Necessity of the Sacrament of Baptism to be Saved


#1

I know the SSPX holds a very loose understanding of the necessity of the Sacrament of Baptism for Salvation. They accept “Baptism of Desire” and “Baptism of Blood” as sufficient for salvation. BTW : We are only speaking of since the proclamation of the Gospel.

I am curious how many Catholic traditionalist reject the SSPX position and subscribe to a strict understanding of the necessity of the Sacrament of Baptism.


#2

As I understand it, both “baptism of desire” and “baptism of blood” are valid and sufficient for salvation.


#3

What is the Church’s DOGMA on what forms of baptism (Desire, water, or blood) are sufficient for salvation?


#4

Hi duckbill,

I think the Council of Trent was pretty clear on the subject:

Canons on the Sacraments in General: - (Canon 4):
“If anyone shall say that the sacraments of the New Law are not necessary for salvation, but are superfluous, and that although all are not necessary for every individual, without them or without the desire of them (sine eis aut eorum voto), through faith alone men obtain from God the grace of justification; let him be anathema.”

Decree on Justification - (Session 6, Chapter 4):
"In these words a description of the justification of a sinner is given as being a translation from that state in which man is born a child of the first Adam to the state of grace and of the ‘adoption of the Sons’ (Rom. 8:15) of God through the second Adam, Jesus Christ, our Savior and this translation after the promulgation of the Gospel cannot be effected except through the laver of regeneration or a desire for it, (sine lavacro regenerationis aut eius voto) as it is written: “Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Spirit, he cannot enter in the kingdom of God” (John 3:5).

tinyurl.com/c9qm22

Quite clearly baptism, or “the desire for it.”

May God be with you,


#5

The SSPX position is not really that loose. It’s mentioned in the St. Joseph edition of the Baltimore Catechism, quite popular at one time.

There is a soldier saint (either Polyevchtos or Nearchos; they were comrades in arms) who though a catechumen and never technically baptized in water is the first considered “baptized by blood”.


#6

It depends on what you mean by Traditionalists. If you refer to those who go to the Traditional Mass exclusively, and never attend the Novus Ordo, I would say it is about 10% - 20%.

The position of the SSPX is that of St. Augustins, St. Thomas Aquinas, St Alphonsus, St. Robert Bellarmine (all of whom are Doctors of the Church), Pope St. Pius X, Pius XII, and many, many more. In fact, the position of the SSPX was the universal teaching of the Church in seminaries for centuries, and can be found in 100+ pre-Vatican II theological manuals.

The claim that BOD, and BOB is an error only emerged last century. Prior to that, no one questioned it.


#7

Sorry but its not clear to me what you are saying the SSPX position is. Please be specific if you are making some assertion.

If they believe that baptism (water, blood, desire) is necessary for salvation what is the problem? That is the Church teaching.


#8

Yeah I guess people might not understand. I wasn’t talking about Church teaching per se so much but who agrees or disagrees.
The strict position and the loose position seem both acceptable right now at the present time. There are three approved religious orders in Worcester MA that hold the strict
OSB – Order of St. Benedict (Benedictines of Still River)

MICM - Sisters of St. Benedict Center, Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Saint Anne’s House)

MICM – Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Immaculate Heart of Mary School)

worcesterdiocese.org/vicar/ReligiousCommunities/tabid/478/Default.aspx

All three hold to a strict understanding of “No Salvation outside the Church” all were approved after Vatican II:
Saint Benedict Abbey-- 1974, Mother Theresa, MICM–1988, Br. Thomas Augustine’s group,–2003

The main point is that a strict understanding is allowed and not contradicting to Vatican II

worcesterdiocese.org/vicar/ReligiousCommunities/tabid/478/Default.aspx

Also see Canon Lawyer catholicvox.blogspot.com/2009/03/status-of-feeneyites-better-than-sspx.html

A majority of Catholics seem to hold the loose . I was just wondering how many hold the loose in the Catholic Traditionalists Movement ( those in union with Rome, I know SSPX is a complicated situation but I wanted a response from those who are not connected with SSPX.)

