Baptism and Confirmation: Efficacious? Original Sin?


#1

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?

Thanks~


#2

For now I will only address this first question.
At one level, this belief comes from the observations of the human condition and analyzing how it got that way considering the revelations of God throughout the ages. At the end of the chain of causes is mankind’s acceptance of a lie and the choice to disobey God.

Reference CCC 215, 397, 398.


#3

“…through one man sin entered the world and with sin death, death thus coming to all men inasmuch as all sinned…by the offense of the one man all died…a single offence brought condemnation to all men…through one man’s disobedience all became sinners…” (Romans 5:12-19)


#4

Thank you. I have seen this Scripture referred to in the Catechism. I still don’t quite see that this refers to all succeeding generations being BORN into condemnation. It does account for our sinful nature (concupiscience). But some ability to account for one’s sinfulness must be required in order to be considered in a state of sin. So although I agree that this passage points to the sin of Adam as resulting in our concupiscience (which will, inevitably, result in sin once one reaches the age of accountability), I don’t see that it necessarily means we are born with the punishment due for sin. In fact, in the passage, “…death thus coming to all men inasmuch as all sinned…” gives this thought. It seems to point to the inevitability that man will sin and thus will die a spiritual death. But infants and small children cannot actually sin.

And please, everyone, don’t turn this into an issue of recognizing church authority and interpretation of Scripture. I do realize it is an issue, and I am dealing with it in a seperate thread. I am just trying to make sense of the church’s interpretation of, in this case, this passage.

Thanks~


#5

#6

Belief in original sin as a doctrine came from St. Augustine and the church fathers if I am not mistaken. You are right when you say it has no articulated formulation in scripture although there are also verses that point to it.

Besides Romans, there is also in the psalms:

Ps 51:8 in sin did my mother conceive me

The problem most people have with the concept of original sin tends to be that it is like saying that is your fault for being born or that there was nothing you could do but inherit this fallen nature of yours which leads you to sin or similar things to that.

Infant baptism precedes St Augustine though. And I also think that this is a sacrament that lay people can perform as well. I say this because I once encountered a Mexican priest who told a story about a grandmother who baptized her grandchild; it should also be pointed out that the catholic church recognizes protestant baptisms which are never performed by someone in ordained holy orders.

The problem I have always had with it as a concept was trying to figure out what it had to do with the law. The golden rule: do unto others as you would have others do unto you, this is the law and the prophets

This is my best attempt at an explanation:

From the earliest point of a person’s existence their own flesh instructs them on what is good and what is bad. For example our flesh instructs us that pain is evil and to be avoided, while pleasure is good and to be followed. The law tells us that what our flesh says is not always true, and often wrong, because what the flesh says is good is often in fact bad, while what it says is bad is often good.

Now if we were created sinless and perfect, but we believed (as our flesh instructs us, and which we follow outside of the Spirit) that what is good to be bad. By the golden rule it must therefore follow that this reflected back unto us (made in perfection) must make our own selves bad because we were good, and we judge good to be bad, therefore by our own judgment from our earliest consciousness indicates we live in sin. That’s my best shot at least.

Without the Spirit, we live in the flesh (as St Paul writes), and are attuned to follow the lies that the flesh tells us. The Spirit of God comes upon us at baptism and frees us from this state and instructs us to follow the desires of the Spirit which we were formerly estranged from.

Where the idea that this baptism necessarily absolved the person being baptized from all sins, I do not actually know where that comes from. In the gospel Jesus says that it is necessary to be born of the Spirit to inherit eternal life, and St Paul talks about us becoming dead in the flesh and alive in the Spirit. But I don’t know if there is scripture which actually says that the person who undergoes baptism is completely freed from sin as though they had just gone to confession (which is what the church teaches).

I’ve wondered how many unrepentent people have undergone baptism? I mean if they knowingly refuse to repent of their sins before and afterwards, how did being baptized free them from sin? (which is what the church teaches, unless I’m mistaken)

I think this would support what you talk about with a later conversion.


