[quote=Tmaque]Paul tells us in 1st Corinthians 10:1-4:
1 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea,
2 and all of them were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.
3 All ate the same spiritual food,
4 and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they drank from a spiritual rock that followed them,and the rock was the Christ.
I appreciate you pointing this scripture out to me, as I have never considered it in this context before. I will have to meditate on it some more. One thing that jumps out at me, at least preliminarily, is that Paul is employing symbolism, which makes this passage somewhat problematic to use to support a doctrine: different people will read different things into symbols.
I believe that Moses taught and practiced ritual/physical baptism and therefore if the people passed through a symbolic baptism and the opportunity came to later turn baptismal desires into the actual thing and they failed to go through with it, then they are in trouble. I do have to extrapolate my ideas about Moses from John the Baptist’s practice and Book of Mormon (B.C.) practices coupled with my notion of continuity–where possible-- of some aspects of the gospel.
You asked for a Catholic understanding of baptism in general but because you come from an LDS perspective my response to you would too long for the time I currently have at my disposal. And, we really should keep this thread on topic. For a really good exploration of the differences and the reasoning involved, I recommend starting a thread on with exact baptism topic you wish to discuss (infant baptism, baptism by immersion, etc.). I will restrict my comments on this thread to baptism for the dead.
I suppose you are right about that baptism in all its aspects and history becomes too unwieldy of a topic. In trying to write a short synopsis of mormon thought, it was my longest post to date and I avoided presenting details that would have me hunting down references. The Catholic history covers many more centuries and would take longer to recount. I can’t start threads now, but I will put this on my researching list for later.
The various churches have taken stances on the issues: whether to accept baptism performed in other churches, whether baptismal requirements can be met without a ritual, whether infants should be baptised, what the afterlife fate of the un-baptised is, and how to extend mercy to the ignorant victim of circumstance (or not!). I submit that all these things need to be considered to “get” the neccessity or lack thereof of baptism for the dead. 1 Cor. 15:29 is a good place to start, but it is hardly the last, definitive word on the issue.
Thanks for your response and patience with me.