Personally I believe in One Lord One Faith and One Baptism & not 3 baptisms (water, blood, desire). “Baptism of Desire” and “Baptism of Blood” are metaphors of the Sacrament of Baptism, i.e. LIKE the sacrament, but neither give the MARK of baptism and one could not receive any of the sacraments with only these “Baptisms.” One is not a member of the Church without first receiving the Sacrament of Baptism. The theory is they supply Sanctifying Grace like a Plenary Indulgence or when a religious make his/her 3 vows, both these acts are supposed to give Sanctifying grace LIKE Baptism but they are not the Sacrament.

Does that help?


#9

Hi duckbill,

The organizations mentioned above are associated with or founded by Father Feeney. His “strict” interpretation of baptism (in other words, the preclusion of Baptism by Blood or Desire) contradicts the dogmatic teaching of the Church. The so-called “loose” interpretation of Baptism by Desire or Blood, is the Faith of the Catholic Church – in other words dogma.

As for the Society of St. Pius X’s position on the matter – the Catechism of St. Pius X should make it clear that the SSPX agrees with the Church in this matter:

16 Q: Is Baptism necessary to salvation?

A: Baptism is absolutely necessary to salvation, for our Lord has expressly said: “Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.”

17 Q: Can the absence of Baptism be supplied in any other way?

A: The absence of Baptism can be supplied by martyrdom, which is called Baptism of Blood, or by an act of perfect love of God, or of contrition, along with the desire, at least implicit, of Baptism, and this is called Baptism of Desire.

cin.org/users/james/ebooks/master/pius/psacr-b.htm

Succinct and clear. This is not an issue between the “strict” followers of Feeney vs. the “loose” members of SSPX – it is a matter of the followers of Feeney ignoring the dogmatic teaching of the Church.

May God be with you


#10

First off, you should note that this crucial passage from Trent has been horribly mistranslated in Denzinger, the Sources of Catholic Dogma. The critical phrase, “this transition, once the gospel has been promulgated, cannot take place without the laver of regeneration or a desire for it”

has been mistranslated to read:
“this transition, once the gospel has been promulgated, cannot take place except through the laver of regeneration or a desire for it…”

This mistranslation of the Latin word “sine” (without) to “except through” alters the meaning of the passage to favor the error of baptism of desire. Because a negative clause before the conjunction “OR” causes the word to have “AND” meaning ( more on this: catholicvox.blogspot.com/2009/03/mis-translation-of-trent-concerning.html)

Suppose I said,** “There cannot be a Wedding without a Bride or a Groom.” Does this mean that you can have a Wedding with a Groom and not a Bride?**

Secondly, looking at a correct translation, which is found in many books, you also should notice that, in this passage, the Council of Trent teaches that John 3:5 is to be taken “as it is written” (Latin: sicut scriptum est), i.e. literally, which excludes any possibility of salvation without being born again of water in the Sacrament of Baptism. There is no way that baptism of desire can be true if John 3:5 is to be taken as it is written, i.e. literally, because John 3:5 says that every man must be born again of water and the Spirit to be saved, which is what the theory of baptism of desire denies. The theory of baptism of desire and an interpretation of John 3:5 as it is written (literally) are mutually exclusive and every baptism of desire proponent should admit this. That is why most of them must – and do – opt for a non-literal interpretation of John 3:5. But the magestrium has ONLY taken it literately.

Finally, a further question would be if the Council Fathers didn’t want to express the possibility of baptism of desire then why not just leave out the phrase, “or a desire for it” completely? Well there was a good reason to included it because of the problem of forced baptisms.

Especially in Spain under Queen Isabel in the newly conquered Islamic lands of Granada. Many in the Church at this time thought that one could offer a Rabbi or Muslim to choose either death or Baptism and if he chose Baptism many Catholics considered that Baptism valid.


#11

Sorry, duckbill, but I’m not going to go into “lawyer” mode with you here.

The Church has spoken on this subject many times before and after the Council of Trent. Baptism of Desire has nothing to do with forced Baptism. It means (as has made clear by many Church leaders) the desire to be baptized – at least implicitly. To insist that Christ could not save men on a technicality is nothing but Phariseeism.

