Baptism, Baptism of Desire and Baptism of Blood - The Facts and History in the Catholic Catechism, the Bible and Catholic Teaching

This article contains content used from author: Brother Peter Dimond of Most Holy Family Monastery

Throughout the history of the Church, many have believed in the theories called baptism of desire (also known as BOD) and baptism of blood (also known as BOB): that one’s desire for the Sacrament of Baptism or one’s martyrdom for the faith supplies for the lack of being born again of water and the Holy Ghost. Those who believe in baptism of blood and baptism of desire raise certain objections to the absolute necessity of receiving the Sacrament of Baptism for salvation. This article will respond to some of the major objections made by baptism of desire and blood advocates; and in the process, will give an overview of the history of the errors of baptism of desire and baptism of blood. In doing this it will be demonstrated that neither baptism of blood nor baptism of desire is a teaching of the Catholic Church.

In this article, it will be shown that the Catholic Church infallibly teaches that the Sacrament of Baptism is necessary for salvation. It will also be shown that it is only through receiving the Sacrament of Baptism that one is incorporated into the Catholic Church, outside of which there is no salvation. It will also be shown that the Catholic Church infallibly teaches that the words of Jesus Christ in John 3:5 – Amen, amen I say unto thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God – are to be understood literally: as they are written. This is the infallible teaching of the Church and it excludes any possibility of salvation without being born again of water and the Holy Ghost.

The Sacrament of Baptism and the Dogma Outside the Catholic Church There is No Salvation

In many ways the dogma outside the Catholic Church there is no salvation is the most important dogma in the Catholic Church. Connected with this is the necessity of receiving the Sacrament of Baptism. But today both of these truths are almost universally denied by those calling themselves Catholic. They assert that the unbaptized can be united to the Church, justified (attain the state of grace) and saved by what is called baptism of desire. A tiny minority of those who believe in baptism of desire (less than 1%) limit it to those who actually desire baptism and believe in the Catholic religion (e.g., unbaptized catechumens). The vast majority of them (more than 99%) extend the possibility of salvation by baptism of desire to pagans, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, etc. and people of no religion, who do not actually desire baptism or believe in the Catholic Faith. This majority group also somehow extends the "saving capability" of baptism of desire to Protestants, even though Protestants have already been baptized.

In this article it will be shown that the Catholic Church has infallibly taught that one cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven without being born again of water and the Holy Ghost (i.e., actually receiving the Sacrament of Baptism) and that the majority’s definition of baptism of desire (that baptism of desire saves those who don’t believe in the Catholic Faith or actually desire baptism) is directly contrary to many defined dogmas, was never held by any saint, and is a denial of the Athanasian Creed which defined that whoever wishes to be saved must believe in Jesus Christ, the Most Holy Trinity and the Catholic Faith.

Introduction

Baptism of Desire and Baptism of Blood – Not a Sacrament!

First of, even the baptism of desire advocates themselves will agree that baptism of desire is not a sacrament and that it is without water. But the problem with this is that the Council of Trent infallibly defined as a dogma that THE SACRAMENT OF BAPTISM WITH WATER is necessary for salvation!

Pope Paul III, The Council of Trent, Sess. 7, Can. 5 on the Sacrament of Baptism, ex cathedra: "If anyone says that baptism [the Sacrament] is optional, that is, not necessary for salvation (cf. Jn. 3:5): let him be anathema."

Pope Paul III, The Council of Trent, Sess. 7, Can. 2 on the Sacrament of Baptism, ex cathedra: "If anyone shall say that real and natural water is not necessary for baptism, and on that account those words of Our Lord Jesus Christ: ‘Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Spirit’ [John 3:5], are distorted into some sort of metaphor: let him be anathema."

Even though St. Thomas was wrong in teaching baptism of desire and blood, still in teaching the theory of baptism of desire, St. Thomas repeatedly admitted that neither is a sacrament.

St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Third Part, Q. 66, Art. 11, Answer to Objection 2: "As stated above, a sacrament is a kind of sign. The other two [baptism of desire and blood], however, are like the Baptism of Water, not, indeed, in the nature of sign, but in the baptismal effect. Consequently they are not sacraments."

In line with St. Thomas Aquinas, the Vatican II Television Network EWTN, in an article on baptism, BAPTISM: Excerpts from various sources., quotes Fr. John Hardon as teaching that baptism of desire is not a sacrament, yet nevertheless confer the baptismal effect.

Fr. John Hardon, The Question And Answer Catechism: "[Question.] IS BAPTISM OF DESIRE A SACRAMENT?" "[Answer.] Baptism of desire is not a sacrament; it does not imprint the baptismal character or enable a person to receive the other sacraments. Nevertheless, it does confer sanctifying grace."

Even the fierce baptism of desire advocate, Fr. Laisney, admits the same in his book, Is Feeneyism Catholic?, p. 9:

Fr. Laisney, Is Feeneyism Catholic?, p. 9: "Baptism of Desire is not a sacrament; it does not have the exterior sign required in the sacraments. The theologians, following St. Thomas… call it ‘baptism’ only because it produces the grace of baptism… yet it does not produce the sacramental character."

If so, and if baptism of desire and blood are not sacraments (as they readily admit), how then can it confer the baptismal effect (sanctifying grace) without the sacrament or be reconciled with the infallible dogmas already quoted above, and as we will see, below? It can’t! But the BOD/BOB’ers who have no true faith in the Church’s infallible dogmas don’t care about that. Since they obstinately reject God and His infallible teaching, this is manifested in their obstinate choice of adhering to fallible men and the opinions of fallible men rather than God and His defined, infallible doctrines.

Pope Eugene IV, The Council of Florence, “Exultate Deo,” Nov. 22, 1439: "Holy baptism, which is the gateway to the spiritual life, holds the first place among all the sacraments; through it we are made members of Christ and of the body of the Church. And since death entered the universe through the first man, ‘unless we are born again of water and the Spirit, we cannot,’ as the Truth says, ‘enter into the kingdom of heaven’ [John 3:5]. THE MATTER OF THIS SACRAMENT IS REAL AND NATURAL WATER."

Pope Innocent III, Fourth Lateran Council, Constitution 1, 1215, ex cathedra: "But the sacrament of baptism is consecrated in water at the invocation of the undivided Trinity – namely, Father, Son and Holy Ghost – and brings salvation to both children and adults when it is correctly carried out by anyone in the form laid down by the Church."

