+++ 170. Turning to the Conclusion +++


Dear soul, we are now ready to tie things up and weave all of the earlier threads in this book into a complete and harmonious whole.


Which doesn’t mean ---- with my apologies to the impatient, baffled or overwhelmed reader --- that the final conclusion is just a page or two away. To the contrary, many more words must be perused to reach the very end.


However, compared to the number of chapters already finished, the end is near.


Yet can you fault someone for the length?


This controversy has been millennia in the making, generating assumptions that masquerade as ‘facts’ while misleading into error. Will any reasonable person who cares about the truth… or who cares about the fate of others who do not know of this truth… pretend it can be totally explained and summed up adequately in just a few pages?


Not if you’re intelligent & honest --- and really do care about the saving truth, and about the spiritual welfare of other people when it comes to eternity.


What’s more, I am not a priest with religious jurisdiction or spiritual authority in the Church. I cannot pontificate or command. I am merely a layman who loves theology and wants to help others understand. How, then, could I pretend to proclaim from on high in a brief statement and expect everyone else to throw up their hands in surrender and agree with me about a subject that has seen previous men, far greater than I, take varying positions in their often contradictory opinions?


The topic of water baptism is fraught with ignorance & confusion.


The intelligent & honest man will hence take his time to study it carefully, think it through thoroughly, and make a decision --- refraining from judgment for as long as he’s uncertain --- only after he comprehends all of the logical and factual arguments from both sides, cautious to stay within the bounds of a simple & clear orthodoxy.


+++ 171. The 1917 Code of Canon Law +++


That said, let us toss one more ‘baptism of desire’ (BOD) argument into the ring.


Specifically, the 1917 Code of Canon Law argument.


But why have I waited till now, near the conclusion, to grapple with this point?


Because it is, perhaps, the weakest argument made on behalf of BOD. For while arguments from Sacred Scripture are the least impressive as a category, the argument from Canon Law --- all by its lonesome self without a category of many separate & individual canons claimed to uphold BOD, and hence hardly any similar arguments with which it may be grouped --- is, truly, the most ineffectual and least convincing of all BOD arguments for the cautious inquirer.


(Strictly speaking, and to be utterly accurate, there is one other canon in the 1917 Code of Canon Law, of which I am aware, that does also obliquely refer to BOD. Namely, the very first section of Canon 737. This canon deals with the Holy Sacrament of Baptism and uses the --- by now --- classic formula of “…in re vel saltem in voto…”, a phrase meaning “…in reality or at least in resolution…”, when referring to water baptism’s necessity, the word “voto” again constantly mangled as the poorly translated “desire” in English. See Chapter 6 in this book, Baptismal Confusion, if you’ve forgotten why the word “desire” is a rather incompetent and misleading translation of the Latin “voto”, or are a very impatient and proudly ignorant person who merely ‘skims’ or ‘cherry picks’ through a long writing without carefully noting a seemingly ‘small’ yet very, very, very crucial point like this about an eternally fateful subject such as water baptism.)


Indeed, upon ruthless and meticulous reflection, Church’s Canon Law turns out to be a surprisingly strong argument on behalf of the opposing side, ‘water only’ (WO)!


How so?




The staunch BOD proponent is usually more well-informed than the run-of-the-mill person going by the name of ‘catholic’ nowadays. Be he traditionalist --- i.e., either a real Catholic or else a Traditional Novus Ordoist (a TNO for short, please see Chapter 132 in this book for details) --- then he will often be familiar with the last official version of the Church’s Canon Law. In this case, the 1917 Code of Canon Law, since the 1983 version came out well after Vatican II and the eruption of the Great Apostasy into our contemporary world of unbelief and neo-paganism, not having true hierarchical authority behind it.


And what do we find in this 1917 Code of Canon Law?


That unbaptized catechumens are allowed to be buried in a consecrated cemetery.


We repeat:


That unbaptized catechumens --- those souls who are not actually visibly joined to the Very Visible Catholic Body of Jesus Christ via the very visible laver of regeneration as applied to their earthly, and thus visible, flesh --- are now sometimes permitted to be buried, should they happen to die ‘accidentally’ before they finish their catechesis and receive the visible sacramental water, in a consecrated cemetery reserved solely for the corpses of those souls who are actually, physically & visibly joined in water baptism to the Roman Catholic Church.


For it says in Canon 1239:


Unbaptized persons may not receive ecclesiastical burial, with the exception of catechumens who, through no fault of theirs [through no fault of their own since it’s an ‘accidental’ death], die without having received baptism, and are therefore to be regarded as among those baptized.” (1917 Code of Canon Law, Canon 1239. All emphasis & annotation added.)


“See!” exults a BODer. “There it is. Right in the Church’s law. A catechumen is sometimes allowed burial in a Catholic cemetery without water baptism. It’s a done deal. The Hierarchy from the highest point of authority is officially favoring the ‘baptism of desire’ opinion over the ‘water only’ opinion --- the Bishop of Rome has ruled. A Pope is infallible and hence the argument ought to be over with… BOD wins!”


+++ 172. Why Canon Law CANNOT Automatically  +++

Win the Argument for BOD (1st Problem, Part 1 ---

When Is a Pope Being Infallible?)


Except that it doesn’t.


Why not?


Well, my dear reader, do you remember what we learned in Chapters 22, 52 & 84 of this very book, Baptismal Confusion, regarding the Charism of Infallibility as exercised by a true & legitimate Roman Pontiff?


Assuming, of course, you bother reading this book at all, cautiously and intelligently, without ‘skimming’ and ‘randomly perusing’ here-and-there. As if ‘skimming’ and ‘randomly perusing’ are adequate, patient, sincere & smart, making a person properly informed about a religious subject that is --- oh, I don’t know --- shall we say utterly vital to one’s eternal fate?


You’ll pardon the sardonic riposte.


But in my experience, people during the Great Apostasy are very little concerned about religion, believing whatever they please… as if ‘whatever-they-please’ is enough to make false into true and true into false, the actual truth about religion of little consequence to them in this life.


It is also my experience that people during the Great Apostasy showing concern about religion (and however tiny few these may be in comparison to the rest of the world’s vast population) --- maybe they’re quite traditional and call themselves ‘catholic’ --- still like believing whatever they please… and even if ‘whatever-they-please’ is only a ‘tiny thing’, just ‘one little belief’ compared to everything else and the other teachings they seem to get right, the actual truth, notwithstanding, of this ‘one little thing’ of little consequence to them in this life.




In all likelihood you irrationally hate the statement above; notwithstanding, your personal preference in the matter is irrelevant. The truth is the truth regardless of whatever it is you want to believe is true before you bother to get up off your hind quarters and take the time (and intelligence) to look carefully, thinking it through fully and humbly acknowledging what you find, based on evidence & logic, is actually true.


With this sober warning, dearest one, please take heed.


Don’t be an arrogant & ignorant rebel and so destroy your precious soul.


Because God’s Singular & Infallible Catholic Church teaches us about the Papacy:


“We teach and define that it is a dogma divinely revealed [that] the Roman Pontiff [the Bishop of Rome, a Pope], when he speaks ex cathedra [‘from the chair’, to wit, from St. Peter’s throne], that is, in discharge of the office of pastor and teacher of all Christians [when he teaches all Catholics everywhere]… he defines a doctrine regarding faith or morals to be held by the universal Church [he clarifies a teaching on faith or morals that should be believed by all Catholics], is… possessed of [he has]… infallibility [i.e., he cannot be mistaken]…” (Pope Pius IX’s Pastor aeternus, issued by the Vatican Council during Session 4 in AD 1870, Chapter 4, Paragraph 9. As found in Dogmatic Canons and Decrees: Authorized Translations of the Dogmatic Decrees of the Council of Trent, the Decree of the Immaculate Conception, the Syllabus of Pope Pius IX, and the Decrees of the Vatican Council. Originally published by Devon-Adair Co. in New York City in 1912, with the appropriate imprimatur and nihil obstat; re-printed by TAN Books & Publishers, Inc., in Rockford, IL, in 1977. Emphases & annotations added.)


And what does this infallible proclamation mean?


As stated before, but put here more briefly:


1.) ONLY A POPE is infallible. Absolutely nobody else can speak ‘for the pope’, in his name, as if such statements make non-papal persons ‘infallible’ as well, or as if the pope can ‘delegate’ the Charism of Infallibility to someone under his papal authority in the Vatican, or etc., etc.


2.) Infallibility concerns SOLELY FAITH & MORALS. Absolutely no other subject guarantees a pope infallibility, such as liturgy, discipline, canonization, civil rules, administrative decisions or so forth that do not directly involve the matters of dogmatic or ethical teachings.


3.) A pope teaches infallibly ONLY THE WHOLE CHURCH. Absolutely nothing less than the totality of his flock can invoke infallibility, meaning no pope speaks surely without error preaching to a crowd, writing to a diocese, issuing a formal papal communication to a local region howsoever large, etc., short of requiring any such text to be made known globally.


4.) Infallibility must CLARIFY. Either a pope must go further in defining --- without contradicting --- what has been taught infallibly earlier, or else he must condemn --- without contradicting earlier infallible teaching --- something taught merely fallibly before.




+++ 173. Why Canon Law CANNOT Automatically  +++

Win the Argument for BOD (1st Problem, Part 2 ---

Papal Infallibility vs. Papal Authority)


Now, what has this to do with canon law? Very simple.


It is a Pope who promulgates canon law to the Church in general, if only via his delegated authority… that is, to a person or persons he sanctions to act in his name & authority, on behalf of his responsibilities to lead, govern and protect Jesus’ One & Only Roman Catholic Body.


This delegated authority is particularly applicable in the eastern part of the Catholic Church, with all of its different ancient rites, with a Pope --- who is the Primate of the West and not simply the Bishop of Rome or a Pope with universal jurisdiction --- not normally an expert in all the arcane yet important rules of multiple centuries accumulated over history in parts of the Church far, far from his own culture or not following his own Latin Rite in the West. Even in the western region of the Church, as Primate of the West, no Pope is required to be an expert in canon law in order to be a Pope. (He might be an expert in canon law from training, but it’s not a requirement for him to be a Pope in the first place.) Ergo, if canon law is being organized (as it was in the early 2nd millennium) or systematized and re-written altogether (as it was at the beginning of the 20th century), no Pope is necessarily going to… or even be able to… examine every single point and aspect of a long, complex & comprehensive canon law, understanding it fully, let alone officially issue canon law as if it’s coming from his own private person, in the entirety of its text, as the singular & sole source of all that a collection of canon law says, in every individual word.


