Forced To Believe


#1

Can anyone tell me what the following canon from Trent means? It looks very much as if the Council is saying that someone baptized as an infant should be forced to believe what the Church requires. Is this canon still valid?

CANON XIV.-If any one saith, that those who have been thus baptized when children, are, when they have grown up, to be asked whether they will ratify what their sponsors promised in their names when they were baptized; and that, in case they answer that they will not, they are to be left to their own will; and are not to be compelled meanwhile to a Christian life by any other penalty, save that they be excluded from the participation of the Eucharist, and of the other sacraments, until they repent; let him be anathema.

history.hanover.edu/texts/trent/trentall.html


#2

again canon quoted without context or supporting reference, but it seems to say that if an adult, who was baptized as an infant, refuses to accept the baptismal promises and profession of faith made in his name by his parents and godparents, he is not longer in full communion with the Catholic church unless and until he changes. yes that is basically true. is there a problem?


#3

The problem is that it says that it is not enough to deny them the sacraments. They should be compelled by other means.

I am not about to post the whole Council of Trent to show context. The canons were set out as a list at the various sessions of the Council.

And you will note a link to the source.


#4

uh unless I have recently lost my faculties in the English language, it actually says the exact opposite, they cannot be compelled by any other force save exclusion from participation in the Eucharist.


#5

No, it’s condemning those who say that that should be the only punishment.

Edwin


#6

CANON XIV.-If any one saith, that those who have been thus baptized when children, are, when they have grown up, to be asked whether they will ratify what their sponsors promised in their names when they were baptized; and that, in case they answer that they will not, they are to be left to their own will; and are not to be compelled meanwhile to a Christian life by any other penalty, save that they be excluded from the participation of the Eucharist, and of the other sacraments, until they repent; let him be anathema.


#7

It’s saying a couple of things.

First, adults are not to be asked to “ratify” the promises made on their behalf at baptism. Remember, baptism is an indelible mark on the soul. Baptism does what it signifies: remits original sin and gives entrance into the Church.

Reformers rejected infant baptism and acknowledged only “believer” baptism, hence their erroneous idea of an adult being able to freely choose to accept or reject their baptism.

You can’t take back baptism. It’s indelible.

Secondly, since it is indelible they are Christians and under the jurisdiction of the Church. So, yes, the canon is saying other penalties can be imposed on them so that they live a Christian life.

The current code of canon law doesn’t seem to have a direct counterpart to this canon in Trent, but remember most of the Trent canons directly refuted heresies put forth by contemporaries.


#8

Neither Luther or Calvin rejected infant baptism and neither did the Lutheran and Reformed communions.


#9

As stated it is saying that those who have been baptised when infants when they get older and decide to not accept the Faith they are not to be compelled to accept by any means other than denial of the sacraments.


#10

Luther and Calvin were not the only reformers. Anabatists rejected infant baptism, as do the denominations descended from them.


#11

One more try at bringing out the structure of the sentence here–read the part in blue:

"If any one saith, that those who have been thus baptized when children, are, when they have grown up, to be asked whether they will ratify what their sponsors promised in their names when they were baptized; and that, in case they answer that they will not, they are to be left to their own will; and are not to be compelled meanwhile to a Christian life by any other penalty, save that they be excluded from the participation of the Eucharist, and of the other sacraments, until they repent; let him be anathema.

You are completely reversing the meaning of the decree, embracing the position specifically anathematized here.

What about “if anyone saith . . . . let him be anathema” do you not understand?

If you still don’t get it, try this: what, according to you, is being anathematized here?

Edwin


#12

Here is a link to the Catholic Encyclopedia, perhaps the section on the decrees of Trent are more clear in this article.

The negative document we call the canons on baptism decreed by the Council of Trent (Sess. VII, De Baptismo), in which the following doctrines are anathematized (declared heretical):

