Fr. Anthony Cekada Beliefs, Heresies and Practices Exposed (The Work of Human Hands Author)

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

Father Anthony Cekada claims to be a “traditionalist” Catholic priest and author who runs a chapel in Ohio. He is the author of a work called “Work of Human Hands”.

Born in 1951, Anthony Cekada studied at St. Francis Roman Catholic Seminary College in Milwaukee, graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Theology in 1973. In 1975 he entered St. Pius X Seminary in Ecône, Switzerland, completed his studies, and was ordained priest in the traditional Roman Catholic rite of ordination by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre in 1977 for the Society of St. Pius X.

In 1983 Fr. Cekada along with eight other priests broke with the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) and formed the Society of St. Pius V (SSPV), headed by then Fr. Clarence Kelly. In 1989 Father Cekada also left the SSPV and he moved to Cincinnati, where he now assists with “pastoral” work at St. Gertrude the Great Traditional Roman Catholic Church (sedevacantist). Fr. Cekada is also a well-known and convinced sedevacantist, believing the papal claimants of the Second Vatican Council to have been illegitimate pontiffs.

See: The Heresies of Antipope Francis, The Apocalypse & The End of the World

Unfortunately, Fr. Anthony Cekada’s is a notorious heretic on several counts. As we will see, he denies the Salvation Dogma. He heretically believes that certain men who live and die worshipping false gods and practicing false religions can be in the way of salvation and be saved. He publicly denounce “Feeneyites” (i.e., those who believe that only baptized Catholics can be saved) as guilty of mortal sin. He is also a notorious heretic for teaching Catholics can knowingly attend mass at non-Catholic churches and pray in communion with notorious heretics or schismatics. He is also a notorious heretic for teaching the contraception heresy of Natural Family Planning, also known as the Rhythm Method.

Fr. Anthony Cekada on Religious Communion with non-Catholics and Heretics

Fr. Anthony Cekada recently wrote an article called The Grain of Incense: Sedevacantists and Una Cum Masses in which he explains why he believes that a Catholic may not assist at a Mass where Benedict XVI is prayed for as the pope. But what gets lost in the discussion about whether Catholics may go to the Mass where Benedict XVI is prayed for as the pope is the fact that the very authors promoting and writing articles on this issue are themselves horrible heretics. The point I will attempt to demonstrate is that there isn’t that much of a difference between the heretic Benedict XVI and the heretic Fr. Cekada and the rest of the “traditionalist” priests and societies.

According to Cekada, therefore, if you must not assist at a Mass where Benedict XVI (or any of the antipopes) is prayed for as the pope, then, if we follow Cekada’s own logic to its only reasonable conclusion, you must not go to any place where any priest celebrating Mass is a heretic or where a heretic is prayed for as the pope. Therefore, since Fr. Anthony Cekada (and the society he adheres to) is a heretic and a non-Catholic (as we will prove) as is all the “traditionalist” priests and societies we are aware of, it logically follows that you must not go to any such a heretical priest who celebrates such a Mass or support such a heretical society.

Most people who hold that no one may attend any “una cum” Masses believe that you may attend the Masses of other sedevacantist priests. But I would ask them: “Why do you believe that you may go to a priest who is himself a heretic, as long as he doesn’t pray for a heretic (Benedict XVI)?

The Catholic Church’s teaching on Religious Communion with non-Catholics, Schismatics and Heretics

The Catholic Church teaches the following concerning religious communion with heretics and schismatics and about entering their churches:

How does a Catholic sin against faith? A Catholic sins against Faith by Apostasy, heresy, indifferentism and by taking part in non-Catholic worship.” (Catechism of the Council of Trent, Catechism [attributed to] Pope St. Pius X and The Baltimore Catechism)

Pope Pius VI, Charitas Quae, April 13, 1791: “31... Keep away from all intruders, whether called archbishops, bishops, or parish priests; do not hold communion with them especially in divine worship.”

Pope Leo XIII, Satis Cognitum (# 9), June 29, 1896: “The practice of the Church has always been the same, as is shown by the unanimous teaching of the Fathers, who were wont to hold as outside Catholic communion, and alien to the Church, whoever would recede in the least degree from any point of doctrine proposed by her authoritative Magisterium.”

The 1917 Code of Canon Law, Canon 1258: “It is not permitted at all for the faithful to assist in any active manner at or to have any part in the worship of non-Catholics.”

1917 Code of Canon Law, Canon 823: “Mass may not be said in churches of heretics or schismatics, even though they were in the past properly consecrated or blessed.”

Council of Laodicea, 4th Century: “No one shall pray in common with heretics and schismatics.”

1917 Code of Canon Law, Canon 2314: “All apostates from the Christian faith and each and every heretic or schismatic: 1) Incur ipso facto [by that very fact] excommunication…”

St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Suppl., Part, Q. 23, Art. 1: “The other is major excommunication which deprives a man of the sacraments of the Church and of the communion of the faithful [prayers, religious gatherings, etc.]. WHEREFORE IT IS NOT LAWFUL TO COMMUNICATE WITH ONE WHO LIES UNDER SUCH AN EXCOMMUNICATION.”

St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Suppl. Part, Q. 23, Art. 3, Reply to Objection 2: “The commandment of the Church regards spiritual matters directly, and legitimate actions as a consequence: hence by holding communion in Divine worship [such as with a heretic,] one acts against the commandment, and commits a mortal sin;”

Pope Pius VIII, Traditi Humilitati (# 4), May 24, 1829: “Jerome used to say it this way: he who eats the Lamb outside this house [at meetinghouses of heretics] will perish as did those during the flood who were not with Noah in the ark.”

Pope Gregory XVI, Commissum divinitus (# 11), May 17, 1835: “Whoever eats the Lamb outside of this house [at the meetinghouses of the heretics] is unholy.”

The Communication of Catholics with Schismatics, Rev. Ignatius J. Szal, p 91: “On May 15, 1709, the Holy Office forbade Catholics to hear the confession of schismatics or to confess to them… Under no circumstances, not even in the case of necessity, according to a response of the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith on Feb. 17, 1761, was it permissible for a Catholic to confess his sins to a schismatic priest in order to obtain absolution from him…”

Pope Pius XI, Mortalium animos, (06/01/1928): “So, Venerable Brethren, it is clear why this Apostolic See has never allowed its subjects to take part in the assemblies of non-Catholics.”

Peter Dimond, “Sacraments from Undeclared Heretics” Debate – The Important Quotes: “The sin is caused by communicating with them despite (against) the Church’s prohibition...”

Council of Carthage: “One must neither pray nor sing psalms with heretics, and whoever shall communicate with those who are cut off from the communion of the Church, whether clergy or layman: let him be excommunicated.”

III Council of Constantinople, 680-681: “If any ecclesiastic or layman shall go into the synagogue of the Jews or the meetinghouses of the heretics to join in prayer with them, let them be deposed and deprived of communion [excommunicated]. If any bishop or priest or deacon shall join in prayer with heretics, let him be suspended from communion.”

Continuing his assay of Holy Office pronouncements, Szal lists further decisions concerning Holy Communion. On June 17, 1839, The Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith forbade the reception of Holy Communion from an heretical priest. A general prohibition against receiving any sacraments from schismatics was issued by Pope Clement VIII (1592-1605). Benedict XIV (1740-1758) also forbade the use of the services given by schismatics for the conferring of the sacraments.

Benedict XVI, Francis I, Fr. Cekada and almost all other sedevacantist priests, as we will see, are arch-heretics and even antichrists because they don’t believe that Jesus Christ, His faith, and baptism are necessary for salvation. They wouldn’t openly admit this, but they foster the idea that Jesus is not the only Savior. They basically all hold that men can be saved by their desire, blood or wish. The late Marcel Lefebvre said that men can be saved by “the practice of their religion, perhaps of what they understand in their religion.” Catholic teaching states that the only way a person can be put into the state of justification (the state of grace) is by receiving the merit of Jesus Christ’s redemption in holy baptism. All who promote salvation for people in other ways (outside this one way) are promoting a false Christ of baptism of desire, salvation by invincible ignorance, etc. The bottom-line is that Benedict XVI, Francis I, Cekada and virtually every priest in the world believe that an individual practicing and dying in a false religion can be saved. This is something that no canonized saint of the Church ever believed or promoted. It’s a blatant denial of the dogma that without the Catholic faith you cannot be saved. In fact, almost all of the heresies that have been promoted by Vatican II and the last six antipopes deal with the denial of this dogma.