Pope Pius XI, Quas Primas (# 15), Dec. 11, 1925: "Indeed this kingdom is presented in the Gospels as such, into which men prepare to enter by doing penance; moreover, they cannot enter it except through faith and baptism, which, although [it is] an external rite, yet signifies and effects an interior regeneration."

Pope Benedict XIV, Nuper ad nos, March 16, 1743, Profession of Faith: "Likewise (I profess) that baptism [the sacrament] is necessary for salvation, and hence, if there is imminent danger of death, it should be conferred at once and without delay, and that it is valid if conferred with the right matter and form and intention by anyone, and at any time."

Catechism of the Council of Trent, Baptism made obligatory after Christ’s Resurrection, p. 171: "Holy writers are unanimous in saying that after the Resurrection of our Lord, when He gave His Apostles the command to go and teach all nations: baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, the law of Baptism became obligatory on all who were to be saved."

The eminent Patristic Scholar Fr. William Jurgens, who has literally read thousands of texts from the fathers of the Church, was forced to admit the following (even though he believes in baptism of desire) in his three volume set on the fathers of the Church.

Fr. William Jurgens, The Faith of the Early Fathers, Vol. 3, pp. 14-15: "If there were not a constant tradition in the Fathers that the Gospel message of Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost he cannot enter into the kingdom of God’ is to be taken absolutely, it would be easy to say that Our Savior simply did not see fit to mention the obvious exceptions of invincible ignorance and physical impossibility. But the tradition in fact is there; and it is likely enough to be found so constant as to constitute revelation."

And based on this truth, declared by Jesus in the Gospel (John 3:5), handed down by the Apostles and taught by the fathers, the Catholic Church has infallibly defined as a dogma (as we have seen already) that no one at all enters heaven without the Sacrament of Baptism.

Pope Paul III, The Council of Trent, Canon 5 on the Sacrament of Baptism, ex cathedra: "If anyone says that baptism is optional, that is, not necessary for salvation (John. 3:5): let him be anathema."

In addition, here are some very relevant quotes from the Church approved Revelations of St. Bridget that describes the power of a real baptism and how real water must be joined to the sacrament of baptism for baptism to be efficacious:

"The Mother appeared again and said: “My son, you still have need of a horse and saddle. The spiritual signification of the horse is baptism. Just as a horse has its four legs and carries a man on the journey he must accomplish, so too baptism, as signified by the horse, carries a man in the sight of God and has four spiritual effects. The first effect is that the baptized are liberated from the devil and bound to the commandments and service of God. The second effect is that they are cleansed from original sin. The third is that they are made God’s children and coheirs. The fourth is that heaven is opened to them. Yet how many there are today who, having reached the age of reason, pull the reins on the horse of baptism and ride it off on a false path! The baptismal path is true and rightly followed when people are instructed and upheld in good moral habits before reaching the age of reason and when, upon reaching the age of reason and carefully considering what was promised at the baptismal font, they keep their faith and love of God intact. However, they ride away from the right path and rein the horse in when they prefer the world and the flesh to God. The saddle of the horse or of baptism is the effect of the bitter passion and death of Jesus Christ, which gave baptism its efficacy. What is water if not an element? As soon as God’s blood was poured out, God’s word and the power of God’s outpoured blood entered into the element. Thus, by the word of God, the water of baptism became the means of reconciliation between humankind and God, the gate of mercy, the expulsion of demons, the way to heaven, and the forgiveness of sins. So those who would boast of the power of baptism should first consider how the effect of baptism was instituted through bitter pain. When their mind swells up with pride against God, let them consider how bitter their redemption was, how many times they have broken their baptismal vows, and what they deserve for their relapses into sin." (The Revelations of St. Bridget, Book 4, Chapter 74)

As we can read from this splendid teaching by our Holy Mother, the water received the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ when he died for our sins, and that is why the water can have such a great efficacy to save people from sin that it can even wash away the original sin when it is used with the invocation of the name of the Holy Trinity.

Here follows another good example on the efficacy of baptism from St. Bridget’s revelations:

Christ describes why a three year old boy is tormented by a demon: "And even though the boy is born by the seed of the father and mother, the devil still has the greatest power over him, for he is not reborn through the true baptism, but is only baptized in the way that women are accustomed to baptize, who do not know about the words of the Holy Trinity [i.e., she did not baptize her child correctly or validly]. That is why the boy may be baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; then he will be cured."

All unbaptized infants and adults are held guilty through original sin and are under the dominion of the devil until they receive a valid baptism. This is the infallible teaching of the Catholic Church.

Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, Session 11, Feb. 4, 1442, ex cathedra: "Regarding children, indeed, because of danger of death, which can often take place, when no help can be brought to them by another remedy than through the sacrament of baptism, through which they are snatched from the domination of the Devil [original sin] and adopted among the sons of God, it advises that holy baptism ought not be deferred for forty or eighty days, or any time according to the observance of certain people…" (Denz. 712)

The form of valid baptism is: "I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost [pour water on the head, making sure it touches the skin]." or

"I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit [pour water on the head, making sure it touches the skin]."

If there is some doubt about the validity of your baptism, the conditional form of baptism is: "If you are baptised, I do not baptize you again, but if you are not yet baptised [pour water on the head, making sure it touches the skin] I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." In lack of Catholic priests, you can have a Catholic friend perform a conditional baptism, and you can administer baptism to your own children.

Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, "Exultate Deo," 1439: "In case of necessity, however, not only a priest or a deacon, but even a layman or woman, yes even a pagan and a heretic can baptize, so long as he preserves the form of the Church and has the intention of doing what the Church does." (Denz. 696)

Baptism of Desire – On the Witness Stand

1) Does the Catholic Church understand John 3:5 as it is written?

Are the words of Jesus Christ in John 3:5 ("Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.") to be taken as they are written, or not as they are written?

All defenders of the theory of baptism of desire must admit that they believe that John 3:5 is not to be taken literally. They agree that baptism of desire cannot be true if John 3:5 is understood as it is written. So the question is: Does the Catholic Church understand John 3:5 as it is written or not?

