Would those baptized by desire go to Purgatory?

You realize that this is precisely what some people did, in the early Church, and for precisely that reason, right?

(Penance was a long and arduous process back then, and for a while, it was a “two strikes and you’re out” ballgame. So, rather than take chances that they’d be in the Church and then out forever, they put off baptism until their “sinning days” were beyond them.)

Hang on a second! You’re answering a different question than the one that @TheAdvocate197 has asked! You’re talking about a “baptism of desire”, but he’s talking about “lack of knowledge of Christ”! The two are not the same thing! A ‘baptism of desire’ refers to a catechumen who is anticipating the sacrament of baptism, but dies before he’s able to be baptized. (See CCC, #1259.)

On the other hand, Advocate is asking about someone who does not know Christ or His Gospel, but attempts to seek the Good:

The Church teaches that these, too, can be saved (see Lumen gentium, #16). But, the Church doesn’t teach the means through which this happens. I think it would be presumptuous to call this a “baptism of desire”, as well.

So, I would answer that this is not “a kind of baptism”, and therefore, does not remove the temporal punishment for sin, per se.

However, we might ask the question of whether that person actually committed sins that are imputable to him, if he had no explicit knowledge of God, or Christ, or the Gospel. The catechism talks about this “invincible ignorance” in its discussion of conscience and imputability of sin (see CCC, #1790-93). I think it might be possible to make the case that such a person could, in God’s judgment, be held not responsible for his sins. In such a case, then, there would be the question of whether the ‘temporal punishment due to sin’ applies.

So, I might think that the full answer to the OP’s question is “no, in the case you raise, it doesn’t seem like ‘salvation’ implicitly includes the remission of the temporal punishment due to sin; however, it’s possible that there might be none to be remitted, anyway.”

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I am thinking of implication, like Apologist Jimmy Akin, who commented:

Recent doctrinal development has made clear that it is possible for one to receive baptism of desire by an implicit desire. This is the principle that makes it possible for non-Christians to be saved. If they are genuinely committed to seeking and living by the truth, then they are implicitly committed to seeking Jesus Christ and living by his commands; they just don’t know that he is the Truth they’re seeking (cf. John 14:6).


I would take that to be the case where God, on His own initiative, provides the sanctifying grace that is normatively imparted through baptism. Akin’s whole argument points to justification, which is what that sanctifying grace accomplishes. However, the argument that this is, therefore, ‘baptism’, really doesn’t hold. However, he does demonstrate that this grant of sanctifying grace is what these (about whom Lumen gentium 16 talks about) actually receive.

Good catch there on the definition of “baptism of desire”. I missed that part of the OP’s post.

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And Catechism 1257: " God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments."

From what I’ve read, baptism of desire does not remit the punishment like real baptism, but I don’t think the Church has ruled on it. For example, here’s what one Doctor of the Church says:

St Alphonsus Liguori’s 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 [“fluminis”], of desire [“flaminis” = wind] 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” [“flaminis”] because it takes place by the impulse of the Holy Ghost who is called a wind [“flamen”]. 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.”

Baptism of blood is the shedding of one’s blood, i.e. death, suffered for the Faith or for some other Christian virtue. Now this baptism is comparable to true Baptism because, like true Baptism, it remits both guilt and punishment as it were ex opere operato. I say as it were because martyrdom does not act by as strict a causality [“non ita stricte”] as the sacraments, but by a certain privilege on account of its resemblance to the passion of Christ. Hence martyrdom avails also for infants seeing that the Church venerates the Holy Innocents as true martyrs. That is why Suarez rightly teaches that the opposing view is at least temerarious. In adults, however, acceptance of martyrdom is required, at least habitually from a supernatural motive.

It is clear that martyrdom is not a sacrament, because it is not an action instituted by Christ, and for the same reason neither was the Baptism of John a sacrament: it did not sanctify a man, but only prepared him for the coming of Christ.

That’s exactly my point, @Vico. God can impart sanctifying grace without baptism. To say otherwise – that is, that the salvation that a person who does not know God or the Gospel attains is therefore ‘baptism’ – runs afoul of what CCC 1257 is telling us.

There is the Sacrament of Baptism (this is water baptism) and then there are the non-sacramental baptisms described in the Catechism as baptism of desire and baptism of blood.

Note that Catechism 1257 refers to the water baptism, the sacrament: “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.”

We have no way of knowing if the good thief went through a state of purgation.
We just don’t know those details. We have Christ’s words, not the depths of the details behind them.

Note that this doesn’t apply to the case the OP asks about – that person hasn’t had the Gospel proclaimed to him and he hasn’t had the possibility of asking for the sacrament. Therefore, this paragraph isn’t saying that baptism (as a sacrament, and per se) is necessary for him. :wink:

Right, that part that I quoted second. The ending of 1257 that I quoted first does: “God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments.”

OP here. Thanks, this is the best answer so far. But a person who is a catechumen who has died a martyr has undergone what is more commonly called baptism of blood.

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.

