catholic lay leaders: We were wrong about Church, McCarrick on sex abuse crisis

In 2004, Anne Burke went before the City Club of Chicago to say the Catholic Church was beginning “to set things right” by appointing a lay board — which Burke chaired — to address the sex abuse crisis then embroiling…Continue Reading

Protesters demand resignation of Catholic University professor over Kavanaugh tweets

WASHINGTON (RNS) — Demonstrators at the Catholic University of America are calling for the resignation of a dean over tweets he published criticizing a woman who accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct. In addition, some demonstrators insisted…Continue Reading

Catholic Magazine Rescinds Endorsement of Brett Kavanaugh to Supreme Court

America, a weekly Roman Catholic magazine published by members of the Jesuit religious order, on Thursday rescinded its endorsement of Brett Kavanaugh after the Senate hearing on an attempted sexual assault accusation leveled against him by Christine Blasey Ford. “Even…Continue Reading

Pedophilia Isn’t The Main Problem With Catholic Priests, Homosexuality Is

The editorial board of the New York Times declared it had identified the source of “The Catholic Church’s Unholy Stain.” It names pedophilia and asks: “How have so many pedophiles been allowed into the priesthood?” The question was purely rhetorical…Continue Reading

A Persecuted Priest Speaks Out

Here is a link to a 10-minute on-camera Church Militant interview with Father Paul Kalchik, the Chicago priest who is now in hiding after being tossed from his parish by Cardinal Blase Cupich. Kalchik lost his position after presiding over…Continue Reading

Cardinal Cupich removes pastor for burning gay flag, wants psych evaluation

September 23, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Blase Cupich has removed a priest in his archdiocese from his parish in apparent retaliation for his decision to burn a homosexualist “rainbow pride flag” previously used by the parish to promote the homosexual agenda. According…Continue Reading

Opposition grows to controversial deal between Beijing and the Vatican

(CNN)A long-expected, controversial deal between the Chinese government and Catholic leaders in the Vatican has sparked opposition, including inside the Church itself. The provisional agreement, which will see the Vatican recognize the legitimacy of bishops appointed by the Chinese government, comes…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love

Cburke3

  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading

Catechism

Today . . .

Cardinal Wuerl blasts Viganò testimony as ‘not faithful to the facts’

October 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Donald Wuerl had a few choice words to say regarding Archbishop Carlo Viganò when he was interviewed by a liberal Catholic magazine yesterday. In a long and laudatory article published by America magazine today, the Archbishop Emeritus of Washington, D.C. – and its apostolic administrator until his replacement is named – denied Viganò’s allegation

Pope Francis accepts resignation of Cardinal Donald Wuerl

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl from the pastoral governance of the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. By Christopher Wells Cardinal Wuerl had submitted his resignation three years ago, when he turned 75, in accordance with the Code of Canon Law (can. 401 §1). In September, the Cardinal met with Pope Francis and requested that his resignation be accepted. At the time, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Washington D.C. said…Continue Reading

Recognition of ‘other forms of family’ called for by Youth Synod small group led by Cdl. Cupich

Vatican City, October 11, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Fourteen small groups of members of the Synod on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment discussed the Instrumentum Laboris (IL), or working document, guiding the Synod’s deliberations this week. Divided by language groups, there were four English-language conversations, three French, two Spanish, one German, and one Port

San Diego Catholic leaders demand ‘truthful answers’ from Bishop McElroy on sex abuse scandal

SAN DIEGO, California, September 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — “Acting with urgency and with purpose,” local lay leaders have launched Concerned Catholics of San Diego (CCSD), a grassroots initiative spearheaded by a committee of faithful Catholics whose first order of business is to seek “truthful answers” from San Diego Bishop Robert W. McElroy about the sex-abuse crisis. “The Catholic Church, including here in

Open Letter from Cardinal Marc Ouellet

Dear brother Carlo Maria Viganò, In your last message to the press, in which you make accusations against Pope Francis and against the Roman Curia, you invite me to tell the truth about certain facts that you interpret as signs of an endemic corruption that has infiltrated the hierarchy of the Church up to its highest levels. With pontifical permission, and in my capacity as Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, I offer my testimony…Continue Reading

Advertisement(2)

