Ch. X Sacrament of Baptim p 106-110

CHAPTER X

 

THE SACRAMENT OF BAPTISM

 

“Do penance, and be Baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ,

for the remission of your sins: and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost

For the promise is to you, and to your children...”

Acts 2:38,39

 

What is Baptism?[1]

 

“Baptism is the sacrament that gives our souls the new life of sanctifying grace by which we become children of God and heirs of Heaven.”

 

What does Baptism do?

1. Removes Original Sin

2. Removes Actual Sin and all punishment due to them (if the person baptized is truly sorry for them).

3. Makes it capable for the Soul to receive the other Sacraments.

4. Imprints a Mark - a Character on the Soul.

5. Makes us Members of The Catholic Church and subject to Its Laws.  Those who suffer under “invincible ignorance” of Church Laws do not commit a sin by not obeying them.  I suspect that for many however, their “ignorance” is not “invincible” but “culpable” because of their neglect to seek or to ask to be shown the Truth and their unwillingness to embrace It when It is presented to them.  In these cases, their sin is not one of disobeying the Laws of The Catholic Church, but the Mortal sin of neglect, indifference, apathy or even hostility.

 

“All” must be Baptized in order to enter Heaven - even babies!

 

     “He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be condemned.”  Matt. 16:16.

  

     “Be penitent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out (by Baptism)”.  Acts 3:19.

 

Non-Catholic Objection to infant Baptism:

 

“These passages refer to adults since babies can’t ‘believe’ or ‘be converted’!  Therefore a person should not be baptized until they are old enough to understand and ‘accept’ the teachings of The Church.”  Baptism, for fundamentalists, is not a sacrament.  It does not produce grace, it is merely a symbol, a public sign of the adult’s conversion.[2]

 

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Catholic Response: The Catholic Church has always understood Baptism as a Sacrament that accomplishes several things.

 

1. Although babies do not have any Actual Sin, they do have Original Sin and it must be removed, because “nothing defiled will enter Heaven”.

 

    “There shall not enter into it (Heaven) anything defiled (with Original or Actual Sin still on their souls)...”                Apoc. 21:27

 

     “Jesus answered: Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water (baptized) and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God (Heaven).”  John 3:5.

 

2. Tradition, History and Holy Scripture all testify that the Early Church baptized infants.

 

     “And when she was baptized, and her whole household....” Acts 16:15

 

     “.....and himself was baptized, and all his house immediately.”  Acts 16:33

 

     “And I baptized also the household of  Stephanus;....” 1 Cor. 1:16

 

The baptism of “whole households” included infants which were part of the households.  See also Acts 2:38-39 at the top of this Chapter (the promise is for you and your children).

 

Jesus said that no one can enter Heaven unless he has been born again of water and the Holy Spirit (John 3:5).  He asserted such a right even for children: “Let the children be, do not keep them back from me; the Kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these”.  Matt. 19:14

 

Paul notes that baptism has replaced circumcision (Col. 2:11-12).  Of course it was mainly infants who were circumcised under the Old Law.

 

Also, nowhere does the Bible actually say Baptism is to be restricted to adults.  Then how come fundamentalists believe this?

 

Origen wrote in the third Century that “the Church received from the apostles the tradition of giving baptism also to infants”.[3]

 

The Council of Carthage, in 252, condemned the opinion that infants should be withheld from baptism until the eighth day after birth.

 

Non-Catholic belief that Baptism must be done by immersion only:

 

Holy Scripture describes that baptism by immersion was certainly done.  There is however, no Scriptural reference that teach that complete immersion is the only way.  Pouring of water was often the most practical way under stress of persecution and when vast crowds were to be Baptized.  This was often done.

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     “And I will pour upon you clean water, and you shall be cleansed from all your filthiness ...”  Ezechiel 36:25

 

In Acts 2:41 Peter baptized 3000 in one day.  That’s more than two a minute if done for 24 hours with no break!  Too many for complete immersion.

 

Are non-Catholic Baptisms Valid?

 

They are valid when they have the right Matter (water), Form (I baptize you in the Name of The Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen), Minister (anyone) and Intention (to do what The Church does i.e. remove sin, impart a Character on the soul, etc).  If a “baptism” is only considered a symbol or a welcoming into the community and not the removal of sin, then it suffers from improper Intention.

 

THE FEENEYITES:[4]

 

Father Leonard Feeney rejected the Catholic Doctrine of Baptism of Blood and Baptism of Desire, in spite of the traditional teaching which has taught the three types of Baptisms for almost 20 Centuries.

 

Baptism of Blood occurs when someone not yet baptized, gives his life for the Faith (martyrdom).

 

Baptism of Desire can occur when someone who has never heard about the True Church, but who, through special actual graces freely given by God, lives is the state of grace and follows the Natural Law.  Such a person however, must not be guilty of neglect to seek and ask for the Truth and respond to opportunities and graces to find The Truth. 

 

Baptism of Desire can also occur when a catechumen dying just before his Baptism of Water, with true contrition for all his sins.

 

Father Feeney claimed that the idea of Baptism of Desire and Blood were invented at the Council of Baltimore near the turn of the Century. 

 

The Teaching of thee Baptisms goes back to the beginning of the Church.  For example:

 

Saint Paul speaks in Hebrews 6:2 about Baptisms using the plural.

 

St. Thomas Aquinas (1274) in Summa Theologica (IIIa, 66, 11) quotes St. Ambrose (397) and St Augustine (430) on this subject.

 

The Church has Canonized many martyrs who died as catechumens, for example St. Emerentiana (feast day on January 23rd).


[1] Baltimore Catechism No. 3; Father Connell’s Confraternity edition.  Lesson 24.

 

[2]. “Catholicism and Fundamentalism” by Karl Keating; Chap. 14.

[3]. Origen, Commentarii in Romanos 5,9.

 

[4]. See “Letter 15 FEENEYISM” by Father Jean-Luc Lafitte, Society of Saint Pius X.

 

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QUESTIONS

 

Apologetics: Chapter X - THE SACRAMENT OF BAPTISM

 

1. Write your name so I can read it.   (10 points)

 

2. Circle “T” or “F” when the following statements are True or False: (15 points)

 

   T   F   The Sacrament of Baptism does more than welcome a convert into The Church.

 

   T   F   The Sacrament of Baptism removes all sin even those we aren’t sorry for.

 

   T   F   The Sacrament of Baptism puts a special Mark on the soul.

 

   T   F   All must be Baptized - even babies.

 

   T   F   Babies of course need not be baptized since they are too young to be able to understand

             and accept the Doctrines of the Church.

 

3. Since babies are too young to commit an actual sin, why do they have to be Baptized?

(15 points)

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.  Baptism of Babies!  Ha! Where do you find that in the Bible? (15 points)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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5.  A Baptist says that complete immersion is necessary for Baptism and that just pouring water on the head is not good enough.  How would you answer him? (15 points)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Are all non-Catholic Baptisms valid?  Give reasons for your answer. (15 points)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7.  Someone insists that the “Heresies” of Baptism of Desire and Baptism of Blood entered the Church at the Council of Baltimore, in the United States, at the turn of the Century.  Prior to that time, the Traditional teaching was only Baptism of Water.  How would you answer him? (15 points)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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