Do you savvy?


The reasoning is ironclad.


In recent centuries at least, there is not one single body (collection) of canon law in the Most Holy Roman Catholic Church that has been promulgated by a Pope while invoking his wholly unique & divinely-bestowed Charism of Infallibility.


Yes, Church’s canon law normally comes with a pope’s approval (although this is not always the case, there being situations where a bishop with local diocesan jurisdiction can enact canon laws within his diocese that are not necessarily applicable to another diocese, as well as the example already given, wherein certain regions of the East use their own venerable & ancient rites, requiring, therefore, their own unique variations of a collection of canon law).


Howsobeit, no collection of canon law has ever come, as of yet --- at least in the last few centuries --- in its entirety, in every single individual word, from the private person of a pope. Consequently, canon law --- whatever the version or its region of applicability (remember the variant version, or versions, of canon law for the several rites of eastern Roman Catholics since most ancient times) --- by this criterion alone cannot be an act of the Charism of Infallibility.


Wherever a canon in the body of canon law impinges directly on a matter of faith or morals… and correctly expresses the infallible teaching of the Catholic Church in this particular matter… then, yes, that canon is transmitting the infallible truth concerning a matter of faith or morals.


But an act of papal infallibility in & of itself, overall, for all of the canons?


Not so.


Because a pope has not yet promulgated any body of canon law from himself --- at least in more recent times --- as if it were his own private person expressing and communicating each and every single word in this body of canon law. It is thus not a pope exercising his charism of infallibility; rather, it is a pope making use of his supreme authority.


The distinction?


The former (charism of infallibility) invokes the Holy Ghost, the Third Person of God divinely preventing him (a pope) from explicitly teaching something concerning faith or morals that is indisputably an error. Acts of papal infallibility are therefore, whilst clearly possible, never always (nor even commonly!) the case in most of a pope’s everyday words, public sermons, writings of a casual or formal nature (including encyclicals!), or any kind of communication, whether open or private. Meanwhile, the latter (supreme authority) invokes his utterly unique office of universal jurisdiction, which, albeit flabbergastingly powerful and very awe-inspiring, is still dependent upon that particular pope’s intelligence (his mind) and goal or intent (his will).


Put another way:


You could have a dim-witted & good pope. Such a man might intend to use his supreme authority to make wise laws and holy decisions, while nonetheless ending up making lots of foolish laws and unholy decisions due to his lack of intelligence.


Or you could have an unlearned & good pope. Such a man might also intend to use his supreme authority to make wise laws and holy decisions, while nonetheless winding up making lots of foolish laws and unholy decisions due to his lack of training.


Or you could have a smart & evil pope. Such a man might intend to use his supreme authority to make hideous (perhaps cleverly and subtly so) laws and wicked decisions (ditto the previous parenthetical observation), and succeed greatly due to his cunning iniquity.


The point is, a body of canon law --- any collection of canon law, no matter where in the world it applies and at least in more recent centuries --- has never been an act of infallibility since it has never yet come solely from the private person of a pope in each and every word, despite his supreme & official approval, or regardless of his learning and holiness… or lack thereof.


+++ 174. Why Canon Law CANNOT Automatically  +++

Win the Argument for BOD (1st Problem, Part 3 ---

Canon Law Is Different for Different Areas &

Rites Around the World)


Yet the subject of canon law gets even more complex and more crucial.


Because a body of canon law has never yet in all of history, to my knowledge, applied in its fullness to every single Catholic, in every single place in the world, all over the earth. This is because various versions of canon law must apply, at the same time, to DIFFERENT RITES AND DIFFERENT REGIONS ACROSS THE WORLD. As a result (and as far as I can tell thus far) no complete and entire body of canon law has ever been an act of papal infallibility since it’s never been promulgated to the whole and entire Roman Catholic Church.


You want proof?


Let us quote from an eminent priestly authority who wrote a scholarly & expert commentary (with the proper ‘nihil obstat’ and ‘imprimatur’ granted by his bishop, of course) on what was then, in 1918, the ‘new’ Canon Law of the Catholic Church put forth by Pope Benedict XV (not to be confused with the recent, and, as I write, still living Antipope Benedict XVI --- note the contrast between XV and XVI!) the previous year, 1917, and enacted on 19 May 1918:


“1. It is stated in the first Canon of the Code that its laws are obligatory [necessary to obey] ONLY FOR CATHOLICS OF THE LATIN [Western] RITE, except in those points which of their very nature [they are truly universal in their importance] affect also the Oriental [Eastern or ‘Greek’ Catholic] Church. This ruling [that not everyone in the Catholic Church is obliged to obey every canon in the 1917 Code of Canon Law being explained in this priest’s learned commentary] is NOT NEW, it has obtained for many centuries [been around since ancient times]. On account of the great difference in manners and customs between the peoples of the East [areas east of Rome and Italy] and those of Europe [that is, those Catholics who live in the West, being the region west of Rome and Italy], and of countries christianized [converted to Catholicism] by missionaries of the Latin [Western] Rite, the Holy See [the Bishop of Rome and those in the Vatican who rule via the Pope’s delegated authority] WISELY MODIFIES for the Oriental Church [Catholics in the various rites of the East of the Church] SOME LAWS [canons] in accordance with requirements [what these various kinds of eastern Catholics need for their daily religious lives in their particular culture or land]. A special Congregation for the Orientals has been established at Rome to regulate the affairs of [make special canons for] the Catholics of the various Oriental [Eastern] Rites (Canon 1.)” (The New Canon Law: a Commentary and Summary of the New Code of Canon Law by the Rev. Stanislaus Woywod, O.F.M. Published in 1918 by Joseph F. Wagner, Inc., in New York City, and by B. Herder in London, UK, with the Franciscan imprimatur given on 1 July 1918 by Fr. Edward Blecke, O.F.M., provincial minister [please realize that the author, Fr. Woywod, was a Franciscan priest and thus under the authority of the provincial minister of his religious order when it came to publishing this book], and the diocesan imprimatur given by John Cardinal Farley, the Archbishop of New York, on 3 July 1918 [the author, Fr. Woywod, was also, as is usually the case for priests in religious orders, under the authority of the bishop of the diocese in which he lives]. Quote is from Page 1, being a learned commentary on the very first canon of 2414 canons total in the 1917 Code of Canon Law. All emphasis & annotations added.)


Are you getting it, my dear reader?


A scholarly & expert priest writes plainly and clearly, in his commentary on the very first canon of 2414 canons altogether in the ‘new’ (at the time) 1917 Code of Canon Law, that the Pope of that time (Benedict the Fifteenth) and his Vatican are explicitly NOT requiring all Catholics everywhere in the world to be bound by every single canon in this Code of Canon Law.


And why would this be?


Because different Catholics in different rites in different regions of the Church throughout the world CANNOT be governed or covered correctly --- and thus rightly --- by one single body (collection) of canon law, despite this law’s utmost urgency and having been promulgated by the Supreme Authority of the Roman Catholic Church.


End of sentence.


What’s more, this expert priest and his learned commentary on Canon 1 of the 1917 Code of Canon Law (the very first of 2414 canons altogether!) was officially examined and sanctioned legally to publish his scholarly commentary (which commentary was made to give priests in the Latin Rite a handy and quick reference for acting in obedience to the ‘new’ Canon Law) by NOT merely one but, indeed, two authorities in the Church, both his Franciscan superior (Fr. Blecke) and his Archepiscopal superior (Cd. Farley) granting him their respective imprimaturs.


And why is this logical point imperative to understand?


Because the Vatican Council in 1870 obviously & infallibly stated, with Pope Pius IX’s official approval, that Papal Infallibility --- when actually in operation and being exercised by a pope with something he puts forth --- must be teaching “ALL Christians…” (Ibid., emphases added) Viz., every single member of the Roman Catholic Church in the world everywhere, and NOT just some Catholics in one region, or several parts, of the world.


+++ 175. Why Canon Law CANNOT Automatically  +++

Win the Argument for BOD (1st Problem, Part 4 ---

Canon Law Is Not Just About Faith or Morals,

and Is Primarily to Govern, Not Teach)


But do you need still more convincing?


Then consider:


A body (collection) of canon law does not ever directly grapple with or govern solely matters of faith or morals, being a body of laws about many other things, too.




Canon law covers all kinds of subjects and all manner of situations that --- while often indirectly connected to questions of faith and morals --- are not, all by itself and directly, only grappling with a dogmatic or ethical issue. (E.g., canon law in the West has not allowed a priest, since ancient times and in a typical situation, to have a wife. Whereas bodies of canon law from the East have allowed priests… but not bishops!... to be married and exercise conjugal privileges. Perspicuously speaking, then, whilst indirectly linked to morals, priestly matrimony alone --- clergymen having or not having wives --- cannot be a divine law that is forever immutable. Pragmatic & disciplinary considerations enter the equation here, not just faith or morals.)


Ergo, a body of canon law --- in its entirety --- cannot be an act of papal infallibility since it certainly does not deal with things alone “regarding faith or morals” (Ibid.), as the Vatican Council infallibly put it. Therefore, too, for some single canon in a body of canon law (as opposed to all of the canons in a collection of canon law) to be infallible, it would have to directly & explicitly address a matter that is indisputably & directly about faith or morals.


Bringing us to the final point in this problem with ‘BOD-in-canon-law’ argument.


Namely, that no collection of canon law or individual canon purports in any way at all to define, and thus clarify, some aspect of faith or morals, whether positively or negatively. That is to say, a pope, or other jurisdictional bishop in his local diocese, gives us a collection of rules (canon law) primarily to govern --- and not for teaching dogma.


