1. Baptism is Absolutely Necessary for Salvation
Finally we come to the question of baptism and of its necessity for salvation. In his paper, Father Donnelly does not commit himself openly to any statement about the necessity or lack of necessity of baptism for salvation, as he never commits himself openly about anything. But it is easy to see what he holds on the question from the texts he quotes and the way in which he arranges these texts, as also from the irrelevant comments he makes on the impossibility of judging the subjective state of Protestants. It is rather remarkable to watch a professor of dogmatic theology waste his logic and his scholarship in defending the sincerity of heretics, as if the admission of sincerity or lack of sincerity in a person had anything to do with the possibility of being saved without the Catholic Faith, outside the Catholic Church.
The same thing happens concerning baptism. After quoting the Council of Trent which says that baptism, or at least “the desire of it,” is necessary for justification, Father Donnelly goes on to discuss the inculpability, good faith and sincerity of those outside the Church. It is very clear that, hiding behind the authority of an Ecumenical Council, Father Donnelly claims to be defending orthodox doctrine, but in fact he destroys the whole import of the Council he quotes.
Father Donnelly says that “sanctifying grace and, consequently, a title to the Beatific Vision, are conferred by baptism of desire.” But what does he mean by “baptism of desire?” By misquoting Pius XI, as I have shown, Father Donnelly openly teaches that a person who is totally ignorant of the truths of the Faith and of the Catholic Church can be justified and attain eternal salvation while remaining in his ignorance until death. But Father Donnelly also says that, on the authority of the Council of Trent, at least a desire for baptism is necessary for justification. Therefore, it is clear that Father Donnelly believes that a person can have a desire for baptism while being totally ignorant of the Church, of the Catholic Faith, and of baptism of water.
Further, Father Donnelly believes that a man can be justified and be saved who “does not believe explicitly in the Catholic Church, and does not accept all the revealed truths proposed by her for belief.” But again he says, on the authority of the Council of Trent, that at least a desire for baptism is necessary for justification. It is clear, therefore, that Father Donnelly believes that a person can have baptism of desire, or more correctly a desire for baptism, which would confer sanctifying grace on him, while rejecting the Church and the truths proposed by her for belief.
Again, Father Donnelly claims that Pope Pius XI teaches “that only those who are ‘contumaciter’ and ‘pertinaciter’ divided from the Church cannot be saved as long as this condition exists.” Let us repeat, because Father Donnelly inserts this word “only” into the Pope’s statement, we must infer that Father Donnelly holds the following: Among those who hear of the Catholic Church and her baptism, only those who contumaciously and obstinately refuse the Catholic Church and her baptism will not be saved. The remainder — who refuse, but not contumaciously and obstinately, — will be justified and saved. But once more, since at least baptism of desire is necessary for justification, it is clear that, according to Father Donnelly, a person can have baptism of desire while rejecting baptism of water!
Let us keep in mind these three doctrines of Father Donnelly’s:
- that a person can be said to have a desire for baptism while being totally ignorant of the Catholic Faith and ignorant of the baptism of water;
- that a person can be said to have a desire for baptism while knowing the Catholic Church and the Catholic Faith and refusing both;
- that a person can be said to have a desire for baptism while knowing the baptism of water and refusing to receive it.
Before showing that these doctrines are heretical, let us see what the Church, in her definitions, in her tradition and her teachings, says about the necessity of baptism, for salvation.
Our Lord said to Nicodemus:
Amen I say to you, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. (John 3,5.)
St. John Chrysostom says, commenting on this text:
Bewail the infidels, bewail those who in nothing differ from the infidels, who died without illumination, without baptism; those are truly worthy of lamentations, those truly worthy of tears; they are outside of the kingdom, along with those who are subject to punishment, along with the damned. ‘Amen I say to you, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.’ 1
In a homily on the Acts of the Apostles the same Chrysostom says:
What do you suppose is my anguish when I hear that any person has been taken away unbaptized, while I reflect upon the intolerable punishments of that life, the inexorable doom! 2
Speaking on the dignity of the priesthood, St. John Chrysostom again says:
For it is manifest folly to despise so great a ministry, without which we could obtain neither salvation nor the good things that have been promised. For as no man can enter into the kingdom of Heaven, unless he be born of water and the Holy Ghost; and except he eat the flesh of the Lord, and drink His Blood, he shall be excluded from everlasting life; and as all these things are ministered only by the consecrated hands of priests, how could anyone without them either escape the fire of Hell or obtain the crown that is prepared? 3
Saint Ambrose says:
The Church is redeemed by the precious Blood of Christ. Therefore, whoever should believe, whether Jew or Greek, must know how to circumcise himself from sins, that he might be able to be saved; . . . for no one ascends into the kingdom of heaven except by the sacrament of baptism. 4
Pope St. Leo the Great says:
The souls of men, before they are breathed into their bodies, were not; nor would they be breathed into a body by anyone except by God the Maker, Who created both them and the bodies; and since by the transgression of the first man the whole progeny of the human race is vitiated, no one can be freed from the condition of the old man except by the sacrament of the baptism of Christ. 5
Tertullian says in his treatise On Baptism:
From that great pronouncement of Our Lord, Who said: “Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he does not have life,” it is prescribed that salvation comes to no one without baptism. 6
Saint Thomas Aquinas says, commenting on the Apostles’ Creed:
For just as a man cannot live in the flesh unless he is born in the flesh, even so a man cannot have the spiritual life of grace unless he be born again spiritually. This regeneration is effected by Baptism: ‘unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.’ 7
In a profession of faith prescribed to the Orientals, Pope Benedict XIV says:
Likewise, baptism is necessary for salvation for every human creature. 8 The Council of Trent anathematized anyone who would say that baptism is not absolutely necessary for salvation for every human creature: or if anyone should say: Canon 5. ‘If any one shall say that baptism is free, that is, not necessary for salvation, let him be anathema.’ 9
Saint Thomas Aquinas, in his treatise on the Sacraments, says: “It is manifest that all are bound to receive baptism, and that without it there cannot be salvation for men. ” 10
Saint Robert Bellarmine says the same in his treatise on the Sacrament of Baptism. He had to refute the heretics of his time, the Waldensians, the Zwinglians, the Lutherans, the Calvinists, and the followers of Wyclif. The first question he proves is that baptism is absolutely necessary for salvation. 11 In speaking of this, he says:
There was once the heresy of the Pelagians, saying that baptism was not necessary for the remission of original sin, but only for the attainment of the kingdom of Heaven, as Augustine testifies in Chapter 69 of his book on heresies. But our heretics, more audacious than the Pelagians, deny that baptism is necessary, not only for the remission of sin, but also for the attainment of the kingdom of Heaven. 12
Saint Robert Bellarmine then goes on to say that this same heresy is the heresy of Wyclif, Zwingli and Calvin. 13 And may we repeat, heresy being monotonously the same, the error St. Robert was fighting against is today once more being held by people who call themselves Catholics, and these same Catholics are, in our time, actually sharing the heresy of the Protestant heresiarchs. It must be a case of the greatest distress for this glorious Doctor of the Church, St. Robert Bellarmine, to see that some professors of theology in his own Society are teaching the very heresies which he combated all his life.
But to return to our subject, modern liberals would say that Baptism is not absolutely necessary for salvation because it would not be just to punish all those who are not baptized, as it would not be just to punish all those who do not accept and join His Church. Therefore, they conclude, on the authority of their own reasonings,
God must have innumerable other ways of saving those who are not baptized or who are baptized and join some heretical or schismatical sect. For no one can deny that there are innumerable non-Catholics who are sincere and ready to obey God in everything. God cannot punish eternally a person who is not baptized or is not a Catholic, if this is not his fault.
