Monday 22nd January 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.

Nikki Haley blasts Venezuela for targeting Catholic bishops

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s denunciation of a pair of Roman Catholic bishops is the latest example of a government turning to tyranny, according to U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley. “Maduro’s reign of violence, repression, corruption, and bankruptcy…Continue Reading

Wedding on Pope’s airplane not as spontaneous as it appeared, evidence indicates

January 19, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A wedding ceremony presided over by Pope Francis on a recent flight in Chile and portrayed as spontaneous by the couple appears in fact to have been planned well in advance. In the website of the Chilean…Continue Reading

NEW SURVEY: CATHOLIC WOMEN “DISENGAGED & DISENGAGING” — AND DON’T LISTEN TO US BISHOPS

Nearly five years into Pope Francis papacy, with its great expectations for a revival of Catholicism among the flagging faithful, a new large-scale survey of American Catholic women finds the flock faithful but disengaged from the rituals of the church…Continue Reading

‘Catholic’ Georgetown to Offer LGBT Housing to Students

Georgetown University, founded in 1789 and ostensibly a “Catholic” school, will offer a “gender & sexuality” housing complex for students starting in the 2018-19 academic year, which will operate as a residential center for homosexual, transgender, and “q

Catholic Bishop: “Abortion is a Uniquely Intimate Form of Violence With Bitter Public Consequences”

The “March for Life” this January, like every January over the past several decades, reminds the nation that killing an unborn child is never a private matter. Abortion is a uniquely intimate form of violence – but violence with bitter…Continue Reading

Vikings quarterback lists winning pass as 3rd best life-moment, behind finding Jesus

January 15, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) –  Vikings Quarterback Case Keenum said throwing the game-winning pass in the last few seconds of Sunday’s championship game against the New Orleans Saints was only the third best moment in his life. Keenum’s first best…Continue Reading

On the purpose of politics and the salvation of souls

“Beloved, our Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal creator of all things, today became our Savior by being born of a mother. Of his own will he was born for us today, in time, so that he could lead us to…Continue Reading

Don’t let fear keep you from welcoming the stranger, Pope says

Vatican City, Jan 14, 2018 / 04:45 am (CNA/EWTN News).- At a special Mass Sunday for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, Pope Francis said that while it is normal to be afraid of the unknown, we can’t let…Continue Reading

Notre Dame could face legal investigation for flip-flopping on contraception coverage

SOUTH BEND, Indiana, January 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A group of over sixty Notre Dame alumni attorneys has written an open letter to the university’s president, Father William Jenkins, CSC, to protest the university’s decision to continue the dissemination of…Continue Reading

Poland: Marches of the Three Kings Draw 1.2 Million

Under the motto “God is for everyone”, 1.2 million Poles in more than 660 cities and towns in Poland and abroad joined in the March of the Three Kings. This year’s event was accompanied by fundraising “Kings for the East”,…Continue Reading

Bishops’ letter on sexual identity prompts LGBT counter-lobbying

Washington D.C., Jan 5, 2018 / 12:05 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Several Catholic bishops’ call for clarity and compassion on sexual identity issues such as transgenderism drew the ire of a dissenting Catholic group which is part of a well-funded LGBT…Continue Reading

Rural Minnesota Catholic parish dismisses musicians over gay marriages

For weeks now, a Catholic parish in the rural St. Croix River Valley north of the Twin Cities has been praying through turmoil, brought by a trio of startling dismissals. On one hand, even many of the most distressed don’t…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 . . .

Catholic bishops side with labor unions in Supreme Court case

WASHINGTON (RNS) — U.S. Roman Catholic bishops are backing public sector unions in an upcoming Supreme Court case, pitting church leaders against the Trump administration and conservatives in a legal battle over how organized labor is financed. In an amicus brief filed on Friday (Jan. 19) in the case of Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops sides with the union, which is being challenged by…Continue Reading

Trump’s historic speech to March for Life: Abortion is ‘wrong, it has to change’

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 19, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — In the first-ever live streamed address of a sitting president to the March for Life, Republican President Donald Trump vowed his administration will work to uphold the sanctity of life. “Under my administration, we will always defen

">45 years of legalized abortion . . . When will our Country Awake?