The difference between Cekada, Benedict XVI and Francis is that Cekada (and other sedevacantists priests) wouldn’t promote Judaism or encourage the practice of Judaism or meet with Jews in ecumenical meetings. But the bottom-line is that Benedict XVI, Francis, Cekada and almost every priest today believe that individual Jews and others, who are practicing and dying in their false religions, can be saved. Therefore, they’re all horrible heretics. In fact, in the case of Cekada, he will not even let you receive the sacraments if you hold the position that to be saved you must be “born again of water and the Holy Ghost.”

Fr. Anthony Cekada Joins the Company of Priests he once Denounced

Thuc was a bishop for hire, a fool’s fool, that any ambitious man could go to become a bishop or priest, be he an “Old Catholic” heretic and schismatic, or even a man who wanted to start his own Church. Fr. Anthony Cekada, now a Thucite priest, at one time wrote truthfully about Bishop Thuc in his article, Two Bishops in every Garage:

“THE PALMAR FIASCO - The three-day journey by car took Mgr. Ngo to Palmar de Troya, a Spanish village 25 miles south of Seville. …In 1968, tales of apparitions there began to circulate. Among the early enthusiasts was a young man named Clemente Dominguez Gomez who organized devotions and set up a shrine in the little town. …When Mgr. Ngo appeared in Palmar, Mr. Dominguez asked the prelate to ordain himself and several other laymen to the priesthood, and then to consecrate him and a few others bishops. If Mgr. Ngô had any doubts, they were dispelled after Dominguez gave him the news that Paul VI had appeared to him by means of ‘bilocation’ to give his approval to the project. “Pause for a moment to consider what Mr. Dominguez was saying: both the Blessed Virgin and Paul VI (by ‘bilocation’) were telling a Catholic bishop that he should ordain laymen to the priesthood (whom he had just met, and who had done no ecclesiastical studies) and then consecrate them bishops-all in three weeks time. Where anyone else would have laughed the proposal off as absurd, Mgr. Ngô showed a truly colossal lack of common sense and agreed… “‘OLD CATHOLIC’ CONNECTIONS - Mgr. Ngo …moved to Toulon, France. There, in 1979, he raised to the episcopate (for the "umpteenth time") Jean Laborie, leader of a schismatic ‘Old Catholic’ sect, the ‘Latin Church of Toulouse.’ He also ordained another ‘Old Catholic’ from Marseilles named Garcia, and a certain ex-convict named Arbinet who went on later to become a Palmar ‘bishop.’ “Nor were Mgr. Ngo’s activities limited to the consecration and ordination of schismatics. A French newsletter which supports him states that on Holy Thursday, April 15, 1981, he concelebrated the New Mass with Mgr. Barthe, the bishop of Toulon… “Mgr. Ngô’s actions from 1975 onward do not inspire a great deal of confidence in his judgment or in his prudence: the Palmar affair, the promises made and promises broken to the Vatican, the involvement with ‘Old Catholics,’ concelebrating the New Mass while claiming he really wasn’t, then consecrating someone [Guérard des Lauriers] who believes the New Mass is invalid. While everyone is entitled to a few mistakes, one is forced to say that those made by Mgr. Ngô were very grave indeed… given Mgr. Ngo’s track record. The prelate seems to be rather quick to make bishops-the Palmar affair comes to mind-and not particularly fussy. In light of this, one suspects that any priest to show up on Mgr. Ngo’s doorstep could get himself consecrated with very little difficulty and few questions asked. in an age of instant coffee, there are now ‘instant bishops’… “One theme which dominates the affair from beginning to end is a gross and dangerous lack of prudence regarding the transmission of Apostolic Succession-a matter in which the slightest lack of prudence is inadmissable. St. Paul reminds us: ‘Lay not hands lightly on any man’ -he does not say: ‘Lay hands quickly on anyone.’ “…The story will not end here-it is probable that ‘instant bishops’ will continue to multiply exponentially, as among the ‘Old Catholics.’ Our missionary friend in Mexico offers us his opinion on this rather gloomy prospect: ‘We should have within a few years hundreds or thousands of bishops... without true vocations, the one more ignorant than the other, and an unavoidable cause of more division among traditionalists.’” (Fr. Anthony Cekada, Two Bishops in every Garage)

Fr. Cekada now finds himself in the same company he once denounced, with bishops and priests who have no true vocation, who are frauds, schismatics, and heretics, like a freak show in a multiple ring circus. That is because Fr. Cekada was and is a heretic himself, of the pre-Vatican II type that led to the Great Apostasy, raised and imbibed with poison from an erroneous and heretical theology that is found in bad books with imprimaturs many years before the robber’s Second Vatican Council.

Fr. Anthony Cekada is a notorious heretic on several counts. He denies the Salvation Dogma. He heretically believes that certain men who live and die worshipping false gods and practicing false religions can be in the way of salvation and be saved. He publicly denounce “Feeneyites” (i.e., those who believe that only baptized Catholics can be saved) as guilty of mortal sin. He is also a notorious heretic for teaching Catholics can knowingly attend mass at non-Catholic churches and pray in communion with notorious heretics or schismatics. He is also a notorious heretic for teaching the contraception heresy of Natural Family Planning, also known as the Rhythm Method.

Fr. Cekada is proof that a heretic—and he believes in several heresies—if he does not repent and abjure, only falls deeper and deeper and gets blinder and blinder. He eventually joined the Thucites and now is one their ardent defenders. He deceives his readers by only talking of the validity of Thuc’s consecration, while ignoring the main issue, the legality. In so doing, he puts the validity of the sacraments before the Catholic faith and the Church’s laws, and in effect, since he is a heretic, has denied the Catholic faith.

Pope Leo XIII, Satis Cognitum (# 9), June 29, 1896: “The Church has always regarded as rebels and expelled from the ranks of her children all who held beliefs on any point of doctrine different from her own. … St. Augustine notes that ‘other heresies may spring up, to a single one of which, should any one give his assent, he is by the very fact cut off from Catholic unity… if any one holds to one single one of these [heresies] he is not a Catholic’ (S. Augustinus, De Haeresibus, n. 88).”

The Catholic Church’s Infallible Teaching on No Salvation Outside of the Church

The following statements on Outside the Catholic Church There is No Salvation are from the highest teaching authority of the Catholic Church. They are ex cathedra Papal decrees (decrees from the Chair of St. Peter). Therefore, they constitute the teaching given to the Catholic Church by Jesus Christ and the Apostles. Such teachings are unchangeable and are classified as part of the solemn magisterium (the extraordinary teaching authority of the Catholic Church).

Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, “Cantate Domino,” 1441, ex cathedra (infallible statement from the chair of Peter): “The Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that all those who are outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans but also Jews or heretics and schismatics, cannot share in eternal life and will go into the everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless they are joined to the Church before the end of their lives; that the unity of this ecclesiastical body is of such importance that only for those who abide in it do the Church’s sacraments contribute to salvation and do fasts, almsgiving and other works of piety and practices of the Christian militia produce eternal rewards; and that nobody can be saved, no matter how much he has given away in alms and even if he has shed blood in the name of Christ, unless he has persevered in the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church.”

As we can see from this infallible statement from the chair of Peter, no one at all can be saved unless they are joined to the Church before the end of their lives. Yet, many people today who call themselves Catholic or Christian, boldly and obstinately assert the direct opposite of this statement and claim that protestants, heretics, Jews, schismatics and even Pagans can attain eternal life.

Pope Gregory XVI, Summo Iugiter Studio (# 2), May 27, 1832: “Finally some of these misguided people attempt to persuade themselves and others that men are not saved only in the Catholic religion, but that even heretics may attain eternal life.”

Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, The Athanasian Creed, Sess. 8, Nov. 22, 1439, ex cathedra: “Whoever wishes to be saved, needs above all to hold the Catholic faith; unless each one preserves this whole and inviolate, he will without a doubt perish in eternity.” (Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils, Vol. 1, pp. 550-553; Denzinger 39-40.)

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.”

Pope Boniface VIII, Unam Sanctam, Nov. 18, 1302, ex cathedra: “With Faith urging us we are forced to believe and to hold the one, holy, Catholic Church and that, apostolic, and we firmly believe and simply confess this Church outside of which there is no salvation nor remission of sin… Furthermore, we declare, say, define, and proclaim to every human creature that they by absolute necessity for salvation are entirely subject to the Roman Pontiff.”

To further show that the Sacrament of Baptism is necessary for salvation, I will quote numerous infallible statements from the Chair of St. Peter.

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.”

