Read an Interview with Matthew, the owner of CathInfo

Author Topic: The Catechumen  (Read 2202 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Augustinus

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 91
  • Reputation: +21/-35
  • Gender: Male
The Catechumen
« on: November 22, 2017, 12:03:35 AM »
  • Thanks!0
  • No Thanks!0
  • "If any one saith, that baptism is free, that is, not necessary unto salvation; let him be anathema."

    There are few arguments that could become more bitter than the arguments either for or against baptism of desire.


    However, it seems to me that many of the arguments both for and against have been exaggerated and made with a surprising lack of caution.

    In many cases, those who have argued for baptism of desire seem ignorant of the fact that it was a virtually untouched topic in the first thousand years of the Church's life.

    And those who argue against it often seem to ignore the fact that Catholics are not bound only to ex cathedra statements, but also to the unanimous consensus of theologians that a teaching is to be believed as certain.


    So, what to do? What can a 35 year old white American male, lower middle class add to these interminable discussions?

    Well, if I could add one single thing, it would be this- That although I love and respect Fr. Feeney and detest liberal Catholics, I would say he was wrong to consider Baptism of Desire, as understood by the Theologians and strictly, as a loophole.


    Please allow me to explain. 

    When we consider Baptism of Desire, what is the traditional understanding of it, unanimously espoused by the theologians? That a catechumen, who explicitly intends to receive baptism with a firm and steady resolve, should he meet an untimely death, would be saved- all other conditions presumed as present (faith, hope and charity being present, a life of following the commandments, etc.).

    But consider, this resolve in itself is an admission by the catechumen that he has no other means of salvation. This is no seeking of an option other than baptism. This is the admission of every dogma, every father, every decree declaring that without baptism, we cannot be saved. For the catechumen, to grasp to the exception is to be damned. To hang onto the hope of salvation apart from the sacrament is already wicked presumption. To consciously defer day to day the possibility of rebirth and gamble with uncertainty is to despise the gracious hand of God offering us a way out of Hell. 

    There is absolutely nothing optional about baptism. And the one who is saved by baptism of desire is proof of that. For it is only in the acknowledgment of his utter dependence upon God and the necessary means of salvation he established that the possibility of any exception at all is opened to him.


    Which is precisely why it can never be actively taught. It can never be used as a tool of evangelization. It can never be a motive to come to Christ.

    It can only be known post-facto, that God would have had mercy on the one who set out from the City of Man and died on the porch of the City of God. Acknowledging his want, confessing his sinfulness, following the path of Christ and yet perishing while rapping on the gate- Will we not confess that such a one sought and found the visible body of the Church of Christ? Will he not be brought into the gates and buried within the city?

    And if not, why not?

    Here, I see no loophole. I see only the affirmation of the truth- that all men are obligated to receive sacramental water baptism to be saved. And the only exception is granted to those who die in search of those waters.

    BUT do such people exist? Are there people who die frustrated by their repeated attempts to be baptized, in good faith, who never make it in? Would he who began a good work fail to bring it to completion?

    I cannot say that much. But I suspect not.
    The saints are few, but we must live with the few if we would be saved with the few. O God, too few indeed they are; yet among those few I wish to be!
    -St. Alphonsus Liguori. (The Holy Eucharist, 494)

    Offline Ladislaus

    • Hero Member
    • *****
    • Posts: 15699
    • Reputation: +8288/-2603
    • Gender: Male
    Re: The Catechumen
    « Reply #1 on: November 22, 2017, 08:37:54 AM »
  • Thanks!0
  • No Thanks!0
  • In many cases, those who have argued for baptism of desire seem ignorant of the fact that it was a virtually untouched topic in the first thousand years of the Church's life.

    Oh, on the contrary, most proponents of BoD falsely claim that there was unanimous consensus among the Church Fathers in favor of BoD.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  St. Augustine floated the idea as a speculation ... and then forcefully retracted it.  Towards the beginning of the scholastic era, there was an Augustinian revival and so the scholastics picked up on Augustine's original speculation ... but evidently didn't have knowledge of his later retraction.  Once St. Thomas picked it up, it went viral.

    At the end of the day, there's ZERO evidence that Baptism of Desire has been divinely revealed ... whereas the necessity of Baptism is in fact divinely revealed.  And I have NEVER SEEN an argument made by anyone that proves that Baptism of Desire derives necessarily from other revealed truth.  Theologians mere state, gratuitously, that it exists ... almost invariably tying it back to the "authority" of St. Augustine.  Consequently BoD can never be defined as dogma.