Pope Paul III, Council of Trent, Sess. 6, Chap. 4: "In these words there is suggested a description of the justification of the impious, how there is a transition from that state in which a person is born as a child of the first Adam to the state of grace and of adoption as sons of God through the second Adam, Jesus Christ our savior; indeed, this transition, once the gospel has been promulgated, CANNOT TAKE PLACE WITHOUT THE LAVER OF REGENERATION OR A DESIRE FOR IT, AS IT IS WRITTEN: UNLESS A MAN BE BORN AGAIN OF WATER AND THE HOLY GHOST, HE CANNOT ENTER INTO THE KINGDOM OF GOD (JOHN 3:5)."

The reader can see very clearly that the Council of Trent teaches that John 3:5 is to be taken as it is written (Latin: sicut scriptum est), thereby excluding any possibility of baptism of desire. Ironically, the Council defines this in Sess. 6, Chap. 4, the very passage which baptism of desire proponents quote all the time to favor their position. In fact, this passage is brought up by baptism of desire proponents as their single strongest – and perhaps only – argument from the Papal Magisterium. It is their "trump card". Why do they think this?

First off, the baptism of desire people believe that the use of the word "or" (Latin: aut) in the above passage means that justification can take place by the water of baptism or the desire for it. But a careful look at the passage proves this to be false. The passage says that justification cannot take place without the laver of regeneration (water baptism) or the desire for it; in other words, both are necessary for those above the age of reason (as we will see). Suppose I said, "This shower cannot take place without water or the desire to take one." Does this mean that the shower takes place by the desire to take a shower? Absolutely not. It means that both are necessary. In fact, the Latin word aut ("or") is used in the same way in other passages in the Council of Trent. In the introduction to the decree on Justification, the Council strictly forbids anyone to "believe, preach or teach" (credere, praedicare aut docere) other than as it is defined and declared in the decree on Justification.

Pope Paul III, Council of Trent, Session 6, Introduction: "... the holy ecumenical and general synod of Trent... strictly forbidding that anyone henceforth may presume to believe, preach or teach, otherwise than is defined and declared by this present decree."

Does "or" (aut) in this passage mean that one is only forbidden to preach contrary to the Council’s decree on justification, but one is allowed to teach contrary to it? No, obviously "or" (aut) means that both preaching and teaching are forbidden, just like in chapter 4 above "or" means that justification cannot take place without both water and desire. Another example of the use of aut to mean "and" (or "both") in Trent is found in Sess. 21, Chap. 2, the decree on Communion under both species (Denz. 931).

Pope Pius IV, Council of Trent, Sess. 21, Chap. 2: "Therefore holy mother Church... has approved this custom of communicating under either species, and has decreed that it be considered as a law, which may not be repudiated or be changed at will without the authority of the Church."

Does aut in this declaration mean that the Council’s decree may not be repudiated, but it may be changed? No, obviously it means that both a repudiation and a change are forbidden. This is another clear example of how the Latin word aut can be used in contexts which render its meaning "and" or "both". And these examples blow away the claim of baptism of desire supporters: that the meaning of aut in Chapter 4, Session 6 is one which favors baptism of desire to the exclusion of actually receiving water baptism.

Second, the reader should note that this crucial passage from Trent has been horribly mistranslated in the popular English version of Denzinger, the Sources of Catholic Dogma, which is cited above.

The critical phrase, "this transition, once the gospel has been promulgated, cannot take place without the laver of regeneration or a desire for it" has been mistranslated to read: "this transition, once the gospel has been promulgated, cannot take place except through the laver of regeneration or a desire for it…" This mistranslation of the Latin word "sine" (without) – which is found in the original Latin – to "except through" completely alters the meaning of the passage to favor the error of baptism of desire. This is important to keep in mind because this mistranslation is still being used by baptism of desire apologists (often deliberately), including in recent publications of the SSPX and CMRI.

Looking at a correct translation, which is found in many books, the reader also should notice that, in this passage, the Council of Trent teaches that John 3:5 is to be taken as it is written (Latin: sicut scriptum est), which excludes any possibility of salvation without being born again of water in the Sacrament of Baptism. There is no way that baptism of desire can be true if John 3:5 is to be taken as it is written, because John 3:5 says that every man must be born again of water and the Spirit to be saved, which is what the theory of baptism of desire denies. The theory of baptism of desire and an interpretation of John 3:5 as it is written are mutually exclusive (they cannot both be true at the same time) – and every baptism of desire proponent will admit this. That is why all of them must – and do – opt for a non-literal interpretation of John 3:5.

But why does Trent define that the desire for Baptism, along with Baptism, is necessary for justification? Because it is referring to both adults and infants receiving baptism. Therefore, in this chapter Trent is dealing exclusively with those Catholics under the age of reason (infants) who have not committed actual sins, and for such infants receiving baptism only is necessary for justification; while for those above the age of reason (adults) who have committed actual sins, the desire for baptism (and godly contrition) in addition to actually receiving baptism is necessary for justification.

The Council of Trent explains this saving sorrow of mind that is necessary for adults "to attain to grace and justice" before receiving baptism.

The Council of Trent, Sess. 14, Chap. 1 on the necessity, and on the institution of the Sacrament of Penance: "Penitence was in deed at all times necessary, in order to attain to grace and justice, for all men who had defiled themselves by any mortal sin, EVEN FOR THOSE WHO BEGGED TO BE WASHED BY THE SACRAMENT OF BAPTISM; that so, their perverseness renounced and amended, THEY MIGHT, WITH A HATRED OF SIN AND A GODLY SORROW OF MIND, DETEST SO GREAT AN OFFENCE OF GOD."

The Council of Trent, Session 14, Chap. 4 on Contrition: "Contrition, which holds the first place amongst the aforesaid acts of the penitent, is a sorrow of mind, and a detestation for sin committed, with the purpose of not sinning for the future. THIS MOVEMENT OF CONTRITION WAS AT ALL TIMES NECESSARY FOR OBTAINING THE PARDON OF SINS..."