Neither Left Nor Right, But Catholic . . . Truth: The Casualties In The Current Controversies

By STEPHEN M. KRASON (Editor’s Note: Stephen M. Krason’s Neither Left nor Right, but Catholic column appears monthly [sometimes bimonthly]. He is professor of political science and legal studies and associate director of the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is also co-founder and president of the Society…Continue Reading

Setting Things Right

By DONALD DeMARCO An ancient Chinese proverb reads as follows: “If there is righteousness in the heart, there will be beauty in the character. If there is beauty in the character, there will be harmony in the home. If there is harmony in the home, there will be order in the nation. When there is…Continue Reading

Casualty Lists From The Kavanaugh Battle

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN After a 50-year siege, the great strategic fortress of liberalism has fallen. With the elevation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court seems secure for constitutionalism — perhaps for decades. The shrieks from the gallery of the Senate chamber as the vote came in on Saturday, October 4 and the sight…Continue Reading

Cardinal Ezzati . . . Declines To Answer Questions In Chilean Abuse Probe

SANTIAGO, Chile (CNA) — Ricardo Cardinal Ezzati of Santiago has exercised his legal right to silence after being summoned for questioning by a state prosecutor. The intended questioning was likely to be focused on what the cardinal knew about his former archdiocesan chancellor, Fr. Oscar Munoz Toledo, who was arrested July 12 following allegations he…Continue Reading

Judge Kavanaugh… The One Right That Matters To The “Pro-Choice” Crowd

By JACK KENNY Watching and listening to Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island incredibly grill Judge Brett Kavanaugh, line by line, over the contents of the latter’s high school yearbook, is to recall the words written by William Faulkner and revived a few years ago by Barak Obama. “The past is not dead. It isn’t…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

A Leaven In The World… Youth Synod Repeats Old Errors

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK We are now making things up as we go along. As if the Church had been founded yesterday. This nonsense was already tried in the sixties and found wanting. Paolo Ruffini reported on Twitter that at a press conference for the 2018 Youth Synod now underway in Rome a speaker called for “a liturgy that…Continue Reading

The Sacrament Of Confession… Indulgences!

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 8 The “indulgences” of the Catholic Church have acquired a bad name ever since Luther’s Reformation. In Luther’s days, it is true, the Church was going through one of those periods of crisis. Yes, there was a great crisis, almost as bad as today. The crisis was chiefly among the decadent clergy of the…Continue Reading

The Cardinal Virtues — Fortitude

By DON FIER It was with clever astuteness that Jesus responded to the Pharisees when they tried to devise a trap for Him by asking: “Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” (Matt. 22:17). After examining a Roman coin and inquiring whose likeness and inscription was imprinted on it, His ingenious answer was: “Render therefore to Caesar…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. I thought the matter of no women priests was settled by Pope John Paul II back in the nineties. But I keep hearing about this possibility. Do you foresee this ban ever changing? — J.M., via e-mail. A. No, we don’t because St. John Paul, in his 1994 apostolic letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, made the following infallible pronouncement: “Wherefore, in…Continue Reading

Over 100 Young People . . . Tell Synod-Bound Scottish Archbishop: We Love Catholic Doctrine

By DOROTHY CUMMINGS McLEAN EDINBURGH, Scotland (LifeSiteNews) — Over 100 young Catholics have a message for the Scottish archbishop chosen to attend the Youth Synod: We love the doctrines of the Church. The Catholics aged 18 to 35 signed a letter to Archbishop Leo Cushley of the Archdiocese of St. Andrews and Edinburgh sharing their thoughts on their faith. While…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Alexander Sauli

By CAROLE BRESLIN After the upheaval of the Protestant Reformation, the Catholic Church was blessed with many saints including a lesser known but deeply loved man, Fr. Alexander Sauli, who labored in a little-known order, the Barnabites. Alexander was born of a wealthy and highly regarded family of Lombard on February 15, 1534. His father, Dominic, was the Marquis of…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Mary Frances Of The Five Wounds Of Christ

By CAROLE BRESLIN When a holy priest was dying of cancer, racked with excruciating pain, he begged for more. He was asking for more suffering to save more souls. Such is the glory of the saints when Christ dispenses His mercy with the grace to embrace more suffering. St. Mary Frances endured more suffering than many saints and she, too,…Continue Reading