Would those baptized by desire go to Purgatory?

SINCE: According to the CCC, baptism takes away all of your sins, both original and actual, as well as punishment for sin:

1263 By Baptism all sins are forgiven, original sin and all personal sins, as well as all punishment for sin. In those who have been reborn nothing remains that would impede their entry into the Kingdom of God, neither Adam’s sin, nor personal sin, nor the consequences of sin, the gravest of which is separation from God.

AND: those who are baptized by blood or desire gain the same fruit as if they were baptized by water:

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.

THEREFORE: it is possible that a person who is ignorant of Christ through no fault of their own but sincerely seeks goodness and truth in their life obtain this baptism of desire and its fruits, and are saved. But since it is a kind of Baptism, which removes the punishment for sins, they would skip Purgatory.

Am I right so far?

Baltimore Catechism No. 3:

Q. 627. Are actual sins ever remitted by Baptism?
A. Actual sins and all the punishment due to them are remitted by Baptism, if the person baptized be guilty of any.

Q. 628. That actual sins may be remitted by baptism, is it necessary to be sorry for them?
A. That actual sins may be remitted by baptism it is necessary to be sorry for them, just as we must be when they are remitted by the Sacrament of Penance.

Thanks, but it doesn’t quite answer the question.

1 Like

One way to find out!

Any takers?


You’re right, it doesn’t. I think the answer to the question is: We just don’t know.

1 Like

No. Just like sacramental baptism, baptism of desire absolves not only your sins, but the temporal consequences of your sins.

1 Like

You’re confusing the forgiveness of sins/ removal of sins with the temporal punishment for FORGIVEN sins.

Being baptized, whether by water or desire, removes your sins if you are repentant for them. In other words, it does the same thing for the newly baptized person as Confession does for someone who was baptized years ago. It removes your sins.

However, Purgatory is not for removing unabsolved sins. It’s for the temporal punishment for FORGIVEN sins.

As we’ve said many times on here, picture a boy who is told by his father not to play ball in the yard because he might break a window. The boy disobeys his father, plays ball in the yard, and breaks the window. The boy is sorry, confesses to his father, is truly repentant for having disobeyed, and his loving father forgives him. Therefore, the relationship between the two of them is “fixed”. This is what Baptism does, or Confession with Absolution does. The sin is gone, the relationship with God is fixed.

However, the window is not fixed and still needs to have the glass cleaned up and be repaired. The father, who has forgiven the boy, therefore might make the boy sweep up the glass and contribute his allowance for a month to pay for the repair to the broken window. This is what Purgatory does. It fixes the “broken windows” caused by our already-forgiven sins, which have consequence beyond just affecting our own relationship with God.

Therefore, if you are baptized by water or desire just before dying, then you have a good chance of being SAVED. You are not punished for your past forgiven sins, punishment meaning you might go to Hell.

But you still might need to go to purgatory to pay for the consequences of your forgiven sins. Alternatively, God might decide you don’t need to go to purgatory because you have already served your purgaatory on earth, or you have perfect contrition for your sins. Let’s say that God decides you need some time in Purgatory; you’re already saved, because you will definitely be going on to Heaven.
So nothing “impedes your entry into the Kingdom of God”.

So the answer is that the person baptized by desire might get to skip Purgatory, and they might not. We don’t know for sure.

Baptism of blood is a little different because it’s thought that martyrs, those who give their life for God, have made a sacrifice so great that they might very well skip Purgatory. That is why martyrs can be beatified without a miracle.

Source please.

If this were the case then people would just wait and get baptized on their deathbeds.

Why not? Purgatory may be the result for those baptised (water, desire, fire) that do not have sorrow for all sins.

Well we know of one case going straight to Heaven: the good thief on the cross.

Who arguably did his purgatory on earth by dying a horrendous death.

1 Like

Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 1263: “By Baptism all sins are forgiven, original sin and all personal sins, as well as all punishment for sin. In those who have been reborn nothing remains that would impede their entry into the Kingdom of God, neither Adam’s sin, nor personal sin, nor the consequences of sin, the gravest of which is separation from God.“

Baltimore Catechism, paragraph 153: “Besides remitting the sins themselves, Baptism remits all the temporal punishment due to them.”

The Baltimore Catechism is not the official catechism of the Church, and never was. It has other stuff in it that the current Catechism takes a different position upon.

The official Catechism of the church simply says the entry into the Kingdom of God will not be impeded. Purgatory isn’t necessarily an impediment.

It seems unlikely that Baptism would remit all temporal punishment if a person was being baptized with imperfect contrition.

“By Baptism all sins are forgiven, original sin and all personal sins, as well as all punishment for sin.”

“ALL punishment” sounds pretty clear to me.

I had always thought baptism removed the need for purgatory for sins committed before then. No theologian I, so I could be wrong.

But as for waiting to die before baptism:

  1. The sin o presumption. Don’t put off what’s needed for salvation.
  2. How do you know you’ll have the chance to be baptized just before you die?
  3. How repentant are you if you won’t accept baptism?
  4. Once baptized you have access to the sacraments and the chance to do penance.

Many theologians (St. Alphonsus Liguori, among others) have interpreted that the baptism of desire brings sanctifying grace and allows salvation, but it does not imprint the permanent sacramental character of the baptism and it does not remove all temporal punishment of sin, unlike a sacramental baptism.

Summa Theologica presents this opinion (Third Part, question 69):

Therefore when an adult approaches Baptism, he does indeed receive the forgiveness of all his sins through his purpose of being baptized, but more perfectly through the actual reception of Baptism.
– –
As stated above (Article 1, Reply to Objection 2; III:68:2) man receives the forgiveness of sins before Baptism in so far as he has Baptism of desire, explicitly or implicitly; and yet when he actually receives Baptism, he receives a fuller remission, as to the remission of the entire punishment.

There is anecdotal evidence that one could die with the baptism of desire and go straight to Heaven.

1 Like

It’s not a question that comes up much because most baptisms are babies and children under the age of reason (about 7), who are not capable of committing mortal sins.

I would think the efficacy of baptism at removing temporal punishment as in purgatory would depend on the person’s state of mind, same as for confession. Purgatory is not considered an impediment to salvation as those who go there are already saved, they just aren’t ready to see the beatific vision. Also, some catechists like Fr. Groeschel don’t even see purgatory as a punishment, they describe it as a happy place because again the soul knows that it’s saved. And still other catechists such as St. Therese of Lisieux taught that we can easily skip Purgatory if we trust enough in God.

In the end, the answer is that we don’t know for sure.

Of course they could, it’s possible. There’s at least one saint, in addition to St. Dismas, who presumably went straight to Heaven having had the baptism of desire.

But as to whether all persons who die with the baptism of desire go straight to Heaven with no purgatory, we do not know.

I like to think that the three Kings or Magi, if they died before the gospel was preached to them, are in this category too.

1 Like
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.