Thursday, December 24, 2009

Common Arguments in favour of baptism of blood/desire (and why they don't work)

Here are the main (theologically incorrect) arguments commonly used in an attempt to support belief in baptism of desire or baptism of blood.

"The Holy Innocents are proof of baptism of blood"

No they are not. Not only were most of them likely circumcised under the Old Law, the Law of Baptism was not yet promulgated and it would not be until about 33 years later.

Furthermore, the proposition that unbaptized infants in the New Testament Era can be martyrs and go to heaven is blatantly heretical, and contradicts the following dogma:

Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, Session 11, ex cathedra: "With regard to children, since the danger of death is often present and the only remedy available to them is the sacrament of Baptism by which they are snatched away from the dominion of the devil and adopted as children of God, it admonishes that sacred Baptism is not to be deferred..."

It doesn't get much more explicit than that.

"The Good Thief is proof of baptism of desire or baptism of blood"

Same answer, except days later, not years, plus the Good Thief, St. Dismas, may have already been baptized by one of the Apostles or by St. John the Baptist.

"Of the 40 Martyrs of Sebaste, the one soldier who declared himself a Christian received baptism of blood"

The martyrs were able to have visitors to their prison and could very easily have evangelized and baptized any soldier who was graced with the interest to receive the Gospel.

"St. Emerantiana was a catechumen martyr and received baptism of blood"

Just being a catechumen does not mean one is unbaptized, as the 2nd Canon of Nicaea shows: "For a catechumen needs time and further probation after baptism," and secondly nobody can even say with absolute certainty that the story was not completely made up in the first place, hence Pope St. Gelasius' commentary:

Pope St. Gelasius, Decretals, 495 (Denzinger 165): "Likewise the deeds of the holy martyrs . . . [which] with remarkable caution are not read in the holy Roman Church . . . because the names of those who wrote (them) are entirely unknown . . . lest an occasion of light mockery arise. We, however, with the aforementioned Church venerate with every devotion both all the martyrs and the glorious combats of those who are known to God rather than to men."

Besides that, the term baptism of blood, has been used also to refer to a baptized person who underwent martyrdom.

"St. Thomas taught baptism of desire/baptism of blood"

Nearly forty years before the first of many dogmatic definitions (at the Council of Vienne) which rendered it heretical, and despite his Catholic genius, he was evidently not free from all error.   Even though Pope Eugene IV, for example, was evidently aware of St. Thomas' theological opinion, he nevertheless worded his definitions in such a way as to exclude it.

"St. Alphonsus taught it after the Council of Trent"

(Assuming his works were not tampered with by his many enemies), then he made a mistake. St. Alphonsus was incorrect about baptism of desire AND he was wrong to state that a person could receive such a thing IMPLICITLY.

Here are the words attributed to him, and you cannot deny that his conclusions do NOT logically follow:

St. Alphonsus Liguori, Moral Theology, Bk. 6: "We shall speak below of Baptism of water, which was very probably instituted before the passion of Christ the Lord, when Christ was baptised by John. But Baptism of desire is perfect conversion to God by contrition or love of God above all things accompanied by an explicit or implicit desire for true Baptism of water, the place of which it takes as to the remission of guilt, but not as to the impression of the [baptismal] character or as to the removal of all debt of punishment. It is called "of wind" ["flaminis"] because it takes place by the impulse of the Holy Ghost who is called a wind ["flamen"]. Now it is de fide that men are also saved by Baptism of desire, by virtue of the Canon Apostolicam, "de presbytero non baptizato" and of the Council of Trent, session 6, Chapter 4 where it is said that no one can be saved "without the laver of regeneration or the desire for it".

If it cannot be had without the laver, as is stated, then the desire does not suffice. If it cannot be had without the desire, then the laver does not suffice on its own either.  In other words, the if either the one or the other is missing, one cannot be saved.

It really is that simple (read "Trent's Decree on Justification and Baptism of Desire" for a more thorough explanation of the relevant logic, also relayed briefly below).

"The Catechism of Baltimore/Trent, etc., teaches it"

We know very well that a Catechism, not being an infallible papal declaration, can contain not only error but even (alas!) outright heresy, such as the Catechism of Baltimore stating that people may be saved while practicing false religions. But as for the Catechism of Trent, the Latin text actually does NOT explicitly teach that a person who DIES UNBAPTIZED can be saved.

The words of the Latin Catechism quite literally say that if some impediment, obstruction, snare or difficulty (impediat) should befall a man, which holds (possint) him from receiving the sacrament then the intention and determination to receive the sacrament and their repentance of sins will avail them to grace and righteousness. There is NOTHING about death in the Catechism, nor is it unreasonable to interpret such an ambiguous passage in the light of all the other solemn definitions of Holy Mother Church; ie: that "avail them to grace and righteousness" means that God will enable them to overcome whatever impediat has gotten in their way, since their repentance is true and He would therefore be pleased to bring them into the Faith.