According to this false and presumptuous reasoning, they arbitrarily postulate the existence of other means for saving all those non-Catholics, means other than the Church and her sacraments. According to them, such things as invincible ignorance, sincerity, readiness to do God’s will, and so on, can confer sanctifying grace on a person who is ignorant or unwilling to receive the sacraments of the Church and affiliation with her. Bainvel teaches this openly, and also Father Donnelly, who teaches that a person ignorant of the Church, or a heretic who refuses to become a Catholic, can be justified and receive sanctifying grace without the means ordained by God. This is what makes them speak of the Church and Baptism as the “ordinary means instituted by God for salvation.” Thus, Bainvel says:
It is indeed the order desired by God, the rule He lays down, that all shall be saved within the Church. The exceptional cases, be they ever so numerous — and they are less numerous than appears at first sight — are outside the Divine intention because of the fault of the human will, and are supplied by God with an extraordinary economy, a special Providence granted in the measure of necessity. 14
The question, may we say, is not how numerous the exceptions are, but whether we have a right to assume that there are any exceptions at all, in other words, to assume that God has any other plans for salvation besides the Church and Baptism. Is not Father Bainvel guilty of rationalization here — that is, guilty of an attempt to subject revelation to his own reasoning?
St. Augustine and St. Robert Bellarmine answer for us by saying that the eternal damnation of those outside the Church and of the unbaptized might seem to be unjust; but this is only because the ways of the justice of God are hidden to us in this life, but when they will be revealed to us in the Beatific Vision, we shall see how very just is the damnation of the unbaptized. 15
However, says St. Robert, those who imagine that there is another remedy, besides baptism, openly contradict the Gospel, the Councils, the Fathers, and the consensus of the Universal Church. 16
The heretics and liberal Catholics of Bellarmine’s time were especially trying to invent other means of salvation for unbaptized babies.
If baptism is necessary for salvation, they would say, then innumerable infants would perish without being guilty, which seems to be against God’s justice.” St. Robert answers, saying: “Even though children are not baptized without being guilty thereof, yet they do not perish without any guilt on their part, since they have original sin. 17
The same arguments are brought forth nowadays in relation to adults, because the liberals of this day would not dare openly contradict what has already been clearly defined about children, namely that they cannot be saved without actual baptism. But what St. Robert says about children applies to adults as well, for, even though some of them could die unbaptized because they never heard of Christ, and hence without being guilty of this ignorance, yet these will perish eternally because they have original sin and because of their actual sins, as St. Thomas unmistakably teaches in the Summa. 18 On the other hand, those who heard of Christ and do not join His Church and receive baptism, will perish because of their refusal, which is the sin of infidelity, the most serious of all sins, as St. Thomas says. 19
But it is pride that incites the liberals to their foolish reasonings. For, as St. Robert says, they do seem to know that the care and protection of all men belongs to God much more than to them,
and Christ well knew, when He asserted that baptism was necessary (John 3) that many would be deprived of this remedy without any fault of their own, and it would be most easy for God, if He wished, to provide baptism for all children, as He provides it for all His elect . . . or those whom God predestined, to them He provides most efficaciously the means of salvation. 20
The only remedy against original sin is baptism, and all those whom God predestined to salvation, He draws them to this remedy. All the children who die unbaptized and all the adults who die ignorant of baptism, or who, having been drawn to it by God’s Providence, refuse it, are not predestinate, but will perish eternally.
As a matter of fact, the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation was always recognized so strongly, that some of the Fathers of the Church went as far as to affirm that all those who die unbaptized, even babies, are punished in eternal fire.
For example, St. Fulgentius says in his De Fide ad Petrum:
Hold most firmly and do not doubt at all, that not only men who already have the use of reason, but even children who either begin in their mother’s wombs and die there, or who, being already born of their mothers, pass from this world without the sacrament of holy baptism, which is given in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, will be punished with the torment of everlasting fire. 21
St. Augustine says the same in his De Anima et eius Origine. 22
But as St. Bonaventure says in his Breviloquium:
Lastly, because the lack of that justice in those who are now born is not the result of any choice of their own will, or of any actual delectation, it is not fitting that there should be punishment of the senses in Hell after this life for original sin, because divine justice, which is always accompanied by an overflowing mercy, punishes us not beyond what is merited, but rather short of that. We must believe that blessed Augustine knew this, though his words on the surface seem to sound otherwise because of contempt for the Pelagian error, which granted them a different kind of happiness. So that Augustine might lead them back to a middle position, he turned more easily to the other extreme. 23
In those ages of strong faith, baptism was known to be so important that the holy Fathers were not afraid to go even a little farther in their orthodox affirmations in order to destroy the hateful heresies that surrounded them.
2. Is Baptism by Itself Sufficient for Salvation?
When is baptism valid?
- When water is used.
- When the proper words are used: “I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.
- If the person baptizing has the intention of doing what Christ intended, and
- In the case of an adult being baptized, if the person baptized has the intention of receiving baptism.
For, as Pope Innocent III said,
But he who never consents but entirely contradicts, receives neither the res nor the character of the sacrament. 24
St. Thomas also says,
It must be said that if the intention of receiving the sacrament is lacking in an adult, he should be rebaptized. 25
Now that we have shown that baptism is necessary for salvation, we may ask, — is valid baptism sufficient for salvation? And we answer, for children, yes, but for adults, no. What more is required of an adult besides baptism for salvation? Two more things are required: (1) the Catholic Fatith, since “without Faith it is impossible to please God,” (Heb. 11, 6) and (2) membership in the Catholic Church under the authority of the Roman Pontiff, since “outside the Church there is no salvation” and since, as St. Thomas says in his treatise, Against the Errors of the Greeks, “to be subject to the Roman Pontiff is necessary for salvation. ” 26
1. Concerning the first of these requirements, namely, Faith, St. Thomas, in his treatise on baptism, asks the question whether faith is necessary for baptism so that sanctifying grace be conferred on the soul by the sacrament. The Angelic Doctor answers that, in order to receive sanctifying grace through baptism, “right faith is of necessity required for baptism; since, as it is said in Rom. III, 22, ‘the justice of God is by faith in Jesus Christ. ‘” 27 The Council of Trent speaks of the “Sacrament of Baptism, which is the ‘Sacrament of Faith,’ without which faith there can be no justification for anyone. ” 28
Thus, baptism can be valid even if the subject who receives it does not confess the Catholic Faith, but it cannot be profitable for salvation if the subject is an adult.
2. Likewise, all those who receive baptism without the explicit intention of becoming members of the Catholic Church under the authority of the Roman Pontiff will receive a valid sacrament, but not the effects of the sacrament, namely, sanctifying grace and salvation, except if they are children.
St. Alphonsus Liguori says in his treatise, On the Commandments and the Sacraments: “We must believe that the Roman Catholic Church is the only true Church. Hence, they who are out of our Church, or separated, cannot be saved, except infants who die after baptism. ” 29 But this is not an exception. Children who are baptized are real members of the Church, even if their parents and the minister who baptizes them are not Catholics. Every child validly baptized is a Catholic, and every adult who is validly baptized and who confesses the Catholic Faith, with the intention of joining the Catholic Church, is a Catholic.
