No, the Church TEACHES that the Grace of Christian Baptism is necessary. C’mon, Ron, you know the difference. I know that you know the difference. You’re, like, the smartest guy here.
The Church TEACHES that there are only three types of baptism: water, blood, desire.
No, the Church TEACHES that the Grace of Baptism may be applied without the ordinary aquatic ceremony through desire (or blood, which is really just a subset of desire).
The Church does not TEACH that this Grace cannot be applied in some other (but unknown) manner.
It is not a HOPE that there MIGHT be some other way.
Yes, it is. From the Catechism (emphasis mine):
CCC 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,”[sup]64[/sup] 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.
__________64 Mk 10 14; cf. 1 Tim 2:4.
The Church infallibly teaches that all who die unrepentant from actual mortal sin are sent to Hell forever (Pope Benedict 12, On the Beatific Vision of God).
I agree that this is the ordinary teaching (such as the ordinary teaching about the necessity of Baptism). But I don’t agree that there’s no extraordinary means (and I’m not saying that I think there is, but I don’t believe the Church teaches that there is no such means).
The teaching of the Church applies to Catholics, who have recourse to Sacramental Confession. The Church withholds Confession from Baptized protestants (which I think is very wrong, BTW).
Persons who lack access to the Sacrament of Confession can be saved by an act of perfect contrition. This contrition, in my opinion, can be implicit. It can take the form of an act of true selfless love of neighbor, just as the same type of act of love can supply the lack of baptism in the non-Christian. So non-Catholic Christians and non-Christians and even non-believers can be saved: implicit baptism of desire and implicit perfect contrition can save, in the extreme case.
But, of course, nobody knows if our contrition is truly perfect (ie, motivated only by our sorrow for offending God, and not influenced even a tiny bit by fear of punishment). And, for Catholics, this must be accompanied by a firm resolve to attend regular Confession at the earliest opportunity. I don’t think the Church has taught that protestants are (or are not) included in this teaching. This is speculation.
If the youthful sin many years ago is followed by implicit perfect contrition in the form of an act of true selfless love of God or neighbor, then he returns to the state of grace and can be saved.
Ummmm. That’s a hopeful opinion, but I don’t think it lives in the same zip code as actual Church doctrine. It might be true (and I’d like to think it is), but I don’t think the Church teaches anything like this.
JP2 “The universality of salvation means that it is granted not only to those who explicitly believe in Christ and have entered the Church. Since salvation is offered to all, it must be made concretely available to all.”
Saint John Paul the Great was speaking about invincible ignorance. AFAIK, the Church has never extended the concept of invincible ignorance to Baptized Christians (whether Catholic or not).