#7

Thanks for the thread! :thumbsup:

I cannot find anything in the Torah that speaks about original sin, except the account of Adam and Eve. Every other reference to sin seems to be about personal sin. One reference appears to be in the Psalm of David:

3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned,
and done that which is evil in thy sight,
so that thou art justified in thy sentence
and blameless in thy judgment.
5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
and in sin did my mother conceive me. Ps 51:3-5

Unless he is saying his mother committed adultery, and he was the product, this seems to be a reference to original sin. Interestingly this is a prayer of repentance about personal sin.

There is also an interesting reference in the passage about the man born blind. It seems to indicate that the pharisees believed in orignial sin:

John 9:33-34
33 If this man were not from God, he could do nothing." 34 They answered him, “You were born in utter sin, and would you teach us?” And they cast him out.

I think this depends entirely upon the concept of original sin, does it not? If a person is not separated from the grace of God by original sin, it makes no sense at all to baptize anyone who is not old enough to make a profession of faith.

This is a good point. Although I have heard apologists make the case for baptizing people based upon the faith of the head of household (servants and children), I think the case if circumcision is a better one. In the OT, everyone who was part of the household was required to be initiated into the covenant. One wonders, in the house of Cornelius, if the children and servants in the household freely chose baptism, or felt compelled to do so? Surely some people were circumcised that preferred not to be…

I agree, in the Latin Rite, confirmation is taking on the responsibility of one’s baptismal vows. In the US, it is available to anyone in high school or older. In the Eastern Rites, it happens to infants at baptism (along with first holy communion), I also agree that it is an expectation of parents, especially in the US. It appears to be considered the capstone of catechism, and parents seem to feel that their responsibility before God to raise the child in the faith is completed at that time. As a former instructor for catechism, I can assure you that most of the youth do not have any real conversion, or any life of faith.

This is a great travesty for me. Confirmation is such a beautiful sacrament, and is not repeatable. I encourage young people to put it off until they are ready to make a commitment to the Christian life.

However, I have been told that the graces conferred in confirmation are so desperately needed to help the young person stay on the right path. I also see that the HS does confer graces outside the sacrament. I had a similar conversion experience as you describe. Was it because the grace I received in the sacrament was at work? I had left the church, but the HS was still working in me.


#8

I think most of the ‘catholics’ being counted in the polls and membership rosters are nominal catholics, who have no idea what the sacraments can do, or have done.

Do you not believe in the Apostolic succession, and if not, why not? Although this sounds maybe off topic, I think it is integral to this discussion.

I agree with you on a couple points here. I believe that God did operate outside the sacrament for purposes of convincing. God is also not limited to the sacraments. These are the normative means by which He wishes to dispense grace to us, but He is not limited to them.

Any believer, in an emergency. Deacons are ordained for this, and follow the same Rite as the priest.


#9

The belief in original sin is inferred from the creation story in Genesis. Man was not created sinful, but was given free will. The first man and woman comitted the first sin by being disobedient to God. Shame was ushered into the human condition (remember they suddenly felt a need to cover themselves with fig leaves). This is now inherently part of our nature–the tendency to commit sin, to put ourselves and our own desires first.

I am not certain what the Jews believed regarding the concept of original sin.

The Catholic Church teaches the sacraments accomplish that which they symbolize through the action of the Holy Spirit. In baptism, that is cleansing, both from original sin and from personal sin (if there is any). We are infused with grace through the sacraments. This infusion of grace helps us to live out our calling as children of God.

Also, baptism is the initiation into the new covenant of Christ, much like circumcision was the entrance into the old covenant from the beginnings of the Jewish people. God prescribed to Abraham and later to Moses that circumcision be done to all male children on the 8th day after birth. It was not a matter of personal choice for the child. It was a God-mandated responsibility of the parents to bring the child up in the convenant.

The Catholic Church also teaches that it is a parent’s responsibility to see that their children are raised in the faith covenant. This includes baptizing our children as early as possible precisely because of the cleansing from original sin and the infusion of grace received.

Confirmation is often seen as the sacrament of adulthood, but that is not its original meaning. The sacraments of baptism, communion, and confirmation were originally given together. They still are for unbaptized adult converts and in the eastern rite churches. It is actually the completion of the initiation into the faith. Essentially, this is the laying on of hands and conferring of the Holy Spirit which was done by Peter and the Apostles in Acts.