As we just saw infallibly defined by the Council of Trent: "Penitence was in deed at all times necessary, in order to attain to grace and justice, for all men who had defiled themselves by any mortal sin, EVEN FOR THOSE WHO BEGGED TO BE WASHED BY THE SACRAMENT OF BAPTISM; that so, their perverseness renounced and amended, THEY MIGHT, WITH A HATRED OF SIN AND A GODLY SORROW OF MIND, DETEST SO GREAT AN OFFENCE OF GOD." As we can see, they did not say that an adult can be saved without a godly sorrow of mind (or with imperfect contrition) even when being baptized, but rather said that this godly sorrow of mind (perfect contrition) "was in deed at ALL TIMES NECESSARY, IN ORDER TO ATTAIN TO GRACE AND JUSTICE... that so, their perverseness renounced and amended [their life]..." (Session 14, Chapter 1)

Concerning adults. That is why the chapter defines that justification cannot take place without the water of baptism or the right desire for it. Both are necessary. Not only a godly sorrow for their sins is necessary, but also a right desire to actually receive baptism, is necessary.

Catechism of the Council of Trent, On Baptism - Dispositions for Baptism, Tan Books, p. 180: "INTENTION - ... In the first place they [adults] must desire and intend to receive it…"

St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Third Part, Q. 68, Art. 7: "Those who receive Baptism - Reply to Objection 2: If an adult lack the intention of receiving the sacrament, he must be rebaptized. But if there be doubt about this, the form to be used should be: "If thou art not baptized, I baptize thee."

St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Third Part, Q. 68, Art. 7: "Whether the intention of receiving the sacrament of Baptism is required on the part of the one baptized? - According to the Church’s ritual, those who are to be baptized ask of the Church that they may receive Baptism: and thus they express their intention of receiving the sacrament. I answer that, By Baptism a man dies to the old life of sin, and begins a certain newness of life, according to Romans 6:4: "We are buried together with" Christ "by Baptism into death; that, as Christ is risen from the dead . . . so we also may walk in newness of life." Consequently, just as, according to Augustine (Serm. cccli), he who has the use of free-will, must, in order to die to the old life, "will to repent of his former life"; so must he, of his own will, intend to lead a new life, the beginning of which is precisely the receiving of the sacrament. Therefore on the part of the one baptized, it is necessary for him to have the will or intention of receiving the sacrament."

Concerning infants. The Church has always taught that infants baptized in heretical and schismatic churches are made Catholics, members of the Church and subjects of the Roman Pontiff, even if the people who baptized them are heretics who are outside the Catholic Church. This is because the infant, being below the age of reason, cannot be a heretic or schismatic or have an intention contrary to the validity or effect of baptism. Hence, he cannot have an impediment which would prevent Baptism from making him a member of the Church.

Pope Paul III, Council of Trent, Sess. 7, Can. 13 on the Sacrament of Baptism: "If anyone shall say that infants, because they have not actual faith, after having received baptism are not to be numbered among the faithful… let him be anathema."

St. Thomas Aquinas also explains why infants does not need to have a desire for baptism and have contrition (or penance as it is also called) as adults always must desire baptism and have contrition in order to receive the full effect and validity of baptism.

St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, First Part of the Second Part, Q. 113, Art. 3: "Whether for the justification of the ungodly is required a movement of the free-will? - Reply to Objection 1. Infants are not capable of the movement of their free-will; hence it is by the mere infusion of their souls that God moves them to justice. Now this cannot be brought about without a sacrament; because as original sin, from which they are justified [after receiving baptism], does not come to them from their own will, but by carnal generation [or from simply being born], so also is grace given them [not from their own will but] by Christ through spiritual regeneration [in baptism]. And the same reason holds good with madmen and idiots that have never had the use of their free-will."

St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Third Part, Q. 68, Art. 9: "Whether children should be baptized? - I answer that, As the Apostle says (Romans 5:17), "if by one man’s offense death reigned through one," namely Adam, "much more they who receive abundance of grace, and of the gift, and of justice, shall reign in life through one, Jesus Christ." Now children contract original sin from the sin of Adam; which is made clear by the fact that they are under the ban of death, which "passed upon all" on account of the sin of the first man, as the Apostle says in the same passage (Romans 5:12). Much more, therefore, can children receive grace through Christ, so as to reign in eternal life. But our Lord Himself said (John 3:5): "Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." Consequently it became necessary to baptize children, that, as in birth they incurred damnation through Adam [through no will of their own] so in a second birth they might obtain salvation through Christ [also through no will of their own]."

This means that all baptized infants wherever they are, even those baptized in heretical non-Catholic churches by heretical ministers, are made members of the Catholic Church. They are also made subject to the Roman Pontiff (if there is one).

So, far from being in favor of baptism of desire, this chapter of the Council of Trent actually goes against it. It defines that justification of the impious cannot take place without the water of baptism or the desire for it, and as we have seen, receiving water baptism is always necessary for justification for both adults and infants alike. We know this interpretation of this passage is correct, because if what baptism of desire proponents say were correct, we would actually have the Council teaching us in the first part of the sentence that John 3:5 is not to be taken as it is written (desire sometimes suffices), while simultaneously contradicting itself in the second part of the sentence by telling us to take John 3:5 as it is written (sicut scriptumest)! But this passage is infallible and there is no contradiction contained therein. So let every baptism of desire supporter cease preaching that Sess. 6, Chap. 4 teaches that justification "can" be effected by water or desire to the exclusion of actually receiving water baptism, which is certainly not what the Council says. Let them cease preaching that John 3:5 is not to be taken AS IT IS WRITTEN: "Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter the kingdom of God." Let them cease quoting the horrible mistranslation of this passage as it is found in Denzinger (which many of them continue obstinately to do after it has been pointed out to them). And furthermore, let not these people think that they justify themselves before the all-knowing God by ignoring the above facts and continuing to obstinately assert that Sess. 6, Chap. 4 definitely teaches baptism of desire for salvation to the exclusion of actually receiving water baptism. They cannot be justified asserting this even by quoting famous Church theologians, who were mistaken in good faith; for God did not give the charism of infallibility to theologians, however great, but to St. Peter and his successors (the popes) alone (Lk. 22:31-32).

Some baptism of desire supporters also bring forward Sess. 7, Can. 4 on the Sacraments to somehow try to prove baptism of desire. But it’s obvious that this canon does not teach that either the sacraments or the desire for them is sufficient for justification, as some claim, but that it condemns those who assert that neither the sacraments nor the desire for them is necessary for justification, and that faith alone suffices. It does not affirm that either is sufficient, but condemns those who assert that neither is necessary.