Wherefore no canon --- in whatever body of canon law, for the last several centuries at an absolute minimum --- attempts to explain dogmatic or ethical teachings beyond what has been explained prior to a specific canon, or tries to condemn teachings of this nature beyond what has been circumscribed prior to that specific canon. Thus, to my knowledge, no collection of canon law can be put forth, at least in recent centuries, as an example of papal teaching about faith or morals that goes beyond what the Roman Catholic Church and Her Visible Heads may have infallibly taught about faith or morals previously.


And, were that not enough, in the second millennium at least, popes have always been exceedingly cautious to use very explicit (and, by the 2nd millennium, very traditional) language in order to make sure that everyone hearing of their teaching, who is supposed to be Catholic, knows without doubt that this pope is defining, and hence, clarifying, Catholic dogma.


Does any single canon in the 1917 Code of Canon Law do this?


Not to my knowledge.


The inescapably logical conclusion, then?


It is as we have said in the previous paragraphs:


The ‘BOD-is-in-canon-law’ argument fails the test of papal infallibility in each of the four criteria proclaimed infallibly at the Vatican Council held from 1869 until 1870 (and infallible because Pope Pius IX officially affirmed them!) when pondered carefully & rigorously.


At a bare minimum, throughout all Church history, no collection of canon law can be cited as supposedly ‘infallible proof’ of the ‘baptism of desire’ position since later bodies of canon law automatically fail to satisfy at least the third criterion of infallibility as infallibly taught by the Vatican Council via Pope Pius IX in 1870 (to wit, a collection of canon law is never being promulgated to the entire Church all over the world!), and since, previous to the second millennium, a pope has never upheld BOD in canon law during the first millennium.


The upshot?


BOD being supported in a mere two canons of the 1917 Code of Canon Law is not --- repeat, NOT! --- an act of papal infallibility and thus invoking the divine protection of the Holy Ghost by preventing him from teaching something that is theologically erroneous.


+++ 176. Why Canon Law CANNOT Automatically  +++

Win the Argument for BOD (2nd Problem, Part 1 --- You

Can Respectfully Disagree With a Fallible Notion

Just as Long as You Stay True to Dogma!)


So, now that we’ve established that the Church’s 1917 Code of Canon Law is not something infallible (however important and wise it might be otherwise!), is there any reason we should, or even ‘must’, take Canon 1239 (the canon that says an unbaptized catechumen can be buried in hallowed ground… to wit, a cemetery consecrated by the Church’s priests for truly Catholic people alone to lay their mortal bodies, provided they died in good standing without public scandal of sin) or, for that matter, Canon 737, as strong evidence for ‘baptism of desire’?


Well, dear soul, do you remember Chapter 59?


That is to say, where we were discussing the evidence for BOD when it comes to the many and various fathers, saints & doctors of the Roman Catholic Church?


Specifically, where we encountered what I like to call The Four A’s --- Ss. Ambrose, Augustine, Aquinas and Alphonsus? The latter, Alphonsus Liguori, BODers often cite as strong evidence for ‘baptism of desire’ since he not only speaks in its favor (though only in its orthodox sense, never supporting modernism and espousing salvation heresy!), but also refers to the Council of Trent as if what the many bishops at this council said regarding the Sacrament of Baptism (or, cautiously speaking, regarding how the water of the Sacrament of Baptism relates to ‘justification’ of a human soul) is an ‘explicitly’ infallible proof for BOD.


This particular idea --- that Trent, with no doubts possible, explicitly taught BOD --- we shot down from Chapters 4 to 15 in this book, Baptismal Confusion. In other words, we gave the very clear evidence and solid logic of why this fallible opinion that the Tridentine Council was, without doubt, proclaiming infallibly about a clever theological opinion is WRONG.


But since I’m a nobody in this world, we did not leave it there.


For, while the evidence is indeed clear and the logic indeed solid, who am I?


Why should anyone believe me, however logical and solid my points?


And, so, in Chapter 51 we grappled with it head on.


St. Alphonsus obviously implies the Tridentine Council explicitly taught ‘baptism of desire’, whereas I have dared to say, “Hold on. Alphonsus was a very great and holy saint. But infallible? Especially when it comes to something that is merely a human opinion about what the Council of Trent taught… and clearly is something the Council of Trent fathers neither truly & explicitly mention by exact name or precise description, nor inarguably intended to define, clarify or otherwise solemnly affirm!”


But again, who am I?


Therefore, in Chapter 59 of Baptismal Confusion we brought out the big gun, the very thing people of a more conservative or traditional nature --- who claim to be Catholic, and whether or not they really are what they say they are --- go gaga over:


Eminent theologians!


Oh, but even better than that… a preeminent German theologian of the mid-twentieth century so revered and so respected that TNOs (Traditional Novus Ordoists) practically fall all over themselves in their mad rush to crowd around his altar, venerating his every word:


Dr. Ludwig Ott!


Famous for his masterwork, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, as re-published by TAN Books and Publishers, Inc., in 1974 in the United States, and earlier published in a fourth edition by The Mercier Press in Ireland in 1960 (as well as its original German edition printed by Verlag Herder in 1952 under the title, Grundriss der Katholischen Dogmatik), we pointed out how, in carefully distinguishing theological categories of certainty, Dr. Ott notes the certainty of the teaching of water baptism’s necessity as (appropriately quiet yet dramatic musical build-up cued here):


“(De fide.)”


Which, as we explained earlier, is a kind of theological shorthand for the Latin phrase “de fide definita” --- that is, something the Catholic Church has propounded to us as infallibly certain and thus most certainly is, by definition (pun almost intended), beyond any doubt lest you lose your Roman Catholicity (assuming you actually had it in the first place).


Ah, but what did our great & eminent 20th century theologian, Dr. Ludwig Ott, have to say about the certainty of the teaching called ‘baptism of desire’? That is to say, if, for some reason, the sacramental water is ‘unavailable’? He wrote (drum roll, please, for maximum effect):


“(Sent. fidei prox.)”


Which is, as we also explained earlier, a theological abbreviation for the full Latin phrase ‘sententia fidei proxima’ --- that is, something the Catholic Church has not yet propounded to us as ‘infallibly certain’ (assuming it ever will do so)… and thus most certainly is, by a lack of definition (okay, pun pretty much intended here), safe to doubt since it’s NOT defined, provided you have orthodox & intelligent reasons, as well as a justified cause (in other words, you’re not just shooting off a haughty mouth because you’re too impatient or ignorant to know better).


As Dr. Ott helpfully describes the idea of ‘sententia fidei proxima’:


“A Teaching proximate to Faith… is a doctrine, which is regarded by theologians generally as a truth of Revelation, but which has not yet been finally promulgated as such by the Church.”


In stark contrast, he says about “de fide definita”:


“The highest degree of certainty appertains [is connected] to the immediately revealed truthsand if the Church, through its teaching, vouches for the fact that a truth is contained in Revelation [something God reveals to us from Heaven that is absolutely necessary for our Salvation], one’s certainty is then also based on the authority of the Infallible Teaching Authority of the Church If truths are DEFINED BY A SOLEMN JUDGMENT OF FAITH (definition) of the Pope or of a General Council, they are ‘de fide definita’.”


(Publishing information as stated ten paragraphs above, with the five quotes from Pages 356, 356, 9, 9 & 9, respectively, of the TAN Books paperback edition. The ‘nihil obstat’ for the Irish printing of the English translation was given on 7 October 1954 by Jeremiah J. O’Sullivan, D.D., who was the Censor Deputatus, and the ‘imprimatur’ by Cornelius, Ep. Corgagiensis et Ap. Adm. Rossensis on the same date. All emphasis and annotations added, except for the parenthesized quotes, some of which are italic in the TAN printing.)


+++ 177. Why Canon Law CANNOT Automatically  +++

Win the Argument for BOD (2nd Problem, Part 2 --- An

Acclaimed Theologian Proves the Canon’s Fallibility)


Are you getting it, my dear soul?


I may be a nobody… but Dr. Ludwig Ott was a big somebody, highly respected to this day by Traditional Novus Ordoists (TNOs), and considered to be a theologian, and seminary or university professor, of highest caliber back in the middle of the 20th century.


So how is it I dare to disagree with one of St. Alphonus’ theological opinions?


Because I have orthodox & intelligent reasons to do so (this book is proof of that), as well as justified cause (since I’m trying to clear up the terrible confusion surrounding the Sacrament of Baptism that persists till this very day). I take no pleasure in disagreeing with the great, holy & wise saint --- a doctor of the Church, to boot --- and would never recommend doing so as a normal and routine course of action for most Catholics most of the time. I.e., we are safer respectfully following a saint & doctor’s theological opinion the vast majority of the time.


Yet every single time? NO.


Because once in a long while they can be mistaken. Unless one of them is a Bishop of Rome exercising his Charism of Infallibility, then, by strict and logical definition, they are not infallible. Which in turn means they could be mistaken, however rarely.


Yet don’t take my word for it. Eminent theologian Dr. Ott has said so, too.


For, as you’ll recall from Chapter 59 of Baptismal Confusion, Dr. Ott directly referenced the Tridentine Council as his primary backing for the teaching of ‘baptism of desire’ (he was, after all, a theologian of his times and hence convinced the scholastic theologians of the early 2nd millennium were not mistaken about BOD). Notwithstanding, he gives to us the degree of certainty of BOD as ‘sententia fidei proxima’. That is, good ol’ BOD is a teaching that’s been around for awhile --- and we theologians nowadays like to think it’s true and hence proximate to dogma --- but, honestly, it’s not quite all the way there yet, and, consequently, not actually dogma and thus not really and truly infallibly certain.


So take Dr. Ludwig Ott’s word for it.


That is to say, if eminent theologians impress you.


In any case, this is proof that both he and lots of other theologians of his time, in the mid-twentieth century, dared to disagree with St. Alphonsus Liguori’s theological opinion that the Council of Trent had clearly and infallibly declared on behalf of the notion of BOD… and even though they very much agreed with Alphonsus that BOD was true, treating Trent as ‘proof’ for it (albeit tangential ‘proof’, lacking the terms or descriptions that would put it beyond doubt --- and thus not adequately clear --- which is why Trent cannot close the case with finality).