This infallible dogmatic definition from the Chair of St. Peter condemns anyone who says that the Sacrament of Baptism is not necessary for salvation. The Sacrament of Baptism is necessary for all for salvation, first of all, because, as the Council of Trent defines, all men (except the Blessed Virgin Mary) were conceived in a state of original sin as a result of the sin of Adam, the first man. The Sacrament of Baptism is also necessary for all for salvation because it is the means by which one is marked as a member of Jesus Christ and incorporated into His Mystical Body. And in defining the truth that all men were conceived in the state of Original Sin, the Council of Trent specifically declared that the Blessed Virgin Mary was an exception to its decree on Original Sin. But in defining the truth that the Sacrament of Baptism is necessary for salvation, the Council of Trent made no exceptions at all.

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 an external rite, yet signifies and effects an interior regeneration.”

We see here that one cannot enter the kingdom of Heaven without faith and the external rite of baptism (i.e., the Sacrament of Baptism). Ignorant people nowadays contradict this fact and claim that people can reach heaven without a real and actual water baptism. One could easily understand if a person were ignorant of these facts and believed that a person or infant could be Saved without the sacrament of baptism since many have been wrong on this issue, even Saints. But when one has seen these infallible dogmatic declarations from the Popes, and still obstinately hold to the position that people or infants can be saved without real and actual water baptism, he is a heretic. A heretic is a person who obstinately, willfully and knowingly hold an opinion which he knows to be in opposition with what the Church teach.

Pope Paul III, The Council of Trent, Can. 2 on the Sacrament of Baptism, Sess. 7, 1547, 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.”

Pope Benedict XIV, Nuper ad nos, March 16, 1743, Profession of Faith: “Likewise (I profess) that baptism 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.”

For a person to assert that salvation can be attained invincibly or ignorantly by Jews, pagans, heretics or schismatics without baptism or the Catholic Faith, is truly the most evil of doctrine since it renders Faith in Jesus Christ and the true Catholic Faith meaningless. According to this erroneous world view, anyone who is “good” can attain eternal life.

Those who refuse to believe in the dogma Outside the Church There is No Salvation until they understand how there is justice in it are simply withholding their Faith in Christ’s revelation. Those with the true Faith in Christ (and His Church) accept His teaching first and understand the truth in it (i.e., why it is true) second.A Catholic does not withhold his belief in Christ’s revelation until he can understand it.That is the mentality of a faithless heretic who possesses insufferable pride. St. Anselm sums up the true Catholic outlook on this point.

St. Anselm, Doctor of the Church, Prosologion, Chap. 1: “For I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, that unless I believed, I should not understand.”

Many people like to object against these truths as “bitter” or “uncharitable.”But this is not true. The “foundation of charity is faith pure and undefiled” (Pope Pius XI, Mortalium Animos, #9). Some will also say that they cannot understand the justice behind these infallible declarations by God through the Popes. But it is not our job to question God’s laws and decrees. Our job is to believe first and understand second. Yet, if one looks at this situation clearly, one can understand the justice behind it. Adam and Eve brought death and original sin on every human being through their sin of eating the forbidden fruit. Did they fall for just desiring the fruit? NO! They fell after eating a real physical fruit. If you cannot accept that all of humanity must be baptized in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, how can you accept that all of humanity fell into sin because of Adam and Eve ate a physical fruit?

Here are some very relevant quotes from the 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 when he died for our sins, and that is why the water can have such a great efficacy that it can even wash away original sin when it is used with the invocation of the name of the Holy Trinity. Here comes another good example from St. Bridget’s revelations about the efficacy of baptism:

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. 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.”

Fr. Anthony Cekada on Baptism of Desire and Salvation Outside the Church

Recently, an article was published by Fr. Anthony Cekada called Baptism of Desire and Theological Principles. Fr. Cekada is a “traditionalist” priest who rightly rejects Vatican II but yet holds the heresy common to almost all today: that those who die as non-Catholics can be saved. Fr. Cekada is, therefore, a person who rejects the Catholic dogma that the Catholic Faith is necessary for salvation. Not surprisingly, Fr. Cekada is also a fierce advocate of baptism of desire (although, as I just said, Fr. Cekada holds that members of false religions who don’t even desire baptism can be saved). When I asked him via e-mail whether he agreed with the common teaching of heretical, 20th century pre-Vatican II theologians that souls can be saved “outside the Church” by “invincible ignorance,” he conveniently chose not to respond. That is simply because he does believe that those who die in non-Catholic religions can be saved and he rejects the defined dogma which declares that they cannot.

In his article, Baptism of Desire and Theological Principles, Fr. Cekada attempts to prove that Catholics are bound by the “common” teaching of theologians, according to Pope Pius IX in Tuas Libenter. He further argues that baptism of desire was the “common” teaching of theologians before Vatican II; and he concludes that Catholics are, therefore, bound to believe in baptism of desire under pain of mortal sin. Since his article has had some influence on traditional Catholics, and the subject matter ties in directly to a central point under discussion in this document (namely, the universal and constant teaching on the necessity of rebirth of water and the Spirit based on John 3:5), I feel it necessary to show how Fr. Cekada has completely perverted the very principles he applies, has misled his readership and is contradicted by the authorities he quotes.

TUAS LIBENTER AND THE SO-CALLED “COMMON” CONSENT OF THEOLOGIANS

In his letter to the Archbishop of Munich (Tuas Libenter), upon which Fr. Cekada bases his argument, Pope Pius IX says that Catholic writers are bound by those matters which, though not taught by express decree of the Roman See, are nevertheless taught by the ordinary and universal Magisterium as divinely revealed and held by theologians in universal and constant agreement.

Pope Pius IX, Tuas Libenter, Letter to the Archbishop of Munich, Dec. 21, 1863: “For, even if it were a matter concerning that subjection which is to be manifested by an act of divine faith, nevertheless, it would not have to be limited to those matters which have been defined by express decrees of ecumenical Councils, or of the Roman Pontiffs and of this See, but would have to be extended also to those matters which are handed down as divinely revealed by the ordinary teaching power of the whole Church spread throughout the world, and therefore, by universal and constant [universali et constanti] consent are held by Catholic theologians to belong to faith.”

As referenced at the beginning of this document, it was defined as a dogma by the First Vatican Council that the ordinary and universal magisterium is infallible. In his letter to the Archbishop of Munich, Pope Pius IX teaches that Catholic writers are bound by those matters which “are handed down as divinely revealed by the ordinary teaching power of the whole Church spread throughout the world, and therefore, by universal and common consent are held by Catholic theologians to belong to faith.” Notice, the obligation to the opinion of the theologians only arises from the fact that these matters were already taught as divinely revealed by the ordinary teaching power of the Church and therefore also held by universal and constant agreement. In his application of this teaching in his article, Fr. Cekada conveniently skips over the “universal” requirement. Fr. Cekada also uses the word “common” instead of the properly translated, “universal and constant.”

Fr. Anthony Cekada, Baptism of Desire and Theological Principles, 1. General Principle: “All Catholics are obliged to adhere to a teaching if Catholic theologians hold it by common consent, or hold it as de fide, or Catholic doctrine, or theologically certain.”

Notice how Fr. Cekada conveniently ignores the requirement stipulated by Pope Pius IX that the theologians must be in “universal and constant agreement”! If he had faithfully applied the “universal” part of it throughout his article, the attentive and sincere reader would easily have picked up the flaw in his feeble argumentation. And is baptism of desire something that has been held by universal and constant agreement? Most certainly not; in fact, it is just the opposite.

Fr. William Jurgens: “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.”

See: The Fathers are unanimous from the beginning on Water Baptism

Both Council of Trent and Vatican I has infallibly defined that we must believe what the unanimous consent of the Fathers believe. With Fathers means the Church Fathers and not later theologians or saints' private opinions that are not from the patristic period.

Pope Pius IX, First Vatican Council, Session 2, January 6th, 1870, ex cathedra: “I, Pius, bishop of the Catholic Church, with firm faith... accept Sacred Scripture according to that sense which Holy mother Church held and holds, since it is her right to judge of the true sense and interpretation of the Holy Scriptures; nor will I ever receive and interpret them except according to the unanimous consent of the Fathers.”

Pope Paul III, Council of Trent, Session 4, AD 1546, ex cathedra: “Furthermore, in order to restrain petulant spirits, It decrees, that no one, relying on his own skill, shall,--in matters of faith, and of morals pertaining to the edification of Christian doctrine,--wresting the sacred Scripture to his own senses, presume to interpret the said sacred Scripture contrary to that sense which holy mother Church,--whose it is to judge of the true sense and interpretation of the holy Scriptures,--hath held and doth hold; or even contrary to the unanimous consent of the Fathers; even though such interpretations were never (intended) to be at any time published. Contraveners [to come or be in conflict with; go or act against; deny or oppose] shall be made known by their Ordinaries, and be punished with the penalties by law established.”

