Baptism / Baptism of Desire

How is an infant properly disposed, cognitively, to received these graces, but an adult is not. If an infant’s parents promise to raise the child with Catholic teaching as a condition of receiving baptism, why couldn’t an adult’s promise to do the same thing for themselves be sufficient to receive the same graces.

Additionally, regarding salvation via Baptism of desire: I haven’t looked into this much, but my initial take on the concept lead me to wonder the following. Aren’t the graces of baptism what we need for salvation? If these same saving graces are received by desiring baptism, then would my children receive the graces of Confirmation through earnest desire, as well. If so, then why participate in a specific rite to receive what’s already present?

I brought up the issue of unborn infants/infants while speaking to a Russian monk. He said that anyone who dies before the age of reason is automatically given salvation. I’m not sure to what extent the Catholic answer would differ, given theological differences over “original sin”, etc.

It may be true that some people do receive the graces of the sacraments without participating in the sacraments. The problem is there is really no way of knowing that such graces have been received without participating in the sacraments. To make an error in this matter, presuming that you have received the graces without participating in the sacrament when you really haven’t, could have dire eternal consequences. Jesus Christ knew our weaknesses and so, to safeguard against such erroneous presumptions, he gave us the gift of the sacraments and expected up to avail ourselves of them.

I agree. On the flip side, even with the Sacraments, there are people who struggle with scrupulosity. Could you imagine what these people would be going through if we hadn’t been given these wonderful gifts?

I don’t understand what you’re asking. An adult’s intention is sufficient for the sacrament of baptism to occur, assuming everything else is done validly. Could you restate the question?

Additionally, regarding salvation via Baptism of desire: I haven’t looked into this much, but my initial take on the concept lead me to wonder the following. Aren’t the graces of baptism what we need for salvation? If these same saving graces are received by desiring baptism, then would my children receive the graces of Confirmation through earnest desire, as well. If so, then why participate in a specific rite to receive what’s already present?

If you willfully do not participate in the rite, on the presumption that you’ve already received those graces, then you will not receive those graces.

Catechism
1231 Where infant Baptism has become the form in which this sacrament is usually celebrated, it has become a single act encapsulating the preparatory stages of Christian initiation in a very abridged way. By its very nature infant Baptism requires a post-baptismal catechumenate. Not only is there a need for instruction after Baptism, but also for the necessary flowering of baptismal grace in personal growth. the catechism has its proper place here.

1234 The meaning and grace of the sacrament of Baptism are clearly seen in the rites of its celebration. By following the gestures and words of this celebration with attentive participation, the faithful are initiated into the riches this sacrament signifies and actually brings about in each newly baptized person.

1258 The Church has always held the firm conviction that those who suffer death for the sake of the faith without having received Baptism are baptized by their death for and with Christ. This Baptism of blood, like the desire for Baptism, brings about the fruits of Baptism without being a sacrament.

1259 For catechumens who die before their Baptism, their explicit desire to receive it, together with repentance for their sins, and charity, assures them the salvation that they were not able to receive through the sacrament.

1260 "Since Christ died for all, and since all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny, which is divine, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partakers, in a way known to God, of the Paschal mystery."63 Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity.

Question restated: I’ve been told an adult must be properly prepared/instructed to receive baptism. But, infants are baptized without any preparation/instruction. Since infant receive no instruction, why can’t adults be baptized without instruction.

I’m struggling with the notion that an adult must attend a sufficient number of RCIA classes to be ‘eligible’ for baptism, whether they are ready and willing to receive this sacrament, or not. This practice implies proper attendance at all events on an RCIA schedule are *actual *requirements for baptism, not mental agreement and accent. In fact, one can successfully attend all RCIA events without mental agreement or accent, and still receive the sacrament of baptism.

Response to second topic: Ok, I’ll have to take your word on this.

At the age of reason the infant will have to consent to their faith. Otherwise they will commit a grace sin which may be mortal.

An adult doesn’t have to attend a sufficient number of RCIA classes to be eligible for baptism. That is a prudential judgment that is made that is flexible to change. A person can theoretically be baptized the next day although this would be unusual. With the priests who accompanied St Mother Teresa and her sisters, the question towards the dying was sometimes as simple as, “Do you wish to go to the God who sent these sisters to you?.”

In everyday practice towards catachumens (and baptized Christians), dioceses have a sacred duty to ensure their candidates are informed of their decision.

An infant cannot explicitly consent or dissent towards anything, and so in their state, they are unique from an adult or emerging adult. It’s impossible for the sacrament to occur without the consent of the adult, but this also has to do with the inherent dignity of the individual. They can’t receive what they don’t want to accept, and this cannot be pressed on them. And then, even with baptized infants, they have to make a conscious decision to live out their baptism. They will always be baptized and this is irreversible [that is to say: God is *always faithful on his end], but they will not always necessarily be in grace.

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