“Who can deny that the act of perfect love of God, which is sufficient for justification, includes an implicit desire of Baptism, of Penance, and of the Eucharist. He who wishes the whole wishes the every part of that whole and all the means necessary for its attainment. In order to be justified without baptism, an infidel must love God above all things, and must have an universal will to observe all the divine precepts, among which the first is to receive baptism: and therefore in order to be justified it is necessary for him to have at least an implicit desire of that sacrament.” – St. Alphonsus Liguori (“On the Council of Trent”)

tinyurl.com/dxnc3m

I tend to believe that St. Alphonsus Liguori understood the meaning the Council of Trent.

“God obliges no one to do the impossible and therefore it must be admitted that the baptism of desire without the baptism of water is sufficient, provided the person in question has the will to receive the baptism of water, but is prevented from doing so before he dies." – St. Bonaventure

Go to the above link and study what the Saints and Fathers of the Church taught on this subject. Feeney opposes the constant teaching of the Church here.

May God be with you


#12

Now Augustine Aquinas and the rest of the Baptism of Desire (BOD) proponents of this “tradition” say that True Divine Faith is necessary but SSPX don’t say that, so I wouldn’t agree that they don’t hold a very loose understanding.

SSPX Bishop Bernard Fellay in a Conference in Denver, Co., Feb. 18, 2006 : "Consider a Hindu in Tibet who has no knowledge of the Catholic Church. He lives according to his conscience and to the laws which God has put into his heart. He can be in the state of grace, and if he dies in this state of grace, he will go to heaven.” (The Angelus, “A Talk Heard Round the World,” April, 2006, p. 5.)

There is a soldier saint (either Polyevchtos or Nearchos; they were comrades in arms) who though a catechumen and never technically baptized in water is the first considered “baptized by blood”.

SSPX founder, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, “Against the Heresies”,p.216:“Evidently,certain
distinctions must be made. Souls can be saved in a religion other than the
Catholicreligion(Protestantism,Islam,Buddhism,etc.), but not by this religion. There may be souls who, notknowing Our Lord, have by the grace of the good Lord,goodinteriordispositions,whosubmittoGod…Butsomeofthese*
persons make an act of love which implicitly is equivalent to baptism of desire.
It is uniquely by this means that they are able to be saved.”

Any of the Church Fathers or saints throughout history would be shocked to see that true faith isn’t necessary as SSPX representatives state above. They are not staying with ANY tradition of the Fathers and Saints that I’m familiar with.The BOD position was usually ONLY for catechumens not for Buddhists and Islam


#13

I’m not denying that there is a “tradition” with a small "t’. But maybe you didn’t read that the CDF knows that these 3 orders exist and are allowing them to hold their strict understanding. But BOD tradition is the minority view of the Church Fathers as Fr. Jurgens honestly admits even though he isn’t a supporter of a strict understanding:

“If there were not a constant tradition in the Fathers that the Gospel message of ‘Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost he cannot enter into the kingdom of God’ is to be taken absolutely, it would be easy to say that Our Savior simply did not see fit to mention the obvious exceptions of invincible ignorance and physical impossibility. [size=]But the tradition in fact is there; and it is likely enough to be found so constant as to constitute revelation.”---- Fr. William Jurgens (A major researcher of the Father’s of the Church)-- “The Faith of the Early Fathers”, Vol. 3, pp. 14-15 footnote 31.[/size]

Since the Church Father’s seems almost unanimous that Water Baptism is necessary for salvation then it is reasonable to doubt the BOD position.
My main point is the strict understanding though not popular is acceptable.

Maybe you didn’t read this article by Canon Lawyer Peter Vede (who is not a holder of the Feeney position either) that these groups exist and are allowed to hold a strict understanding of the necessity of the Sacrament of Baptism by the CDF.lhttp://catholicvox.blogspot.com/2009/03/status-of-feeneyites-better-than-sspx.htm


#14

Hi duckbill,

You’re straining at gnats and swallowing camels. (It seems to be the curse of those who follow Feeney that they all want to be"wannabe" Church lawyers.) You’re attempting to drive a wedge between the SSPX and the Church on an issue where there is no disagreement. Because Bishop Fellay or Archbishop Lefebvre didn’t explicitly state all elements of the well understood doctrine of Baptism of Desire in these two instances (or may not have, I only have your quotes to go by) you pretend they didn’t believe all as taught by the Church.