As we can see by the quote of Fr. William Jurgens, exactly the opposite of baptism of desire is what is taught in universal and constant agreement that must be believed as de fide! It is the universal and constant teaching of Catholic Fathers and theologians since the beginning that absolutely no one can be saved without water baptism. Thus, the very principle that Fr. Cekada attempts to apply in favor of baptism of desire is used against it.

Fr. Anthony Cekada, Baptism of Desire and Theological Principles, 2. Particular Fact: “But, Catholic theologians do hold the teaching on baptism of desire and baptism of blood by common consent, or hold it as de fide, or Catholic doctrine, or theologically certain. 3. Conclusion (1 + 2): Therefore, all Catholics are obliged to adhere to the teaching on baptism of desire and baptism of blood.”

The fact that baptism of desire did become a common and almost unanimous error after the patristic period and especially among 20th century “theologians” means nothing, which is why Pope Pius IX included that important word “universal consent of the Fathers” in the First Vatican Council, Session 2 and “universal” in Tuas Libenter, which Fr. Cekada conveniently ignores.

The Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 9, “Limbo,” p. 257: “After enjoying several centuries of undisputed supremacy, St. Augustine’s teaching on original sin was first successfully challenged by St. Anselm, who maintained that it was not concupiscence, but the privation of original justice, that constituted the essence of inherited sin. On the special question, however, of the punishment of original sin after death, St. Anselm was at one with St. Augustine in holding that unbaptized infants share in the positive sufferings of the damned; and Abelard was the first to rebel against the severity of the Augustinian tradition on this point.”

The Catholic Encyclopedia is saying here that basically from the time of Augustine (4th century) to Abelard (12th century) it was the common and almost unanimous teaching of theologians that unbaptized infants suffer the fires of Hell after death, a position that was later condemned by Pope Pius VI. This proves that the “common” error even during the patriastic period outside of unanimity, or of any other one period (or even for hundreds of years) is not the universal, unanimous and constant teaching of the Church from the beginning. This point alone totally blows Fr. Cekada’s thesis away.

Furthermore, the heresy that one can be saved “outside” the Church by “invincible ignorance” was also the common and almost unanimous teaching at the beginning of the 20th Century, thus proving again that the common teaching (or common error) at any particular time does not replace the universal and constant teaching of all Catholic Fathers or theologians throughout history on the absolute necessity of water baptism for salvation.

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.”

Notice here that the Catechism of Trent is inculcating that the absolute necessity of water baptism for salvation is the unanimous teaching of theologians. But that is the very position which Fr. Cekada’s article – in the name of the “common” consent of theologians – says is a mortal sin to hold! One can easily see from these facts that Fr. Cekada has erred in a major way and is actually completely wrong: the universal and constant teaching of theologians, as Fr. Jurgens and the Catechism of Trent say, is the very position he is condemning! And his error stems from his false conclusion that the “common” errors of one time (a time of widespread heresy and modernism and apostasy leading up to Vatican II: the period between approx. 1880 and 1960) constitute the universal and constant teaching of Catholic theologians of all times, which is clearly false. In fact, it is ridiculous. And this is why in his discussion of this issue he conveniently dropped the word “universal” from the requirement, which would have made his invalid reasoning all the more easy to detect.

Archbishop Patrick Kenrick (19th Century), Treatise on Baptism: “Hence, all the illustrious writers of antiquity proclaimed in unqualified terms its (Baptism’s) absolute necessity.”

In fact, if the “common” error of theologians at a particular time constituted a teaching of the Church that one is bound to follow, then all Catholics would be bound by the heresy of religious liberty (besides all the others) taught at Vatican II, since this has been accepted by “common” consent of the so-called “Catholic theologians” since Vatican II. And this is why Fr. Cekada offers the following pitiful response to that very objection to his quite obviously false thesis.

Fr. Anthony Cekada, Baptism of Desire and Theological Principles, Answering the Objection about Vatican IID. Theologians and Vatican II: “The group of European modernist theologians primarily responsible for the Vatican II errors were enemies of traditional scholastic theology and had been censured or silenced by church authority: Murray, Schillebeeckx, Congar, de Lubac, Teilhard, etc. When the strictures were removed under John XXIII, they were able to spread their errors freely. If anything, the fact that they had been previously silenced demonstrates the Church’s vigilance against error in the writings of her theologians.”

Oh, I see, because Fr. Cekada deems that the “theologians” who were “primarily responsible” for Vatican II were “European Modernists” and “enemies of traditional scholastic theology,” he is free to dump his entire thesis that a Catholic is bound to follow the “common” consent of theologians under pain of mortal sin. How convenient! The reader should easily see that by such a statement Fr. Cekada is arguing hypocritically and completely refuting himself. Fr. Cekada must be quite dedicated to his heresy to argue in such a contradictory fashion. Furthermore, his claim that because a few of the more radical of the Vatican II theologians were silenced, he is therefore free to reject the common consent of “theologians” after Vatican II, is a hopeless argument; for the fact remains that the “common” consent of purported “Catholic” theologians since Vatican II was to endorse Vatican II’s heretical documents, even if a few of the more radical ones were timidly “silenced” before Vatican II.

Hence, as anyone with eyes to see can see, if one is free to reject the “common” consent of Vatican II theologians because one deems them “enemies of traditional scholastic theology,” then one can just as well dump the fallible, contradictory teaching of the pre-Vatican II theologians on baptism of desire, since it is patently contrary to “traditional dogmatic theology” (viz., the defined dogma on the necessity of rebirth of water and the Spirit), not to mention the universal Tradition of the Church from the beginning on John 3:5.

Furthermore, if a Catholic were bound to follow the “common” teaching of theologians at a particular time, and had lived during the Arian period in the 4th century, then one would have been bound by the Arian heresy (the denial of the Divinity of Jesus Christ), since this was not only the “common” teaching of alleged “Catholic” theologians and Bishops at the time, but almost the unanimous teaching.

Fr. William Jurgens: “At one point in the Church’s history, only a few years before Gregory’s [Nazianz] present preaching (+380 A.D.), perhaps the number of Catholic bishops in possession of sees, as opposed to Arian bishops in possession of sees, was no greater than something between 1% and 3% of the total. Had doctrine been determined by popularity, today we should all be deniers of Christ and opponents of the Spirit.”

Fr. William Jurgens: “In the time of the Emperor Valens (4th century), Basil was virtually the only orthodox Bishop in all the East who succeeded in retaining charge of his see… If it has no other importance for modern man, a knowledge of the history of Arianism should demonstrate at least that the Catholic Church takes no account of popularity and numbers in shaping and maintaining doctrine: else, we should long since have had to abandon Basil and Hilary and Athanasius and Liberius and Ossius and call ourselves after Arius.”

Fr. Cekada’s argument, in fact, would rule out the possibility of a Great Apostasy, and would render Our Lord’s words in Luke 18:8 (When the Son of Man returns do you think He will find faith on earth?) impossible, since all Catholics would always be bound to follow what the majority of “Catholic” theologians say, no matter how heretical it is. Needless to say, Fr. Cekada’s argument is completely absurd, as is obvious to the sincere Catholic with common sense.

Fr. Anthony Cekada, Baptism of Desire and Theological Principles, B. Proof of the Thesis. “1. Major Premise. The consent of theologians in matters of faith and morals is so intimately connected with the teaching Church that an error in the consensus of theologians would necessarily lead the whole Church into error. 2. Minor Premise. But the whole Church cannot err in faith and morals. (The Church is infallible) 3. Conclusion. The consensus of theologians in matters of faith and morals is a certain criteria of divine Tradition.”

We have seen how this claim of Fr. Cekada, in his attempt to apply it to “baptism of desire,” is false, illogical, historically ridiculous and easily refuted. I will quote Pope Pius XII again, who himself contradicts the above assertion.

Pope Pius XII, Humani generis (# 21), Aug. 12, 1950: “This deposit of faith our Divine Redeemer has given for authentic interpretation not to each of the faithful, not even to theologians, but only to the Teaching Authority of the Church.’”

And what is ironic and very important is that the fallible theologians Fr. Cekada references in his article not only disagree among themselves about whether this so-called “baptism of desire” is of the Faith or merely close to the Faith, but the “theologians” he cites actually prove the position of those who reject the false doctrine of baptism of desire.

THE VERY “THEOLOGIANS” HE BRINGS FORWARD ALSO DISPROVE HIS POSITION

One of the 25 pre-Vatican II theologians that Fr. Cekada references in his article on Baptism of Desire and Theological Principles is the German theologian Dr. Ludwig Ott, whose book Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma is somewhat popular in traditional Catholic circles. Dr. Ott was a modernist heretic who believed in baptism of desire and salvation “outside” the Church, as is stated clearly in his book. But despite this, in his quarter-million-word compendium (Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma), Dr. Ott is forced to admit the following based on the overwhelming testimony of Catholic Tradition and defined dogma.