This is the definition St. Robert Bellarmine gives of the Catholic Church:
The Church is one only and not two, and this one and true Church is the congregation of men bound together by the profession of the same Christian Faith, and by the communion of the same sacraments, under the rule of the legitimate pastors, and especially of the one Vicar of Christ on Earth, the Roman Pontiff. 30
All those, therefore, who do not profess the Catholic Faith, or who do not participate in the sacraments of the Church or who do not submit to the authority of the Roman Pontiff, are not members of the Church and, therefore, cannot be saved.
Does this mean that every adult who is baptized outside the Catholic Church, or every baptized child who grows up and follows the heretical sect of his parents, cannot be saved? Yes, unless, before he dies, he repents and joins the Catholic Church. Let us see what the Fathers and Doctors of the Church have to say on this point.
St Fulgentius says:
Whether in the Catholic Church or in any heretical or schismatical church, if anyone receives the sacrament of baptism, in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, he receives the integral sacrament; but salvation, which is the power of the sacrament, he will not have, if he has received the same sacrament outside the Catholic Church. Thus, therefore, he must return to the Church, not that he might receive the sacrament of baptism anew, which no one ought to repeat in any baptized man, but that, being now in Catholic society, he might receive eternal life, which can never, in any way, be obtained by one who, with the sacrament of baptism, would remain a stranger to the Catholic Church. 31
Again, St. Fulgentius says:
Hold most firmly, and do not doubt at all, that the sacrament of baptism can be, not only in the Catholic Church, but also among the heretics who baptize in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, but that outside the Catholic Church it cannot profit. Nay, rather, as in the Church salvation is conferred by the sacrament of baptism to those who believe rightly, so to those baptized outside the Church, if they do not return to the Church, destruction is completely fulfilled by the same baptism. For, the unity of this Ecclesiastical society is of such value for salvation, that he is not saved by baptism to whom it has not been given where it ought to have been given. 32
Hold most firmly, and do not doubt at all, that everyone baptized outside the Catholic Church cannot be made partaker of eternal life, if before the end of this earthly life, he does not return to the Catholic Church and become incorporated with it. 33
The same St. Fulgentius says:
Hold most firmly, and do not doubt at all, that not only all the pagans, but also all the Jews, and all the heretics and schismatics who end the present life outside the Catholic Church, will go into the eternal fire, which was prepared for the Devil and his angels. (Mt. 25,41 ) 34
St. Augustine says in his commentary on St. John:
And yet it may be that one may have baptism apart from the dove (i. e., the Catholic Church), but, that baptism apart from the dove should do him good, is impossible. 35
Speaking of the heretic or schismatic St. Augustine says:
I, says he, have baptism. You have it, but that baptism without charity profits you nothing, because without charity you are nothing . . . For you did have baptism to destruction, outside (the Church); if you shall have it within, it begins to profit you to salvation. 36
St. Bonaventure says, in his Breuiloquium:
Because outside of the unity of faith and love, which makes us sons and members of the Church, no one can be saved, hence, if the sacraments are received outside the Church, they are not effective for salvation, although they are sacraments. However, they can become useful if one returns to Holy Mother the Church, the only Spouse of Christ, whose sons alone Christ the Spouse deems worthy of eternal inheritance. 37
St. Augustine, in his On Baptism: Against the Donatists, Bk.4, says:
The Church compared to Paradise indicates to us that certain men are able to receive baptism even outside of Her, but that no one is able either to grasp or to retain the salvation of beatitude outside of Her.
For even the rivers from the font of Paradise, as the Scripture testifies, flowed widely outside. They are remembered by name and it is known to all through what lands they flowed and that they existed neither in Mesopotomia nor in Egypt, in which those rivers flowed. So it is that, though the water of Paradise is outside of Paradise, there is no beatitude except within Paradise.
So, the Baptism of the Church can exist outside of the Church, but the gift of a blessed life is not found except within the Church, which was founded on a rock and received the keys of binding and loosing. She is the one that keeps and possesses every power of Her Spouse and Lord, and through this conjugal power She can also bring forth sons from the handmaids, who, if they be not proud, shall be called into their share of inheritance. If, however, they are proud, they shall remain without.
Because we fight for the honor and unity of the Church, let us not concede to the heretics what we know to be false, but rather let us teach them by arguments that they cannot attain salvation through unity unless they come to that same unity. For the water of the Church is faithful and salutary and holy for those who use it well. But outside of the Church no one can use it well. 38
In the same book, St. Augustine says:
Therefore, we are right in censuring, anathematizing, abhorring and abominating the perversity of heart shown by heretics; yet it does not follow that they do not have the sacrament of the Gospel, because they have not what makes it avail. 39
We do not deny that baptism can be validly administered outside the Church, if all the conditions for its validity are fulfilled. But we deny that it can confer sanctifying grace and a title to the Beatific Vision if one does not intend to join the Church while receiving it. We say, with the whole tradition of the Church, that a non-Catholic can receive baptism outside the Church, but not sanctification.
Now, let us be sure that everything is perfectly clear. We have seen
- that for one who has not the intention of being baptized, baptism is not valid;
- if one has the intention of being baptized, but does not confess the Catholic Faith, his baptism is valid but it does not confer sanctification and salvation.
Therefore, if this is true of real baptism, how can the so-called “baptism of desire” of Father Donnelly confer sanctification and salvation when the man has neither the required explicit intention of receiving the baptism of water nor confessed the Catholic Faith?
We confess, with the Catholic Church, and with the whole Christian tradition, that it is absolutely impossible to attain salvation outside the Catholic Church. As we have shown, we mean by this what the Church herself means:
- that no adult can be saved if he does not, whether through ignorance or obstinacy, explicitly confess the Catholic Faith;
- that no adult can be saved who dies ignorant of the Catholic Church, or who, having known the Church, refuses to become one of her members;
- that no adult can be saved who dies ignorant of baptism or who, having heard of it, refuses to receive it;
- that no adult can be saved who is baptized into a heretical or schismatical church, unless before he dies he joins the Catholic Church;
- that no adult can be saved if he does not explicitly confess the Catholic Faith, or if he denies one truth of the Faith, or if he does not submit fully to the authority of the Roman Pontiff;
- and that no child who dies unbaptized can be saved.
Therefore, it is impossible for a man to be saved if he holds other beliefs than those of the Catholic Church, if he belongs to any other religious community than the Catholic Church, and if he does not receive the baptism instituted by Christ.