An awkward translation of this canon, as well as the mistaken notion that Trent teaches baptism of desire in another place in Trent (which has already been refuted), has led to this erroneous assertion. In fact, we will see that the truth is just the opposite of what the baptism of desire advocates claim. Let’s take a look at the canon.

Pope Paul III, Council of Trent, Sess. 7, Can. 4, On the Sacraments: "If anyone says that the sacraments of the new law are not necessary for salvation but are superfluous, and that people obtain the grace of justification from God without them or a desire for them, by faith alone, though all are not necessary for each individual [only baptism is necessary absolutely]: let him be anathema."

When one carefully examines this canon, he sees that it is not declaring that either the sacraments or the desire for them is sufficient for justification; but rather it is condemning those who would say that neither the sacraments nor the desire for them is necessary for justification. I repeat, it is not declaring that either is sufficient; it is condemning those who would say neither is necessary. Precisely, it is condemning those who would say that neither is necessary and that faith alone suffices.

Consider the following canon that I have made up: "If anyone says that the Virgin Mary possesses the Queenship of Heaven without God’s permission or her being worthy of it, but assumes this Queenship by usurpation alone, let him be anathema."

The sentence construction of this imaginary canon is similar to the canon we are discussing. Consider it carefully. After considering it, I ask: does this canon mean that the Blessed Mother possesses her Queenship solely by "her being worthy of it"? No, she must also have God’s permission. The canon does not say that either "her being worthy of it" or "God’s permission" is sufficient for Mary to possess the Queenship. Rather, it condemns those who would say that neither "God’s permission" nor "her being worthy of it" is necessary. In other words, the canon is condemning those who would say that both God’s permission and Mary’s worthiness are useless, since she assumes the Queenship by usurping it.

Likewise, canon 4 above does not say that either the sacraments or the desire for them is sufficient for justification; it condemns those who would say that both the sacraments and the desire are unnecessary in obtaining justification, since faith alone is all one needs. Canon 4 does not in any way teach the possibility of baptism of desire.

It is also quite interesting to consider that whereas the Council of Trent never teaches baptism of desire, it teaches no less than three times (twice in Sess. 6, Chap. 14 and once in Sess. 14, Chap. 4) that the desire for the Sacrament of Penance (if a person has perfect contrition) can suffice for justification before Penance is actually received. This efficacy of the desire for the Sacrament of Penance is mentioned three times, but the supposed efficacy of the desire for baptism (baptism of desire) is not mentioned at all. This should indicate something to those who believe in baptism of desire: God didn’t allow it to be taught in the infallible Council of Trent or any other Council or even in any Papal encyclical in the history of the Church, because it is an erroneous theory. John 3:5 is true exactly as it is written (Trent, Sess. 6, Chap. 4). If the concept of baptism of desire were a true teaching of the Church, then the Council of Trent definitely would have included it in the canons on Baptism or in the chapters on Justification. But it’s nowhere to be found. It’s also noteworthy that the terms baptism of desire and baptism of blood are not found anywhere even in The Catechism of the Council of Trent - contrary to what many assert.

2) Is there one baptism or are there three?

Is there only one baptism celebrated in water? Or do three baptisms exist: water, blood and desire? Let us quote the teaching of the Church: The Dogmatic Nicene Creed: "We confess one baptism for the remission of sins." Countless Popes have professed the dogma that there is only one baptism. Did baptism of desire proponents ever wonder why countless Popes have professed that there is only one baptism, and not a single one of them bothered to define the so-called "other two" (desire and blood)? Why has not a single Pope ever used the terms "baptism of desire" and "baptism of blood"? Why did two general councils of the Church – Lateran IV and Vienne – define ex cathedra only one baptism which is of water?

Pope Innocent III, Fourth Lateran Council, Constitution 1, 1215, ex cathedra: "But the sacrament of baptism is consecrated in water at the invocation of the undivided Trinity – namely, Father, Son and Holy Ghost – and brings salvation to both children and adults when it is correctly carried out by anyone in the form laid down by the Church."

If the sacrament of baptism brings salvation to children and adults (de fide), then without it there is no salvation!

Pope Clement V, Council of Vienne, 1311-1312, ex cathedra: "Besides, one baptism which regenerates all who are baptized in Christ must be faithfully confessed by all just as ‘one God and one faith’ [Eph. 4:5], which celebrated in water in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit we believe to be commonly the perfect remedy for salvation for adults as for children."

Here Pope Clement V defines as a dogma that ONE BAPTISM must be faithfully confessed by all, which is celebrated in water. This means that all Catholics must profess one baptism of water, not three baptisms: of water, blood and desire. To confess "three baptisms", and not one, is to reject Catholic dogma.

Pope Pius XI, Quas Primas (# 15), Dec. 11, 1925: "Indeed this kingdom is presented in the Gospels as such, into which men prepare to enter by doing penance; moreover, they cannot enter it except through faith and baptism, which, although an external rite, yet signifies and effects an interior regeneration."

3) Are those who have not received the Sacrament of Baptism part of the faithful?

Who are the faithful? Can one who has not been baptized be considered part of the faithful? The following facts explain why the answer to this question is definitely a no.

Pope Innocent III, Fourth Lateran Council, Constitution 1, 1215, ex cathedra: "THERE IS INDEED ONE UNIVERSAL CHURCH OF THE FAITHFUL, outside of which nobody at all is saved, in which Jesus Christ is both priest and sacrifice."

As many of you know, the Catholic Mass is divided into two parts: the Mass of the catechumens (those training to be baptized) and the Mass of the faithful (those baptized). Need one say more? In the early Church, the unsacramentally baptized (i.e., those who had not been baptized with water) had to leave after the Mass of the catechumens, when the faithful professed the Creed. The unbaptized were not allowed to stay for the Mass of the faithful, because it is only by receiving the Sacrament of Baptism that one becomes one of the faithful. This is the teaching of Tradition. This teaching of Tradition is why in the Traditional Rite of Baptism, the unbaptized catechumen is asked what he desires from holy Church, and he answers "Faith." The unbaptized catechumen does not have "the Faith", so he begs the Church for it in the "Sacrament of Faith" (Baptism), which alone makes him one of "the faithful."