The Church does not ask you to accept such an idea. The Holy Spirit works as He wills. But you might consider this: that you did return may be a sign that the sacraments you received actually were effective. After all, it is only by His grace that we come to believe and turn to Him.

We are all called to conversion. Obviously, not all respond to the call. But, conversion is not a one time event, either. It is a lifelong process of striving for the perfection the Gospel challenges us to. Some of us can trace the beginnings of that process to a particular life event. Others’ may experience it gradually from the earliest days of their childhood. Many start, turn away, and later begin again.

All of us commit sin, sometimes mortal sin, and fall away from Christ. Hopefully we realize our error and repent. Some may stray for a long period, and sadly, some never return. This is not because of an inefficacy of God’s grace in the sacraments, but our own tendency to pursue our own desires despite it.

Apostolic authority has been handed down through apostolic succession in its completion.

Exactly-- God has bound His Church to the sacraments, but He is not bound by the sacraments. We can place no limits on God. Of course, the Holy Spirit can touch those who are not yet baptized or have not been confirmed. If He did not, there would be no converts at all, for even our faith is a gift.

Yes, any Christian may validly baptize. But it is only licit (lawful) when done in times of extreme need (such as someone in immediate danger of death) In other words, if it can wait for a deacon, priest, or bishop, it should. Regardless, a baptism is a baptism, including baptisms performed by most Protestant churches.


#10

Thanks for such good responses :slight_smile: . I’ve given them a quick read, and will try to comment when I have more time.


#11

You might want to access the Encyclopedia of Catholicism at New Advent.org There is an alphabetical index of keywords at the top.

newadvent.org/

Here is ‘‘Original Sin’’ entry link (Paul initiated it; Augustine most notably expounded on it)

newadvent.org/cathen/11312a.htm

Here is ‘‘Baptism’’ entry link. Even a pagan can baptize legitimately. Using the right words is a must.

newadvent.org/cathen/02258b.htm

Here is the ‘‘Sacraments’’ entry link:

newadvent.org/cathen/13295a.htm

Here is the ‘‘Grace’’ entry link.

newadvent.org/cathen/06689a.htm

A person should never assume that if one concept is correct <e.g. Grace (from the Holy Spirit) comes to us through the Sacraments (e.g. Baptism, Confirmation, etc.)>, then another concept must not be correct <e.g. Grace is available outside the Sacraments.>. Both are correct; Sacraments just give us a special confidence-level.

Everyone has a different relationship with God. Some are deeper. Almost all are sufficient. See the Eye of the Needle text in Matthew (the other Gospels do not use the ‘‘if you would be perfect’’ language, which makes the lesson clearer to me
newadvent.org/bible/mat019.htm

16 And behold one came and said to him: Good master, what good shall I do that I may have life everlasting? 17 Who said to him: Why askest thou me concerning good? One is good, God. But if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. 18 He said to him: Which? And Jesus said: Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness. 19 Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. 20 The young man saith to him: All these have I kept from my youth, what is yet wanting to me? 21 Jesus saith to him: If thou wilt be perfect, go sell what thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. 22 And when the young man had heard this word, he went away sad: for he had great possessions. 23 Then Jesus said to his disciples: Amen, I say to you, that a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. 24 And again I say to you: It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven. 25 And when they had heard this, the disciples wondered much, saying: Who then can be saved? 26 And Jesus beholding, said to them: With men this is impossible: but with God all things are possible.

Many have written about Crisis of Faith.
catholic.net/RCC/Periodicals/Faith/0304-96/crisis.html

Most every Christian has a Crisis of Faith , and Faith does not always survive in all of us. In some it hibernates and then awakens. I believe there are at least three levels of Crises.

Compare the Faith of the Cradle Catholic to that of the Convert to that of Mother Theresa, who herself continued to have crises of Faith.

It is necessary that the Church have a very legalistic interpretation of semantical differences because human reason will always challenge the meanings of its words. That said, Christ kept it very basic, very simple: "Love God, love your neighbor.’’ ‘’…forgive us as…as we forgive.’’