Which then means it’s hard proof, additionally, that neither Canons 737 nor 1239 of the 1917 Code of Canon Law made a difference to Ludwig Ott or other theologians mere decades after Benedict XV promulgated this Canon Law, causing them to think ‘baptism of desire’ was now more than ‘proximate’ to dogma, magically becoming an ‘infallible’ teaching just because two papally-approved canons obliquely reference BOD and use this theological theory to ‘justify’ burying the corpse of an unbaptized human in hallowed ground… and despite the fact this eminent German theologian clearly thought BOD was true while not infallibly so.


Do you comprehend, dear soul?


If eminent theologians impress you (and TNOs really do go gaga over Dr. Ludwig Ott’s Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, so highly do they revere it and him, and so available has it been through the inexpensive TAN Books reprinting of the Irish edition that first translated the text from the German original), then the stark fact that a major theological textbook --- with both the appropriate ‘nihil obstat’ and an episcopal ‘imprimatur’ --- did not uphold BOD as ‘infallible’ is PROOF POSITIVE (with absoluteness of moral certainty!) that two canons out of a total 2414 canons overall in the 1917 Code of Canon Law, is in no way relevant to the fight over BOD vs. WO (apart from it being very weak evidence for the former) and, as a result, to be thought of as some kind of ‘infallible’ ruling from a pope that a so-called ‘baptism of desire’ (BOD) is beyond questioning and that real Roman Catholics are now ‘forbidden’ to hold the  opposite and contrary theological opinion of ‘water only’ (WO).


For what did the imprimatured textbook of Dr. Ott call BOD?


Sententia fidei proxima.


To wit, he as much as said:


“All of us theologians nowadays think BOD is true, and agree that it is true… but, to be wholly honest, the Church via Her Pope has never yet explicitly and infallibly promulgated it as such, thereby leaving this theological idea as only ‘proximate’ or ‘near’ to dogma --- and hence, strictly speaking, NOT ACTUALLY TAUGHT BY THE CHURCH AS INFALLIBLY, UNQUESTIONABLY AND THEREFORE IRREFORMABLY TRUE!”


Or else why did eminent theologian Dr. Ott call BOD ‘sententia fidei proximainstead of ‘de fide definita’ and why did the proper Church authorities sanction the publication of his theological textbook that TNOs so adore?


End of interrogatory sentence.


And, oh yes, as I remarked in Chapter 60, please beware that Dr. Ott --- for all his learning or cleverness and correctness about lots of things --- was, like nearly everyone else at that time just before Vatican II and the Great Apostasy burst out into the open, a salvation heretic. (Please go here for a thorough & comprehensive explanation and defense of the infallible dogma, ‘no Salvation outside the Church’, in its ancient, original and strict sense, with both massive evidence and rigorous logic aplenty to back it up.)


Viz., he very much liked to think that a human being with perfectly sound intelligence could be, somehow, ‘invincibly ignorant’ about the Roman Catholic Religion, thereby dying ‘sincerely’ in the beliefs or practices of false religion (read: any religion that is not Roman Catholic), and, via a supposedly ‘implicit desire’ for water baptism (mangling the orthodox meaning of this concept, by the way), become mysteriously & unknowingly (and unknowable to everyone else, too!) ‘catholic’ through an ‘invisible’ link to the Very Visible Church & Body of Jesus Christ.


Again… don’t fall for this religious lie.


+++ 178. Why Canon Law CANNOT Automatically  +++

Win the Argument for BOD (3rd Problem, Part 1 --- Do

Self-Styled ‘Catholics’ of a More Traditional Bent

Pay Attention to the Scholars They Esteem?


Yet we go on.


For there is a third devastating point against the ‘aha!-it’s-in-canon-law’ argument, a powerful point that drives home even further how Canons 737 or 1239 were in no way at all to be thought an ‘act of papal infallibility’, putting BOD beyond question and so ‘settling’ it for good.


Because do you remember Chapters 85 to 87 in Baptismal Confusion?


We considered the evidence from catechisms.


We especially took a hard look at the greatest of catechisms thus far… the wonderful and authoritative Catechism of the Council of Trent (also known as the Roman Catechism, or the Catechism of Pius V). And what did the scholarly prefacing commentary tell us about Roman Catholicism’s greatest catechism yet, scholarly commentary that the proper Church authorities sanctioned all the way back in the 1920s, finding nothing wrong in their scholarly assertions?


We read the most relevant parts:


“The Roman Catechism is unlike any other summary of Christian doctrine, not only because it is intended for the use of priests in their preaching, but also because it enjoys a unique authority among manuals Doctor John Hagan [another of those eminent and highly respected theologians from the 20th century], the present Rector of the Irish College in Rome [c.1920], writes thus: ‘The Roman Catechism is a work of exceptional authority. At the very least it has the same authority as a dogmatic Encyclical it is an authoritative exposition of Catholic doctrine given forth, and guaranteed to be orthodox by the Catholic Church and her supreme head on earth [a pope, natch]… Official documents have occasionally been issued by Popes to explain certain points of Catholic teaching to individuals, or to local Christian communities; whereas the Roman Catechism comprises practically the whole body of Christian doctrine, and is addressed to the whole Church. Its teaching is NOT infallible; but it holds a place between approved catechisms and what is de fide [abbreviated Latin for ‘de fide definita’, meaning ‘of the faith and defined’, i.e., infallible].’” (The Catechism of the Council of Trent, as translated into English from the Latin original by John A. McHugh, O.P., S.T.M., Litt.D., and Charles J. Callan, O.P., S.T.M., Litt.D., by 1922. Printed by TAN Books & Publishers, Inc., in 1982 in Rockford, IL, based on an earlier printing by Marian Publications in 1976 in South Bend, IN, that in turn apparently first published the work in 1923 along with imprimatur of Patrick J. Hayes, Archbishop of New York City, NY. Quoted from the Introduction to these various editions, from the very last section entitled “Authority and Excellence”, which is from pages xxxiii [lower case roman numerals for the number 33] to xxxvi [36]. Emphases & annotations added, except for the third and last occurrence of the title, Roman Catechism, which is italicized in the TAN edition, and the Latin phrase ‘de fide’, which is also in italics in the TAN version.)


We repeat the devastatingly pertinent part of the quote again:


“Its teaching is NOT infallible [NOT every single word and teaching found in the Catechism of the Council of Trent is guaranteed to be infallible]; but it holds a place between approved catechisms and what is de fide [abbreviated Latin for ‘de fide definita, meaning ‘of the faith and defined’, i.e., infallible].’” (Ibid.)


Once more:


“Its teaching is NOT infallible…” (Ibid.)


Is it beginning to sink in, my dear & beloved reader?


As I’ve said elsewhere in this book, Baptismal Confusion, there’s a lot of nonsense and ignorance about what constitutes infallibility, about when a real & legitimate pope is actually exercising his charism of infallibility. Lots of people calling themselves Catholic think a pope is infallible in everything he says & does (the latter, what he ‘does’, not even being an exercise of infallibility, but, rather, the gift of ‘impeccability’ --- i.e., without any sin… which shows their ignorance all the more since the Church has never taught us that every pope is automatically without sin just because he’s a pope!). Others think his every sermon or writing is ‘infallible’. Plenty of them think catechisms, encyclicals, canonizations, martyrologies, and so forth and so on, are all of them, automatically and unquestionably and intrinsically, acts of ‘infallibility’. One wonders… do any of them actually use their God-given minds to examine meticulously what the Roman Catholic Church has really said, drawing true and correct conclusions?


As an eminent scholar tells us (almost as impressive as an eminent theologian):


“PROMULGATION (Lat. [Latin] promulgare, to make known). The public announcement of a law, before which it is not binding...” (A Catholic Dictionary by Donald Attwater, general editor. Macmillan Company published the 3rd edition in 1958 in New York City, with a ‘nihil obstat’ for the 2nd edition and accompanying ‘imprimatur’ from Georgius D. Smith, S.T.D., Ph.D., Censor Deputatus, and E. Morrogh Bernard, Vic. Gen., Westmonasterii, respectively, on 10 May 1946, and the same for the 3rd edition from Hubertus Richards, S.T.L., I.S.S., Censor Deputatus, and Georgius L. Craven, Epus. Sebastopolis, Vic. Cap. Westmon., Westmonasterii, repectively, on January 30, 1957. 1st edition published by Cassell & Co., Ltd., as The Catholic Encyclopaedic Dictionary in 1931 in the United Kingdom. TAN Books and Publishers, Inc., edition printed from the 1961 Macmillan  Paperbacks Edition in Rockford, IL, in 1997. No emphasis added. One annotation given. Quote from Page 406.)


We reiterate:


“The public announcement of a law…” (Ibid.)


The same eminent scholar tells us:


“DECREE. An ordinance, edict or decision set forth by ecclesiastical authority. The decrees of a pope or of a general council are universally binding [meaning, under most circumstances, every Catholic is expected to obey such a decree]; those of a Roman congregation in a specific case are binding on those concerned, but not necessarily on others; those of a national or provincial synod must be approved by the Holy See before being put into force. The personal (as opposed to synodal) decrees of a bishop lapse with his death.” (Ibid., Page 138. Annotation added.)


We say once more:


“An ordinance, edict or decision set forth by ecclesiastical authority.”


And this eminent scholar says as well:


“INFALLIBILITY OF THE POPE… [The Vatican Council of 1870 is quoted at some length regarding papal infallibility] … Note that this infallibility refers only to teaching concerning faith or morals, and then only when the pope speaks officially as teacher addressing the whole Church with the intention of obliging its members to assent to his definition (and this intention must be manifest [must be made very plain & clear], though not necessarily expressed); that neither impeccability nor inspiration (q.q.v.) are claimed; that infallibility is personal to the pope and independent of the consent of the Church… Infallibility does not by any means do away with the necessity of study and learning [meaning that the pope himself must study and learn before defining faith or morals, that he CANNOT merely presume to teach about faith or morals while somehow ‘magically’ knowing without first doing the study and learning he needs to do in order to teach intelligently], but simply under certain conditions guarantees that the conclusions drawn from study and learning are free from error; the pope’s knowledge is not infused into him by God: he gains it [knowledge of faith or morals]just as does any other man, but he is assisted, watched over, by the Holy Spirit so that he does not use his authority and his knowledge to mislead the Church at the times and under the conditions stated above.” (Ibid., Pages 253 to 254. All emphasis & annotations added, except for the parenthetical “(q.q.v.)”, which is italicized in the published text.)