St. John Chrysostom (Hom. in Jn. 25, 3), Bishop and Doctor of the Church: "For the Catechumen is a stranger to the Faithful… One [the baptized] has Christ for his King; the other [the unbaptized] sin and the devil; the food of one is Christ, of the other, that meat which decays and perishes… Since then we have nothing in common, in what, tell me, shall we hold communion?… Let us then give diligence that we may become citizens of the city above… for if it should come to pass (which God forbid!) that through the sudden arrival of death we depart hence uninitiated [unbaptized], though we have ten thousand virtues, our portion will be none other than hell, and the venomous worm, and fire unquenchable, and bonds indissoluble."

Pope Paul III, Council of Trent, Session 6, Chap. 7 on Justification, ex cathedra: "… the instrumental cause [of Justification] is THE SACRAMENT OF BAPTISM, WHICH IS THE SACRAMENT OF FAITH,’ without faith no one is ever justified… THIS FAITH, IN ACCORDANCE WITH APOSTOLIC TRADITION, CATECHUMENS BEG OF THE CHURCH BEFORE THE SACRAMENT OF BAPTISM, when they ask for ‘faith which bestows life eternal,’ (Rit. Rom., Ordo Baptismi) which without hope and charity faith cannot bestow."

And with these facts in mind (that a catechumen "begs" for the faith because he isn’t part of the faithful), remember the definition of Pope Innocent III at the Fourth Lateran Council: "There is indeed one universal Church of the faithful, outside of which nobody at all is saved…" The original Latin reads: "Una vero est fidelium universalis ecclesia, extra quam nullus omnino salvatur…" The Latin words nullus omnino mean "absolutely nobody." Absolutely nobody outside the one Church of the faithful is saved. Since the one Church of the faithful only includes those who have received the Sacrament of Baptism – as apostolic tradition, liturgical tradition and Church dogma show – this means that absolutely nobody is saved without the Sacrament of Baptism.

The unchanging dogma Outside the Catholic Church There is No Salvation and the necessity of the Sacrament of Baptism for Salvation, was defined as a truth by our first pope St. Peter himself:

"… the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ… Nor is there salvation in any other. For there is no other name, under heaven, given to men, whereby we must be saved." (Acts 4:12)

There is no salvation outside of Jesus Christ, and the Catholic Church is His Mystical Body. Since there is no entering into the Catholic Church of Christ without the Sacrament of Baptism, this means that only baptized Catholics who die in the state of grace (and those who become baptized Catholics and die in the state of grace) can hope to be saved.

"If anyone abideth not in me, he shall be cast forth as a branch, and shall wither, and they shall gather him up, and cast him into the fire, and he burneth." (John 15:6)

Pope Pius XII, Mystici Corporis (# 22), June 29, 1943: "Actually only those are to be numbered among the members of the Church who have received the laver of regeneration [water baptism] and profess the true faith."

Pope Pius XII, Mystici Corporis (# 27), June 29, 1943: "He (Christ) also determined that through Baptism (cf. Jn. 3:5) those who should believe would be incorporated in the Body of the Church."

4) Is Our Lord’s command to be baptized impossible for some to fulfill?

Catechism of the Council of Trent, On Baptism, Tan Books, p. 171: "Holy writers are unanimous in saying that after the Resurrection of our Lord, when He gave to His Apostles the command to go and teach all nations: baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, the law of Baptism became obligatory on all who were to be saved."

As proven above, God commanded all men to be baptized. However, some supporters of the theory of baptism of desire argue that for some people the command to be baptized is impossible to fulfill.

Fr. Francis Spirago and Fr. Richard Clarke, The Catechism Explained, 1899, Baptism: "… for adults the simple desire is sufficient, if actual baptism is impossible."

God does not command impossibilities (de fide). Thus, it is not impossible for any man to get baptized.

Pope Paul III, Council of Trent, Session 6, Chap. 11 on Justification, ex cathedra: "... no one should make use of that rash statement forbidden under anathema by the Fathers, that the commandments of God are impossible to observe for a man who is justified. ‘FOR GOD DOES NOT COMMAND IMPOSSIBILITIES, but by commanding admonishes you both to do what you can do, and to pray for what you cannot do…"

Water Is Readily Available and Anyone Can Baptize

One proof that the reception of the sacrament of water baptism is necessary for sanctification and salvation is that God made it very easy for anyone to receive the sacrament of baptism no matter where he may be. First of, water, the matter of the sacrament, is readily available. Wherever men live there is water. Second, God allows anyone to administer the sacrament of baptism, even pagans and other unbelievers, when no Catholics are available.

Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, "Exultate Deo," 1439: "In case of necessity, however, not only a priest or a deacon, but even a layman or woman, yes even a pagan and a heretic can baptize, so long as he preserves the form of the Church and has the intention of doing what the Church does." (Denz. 696)

Hence there is no need for baptism of blood or desire because God has made the sacrament of baptism readily available under all circumstances. This is not true with the sacrament of penance, which God has made more difficult to receive because only a Catholic priest can administer the sacrament of penance. There have been many times in the history of the Catholic Church when Catholic priests were not available to Catholics (Anglican England; French Revolution; Arian crisis etc.) and thus God allows penance by desire for these stranded Catholics.

God is all knowing and all powerful and keeps His promises

Because God is all knowing, all powerful, and keeps all His promises, He will never let any ultimately good-willed person die without getting baptized by water and entering the Catholic Church. If you believe this is impossible for God, then you are a heretic for believing that God is not all powerful and all knowing: "With God all things are possible." (Mt. 19:26)

Jesus said that all men must be baptized by water to be saved; and He meant it literally. Jesus also promised that other good sheep (that is, good-willed unbelievers) would hear His voice and enter the Catholic Church before they die: "And other sheep I have, that are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice, and there shall be one fold and one shepherd." (Jn. 10:16) Because God keeps His promises, He sees to it that all these other good sheep will hear His voice, believe in Him, and receive the sacrament of baptism and enter the Catholic Church sometime before they die.