Dr. Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, The Necessity of Baptism, p. 354: “1. Necessity of Baptism for Salvation- Baptism by water (Baptismus Fluminis) is, since the promulgation of the Gospel, necessary for all men without exception, for salvation. (de fide.)”

Excuse me, but this de fide (i.e., of the Faith) teaching of the Catholic Church on the absolute necessity of water baptism for all without exception for salvation is precisely why Catholics must reject the false doctrine of “baptism of desire”! Baptism of desire is directly contrary to the above de fide teaching of the Church: baptism of desire is the idea that baptism of water is not necessary for all men without exception for salvation!

But Fr. Cekada, the illogical heretic, would have us believe that based on the contradictory testimony of Ludwig Ott (and others) we are supposed to accept baptism of desire under pain of mortal sin, when Dr. Ludwig Ott himself is affirming that the absolute necessity of water baptism for all without exception is de fide – the very truth which compels one to reject baptism of desire! Thus, Fr. Cekada is simply refuted and condemned by the testimony of the very authorities he brings forward.

The fact that Dr. Ludwig Ott immediately proceeds to contradict the above statement on the absolute necessity of water baptism without exception in his book, and proceeds to teach baptism of desire and blood on the very same page – which ideas he interestingly does not term de fide (of the Faith) but close to the Faith – simply shows that the common error of baptism of desire, that became almost unanimous among “theologians” such as Ott in the late 19th and early 20th century, is simply not in harmony with the universal, constant (and de fide) teaching of the Church and the Fathers on the absolute necessity of water baptism without exception for salvation.

Another example would be the famous book, The Catechism Explained, by Fr. Spirago and Fr. Clarke. Like Dr. Ott’s book, The Catechism Explained taught baptism of desire and that there is salvation “outside” the Church. Yet despite this fact, these “theologians” (Frs. Spirago and Clarke) were compelled to admit the following truth, which is confessed universally by all purported Catholic theologians.

Fr. Francis Spirago and Fr. Richard Clarke, The Catechism Explained, 1899, Baptism: “3. BAPTISM IS INDISPENSABLY NECESSARY TO SALVATION. Hence children who die unbaptized cannot enter heaven. Our Lord says: ‘Unless a man be born again of water and of the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven’ (John 3:5). He makes no exception, not even in the case of infants… Baptism is no less indispensable in the spiritual order than water in the natural order…”

This shows, again, how the universal teaching of theologians is that baptism of water is absolutely necessary for salvation, and that Our Lord’s words in John 3:5 have no exceptions. The fact that Frs. Spirago and Clarke proceed to contradict this statement and teach baptism of desire (and the heresy of salvation “outside” the Church) just shows their own inconsistency – and the inconsistency of all who favor baptism of desire.

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

How can water baptism be indispensably necessary for salvation (as they just told us), if the simple desire for it is sufficient in its place? That is a direct contradiction. And anyone who says that it is not simply denies the law of non-contradiction. One cannot say that:

  • Water Baptism is indispensably necessary for salvation
  • And at the same time….

  • Water Baptism is not indispensably necessary for salvation (desire can replace it)
  • These two statements are contradictory, but this is exactly what people were being taught all over the world in catechisms since the late 1800’s. They were being taught the truth (1st proposition), while simultaneously they were taught the opposite of that truth (2nd proposition). This shows that even in the time of growing apostasy, heresy and modernism that was the period from approximately 1850 to 1950, all theologians and catechisms still affirmed the universally taught truth on the absolute necessity of water baptism for salvation, even though they did not remain consistent with it.

    THEOLOGIANS ARE ALSO UNANIMOUS THAT ONLY THE WATER BAPTIZED ARE PART OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH!

    Additionally devastating to Fr. Cekada’s article is the fact that even the theologians that he references in favor of baptism of desire affirm that it is of the Faith that only the water baptized are part of the Catholic Church, outside of which there is no salvation. I quote Dr. Ludwig Ott again, in his Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma.

    Dr. Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, Membership in the Church, p. 309: “3. Among the members of the Church are not to be counted: a) The unbaptized… The so-called blood Baptism and the Baptism of desire, it is true, replace Baptism by water (sic) in so far as the communication of grace is concerned, but do not effect incorporation into the Church… Catechumens are not to be counted among the members of the Church… The Church claims no jurisdiction over them (D 895). The Fathers draw a sharp line of separation between Catechumens and ‘the faithful.’”

    Here we see Dr. Ludwig Ott, one of the “theologians” cited by Fr. Cekada to “prove” baptism of desire, clearly affirming the universal Catholic teaching that only water baptized persons are inside the Church. Dr. Ott has no problem admitting this since he believes in salvation “outside” the Church.

    But there are three very important admissions here by Dr. Ott, each relating, ironically, to the three most famous dogmatic definitions on Outside the Church There is No Salvation.

    1) The most expansive definition on Outside the Church There is No Salvation was from Pope Eugene IV at the Council of Florence. In this definition, Pope Eugene IV defined infallibly that it is necessary to be inside the unity of the ecclesiastical body, which means that it is necessary to be incorporated into the ecclesiastical body (ecclesiastici corporis).

    Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, “Cantate Domino,” 1441, ex cathedra: “The Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes, and proclaims that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews, heretics and schismatics can become participants in eternal life, but they will depart ‘into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels’ [Matt. 25:41], unless before the end of life they have been added to the flock; and that the unity of this ecclesiastical body (ecclesiastici corporis) is so strong that only for those who abide in it are the sacraments of the Church of benefit for salvation, and do fasts, almsgiving, and other functions of piety and exercises of a Christian soldier produce eternal rewards. No one, whatever almsgiving he has practiced, even if he has shed blood for the name of Christ, can be saved, unless he has persevered within the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church.”

    Please focus on the necessity of incorporation into the ecclesiastici corporis (the ecclesiastical body). Then notice that in the quotation above from Dr. Ott, he admits that “baptism of desire” and “baptism of blood” do not effect incorporation – that is to say, they do not bring one into the Mystici Corporis (the Mystical Body)!

    Dr. Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, Membership in the Church, p. 309: “3. The so-called blood Baptism and the Baptism of desire, it is true, replace Baptism by water (sic) in so far as the communication of grace is concerned, but do not effect incorporation into the Church…’”

    By this statement, Dr. Ott is admitting that “baptism of desire” and “baptism of blood” are not compatible with Pope Eugene IV’s infallible definition on the absolute necessity of incorporation into the ecclesiastical Body (ecclesiastici corporis) for salvation. Thus, Dr. Ott proves that baptism of desire/blood cannot be true and is actually contrary to dogma.

    2) The second infallible definition on Outside the Church There is No Salvation was from Pope Boniface VIII in the Bull Unam Sanctam. In this definition, Pope Boniface VIII defined infallibly that it is necessary for every human creature to be entirely subject to the Roman Pontiff (and therefore the Catholic Church) for salvation.

    Pope Boniface VIII, Unam Sanctam, Nov. 18, 1302, ex cathedra: “Furthermore, we declare, say, define, and proclaim to every human creature that they by absolute necessity for salvation are entirely subject to the Roman Pontiff.”

    I pointed out the fact that without water baptism no one is a subject of the Church or the Roman Pontiff. I quoted the Council of Trent to prove the point.

    Pope Julius III, Council of Trent, On the Sacraments of Baptism and Penance, Sess. 14, Chap. 2, ex cathedra: “… the Church exercises judgment on no one who has not previously entered it by the gate of baptism. For what have I to do with those who are without (1 Cor. 5:12), says the Apostle. It is otherwise with those of the household of the faith, whom Christ the Lord by the laver of baptism has once made ‘members of his own body’ (1 Cor. 12:13).” (Denz. 895)

    Now, notice how Dr. Ott admits that “baptism of desire” and “baptism of blood” neither make one a subject nor place one under the jurisdiction of the Church!

    Dr. Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, Membership in the Church, p. 309: “3. Among the members of the Church are not to be counted: a) The unbaptized… Catechumens are not to be counted among the members of the ChurchThe Church claims no jurisdiction over them (D 895).’”

    By this statement, Dr. Ott is admitting that “baptism of desire” and “baptism of blood” are not compatible with Pope Boniface VIII’s infallible definition on the absolute necessity of subjection to the Church and the Roman Pontiff for salvation! Dr. Ott is showing us that baptism of desire/blood cannot be true (and that it is, in fact, contrary to dogma), and he is even referencing the very decree that I referenced (D. 895 from Trent) to prove the point!