St. Robert Bellarmine, who defends very strongly the doctrine that outside the Church there can be no salvation for anyone, says that he means by the Catholic Church
the congregation of men bound together by the profession of the same Christian Faith, and by the communion of the same sacraments, under the rule of the legitimate pastors, and especially of the one Vicar of Christ on Earth, the Roman Pontiff. 4 0
But if those who are outside the Church cannot attain salvation, is there a way of determining exactly who is a member of the Church and who is not? Bellarmine answers:
From this definition it can be easily gathered what men belong to the Church and what men do not. For there are three parts of this definition: the profession of the true Faith, the communion of the Sacraments, and the subjection to the legitimate Pastor, the Roman Pontiff. By reason of the first part are excluded all infidels, as much those who have never been in the Church, like the Jews, Turks and Pagans; as those who have been and have fallen away, like heretics and apostates. By reason of the second, are excluded catechumens and excommunicates, because the former are not to be admitted to the communion of the sacraments, the latter have been cut off from it. By reason of the third, are excluded schismatics, who have faith and the sacraments, but are not subject to the lawful pastor, and therefore they profess the Faith outside, and receive the Sacraments outside. However, all others are included, even if they be reprobate, sinful and wicked. 41
In his Compendium of Christian Doctrine, Bellarmine says:
I believe that for the good Christians there is eternal life full of every happiness and free from every sort of evil; as, on the contrary, for the infidels and for the bad Christians there is eternal death full of every misery and deprived of every good. 42
St. Peter Canisius says, in his Catechism, speaking of the Catholic Church:
Outside of this communion (as outside of the Ark of Noah) there is absolutely no salvation for mortals: not to Jews or Pagans, who never received the faith of the Church; not to heretics who, having received it, forsook or corrupted it; not to schismatics who left the peace and unity of the Church; finally, neither to excommunicates who for any other serious cause deserved to be put away and separated from the body of the Church, like pernicious members . . . For the rule of Cyprian and Augustine is certain: He will not have God for his Father who would not have the Church for his Mother. 43
Pope Boniface VIII, in his Bull Unam Sanctam, says:
Urged by faith, we are obliged to believe and to hold that the Church is one, holy, catholic, and also apostolic. We firmly believe in her, and we confess absolutely that outside her there is neither salvation nor the remission of sins, as the Spouse in the Canticles (VI, 8) proclaims: “One is my dove, my perfect one. She is the only one of her mother, the chosen of her that bore her,” who represents one mystical body, whose head is Christ, and the head of Christ is God. In her there is one Lord, one faith, one baptism. There was, indeed, at the Deluge only one ark of Noah, prefiguring the One Church, which Ark, having been finished to a single cubit, had only one pilot and guide, i. e., Noah, outside of which, as we read, all that subsisted on the Earth was destroyed. 44
Origen said in one of his homilies:
If anyone from this people wants to be saved, let him come to this house, in which is the Blood of Christ in sign of redemption . . . Let no one, therefore, persuade himself, let not one deceive himself: outside of this house, that is, outside of the Church, no one is saved; for, if anyone should go out of it, he is guilty of his own death. 45
St. Cyprian in his treatise On the Unity of the Catholic Church says:
. . . Our Lord said: “I and the Father are one.” And, again, it is written about the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit; “And these three are one.” And does anyone believe that this unity, coming from the divine power, and joined by heavenly sacraments, can be torn apart in the Church and separated by the division of opposing wills? Whoever does not hold this unity, does not hold the law of God, does not hold the faith of the Father and of the Son, does not hold life and salvation. 46
Speaking to the Philadelphians, St. Ignatius of Antioch says:
Do not err, my brethern: If anyone follow a maker of schism, “he shall not possess the kingdom of Heaven” (I Cor. 6,9-10). If anyone walk in a foreign doctrine, he does not communicate with the Passion. 47
St. Irenaeus says in his Treatise against Heretics:
In the Church, God has set apostles, prophets, doctors (I Cor. 12, 28), and all the remaining operation of the Spirit, of which are not partakers all those who do not hasten to come into the Church, but defraud themselves of life, by an evil determination and a worse operation. For where the Church is, there is also the Spirit of God; and where the Spirit of God is, there is the Church and every grace; for the Spirit is truth. 48
Let us listen to Pope Pius XI who, Fr. Donnelly says, believes that there can be salvation outside the Catholic Church:
No one is found in the one Church of Christ and no one perseveres in it unless he acknowledges and accepts obediently the supreme authority of St. Peter and his legitimate successors. Did not the very ancestors of those who are entangled in the errors of Photius and the Protestants obey the Roman Bishop as the high shepherd of souls?
Let them listen to Lactantius crying: “It is only the Catholic Church that retains the true worship. She is the fountain of truth, she is the abode of faith, she is the temple of God; if anyone does not enter her or if anyone shall depart from her, he is a stranger to the hope of life and salvation. Let not one deceive himself, therefore, by continuous disputations. Life and salvation are in the balance which, if not looked to carefully and diligently, will be lost and destroyed.” 49
St. Fulgentius says, concerning all those who are outside the Catholic Church, whether baptized or not:
Hold most firmly and do not doubt at all, that not only all the pagans, but also all the Jews, and all the heretics and schismatics who end the present life outside the Catholic Church, will go into the eternal fire, “which was prepared for the Devil and his angels.” (Mt. 25, 41 ) 50
Finally, the Council of Florence, under Pope Eugene LV, decreed in the Bull Cantate Domino:
The most holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches, that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics, can have a share in life eternal; but that they will go into the eternal fire, “which was prepared for the Devil and his angels,” unless before death they become affiliated with Her; and that so important is the unity of this ecclesiastical body that only those remaining within this unity can profit by the sacraments of the Church unto salvation, and they alone can receive an eternal recompense for their fasts, their almsgiving, their other works of Christian piety, and the duties of a Christian soldier. No one, let his almsgiving be as great as it may, no one, even if he pour out his blood for the name of Christ, can be saved, unless he remain within the bosom and the unity of the Catholic Church. 51
3. “Baptism of Blood” and “Baptism of the Spirit”
But let us come now to what Father Donnelly and the other liberal theologians call “baptism of desire.” Is there anything in Catholic tradition to warrant this phrase and its use by liberals?
As I have already said, the expression “baptism of desire” is a mistranslation of the Latin expressions: “baptismus Flaminis” and “baptismus in voto” or “votum baptismi.” The first of these expressions (baptismus Flaminis) means, as St. Thomas explains in the Summa, Part III, Question 66, Article 11, “baptism of the Holy Spirit,” which is a far cry from the interpretation which the modern liberal puts on this phrase, as I will show. The other two expressions (baptismus in voto and votum baptismi ) make use of the word votum, which means will, intention, purpose, and can therefore be translated as: “baptism in purpose” of “will for baptism.”
What do the Fathers and Doctors teach concerning this question of baptism in voto or of baptism of the Spirit?
First, let us quote St. Ambrose on the efficacy of baptism:
And thus you have read that three testimonies in baptism are one, water, blood and the Spirit; since, if you remove one of these, the sacrament of baptism does not stay. For what is water without the Cross of Christ? A common element, without any effect of sacrament. Nor again is the mystery of regeneration without water; for “unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” Now, a catechumen also believes in the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ, by which he also signs himself, but unless he be baptized in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, he cannot receive remission of his sins, nor can he receive the gift of spiritual grace. 52
Likewise, St. Thomas says:
The baptism of water has its efficacy from the passion of Christ, to which someone conforms himself through baptism, and ultimately from the Holy Spirit as from a first cause. 53
Elswhere in the Summa, St. Thomas explains this:
A sacrament, in causing grace, works after the manner of an instrument. Now, an instrument is twofold; the one, separate, as a stick, for instance the other, united, as a hand. Moreover, the separate instrument is moved by means of the united instrument, as a stick by the hand. Now, the principal efficient cause of grace is God himself, in comparison with Whom Christ’s humanity is as a united instrument, whereas the sacrament is as a separate instrument. 54
We see, therefore, that sanctification is primarily caused by the Three Divine Persons and is the work of the Holy Spirit by appropriation. It is, however, achieved in us through Christ’s Passion as a primary instrument, and through water as a secondary instrument. All three, namely, the Spirit, the blood of Christ, and water are, consequently, indispensable, and no one can be sanctified if one of the three is missing.
(b) Meaning of “Baptism of Blood” and “Baptism of the Spirit.”
Now, the word baptism, which comes from the Greek, means washing. Every time a person passes out of the state of sin (whether original or actual), he is said to be washed, or cleansed. The first sacrament of the Church is a general washing, and is therefore called baptism. But even a baptized person can fall back into sin, though not original sin. The only way for this person to come back to the state of grace is through another purification or washing.