St. Thomas Aquinas, De Veritate, 14, A. 11, ad 1: Objection: "It is possible that someone may be brought up in the forest, or among wolves; such a man cannot explicitly know anything about the faith." St. Thomas replies: "It is the characteristic of Divine Providence to provide every man with what is necessary for salvation… provided on his part there is no hindrance. In the case of a man who seeks good and shuns evil, by the leading of natural reason, God would either reveal to him through internal inspiration what had to be believed, or would send some preacher of the faith to him…"

St. Thomas Aquinas, Sent. II, 28, Q. 1, A. 4, ad 4: "If a man born among barbarian nations, does what he can, God Himself will show him what is necessary for salvation, either by inspiration or sending a teacher to him."

St. Thomas Aquinas, Sent. III, 25, Q. 2, A. 2, solute. 2: "If a man should have no one to instruct him, God will show him, unless he culpably wishes to remain where he is."

All the people who die in cultures which have never been penetrated by the Gospel go to Hell for sins against the natural law and the other grave sins which they commit – which bad will and failure to cooperate with God’s grace is the reason He does not reveal the Gospel to them. St. Augustine explains this well in reference to persons who died ignorant of the Faith and without baptism.

St. Augustine (+428): "… God foreknew that if they had lived and the gospel had been preached to them, they would have heard it without belief." (The Faith of the Early Fathers, Vol. 3: 1997)

Because God is all knowing, He knew all of the good and bad sheep, the elect and the damned, even before the earth was created: "For all things were known to the Lord God, before they were created." (Eccus. 23:29) And because God is all powerful, He creates the elect as well as the damned and gives them both ample opportunities and occasions in a time or times and place or places in which they can cooperate with His grace and get baptized by water and enter the Catholic Church sometime before they die, even if by a miracle, provided on their own part there is no hindrance: "The works of God are done in judgment from the beginning, and from the making of them he distinguished their parts, and their beginnings in their generations." (Eccus. 16:26) "[God] hath made of one, all mankind, to dwell upon the whole face of the earth, determining appointed times, and the limits of their habitation." (Acts 17:26) And because God is all powerful, He clears all obstacles that would prevent His elect of good-will from being baptized by water and entering the Catholic Church: "No word shall be impossible with God." (Lk. 1:37)

"Behold I am the Lord the God of all flesh: shall any thing be hard for me?… Alas, alas, alas, O Lord God, behold thou hast made heaven and earth by thy great power, and thy stretched out arm: no word shall be hard to thee… O most mighty, great, and powerful, the Lord of hosts is thy name. Great in counsel and incomprehensible in thought: whose eyes are open upon all the ways of the children of Adam, to render unto every one according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his devices." (Jer. 32:27, 17-19)

Jesus said, "If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain, Remove from hence hither, and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible to you." (Mt. 17:19) St. Gregory the Wonder Worker, also known as Thaumaturgus, proved he had this faith in God. Thus God moved a great stone for him.

St. Gregory Thaumaturgus, Butler’s Lives of the Saints, Nov. 17: "Gregory explained to him [an idolatrous priest] the principles of the Christian faith, and finding the priest shocked at the doctrine of the incarnation, told him that great truth was not to be enforced by words or human reasoning, but by the wonders of the divine power. The priest hereupon pointing to a great stone, desired the saint to command that it should change its place to another, which he named. St. Gregory did so, and the stone obeyed, by the power of him who promised his disciples that by faith they should be able to remove mountains. The priest was converted by this miracle, and, forsaking his house, friends, and relations, resigned himself up to the instructions of divine wisdom." (v. 4, p. 222, c. 1)

Since God moves great stones and even mountains because of a man’s faith, then God certainly gets baptismal water to a man because of his faith. Without God’s help, no one can be saved. Jesus said: "No man can come to me, except the Father, who hath sent me, draw him." (Jn. 6:44) The Father draws men to Jesus by giving them His grace, then by drawing them to His gospel, then by their believing, and then by drawing them to the baptismal waters: "But by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, we believe to be saved." (Acts 15:11) "Faith then cometh by hearing; and hearing by the word of Christ." (Rom. 10:17) "He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved." (Mk. 16:16) Good-willed men have nothing to fear because God is all merciful, all just, all knowing, all powerful, and all honest and hence keeps His promise to draw all the good sheep to Jesus: "All that the Father giveth to me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me, I will not cast out." (Jn. 6:37) Therefore, the Father draws all the good sheep to Jesus by sending them the gospel, a preacher, giving them the grace to believe, getting them baptized by water, even if by miracle, and hence drawing them into His Catholic Church.

There would be no need for God to save anyone by baptism of blood (or "baptism of desire"), since He can keep any sincere souls alive until they are baptized. St. Martin of Tours brought back to life a catechumen who had died so that he could baptize him (Life of St. Martin, 7, 1-7). St. Joan of Arc brought back to life a dead infant so that she could baptize him (Raised From The Dead, p. 93.). There were many similar miracles. One striking example is said to have occurred in the life of St. Peter himself. While he was chained to a pillar in the Mamertine prison in Rome, he baptized two of his guards, Processus and Martinian, with water which miraculously sprang up from the ground within hands distance from St. Peter. These guards were also jailed with St. Peter and were to undergo execution the next day because they were converts. Their desire for baptism (baptism of desire) and their martyrdom for the faith (baptism of blood) weren’t going to be enough. They needed to be baptized with "water and the Holy Ghost" (Jn. 3:5). And God saw that they truly desired the Sacrament, so He provided it miraculously.

What follows is just a few examples (of innumerable) of people miraculously receiving water baptism before their death.

St. Joan of Arc, 15th century

Fr. Albert J. Herbert, Raised from the Dead, 1986: "One of the most unique saints of all time was Joan of Arc (1412-1431)… In early March, 1430, St. Joan arrived at the village of Lagny-sur-Marn, in the direction of Paris. Here she learned of a woman who was greatly distressed because she had given birth to a stillborn son. Some villagers approached Joan and asked for her intercession. The mother prayed only that the child might be brought to life long enough to be baptized and so gain Heaven. Joan went to the church where the dead child had been laid at the feet of the statue of the Blessed Mother. Young girls of the village were praying by the small corpse. Joan then added her own prayers. The baby came to life and yawned three times. Baptism was hurriedly administered. The baby boy died again, and his beautiful spotless baptized soul went straight to Heaven."