This is simply not true. It is a false accusation. If you look at what the SSPX teaches on the subject, you’ll soon find they believe just as all the Saints, Fathers, Doctors and Popes taught on this subject – unlike Father Feeney.

sspx.org/articles_index.htm#feeneyism

May God be with you


#15

Hi duckbill,

I’m not a lawyer and have no desire to become one. The Church has spoken clearly on this subject – I’ll stand with St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Alphonsus Liguori and so many other Saints – instead of with Father Feeney.

You may stand where you wish.

May God be with you


#16

From what I could skim through the articles linked they are implying St. Thomas Aquinas is infallible because Trent, they assume, used some quotes from Aquinas. We are not bond to who a Council quotes but what a council says/writes.

Even so St.Thomas said that True Faith is absolutely necessary for salvation. As seen above SSPX say that True Faith is not necessary.see link Post 12

The belief in the the dogma Trinity and Incarnation is absolutely necessary for salvation for all those above the age of reason as taught by St. Thomas Aquinas, Pope Benedict XIV and Pope St. Pius X:

St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Pt. II-II, Q. 2., A. 7: “After grace had been revealed, both the learned and simple folk are bound to explicit faith in the mysteries of Christ, chiefly as regards those which are observed throughout the Church, and publicly proclaimed, such as the articles which refer to the Incarnation, of which we have spoken above.”

St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Pt. II-II, Q. 2., A. 8: “And consequently, when once grace had been revealed, all were bound to explicit faith in the mystery of the Trinity.”

Pope Benedict XIV, Cum Religiosi (# 1), June 26, 1754:

“We could not rejoice, however, when it was subsequently reported to Us that in the course of religious instruction preparatory to Confession and Holy Communion, it was very often found that these people were ignorant of the mysteries of the faith, even those matters which must be known by necessity of means; consequently they were ineligible to partake of the Sacraments.”

 Those above the age of reason must believe as a** “necessity of means” **– cannot be numbered among the elect, as Pope St. Pius X confirms.

Pope St. Pius X, Acerbo Nimis (# 2), April 15, 1905:

“And so Our Predecessor, Benedict XIV, had just cause to write: ‘We declare that a great number of those who are condemned to eternal punishment suffer that everlasting calamity because of ignorance of those mysteries of faith which must be known and believed in order to be numbered among the elect.’”

** Response of the Sacred Office to the Bishop of Quebec, Jan. 25, 1703 (Denzinger #1349a):**

“Q. Whether a minister is bound, before baptism is conferred on an adult, to explain to him all the mysteries of our faith, especially if he is at the point of death, because this might disturb his mind. Or, whether it is sufficient, if the one at the point of death will promise that when he recovers from the illness, he will take care to be instructed, so that he might put into practice what has been commanded him.

“A.  A promise is not sufficient, but a missionary is bound to explain to an adult, even a dying one who is not entirely incapacitated, the mysteries of faith which are necessary by a necessity of means, as are especially the mysteries of the Trinity and the Incarnation.” 

 Another question was posed at the same time and answered the same way.

  (Denzinger 1349b) [catecheticsonline.com/SourcesofDogma14.php ]("http://www.catecheticsonline.com/SourcesofDogma14.php")  

** Response of the Sacred Office to the Bishop of Quebec, Jan. 25, 1703:**

“Q. Whether it is possible for a crude and uneducated adult, as it might be with a barbarian, to be baptized, if there were given him only an understanding of God and some of His attributes… although he does not believe explicitly in Jesus Christ.

“A.  A missionary should not baptize one who does not believe explicitly in the Lord Jesus Christ, **but is bound to instruct him about all those matters which are necessary, by a necessity of means, **in accordance with the capacity of the one to be baptized.”

As far as I know SSPX say that True Faith is not necessary which is not supported by either the BOD or the Strict traditions.

I am not saying who is right. I am only pointing out that the strict is ACCEPTABLE.

BTW: The three Feeneyite groups are in a better canonical situation than SSPX even after the lifting of the excommunications.SSPX is still not in FULL union as far as I know with the Vatican, but 3 of the 4 Feeneyites groups are in FULL communion with the Church.