It is in prefiguration of these washings from sin that the Jews had to have so many ablutions, especially before their meals. We also are asked to wash before our Eucharistic meals. But this washing is not the renewal of the sacrament of baptism, which cannot be repeated. It is, rather, a washing from actual sin only, not from original sin. This is why Our Lord insisted on washing the Apostles’ feet before He instituted the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. Jesus came first to Peter, who refused to see his God and his Master descend so low as to wash his feet. But Jesus answered: “If I wash thee not, thou shalt have no part with me.” Frightened lest he should lose his beloved Master’s friendship, Peter said, “Lord, not my feet, but also my hands and my head.” And Jesus said to him, “He that is washed, needeth not but to wash his feet, but is clean wholly.” 55
This indeed signifies the sacrament of penance, which is a certain washing, but a washing only of that in us that touches the Earth; for he that is washed wholly by baptism needs only to have his feet washed. Says St. Augustine:
And every day, therefore, is he who intercedes for us washing our feet . . . For “if,” as it is written, “we confess our sins, He is faithful and just, to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all iniquity,” that is, even to our feet wherewith we walk on the Earth. 56
Therefore, every washing whereby the Holy Spirit comes to inhabit the soul can be called a baptism, a cleansing, although we do not necessarily mean the real sacrament of baptism. Every time the sacrament of penance is administered, a certain washing or baptism is administered, but it is not a baptism of water, but rather a baptism of the Holy Spirit. Likewise, when a Catholic is about to be martyred and is unable to receive the sacrament of penance for the remission of his sins, his martyrdom itself effects this remission, and can thus be called a kind of washing or baptism, a baptism of blood.
St. Thomas says the same thing about these two baptisms, the baptism of blood and the baptism of the Spirit:
But those who live after baptism in this mortal life are not able to ascend to such a height of perfection that the inordinate motions of sensuality may not still rise up from earthly affections; and therefore it is necessary that they wash their feet, either by martyrdom, which is the baptism of blood (baptismus sanguinis), or by penance, which is the baptism of the Spirit (baptismus Flaminis), in order that they might be saved. 57
But how about an unbaptized person? Could these two kinds of baptism be received by persons who have not been actually baptized with water? And if these sacraments could be received by them (baptism of blood and baptism of the Spirit, that is), would they supply the place of baptism of water, so that the persons who received them could attain salvation without being baptized with water? Let us see what the Fathers and the Doctors of the Church have to say about this.
(c) Baptism of Blood.
St. Cyril of Jerusalem says about baptism of blood:
If anyone does not receive baptism, he does not have salvation, with the exception of the martyrs alone, who even without water receive the kingdom. 58
St. Fulgentius says:
From the time when Our Saviour said, “unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God,” (John 3,5) no one, without the sacrament of baptism, can receive the kingdom of Heaven or life eternal, except those who, without baptism, shed their blood for Christ in the Catholic Church. 59
St. Augustine says in his City of God:
For whoever, being not yet regenerate, dies for confessing Christ, is freed of his sin as well as if he had received the sacrament of baptism. For he Who said: “Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God,” elsewhere says about the martyrs, “Everyone, therefore, that shall confess me before men, I will confess him before My Father Who is in Heaven;” and again: “He that shall lose his life for My sake shall find it.” Whereupon it is that “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.” For what is more dear than the death wherein all the wickedness of a man is abolished and his good augmented? 60
St. Robert Bellarmine says:
Martyrdom is rightly called, and is, a certain baptism. 61
Martyrdom for the Name of Christ can therefore supply the place of baptism of water, and this both for adults and children, — witness the Holy Innocents who were killed for the sake of Christ.
When can martyrdom supply the place of baptism? Can a man who knows that he is going to be killed for confessing Christ and who on this account refuses or neglects the baptism of water because martyrdom is a perfect substitute, can such a man be saved? Or can a man who dies for confessing Christ while remaining in a heretical or schismatical sect be saved? Or again, is there any way in which a man can be saved by the baptism of blood if he is ignorant of Christ and His Church?
Martyrdom is a substitute for the baptism of water only in case of a catechumen who has the Catholic Faith and confesses Christ and His Church, and who, because of his apprehension by pagans or heretics, is unable to receive the baptism of water. Thus, St. Augustine, in the City of God, says that these martyrs will be saved “because they willed rather to die in confessing Christ than to deny Him.” 62 Therefore, martyrdom can replace Baptism only in the case of a man who cannot receive the Sacrament of Baptism because he is dying for Christ.
Thus, it is clear that even a catechumen who dies confessing Christ cannot be saved if he refuses the baptism of water, or if he does not try to receive it, knowing that he is going to be martyred.
Moreover, it is not enough to confess Christ in order to have the baptism of Blood. One needs also to confess His Church and to be dying as a Catholic, although prevented by martyrdom from receiving the baptism of water. Thus, St. Fulgentius says that no one can be saved without the baptism of water, “except for those who, without baptism, shed their blood for Christ in the Catholic Church. “ 63
Further, St. Paul said, in his first Epistle to the Corinthians (13, 3): “And if I should distribute all my goods to feed the poor, and if I should deliver my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.” This does not mean (and St. Robert Bellarmine in his treatise on Baptism clearly proves it ) 64 that a martyr needs to have perfect charity before he is martyred. Imperfect charity is sufficient, since martyrdom itself would confer perfect charity on the martyr. But it means that unless a man is dying for Christ in His Church, he cannot be saved. For, as St. Thomas shows, separation from the Body of the Church and from the authority of the Vicar of Christ on Earth is a sin against charity. 65
This is why the Council of Florence, on the authority of St. Paul, decreed:
No one, let his almsgiving be as great as it may, no one, even if he pour out his blood for the name of Christ, can be saved, unless he remain within the bosom and the unity of the Catholic Church. 66
Therefore Bellarmine rightly concludes that salvation can be attained by:
Those who are killed for Christ in the confession of the true Faith, and in the unity of the Church. For heretics and schismatics cannot be martyrs, since they place an obstacle to the grace of God by their sin of infidelity and schism, in which they actually persevere. 67
And St. Cyprian, in his book On the Unity of the Church, writes:
If such (heretics or schismatics) should even suffer martyrdom for the name of Christ, they would not expiate their crime. There can be no such thing as a martyr out of the church. Though they should be thrown into the fire, or be exposed to the fury of wild beasts, such a death will never be esteemed a crown of their faith and constancy, but rather a punishment of their perfidy. Such a man may be put to death, but cannot be crowned. . . . If the schismatic should suffer out of the church of Christ, he will never thence become entitled to the recompense which none can claim who are not in it. There is but one God, one Christ, one church, one faith, one entire body of Christian people. . . . Whatever shall be separated from the fountain of life, can have no life remaining in it, after having lost all communication with its vital principle. 68
Hence, also, a man who is ignorant of Christ and His Church (whether culpably or not) cannot possibly receive the baptism of blood, since an open confession of the true Faith and of the true Church is indispensable for martyrdom.
(d) Baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Question 1 : Can Sanctifying Grace Precede the Reception of a Sacrament?
Let us come now to the third kind of baptism, namely the baptism of the Holy Spirit. And first it must be noted that the Holy Spirit cannot possibly effect sanctification in a man apart from any sacrament or visible sign. Thus, before the coming of Christ, sanctification came to men by means of circumcision, sacrifice and the other sacraments of the Old Law. Since the coming of the Messiah, sanctification comes by means of the sacraments of the Church, which are seven in number.
The first of these sacraments, without which no other sacrament can be received, is baptism. And baptism is invalid for an adult if he does not have the explicit purpose of receiving it, and unprofitable if he does not explicitly confess Christ and His Church. This is why baptism is called “The sacrament of faith.” Therefore, without faith it is impossible to receive sanctifying grace from any of the seven sacraments, which are the only channels of grace.