St. Patrick, 5th century

History also records that St. Patrick – who himself raised over 40 people from the dead – raised a number of people from the dead specifically in order to baptize them, something which was totally unnecessary if one can be saved without baptism.

Michael Malone, The Only-Begotten, p. 384: "In all, St. Patrick brought to life some forty infidels in Ireland, one of whom was King Echu… On raising him from the dead, St. Patrick instructed and baptized him, asking what he had seen of the other world. King Echu told how he had actually beheld the throne prepared for him in Heaven because of his life of being open to the grace of Almighty God, but that he was not allowed to enter precisely because he was as yet unbaptized. After receiving the sacraments… (he) died instantly and went to his reward."

The same scholar further notes:

Michael Malone, The Only-Begotten, p. 385: "Many such saints have been recorded as resurrecting grown-ups specifically and exclusively for the Sacrament of Baptism, including St. Peter Claver, St. Winifred of Wales, St. Julian of Mans, St. Eleutherius, and others. But even more have raised up little infants for the sacrament of salvation: St. Gregory Nazianz… St. Hilary… St. Elizabeth… St. Colette… St. Frances of Rome… St. Joan of Arc… St. Philip Neri… St. Francis Xavier… St. Gildas… St. Gerard Majella… to name a few."

St. Peter Claver, 17th century

One of the more interesting cases is the story of Augustina, the slave girl, which is related in the life of St. Peter Claver, a Jesuit missionary in 17th century Colombia.

The Only-Begotten, Michael Malone, p. 386: "When Father Claver arrived at her deathbed, Augustina lay cold to the touch, her body already being prepared for burial. He prayed at her bedside for one hour, when suddenly the woman sat up, vomited a pool of blood, and declared upon being questioned by those in attendance: ‘I have come from journeying along a long road. After I had gone a long way down it, I met a white man of great beauty who stood before me and said: Stop! You can go no further.’… On hearing this, Father Claver cleared the room and prepared to hear her Confession, thinking she was in need of absolution for some sin she may have forgotten. But in the course of the ritual, St. Peter Claver was inspired to realize that she had never been baptized. He cut short her confession and declined to give her absolution, calling instead for water with which to baptize her. Augustina’s master insisted that she could not possibly need baptism since she had been in his employ for twenty years and had never failed to go to Mass, Confession, and Communion all that time. Nevertheless, Father Claver insisted on baptizing her, after which Augustina died again joyfully and peacefully in the presence of the whole family."

Fr. Pierre De Smet, 19th century

The great "Apostle of the Rocky Mountains," Fr. Pierre De Smet, who was the extraordinary missionary to the American Indians in the 19th century, was also a witness – as were his fellow Jesuit missionaries – of many people coming to baptism under miraculous circumstances.

Fr. De Smet, Dec. 18, 1839: "I have often remarked that many of the children seem to await baptism before winging their flight to heaven, for they die almost immediately after receiving the sacrament."

Fr. De Smet, Dec. 9, 1845: "… over a hundred children and eleven old people were baptized. Many of the latter [the old people], who were carried on buffalo hides, seemed only to await this grace before going to rest in the bosom of God."

St. Columbanus, 6th century

In the life of the extraordinary Irish missionary St. Columbanus (A.D. 543-615), we read of a similar story of God’s providence getting all good willed souls to baptism.

Rev. Canon Howe, The Catechist: "[St. Columbanus said]: ‘My sons, today you will see an ancient Pictish chief, who has faithfully kept the precepts of the Natural Law all his life, arrive on this island; he comes to be baptized and to die.’ Immediately, a boat was seen to approach with a feeble old man seated in the prow who was recognized as chief of one of the neighboring tribes. Two of his companions brought him before the missionary, to whose words he listened attentively. The old man asked to be baptized, and immediately thereafter breathed out his last breath and was buried on the very spot."

There are many other historical accounts of miraculous baptisms. These few accounts are sufficient proof that God is telling us that baptism of water, the reception of the sacrament of baptism, is not only possible to receive, even if by a miracle, for good willed soul, but is also the only way men can be sanctified and saved.

John 3:5 vs. John 6:54

Some writers have tried to refute a literal interpretation of John 3:5 by appealing to the words of Our Lord in John 6:54: "Amen, amen I say to you: Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you." They argue that the language in this verse is the same as in John 3:5, and yet the Church doesn’t take Jn. 6:54 literally – for infants don’t need to receive the Eucharist to be saved. But the argument falters because the proponents of this argument have missed a crucial difference in the wording of these two verses.

John 6:54: "Amen, amen I say to you: EXCEPT YOU EAT the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you."

John 3:5: "Amen, amen I say to thee, UNLESS A MAN be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God."

Our Lord Jesus Christ, when speaking on the necessity of receiving the Eucharist in John 6:54, does not say: "unless a man eat the flesh of the Son of man…" He says: "Except you…" His words, therefore, are clearly intended for the people to whom He was speaking, not every man. Since the people to whom He was speaking could receive the Eucharist, they had to in order to be saved. This applies to all who can receive the Eucharist, which is what the Church teaches. But in John 3:5 Our Lord unequivocally speaks of every man, and speaks universally. This is why the Catholic Church’s magisterial teaching, in every single instance it has dealt with John 3:5, has taken it as it is written (see Council of Carthage, Denz 102; Florence, Denz. 696; Trent, Sess. 5, no. 4, Denz. 791; Trent, Sess. 6, Chap. 4; Trent, Can. 2 and 5 on Baptism, Denz. 858 and 861.). Also, one should note that Trent’s Canons on Baptism are Canons on the Sacrament (Canones de sacramento baptismi).

The difference in the wording of these two verses actually shows the supernatural inspiration of the Bible and the absolute necessity of water baptism for every man.

This means that Can. 5 (see below) condemns anyone who says that the Sacrament of Baptism (i.e., water baptism) is not necessary for salvation. It also takes John 3:5 literally once again, as the Church always does.

Pope Paul III, Council of Trent, Canons on the Sacrament of Baptism, Can. 5: "IF ANYONE SHALL SAY THAT BAPTISM [THE SACRAMENT] IS OPTIONAL, THAT IS, NOT NECESSARY FOR SALVATION (cf. John 3:5): let him be anathema."

John 3:5-7: "Jesus answered: Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God… WONDER NOT, that I said to thee, YOU MUST BE BORN AGAIN."

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