Question about baptism of desire


#1

I heard a Feeneyite-type argument recently that said that the Council of Trent, when it said that no one can be saved without baptism or “the desire thereof,” didn’t really mean there’s such a thing as baptism of desire. Rather, they claim that it means that not only must we be baptized, but we must also desire it (I guess they’re saying baptism can’t be done against someone’s will). As a parallel, they say that a sacrament can’t be valid without proper matter or form. But, they say, proper matter alone or proper form alone won’t suffice; you need both. And so, according to them, it’s the same with baptism. I think they’re comparing apples and oranges, but I don’t really know the proper response to a claim like that. Can you help? Thanks in advance.


#2

[quote=DavidJoseph]I heard a Feeneyite-type argument recently that said that the Council of Trent, when it said that no one can be saved without baptism or “the desire thereof,” didn’t really mean there’s such a thing as baptism of desire. Rather, they claim that it means that not only must we be baptized, but we must also desire it (I guess they’re saying baptism can’t be done against someone’s will). As a parallel, they say that a sacrament can’t be valid without proper matter or form. But, they say, proper matter alone or proper form alone won’t suffice; you need both. And so, according to them, it’s the same with baptism.
[/quote]

Ask them if that also applied to confession. When they say yes, ask them if that means sins cannot be forgiven through perfect contrition without actually receiving the sacrament of penance. If they are not completely ignorant, they will admit it is possible to have ones sins forgiven without actually receiving the sacrament of confession. When they admit that, ask them to explain how this is possible, since the form was lacking.

Regarding the statement from the council of Trent: It clearly says that a person can receive “grace and righteousness” through baptism OR a desire for it. Since that does not fit in with what they believe, they try to say that the word “or” means “and”. There was a debate over baptism of desire on this board, several months ago. I think the thread was titled “Councils of Trent: Baptism of desire”, or something like that. You may be able to find it by doing a search. I’ll try to find it and bring it back to the front page.

I recently ran accross a good quote from Pius XII on baptism of desire. I found it in a book called “Dear Newleyweds”. The following is a direct quote from Pope Pius XII:

“Before the altar your free will alone can join you together in the ties of the sacrament of matrimony; no other consent can substitute for yours. In the case of other, more necessary sacraments, when the minister is lacking, he can be supplied through the force of divien mercy, which will forego even external signs in order to bring grace to the heart. To the catechumen who has no one to poor water on his head, to the sinner who can find no one to absolve him, a loving God will accord, out of their desire and love, the grace which makes them his friends and children even without baptism or actual confession” (Page 13).


#3

[font=Verdana][font=Verdana]Hi, I was the one who posed the so-called “Feeneyite” argument. David (original post) is my friend. In any event, I have looked at both sides of this argument for a long time, and it seems to me that the so-called “Feeneyite” position is the only one authoritatively taught by the infallible decrees of the Church. Now, to clarify, the crux of the argument is centered around the infallible teachings of the Church, in this case, the decrees of Trent. I need to make a few points, though, to clarify the argument. First, the actual documents of Trent state: “quae quidem translatio … sine lavacro regenerationis aut eius voto fieri non potest”, which is translated, “This transition… cannot take place without the laver of regeneration or a desire for it”. Now, notice the bold in the original document (my emphasis, of course). This word, aut, is translated as “or” but has the meaning of either “or” or “and”. In any event, any Latin scholar (or student) knows about the different ways to express the words “and” and “or”. In Latin, the word et always means “and”. The words veland seu always mean “or”, but the word *aut *can mean either “and” or “or”. Now, the argument is that the use of aut should be read so that the meaning is reflective of the translation “and”. This is not a novel concept, though, as the same is done in the Council of Florence (and other Councils). Here is the direct passage from a website explaining this position:

In fact, the Latin word aut (“or”) is used in a similar way in other passages in the Council of Trent and other Councils. In the famous Bull Cantate Domino from the Council of Florence, we find the Latin word aut (“or”) used in a context which definitely renders it meaning “and.”

Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, “Cantate Domino,” 1441, ex cathedra:

“The Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that all those who are outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans but also Jews [aut] or heretics and schismatics, cannot share in eternal life and will go into the everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless they are joined to the Church before the end of their lives; that the unity of this ecclesiastical body is of such importance that only those who abide in it do the Church’s sacraments contribute to salvation and do fasts, almsgiving and other works of piety and practices of the Christian militia productive of eternal rewards; and that nobody can be saved, no matter how much he has given away in alms and even if he has shed blood in the name of Christ, unless he has persevered in the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church.”

 Here we see the Council of Florence using the word “or” (*aut*) to have a meaning that is equivalent to “and.”  The Council declares that not only pagans, but also Jews *or* (aut) heretics and schismatics cannot be saved.  Does this mean that either Jews or heretics will be saved?  Of course not.  It clearly means that none of the Jews and none of the heretics can be saved.  Thus, this is an example of a context in which the Latin word *aut* (or) does have a meaning that is clearly “and.”



 Similarly, in the introduction to the decree on Justification, the Council of Trent strictly forbids anyone to **“believe, preach or** teach” (*credere, praedicare **aut ***docere) other than as it is defined and declared in the decree on Justification.

Pope Paul III, Council of Trent, Sess. 6, Introduction: “… strictly forbidding that anyone henceforth may presume to believe, preach or teach, otherwise than is defined and declared by this present decree.”

 Does “or” (*aut*) in this passage mean that **one is only forbidden to preach contrary** to the Council’s decree on Justification, but one is allowed to teach contrary to it?  No, obviously “or” (*aut*) means that **both** preaching and teaching are forbidden, just like in chapter 4 above “*or*” means that justification cannot take place without both water and desire.  Another example of the use of *aut* to mean “and” (or “both”) in Trent is found in Sess. 21, Chap. 2, the decree on Communion under both species (Denz. 931).

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#4

(continued from above)

Pope Pius IV, Council of Trent, Sess. 21, Chap. 2: “Therefore holy mother Church… has decreed that it be considered as a law, which may not be repudiated or be changed at will without the authority of the Church.”

Does aut in this declaration mean that the Council’s decree may not be repudiated, but it may be changed? No, obviously it means that both repudiation and a change are forbidden. This is another example of how the Latin word aut can be used in contexts which render its meaning “and” or “both.” And these examples, when we consider the wording of the passage, refute the claim of baptism of desire supporters: that the meaning of aut in Chapter 4, Session 6 is one which favors baptism of desire.

But why does Trent define that the desire for Baptism, along with Baptism, is necessary for Justification? In the past we did not answer this question as well as we could have, because we thought that Sess. 6, Chap. 4 was distinguishing between adults and infants. But further study of the passage reveals that in this chapter Trent is defining what is necessary for the iustificationis impii –the justification of the impious (see quote above). The impii (“impious”) does not refer to infants – who are incapable of committing actual sins (Trent, Sess. V, Denz. 791). The word “impii” in Latin is actually a very strong word, according to a Latin scholar I consulted, and he agreed that it is too strong to describe an infant in original sin only. It is sometimes translated as “wicked” or “sinner.” Therefore, in this chapter, Trent is dealing with those above the age of reason who have committed actual sins, and for such persons the desire for baptism is necessary for Justification. In fact, the next few chapters of Trent on Justification (Chaps. 5-7) are all about adult Justification, further demonstrating that the Justification of adult sinners is the context, especially when the word impii is considered. That is why the chapter defines that Justification cannot take place without the water of baptism or the desire for it (both are necessary).

