Original Sin, Baptism, and Salvation

Tell me, I have heard from very smart men such as Scott Hahn and Jimmy Akin that others outside of the Catholic faith can be saved. However, what bugs me is that if they are not baptized are they damned? Please note, I’m not talking about babies but children (around the age of reason more or less) and adults. Thank you :smiley:

Baptism is necessary for salvation. Baptism by water is not strictly necessary. Desire for baptism may suffice.

There is no one size fits all answer here. Whether or not an unbaptized person can be saved depends entirely on their interior disposition, their good faith, the extent of the inculpability of their ignorance of the faith, etc. etc.

What about evangelists who believe baptism is merely symbolic since they may not want to be baptized are they saved?



1257 The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation.60 He also commands his disciples to proclaim the Gospel to all nations and to baptize them.61 Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament.62 The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude; this is why she takes care not to neglect the mission she has received from the Lord to see that all who can be baptized are “reborn of water and the Spirit.” God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments.

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.

1261 As regards children who have died without Baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, as she does in her funeral rites for them. Indeed, the great mercy of God who desires that all men should be saved, and Jesus’ tenderness toward children which caused him to say: "Let the children come to me, do not hinder them,"64 allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism. All the more urgent is the Church’s call not to prevent little children coming to Christ through the gift of holy Baptism

Again, there is no one size fits all answer. Even many Catholics who are baptized will not be saved. Baptism is one part of the salvific “equation,” but it is not the only part, and it is not even the mot important part.

Whether or not any particular person is saved requires an evaluation of interior dispositions which no living human is qualified to make – except Christ, and him only in view of his divine nature.

Thank you for the replies!

This article that I came across provides a very reasonable explanation of where unbaptized (or in the case of Protestants, those who were below the age of reason and unable to put their personal faith in Christ) dead babies go, notwithstanding Pope Benedict XVI’s declaration that Limbo does not exist. What do you guys think?


First, Pope Benedict did not declare that “Limbo does not exist.” During his pontificate, the International Theological Commission, a group of theologians that advises the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, published a paper giving reasons to hope an unbaptized infant may be saved by God, but ultimately–and explicitly–did not rule out limbo as their possible destination. It specifically says it “remains a possible theological opinion.”

As for the article you linked to, it’s pretty terrible.

The Church makes no definitive judgment because that would involve judging particular souls. Likewise, God has the power to sanctify souls apart from the sacraments as the famous saying of St. Thomas Aquinas goes: God has bound salvation to the sacrament of baptism, but He himself is not bound by Sacraments.

In answer to those who said the sin of Adam was greater than the salvation of Christ since original sin affects all men, but Baptism does not reach all, such as those in the womb, St. Thomas said:

[quote=St. Thomas Aquinas]Children while in the mother’s womb have not yet come forth into the world to live among other men. Consequently they cannot be subject to the action of man, so as to receive the sacrament, at the hands of man, unto salvation. They can, however, be subject to the action of God, in Whose sight they live, so as, by a kind of privilege, to receive the grace of sanctification; as was the case with those who were sanctified in the womb.


Examples of this happening in Scripture are St. John the Baptist and the Prophet Jeremiah. We can’t say for certain that it happens other times, but we also cannot say for certain that it doesn’t.

The Church has also permitted other ideas as well. St. Bernard, for example, taught that the vicarious faith and desire of the parents or Church could suffice, just as how their vicarious faith suffices for an actual baptism of an infant.

If the soul is not cleansed of original sin, and baptism is the ordinary means of this, then the soul cannot saved. Limbo would be the state of damnation where one is deprived of the beatific vision (the consequence of original sin) but does not receive actual torments (the consequence of actual sins committed).

We’re judged based on how we’ve lived based on the knowledge and grace we’ve received. God is infinitely fair.

I would argue that God allows loaded dice (which is not fair). Fair means everyone has an equal opportunity. But Catholics have a much greater opportunity. A Catholic who was Baptized as an infant could go on to live a life of complete debauchery, but, if he makes a good Confession on his deathbed, will be assured salvation.

Others have no recourse to Confession, and will be condemned.

There’s nothing “fair” about that.

God is Merciful. God is Just. God is not fair.