In other words, just like the Council session that the Catechism comes from (Trent, Session 6, Chapter 5), this part of the Catechism is referring to PREVENIENT GRACE.

All this is not proof, however, that baptism of desire is hertical

Now, none of the above actually proves that baptism of desire is a heresy, but rather shows that there is an alternative explanation for the various cases where baptism of desire and blood are blindly invoked and parroted back by those who have not bothered to delve into the Church's teachings.  All that has been said above is valid according to Catholic teaching, and thus it aids the case against those who believe in baptism of desire or blood even for catechumens.

But to know and believe that it is heresy, you need to go to the dogmatic definitions of the Holy See:

Here's your proof

"But the Council of Trent teaches baptism of desire"

Only if you don't understand common logic as understood by anyone in computer programming or engineering. When it is said that something cannot take place without this or that, it means that if either one is missing it cannot take place. Whereas if you say something cannot take place without this AND that, all of a sudden you have now introduced the scenario in which it is impossible ONLY WHEN BOTH are missing.

Trent says the translation to the state of justification cannot take place without the laver of regeneration OR the desire thereof.

The very definition that everyone tries to use to support baptism of desire actually refutes them and it is simply illogical to think otherwise. Ask an engineer who is not Catholic, as he'd be impartial enough to shoot straight. Why do you think there is a deliberate mistranslation out there of sine (without) to "except through"? It is an untenable and incorrect translation with no precedent in any Latin work I have ever seen (not that I am a Latin scholar, but I did specifically look for this).  Read the article in the above link for more details on why this translation makes such a big difference.

But this decree aside, there are all the other decrees I mentioned as well. When you take them all together it is quite untenable to hold that a person can receive the grace of Baptism in any other way than by the normal application of the Sacrament, according to the matter and form prescribed by Jesus Christ, which except a man be born thus, he cannot enter the kingdom of heaven, as Truth says.

Truly, baptism of desire posits a reformation against the various decrees of Holy Church, but we know since the Vatican Council of 1870 that to consider any such reformation is unlawful, as the definitions are "of themselves, and not by the consent of the Church, irreformable".

"But baptism of desire was never condemned as a heresy by the Church"

You might not think that it has ever been condemned because you cannot find a definition that says "We declare, define and proclaim that baptism of desire is heresy."  But let's not forget that once something is defined as a dogma, it must ALWAYS be held firmly and faithfully, and it may never be contradicted in one iota, lest we lose our status as children of God and members of His Church.

Pope Pius IX, Vatican Council, Session 3, Chapter 3, #8-9: "Wherefore, by divine and Catholic faith all those things are to be believed which are contained in the word of God as found in Scripture and tradition, and which are proposed by the Church as matters to be believed as divinely revealed, whether by her solemn judgment or in her ordinary and universal magisterium.  Since, then, without faith it is impossible to please God and reach the fellowship of his sons and daughters, it follows that no one can ever achieve justification without it, neither can anyone attain eternal life unless he or she perseveres in it to the end."

Denial of any part of the dogmatic Magisterium is a denial of divine and catholic Faith, is heresy.

So it doesn't matter if no pope ever said "We decree and define that 'baptism of desire' is a heresy". All that matters is that the Councils of Vienne, Florence and Trent stated that without the sacrament of Holy Baptism a person cannot enter heaven. Do not recede from those definitions.

"But that means that everyone has been a heretic since such and such a year... that St. Alphonsus was a heretic..."

Not at all. Not only is this an argument from emotion (which is a logical fallacy in itself), but neither is the statement true. On deeper dogmatic matters not contained in the basic Christian Creed, a person may indeed fall into material heresy, while never committing the sin of heresy or losing his Catholicity. Such a person would only be a heretic when he sees that the Apostolic See has made a dogmatic definition, and then refuses to assent to that definition as it was declared.

Note, however, that we must not presume someone to be only in material heresy if we never have had the opportunity to admonish them, and they showed no signs of professing the true dogma, UNLESS the Church has formally declared the person to be free from guilt, as is the case with St. Alphonsus (in his canonization).

So no, just because baptism of desire is heresy, it does not logically follow that EVERYBODY was ejected from the Church. Heresy can fly under the radar, waiting for the perfect time to explode, and BoD has done so, despite that no honest and theologically sound argument will ever be able to support belief in it next to the dogmatic definitions of Holy Mother Church, every word therein being infallibly true.

When the undeniable veracity of these above arguments is admitted, BoD and BoB believers do not have a leg to stand on, and must renounce their heresy.


  1. Is there a single saint, theologian, bishop, cardinal, or doctor of the Church that you know of that has explicitly rejected some notion of baptism of desire after the Council of Trent?

  2. None comes to mind, however the dogmatic definitions, if one is to accept them as they are declared and as irreformable, then there is no need to look beyond these.

    Do you feel the need to see a man repeat the dogmatic words of the pope before you will accept them? I do not.