Baptism alone or Faith + Baptism


#1

I was looking at various things on this website and came across this link:

catholic.com/library/How_to_Become_a_Catholic.asp

It talks about the necessity of Baptism for salvation. I agree. But Baptism alone is not sufficient for Salvation…the scripture is quite clear that Faith and Baptism are required for salvation. I think this needs to be cleared up as we live in a world now where all sorts of people are bringing their children to the Church to be baptised. Yet in many cases, these people are bringing their children to be baptised because that is what their family has always done and Godparents are not picked for faith reasons but because they are a favorite relative, a good friend of the family, etc.

Let me post a bit that Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher to the Papal Household, has said on this subject:

"Everything that depends on divine grace and the will of Christ in a sacrament is called opus operatum, which can be translated as the work already accomplished, the objective and certain fruit of a sacrament when it is administered validly. On the other hand, everything that depends on the liberty and disposition of the person is called opus operantis; this is the work yet to be accomplished by the individual, his or her affirmation.

The opus operatum of baptism, the part done by God and grace, is diverse and very rich: remission of sins; the gift of the theological virtues of faith, hope and charity (given in seed form); and divine sonship. All of this is mediated through the effacious action fo the Holy Spirit. Baptism is a truly rich collection of gifts that we received at the moment of our birth in God. But it is a collection that is still sealed up…This is why we can say that, for the majority of Christians, baptism is a sacrament that is still unreleased. So much for the opus operatum. What does the opus operantis consist of in baptism? It consists of faith! “The one who believes and is baptised shall be saved” (Mark 16:16). With regard to baptism, then, there is the element of a person’s faith. “But to all who received Him, who believed in His name, he gave power to become children of God” (John 1:12).

…Saint Basil wrote, " Truly, faith and baptism, these two modes of salvation, are bound indivisibly to one another because if faith receives it’s perfection from baptism, baptism is founded on faith". "

I believe that this is misunderstood by most Catholics, including most priests. If it were better understood, priests and deacons would be making sure the parents and godparents had faith, and truly intend to lead their children to have faith also. It is a poor situation in the church today that so many people do not have faith, but are merely cultural Catholics.

John


#2

Canon Law says:

Can. 868 §1. For an infant to be baptized licitly:

1/ the parents or at least one of them or the person who legitimately takes their place must consent;

2/ there must be a founded hope that the infant will be brought up in the Catholic religion; if such hope is altogether lacking, the baptism is to be delayed according to the prescripts of particular law after the parents have been advised about the reason.

§2. An infant of Catholic parents or even of non-Catholic parents is baptized licitly in danger of death even against the will of the parents.

However, actual faith on the part of the parents or on the part of an infant is not required for baptism of an infant to be valid.

The Council of Trent said, for instance:

If anyone says that because little children do not have actual faith, they are not to be numbered among the faithful after receiving baptism, and that, for this reason, they are to be re-baptized when they have reached the age of discretion; or that it is better to omit their baptism rather than to baptize them solely in the faith of the Church while they do not believe by an act of their own, anathema sit.

An infant who is baptized and then dies immediately is saved even without having actual faith.


#3

However, actual faith on the part of the parents or on the part of an infant is not required for baptism of an infant to be valid.

The Council of Trent said, for instance:

Quote:
If anyone says that because little children do not have actual faith, they are not to be numbered among the faithful after receiving baptism, and that, for this reason, they are to be re-baptized when they have reached the age of discretion; or that it is better to omit their baptism rather than to baptize them solely in the faith of the Church while they do not believe by an act of their own, anathema sit.

An infant who is baptized and then dies immediately is saved even without having actual faith.

Dylan, I’m not saying, nor is Fr. Cantalamessa saying, that infant baptism is not valid, or that a person needs to be re-baptised later. The baptism of infants is certainly valid. An infant who is baptised and dies immediatedly is saved by God’s mercy, without the need for having faith, which they are too young to display.

The point is that Baptism alone, without faith, or without the means to properly present the faith on the part of parents or godparents, does not bring salvation. It is still a valid baptism, however. This is the point that Fr. Cantalamessa is making. At some point, faith is necessary.

My question is are the priests actually doing what item 2 in the Code of Canon Law 868 states?

John


#4

Yes, in general (I can’t speak for every single priest in the world). Why, do you know of children of non-Catholic parents that were Baptized by a Catholic priest?


#5

Genesis315 responed:

Yes, in general (I can’t speak for every single priest in the world). Why, do you know of children of non-Catholic parents that were Baptized by a Catholic priest?

No, my parish doesn’t normally baptize non-Catholics.

I, however, teach 8th grade religious education. Of the 16 students I had in my class this past year, 15 of them rarely go to Mass, and the only one who goes regularly with her family only goes to the early mass because her parents want to get in & out as quickly as possible (she told me that and the pastor confirmed it to me). Of the 16 students only 3 could ever remember a member of their family praying with them EVER, and I included prayer before meals and a bedtime prayer as prayer, as well as any other prayer. One girl had not been to mass since she made her first communion. Since a neighbor had told her parents that she could not be confirmed unless she attended Religious Ed. classes, her parents were now making her come.

This is very typical of the students that I have had over the last 7 years that I have been teaching. They admit that they don’t have faith but come because their parents make them come.

Now, I want everyone to be assured that I told the students that I was proud that at least their parents thought religious ed. was important enough for them to bring them. However, there is a large number of catholics that believe that as long as you receive certain sacraments in your lifetime that you will go to heaven, whether you believe in God, the Church, have any kind of faith, or not.

The Catholic Church has NEVER taught that!

C.C. # 14: Those who belong to Christ through faith and Baptism must confess their baptismal faith before men. (Cf. Matt. 10:32, Rom. 10:9)

The 4 parts of the Catechism of the Catholic Church are titled: 1. The profession of faith 2. The sacraments of faith 3. The life of faith 4. Prayer in the life of faith.

How anyone can say that faith is not needed for salvation, but only baptism, doesn’t know the scriptures or the teachings of the church.

So my job is now to lead them to surrender their lives to Jesus that he may touch them and bring them alive in faith. In case you were wondering, this is the “new evangelization” that John Paul II wrote about almost constantly. He was fully aware of the situation.

John


#6

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