Trying again -
EXTRA ECCLESIAM – Baptism of Water, Blood, Desire
Let's look briefly again at the 3 infallible definitions regarding No Salvation Outside the Church –
#1 “There is but one universal Church of the faithful, outside which no one at all is saved.”
(Pope Innocent III, Fourth Lateran Council, 1215.)
#2 “We declare, say, define, and pronounce that it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff.” (Pope Boniface VIII, the Bull Unam Sanctam, 1302.)
#3 “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 are joined 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 almsgivings, 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.” (Pope Eugene IV, the Bull Cantate Domino, 1441.)
A few talking points follow in their regard –
With dogma, one starts THERE, or WITH IT – and works out accordingly. Dogma is not the handmaid of theory, or some previously-argued theology or, as we see in our age, simply ignored or denigrated to liberal interpretation.
The No Salvation doctrine never needed defining previous to the years seen above, as until then it was understood that the Church held and taught such accordingly. As princes and people began to question and lose respect for the papacy, and depreciate the Church, definitions were forthcoming from the Holy Ghost.
And notice the rise in specificity with each. They become increasingly more exacting – and not to be misunderstood.
Also note the particular years in which these pronouncements were made. One wonders how St. Thomas (d. 1274), who held baptism of desire, would have thusly termed his works if he lived and studied after Definition 2 and 3 were made. Surely it is to be hoped – if not assumed - that he would have submitted as a Catholic and as a preacher and teacher, and dropped any “desire” notion he otherwise propounded. It is allowed to hope that, as there is a similar turmoil in our day on the issue of salvation, baptism – and even justification – that the Church in happier, future days, may define with further clarity on the issue.
The original version of the Catechism of the Council of Trent - call it the Latin version - has NO MENTION of either “baptism of blood” or “baptism of desire”! These phrases did not appear in Trent catechism copies until the late 1800s.
Further, this Council defined: If anyone say that real and natural water is not necessary for baptism, and thus distort those words of our Lord Jesus Christ: “Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost (he cannot enter into the kingdom of God)” (Jn. 3:5), let him be anathema. (Session VII – Canon 2)
We are therefore obliged to believe this.
As for the Catechism of St. Pius X, or the Baltimore Catechism for that matter - they do not have the same authority as definitions of the Church – or the Catechism which the defining Council of Trent promulgated (the original, untouched Catechism of the Council of Trent).
We do not learn our theology directly from the Fathers or Doctors, any more than we learn our religion directly from the Bible. We learn our religion directly from the Church through her Magisterium which is guided and protected by the Holy Ghost. As Queen Isabella once said to her confessor as he attempted to answer a question she had presented to him: “Father, I do not want to know what the Fathers said, good as they were. I want to know what the Church says.”