The explicit intention to receive the sacrament, faith in Christ and His Church, are therefore necessary on the part of an adult for the reception of sanctifying grace. But they are not enough. Actual reception of the sacrament is also needed. This is why St. Ambrose says:
A catechumen also believes in the Cross of Our Lord Jesus, by which he also signs himself; but unless he be baptized in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, he cannot receive remission of his sins, nor can he receive the gift of spiritual grace. 69
But there could be a case when a man, together with the explicit intention of receiving a sacrament, and with the profession of the Catholic Faith and of the Catholic Church, would make an act of perfect charity, even before the actual reception of the sacrament. In that case, the man can receive sanctifying grace before the sacrament, if he firmly intends to receive the sacrament at the earliest possible opportunity. This is true, for example, about penance. Thus, St. Thomas says:
If anyone has perfect contrition before the absolution of the priest, he obtains the remission of his sins, by the fact that he intends to subject himself to the keys of the Church, without which intent there is no real contrition.
But if the contrition sufficient for remission is not full beforehand, the remission of the guilt is obtained in the absolution itself, unless he puts an obstacle to the Holy Spirit. 70
The same happens in all the other sacraments, if a perfect act of charity is made, together with an act of Faith and a firm purpose of receiving the sacrament. In the case of baptism, too, if the catechumen to be baptized can make an act of perfect charity, remission of his sins can precede the actual reception of baptism, provided explicit faith and an explicit intent to receive baptism are not lacking. St. Thomas says:
For it happens that some adults, before they come to the sacrament of baptism in act, having it in intent (in voto), obtain remission of their sins, and are baptized by the baptism of the Spirit (baptismo Flaminis); and yet, baptism, which follows, effects the remission of sins, as far as its part goes, although in him in whom they are already remitted, it does not have this opportunity, but obtains only an augmentation of grace.
But if an adult is not perfectly disposed before baptism to obtain remission of his sins, he obtains this remission by the power of baptism, in the very act of being baptized, unless he place deceivingly an obstacle to the Holy Spirit. 71
But who can presume to affirm about any man that he has received sanctifying grace before the actual reception of a sacrament, seeing that it is impossible to know whether or not he was able to make a perfect act of love? And yet this is what the liberals do all the time. They can even name people who had sanctifying grace before their baptism! They can even name people who had it even while rejecting explicitly some truths of the Catholic Faith and without intending to come to the Church! Here is an example of such an arrogant attitude: (in a letter recently received by one of our staff from a liberal theologian) “Surely, Chesterton and Newman had grace before their conversions, even though they rejected certain Catholic doctrines.” Nothing can be more opposed to the Catholic Faith than a statement of this kind.
In the same way, Caperan, Director of the Grand Seminaire of Toulouse, who is Father Donnelly’s main authority, says,
Without any doubt, the action of grace does not stop at the frontiers of Catholicism; its radiance extends on all sides, as far as there is a soul to save. 72
There is no doubt that in Father Donnelly’s mind, too, people who are totally ignorant of the Catholic Faith and people who know the Church and refuse to join her can have sanctifying grace, independently of the Sacraments, of the Faith, and therefore of perfect contrition. Not only is it impossible for such people to have sanctifying grace as long as they are thus visibly separated from the Church, but even in the case of catechumens who have the Catholic Faith and a real intent of receiving baptism, there is no way of telling whether they have perfect charity or not, except if it is revealed by God, as in the case of Cornelius, in Acts 10. For, as St. Augustine says, “Cornelius, even before his baptism, was filled with the Holy Spirit.” 73 This reception of the Holy Spirit in anticipation of the baptism of water is called baptism of the Spirit, or baptism in voto.
This is what the Council of Trent was teaching when it said (as Fr. Donnelly well knows) that the justification of the unbaptized may be described
as the transfer from that state in which a man is born as the son of the first Adam, to the state of grace and adoption of the sons of God, through the second Adam, Jesus Christ Our Saviour; and this transfer indeed, after the promulgation of the Gospel, cannot be accomplished without the water of regeneration or the will for it (aut eius voto), as it is written: ‘Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.’ 74
Let us remind Fr. Donnelly that the same Council of Trent to which he is appealing teaches unmistakably that this justification comes from Jesus Christ and only to those who believe in Him according to the true Faith, as the Apostle says (Rom. 3, 23-26):
For all have sinned, and do need the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, Whom God hath proposed to be a propitiation, through faith in His Blood, to the showing of His justice, for the remission of former sins, . . . that He Himself may be just, and the justifier of him, who is of the faith of Jesus Christ. (Cf. Denz. 794.)
Again, the same Council of Trent says:
Indeed, since the Apostle said that man is justified by faith and freely, these words must be understood in that sense, which the perpetual consensus of the Catholic Church held and expressed, namely that we are thus said to be justified by faith, since “faith is the beginning of human salvation,” the foundation and root of every justification, “without which it is impossible to please God and to come to the fellowship of His children. ” 75
Justification, therefore, and sanctifying grace, can come to a person before the actual reception of the sacrament of baptism, provided explicit faith in Christ, explicit purpose to receive the sacrament and to join the Catholic Church, and perfect charity are not lacking.
This is certainly not the way Fr. Donnelly interprets the paragraph he quotes from the Council of Trent; for it is clear that he holds that a man who is ignorant of Christ and His Church, or a man who refuses to accept both, can be justified by some kind of feeling of righteousness which can be called baptism of desire. It is also clear that Father Donnelly, in quoting the Council of Trent, was confusing justification with salvation. The Council of Trent in this text was defining justification and not salvation. Everyone knows that a man justified is not yet saved, but has to fulfill certain other conditions for salvation.
Question 2 : Is Sanctifying Grace When Received Before Baptism Sufficient for Salvation?
Is, then, the reception of sanctifying grace through baptism of the Spirit a real substitute for baptism of water, so that a man like Cornelius did not need baptism and could have been saved without it? Are there two ways of belonging to the Church, one through baptism of water and the other through baptism in voto, so that the one would be sufficient without the other for salvation?
St. Augustine who, in his treatise On Baptism: Against the Donatists, asks us “not to depreciate a man’s righteousness should it begin to exist before he joined the Church, as the righteouness of Cornelius began to exist before he was in the Christian community,” also says in the same sentence that this righteouness “was not thought worthless, or the angel would not have said to him, ‘Thy alms have been accepted and thy prayers have been heard;’ nor did it yet suffice for his gaining the kingdom of Heaven, or he would not have been told to send for Peter, “ 76 in order to be baptized by him.
