Were there any Doctors of the Church or Popes who supported Baptism of Desire?

[Mods, if this *not the place to create this thread, then please relocate this thread to a more appropriate place. Thank you. -TWM]

Hello, currently as of late, I’ve been doing a Religion Project on Baptism of Desire. I have to ask, were there any Doctors of the Church or Popes who supported Baptism of Desire? If so, who was it, and what did they say about BOD? In the case of the Popes, is there any encyclicals that I should look into, for research on BOD?

Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks,

-TWM

You need to do your own homework. But I’ll point you to a couple of important passages you’ll want to familiarize yourself with.

Council of Trent, Sess, IV (decree on justification), chap. iv.

Unam Sanctam (Bull of Boniface VIII)

the place to create this thread, then please relocate this thread to a more appropriate place. Thank you. -TWM]

Hello, currently as of late, I’ve been doing a Religion Project on Baptism of Desire. I have to ask, were there any Doctors of the Church or Popes who supported Baptism of Desire? Yes. The first one that comes to my mind is St. Ambrose, who was a doctor of the Church and said:

“But I hear you lamenting because he [the Emperor Valentinian] had not received the sacraments of baptism. Tell me, what else could we have, except the will to it, the asking for it? He too had just now this desire, and after he came into Italy it was begun, and a short time ago he signified that he wished to be baptized by me. Did he, then, not have the grace which he desired? Did he not have what he eagerly sought? Certainly, because he sought it, he received it. What else does it mean: ‘Whatever just man shall be overtaken by death, his soul shall be at rest [Wis. 4:7]’?” (Sympathy at the Death of Valentinian [A.D. 392]).

Between 1130 and 1143 A.D., Pope Innocent II said, “Baptism is ministered invisibly to one whom not contempt of religion but death excludes. … [T]he book also of the blessed Ambrose concerning the death of Valentinian…[says the same thing].” (I don’t know what document this quote comes from.)

St. Thomas Aquinas supported baptism of desire in the Summa Theologica Part 3 Article 68 Question 2: newadvent.org/summa/4068.htm#article2

Quotes from other Church Fathers, including some Doctors of the Church, can be found here: catholic.com/tracts/the-necessity-of-baptism

Not sure if you have in mind the Baptism of martyrdom/blood as well, but just in case:

“We have, indeed, a second [baptismal] font which is one with the former [water baptism]: namely, that of blood, of which the Lord says: ‘I am to be baptized with a baptism’ [Luke 12:50], when he had already been baptized. He had come through water and blood, as John wrote [1 John 5:6], so that he might be baptized with water and glorified with blood. . . . This is the baptism which replaces that of the fountain, when it has not been received, and restores it when it has been lost” (Tertullian, Baptism, 16 [A.D. 203]).

“[Catechumens who suffer martyrdom] are not deprived of the sacrament of baptism. Rather, they are baptized with the most glorious and greatest baptism of blood, concerning which the Lord said that he had another baptism with which he himself was to be baptized [Luke 12:50]” (Cyprian of Carthage, Letters, 72[73]:22 [A.D. 253)

[On the forms of forgiveness from sins] “First, that is that by which we are baptized unto the forgiveness of sins. A second forgiveness is found in the suffering of martyrdom.” (Origen, Homilies on Leviticus, 2,4 [A.D. 244] )

“If anyone does not receive Baptism, he does not have salvation. The only exception is the martyrs, who, even without water, will receive the kingdom. …For the Savior calls martyrdom a Baptism, saying, “Can you drink the cup which I drink, and be baptized with the Baptism with which I am to be baptized [Mk 10:38]?” Indeed, the martyrs too confess, by being made a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men [1Cor 4:9]. Soon you too will confess: - but it is not yet time for you to hear of these things.” (Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures, 3,10 [A.D. 350] )

Just to add another Pope and Doctor to those already mentioned:

**Pope Innocent III, From the letter “Debitum pastoralis officii” **

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.

St. Alphonsus Liguori, Moral Theology, Bk. 6, nn. 95-7

Baptism, therefore, coming from a Greek word that means ablution or immersion in water, is distinguished into Baptism of water, of desire, and of blood.

We shall speak below of Baptism of water, which was very probably instituted before the Passion of Christ the Lord, when Christ was baptised by John. But baptism of desire is perfect conversion to God by contrition or love of God above all things accompanied by an explicit or implicit desire for true Baptism of water, the place of which it takes as to the remission of guilt, but not as to the impression of the [baptismal] character or as to the removal of all debt of punishment. It is called “of wind” because it takes place by the impulse of the Holy Ghost who is called a wind. Now it is de fide that men are also saved by Baptism of desire, by virtue of the Canon Apostolicam, “de presbytero non baptizato” and of the Council of Trent, session 6, Chapter 4 where it is said that no one can be saved “without the laver of regeneration or the desire for it.”

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