BASIC R.C. BELIEF
"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
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.
POST VATICAN II
"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
CATHOLICS FOR FREE CHOICE.
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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