It is clear, therefore, that Cornelius, who was already in the state of sanctifying grace even before the actual reception of baptism, would not have been saved if he had not sent for Peter to be baptized by him, or if, having sent for him, he had refused to be baptized with water. St. Augustine says,
Cornelius would have been guilty of contempt for so holy a sacrament if, even after he had received the Holy Ghost, he had refused to be baptized. 77
St. Robert Bellarmine says the same thing, especially on the authority of St. Augustine:
Further, Augustine, in his Epistle 57 to Dardanus, in Book I Of the Predestination of the Saints, Chapter 7; in Book I, Question 2, To Simplician; in Book I, Chapter 8, On Baptism; and in Book IV, Chapter 21 of the same, says that Cornelius the Centurion, although he was praised in Scriptures, was not yet such that he could have been saved, unless he became incorporated in the Church through the Sacrament of Baptism. 78
To repeat, then, sanctifying grace can be received ahead of the Sacrament of Baptism, and in that case it is sufficient for justification, but this does not mean that it is sufficient for salvation if the actual Sacrament of Baptism is not received. Cornelius and his friends received sanctifying grace and the Holy Spirit even before the actual reception of Baptism. They were speaking with tongues, like the Apostles at Pentecost. The water of Baptism would have seemed totally superfluous for them, and yet they could not have been saved without it. That is why, as St. Augustine adds, “they were baptized, and for this action we have the authority of an Apostle as a warrant.” 79 Again, St. John the Baptist was born in the state of sanctifying grace, and yet he had to be baptized by the baptism of Christ before he died, for as St. John Chrysosotom says (Homily 4 on Matthew ), “Since, when John said, ‘I ought to be baptized by thee,’ Christ answered, ‘Suffer it to be so now, ‘ it follows that afterwards Christ did baptize John.” 80 Likewise, St. Jerome says, commenting on Matthew 3:13, that as Christ was baptized in water by John, so John had to be baptized by Christ in water and the Holy Spirit. 81
The catechumen who confesses the Catholic Faith and has perfect charity and the intention of joining the Church can therefore receive sanctifying grace before the actual reception of Baptism. It is in this sense that St. Augustine (as quoted by St. Robert Bellarmine) says that such a catechumen may be said to be of the soul of the Church (because the theological virtues and the Gifts of the Holy Ghost are the vivifying principle in the Church). 82 But as we have shown in Part II of this article, this does not mean that there are two kinds of membership, one in the soul and one in the body, for in the same chapter St. Robert Bellarmine says clearly that catechumens are not members of the Church, because they do not have communion of the sacraments. 83 Likewise, St. Augustine, in his treatise On Baptism: Against the Donatists, which we quoted, says that Cornelius received sanctifying grace previous to baptism, “before he was joined to the Church, ” 84 — namely, before he was a member of the Church.
Question 3 : Is There Any Case When Baptism of the Holy Spirit Without Actual Reception of Baptism of Water Can Be Sufficient for Salvation?
Now that we have considered the defined truths which must be believed, namely, the absolute necessity of the Catholic Faith, the absolute necessity of membership in the Catholic Church, the absolute necessity of submission to the Roman Pontiff, the absolute necessity of baptism of water, for salvation, there remains but one point to examine; that is, whether there is any case where a man can be saved without actually receiving the water of baptism on his head.
At this point, we have to depart from infallibly defined dogma and must rely on the teachings of the Fathers and Doctors, because it has never so far been defined that any human being can be saved who was not actually baptized, except for those who lived before the coming of Our Lord, and except for the martyrs.
What is the teaching of the Fathers and the Doctors? Some Fathers deny that there is any case in which a man could be saved without the actual reception of the water of baptism (with the exception of the martyrs alone). But most of them agree in saying that there is one case, and only one case, when a man could be saved without having been actually baptized with water. It is the case of a catechumen who confesses the Catholic Faith, who is sorry for his past sins, who is burning with desire to be baptized and to join the Catholic Church, under the authority of the Roman Pontiff, but who, having been kept without baptism by the Church until he has been fully instructed, is overtaken by death suddenly and is incapable of receiving baptism. Such a catechumen, it is believed, can be saved, if he makes an act of perfect charity. 85
In answer to our third question, therefore, we shall say that, according to the majority of the Fathers and Doctors, baptism of the Holy Spirit, without the actual reception of Baptism of water, can be sufficient for salvation if the following five conditions are fulfilled:
First, that person must have the Catholic Faith. (We have already proved that no one can be saved without the Catholic Faith, and that not even the Sacrament of Baptism can be profitable for salvation if the subject who receives it does not confess the Catholic Faith.)
Second, he must have an explicit will or desire to receive the Sacrament of Baptism. For example, St. Bernard says that he must have an “entire yearning for the sacrament of Jesus.” 86
Third, he must have perfect charity. For St. Robert Bellarmine says that only “perfect conversion can be called baptism of the Spirit, and this includes true contrition and charity. ” 87 St. Augustine says that he must have “faith and conversion of the heart. ” 88 St. Thomas says that, as in the case of the Sacrament of Penance, so also in the Sacrament of Baptism, if sanctifying grace is to be received previous to the Sacrament, a perfect act of charity is necessary, for “if an adult is not perfectly disposed before baptism to obtain remission of his sins, he obtains this remission by the power of baptism, in the very act of being baptized. ” 89 St. Bernard says that “right faith, God-fearing hope, and sincere charity” must be present. 90
Fourth, he must have an explicit will to join the Catholic Church , — for, as we have shown, not even actual Baptism is profitable for salvation if it is received outside the Catholic Church (except for babies) and without an explicit will to join the Church. Much less, therefore, does baptism in voto profit for salvation if it does not include an explicit will to join the Catholic Church.
Fifth, he must be dying and, although yearning for the Baptism of Water, is unable to receive it because of an absolute impossibility, not because of a contempt for it. Thus, St. Augustine says that baptism of the Spirit, or perfect conversion to God, “may indeed be found when Baptism has not yet been received, but never when it has been despised. For it should never in any way be called a conversion of the heart to God when the sacrament of God has been despised. ” 91 In the same way St. Bernard says that, since the time of the promulgation of the Gospel, “whoever refuses now to be baptized, after the remedy of baptism has been made accessible to all everywhere, adds of his own accord a sin of pride to the general original stain, carrying within himself a double cause of the most just damnation, if he happens to leave the body in the same state.” 92 Also, St. Thomas says, “It is necessary, in order that a man might enter into the kingdom of God, that he approach the baptism of water actually (in re), as it is in all those who are baptized; or in voto, as it is in the martyrs and the catechumens who were hindered by death before they could fulfill their intent (votum); or in figure, as in the ancient Fathers,” — that is, in those before Christ. 93
Now that we have shown in what sense a person who has the desire for baptism can be saved, let us enumerate again Father Donnelly’s three doctrines which we listed at the beginning of Part III, namely, (1) that a person can be said to have desire for Baptism while being totally ignorant of the Catholic Faith and ignorant of the Baptism of water; (2) that a person can be said to have a desire for Baptism while knowing the Catholic Church and the Catholic Faith and refusing both; (3) that a person can be said to have a desire for Baptism while knowing the Baptism of water and refusing it. From the evidence we have presented, it must be clear that these doctrines are erroneous and cannot be held.
1 St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on the Epistle to the Philippians, Homil. III, n. 4.
2 St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on the Acts of the Apostles, Homil. I, n. 8, (Greek and Latin edition, Vol 9, part 1, p. 15 C-D.)