    3) The first infallible definition on Outside the Church There is No Salvation was from Pope Innocent III at the Fourth Lateran Council. In this definition, Pope Innocent III defined infallibly that the Catholic Church is a Church of “the faithful” and that outside of this “faithful” no one at all is saved.

    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…”

    I pointed out how Catholic Tradition, Catholic Liturgy and all of the fathers teach that only the water baptized are part of the faithful. Now, notice how in the quotation cited above from Dr. Ott, he admits that “baptism of desire” and “baptism of blood” do not make one part of the faithful! I quote it again:

    Dr. Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, Membership in the Church, p. 309: “3. Catechumens are not to be counted among the members of the Church… The Church claims no jurisdiction over them (D 895). The Fathers draw a sharp line of separation between Catechumens and ‘the faithful.’”

    By this statement, Dr. Ott is admitting that “baptism of desire” and “baptism of blood” are not compatible with Pope Innocent III’s infallible definition on the absolute necessity of belonging to “the faithful” for salvation!

    Therefore, in just one paragraph, Dr. Ott makes at least three admissions, based on defined Catholic dogma, which show that baptism of desire and baptism of blood are not compatible with Catholic teaching; and he makes these admissions on points that are central to the three most famous infallible definitions on Outside the Church There is No Salvation!

    And this rather crucial series of admissions by Dr. Ott – quite devastating to the theory of baptism of desire – brings me to my next point: the theologians, based on the testimony of Tradition and Catholic teaching, all define the Catholic Church the same way – a union of faith and sacraments.

    THEOLOGIANS UNANIMOUSLY DEFINE THE CATHOLIC CHURCH AS A UNION OF SACRAMENTS – THE TESTIMONY OF ST. ROBERT BELLARMINE, ST. FRANCIS DE SALES, THE CATECHISM OF TRENT AND ALL THEOLOGIANS

    Saint Robert Bellarmine, Doctor of the Church, has given a famous definition of the Catholic Church. St. Robert Bellarmine’s formula is recognized by many as the most precise scholastic definition of the Church to this day.

    St. Robert Bellarmine (16th century): "The Church is one, not twofold, and this one true [Catholic] Church is the assembly of men united in the profession of the same Christian faith and in the communion of the same sacraments, under the rule of legitimate pastors, and in particular, that of the one Vicar of Christ on earth, the Roman Pontiff. The first part excludes all infidels, those who were never in the Church such as Jews, Turks, and pagans, or those who once were in it and later fell away, like the heretics and apostates. The second part excludes the catechumens and excommunicated, since the former are not admitted to the sacraments and the latter are excluded from them…"

    Here we see the definition of the Church which is accepted by all theologians: a union of faith and sacraments. According to this definition of the Church, there can be no baptism of desire because those who have not received any of the sacraments (the unbaptized, including unbaptized catechumens) don’t share in the unity of the sacraments and therefore are not part of the Catholic Church. Could anything be more simple and clear?

    But it is a fact, which may surprise some, that St. Robert Bellarmine did not remain consistent with his definition of the Church above. He actually adopted the false idea of baptism of desire, which became somewhat widespread among theologians in the late middle ages, as I discussed in the section on the history of baptism of desire. But in adopting the false idea of baptism of desire, St. Robert simply failed to remain consistent with his own definition of the Church above, as well as the unanimous definition of theologians on the Church.

    But this was not the only issue on which St. Robert did not remain entirely consistent; he failed to remain consistent in his struggle with the true teaching on Limbo, as The Catholic Encyclopedia points out.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 9, 1910, “Limbo,” p. 258: “It is clear that Bellarmine found the situation [on Limbo] embarrassing, being unwilling, as he was, to admit that St. Thomas and the Schoolmen generally were in conflict with what St. Augustine and other Fathers considered to be de fide [on Limbo], and what the Council of Florence seemed to have taught definitively.”

    Here we see again that the fathers, doctors and saints, including Robert Bellarmine, actually contradicted themselves on Limbo, even what some of them held to be de fide. This again shows us why Catholics don’t form definite doctrinal conclusions from the teaching of saints, including St. Robert Bellarmine. Catholics form definite doctrinal conclusions from Catholic dogma, and the teaching of saints only when it is in line with dogma. And St. Robert Bellarmine’s definition of the Church above, which excludes all unbaptized persons from the Catholic Church, is consistent with dogma; his statements on baptism of desire are not.

    Pope Boniface VIII, Unam Sanctam, Nov. 18, 1302, ex cathedra: “… the one mystical body … And in this, ‘one Lord, one faith, one baptism (Eph. 4:5). Certainly Noe had one ark at the time of the flood, prefiguring one Church… outside which we read that all living things on the earth were destroyed… which body he called the ‘Only one’ namely, the Church, because of the unity of the spouse, the faith, the sacraments, and the charity of the Church. ”

    Here we see that Pope Boniface VIII defined as a dogma that the Church is a union of sacraments. The Catholic Church is infallibly defined as a union of sacraments also by Pope Eugene IV.

    Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, “Cantate Domino,” 1441, ex cathedra: “The Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes, and proclaims… that the unity of this ecclesiastical body (ecclesiastici corporis) is so strong that only for those who abide in it are the sacraments of the Church of benefit for salvation, and do fasts, almsgiving, and other functions of piety and exercises of a Christian soldier produce eternal rewards. No one, whatever almsgiving he has practiced, even if he has shed blood for the name of Christ, can be saved, unless he has persevered within the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church.”

    The obvious meaning and sense of this dogmatic text is that the Catholic Church is an ecclesiastical Body and a union of sacraments, a union “so strong.” This is the truth confessed by all theologians. St. Francis De Sales teaches the exact same truth.

    St. Francis De Sales, Doctor of the Church: “The Church is a holy university or general company of men united and collected together in the profession of one same Christian faith; in the participation of the same sacraments…”

    Here we see that St. Francis De Sales repeats the same truth and defines the Church the same way. This is how everybody defines the Church! The Catechism of the Council of Trent affirms the same teaching:

    Catechism of the Council of Trent, The Members of the Church Militant, pp. 99-100: “The Church militant is composed of two classes of persons, the good and the bad, both professing the same faith and partaking of the same sacraments…”

    Is any teaching more consistent? The Catechism of Trent concludes:

    Catechism of the Council of Trent, p. 159: “In the character impressed by Baptism, both effects are exemplified. By it we are qualified to receive the other Sacraments, and the Christian is distinguished from those who do not profess the faith.”

    So again, we see how baptism of desire advocates, such as Fr. Cekada, are completely wrong and actually pervert the truth when they assert that the teaching of theologians binds one to “baptism of desire.” It is exactly the opposite. The unanimous teaching of theologians contradicts the false doctrine of baptism of desire, by defining the Church as only those who have received the sacraments, which definition is also a dogma (Eugene IV; Boniface VIII, de fide). Catholics are not bound, and in fact must reject, the fallible statements and speculations of men, however great, such as St. Robert Bellarmine, when they are not in harmony with Catholic dogma, not to mention when they contradict the very principles they elsewhere affirm.

    And this is precisely why St. Robert Bellarmine was at a complete loss to cogently explain the idea of “baptism of desire” when he had already defined the Catholic Church as a body excluding all the unbaptized. He failed miserably in attempting to explain how catechumens can be saved when only baptized persons are part of the Catholic Church.

    St. Robert Bellarmine, De Ecclesia Militante: “Concerning catechumens there is a greater difficulty, because they are faithful [have the faith] and can be saved if they die in this state, and yet outside the Church no one is savedthe catechumens are in the Church, though not in actual fact, yet at least in resolution, therefore they can be saved…”

    Notice the difficulty St. Robert encounters in trying to explain baptism of desire; he immediately has to compromise and contradict his own definition of the Church.

    St. Robert Bellarmine (16th century): "The Church is one, not twofold, and this one true [Catholic] Church is the assembly of men united in the profession of the same Christian faith and in the communion of the same sacraments, under the rule of legitimate pastors, and in particular, that of the one Vicar of Christ on earth, the Roman Pontiff. First part excludes all infidels, those who were never in the Church such as Jews, Turks, and pagans, or those who once were in it and later fell away, like the heretics and apostates. The second part excludes the catechumens and excommunicated, since the former are not admitted to the sacraments and the latter are excluded from them…"

    First, St. Robert’s “difficulty” in attempting to explain his (fallible) position that catechumens can be saved, when catechumens are excluded from the Church by his own definition, is simply because the idea that an unbaptized person can be part of the Church is found nowhere in any council or statement from the Papal Magisterium. The Catholic Church has exclusively held and taught that only those who have received the Sacrament of Baptism are part of the Church and no dogmatic decree has ever taught anything else.