Baptism of desire refers to those who are ignorant of Christ through no fault of their own but sincerely seek truth in their lives, and it can be supposed—and only God knows this—that such people would have desired baptism had they known its necessity. So they desire baptism implicitly.

1260 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.

So yes, Baptism blood is type of baptism of desire, but it is an explicit desire. But Baptism of desire can also refer to those who are ignorant of Christ of Christ through no faulty of their own and who desire baptism implicitly.

I suppose the answer is, the fruits of Baptism—including removing the punishment for sins—only apply to those who explicitly desire Baptism: those who eventually undergo the water Baptism, and those who might die before celebrating the sacrament. Therefore, they would receive the full remission for their sins. But maybe this only applies to the martyrs because death for Christ’s sake is the greatest penance. Notice that in CCC 1258 above mention of the fruits of Baptism are only explicitly mentioned when dealing with Baptism by blood.

I posit that for those who implicitly desire Baptism, they might be saved, but would still have to atone for their sins in Purgatory. Therefore, for them, they don’t get the same “freebie” as those who have undergone water Baptism or those who martyred themselves.

Perhaps this latter case would also apply to those explicitly desire it, but were not martyred, such as a catechumen who dies, say, of a heart attack before they had the chance to be baptized by water.

As far as the good thief, all we need to know is that Jesus—who is God—is sovereign, and that we are saved by God’s grace. If Christ willed for him to be in paradise without further purification, that is up to His perfect justice and mercy.

Temporal punishment for sins is removed by baptism but note that this requires sorrow for each sin for it to be removed by baptism. Baltimore Catechism No. 3, 628: “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.”

However, penitential practices can be performed post baptism for removal of temporal punishments.

It is a dogmatic teaching from the Council of Trent that the sacraments are necessary for salvation, either receiving them or having the desire.

CANON IV.-If any one saith, that the sacraments of the New Law are not necessary unto salvation, but superfluous; and that, without them, or without the desire thereof, men obtain of God, through faith alone, the grace of justification;-though all (the sacraments) are not indeed necessary for every individual; let him be anathema.

Therefore, everyone who is saved without the sacrament of baptism must have the desire for it, which may be merely implicit in the case of invincible ignorance.

Yes, but my point is that temporal punishment for is removed for baptism or explicitly desired baptism by those martyred (Baptism by blood). And not for those who desire it explicitly but are not martyred, and not for those who desire it implicitly.

No, no – we’re not talking about martyrs; after all, they do undergo a “baptism of blood”. No, we’re talking about catechumens who merely die prior to their baptism. They undergo a “baptism of desire.”

Ahh, but that’s not what the catechism talks about. In the paragraph you quote, the catechism is talking about martyrdom. That’s not what we’re talking about (unless you’re only asking about unbaptized martyrs). And, the catechism talks about catechumens in terms of “baptism of desire.” But, neither the catechism nor Lumen gentium refers in the terms you use – that is, those “ignorant of Christ through no fault of their own” – as receiving “baptism of desire.” If you have a magisterial citation that does, I’d ask that you present it ('cause I never have!).

So, “implicit desire for baptism” – by virtue of not knowing Christ or the Gospel – is not what’s covered by a “baptism of desire”. Church documents refer to that only in the context of catechumens. (But, if I’m wrong, I’m hoping someone will produce the magisterial document that demonstrates the error.)

That’s not what CCC 1260 is saying. If baptism of desire is ID’ed as that which persons who explicitly desire baptism might experience, and those referenced in 1260 only “would have desired”, it necessarily means that they didn’t desire it. They only would have. So, baptism of desire, by definition, cannot apply to them! Instead, we see the mercy of God and His desire to save all persons – He grants them salvation, even though they never desired baptism. God is good!

Umm… no, it doesn’t. It says that “Baptism of blood , like the desire for Baptism , brings about the fruits of Baptism without being a sacrament.” So… both bring the “fruits of baptism”.

…add to that catechumens who die before baptism.

The consequence of what you are saying is this: say a person is a catechumen and dies of a heart attack months before he undergoes water baptism; he would be saved and would skip purgatory. In the months before his preparation for the planned baptism as he was taking classes, he did sin along the way: mortal and venial sins. But since he was desiring Baptism and he has that heart attack, he obtains the fruits of Baptism, therefore, no purgatory.

Does this sound correct?

Also, just for the record, you disagree with Jimmy Akin when he writes:

Recent doctrinal development has made clear that it is possible for one to receive baptism of desire by an implicit desire. This is the principle that makes it possible for non-Christians to be saved. If they are genuinely committed to seeking and living by the truth, then they are implicitly committed to seeking Jesus Christ and living by his commands; they just don’t know that he is the Truth they’re seeking (cf. John 14:6).

So you disagree with Akin here? I just want clarification so I know your position.

For the record… I’m saying that he does a great job of demonstrating justification, but unfortunately, he only asserts ‘baptism’. :wink:

Can you show an instance in which he demonstrates his claim of baptism, as opposed to merely demonstrating justification ?

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