    Offline Ladislaus

    • Hero Member
    • *****
    • Posts: 15699
    • Reputation: +8288/-2603
    • Gender: Male
    Re: The Catechumen
    « Reply #2 on: November 22, 2017, 08:42:40 AM »
  • Thanks!0
  • No Thanks!0
  • Indeed, there's no such thing as an untimely death in the providence of God.  If Baptism is necessary and BoD impossible, then God will simply make sure that His elect receive Baptism.  Simple.  There's no such thing as "impossibility" with God.  But the speculation on BoD derives from this false man-made notion that it would be unfair if a catechumen died without Baptism.  Only God knows why He would allow that ... just as only God knows why He allows some infants to die before receiving Baptism.  But nothing that God does is unfair or unmerciful.  

    St. Augustine came to this realization himself when he retracted his speculation about BoD.
    Quote
    Perish the thought that a person predestined to eternal life could be allowed to end this life without the sacrament of the mediator. (Saint Augustine)

    Offline Ladislaus

    • Hero Member
    • *****
    • Posts: 15699
    • Reputation: +8288/-2603
    • Gender: Male
    Re: The Catechumen
    « Reply #3 on: November 22, 2017, 08:56:28 AM »
  • Thanks!0
  • No Thanks!0
  • But, yes, the necessity of Baptism can be preserved even in Baptism of Desire so long as one properly articulates it; Baptism remains necessary as the object of one's desire and remains the instrumental cause of justification.  Note that, in order to avoid Pelagianism, you have to state that it is not the desire itself that's salvific but the Sacrament of Baptism operating through the desire that is the cause of justification.  People saved by Baptism of Desire would receive the Sacrament in voto rather than be saved without it as some "exception" to the rule, for exceptions destroy the notion that Baptism is necessary by necessity of means.  Proponents of BoD invariably fall into one or another grave error or heresy when articulating the concept.

    Offline Ladislaus

    • Hero Member
    • *****
    • Posts: 15699
    • Reputation: +8288/-2603
    • Gender: Male
    Re: The Catechumen
    « Reply #4 on: November 22, 2017, 09:17:19 AM »
  • Thanks!1
  • No Thanks!0
  • Yes, the same could be said of implicit faith. Speculation begins in the 16th century as a minority opinion, and fast forward to this moment, and it is now the majority opinion.

    And passed off like Church teaching.

    Implicit faith is even worse because the Church Fathers UNANIMOUSLY taught that knowledge of and faith in Jesus Christ was necessary for salvation.  And the Athanasian Creed appears to teach the same thing.  And for 1600 years explicit faith was taught by everyone everywhere.  If anything can be said to be an infallible teaching of the Ordinary Unviersal Magisterium, this is it.  When St. Alphonsus simply called implicit faith a less probable opinion, he opened the floodgates to tolerance for it.  Unfortunately, at the time, the notion of Ordinary Universal Magisterium had not been defined and was not really taken into consideration by the theologians.  It should have been rejected right out of the gate and recognized for the Jesuitical heresy that it was.


    Offline Clemens Maria

    • Full Member
    • ***
    • Posts: 880
    • Reputation: +642/-124
    • Gender: Male
    Re: The Catechumen
    « Reply #5 on: November 22, 2017, 09:31:37 AM »
  • Thanks!0
  • No Thanks!0
  • Why did the Church insist on catechumens receiving instruction before the sacrament?  Why not baptize as soon as they have expressed a desire to submit to the Church’s doctrine?  It seems to me to be a tacit admission that a catechumen is already under the Church’s protection.  If I were a catechumen wouldn’t I have a good case to argue that it is an injustice to risk my eternal salvation in order to prove my good faith?  What percentage of catechumens fall away before baptism and what percentage fall after?  My guess is that the greater number fall after.  So why not baptize after a simple profession of faith?  That certainly would have resulted in more souls being saved during times of persecution.  How would we condemn a catechumen for having a friend baptize him before the instruction?  There seems to be a conflict between the good of the individual and the good of the society as a whole there and I don’t see how that could be.

