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Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 2.djvu/312

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BAPTISM


266


BAPTISM


oompletpd. It is true that some Catholic writers fas Cajetaii, Durandus, Biel, Gerson. Toletus, Klee) have held that infants may be saved by an act of desire on the part of their parents, which is applied to them by some external sign, such as prayer or the invoca- tion of the Holy Trinity; but Pius V, by expunging this opinion, as expressed by Cajetan, from that author's commentary on St. Thomas, manifested his judgment that such a theory was not agreeable to the Church's belief.

X. Substitutes FOR the Sacrament. — The Fathers and theologians frequently divide baptism into three kinds: the baptism of water {aqnm or fluminis), the baptism of desire (flaminis), and the baptism of blood (sanguinis). However, only the first is a real sacrament. The latter two are denominated baptism only analogically, inasmuch as they supply the principal effect of baptism, namely, the grace which remits sins. It is the teaching of the Catholic Church that when the baptism of water becomes a physical or moral impossibility, eternal life may be obtained by the baptism of desire or the baptism of blood. (1) The baptism of desire (baptismus flaminis) is a perfect contrition of heart, and every act of perfect charity or pure love of God which contains, at least implicitly, a desire (votum) of baptism. The Latin word flamen is used because Flamen is a name for the Holy Ghost, Whose special office it is to move the heart to love God and to conceive penitence for sin. The "baptism of the Holy Ghost" is a term employed in the third century by the anonjonous author of the book "De Rebaptismate". The efficacy of this baptism of desire to supply the place of the baptism of water, as to its principal effect, is proved from the words of Christ. After He had declared the neces- sity of baptism (John, iii), He promised justifying grace for acts of charity or perfect contrition (John, xiv): "He that loveth Me, shall be loved of my Fa- ther: and I will love him and will manifest myself to him." And again: "If any one love me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and will make our abode with him. " Since these texts declare that justifying grace is bestowed on account of acts of perfect charity or contrition, it is evident that these acts supply the place of baptism as to its principal effect, the remis- sion of sins. This doctrine is set forth clearly by the Council of Trent. In the fourteenth session (cap. iv) the council teaches that contrition is sometimes perfected by charity, and reconciles man to God, before the Sacrament of Penance is received. In the fourth chapter of the sixth session, in speaking of the necessity of baptism, it says that men cannot obtain original justice "except by the laver of regeneration or its desire" (voto). The same doctrine is taught by Pope Innocent III (cap. Debitum, iv, De Bapt.), and the contrary propositions are condemned by Popes Pius V and Gregory XII, in proscribing the 31st and 33rd propositions of Baius.

We have already alluded to the funeral oration pronounced bj' St. Ambrose over the Emperor Valentinian II, a catechumen. The doctrine of the baptism of desire is here clearly set forth. St. Am- brose asks: "Did he not obtain the grace which he desired? Did he not obtain what he asked for? Certainly he obtained it because he asked for it." St. Augustine (IV, De Bapt., xxii) and St. Bernard (Ep. Ixxvii, ad H. de S. Victore) likewise discourse in the same sense concerning the baptism of desire. If it be said that this doctrine contradicts the uni- versal law of baptism made by Christ (John, iii), the answer is that the lawgiver has made an exception (John, xiv) in favour of those who have the baptism of desire. Neither would it be a consequence of this doctrine that a person justified by the baptism of desire would thereby be dispensed from seeking after the baptism of water when the latter became a


possibility. For, as has already been explained the baptismus flaminis contains the votum of re- ceiving the baptisinus aqiice. It is true that some of the Fathers of the Church arraign severely those who content themselves with the desire of recei^^ng the sacrament of regeneration, but they are speaking of catechumens who of their o^\^l accord delay the reception of baptism from unpraiseworthy motives. Finally, it is to be noted that only adults are capable of receiving the baptism of desire.

(2) The baptism of blood {baptismus sanguinis) is the obtaining of the grace of justification by suffering martjT-dom for the faith of Clirist. The term "laver of blood" (hvacrum sayuiziinis) is used by Tertullian (De Bapt., xvi) to distinguish this species of regene- ration from the "laver of water" (Jaracrum aqua:). "We have a second laver", he says "which is one and the same [with the first], namely the laver of blood." St. Cyprian (Ep. Ixxiii) speaks of "the most glorious and greatest baptism of blood" (sanguinis baptismiis). St. Augustine (De Civ. Dei, XIII, vii) says: "^\Tien any die for the confession of Christ without having re- ceived the la\'er of regeneration, it avails as much for the remission of their sins as if they had been washed in the sacred font of baptism." The Church grounds her belief in the efficacy of the baptism of blood on the fact that Christ makes a general state- ment of the saving power of martjTdom in the tenth chapter of St. Matthew: "Every one therefore that shall confess me before men, I will also confess him be- fore my Father who is in heaven" (v. 32); and: "He that shall lo.se his life for me shall find it" (v. 39). It is pointed out that these texts are so broadly worded as to include even infants, especially the latter text. That the former text also applies to them, has been constantly maintained by the Fathers, who declare that if infants cannot confess Christ with the mouth, they can by act. Tertullian (Adv. Valent., ii) speaks of the infants slaughtered by Herod as martyrs, and this has been the constant teaching of the Church. Another evidence of the mind of the Church as to the efficacy of the baptism of blood is found in the fact that she never prays for martjTS. Her opinion is well voiced by St. Augus- tine (Tr. Ixxiv in Joan.): "He does an injury to a martjT who prays for him." This shows that mar- tjTdom is believed to remit all sin and all punishment due to sin. Later theologians commonly maintain that the baptism of blood justifies adult martjTS independently of an act of charity or perfect contri- tion, and, as it were, ex opere operate, though, of course, they must have attrition for past sins. The reason is that if perfect charity, or contrition, were required in martjTdom, the distinction between the baptism of blood and the baptism of desire would be a useless one. Moreover, as it must be conceded that infant martjTS are justified without an act of charity, of which they are incapable, there is no solid reason for denjnng the same privilege to adults (Cf. Suarez, De Bapt.,disp. x.xxix.)

XI. Unbaptized Infants. — The fate of infants who die -n-ithout baptism must be briefly considered here. The Catholic teaching is uncompromising on this point, that all who depart this life without bap- tism, be it of water, or blood, or desire, are perpetually excluded from the vision of God. This teaching is groimded, as we have seen, on Scripture and tradi- tion, and the decrees of the Church. Moreover, that those who die in original sin, without ever having contracted any actual sin, are deprived of the happi- ness of heaven is stated explicitly in the Confession of Faith of the Eastern Emperor Michael Palaologus, which had been proposed to him by Pope Clement IV in 1267, and which he accepted in the presence of Gregory X at the Second Council of Lyons in 1274. The same doctrine is found also in the Decree of L'nion of the Greeks, in the Bull "Loetentur Cc;li" of Pope