In other words, papal promulgations, decrees & etc., are NOT automatically infallible!


+++ 179. Why Canon Law CANNOT Automatically  +++

Win the Argument for BOD (3rd Problem, Part 2 --- Papal

Orders for Trent’s Catechism Never Made It ‘Infallible’…

So How Is Promulgation of Canon Law an Exception?


Did you get that?


If you don’t believe me, dear soul, then believe the eminent scholar, Mr. Attwater. A pope cannot ‘automatically’ use his office’s charism of infallibility in absolutely everything he says and does. To the contrary, a pope teaches us infallibly “…only… under certain conditions…”, conditions the Vatican Council made infallibly clear --- by the infallible assent of he, Pope Pius IX, who promulgated, decreed & ordered this definition regarding a teaching of faith or morals way back in 1870. And these conditions that Pius IX and his Vatican Council put forth as an infallible definition of papal infallibility make it plain that a legitimate Bishop of Rome is NEVER ‘always’ and ‘automatically’ infallible with his every single papal word, deed, signature, promulgation, decree or etc., etc.! (Ibid., Page 254)


This is why we looked at eminent scholar Mr. Attwater’s explanations for promulgation & decrees before diving into an extended quote from his explanation for the infallibility of the papacyso as to drive home the point that promulgations or decrees, or what-have-you, from a pope are official acts of his supreme authority, but not --- repeat, NOT! --- always and automatically acts of his singular & personal papal infallibility.


Got that?




Now put your thinking cap on.


Use that intelligent mind that Our Creator gave you.


The unparalleled Council of Trent (that is, unparalleled as of yet, occurring from 1545 to 1563) first put forth the idea of a catechism in 1546, but originally envisioned it as a ‘simple’ catechism for ‘simple’ (that is, ‘unlearned’) members of the Church. Returning to the idea in 1563 --- many years later --- the Council then changed the plan to a catechism that would, instead, be learned, long & complex, giving every parish priest (who is supposed to be learned!) a reliable source from which priests could draw instructions for their much less learned, and non-priestly, flock.


Still following this?




Now if the Catholic Church’s greatest council so far, the Council of Trent, decreed this to be done, with the approval of the pope of that time, Pius IV, in 1563, and which, this pope agreed by the end of that same year, should be carried out under the direct authority of the pope himself in Rome since the council was ending, and therefore no longer overseeing the new catechism’s initial writing in Trent… then, beloved soul, with the approval, order, decree, promulgation or (put in your favorite ecclesiastical terminology here) of the very next pope, Pius V, during the year 1566, wherein the new catechism was officially published… would you then be very inclined to think, out of thin air, that this was an act of the Church’s --- and the Pope’s --- Charism of Infallibility, not knowing what various chapters in this book make plain?


Of course you would.


Most if not all traditional ‘catholics’ assume it is so.


Notwithstanding, we have seen the scholarly evidence that it is, in fact, not so! To wit:


The Catechism of the Council of Trent is NOT infallible just because that council decreed it, the pope of that time promulgated this decree, and the very next pope a few years later officially ordered it published!


Got it?


Refer to the scholarly quotes above if you still don’t want to believe me.


Then, dear soul, be intelligent, honest and humble and admit that we’ve just seen the authoritative and academic proof for this ‘astonishing’ fact (for those who have not done adequate study, and are thus not adequately learned about this subject), and, hence, we can confidently know that ‘decrees’, ‘promulgations’, ‘papal orders’, ‘official announcements’, ‘ordinances’, ‘edicts’, ‘decisions’, ‘announcements’, and etc., etc. --- whatever the precise terms employed --- are NOT then, automatically, ‘infallible’ simply because they’re official or papal, and decreed, promulgated, ordered, decided, announced, signed, or what-have-you!




Neither ‘BOD’ canon is infallible; they’re laws not dogma; and they could be mistaken.


Again, there is a difference between a pope wielding his supreme authority and a pope exercising his charism of infallibility. How does this distinction apply to Canon Law? Easy --- because it is a pope who officially promulgates canon law for large sections of the Singular & True Church of Roman Catholicism. And so unlearned people… especially those who are proud or impatient in their religious ignorance… then presume, wrongly, without actual solid facts and proper learning, that the very act of papal promulgation --- all by itself --- is an exercise of ‘papal infallibility’, when it is, instead, an act of a pope’s supreme authority, and thus something that can never ever --- all by itself --- magically ‘end’ the battle of BOD vs. WO with finality.




(One last thing. The warning we gave about eminent German theologian, Dr. Ludwig Ott, goes for the esteemed British scholar, Mr. Donald Attwater, too. As far as I am able to tell, based on the evidence I have, Mr. Attwater was a heretic, clinging to the core falsehood of the Religion of Modernism --- the ‘salvation-in-the-state-of-invincible-ignorance-and-most-earnest-sincerity’ lie. I do not cite him because he’s completely safe when it comes to the teachings of the Church, but because he was so highly respected and, as a result, beyond questioning for TNOs or others of traditional bent, calling themselves ‘catholic’, while worshiping at the golden calf altar of a theological and scholarly ‘eminence’, ‘esteem’ or ‘brilliance’. Not that immense learning is negligible… no one carefully reading what I write can honestly suppose that I think that. Nevertheless, higher learning is ultimately no good without wisdom & orthodoxy.)


+++ 180. The Hierarchical Authorities of the Roman +++

Catholic Church Never Allowed Unbaptized Corpses to Be

Buried in a Consecrated Cemetery at the Start of the

New Testament Body of Jesus Christ! (Part 1)


Now take a deep breath.


Here’s where the sword of Canon Law turns against BODers and their waterless stance, shredding the idea of ‘baptism of desire’ way worse than it does WOers and their waterful position, showing us that ‘water only’ could still very much apply to the Laver of Regeneration.


How so?


Anyone who studies carefully the long history of God’s Singular Catholic Church comes to realize an indisputable, simple fact. And what is this inarguable fact? We state it plainly:


The Church’s Hierarchy during the first millennium of Her existence, when being properly vigilant, never, never, never, never permitted someone who was an unbaptized catechumen to be buried in a consecrated cemetery reserved solely for the baptized corpses of those souls who are visibly, and thus quite certainly, joined to the Roman Catholic Body of Jesus Christ.




The proof?


Let us read what a major Catholic council said in AD 572:


“It is also decided that catechumens who die without the redemption of baptism, in the same way, are not to be commemorated with sacrifice [the Holy Mass] or chanting of the psalms [the Divine Office]…” (The 2nd Council of Braga, Canon 17, a synod held in what is now northern Portugal. Original Latin text can be found in a truly massive work with the title of Sacrorum Conciliorum Nova Amplissima Collectio, Vol. 9, by G. D. Mansi, who lived from 1692 to 1769, in a section of the book called Concilium Bracarense II, Capitulo XVII [i.e., ‘article’ or ‘canon’ 17], Page 779. Text retrieved at http://www.documentacatholicaomnia.eu/20vs/200_Mansi/1692-1769,_Mansi_JD,_Sacrorum_Conciliorum_Nova_Amplissima_Collectio_Vol_009,_LT.pdf as of 29 April 2017. The Latin wording is literally, “Item placuit, ut catechumenis sine redemptione baptismi defunctis, simili modo, neque oblationis commemoratio, neque psallendi impendatur officium…” Let skeptical or curious readers be forewarned that this online text is both in poor resolution and in an archaic alphabetic font that makes it extremely difficult --- if not wholly impossible --- for the uneducated person to decipher. All annotations added.)


We repeat:


“It is also decided that catechumens who die without the redemption of baptism, in the same way, are NOT to be commemorated with sacrifice [the Holy Mass] or chanting of the psalms [the Divine Office]…” (Ibid., emphases & annotations added.)


Starting to make an impression on your mind?


The stubborn reader might be tempted to rebut this evidence, of what the Second Council of Braga ruled, with the veritable yet irrelevant observation, “Oh, but Braga was merely a provincial council. Only ecumenical councils approved by the pope are infallible!”


Implying, then, that Braga was just plain wrong about unbaptized catechumens.


Which is an odd thing for such a person to say when we’ve spent lots of time driving home the distinction between infallible acts of the Church & Her Pope, and acts that are not guaranteed the Charism of Infallibility, howsoever authoritative the acts may be otherwise. Why aren’t they so concerned about the fact that the 1917 Code of Canon Law is not infallible? One begins to suspect such people adopt whatever strategy is most advantageous for them at the moment.


That is to say, they don’t care about the truth… they just want to ‘win’ an argument.


In any case, we’re simply pointing out that an important council of the Church upheld a time-honored practice --- and not that this council was an ecumenical and infallible council, which is beside the point. Furthermore, we also point out that Innocent III (a pope of the early second millennium) ruled that the 2nd Council of Braga was real & legitimate. So even if he as a pope personally disagreed with this particular canon not allowing spiritual assistance for a dead and unbaptized catechumen, he as a learned man knew quite well that it had been the practice of the ancient Church to not spiritually assist the soul, or bury in a consecrated cemetery the body, of a dead but unbaptized catechumen. Which didn’t then, by his papal ruling, make Braga become an ‘ecumenical and infallible’ council --- his purpose was not to raise Braga to an ecumenical status but to remove any doubts that it actually occurred and thus authoritatively decided many things for that area of Europe (an earlier council purportedly held in Braga in AD 411 was doubtful, hence Pope Innocent’s main goal was, most likely, to give the Catholics there guidance as to which of the provincial councils held in Braga were authoritative and which were not).


+++ 181. The Hierarchical Authorities of the Roman +++

Catholic Church Never Allowed Unbaptized Corpses to Be

Buried in a Consecrated Cemetery at the Start of the

New Testament Body of Jesus Christ! (Part 2)


Nor can the stubborn reader gain currency by claiming the Second Council of Braga merely mentions the Holy Mass and Divine Office as forbidden for unbaptized catechumens, while pretending that this regional council still ‘allowed’ --- so they would like to claim, out of thin air & unsubstantiated --- for burial of such corpses in the hallowed part of a consecrated Roman Catholic cemetery reserved solely for the corpses of visibly & indisputably baptized souls.


Because what is one to think?