    Offline Mithrandylan

    • Sr. Member
    • ****
    • Posts: 3391
    • Reputation: +4025/-203
    • Gender: Male
      • The Trad Forum
    Re: The Catechumen
    « Reply #6 on: November 22, 2017, 09:40:39 AM »
  • Thanks!0
  • No Thanks!0

  • Quote
    What can a 35 year old white American male, lower middle class add to these interminable discussions?

    .
    His demography, apparently. 
    More Catholic Discussion: http://thetradforum.com

    Offline Ladislaus

    • Hero Member
    • *****
    • Posts: 15699
    • Reputation: +8288/-2603
    • Gender: Male
    Re: The Catechumen
    « Reply #7 on: November 22, 2017, 10:03:43 AM »
  • Thanks!0
  • No Thanks!0
  • Why did the Church insist on catechumens receiving instruction before the sacrament?  Why not baptize as soon as they have expressed a desire to submit to the Church’s doctrine?  It seems to me to be a tacit admission that a catechumen is already under the Church’s protection.  If I were a catechumen wouldn’t I have a good case to argue that it is an injustice to risk my eternal salvation in order to prove my good faith?

    Uhm, it was because the Church never administered the Sacrament of Baptism lightly but only after a period of testing to make sure the person was sincere and convinced.  And, also, unlike yourself, the Church believes that God will preserve a Catechumen who's in good faith and destined to receive Baptism ... until such a time as he actually receives Baptism.


    Offline Ladislaus

    • Hero Member
    • *****
    • Posts: 15699
    • Reputation: +8288/-2603
    • Gender: Male
    Re: The Catechumen
    « Reply #8 on: November 22, 2017, 10:05:38 AM »
  • Thanks!0
  • No Thanks!0
  • Why did the Church insist on catechumens receiving instruction before the sacrament?  Why not baptize as soon as they have expressed a desire to submit to the Church’s doctrine?  It seems to me to be a tacit admission that a catechumen is already under the Church’s protection.  If I were a catechumen wouldn’t I have a good case to argue that it is an injustice to risk my eternal salvation in order to prove my good faith?  What percentage of catechumens fall away before baptism and what percentage fall after?  My guess is that the greater number fall after.  So why not baptize after a simple profession of faith?  That certainly would have resulted in more souls being saved during times of persecution.  How would we condemn a catechumen for having a friend baptize him before the instruction?  There seems to be a conflict between the good of the individual and the good of the society as a whole there and I don’t see how that could be.

    And, just as with the origins of BoD itself, this is nothing but speculation on your part and based on a number of assumptions ... that it would be "an injustice".  Cries of "unfair" and "unmerciful" -- presumptions all against the goodness of God -- are what's behind BoD.  There's NO ACTUAL THEOLOGY BEHIND IT ... just emotional "reasoning" such as in your post here.

    Offline Last Tradhican

    • Sr. Member
    • ****
    • Posts: 2447
    • Reputation: +1295/-628
    • Gender: Male
    Re: The Catechumen
    « Reply #9 on: November 22, 2017, 10:07:49 AM »
  • Thanks!0
  • No Thanks!0
  • But, yes, the necessity of Baptism can be preserved even in Baptism of Desire so long as one properly articulates it; Baptism remains necessary as the object of one's desire and remains the instrumental cause of justification.  People saved by Baptism of Desire would receive the Sacrament in voto rather than be saved without it as some "exception" to the rule,
    If that it correct, then it would have been defined by the Church as such by now and would have been called the sacrament of baptism by desire.

    Besides, I have only met one person in my life that truly limited BOD to the catechumen. The chances of finding one who believes BOD of the catechumen exactly as you detail are slim and none. This is like debating over how many angels fit on top of a pin head.
    The Vatican II church - Assisting Souls to Hell Since 1962

    For there shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch as to deceive (if possible) even the elect. Mat 24:24

    Offline Ladislaus

    • Hero Member
    • *****
    • Posts: 15699
    • Reputation: +8288/-2603
    • Gender: Male
    Re: The Catechumen
    « Reply #10 on: November 22, 2017, 10:14:46 AM »
  • Thanks!0
  • No Thanks!0
  • Who actually articulates it the way you have described?

    Those theologians like St. Robert Bellarmine who speak of an in voto reception of the Sacrament.