Hope this helps!


#12

Bnapgh, Thanks for all those links and your wonderful insight.

I wish I could take more time to respond to all these posts. I’ve scarcely had time to read them, as my littlest one is really sick today (and wearing me out in the process :stuck_out_tongue: ). I’ll try to re-read them and at least give them more thought in the meantime, and eventual get back here to discuss things.

Bless You~


#13

Hi Joy,

With 2 little ones myself (1yo & 3 yo), I understand your time issue!

You can download and/or order all of John Martignoni’s talks for free from biblechristiansociety.com/download or you can order them on CD for free if you prefer.

Specifically, I recommend you listen to his talks on “Infant Baptism and Original Sin” (at biblechristiansociety.com/download/mp3/infant_baptism_and_original_sin.mp3)

… and his talk on “The Sacraments And The Bible” (found here: biblechristiansociety.com/download/mp3/sacraments_and_the_bible.mp3)

Both contain a very good explanations of these issues you bring up.

God bless,

Chris


#14

It was indeed a famous Pentecostal Minister who coined the phrase,“God has no grandchildren.” That is very true. When we take our infants and Baptize them, it is not the parents who pass on the sonship or daughterhood of God if you will, but Jesus the Christ who inhabits every Sacrament of the Church.

Original sin is washed away, but also very important, that child is gifted with the gifts of the Holy Spirit listed in Isaiah 11. Whether or not the child is capable of sin or of making a commitment to the Lord for himself, that child becomes an adopted son or daughter of God and receives Sanctifying Grace which lets him or her share in the very life of the Holy Trinity. He or she is anointed into the threefold role of Jesus their brother as priest, prophet, and king.

Similarly Confirmation is also an encounter with the living Christ in which the Holy Spirit strengthens those sevenfold gift and imparts others as well. Until the child reaches an age when he or she would be capable of rejecting God he or she develops and grows as a full member of the family of God. Much better in my estimation then to have to stumble along with only the parents for guidance until the age of reason or beyond arrives. The Orthodox Church recognizes the usefulness of this Sacrament when it Charismates babys at the time of Baptism.

The term “Original Sin” has its source in then theology of St. Augustine, but this human condition resulting from the wounding of the humanity of our first parents by sin is documented more than once in Genesis and the rest of the Scriptures.

It never fails to amaze me that many non-Catholics and even some Catholics put emphasis on what the human does in receiving the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation, when the real impact is what God does when he acts through these Sacraments.

Born weighing only five pounds in the mid 30’s, I was baptized by a Jewish doctor on his own birthday. He was my physician until he died when I was in my early twenties. No one thought that I would survive. I always wonder whether in that Baptism I received not only spiritual life but the gift of a long life on earth as well. :slight_smile:


#15

rwoehmke,

You are exactly right on baptism. There is no better example of exactly how free God’s grace is than the grace that He bestows on a child in baptism. Those who reject infant baptism ultimately reject the idea that God’s grace is truly free because they require some sort of intellectual work for baptism to take effect. Namely, that you believe in certain things to be saved (even though the Bible doesn’t specifically define what those things are - “believe in Jesus” is a little vague). All people - infants or adults - need only assent to baptism (in other words, accept the gift that is given).


#16

This is a very good point. But don’t you think that 2000 years after Christianity, that has changed somewhat? I mean, it isn’t even that simple to have one’s infant baptized in the CC these days. Most, if not all, parishes here require a program for the parents and sponsors prior to baptism, and if the parents are not practicing Catholics prior to the baptism, they will not even consider baptizing the infant at all (hardly seems fair considering the original sin situation, and the fact that many parents do return to the church as a result of baptizing their children - but that’s a whole seperate issue).

Faith grows over time and it is understood that it will be immature at the beginning.

I agree. I know some churches (non-Catholic) that require “evidence” of conversion before baptizing (adults).

As far as confirmation is concerned, it is simply a “sending out” and not a second baptism as you seem to imply above.

Well, in both cases the HS it conferred to some measure.

Where baptism is the acceptance of your passport designating that you are a citizen in the Kingdom of God, confirmation is the kick out the door to start you on your journey.

nice analogy.