    And this is why St. Robert is constrained to admit that catechumens are not actually inside the Church, but he argues that they can be saved by being in it in resolution, but not in fact. (Note: St. Robert was only applying this idea to catechumens, not pagans, heretics and schismatics, as our Modernists today love to assert). But contrary to St. Robert’s fallible and false assertion that catechumens can be saved by being in the Church “not in actual fact, yet at least in resolution,” it is defined that one must be in actual fact part of the Church. It is defined that one must be “in the bosom and unity” (Eugene IV); that one must be incorporated into the “ecclesiastical body” (Eugene IV); that one must be “entirely subject to the Roman Pontiff” (Boniface VIII); that one must be in the union of “sacraments” and “the faithful” (Eugene VI; Boniface VIII; Innocent III). And these things only come with water baptism, as attested to by St. Robert’s own definition of the Church. But in trying to explain the unexplainable (how baptism of desire is compatible with Catholic dogma), and in trying to defend the indefensible (how unbaptized catechumens can be in a Church which is defined by a union of sacraments), St. Robert contradicted these principles and made a mistake.

    Second, in attempting to substantiate his erroneous belief in baptism of desire, St. Robert says that catechumens are “faithful.” This is contrary to the fathers and the teaching of Traditional Catholic Liturgy since apostolic times, which excluded catechumens from “the faithful”. It is also contrary to the ready admissions of baptism of desire advocates such as Ludwig Ott, which I’ve already quoted.

    Dr. Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, Membership in the Church, p. 309: “3. Catechumens are not to be counted among the members of the Church… The Church claims no jurisdiction over them (D 895). The Fathers draw a sharp line of separation between Catechumens and ‘the faithful.’”

    By now the reader should again be discovering the theme which I’ve been showing throughout this extensive examination of the history of the baptism of desire issue: that baptism of desire is a fallible, erroneous tradition of man, which has never been taught by the Papal Magisterium, which has gained momentum based on the fallible and flawed passages of some nevertheless great men, who contradicted themselves and violated their own principles in trying to explain it, while almost always making other errors in the same documents.

    In fact, St. Robert’s statement that catechumens are “faithful” also contradicts the Catechism of the Council of Trent.

    Catechism of the Council of Trent, Communion of Sacraments, p. 110: “The fruit of all the sacraments is common to all the faithful, and these sacraments, particularly baptism, the door, as it were, by which we are admitted into the Church, are so many sacred bonds which bind them and unite them to Christ.”

    This means that those who haven’t received the sacraments are not part of the “faithful,” again contrary to what Bellarmine asserted in his admittedly “difficult” attempt to reconcile the false idea of baptism of desire with his own definition of the Catholic Church, which excluded all the unbaptized. When saints enter into “difficult” attempts to explain speculative things that are not clearly taught by the Church they are bound to make mistakes. And so Catholics must not follow St. Robert in this “difficult” (or rather, impossible) attempt to explain baptism of desire, but rather they should follow St. Gregory Nazianz (Doctor of the Church), who stated regarding the idea that one can reckon as baptized him who desired baptism but did not receive it, “I cannot see it.”

    St. Robert indeed erred on the subject of baptism of desire, just as he did on Limbo; but what is most important to remember, as stated already, is this: while the principle of Papal infallibility was always believed in the Church (expressed from the earliest times by such phrases as in the apostolic see the Catholic religion has always been preserved untainted and holy doctrine celebrated), there is no doubt that after the definition of Papal infallibility at the First Vatican Council in 1870 there is much more clarity about which documents are infallible and which are not. St. Robert Bellarmine and others who lived before 1870 did not necessarily have this degree of clarity, which caused many of them to lessen the distinction, in certain cases, between the infallible decrees of popes and the fallible teaching of theologians. It also caused them to not look quite as literally at what the dogma actually declares, but rather at what they thought the dogma might mean in light of the opinion of popular theologians of the time.

    Catholics who live today can say that they understand more about Papal Infallibility than the theologians and doctors in the middle ages all the way down to 1870, and that they possess an advantage in evaluating this issue not only because they live after the definition of Papal Infallibility, but also because they can review the entire history of papal pronouncements of the Church on this issue and see the harmony among them on the absolute necessity of water baptism.

    UNIVERSAL TRADITION ON BAPTISM AFFIRMED EVEN BY HERETICAL MODERN CATECHISMS

    To further illustrate the point that the absolute necessity of water baptism for salvation is the universal and constant teaching of all theologians even during the time of the apostasy and even by those same persons who proceeded to deny this truth, let’s take, for example, a recent edition of the Baltimore Catechism and the Catechism attributed to Pope St. Pius X.

    The New St. Joseph Baltimore Catechism, No. 2, Q. 320: “Why is Baptism necessary for the salvation of all men? A. Baptism is necessary for the salvation of all men because Christ has said: ‘Unless a man be born again of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.’”

    Notice how this edition of the Baltimore Catechism, which taught the error of baptism of desire to multitudes (as we will see), reiterates the universal and constant teaching of the Catholic Church, based on the words of Jesus Christ in John 3:5, that Baptism of water is necessary for the salvation of all men. The Baltimore Catechism, therefore, teaches the exact same truth of Faith that has been a constant echo in Catholic Tradition since the beginning.

    Hermas, 140 A.D., quoting Jesus in John 3:5: “They had need to come up through the water, so that they might be made alive; for they could not otherwise enter into the kingdom of God.”

    St. Justin the Martyr, 155 A.D.: “… they are led by us to a place where there is water; and there they are reborn in the same kind of rebirth in which we ourselves were reborn… in the name of God… they receive the washing of water. For Christ said, ‘Unless you be reborn, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.’ The reason for doing this we have learned from the apostles.”

    So, contrary to popular belief, those who reject “baptism of desire” actually follow the teaching of the Baltimore Catechism on the absolute necessity of water baptism. They don’t, however, follow the teaching of the fallible Baltimore Catechism when it proceeds to contradict this truth on the absolute necessity of water baptism for salvation and teach baptism of desire.

    The New St. Joseph Baltimore Catechism, No. 2, Q. 321: “How can those be saved who through no fault of their own have not received the Sacrament of Baptism. A. Those who through no fault of their own have not received the sacrament of Baptism can be saved through what is called baptism of blood or baptism of desire.”

    This statement blatantly contradicts the truth taught in Q. 320, that baptism of water is absolutely necessary for all men to be saved. In the Baltimore Catechism the people have been taught two directly contradictory notions one after the other:

  • Baptism of water is absolutely necessary for the salvation of all;
  • and…

  • Baptism of water is not absolutely necessary for the salvation of all.
  • Can both be true at the same time? No, they cannot. As a Catholic, one must follow the first statement, which is in accord with defined dogma and the universal Tradition since the beginning of the Church, and is based on the declaration of Christ Himself.

    Furthermore, the edition of the Baltimore Catechism from which I’m quoting also makes the same devastating admissions which Dr. Ott was compelled to make in his discussion of what the so-called “baptism of desire” is not.

    The New St. Joseph Baltimore Catechism, No. 2, Q. 321- “However, only baptism of water actually makes a person a member of the Church. It (baptism of blood/desire) might be compared to a ladder up which one climbs into the Bark of Peter, as the Church is often called. Baptism of blood or desire makes a person a member of the Church in desire. These are the two lifelines trailing from the sides of the Church to save those who are outside the Church through no fault of their own.

    Here we see this edition of the Baltimore Catechism teaching that: 1) Baptism of desire doesn’t make one a member of the Church; 2) Baptism of desire does make one a member of the Church in desire; 3) there is salvation outside the Church by baptism of desire and blood.

    The first two statements contradict each other, while the third is direct heresy against the dogma that Outside the Church no one at all is saved (Pope Innocent III, de fide). Thus, this edition of the Baltimore Catechism’s explanation of “baptism of desire” is not only fallible, but directly heretical.

    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.”

    But having taught that baptism of desire “saves” people “outside” the Church, this version of the Baltimore Catechism proves the point again that baptism of desire is incompatible with defined dogma – not to mention its own teaching on the absolute necessity of water baptism for salvation.

    THE CATECHISM ATTRIBUTED TO ST. PIUS X

    The Catechism attributed to Pope St. Pius X repeats for us the same de fide teaching of the Catholic Church on the absolute necessity of water baptism for salvation.

    The Catechism of Pope St. Pius X, The Sacraments, “Baptism,” Q. 16: “Q. Is Baptism necessary to salvation? A. Baptism is absolutely necessary to salvation, for Our Lord has expressly said: ‘Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.’”

    So, contrary to popular belief, those who reject “baptism of desire” actually follow the teaching of the Catechism attributed to Pope St. Pius X on the absolute necessity of water baptism. They don’t follow, however, the teaching of this fallible Catechism when it proceeds to contradict this truth on the absolute necessity of water baptism for salvation.