Any Catholic knows that the Holy Mass and Divine Office are offered up to the Lord on behalf of the recently deceased member of the Catholic Church --- who died in good standing, not being publicly & notoriously wicked or heretical or schismatic --- so as to hasten their entrance into Heaven after being cleansed in Purgatory (presuming he or she is no martyr or great saint). Knowing this is so, how is it an authoritative provincial council would deny unbaptized catechumens this spiritual assistance while still burying them in consecrated ground?


Obviously, Braga was expressing ancient caution regarding salvation of souls.


It’s as if the bishops at Braga said:


“This catechumen was not visibly joined to Jesus’ Visible Body through the visible Sacrament of Baptism… the visible matter of which is a visible water so how dare we act like the dead but unbaptized catechumen died inside the Church (outside of which there is no salvation!) and hence lawfully & fruitfully offer up sacrifice for his soul, hastening him into Heaven?”


Remember, we have already proven in spades that ancient Catholics had no universal idea, confidence or belief in some sort of ‘baptism of desire’. If you’ve only read this part of the book, beloved reader, or are simply ‘skimming’ and ‘cherry picking’ through this long book, then be an intelligent person and do some serious, thorough reading & thinking about Baptismal Confusion. Especially take a hard, long, serious look at Chapters 1 through 82. Never has so-called BOD been explicitly & infallibly defined; never was it explicitly & infallibly taught from the beginning with Jesus & His Apostles; and there is even ancient evidence against BOD.


For instance, whether or not St. Ambrose actually came to believe in something like the supposed ‘baptism of desire’ current in the second millennium (you’ll recall Chapters 34 to 37, where we demonstrated his exact words about the real necessity for water baptism to be at times vague and elsewhere apparently contradictory), we know --- from Ambrose’s own words at the funeral for his dead but, seemingly, unbaptized disciple, Valentinian --- how the crowd of Catholics gathered for his eulogy were mourning Valentinian as a lost soul without the sacramental water administered to his body at the end of the fourth century!


St. Ambrose’s own words in the eulogy prove this.


Meanwhile, Ambrose’s other disciple (but really & visibly baptized in water, fortunately), St. Augustine, at first embraced a truncated form of BOD, whilst making it clear it was simply his own personal opinion… and not something passed down universally from the Apostles. What’s more, he later abandoned the idea, destroying his one & only argument for it! (Please see Chapters 38 to 41 for irrefutable evidence, logic and citations for this historical fact.)


We also found, in Chapters 61 to 71, how a major early Church father, doctor and saint --- Gregory Nanzianzen --- whilst not intending to argue against so-called ‘baptism of desire’ as it’s come to be known in the last thousand years (and which, indeed, he couldn’t even know about since it either didn’t exist or, at least, hadn’t yet gained traction during his fourth century lifetime), notwithstanding, used a logical argument that both assaults and most literally annihilates the supposition at the very heart of BOD and its ‘waterless salvation’!


The point is, ‘baptism of desire’ is a theological notion that was only very little known and, where known, considered speculative and uncertain, at first, during the first millennium.


Ambrose may have come up with the core idea and believed in it near the end of his life, yet, whether or not he did (BOD people of the past thousand years read into his words what they already think is certain, blind to what he truly says, which is unsure), his student, Augustine, most surely did believe in BOD for awhile… but then later rejected it. Theologians, saints and leaders of the Church by the turn of the second millennium either didn’t know these facts were true or else didn’t think it mattered they were true, choosing to follow what an increasing number of them wanted to believe was true --- that a thing called ‘baptism of desire’ (or, rather, ‘baptism of spirit’ or ‘baptism of fire’ as it was known in Latin) was real and, if a catechumen happened to die ‘accidentally’ without the sacramental water but with perfect contrition in his heart, then God forgave his mortal sins, the Holy Ghost entered into him, and he had hope of salvation.


So, is it any surprise a provincial council would forbid the Holy Mass and the Divine Office to be held for a dead & unbaptized catechumen during the sixth century? Does it really shock the reader who’s paying attention that this then is, as well, rock solid proof they would never bury such an unbaptized catechumen in consecrated ground, since he has no visible hope for salvation, having died without visibly joining Jesus’ Visible Body, the Catholic Church?


For the person who’s paying attention, absolutely not.


+++ 182. The Hierarchical Authorities of the Roman +++

Catholic Church Never Allowed Unbaptized Corpses to Be

Buried in a Consecrated Cemetery at the Start of the

New Testament Body of Jesus Christ! (Part 3)


But again, we’ll bring out the big guns for skeptical readers.


Accordingly, some eminent theologians and esteemed scholars.


E.g., the learned English Jesuit priest, Fr. Herbert Thurston, had this to say:


Only baptized persons have a claim to Christian burial and the rites of the Church cannot lawfully be performed over those who are NOT baptized.” (The Catholic Encyclopedia, printed by Robert Appleton Co. at New York City in 1908, Vol. 3. Quote from the article for Baptism, in Paragraph 3 of the section entitled “The law of the Church regarding burial”, with the censor, Remy Lafort, S.T.D., giving his ‘nihil obstat’, and John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York, his ‘imprimatur’, on 1 November 1908. All emphasis added.)


Note that, being published in 1908 some nine years before the ‘new’ Code of Canon Law in 1917, this learned Jesuit priest --- the expert writer for this particular article within The Catholic Encyclopedia --- is relying on both the Code of Canon Law in effect prior to 1917 and the rules for burial in the Catholic Church since most ancient times. Or else why didn’t he mention the clause for an exception in Canon 1239 of the 1917 Code of Canon Law? I.e., where it says:


Unbaptized persons may not receive ecclesiastical burial, with the exception of catechumens who, through no fault of theirs [through no fault of their own since it’s an ‘accidental’ death], die without having received baptism, and are therefore to be regarded as among those baptized.” (1917 Code of Canon Law, Canon 1239. All emphasis & annotation added.)


Notice that long ‘exception’ clause?


“…with the exception of catechumens who, through no fault of theirs, die without having received baptism, and are therefore to be regarded as among those baptized.” (Ibid.)


The implication is plain.


The 1917 Code of Canon Law innovated by adding this ‘exception’ clause to the most ancient and normally unbroken rule of burial in Catholic cemeteries, an ‘exception’ the Jesuit expert, Fr. Thurston, does not dare to mention since it did not yet exist as a general rule in Canon Law anywhere when writing his article for The Catholic Encyclopedia in 1908.


Moreover --- and to add insult to injury for the poor BOD enthusiast --- Fr. Herbert Thurston, like so many of his fellow Jesuits at the turn of the 20th century, was suspect of modernist tendencies and sometimes clashed with more conservative Church authorities.




If he, a modernist-leaning and liberal Jesuit clergyman, could have gotten away with it, then surely he would have pumped it to the max, jumping on such an ‘exception’ clause with glee as something clearly only ‘right’ and ‘charitable’ that the Catholic Church do for those pathetically unbaptized catechumens who, ‘through no fault of their own’ (unvaryingly presumes the BOD aficionado for every single hypothetical case), ‘happened to die’ without water baptism… and which the ancient Church somehow, in its ‘rigidity’, never allowed in a more ‘cruel’ era.


Ah, but we’re not finished.


Let’s see some more eminent theological scholarship!


“A certain statement in the funeral oration of St. Ambrose over the Emperor Valentinian II has been brought forward as a proof that the Church offered sacrifices and prayers for catechumens who died before baptism. There is not a vestige of such a custom to be found anywhere. St. Ambrose may have done so [as in ‘he might have done this’, and not that such an imagined possibility is ‘for certain’!] for the soul of the catechumen Valentinian, but this would be a solitary instance, and it was done apparently because he believed that the emperor had had the baptism of desire. [So the author of this article would like to think… review Chapters 34 to 37 in the book you’re reading right now, Baptismal Confusion, regarding the actual uncertainty of St. Ambrose’s testimony when viewed objectively as a whole and without a bias demanding some sort of pre-ordained conclusion for BOD.] The practice of the Church is more correctly shown in the canon (xvii) [Canon 17] of the Second Council of Braga: ‘Neither the commemoration of Sacrifice [oblationis] nor the service of chanting [psallendi] is to be employed for catechumens who have died without the redemption of baptism.’ The arguments for a contrary usage sought in the Second Council of Arles (c. xii) [Canon 12 of this council] and the Fourth Council of Carthage (c. lxxix) [Canon 79] are not to the point, for these councils speak, not of catechumens, but of penitents [i.e., baptized Catholics who do serious public penance for a horrible or public mortal sin for some time prior to being allowed to partake of the Eucharist again during Mass] who had died suddenly before their expiation was completed.” (The Catholic Encyclopedia, printed by Robert Appleton Co. at New York City in 1907, Vol. 2. Quote from the article for Baptism, Paragraph 9 of the section titled “Necessity of baptism”, with the censor, Remy Lafort, S.T.D., giving his requisite ‘nihil obstat’, and John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York, his equally requisite ‘imprimatur’ in 1907. All emphasis & annotations added, except for the two Latin words in brackets in the quote from Braga’s Second Council, which are both italicized & bracketed in the article’s original text.)


The writer of this Catholic Encyclopedia article, Fr. William H. W. Fanning, was also a Jesuit priest, just like Fr. Thurston, who we cited above concerning Christian (read: Roman Catholic) burial in consecrated Catholic cemeteries. An American-born clergyman --- unlike Thurston’s British heritage --- he was nevertheless almost as eminent as his English counterpart. Any Jesuit priest back then was incredibly learned & trained, and, amongst other posts, this U.S. Jesuit and contributor to The Catholic Encyclopedia, Fr. Fanning, taught as professor of both canon law and ecclesiastical history at St. Louis University from 1899 to 1913. In other words, he not only had proper hierarchical backing for this article on baptism, but definitely knew his ancient facts!


And what does our distinguished Jesuit, Fr. Fanning, say about ancient Catholic practice?