#17

Well, I can’t really say that’s my problem with it. My question isn’t so much whether or not it seems fair (I can think of a few Scriptures that support the punishment of future generations for the sins of their ancestors) but rather, just where the doctrine came from and why. (otoh, there are Scriptures which say the children are not guilty of thier parents’ sins.)

Infant baptism precedes St Augustine though. And I also think that this is a sacrament that lay people can perform as well. I say this because I once encountered a Mexican priest who told a story about a grandmother who baptized her grandchild; it should also be pointed out that the catholic church recognizes protestant baptisms which are never performed by someone in ordained holy orders.

True, true - I had forgotten about that…

The problem I have always had with it as a concept was trying to figure out what it had to do with the law. The golden rule: do unto others as you would have others do unto you, this is the law and the prophets

This is my best attempt at an explanation:

From the earliest point of a person’s existence their own flesh instructs them on what is good and what is bad. For example our flesh instructs us that pain is evil and to be avoided, while pleasure is good and to be followed. The law tells us that what our flesh says is not always true, and often wrong, because what the flesh says is good is often in fact bad, while what it says is bad is often good.

Now if we were created sinless and perfect, but we believed (as our flesh instructs us, and which we follow outside of the Spirit) that what is good to be bad. By the golden rule it must therefore follow that this reflected back unto us (made in perfection) must make our own selves bad because we were good, and we judge good to be bad, therefore by our own judgment from our earliest consciousness indicates we live in sin. That’s my best shot at least.

:hmmm: Ok, that took me a few, but I think I got it…

Without the Spirit, we live in the flesh (as St Paul writes), and are attuned to follow the lies that the flesh tells us. The Spirit of God comes upon us at baptism and frees us from this state and instructs us to follow the desires of the Spirit which we were formerly estranged from.

Hmm… well, I’ve been baptized and have never really felt freed from my carnal state. But perhaps, with the acknowledgement and cooperation of the HS, it is possible to overcome that nature, whereas with the absence of the HS it would not be (?)

Thanks~


#18

Yes, I’m not sure I see that as pointing to o.s. - it isn’t so clear…

There is also an interesting reference in the passage about the man born blind. It seems to indicate that the pharisees believed in orignial sin:…“You were born in utter sin, and would you teach us?”

Again though, that is not so clear to me that it is pointing to o.s… But I see the possibility.

I think this depends entirely upon the concept of original sin, does it not? If a person is not separated from the grace of God by original sin, it makes no sense at all to baptize anyone who is not old enough to make a profession of faith.

right

This is a good point. Although I have heard apologists make the case for baptizing people based upon the faith of the head of household (servants and children), I think the case if circumcision is a better one. In the OT, everyone who was part of the household was required to be initiated into the covenant. One wonders, in the house of Cornelius, if the children and servants in the household freely chose baptism, or felt compelled to do so? Surely some people were circumcised that preferred not to be…

I guess the problem I see with the correlation to circumcision is that the new covenant seems to focus on repentance and faith - real conversion - circumcision of the heart. I suppose that is where confession comes in though (in the Catholic p.o.v.). It seems to me more biblical that repentance, faith and conversion would correlate with baptism - all of which are not possible for children. It seems like a person-to-God event, not something that can be given to someone from someone else. Although, otoh, I do see that a child can be faithfully raised and never undergo that type of conversion at all, so I guess, in that sense, the parents did give something to the child. :shrug:

I agree, in the Latin Rite, confirmation is taking on the responsibility of one’s baptismal vows. In the US, it is available to anyone in high school or older. In the Eastern Rites, it happens to infants at baptism (along with first holy communion),

Really? First communion as an infant?

I encourage young people to put it off until they are ready to make a commitment to the Christian life.

The diocese here does now require canditates to request confirmation, formally, in writing. I’m not sure if I had to do that back when I made mine, and I’m not sure it really solves the problem anyway: “Here Johnny. Write a letter to the bishop asking for Confirmation.”

However, I have been told that the graces conferred in confirmation are so desperately needed to help the young person stay on the right path.