I come back to this old thread with the intention to present another question dealing with original sin to be answered. Tell me, what happens when one is baptized then has children? Do the offspring not have original sin on their soul? It would seem that would be so since original sin is inherited. I most certainly know this is heresy and I do not accept it but please explain how this is not true. Is original sin found within our own human nature? :shrug:

And I’d submit that if God isn’t fair than He cannot also be just. The thief on the cross had no recourse to Baptism-probably didn’t even know about it. And his confession was his repentant heart, which God judges man by, according to Scripture.

Fair means everyone has an equal opportunity and an equal benefit. Just means the punishment for an offense is comparable to the offense itself. I don’t see how these concepts are even related, much less dependent.

The thief on the cross had no recourse to Baptism-probably didn’t even know about it. And his confession was his repentant heart, which God judges man by, according to Scripture.

That is a reflection of God’s mercy, not his justice or his (alleged) fairness. If God were fair, Jesus would have pardoned both thieves. If God were (only) just, Jesus would not have pardoned either (even the Good Thief himself admitted that they were paying the just consequence of their sins). I said God was merciful, and that’s what we see at Calvary.

God sets the standards for His justice-and the “good thief” complied. The other thief could have likewise complied, by recognizing and bowing to his God Who was being crucified next to him. Gods justice was dealt fairly and equitably as would be expected of Him. Why would it be fair to save both?

**Well, who’s to say why the other thief derided Jesus. Maybe he had a difficult childhood which made him cynical. Maybe he had followed some alleged prophet before who turned out to be a fraud? These are situations that are either beyond his control or his intent was good. Who’s to say the other thief would not have done the same as the Good Thief had he had the same opportunities? They were both born in an identical manner, but one had a cynical life thrust upon him and the other did not.

Why should the other thief be passed over because of his circumstances? Surely a merciful and fair Jesus would overlook such things and admit him to heaven, regardless of his worthiness.**

Jesus actually taught in a parable that God is not fair - it was the Gospel reading a week or two ago. It was the parable of the Master of the vineyard, who recruits workers at different times of the day. At the end of the day, the Master instructs the paymaster to pay each worker, with those who served last being paid first. Those were paid a full day’s wage. The others expected a bonus, and grumbled against the Master when they were paid the same daily wage. They had worked all day, and bore the sun’s heat. If the latecomers get a full wage, they ought to get more. That’s FAIR.

But the Master says that each received the agreed upon amount. Had no latecomers worked, they would have no complaint, and would go away satisfied. They were offended because they saw the unfairness of it all. The master asks them, who are you to complain if I want to be generous with my money?

Had the latecomers been paid a fractional wage, and the full-day workers paid a full wage, nobody would have complained (not even the lesser compensated latecomers). That would be FAIR. The full-day workers would be satisfied that the latecomers did not receive the same wage. They would have taken satisfaction at the impoverishment of others.

The Master was being just (he paid what he promised). The Master was NOT being fair. He was being merciful to the latecomers, and the full-day laborers resented his mercy, because it was not FAIR. They grumbled, even though they had not been cheated. They felt cheated because someone else who was less deserving got the same as they.

God is not fair. There is nothing about God that is fair. Fairness is NOT a virtue - it is a gateway to jealously and a false sense of entitlement. It is one of humanity’s base (fallen) instincts. Justice is a virtue. Mercy is a virtue. Fairness is the misapplication and corruption of the virtue of justice which opposes the recognition of the virtue of mercy.

You should read Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand. She is an atheist, but she understands the flaws of fairness better than anyone.

Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:38
Only baptism in the name Jesus Christs saves.

Amen! Catholics love that verse. :thumbsup:

So if Peter said Baptize in the name of Jesus Christ, why do Catholic priests baptize in the names of Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Because of what Jesus said, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Matt 28:19

Matthew 28:19
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

As you see its says in the name, not names.
Jesus Christ is that name because, he is God the Father but in form of the man, he is the Son and the Holy Spirit .
Ephesians 4:5
One Lord, one faith, one baptism,

If only one baptism save which is it then. Last time I read the bible , Jesus Christ gave the Peter the keys to Jesus Christ’s church.
17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter,and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades[c] will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be[d] bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be[e] loosed in heaven.” 20 Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah
Acts 2:38
And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit

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