    Offline Ladislaus

    • Hero Member
    • *****
    • Posts: 15699
    • Reputation: +8288/-2603
    • Gender: Male
    Re: The Catechumen
    « Reply #11 on: November 22, 2017, 10:18:19 AM »
  • Thanks!0
  • No Thanks!0
  • If that it correct, then it would have been defined by the Church as such by now and would have been called the sacrament of baptism by desire.

    Besides, I have only met one person in my life that truly limited BOD to the catechumen. The chances of finding one who believes BOD of the catechumen exactly as you detail are slim and none. This is like debating over how many angels fit on top of a pin head.

    I just explained why the Church cannot define BoD, nor would any hypothetical definition refer to it as "the sacrament of baptism by desire".

    Yes, it is true that the number of BoD proponents who do not in their articulation of BoD slip into one heresy or another can probably be counted on your fingers.  But the point is that the position CAN be held without heresy, and people would not be heretics for believing in a BoD per se, but rather for the other actual heresies they have embraced.

    Offline Ladislaus

    • Hero Member
    • *****
    • Posts: 15699
    • Reputation: +8288/-2603
    • Gender: Male
    Re: The Catechumen
    « Reply #12 on: November 22, 2017, 10:19:30 AM »
  • Thanks!0
  • No Thanks!0
  • The proposition of untimely deaths, unforeseen accidents are by products of the school of Molinism. In the school of Molinism, God is a spectator in the universe basically waiting to see if His graces are made efficacious or not by the individuals free will, therefore the untimely death, unforeseen accidents... I understand this position has not been condemned, however the natural trajectory ends up in Pelagianism, where we are today.

    You're absolutely right.  Molinism and BoD have led to the modern Pelagianism.

    Offline Last Tradhican

    • Sr. Member
    • ****
    • Posts: 2447
    • Reputation: +1295/-628
    • Gender: Male
    Re: The Catechumen
    « Reply #13 on: November 22, 2017, 10:20:34 AM »
  • Thanks!0
  • No Thanks!0
  • The only way for BOD to really exist is for God to positively will for people to die before receiving the sacrament. We can only speculate why:

    The person would have ended in hell later in life (God foreknew that the person was not of the predestined) and God had mercy on him, as sacramentally baptized Catholics suffer the greatest torments of all humanity in hell.

    Receiving baptism of desire sends a person to the higher reaches of hell of the least torments, almost like a bad limbo of the patriarchs. There are different degrees of torments in Hell.

    Note the two extremes of Hell, the worst torments for baptized Catholics and the least could be like a bad Limbo of the Patriarchs.


    From Mystical City of God , by Sister Mary of Agreda.

    537. Seeing him (Judas) thus beside himself Lucifer inspired him with the thought of hunting up the priests, returning to them the money and confessing his sin. This Judas hastened to do, and he loudly shouted at them those words: "I have sinned, betraying innocent blood!" (Matth. 27, 4). But they, not less hardened, answered that he should have seen to that before. The intention of the demon was to hinder the death of Christ if possible, for reasons already given and yet to be given (No. 419). This repulse of the priests, so full of impious cruelty, took away all hope from Judas and he persuaded himself that it was impossible to hinder the death of his Master. So thought also the demon, although later on he made more efforts to forestall it through Pilate. But as Judas could be of no more use to him for his purpose, he augmented his distress and despair, persuading him that in order to avoid severer punishments he must end his life. Judas yielded to this terrible deceit, and rushing forth from the city, hung himself on a dried-out figtree (Matth. 27, 5). Thus he that was the murderer of his Creator, became also his own murderer. This happened on Friday at twelve o'clock, three hours before our Savior died. It was not becoming that his death and the consummation of our Redemption should coincide too closely with the execrable end of the traitorous disciple, who hated him with fiercest malice.