Catechism of the Council of Trent, On Baptism - Dispositions for Baptism, p. 180: “INTENTION - … In the first place they must desire and intend to receive it…”

mostholyfamilymonastery.com/debate_with_mckenna.html#A

(you will have to scroll down some)

Now, the point is that this statement can legitimately be interpreted “and”. Anyway, there is a lot more to be said (both concerning the matter as a whole and concerning the “or” vs. “and” aspect of the debate), but it is all done very logically on that link (if you read the green, Appendix A, all the way through). In any event, as to the Sacrament of Confession, there is often a misunderstanding here. In order to obtain remission of one’s sins, perfect contrition does, in fact, suffice, but this is not the Sacrament of Confession. Perfect contrition is being perfectly sorry for one’s sins because they offend God so grievously along with having a specific intention to confess those sins in the Sacrament of Confession. Even having perfect contrition, however, is not the same as the Sacrament of Confession. A person can be forgiven by this, but he has not received the Sacrament of Confession, merely its effects. This same process, however, is not possible with Baptism, for Our Lord has said (and the Council of Trent has declared): “Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven” (St. John iii.5; Council of Trent, Canons on Baptism, Canon II). Also, the Church has specifically defined that there needs be only a desire for the Sacrament of Confession in order to be forgiven:

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#5

(continued from above)

“Hence, it must be taught that the repentance of a Christian after his fall is very different from that at his baptism, and that it includes not only a determination to avoid sins and a hatred of them, or a contrite and humble heart,[85] but also the sacramental confession of those sins, at least in desire, to be made in its season, and sacerdotal absolution, as well as satisfaction by fasts, alms, prayers and other devout exercises of the spiritual life, not indeed for the eternal punishment, which is, together with the guilt, remitted either by the sacrament or by the desire of the sacrament, but for the temporal punishment which, as the sacred writings teach, is not always wholly remitted, as is done in baptism, to those who, ungrateful to the grace of God which they have received, have grieved the Holy Ghost[86] and have not feared to violate the temple of God.[87] Of which repentance it is written: Be mindful whence thou art fallen; do penance, and do the first works;[88] and again, The sorrow that is according to God worketh penance, steadfast unto salvation;[89] and again, Do penance, and bring forth fruits worthy of penance.[90]” Cf., Council of Trent, Session VI, Chapter XIV"

forerunner.com/chalcedon/X0020_15._Council_of_Trent.html

This is taught again in Session XIV, Chapter IV, which can be accessed at the same link. It is clear that the Church has taught that forgiveness can be obtained outside of sacramental Confession, so long as there is a desire for this Sacrament, but Christ did not say “Unless your sins be forgiven in Confession” as He did with Baptism, and the Church did not attach anathema to denying this belief about Confession (as is the case here with Baptism), for Canon II of the Canons on Baptism from the Council of Trent states:

“Canon 2. If anyone says that true and natural water is not necessary for baptism[9] and thus twists into some metaphor the words of our Lord Jesus Christ: Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost,[10] let him be anathema.”

There is much more to be said, but I think the link provided has a good explanation. Please read Apendix A (in green), and then respond, if you will. Thank you. God bless.


#6

[quote=DavidJoseph]I heard a Feeneyite-type argument recently that said that the Council of Trent, when it said that no one can be saved without baptism or “the desire thereof,” didn’t really mean there’s such a thing as baptism of desire. Rather, they claim that it means that not only must we be baptized, but we must also desire it (I guess they’re saying baptism can’t be done against someone’s will). As a parallel, they say that a sacrament can’t be valid without proper matter or form. But, they say, proper matter alone or proper form alone won’t suffice; you need both. And so, according to them, it’s the same with baptism. I think they’re comparing apples and oranges, but I don’t really know the proper response to a claim like that. Can you help? Thanks in advance.
[/quote]

The validity of a Sacrament requires three things, Proper Form, Valid Matter and Intent (of the minister). Baptism of Desire is when a person states their desire to receive Baptism, but dies before being able to be Baptized. The example is the Catechumen after the Rite of Acceptance in which they clearly state their desire for Baptism, dies in an accident. They are given a full Christian burial.


