I’ve been studying Scripture accounts of Baptism. Lots of questions:
Taking into account Catholic teaching: Where does the belief in original sin come from? Also, did the Israelites believe in o.s.? I can’t find anything which indicates they did.
I’m not sure I understand infant baptism. I see the correlation drawn in Scripture between circumcision and baptism, but I am still not sure I would understand that to mean infants should be baptized. I do see possible, very early extra-biblical historical evidence that infants were baptized. But even still, I’m not sure this is considered salvatory and not merely a dedication of sorts.
I definately see a link between baptism, repentance and faith. When I consider infant baptism I question how it could have an effect based on the faith of the parents. God has many adopted children, but grandchildren?
I’d see Confirmation as a type of “believers baptism” since the condidates are now beyond the age of reason and need to request the rite, although it is expected of one’s children when they reach that age (14 or 15?) despite the presence of any real conversion. But perhaps there isn’t always a necessity of a profound conversion if the child was faithfully raised in the church.
Of course, another issue in both circumstances is whether or not these rites are efficacious - actually conferring the HS. Having once experienced conversion myself, it is hard for me to accept that the HS was not doing a work apart from these rites. On one hand, I was baptized and confirmed and then immediately went my own sinful, godless way. We were expected to receive confirmation regardless of our faith (or lack of it). 10 years later I had a conversion experience, went to confession, renewed our marriage vows, and started going to mass.
Perhaps it is difficult for me to imagine someone being brought up in the faith (since I was not faithfully brought up in Catholicm) and not having a profound conversion. Certainly my experience of being brought up only in the bare minimum of the faith and then falling away is a common one. Thankfully I had a conversion - certainly many do not. I don’t want to judge Catholicim based on my personal experience. I think I have often insisted on believer’s baptism b/c of my own experience. Likewise, however, I’m certain those who have had conversions and received believer’s baptism have also often fallen away. In neither case is there an assurance one will not fall away. (Never believed in OSAS).
I also see many instances where the laying on of hands has had an actual affect of grace, HS, gifts… I probably would have attributed that ability solely to the apostles though - something only they were given the authority and power to perform for the purpose of propagating the faith. And of course we have the account of the Gentiles receiving the HS apart from water baptism. But this may have been an isolated case in which God was revealing His desire for the salvation of the Gentiles to the Apostles. On the other hand, the CC does teach several types of baptism (desire, martyrdom, etc…) which seems to indicate that the rite itself is not efficacious? Or perhaps merely indicates that God is not limited to the rite.
Can’t even laypeople perform baptism? Or is that in extreme cases? Or no longer a teaching? And if they can, is the rite performed by a priest/deacon a formality? Does it not take an ordained clergy to perform this Sacrament?