    The Catechism of Pope St. Pius X, The Sacraments, “Baptism,” Q. 17: “Q. Can the absence of Baptism be supplied in any other way? A. The absence of Baptism can be supplied by martyrdom, which is called Baptism of Blood, or by an act of perfect love of God, or of contrition, along with the desire, at least implicit, of Baptism, and this is called Baptism of Desire.”

    This again is a total contradiction to what is stated in Question 16. It should be noted that this catechism, while attributed to Pope St. Pius X, did not come from his pen and was not solemnly promulgated by him. There is no Papal Bull from him promulgating the catechism, so it is just a fallible catechism that went out during his reign and was given his name. But, even if St. Pius X had himself authored the above words (which he didn’t), it wouldn’t make a bit of difference to the points I’ve made. This is because a pope is only infallible when speaking magisterially (see Papal Infallibility). This catechism is not infallible because it wasn’t promulgated solemnly from the Chair of Peter or even specifically by the pope. Further, this catechism is proven not to be infallible by the fact that it teaches the abominable heresy that there is salvation “outside” the Church (as I will show)!

    But I will first quote where the catechism affirms the dogma.

    The Catechism of Pope St. Pius X, The Apostles’ Creed, “The Church in Particular,” Q. 27: “Q. Can one be saved outside the Catholic, Apostolic and Roman Church? A. No, no one can be saved outside the Catholic, Apostolic Roman Church, just as no one could be saved from the flood outside the Ark of Noah, which was a figure of the Church.”

    Here the Catechism attributed to Pope St. Pius X reaffirms the defined dogma. But it proceeds to deny this dogma just two questions later!

    The Catechism of Pope St. Pius X, The Apostles’ Creed, “The Church in Particular,” Q. 29: “Q. But if a man through no fault of his own is outside the Church, can he be saved? A. If he is outside the Church through no fault of his, that is, if he is in good faith, and if he has received Baptism, or at least has the implicit desire of Baptism; and if, moreover, he sincerely seeks the truth and does God’s will as best as he can, such a man is indeed separated from the body of the Church, but is united to the soul of the Church and consequently is on the way of salvation.”

    Here we see this fallible Catechism word for word denying the dogma Outside the Church There is No Salvation! It teaches that there can be salvation “outside” the Church, which directly denies the truth it taught to the people in Question 27. This statement is so heretical, in fact, that it would be repudiated even by most of the crafty heretics of our day, who know that they cannot say that people are saved “outside,” so they argue that non-Catholics are not “outside” but are “inside” somehow. So even those crafty heretics who reject the true meaning of Outside the Church There is No Salvation would have to admit that the above statement is heretical!

    Further, notice that the catechism attributed to St. Pius X teaches the heresy that persons can be united to the “Soul” of the Church, but not the Body. As proven already, the Catholic Church is a Mystical Body. Those who are not part of the Body are no part at all.

    Pope Pius XI, Mortalium Animos (# 10), Jan. 6, 1928: “For since the mystical body of Christ, in the same manner as His physical body, is one, compacted and fitly joined together, it were foolish and out of place to say that the mystical body is made up of members which are disunited and scattered abroad: whosoever therefore is not united with the body is no member of it, neither is he in communion with Christ its head.”

    This discussion on the catechisms should demonstrate to the reader how the rampant denial of Outside the Church There is No Salvation and the necessity of Water Baptism has been perpetuated through fallible texts with imprimaturs and why it has been imbibed today by almost all who profess to be Catholic. It has been perpetuated by fallible documents and texts which contradict themselves, which contradict defined dogma, and which teach heresy, and which – all the while – elsewhere affirm the immutable truths of the absolute necessity of the Catholic Church and water baptism for salvation. And this is why Catholics are bound to adhere to infallibly defined dogma, not fallible catechisms or theologians.

    Pope Pius IX, Singulari Quadem: “For, in truth, when released from these corporeal chains, ‘we shall see God as He is’ (1 John 3:2), we shall understand perfectly by how close and beautiful a bond divine mercy and justice are united; but, as long as we are on earth, weighed down by this mortal mass which blunts the soul, let us hold most firmly that, in accordance with Catholic teaching, there is ‘one God, one faith, one baptism’ [Eph. 4:5]; it is unlawful to proceed further in inquiry.

    Pope Paul III, The Council of Trent, 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.”

    CONCERNING THOSE BAPTIZED VALIDLY AS INFANTS BY MEMBERS OF NON-CATHOLIC SECTS

    The Catholic Church has always taught that anyone (including a layman or a non-Catholic) can validly baptize if he adheres to proper matter and form and if he has the intention of doing what the Church does.

    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.” (Denzinger 696)

    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. 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.”

    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, at what one point does this baptized Catholic infant become a non-Catholic – severing his membership in the Church and subjection to the Roman Pontiff? After the baptized infant reaches the age of reason, he or she becomes a heretic or a schismatic and severs his membership in the Church and severs subjection to the Roman Pontiff when he or she obstinately rejects any teaching of the Catholic Church or loses Faith in the essential mysteries of the Trinity and Incarnation.

    Pope Clement VI, Super quibusdam, Sept. 20, 1351: “…We ask: In the first place whether you and the Church of the Armenians which is obedient to you, believe that all those who in baptism have received the same Catholic faith, and afterwards have withdrawn and will withdraw in the future from the communion of this same Roman Church, which one alone is Catholic, are schismatic and heretical, if they remain obstinately separated from the faith of this Roman Church. In the second place, we ask whether you and the Armenians obedient to you believe that no man of the wayfarers outside the faith of this Church, and outside the obedience of the Pope of Rome, can finally be saved.”

    So, one must be clear on these points: 1) The unbaptized (Jews, Muslims, Mormons, pagans, etc.) must all join the Catholic Church by receiving valid Baptism and the Catholic Faith or they will all be lost. 2) Among those who are validly baptized as infants, they are made Catholics, members of the Church and subjects of the Roman Pontiff by Baptism. They only sever that membership (which they already possess) when they obstinately reject any Catholic dogma or believe something contrary to the essential mysteries of the Trinity and Incarnation. In the teaching of Pope Clement VI above, we see this second point clearly taught: all who receive the Catholic Faith in Baptism lose that Faith and become schismatic and heretical if they become “obstinately separated from the faith of this Roman Church.”

    The fact is that all Protestants who reject the Catholic Church or its dogmas on the sacraments, the Papacy, etc. have obstinately separated from the Faith of the Roman Church and have therefore severed their membership in the Church of Christ. The same is true with the “Eastern Orthodox” who obstinately reject dogmas on the Papacy and Papal Infallibility. They need to be converted to the Catholic Faith for salvation.

    The baptized children who reach the age of reason (and become adults) in Protestant, Eastern Schismatic, etc. church buildings and believe in the Trinity and the Incarnation (the essential components of the Catholic Faith) and who don’t reject any Catholic dogma because they don’t know of any other than the Trinity and Incarnation, and who don’t embrace any positions incompatible with the Catholic faith, Faith in God, Jesus Christ, the Trinity, the Natural Law (see The Natural Law) or what they know to be clearly taught in Scripture, WOULD BE CATHOLICS IN A HERETICAL CHURCH BUILDING.

    Council of Elvira, Canon 22, 300 A.D.: “If someone leaves the Catholic Church and goes over to a heresy, and then returns again, it is determined that penance is not to be denied to such a one, since he has acknowledged his sin. Let him do penance, then, for ten years, and after ten years he may come forward to communion. If, indeed, there were children who were led astray, since they have not sinned of their own fault, they may be received without delay.” (The Faith of the Early Fathers, Vol. 1: 611n)

    This means that the children above reason who were attending the church of a heretical sect with their parents were not heretics because they were not obstinately against something they knew to be taught by the Church! This fact is also true of all people of all ages who go to a heretical church without being obstinately opposed to any Church teaching. This is exactly the Catholic position and what the Church has always taught (as we have seen) – which is that to be a heretic one must obstinately reject something they know to be taught by God or the Catholic Church.

    Canon 1325, 1917 Code of Canon Law: “After the reception of baptism, if anyone, retaining the name Christian, pertinaciously [or obstinately] denies or doubts something to be believed from the truth of divine and Catholic faith, [such a one] is a heretic.”

    Please consult the following sections to learn what things one can and cannot be ignorant about when it comes to the Catholic faith, its teachings and dogmas – and concerning whether such a person is to be considered a Catholic, an unbeliever or a heretic:

    http://www.allmonks.com/catholic-dogma/#material-heresy

    http://www.allmonks.com/catholic-dogma/#the-natural-law

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