#7

Amarich,

I am very familiar with the Diomond Brother’s arguments. I had about a 2 hour telephone discussion/debate with Peter over baptism of desire. But thank you for reposting their arguments.

In the quotes you provide, “aut” (or) does not show that “or” and “and” mean the same thing. They only show that “or”, or “and” could both be used in that particular sentence, and the sentence still makes sense.

Let’s take the quote from the Council of Florence:

**“The Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that all those who are outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans but also Jews [aut] or heretics and schismatics, cannot share in eternal life and will go into the everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels…" **


In the quote they could have used the word “or”, or they could have used the word “and” in the sentence, and it would still have been correct, but that does not mean that the words “or” and “and” have the same meaning. It just means that either word could have been used.

“not only pagans, but also Jews or heretics… cannot share in eternal life”.

The same sentence is correct using the word and: “not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics… cannot share in eternal life”

Just because either word can be used in the sentence does not mean that “or” and “and” have the same meaning. They obviously do not. (I have actually always called this the “Bill Clinton” argument, since he questioned the meaning of “is”).

If the words “or” and “and” had the same meaning, then the words could be used interchangeably all the time, right? Right! So, let’s test that and see if those two words have the same meaning, or if it just so happens that either word could have been used in that sentence.

Example: On Tuesday I will be going to either Houston or (aut) Dallas.

What does that mean? It means that on Tuesday I will be going to one of the other, not both. But what if I were to say the same thing using the word and?

Example: On Tuesday I will be going to either Houston and Dallas.

Does that make sense? If not, it means the words “and” and “or” do not have the same meaning. (Didn’t we already know that?)

I located the debate regarding Baptism of desire and have moved it up to this page on the message board. Read over that debate and see if it helps.

In the meantime, think about this: If the Diamong Brothers are right, it means St. Alphonsus Ligouri, Robert Bellarmine, Pope Pius XII, Pope Pius IX, and many many more saints and Popes were actually heretics, since they all taught baptism of desire AFTER the Council of Trent.

You also have the wonder why no one ever taught against baptism of desire before the year 1930. It is not as though no one ever taught baptism of Desire - it was a normal teaching of the Church found in Catechisms and virtually every theolgical manuel from the time of Trent, when, according to St. Alphonsus, a doctor of the Church, it was defined de fide as a dogma of the faith. Let me re-phrase that sentense so you don’t miss it:

St. Alphonsus Liguori, one of only 33 doctors of the Church, taught that Baptism of desire was defined as a dogma at the Countil of Trent. And what quote from section did he says defined it as a dogma? This one: “This transition [to justification]… cannot take place without the laver of regeneration or a desire for it”. That’s right! St. Alphonsus understood the word “or” to mean “or”, not “and”. If you read over the debate on the other thread, I give the quote from St. Alphonsus.

Baptism of desire has been taught by saints, Popes, and doctors of the Church, both before Trent and after Trent. It is Church teaching. And according to St. Alphonsus, it is a de fide dogma of the faith, and thus, those who reject it are heretics. And as you have correctly pointed out: ***heretics… cannot share in eternal life and will go into the everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels…". ***


#8

And as you have correctly pointed out: heretics… cannot share in eternal life and will go into the everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels…".

So, the difference between a heresy and a heretic is stubbornness and the judgement of the compentent ecclesiatical authority.
I would agree there is likely heresy involved in the Feenyite position / their inability to have a baptism of desire.

RSiscoe,
I posted on the old debate thread. I would like to know more about your view on the Florentine teaching concerning batism of infants:

[quote]

[quote]

  1. that apart from baptism with water, infants have no means of salvation. There is no question of salvation through an implicit desire on their part, or of the desire of their parents, or of a general desire of the Church… And I should point out that this plain statement of the council directly contradicts the notion that St. Alphonsus or Suarez taught that baptism of blood avails for the salvation of infants.

[/quote]

I agree. I believe it was the Council of Florence that dogmatically stated that unbaptized infants are lost.

