So… If Baptism Is Necessary, What About The Holy Innocents?

REFLECTIONS ON THE HOLY INNOCENTS

The Feast of the Holy Innocents, December 28, is doubtless the occasion for many priests to mention the crime of abortion in the course of their sermons. There are many similarities between Herod’s slaughter of the Holy Innocents, and the ongoing killing of babies in the wombs of their mothers. But there is one tremendous difference. The Holy Innocents were all circumcised little Jewish boys who went to the Limbo of the Just, and on Ascension Thursday, Our Lord brought them with Him to Heaven, where they now enjoy the Beatific Vision. The babies that are being killed in today’s slaughter of the holy innocents will never see the Face of God. They do not go to Heaven, but rather, a place of natural happiness, free from the torments due to willful sin.

Abortion is a crime against the natural law, but more importantly, it is also a crime against the supernatural law. By depriving these children of the sacrament of Baptism, they are being deprived of their only chance for the Beatific Vision. This probably explains the failure of the “Right to Life” Movement. They are making it just a natural movement. It should be the “Right to Supernatural Life.” The reason the Magisterium has not raised the movement from the natural to the supernatural level, is because they would have to say that the sacrament of Baptism is necessary for salvation, and this they have been unwilling to do.

When this aspect of the abortion issue is mentioned, we usually hear: “But the Catechism says we can “hope” for the salvation of these unbaptized children” (CCC 1261). This is just speculation, and poor speculation at that. The Catechism itself says: ” The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude.” (CCC 1257). So everything that follows, on “baptism of desire,” etc. is just speculation, and has no authority.

The necessity of Baptism for salvation is crystal clear in Holy Scripture from Our Lord’s own words: “And he said to them: Go ye into the whole world, and preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized, shall • be saved: but he that believeth not shall be condemned” (Mark 16:15,16). And again: “Jesus answered: Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into thekingdom of God” (John 3:5).

It is also the clear teaching of the Solemn Magisterium of the Church that the sacrament of Baptism is necessary for salvation: “All the faithful must confess only one Baptism, which regenerates in Christ all the baptized, just as there is one God and one faith. We believe that this sacrament celebrated in water and in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is necessary for children and grownup people alike for the perfect remedy of salvation.” Council of Vienne (Denzinger 482). And again: “If anyone says that Baptism is optional, that is not necessary for salvation: let him be anathema.” Council of Trent (Denzinger691).

Until the hierarchy preach against the supernatural crime of abortion, the depriving the unborn child of the sacrament of Baptism, thus depriving him of his chance for the Beatific Vision, the massacre of the innocents will continue.

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3 Responses to So… If Baptism Is Necessary, What About The Holy Innocents?

  1. Julian I. Warren says:

    “Lord Jesus Christ, I adore your five Holy Wounds and put my life in your service. I want to pray and meditate on these five Our Fathers. Grant me, therefore, the strength to fulfill this promise in order to mitigate the suffering you bore to wipe away our sins”.

  2. get smart says:

    It is clear that the traditional teaching on this topic has concentrated on the theory of limbo, understood as a state which includes the souls of infants who die subject to original sin and without baptism, and who, therefore, neither merit the beatific vision, nor yet are subjected to any punishment, because they are not guilty of any personal sin. This theory, elaborated by theologians beginning in the Middle Ages, never entered into the dogmatic definitions of the Magisterium, even if that same Magisterium did at times mention the theory in its ordinary teaching up until the Second Vatican Council. It remains therefore a possible theological hypothesis. However, in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1992), the theory of limbo is not mentioned. Rather, the Catechism teaches that infants who die without baptism are entrusted by the Church to the mercy of God, as is shown in the specific funeral rite for such children. The principle that God desires the salvation of all people gives rise to the hope that there is a path to salvation for infants who die without baptism (cf. CCC, 1261 ), and therefore also to the theological desire to find a coherent and logical connection between the diverse affirmations of the Catholic faith: the universal salvific will of God; the unicity of the mediation of Christ; the necessity of baptism for salvation; the universal action of grace in relation to the sacraments; the link between original sin and the deprivation of the beatific vision; the creation of man “in Christ”.

    • Dan says:

      Thank you for your interest. I can tell by the effort you expended in writing your e-mail that this is important to you. Let me do the best I can.

      The Church has made infallible dogmatic pronouncements about the necessity of Baptism for Salvation. The Church made these infallible statements through various Councils. Also, Popes (speaking from the Chair of Peter or what we would call “ex cathedra”) made infallible proclamations on this subject. In both cases, these statements are infallible dogmatic proclamations that, as Catholics, we must believe. Here are a few of them:

      A. Council of Florence, Decree for the Armenians:

      Holy Baptism holds the first place among all the sacraments because it is the gateway to the spiritual life…. And since death entered the universe through the first man. “unless we are reborn of water and the Spirit, we cannot” as the Truth says, “enter the kingdom of heaven” [John 3:5].

      B. Council of Trent, Canons on Baptism (Canon 5):

      If anyone says that baptism is optional, that is, not necessary for salvation, let him be anathema. (Denz. 861)

      Also Trent: Canons on the Sacraments (Canon 4):

      If anyone says that the Sacraments of the New Law are not necessary for salvation, but that they are superfluous: let him be anathema. (Denz. 847).

      C. Benedict XIV (1740-58), Bull Nuper ad Nos (Solemn Profession of Faith Prescribed for Maronites; 1743):

      Likewise, I profess that Baptism is necessary for salvation. (Denz. 1470)

      D. Pope St. Zosimus, Apostolic Letter to the Oriental Churches (418):

      Not one of our children is held not guilty until he is freed through Baptism. (Denz. 109a)

      E. Council of Lyons E (1274) it was solemnly defined that:

      The souls of those who die in mortal sin or with original sin only, however, immediately descend to Hell, yet to be punished with different punishments (Denz. 464).

      F. Council of Florence, Decree for the Greeks (1439):

      It is likewise defined that … the souls of those who depart in actual mortal sin or in original sin only, descend immediately into Hell but to undergo punishments of different kinds. (Denz. 693)

      No dogmatic proclamations have been made on the so called “Baptism of Desire” nor on “Baptism of Blood.” As you know, infallible statements outweigh statements made by famous theologians, Saints and even Doctors of the Church.

      Believe me, this was hard for me to accept when I learned about it. That is because my wife and I lost 5 children to miscarriages. None of them saw the light of day or had the opportunity for Baptism. However, I believe and profess the necessity of ONE Baptism of water and The Holy Spirit.

      The “Limbo of the Just” was closed at the time Christ ascended into Heaven and opened the gates of heaven for the first time since Adam’s fall. In reality, what people call “Limbo” today is a nice term for the upper regions of hell where unbaptized souls who have not committed any volitional or willful sins go to experience eternity in the state of natural happiness. There, no punishment or torments exist, however, the soul has a feeling of loss because it is not sharing the beatific vision. Although this has not been defined by the Extraordinary Magisterium of the Catholic Church, has been is widely held by many of the Doctors and Saints of the Church.

      The Extraordinary Magisterium of the Church has made it clear that the soul cannot enter into the beatific vision, or to heaven, with original sin or mortal sin.

      I hope this helps and I look forward to other questions on this important subject.

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