A friend of mine was having a hard time believing that Baptism of Desire is true for a few reasons, and I was left unable to fully counter them. I’d appreciate someone addressing these reasons for doubting it so that I may convince him that it’s true.
1. John 3:5 states “Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man is born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.” Baptism of Desire suggests that one can achieve salvation without these things.
2. The Catholic Church infallibly teaches that it is necessary to be subject to the Roman Pontiff to achieve salvation “…We declare, say, define, and pronounce that it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff” (Pope Boniface VIII, the Bull Unam Sanctam, 1302.).
The Church also states that it does not exercise any jurisdiction over those who have not been baptised, according to the Council of Trent Session 14 Chapter 2: “seeing that the Church exercises judgment on no one who has not entered therein through the gate of baptism.”
So one cannot be said to be subject to the Roman Pontiff if they have not been baptised, and therefore cannot achieve salvation according to Unam Sanctam.
3. At the 4th Lateran Council(1215), Pope Innocent III said “There is indeed one universal Church of the faithful, outside of which no one at all is saved.” To be part of the Church, one must be baptised. Pope Paul III infallibly stated this much in the Council of Trent, and even said that anyone who denies it is anathema. “If anyone says that baptism is optional, that is, not necessary for salvation: let him be anathema.”(Canons on Baptism, canon 5).
Now some might say that Pope Paul III was referring to a more metaphorical baptism, one that would include Baptism of Desire, rather than just the sacrament. However, canon 2 refutes this pretty solidly. In it, he states: “If anyone shall say that real and natural water is not necessary for baptism, and on that account those words of Our Lord Jesus Christ: ‘Unless a man be born again of the water and the Holy Spirit’[John 3:5] are distorted into some sort of metaphor: let him be anathema.”(Emphasis added).