3 St. John Chrysostom, On the Priesthood, Bk. III, n. 6.
4 St. Ambrose, De Abraham, Bk. II, Ch. XI, n. 79.
5 Pope St. Leo the Great, Epistle XV, n. 10.
6 Tertullian, On Baptism, XII. (See Rouet de Journal, S. J., Enchiridion Patristicum, 306).
7 St. Thomas Aquinas, Collationes De Pater, etc., Exposition of the Apostles’ Creed, Tenth article.
8 Pope Benedict XIV, Profession of Faith prescribed to the Orientals, constit. Nuper ad nos, Denz. 1470.
9 Council of Trent, Sess. VII, March 1547, Canons on the Sacrament of Baptism, Can. 5, Denz. 861.
10 St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Part III, qu. 68, a. 1, In Corp.
11 St. Robert Bellarmine, On the Sacrament of Baptism, Bk. I Ch. IV, (Tom. 3, pp. 115-118).
12 Id. (p. 115A).
13 Id. (p. 115B).
14 Bainvel, Op. cit., Ch. V, p. 43.
15 St. Robert Bellarmine, On the Sacrament of Baptism, Bk. I, Ch. IV, (Tom. 3, p. 118A-B).
16 Id. (p. 118B).
18 St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Part II-II, qu. 10, a. 1, In Corp.
19 Id. a. 3.
20 St. Robert Bellarmine, On the Sacrament of Baptism, Bk. I, Ch. IV, (Tom. 3, p. 118B-C).
21 St. Fulgentius, De Fide, ad Petrum, Ch XXVII, n. 68.
22 St. Augustine, De Anima et eius Origine, Bk. IV, Ch. XI, n. 16.
23 St. Bonaventure, Breviloquium, Part III, Ch. V, n. 6.
24 Pope Innocent III, Epist. Maiores Ecclesiae Causas, 1201, Denz. 411.
25 St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Part III, qu. 68, a. 7, ad 2.
26 St. Thomas Aquinas, Contra Errores Graecorum, In Titulo, “Quod ad eum (Petrum) pertinet determinare quae sunt Fidei.”
27 St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Part III, qu. 68, a. 8, In Corp.
28 Council of Trent, Sess. VI, Ch. 7, Denz. 799.
29 St. Alphonsus Liguori, Instructions on the Commandments and Sacraments, Part I, Sect. I “On Faith,” n. 10.
30 St. Robert Bellarmine, On the Church Militant, Bk. III, Ch. II, (Tom 2, p. 53D).
31 St. Fulgentius, De Fide, ad Petrum, Ch. III, n. 41.
32 Id. Ch. XXXVI, n. 77.
33 Id. Ch. XXXVII, n. 78.
34 Id. Ch. XXXVIII, n. 79.
35 St. Augustine, Commentary on the Gospel of St. John, Tract. VI, n. 13.
36 Id. Tract. VI, n. 14.
37 St. Bonaventure, Breviloquium, Part VI, Ch. V, n. 4.
38 St. Augustine, On Baptism against the Donatists, Bk. IV, Ch. I (n. 1) — Ch. II (n. 2).
39 Id. Bk. IV, Ch. XXV, n. 32.
40 St. Robert Bellarmine, On the Church Militant, Bk. III, Ch. II, (Tom. 2, p. 53D).
41 Id. p. 53D-E.
42 St. Robert Bellarmine, Compendium of Christian Doctrine, “Exposition of the Apostles’ Creed,” Twelfth Article.
43 St. Peter Canisius, Exposition of the Apostles’ Creed, Ninth Article, “Com-munion of Saints.”
44 Pope Boniface VIII, Bull Unam sanctam, Nov. 18, 1302, Denz. 468.
45 Origen, In Jesu Nave homiliae, Hom. III, n. 5.
46 St. Cyprian, On the Unity of the Catholic Church, VI, Journal 557.
47 St. Ignatius of Antioch, Epistle to the Philadelphians, Ch. III, n. 2.
48 St. Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses, Bk. III, Ch. XXIV, n. 1.
49 Pope Pius XI, Enc. Mortalium Animos.
50 St. Fulgentius, De Fide, ad Petrum, Ch. XXXVIII, n. 79.
51 Council of Florence, “Decree for the Jacobites,” Pope Eugene IV, Bull Cantate Domino, Denz. 714.
52 St. Ambrose, De Mysteriis, Ch. IV, n. 20.
53 St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Part III, qu. 66, a. 11, In Corp. Cf. also a. 12, In Corp.
54 Id. qu. 62. a. 5, In Corp.
55 Gospel according to St. John, XIII, 5-10.
56 St. Augustine, Commentary on the Gospel of St. John, Tract LVI, n. 4.
58 St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catecheses, Cat. III, c. 10.
59 St. Fulgentius, De Fide ad Petrum, Ch. III, n. 41.
60 St. Augustine, The City of God, Bk. XIII, Ch. VII.
61 St. Robert Bellarmine, On the Sacrament of Baptism, Bk. I, Ch. VI, (Tom. 3, p. 120A).
62 St. Augustine, The City of God, Bk. XIII, Ch. VII.
63 St. Fulgentius, De Fide, ad Petrum, Ch. III, n. 41.
64 St. Robert Bellarmine, On the Sacrament of Baptism, Bk. I, Ch. VI, (Tom. 3, p. 121E, A, B, C).
65 St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Part II-II, qu. 39, a. 1, In Corp.
66 Council of Florence, “Decree for the Jacobites,” Pope Eugene IV, Bull Cantate Domino. Denz. 714.
67 St. Robert Bellarmine, On the Sacrament of Baptism, Bk. I, Ch. VI, (Tom. 3, p.121A-B).
68 St. Cyprian, On the Unity of the Church, cf. Pope Pelagius II, Ep. 2 to the schismatical bishops of Istria, Denz. 247, and Migné, P. L. 4, 511.
69 St. Ambrose, De Mysteriis, Ch. IV, n. 20.
70 St. Thomas Aquinas, Commentary on the Gospel of St. John, Ch. XI, Lect. VI, n. 6.
72 Louis Caperan, Le Probléme du Salut des Infideles, Vol. II, p. 102.
73 St. Augustine, On Baptism: Against the Donatists, Bk. IV., Ch. XXI, n. 28.
74 Council of Trent, Sess. VI, Ch. 4, Denz. 796.
75 Id. Sess. VI, Ch. VIII, Denz. 801.
76 St. Augustine, On Baptism: Against the Donatists, Bk. IV, Ch. XXI, n. 28.
78 St. Robert Bellarmine, On the Sacrament of Penance, Bk. II, Ch. XIV, (Tom. 3, p. 526C).
79 St. Augustine, On Baptism: Against the Donatists, Bk. IV, Ch. XXII, n. 29.
80 St. John Chrysostom, Eruditi Commentarii in Evangelium Matthaei, Homil. IV (Migné, R. G. 56, 658).
81 St. Jerome, On Matthew, Bk. II, “Commentary on Matthew III, 13″ (Migné, R. L. 26, 31).
82 St. Robert Bellarmine, On the Church Militant, Bk. III, Ch. II (Tom. II, p. 54B).
83 Id. (p. 53E).
84 St. Augustine. On Baptism: Against the Donatists. Bk. IV., Ch. XXI, n. 28.
85 St. Ambrose, De obitu Valentinian , n. 51-53; St. Augustine, On Baptism: Against the Donatists, Bk. IV; Innocent II, Ep. Apostolicam Sedem (Denz. 388); Innocent III, Ep. Debitum Pastoralis Officii (Denz. 413); St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Part III, qu. 68, a. 2, In Corp.; St. Bernard, Ep. to Hugh of St. Victor; St. Robert Bellarmine, On the Sacrament of Baptism, Bk. I, Ch. VI, (Tom. 3, p. 121C).
86 St. Bernard, Epistle to Hugh of St. Victor, Ch. II, n. 8.
87 St. Robert Bellarmine, On the Sacrament of Baptism, Bk. I, Ch. VI, (Tom. 3, p. 121C).
88 St. Augustine, On Baptism Against the Donatists, Bk. IV, Ch. XXII, n. 29.
89 St. Thomas Aquinas, On St. John, Ch. XI, Lect. VI, n. 6.
90 St. Bernard, Epistle to Hugh of St. Victor, Ch. II, n. 6.
91 St. Augustine, On Baptism: Against the Donatists, Bk. IV, Ch. XXV, n. 32.
92 St. Bernard, Epistle to Hugh of St. Victor, Ch. II, n. 6.
93 St. Thomas Aquinas, On St. John, Ch. III, Lect. I, n. 4.