    538. The demons at once took possession of the soul of Judas and brought it down to hell. His entrails burst from the body hanging upon the tree (Acts 1, 18). All that saw this stupendous pimishment of the perfidious and malicious disciple for his treason, were filled with astonishment and dread. The body remained hanging by the neck for three days, exposed to the view of the public. During that time the Jews attempted to take it down f rom the tree and to bury it in secret, for it was a sight apt to cause great confusion to the pharisees and priests, who could not refute such a testimony of his wickedness. But no efforts of theirs sufficed to drag or separate the body from its position on the tree until three days had passed, when, according to the dispensation of divine justice, the demons themselves snatched the body from the tree and brought it to his soul, in order that both might suffer eternal punishment in the profoundest abyss of hell. Since what I have been made to know of the pains and chastisements of Judas, is worthy of fear-inspiring attention, I will according to command reveal what has been shown me concerning it. Among the obscure caverns of the infernal prisons was a very large one, arranged for more horrible chastisements than the others, and which was still unoccupied; for the demons had been unable to cast any soul into it, although their cruelty had induced them to attempt it many times from the time of Cain unto that day. All hell had remained astonished at the failure of these attempts, being entirely ignorant of the mystery, until the arrival of the soul of Judas, which they readily succeeded in hurling and burying in this prison never before occupied by any of the damned. The secret of it was, that this cavern of greater torments and fiercer fires of hell, from the creation of the world, had been destined for those, who, after having received Baptism, would damn themselves by the neglect of the Sacraments, the doctrines, the Passion and Death of the Savior, and the intercession of his most holy Mother. As Judas had been the first one who had so signally participated in these blessings, and as he had so fearfully misused them, he was also the first to suffer the torments of this place, prepared for him and his imitators and followers.

    539. This mystery I was commanded to reveal more particularly for a dreadful warning to all Christians, and especially to the priests, prelates and religious, who are accustomed to treat with more familiarity the body and blood of Christ our Lord, and who, by their office and state are his closer friends. In order to avoid blame I would like to find words and expressions sufficiently strong to make an impression on our unfeeling obduracy, so that we all may take a salutary warning and be filled with the fear of the punishments awaiting all bad Christians according to the station each one of us occupies. The demons torment Judas with inexpressible cruelty, because he persisted in the betrayal of his Master, by whose Passion and Death they were vanquished and despoiled of the possession of the world. The wrath which they had conceived against the Savior and his blessed Mother, they wreck, as far as is allowed them, on all those who imitate the traitorous disciple and who follow him in his contempt of the evangelical law, of the Sacraments and of the fruits of the Redemption. And in this the demons are but executing just punishment on those members of the mystical body of Christ, who have severed their connection with its head Christ, and who have voluntarily drifted away and delivered themselves over to the accursed hate and implacable fury of his enemies. As the instruments of divine justice they chastise the redeemed for their ingratitude toward their Redeemer. Let the children of the Church consider well this truth, for it cannot fail to move their hearts and induce them to evade such a lamentable fate.

    The Vatican II church - Assisting Souls to Hell Since 1962

    For there shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch as to deceive (if possible) even the elect. Mat 24:24

    Offline Ladislaus

    • Hero Member
    • *****
    • Posts: 15699
    • Reputation: +8288/-2603
    • Gender: Male
    Re: The Catechumen
    « Reply #14 on: November 22, 2017, 10:31:28 AM »
  • Thanks!0
  • No Thanks!0
  • The only way for BOD to really exist is for God to positively will for people to die before receiving the sacrament. We can only speculate why:

    The person would have ended in hell later in life (God foreknew that the person was not of the predestined) and God had mercy on him, as sacramentally baptized Catholics suffer the greatest torments of all humanity in hell.

    Receiving baptism of desire sends a person to the higher reaches of hell of the least torments, almost like a bad limbo of the patriarchs. There are different degrees of torments in Hell.

    Note the two extremes of Hell, the worst torments for baptized Catholics and the least could be like a bad Limbo of the Patriarchs.

    Yes, indeed.  I pointed this out to LoT once, that God must positively will for people to be saved via BoD rather than by receiving the Sacrament.  LoT conceded this.  So I asked him why God would will that.  He responded something about how God must want them to receive some temporal punishment due to sin in Purgatory (pushing that faulty St. Alphonsus theory).

    And, yes, the emotional aversion people have to "nice people" or "sincere people" not being saved is that they would go to hell -- and they have a very monolithic idea of hell where everybody is tossed indiscriminately into a burning furnace, with a kindly old Jewish grandmother who gave her life for her children right next to Joe Stalin, suffering the same torments.  But one of the EENS definitions points out that the torments are of varying degrees.  And I too believe that there are many in hell who suffer very little.  And I believe that a BoD would remit a great deal of the suffering they would experience, while a BoB would eliminate nearly all of it ... putting people into a near-limbo state.  But the superntural gift of the beatific vision is owed to no one; it is above our nature and is not even required for our perfect natural happiness.  Beatific vision is a free gift of God and He gives it to whomever He chooses.

     

    Sitemap 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16