Once more we review closely his most relevant words on the Sacrament of Baptism:


“A certain statement in the funeral oration of St. Ambrose over the Emperor Valentinian II has been brought forward as a proof that the Church offered sacrifices and prayers for catechumens who died before baptism. There is not a vestige of such a custom to be found anywhere. St. Ambrose may have done so for the soul of the catechumen Valentinian, but this would be a solitary instance The practice of the Church is more correctly shown in… [Canon 17] …of the Second Council of Braga: ‘Neither the commemoration of Sacrifice [oblationis] nor the service of chanting [psallendi] is to be employed for catechumens who have died without the redemption of baptism.’ The arguments for a contrary usage sought in the Second Council of Arles… [Canon 12 of this council] …and the Fourth Council of Carthage… [Canon 79] …are not to the point, for these councils speak, not of catechumens, but of penitents who had died suddenly before their expiation was completed.” (Ibid.)


Say again regarding dead but UNBAPTIZED catechumens?


“There is NOT A VESTIGE of such a custom to be found anywhere… The practice of the Church is MORE CORRECTLY SHOWN in… [Canon 17] …of the Second Council of Braga: ‘NEITHER the commemoration of Sacrifice [oblationis] NOR the service of chanting [psallendi] is to be employed for catechumens who have died without the redemption of baptism.’” (Ibid.)


Oh, and lest the unknowledgeable yet avidly hostile reader wish to claim that my translation or handling of the 17th canon of the 2nd Council of Braga is ‘poor’ or ‘untrustworthy’ in Chapter 180, let him note our expert Jesuit’s affirmation of what we learned from this council:


Forsooth, Braga really did forbid masses & chants for unbaptized catechumens.




Ergo, ancient Catholics most certainly did NOT facilely presume that God makes any exceptions at all for the urgent necessity of the Sacrament of Baptism and this Sacrament’s form & matter, or that an ‘accidentally’ dead yet unbaptized catechumen was surely of good will (which is not something that we, as merely human creatures without God’s Omniscience, can know with a moral certainty) and, thus, surely ‘forgiven’ by God DESPITE this catechumen’s visibly objective lack of sacramentally regenerative water.


And if ancient Catholics did presume that God made exceptions for these hypothetically ‘sincere’ yet ‘accidentally’ dead and UNBAPTIZED catechumens --- with at least moral certainty in the matter (no pun intended) --- then why would they bury UNBAPTIZED bodies of catechumens in the consecrated parts of a Roman Catholic cemetery, while, at the same time, deny such unfortunate souls the help of a Holy Mass and chants of the Divine Office?




The truth is the truth, dear reader.


The expert Jesuit, Fr. Fanning, backs it up. He knew very well that ancient Catholics categorically never knew or embraced a notion of ‘baptism of desire’, thereby justifying themselves in praying for, or burying in hallowed ground, unbaptized catechumens, canon law of ancient times explicitly forbidding such actions. He knew what they believed, and he knew what the 2nd Council of Braga taught, confirming what Chapter 180 of Baptismal Confusion reveals.


You don’t have to believe me… but you might want to believe him.


After all, he’s the brilliant expert; I’m just a little nobody.


Unless, of course, you dare the following risky deed:


To cross swords with an eminent Jesuit theologian.


+++ 183. The Hierarchical Authorities of the Roman +++

Catholic Church Never Allowed Unbaptized Corpses to Be

Buried in a Consecrated Cemetery at the Start of the

New Testament Body of Jesus Christ! (Part 4)


We’re not finished, though.


There’s still even more eminent theological scholarship to examine!


First, lets take a look at yet another article in The Catholic Encyclopedia, engorging our insatiable minds with a delicious intellectual feast of delightful mental morsels. To be specific, where another theological & scholarly expert says about the most ancient of Catholics:


“Catechumens when present at Mass were not dismissed with the inquirers [‘inquirers’ were those interested, maybe, in becoming Catholic, but had not yet decided and were, hence, not yet officially ‘catechumens’], but were detained while a special prayer was recited over them. They [that is, the catechumens --- not the inquirers, who were already dismissed] then also withdrew before the Mass of the Faithful began [because it is a Mass with the Most Holy Eucharist, which Eucharist is the Flesh & Blood of God Almighty Himself and hence only available to persons who are baptized members of God’s Body and professors of His Faith… i.e., real Roman Catholics]… As to their standard of living they had to abstain from all immoral and pagan practices, and give proof by their virtue and works of penance that they were worthy to begin a more immediate preparation for baptism… A question… was the fate of those who died at this stage [i.e., what happens to a catechumen who ‘accidentally’ dies whilst not yet baptized?]… St. Gregory [Nazianzen, the early Church father] describes his terror during a storm at sea lest he might be taken away unbaptized (Carmen de Vita Sua, 324, sqq., P.G. XXXVII, 994).” (The Catholic Encyclopedia, printed by Robert Appleton Co. at New York City in 1908, Vol. 3, with Fr. Thomas Scannell the author. Quote from his article for Catechumen, Paragraph 7. The censor was again Remy Lafort, S.T.D., who gave the ‘nihil obstat’, and John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York, who again gave his ‘imprimatur’ on 1 November 1908. All emphasis & annotations added, except for the parenthetical citation at the end of the quote, telling us where the author got his information regarding St. Gregory Nazianzen’s terror at entering death without water baptism, which is as it is in the article’s original text.)


We repeat:


“St. Gregory describes his terror during a storm at sea lest he might be taken away unbaptized…” (Ibid.)


Remember this early Church father?


We read an extensive and intricate quote from his writings back in Chapter 63 of this book, Baptismal Confusion. (You may reacquaint yourself with him --- or find out about him for the first time in your life if you’re just dipping into this book here at this point and don’t know anything about his fourth century existence --- more fully from Chapters 62 to 71 in what is, presently, Part 3 of Baptismal Confusion as posted online.)


And we found how, although St. Gregory wasn’t meaning to refute what has become known as ‘baptism of desire’ during the last few centuries in our English-speaking part of the world, he most certainly did not believe in anything like what we call BOD, firmly opposing the central notion of ‘desire’ and the supposed role it plays in ‘saving’ the purportedly ‘sincere’ yet unbaptized catechumen who dies ‘accidentally’ without the sacramental water.


If you don’t believe me, then please read (or re-read) Chapters 62 to 71.


But whether or not you want to believe my words… and whether or not you bother reading (or re-reading) Chapters 62 to 71 of Baptismal Confusion… you certainly cannot be both honest and intelligent, calling yourself a Roman Catholic and being of a conservative or traditional outlook, and simply dismiss what expert & scholarly theologian Fr. Scannell says.




Because it’s plain before your eyes if you just read the quote above carefully, and you can easily do some sleuthing of your own to see if what I quoted from him is what he really said in the article he wrote about catechumens for The Catholic Encyclopedia some 110 years ago.


For what does Fr. Scannell attest, himself referring to earlier scholarly authority, as well as the personal testimony of St. Gregory Nazianzen, who wrote about his own life in some detail?


That St. Gregory was terrified at the prospect of dying without water baptism!


And why would that be, what would make him afraid?


If not the prospect of hell forever, then what would make him so scared during a storm at sea, where he could die unbaptized, if not the threat of eternal damnation since he didn’t believe unbaptized catechumens could die ‘accidentally’ and get into Heaven via mere ‘desire’?


This is not surprising to someone who reads what Gregory Nazianzen said in his doctrinal sermon on the Sacrament of Baptism, thinking it over meticulously and not indulging a BOD bias that demands a pre-ordained outcome when considering evidence from early Church fathers both for and against the idea of a waterless salvation, especially when you’re not a martyr. It’s no big deal if you haven’t got an axe to grind. If it’s the truth you want, then the truth is there regarding most ancient Catholic thinking about ‘accidentally dead’ catechumens.


And the truth is, most of them didn’t believe in BOD.


Most of them didn’t even know about BOD!


BOD was a theological innovation.


Fr. Thomas B. Scannell, D.D., the co-translator and co-revisor of a famous theological book published in 1890, A Manual of Catholic Theology, and apparently ending his somewhat short life, from 1854 to 1917, as the Canon of Southwark Cathedral in England, was, if you read his whole article on catechumens --- not to mention, very possibly, his many other articles in The Catholic Encyclopedia --- plainly in favor of the idea of ‘baptism of desire’. Which is no big surprise since we already know, from what we’ve learned, that pretty much all clergy and practically all of the laity had accepted BOD by the beginning of the 20th century.


Hence why I quoted parsimoniously from his article. Such people routinely use evidence for BOB (‘baptism of blood’, how they thought purportedly ‘unbaptized’ martyrs for Catholicism got into Heaven) as a not-to-the-point ‘proof’ of BOD. (Please see Chapters 23 to 28 in this book, Baptismal Confusion, for why this is not-to-the-point.) He’d also have you believe ‘baptism of desire’ was widely known back then or, at least, many pondered it’s existence.


Not so. We’ve seen the evidence.


Where there was pondering or debate, it was not about the BOD (or BOS, ‘baptism of spirit’, as the scholastic theologians called it) later Catholics came to believe in. This BOD revolves around the core notion of ‘perfect contrition’ for your sins, which, taught the scholastics, would cause God to forgive the ‘accidentally dead’ catechumen for his mortal (but not his venial!) sins.


There is not, to my ken, any solid proof that ancient Catholics argued for this kind of BOD, apart from St. Augustine of Hippo, implicitly, which is why I acknowledge he pioneered ‘baptism of desire’ in AD 400 in a truncated, incipient form of BOD that later came to dominate by c1100. Claimed ‘proof’ for BOD (not BOB!) back then lacks this core notion of ‘perfect contrition’. Learned Catholics of old may have thought it imperative if ever entertaining something like BOD, yet we have no hard evidence of that aside from Augustine. Thus, in the AD 300s, St. Gregory Nazianzen wasn’t arguing against the later popularized idea of BOD (and despite him annihilating the less profound, though crucial, idea that it’s mere ‘desire’ that saves ‘accidentally dead’ catechumens). He was arguing primarily against the ‘wisdom’ of those catechumens who would purposely delay getting water baptism, presumably because (if extremely cautious) they didn’t want to go on sinning mortally after being baptized and thus end up damned in spite of their baptism, in an even worse state in hell than if they hadn’t got baptized; or because (if extremely wicked) wanting to sin all over the place, and not stop sinning, until the very last moment of their lives and thus wind up, barely, in Heaven. Likewise, St. Cyprian of Carthage who believed, wrongly, that a valid baptism by particular heretics was invalid (but remember… not every baptism by any heretic is valid!). Not so, said his pope, yet Cyprian argued ‘invalidly’ baptized catechumens, when touting a full Catholicity yet ‘accidentally’ dying before ‘valid’ re-baptism occurred, could, nonetheless, find forgiveness & salvation by having just ‘meant well’.


