"Holy Baptism possesses first place among the Sacraments, because it is the

door of spiritual life, for by it we become members of Christ, and of the

Body of the Church."

Being born again (John 3) is Baptism (Council of Trent).

Baptism of desire is when actual Baptism is impossible (as the thief on

the Cross); baptism of blood (martyrdom before baptism) is also recognized

as valid.

Baptism is a Sacrament that indelibly marks the soul; therefore it can't

be repeated. Theologians commonly teach that this character remains on the

soul for all eternity for the greater humiliation of those who are lost

(THE SACRAMENTS, Connell, page 28).

Scriptures used to "prove" baptism are Matthew 3:15; Mark 16:16; John

3:3,5,7; Acts 2:38, 8:12,36, 9:18, 10:47, 16:15,33, 19:5; Romans 6:3,4; I

Corinthians 1:14,17, 10:2, 12:13; Galatians 3:27; Ephesians 4:5; Colossians

2:12; Titus 3:5; I Peter 3:21.


"By the Sacrament of Baptism into the crucified and risen Christ man is

reborn to a sharing of the divine life" (Vatican II).

"Jesus explicitly asserted the necessity of Baptism (LUMEN GENTIUM,


There has been talk, in modern Roman Catholic circles, of administering

conditional Baptism, which would later be voluntarily confirmed. There has

never been papal blessing of this idea even though children, at

Confirmation, do agree to their baptismal vows.

From CATHOLIC ANSWERS newsletter, December, 1989. "The code of canon law

explains that clean, true and natural water is necessary for baptism (canon

849). Liquids can be assessed in three categories: those that are certainly

valid, those that are doubtfully valid, and those that are certainly


"Certainly valid liquids include: water as found in rivers, oceans,

lakes, hot springs, melted ice or snow, mineral water, dew, slightly muddy

water (as long as the water predominates), and slightly brackish water.

Doubtfully valid liquids are those that are a mixture of water and some

other substance, such as beer, soda, light tea, thin soup or broth, and

artificially scented water such as rose water. The last category is of

liquids which are certainly invalid. It includes: oil, urine, grease,

phlegm, shoe polish, and milk. The rule of thumb is that, in emergency

situations, you should always try to baptize with certainly valid liquids,

beginning, of course, with plain, clean water. If plain water isn't

available, then baptize with a doubtfully valid liquid, using the formula,

`If this water is valid, I baptize you in the name of the Father...' If the

danger of death passes, the person should later be conditionally baptized

with certainly valid water. Never attempt to baptize anyone with a

certainly invalid liquid."

From the 1989 CATHOLIC ALMANAC. "Baptism is the sacrament of spiritual

regeneration by which a person is incorporated in Christ and made a member

of his Mystical Body, given grace, and cleansed from original sin. Actual

sins and the punishment due for them are remitted also if the person

baptized was guilty of such sins. The theological virtues of faith, hope

and charity are given with grace. The sacrament confers a character on the

soul and can be received only once." (page 223)

Nathaniel Ryan Morreala was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Morreala of

Marlboro, Mass. They were supporters of a proposed abortion clinic. Their

pastor refused to perform the baptism because of their public support of

birth control and abortion advocate William Baird.

Jesuit priest Joseph O'Rourke defied orders from his superiors and

baptized 3 month old Nathaniel on the steps of the church his parents


Boston archdiocese officials have said the baptism was valid but not

licit because O'Rourke did not have his superior's permission and because

the Morrealas did not renounce their belief in a woman's right to abortion.

O'Rourke said, "The worst thing to come out of all of this is that the

public can see the chaos in the Catholic community and the blindness about

what the true facts are in the area of reproduction. O'Rourke is a member

of the Board of Directors of the New York-based organization called


Comment by Rev. Connell Maguire, Groton, CT, "Consistent with Catholic

tradition that baptism is necessary for Heaven, the failings of the parents

are insufficient cause to justify denial of the sacrament to infants.

Authentic Catholic tradition indicates that the celebration of the

Sacrament is an occasion to exhort rather that coerce the parents."

Despite the opposition of many members of the Jesuit community and other

friends, Jesuit priest O'Rourke, who baptized the baby, was dismissed from

the Jesuit order.

Comment by Rev. James O'Shaughnessy, Notre Dame. "This entire affair is

a sad commentary on the present state of the Church as a community of

believers. Baptism is not to be done just by anyone at any time under any

circumstances. This act of dying and rising, this rebirth, must also find

its full expression in the ritual acts of initiation. An act of protest in

a circus atmososphere on a church steps hardly qualifies. Now we attack the

bastion of authoritarianism with clubs made of `instant sacraments.'"

Cartoon: priest to baby over baptismal font, "And dost thou renounce


Jesuit theologian Joseph Powers of California's Alma College would postpone

the ceremony until the age of ten or twelve. "The whole meaning of

baptism," he states, "is not to make a Christian out of a child but to

incorporate the individual, at some time in life, into the community of the


Some modern theologians have suggested: "When through excusable ignorance

one does not know the necessity of baptism but desires to do the will of

God, Baptism of desire can be applied. This is being applied to some

unbaptized babies who would otherwise have been in limbo; since they would

have gladly been baptized had they grown to adulthood the baptism of desire

is already applied.

From THE SACRAMENTS, Rev. Connell, C.SS.R., page 3, "For the spiritual

rebirth of the soul to the life of grace, He prescribed the external

washing of the body with water - Baptism - which all must receive in order

to enter the Kingdom of heaven.


John 1:13 proves that being born again is not baptism. He says the New

Birth is not of the will of man, and baptism cannot be performed without

the operation of the will of the priest or minister.

We can compare Titus 3:5 with Matthew 3:15; the latter tells us Baptism is

a work of righteousness, and the former says we are not saved by works of


We can compare biblical regeneration with baptismal regeneration. No change

takes place with the latter, but when one is scripturally regenerated, he

is a new creature in Christ.

No guarantee is given with baptismal regeneration, but according to I

Peter 1:3,4 a Christian is begotten again to a lively hope . . . to an

inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that fadeth not away, reserved

in heaven for you.

The difference is that baptismal regeneration is finite; biblical

regeneration is infinite.

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