Old Comment Location

So, in this dogmatic assertion is the argument explicit or is it implied that God cannot/will not intervene on behalf of the child?
:hmmm: :coffee:
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#9

Council of Forence: “The souls of those who die in actual mortal sin, or only in Original Sin, immediately descend into Hell, but to undergo punishments of different kinds.” (Bull Laetentur Coeli, Denz.693).

I do not deny that it would be possible for God to remove original sin from infants, but the Church has never taught that. On the contrary, the Church has always taught that those who die before obtaining the age of reason, and who were no baptized will go to a place of “natural happiness”, but not to the beatific vision.

Council of Lyons II, 1274: We believe…that those truly penitent die in charity before they have done sufficient penance for their sins of omission and commission, their souls are cleansed after death in purgatorial or cleansing punishments; … the souls of those who have not committed any sin at all after they received holy baptism, and the souls of those who have committed sin, but have been cleansed, either while they were in the body or afterwards … are promptly taken up into heaven. The souls of those who die in mortal sin or with only original sin soon go down into hell, but there they will receive different punishments. (Denzinger 464)

St. Alphonsus Maria Liguori states: “Calvin says that infants born of parents who have the faith are saved, even though they should die without Baptism. But this is false: for David was born of parents who had the faith, and he confessed that he was born in sin. This was also taught by the Council of Trent in the Fifth Session, number Four: there the fathers declared that infants dying without Baptism, although born of baptized parents, are not saved, and are lost, not on account of the sin of their parents, but for the sin of Adam in whom all have sinned” (Explanation of Trent, Duffy Co., 1845, p.56).

The above quotes relects what the Church has always taught. You can probably locate the writings of St. Thomas on the subject by using a search engine. He had quite a bit to say on the subject of infants who die without baptism.

Here is one link: newadvent.org/summa/600101.htm

Hope that helps.

If I can locate some additional quotes, I will post them.


#10

Well,
I’m not certain that St. Thomas speaks for the church.
Sometimes I think his work is mostly chaff. :slight_smile:
Especially on the subject of Mary’s immaculate conception.

(Fides et. Ratio on the Philosophy of St. Thomas, PJPII ).

Personally, I think St. Thomas is very wise, but a bit difficult to ask questions of. There is also the problem that his work is a bit like watching a shadow boxing match – one has to always figure out who the enemy actually is.

I had a run in with atheism back in high school, and it was a misrepresentation of St. Thomas’ thought by some priests which cost me anything which could be called actual faith for some years. (The sad thing is that if the priests had only kown St. Thomas well, rather than superficially the event would likely not have happened.) Anyway, the event still leaves the proverbial bad taste in my mouth.

The church’s official teaching from councils, bishops, popes and the like will do.

So, where does the teaching of ‘natural happiness’ come from officially?


#11

CCC:

God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments.


#12

So Jesus lied when he told Peter, “what you bind on Earth is bound in Heaven” ?


#13

A couple of additional quotes from Denzinger:

  1. Denzinger #388
    A letter titled “Apostolicam Sedem” in response to an inquiry by the Bishop of Cremona regarding the death of a priest who was unbaptized; date uncertain, but in the 1140’s time frame.

"To your inquiry we respond thus: ** We assert without hesitation (on the authority of the holy Fathers Augustine and Ambrose) that the priest whom you indicated (in your letter) had died without the water of baptism, because he persevered in the faith of holy mother the Church and in the confession of the name of Christ, was freed from original sin and attained the joy of the heavenly fatherland*. Read (brother) in the eighth book of Augustine’s “City of God” where among other things it is written, “Baptism is ministered invisibly to one whom not contempt of religion but death excludes.” Read again the book also of the blessed Ambrose concerning the death of Valentinian where he says the same thing. Therefore, to questions concerning the dead, you should the opinions of the learned Fathers, and in your church you should join in prayers and you should have sacrifices offered to God for the priest mentioned.*(Augustine and Ambrose of course are even far earlier than the 1100’s.)