[LIST]
*]The baptism of John (the Precursor) had the same efficacy as the baptism of Christ,
*]True and natural water is not necessary for baptism, and therefore the words of Our Lord Jesus Christ “Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost” are metaphorical.
*]The true doctrine of the sacrament of baptism is not taught by the Roman Church,
*]Baptism given by heretics in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost with the intention of performing what the Church performs, is not true baptism,
*]Baptism is free, that is, not necessary for salvation.
*]A baptized person, even if he wishes it, can not lose grace, no matter how much he sins, unless he refuses to believe.
*]Those who are baptized are obliged only to have faith, but not to observe the whole law of Christ.
*]Baptized persons are not obliged to observe all the precepts of the Church, written and traditional, unless of their own accord they wish to submit to them.
*]All vows made after baptism are void by reason of the promises made in baptism itself; because by these vows injury is done to the faith which has been professed in baptism and to the sacrament itself.
*]All sins committed after baptism are either forgiven or rendered venial by the sole remembrance and faith of the baptism that has been received.
*]Baptism although truly and properly administered, must be repeated in the case of a person who has denied the faith of Christ before infidels and has been brought again to repentance.
*]No one is to be baptized except at the age at which Christ was baptized or at the moment of death.
*]Infants, not being able to make an act of faith, are not to be reckoned among the faithful after their baptism, and therefore when they come to the age of discretion they are to be rebaptized; or it is better to omit their baptism entirely than to baptize them as believing on the sole faith of the Church, when they themselves can not make a proper act of faith.
*]Those baptized as infants are to be asked when they have grown up, whether they wish to ratify what their sponsors had promised for them at their baptism, and if they reply that they do not wish to do so, they are to be left to their own will in the matter and not to be forced by penalties to lead a Christian life, except to be deprived of the reception of the Eucharist and of the other sacraments, until they reform.
[/LIST]

The doctrines here condemned by the Council of Trent, are those of various leaders among the early reformers. The contradictory of all these statements is to be held as the dogmatic teaching of the Church.


#13

It says compelled to a “Christian life” not believe, so I imagine they don’t mean believe. For example, this other canon is likely of interest to you:

CANON VIII.-If any one saith, that the baptized are freed from all the precepts, whether written or transmitted, of holy Church, in such wise that they are not bound to observe them, unless they have chosen of their own accord to submit themselves thereunto; let him be anathema.

They could mean precepts like you are supposed to go to mass on Sunday in the clip I gave.


#14

I like you Edwin but don’t let the modem or love of your own wit make you embarass yourself with childish banter.

Anyway SyCarl I read it too quickly and didn’t catch the first line totally. I can see why you asked. The language of the canon seems to read that it is wrong to suggest that exclusion from the sacraments is the only legal method of compelling someone to return to the Christian life.

That does leave the door open for quiet a bit as it doesn’t suggest an upper limit. Since these Canons were written to combat specific heresy I wonder if further research would reveal some specific teaching that this is in reaction to?

I don’t know it is hard to tell what was in the mind of writers in those days. They lived in much more extreme times than we do.


#15

CANON XIV.-If any one saith,

that those who have been thus baptized when children, are, when they have grown up, to be asked whether they will ratify what their sponsors promised in their names when they were baptized; and that, in case they answer that they will not, they are to be left to their own will; and are not to be compelled meanwhile to a Christian life by any other penalty, save that they be excluded from the participation of the Eucharist, and of the other sacraments, until they repent; let him be anathema. hi PA,
I think the way that is formulated is confusing.
There are many ways to “compel” someone and the best answer here is to ask oneself just how Our Lord compels us to come to him.
I don’t think the canon advocates violence.


#16

Well. I have read it, several times, & I must say,that it ishttp://bestsmileys.com/clueless/5.gif scarcely a model of clarity; and my mother the English teacher would have :smiley: handed it back, with instructions to re-write it, or else.

That said, it doesn’t seem to me, to reference anything in regards to the person baptized as a child. It seems to be forbidding anyone from teaching that there is nothing to be done about an adult who refuses to live as a Christian, despite having been baptized.
Presumably, this is referring to a specific teaching at the time…
Or, perhaps, it may refer to the habit of some nominal Christians, to worship in whatever way is politically safe at the moment. England’s Elizabeth the 1st comes to mind, as having an uncanny willingness to be whatever was PC at the moment; there were surely others.(The woman would, doubtless, have declared herself a Muslim if it would have kept her alive long enough to claim the throne).

I would need to see a better translation, & have, also, some idea of the context, to say more than that…:shrug:


#17

A little perspective might help.

Two questions to further this:

  1. If Baptism conveys sufficient grace, and perseverance in the Christian life through the full complement of sacraments is necessary for sanctification and ultimately salvation (this is the Catholic view), what happens to those who are baptized and then decide either to renounce Christianity or embrace heresy?

  2. Depending on your answer to Question 1, should we allow this to happen if it is within our ability to prevent it? Would allowing this to happen violate Christ’s command to us to love our neighbor as ourself?

To assess this, you’ll need to drop some modern baggage.


#18

So do we have a definition of how someone is to be “compelled” anywhere in the document?

Most anything I see specific about “how” anyone should be compelled in the document seems to have to do with members of the clergy.

The canon itself seem to indicate that denial of the sacraments is one way to “compell” someone to do something. Do we have other examples in this or other documents?

Chuck


#19

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