Give President Trump Credit for Protecting Pro-Life Doctors and Nurses From Abortion

I am sometimes asked how religious people could vote for a man with the personal history of Donald Trump. Consider this Smith on the Election, but I always answer that I think it was an act of self defense. The Obama Administration had been very hostile to the free exercise of religion–even to the point of trying to force nuns to participate in contraception coverage–and Hillary Clinton threatened to be even worse. And now, Trump…Continue Reading

Canon lawyer calls for Amoris Laetitia’s 8th chapter to be ‘withdrawn’ on EWTN show

January 16, 2018 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Fr. Gerald Murray, a regular commentator on EWTN’s news program The World Over, told show host Raymond Arroyo in a recent interview that the infamous chapter 8 of Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation Amoris laetitia is in “error,” and that he hopes it will be “withdrawn” by the pope. Murray, a canon lawyer, also condemned the interpretation of Amoris laetitia published by the Argentinean bishops of the Pastoral Region of Buenos…Continue Reading

Advertisement(2)

A Book Review… Priests As Builders Of Western Civilization

By MITCHELL KALPAKGIAN Heroism and Genius: How Catholic Priests Helped Build — And Can Rebuild — Western Civilization, by William J. Slattery (Ignatius Press: San Francisco, 2017), 272 pp. $24.95. Available through www.ignatius.com or call 1-800-651-1531. A work of great erudition and comprehensive scope, Fr. Slattery’s eloquent book provides a survey of the seminal ideas…Continue Reading

A Nation Of Sheep

By DONALD DeMARCO In a sociology text book (Sociology) that has been widely used in Canadian universities, the author makes the following statement: “Canadian society could not continue to exist unless the thousands of new members born each year eventually learned to think, believe, and behave as Canadians. . . . The continuity of our…Continue Reading

Bishop Schneider… Explains The Kazakhstani Profession Of Truths On Marriage

By CARL BUNDERSON ASTANA, Kazakhstan (CNA/EWTN News) — Fidelity to the words of Christ makes it necessary to profess the truth about sacramental marriage, Bishop Athanasius Schneider told Catholic News Agency (CNA) in a recent interview. Bishop Schneider, an auxiliary bishop of Maria Santissima in Astana, was a drafter of the “Profession of the immutable…Continue Reading

Planned Parenthood Now Offers “Transgender” Hormone Therapy

ORLANDO, Fla. — Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, has expanded its services to offering “transgender” hormone therapy, according to a January 10 report from Liberty Counsel. Planned Parenthood’s 2016-2017 annual report states: “We’re expanding access to care — from pioneering research on self-injectable birth control to offering new services for our transgender patients.…Continue Reading

Chinese Government Destroys Major “House Church”

BEIJING (AsiaNews) — New details have come to light about the forced demolition of the Golden Lampstand Church in the city of Linfen on January 9. The faithful have also released a video of the building being destroyed, while they were forced to watch from a distance as the walls, the tower, and the cross…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

A Leaven In The World… We Fight Distractions To Grow In Holiness

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK Life in this world is a gift from God: Don’t let it become a distraction from the one He offers us forever in Heaven. We have more information, more images, more choices in our possession than ever before. Each of us has only so much concentration. If we don’t learn to discern and to make…Continue Reading

The Sacraments Instituted By Christ… Confirmation: From The Standpoint Of Tradition

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 12 We have studied the Sacrament of Confirmation from the point of view of Sacred Scripture. Now it is time to investigate it from the point of view of Tradition — that, is, the oral teachings from the apostles that were handed down through the early centuries of Christian history. Non-Catholics of all sorts…Continue Reading

Declaration Of Matrimonial Nullity

By DON FIER Last week, we saw that the Church teaches that certain conditions must be fulfilled for valid reception of the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony. As summarized by Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ, “to receive the Sacrament of Matrimony, a man and woman must both be baptized. They must be free to marry and to express their mutual consent.…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. Jesus is the king of the universe, so why did He choose to be born in a lowly stable instead of in a palace, or at least in an ordinary house? — R.S.. via email. A. If Jesus came into the world as a powerful king, or perhaps as a military warrior, or as a wealthy member of the…Continue Reading

Love And Obey The Lord

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Fourth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR B) Readings: Deut. 18:15-20 1 Cor. 7:32-35 Mark 1:21-28 In the first reading today God tells Moses that He will raise up a prophet like Moses for the people of Israel. We know there were many prophets in Israel; some have writings contained in the Scriptures, some are mentioned by…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Raymond Penafort

By CAROLE BRESLIN The Catholic Church has been blessed with a plethora of doctrinal resources, thanks in large part to Pope St. John Paul II. The Code of Canon Law, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the many encyclicals, apostolic exhortations, books, and letters continue to provide the Church with a solid foundation for learning and applying the truths of…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Marguerite Bourgeoys

By CAROLE BRESLIN Our Lord has no limits and conditions for persons whom He calls to sainthood. They may be the richest, such as St. Francis of Assisi, or the poorest such, as the children of Fatima. They may be powerful, such as St. Louis, king of France, or humble, such as our Lady. They may be the most brilliant,…Continue Reading