#17

THE CATECHISM OF ST. PIUS X is not from the pen of St. Pius X. It received this name because of its popularity during his rule. It contains heresy (underlined below):

29 Q. But if a man through no fault of his own is outside the Church, can he be saved?
A. If he is outside the Church through no fault of his, that is, if he is in good faith, and if he has received Baptism, or at least has the implicit desire of Baptism; and if, moreover, he sincerely seeks the truth and does God’s will as best he can such a man is indeed separated from the body of the Church, but is united to the soul of the Church and consequently is on the way of salvation
LINK ewtn.com/library/CATECHSM/PIUSXCAT.htm

This was condemned by **Pope Leo XIII, Satis Cognitum (# 3), June 29, 1896: **“For this reason the Church is so often called in Holy Writ a body, and even the body of Christ… From this it follows that those who arbitrarily conjure up and picture to themselves a hidden and invisible Church are in grievous and pernicious error… It is assuredly impossible that the Church of Jesus Christ can be the one or the other, as that man should be a body alone or a soul alone. The connection and union of both elements is as absolutely necessary to the true Church as the intimate union of the soul and body is to human nature.

and Pope Pius XI, Mortalium Animos (# 10), Jan. 6, 1928: “For since the mystical body of Christ, in the same manner as His physical body, is one, compacted and fitly joined together, it were foolish and out of place to say that the mystical body is made up of members which are disunited and scattered abroad: whosoever therefore is not united with the body is no member of it, neither is he in communion with Christ its head.”


#18

I’m not familiar with these names We have two (fallible) accounts of the martyrdom of St. Alban and his guard( maybe his name is one of those you said above), from St. Bede and Butler’s Lives of the Saints. They both record that just before the martyrdom of St. Alban and his guard, **St. Alban prayed for “water” which he miraculously received! **St. Bede then goes on **to say that the guard died unbaptized! ** Butler’s says that **the water was merely to “refresh” Alban’s thirst! ** With all due respect to St. Bede and the good things in Butler’s, how obvious does it have to be? A saint, who had a few minutes to live and who had a convert wanting to enter the Church of Christ, would he have called for miraculous water in order to “refresh his thirst”? My goodness, he obviously called for the miraculous water to baptize the converted guard, and God provided it for the sincere convert.

This miraculous water is common in the lives of the saints. If you ever go to Rome where St.Peter was Jailed, it is full of water and the tradition is that he prayed for water to baptize those in prison with him. cool:thumbsup:


#19

The Baptism of Blood and the Baptism of Desire have been taught, continue to be taught and will always be taught in the Catholic Church. Father Feeney and his Feeneyite followers are the aberration. (I mean that IS why Father Feeney was excommunicated from the Catholic Church – right?)

Your poll is therefore deficient, in that it attacks a straw man. And it’s misleading, since you fail to mention your affiliation with the Feeneyites, while making a false accusation against the SSPX.

A more accurate and honest poll would be one that pitted Father Feeney and the Feeneyites against the teaching of the Catholic Church.

Suggested wording: “Do you believe, as the Catholic Church believes that the Baptism of Blood and the Baptism of Desire, as defined by the Catholic Church, are sufficient for Salvation, or do you side with Father Feeney who said they weren’t sufficient?”

That IS the honest way to ask your question.


#20

The Baptism of Blood and the Baptism of Desire have been taught, continue to be taught and will always be taught in the Catholic Church. Father Feeney and his Feeneyite followers are the aberration. (I mean that IS why Father Feeney was excommunicated from the Catholic Church – right?)

Your poll is therefore deficient, in that it attacks a straw man. And it’s misleading, since you fail to mention your affiliation with the Feeneyites, while making a false accusation against the SSPX.

A more accurate and honest poll would be one that pitted Father Feeney and the Feeneyites against the teaching of the Catholic Church.

Suggested wording: “Do you believe, as the Catholic Church believes that the Baptism of Blood and the Baptism of Desire, as defined by the Catholic Church, are sufficient for Salvation, or do you side with Father Feeney who said they weren’t sufficient?”

That IS the honest way to ask your question.


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