That is very possible. Maybe it played a part in my own conversion. I do recall a longing to go back to mass after Confirmation but no one would accompany me and it just wasn’t “cool” for a teen to go alone :rolleyes: .


#19

Right, it is.

I do see the care the apostles took in appointing successors. However, Jesus appointed 12 apostles and yet Judas did not remain faithful. We also know that heresy arose from within the church very early on - even in Scripture days. So I don’t think seuccessorship ensures faithfulness. I realize that Catholics believe that, despite the “bad popes” and atrocities that were in the church at various times, the church was never teaching error. I guess I have a hard time swallowing that. I mean, how do you follow a church that is torturing and murdering people? And why would you trust its doctrines knowing that in practice, it was commiting serious evil? I know this is not the case now, but I just can’t take my mind off of what it must have been like to be Catholic then. How? How did people stay with the church that did these things? How could they continue to trust it?

I also see that although we may try to bring our children up in the faith, they may very well go their ungodly way at some point.

I don’t see succession ensuring faithfulness, unless the clergy are protected from error. I know the CC believes that the pope/magesterium are protected from error when speaking about faith and morals, but then their example can be completely ungodly? :shrug:

I think it is an assumption to believe that doctrine in faith and morals not being protected = gates of hell prevailed. I don’t think infallible doctrine in faith and morals is what makes up the true church. “They may know you are My disciples by your love for one another”.

I believe that, regardless of what the church taught about faith and morals, the true church at, for example, that time of persecuting non-Catholics, was not so much those who were faithful to the teachings, but those who would not have anything to do with the intolerance, torture, murder, and other evils endorsed by the church; those who followed Jesus’ doctrines on faith and morals (love your neighbor, for instance) rather than the evil endorsed by the church. Could those people be considered Catholic? If the pope/magesterium of that time knew you did not support them, would they consider you Catholic? So, what good is successorship then in this case?

I guess what I’m getting at is, altough the CC isn’t torturing and killing people anymore, there are some things I don’t believe are right; things which seem to go against Jesus’ teachings. It causes me to seriously question infallibility and faithful successorship.


#20

Yes, the church does teach that - I had forgotten - and likewise I trust the church doesn’t limit grace to the Sacraments…

Also, baptism is the initiation into the new covenant of Christ, much like circumcision was the entrance into the old covenant from the beginnings of the Jewish people. God prescribed to Abraham and later to Moses that circumcision be done to all male children on the 8th day after birth. It was not a matter of personal choice for the child. It was a God-mandated responsibility of the parents to bring the child up in the convenant.

Right, but does that mean this is how it should be done in the new covenant? I often see reference made to the old covenant - in many things, not just baptism/circumcision - but the question is whether or not we have rightly assumed there should remain a correlation or is the new covenant something different?

But you might consider this: that you did return may be a sign that the sacraments you received actually were effective. After all, it is only by His grace that we come to believe and turn to Him.

I do see that as a possibility, but I also see others come to faith in Christ w/out Catholic Sacraments. I don’t know that my conversion was a result of the Sacraments.

We are all called to conversion. Obviously, not all respond to the call. But, conversion is not a one time event, either. It is a lifelong process of striving for the perfection the Gospel challenges us to. Some of us can trace the beginnings of that process to a particular life event. Others’ may experience it gradually from the earliest days of their childhood. Many start, turn away, and later begin again.

This is true. I do think most anyone can think of a time in their lives when it was a decision though - even if it was quite young. I remember being raised in Catholic schools and having some attraction to what I was being taught, but it wasn’t until I saw “Jesus of Nazareth” that I truly felt the call to repentance and holiness - and, sadly, I squelched my desire to go with it b/c I knew I couldn’t face the peer pressure (I was pretty young - maybe 10).

All of us commit sin, sometimes mortal sin, and fall away from Christ. Hopefully we realize our error and repent. Some may stray for a long period, and sadly, some never return. This is not because of an inefficacy of God’s grace in the sacraments, but our own tendency to pursue our own desires despite it.

I totally agree. The unfaithfulness of some does not mean there is insufficient grace. Indeed many turned from Grace Himself even after having literally followed in His footsteps. The Sacraments would not be a magic potion for the hard of heart.


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