  1. ** Denzinger #413**
    Letter of Pope Innocent III to the Bishop of Metz, August 28, 1206

*You have, to be sure, intimated that a certain Jew, when at the point of death, since he lived only among Jews, immersed himself in water while saying: “I baptize myself in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.”

We respond that, since there should be a distinction between the one baptizing and the one baptized, as is clearly gathered from the words of the Lord, when he says to the Apostles: “Go baptize all nations in the name etc.” [cf. Matt. 28:19], the Jew mentioned must be baptized again by another, that it may be shown that he who is baptized is one person and he who baptizes another. . . . ** If, however, such a one had died immediately, he would have rushed to his heavenly home without delay because of the faith of the sacrament, although not because of the sacrament of faith.***


#14

quote="amarkich, post:4, topic:18743"

Pope Pius IV, Council of Trent, Sess. 21, Chap. 2: “Therefore holy mother Church… has decreed that it be considered as a law, which may not be repudiated or be changed at will without the authority of the Church.”

Does aut in this declaration mean that the Council’s decree may not be repudiated, but it may be changed? No, obviously it means that both repudiation and a change are forbidden.............

[/quote]

It doesn't mean that "repudiation and a change are forbidden". Actually, it means they can be repudiated or changed - but only with the authority of the Church. The opening sentence of the Chapter makes it very clear that the Church has authority to make changes in the administration of the sacraments.

Quote (Denzinger #931):
Council of Trent, Sess. 21, Chapter 2

*[FONT="Times New Roman"]It (the Council) declares furthermore that this power has always been in the Church, that in the administration of the sacraments preserving their substance, she may determine or change whatever she may judge to be more expedient for the benefit of those who receive them or for the veneration of the sacraments, according to the variety of circumstances, times, and places. ........... *


#15

[quote="DavidJoseph, post:1, topic:18743"]
I heard a Feeneyite-type argument recently that said that the Council of Trent, when it said that no one can be saved without baptism or "the desire thereof," didn't really mean there's such a thing as baptism of desire. Rather, they claim that it means that not only must we be baptized, but we must also desire it (I guess they're saying baptism can't be done against someone's will). As a parallel, they say that a sacrament can't be valid without proper matter or form. But, they say, proper matter alone or proper form alone won't suffice; you need both. And so, according to them, it's the same with baptism. I think they're comparing apples and oranges, but I don't really know the proper response to a claim like that. Can you help? Thanks in advance.

[/quote]

Really?? How would that apply to a 10 day old baby??


#16

=DavidJoseph;540174]I heard a Feeneyite-type argument recently that said that the Council of Trent, when it said that no one can be saved without baptism or “the desire thereof,” didn’t really mean there’s such a thing as baptism of desire. Rather, they claim that it means that not only must we be baptized, but we must also desire it (I guess they’re saying baptism can’t be done against someone’s will). As a parallel, they say that a sacrament can’t be valid without proper matter or form. But, they say, proper matter alone or proper form alone won’t suffice; you need both. And so, according to them, it’s the same with baptism. I think they’re comparing apples and oranges, but I don’t really know the proper response to a claim like that. Can you help? Thanks in advance.

Don’t think so :o

John 3: 5 CLEARLY syates the Ordianry form of baptism is with Water in the Trinity.

I’ve read all of TRENT, but it’s been many years ago. I still don’t think think this is true.

God Bless,
Pat

Were your isssue true how could infant Baptism have saving grace?


#17

There argument places the creator of the universe and his instrument the church in a very odd position. The church requires an extensive catechesis process lasting at least a year for most but according to this argument states that one loses salvation if they die before the process is finished??? If I am understanding this argument correctly which I admit I might not be it sounds like nonsense!:frowning:


#18

Don’t worry.

The official Church teaching:

CCC 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.


#19

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