The upshot? Canon law hurts BOD way worse than it does WO.


+++ 184. The Hierarchical Authorities of the Roman +++

Catholic Church Never Allowed Unbaptized Corpses to Be

Buried in a Consecrated Cemetery at the Start of the

New Testament Body of Jesus Christ! (Part 5)


But… do you need a little more proof?


Then we cite yet another eminent clergyman & scholarly expert.


“Gratian quotes Augustine as clearly opposed to any idea that catechumens are saved without Baptism: ‘Catechumen, quamvis in operibus bonis defunctum, vitam habere non credimus, excepto dumtaxat nisi martyrio sacramentum compleat.’ [Footnote 16: C. 37, D. 4, de cons.] [St. Augustine’s Latin is roughly, “A catechumen, although in good works when dead, we believe he cannot have (eternal) life, but with the only exception being the one who gains the mystery (of the Catholic Faith) in martyrdom.” You’ll recall from Chapters 38 to 41 of this book, Baptismal Confusion, how Augustine went from a broad view of the necessity of water baptism in AD 400, embracing a truncated form of BOD, to more strictness during the 410s and early 420s, allowing for BOB solely, then seeming absolute strictness of WO near the end of his life on earth by AD 426 until death in 430.] From the sum of the evidence it would seem to be fairly certain that catechumens were not considered members of the Church as far as Christian burial was concerned. [Footnote 17: Many, De Locis Sacris, n. 217; Schmalzgrueber, Ius Ecclesiasticum Universum, (5 vols., Romae, 1843-45), lib. III tit. 28, n. 6; cf. Moulart, De Sepultura, pp. 60-63, 268-269]… The [Second] Council of Braga took decisive action on several prevailing evils. It forbade Christian burial to suicides and to those who were put to death for their crimes. In Canon 15 the [2nd] Council [of Braga] renewed the prohibitions against communicating with heretics in any way, sicut antique canonum continent statute.’ [Latin for “…as part of ancient canon statute…” In other words, no true Catholic of old pretended Catholics can worship or pray with non-Catholic people and remain ‘catholic’ or go unpunished by the Church.] Catechumens also were denied Christian burial by canon 17 in so far as the Council [of Braga] denied it to all who had not been baptized [The following two numbered points come from the end of the book here being cited, where the learned author draws many logical conclusions from all the evidence presented regarding Holy Mother Church’s refusal to bury the corpses of uncleansed souls in Her hallowed cemeteries.] 7. As proceeding from the absence of a right to Christian burial, the privation may arise from the lack of baptism, from the presence of an impediment to full ecclesiastical communion with the visible Church of Christ, as in the case of those who are baptized outside the Catholic Church… 12. The privation of Christian burial is exclusively a matter of the external forum [our visible & hence possible-to-perceive-by-human-beings world, as distinct from the invisible & impossible-to-know-without-a-physical-means world of an individual human mind, due to the thoughts of this mind being hidden away from others unless we show them in some concrete way what’s going on in our thoughts & hearts] and there are no occult [no hidden away and, thus, impossible-to-know-by-human-beings] cases. The decision as to whether the penalty [of not being allowed burial in a consecrated & hallowed Catholic cemetery] has been incurred will depend entirely upon the evidence as it appears to a judge in the external forum [the man with jurisdiction in the Hierarchy of God’s Church who must judge this situation based on visible evidence].” (The Privation of Christian Burial: an Historical Synopsis & Commentary by Fr. Charles Augustine Kerin. Published by Catholic University of America Press in Washington, DC, in 1941. Quote from Pages 17-18, which is in Chapter 2 and Article 1 of the book, as well as Pages 233-34, the Conclusions section, outlining what we may deduce from the ancient evidence meticulously presented. The ‘nihil obstat’ was given by Hieronymus D. Hannan, S.T.D., J.C.D. on 18 May 1941 in Washington, DC, and the ‘imprimatur’ by Matthaeus F. Brady, D. D., Bishop of Burlington, VT, on 30 May 1941. All emphasis & annotations added, except for bracketed footnotes, which are in the original published text. Since 2006 there is also a reprint available from Kessinger Publishing, LLC, seemingly duplicating the book in almost every way possible, including page numbering.)


An American priest, Fr. Charles A. Kerin --- the author of the long quote above --- was born in 1905 and commenced his clerical training at St. Mary’s Seminary (called St. Mary’s Seminary & University since 1974) in Baltimore, Maryland, apparently finishing his education at the Catholic University of America, where his graduate thesis was printed as The Privation of Christian Burial and he received the title of J.C.D. (Doctor of Canon Law).


Ergo, once again we confront a highly trained Catholic expert & cleric telling us the simple truth… that unbaptized catechumens who die ‘accidentally’ prior to receiving the sacramental water were never lawfully buried in Catholic cemeteries during ancient times.


For he says:


“Gratian [an expert theologian of the 12th century who compiled canon law] quotes Augustine as clearly opposed to any idea that catechumens are saved without Baptism: ‘Catechumen, quamvis in operibus bonis defunctum, vitam habere non credimus, excepto dumtaxat nisi martyrio sacramentum compleat.’ [“A catechumen, although in good works when dead, we believe he cannot have (eternal) life, but with the only exception being the one who gains the mystery (of the Catholic Faith) in martyrdom.”] From the sum of the evidence it would seem to be fairly certain that catechumens were not considered members of the Church as far as Christian burial was concerned… In Canon 15 the [2nd] Council [of Braga] renewed the prohibitions against communicating with heretics in any way, sicut antique canonum continent statute.’ [“…as part of ancient canon statute…”] Catechumens also were denied Christian burial by canon 17 in so far as the Council [of Braga] denied it to all who had not been baptized 7. As proceeding from the absence of a right to Christian burial, the privation may arise from the lack of baptism 12. The privation of Christian burial is exclusively a matter of the external forum and there are no occult [no hidden away and, thus, impossible-to-know-by-human-beings] cases. The decision as to whether the penalty [of no burial in a Roman Catholic cemetery] has been incurred will depend entirely upon the evidence as it appears to a judge in the external forum [the Church’s Hierarchy decides if a person is truly a baptized Catholic based on visible evidence].” (Ibid.)


Say again?


“Gratian quotes Augustine as CLEARLY OPPOSED to any idea that catechumens are saved WITHOUT BAPTISM… From the sum of the evidence it would seem to be fairly certain that CATECHUMENS WERE NOT CONSIDERED MEMBERS OF THE CHURCH as far as Christian burial was concerned… CATECHUMENS WERE ALSO DENIED CHRISTIAN BURIAL by canon 17 in so far as the Council [of Braga] DENIED IT TO ALL WHO HAD NOT BEEN BAPTIZED 7. As proceeding from the ABSENCE of a right to Christian burial, the privation may arise from THE LACK OF BAPTISM…” (Ibid.)


And there you have it, from another fantastic expert, greatly learned in canon law.


Certainly a priest of his times, we can be sure he would defend ‘baptism of desire’ adamantly --- were he still alive and we able to talk to him --- and think the ‘exception clause’ of more recent canon law during his era (to wit, the 1917 Code of Canon Law and what the compilers of this systematized collection of statutes dared to change, when it comes to canon law from ancient times, by adding an exception for ‘accidentally dead’ catechumens in Canon 1239) a most wonderful and ‘charitable’ act of ‘enlightenment’ upon the part of Church leaders.


Even so, as seen above, he knew very well ancient Catholics disagreed with him.


They cautiously never blithely assumed unbaptized catechumens were safe.


To the contrary, per them, unbaptized & unmartyred souls were in hell.


The only exception mentioned in the 1st millennium by some Roman Catholics (but not all of them!) is the very rare example of a brave & unflinching martyrdom of a presumably unbaptized catechumen for the sake of upholding the One True Religion of Catholicism.


End of very blunt and very true sentences.


+++ 185. The Hierarchical Authorities of the Roman +++

Catholic Church Never Allowed Unbaptized Corpses to Be

Buried in a Consecrated Cemetery at the Start of the

New Testament Body of Jesus Christ! (Part 6)


Okay, my dear & precious soul.


Time to think hard, get honest… and be brave.


I beg the reader’s pardon if I have hurt your feelings, or sounded ‘too harsh’ the past fifteen chapters. Perhaps you’ve only stumbled upon this website and chanced to look at this particular page, wondering why I’ve been a tad ‘testy’ or a little ‘surly’. The answer is simple:


In my experience (more than 15 years now) I’ve found most of the people in this world don’t care one bit for the truth when it comes to religion or philosophy. They’ll believe whatever they want to believe, period. It doesn’t matter if it’s true or not. It doesn’t matter to them if what they choose to believe --- irrationally --- is a fantasy. They don’t care. Or, rather, should I say, they do very much ferociously carejust as long as their favorite fantasy makes them feel good.


In my experience, too (concerning those who still call themselves ‘catholic’, but they aren’t), they also don’t care one bit for the totality of truth when it comes to religion or philosophy. If LNO (Liberal Novus Ordoist), then they’ll make up out of thin air --- in defiance of the truth --- anything they like. If CNO (Conservative Novus Ordoist), they believe lots of stuff that is indeed true, maybe 70% to 90% of the One True Religion of Roman Catholicism, yet then, strangely, completely discount the other 30% to 10% as if infallible truth can be changed. Whereas the TNO (Traditional Novus Ordoist) believes, perchance, 90% to 95% of the True Religion. Then, just as oddly, this same person --- despite really looking and sounding a whole lot like he or she is really Catholic --- gets just as mysteriously antagonistic and automatically rejecting of that remaining 10% to 5% of infallible Church dogmas. (Please see Chapter 132 in this book, Baptismal Confusion, to recall what LNOs, CNOs & TNOs are, religiously speaking.)


What’s going on?


The Spirit of Modernism.


Modernism is the animating force, unholy religion & diabolic zeitgeist of our era, the reigning paradigm of the Great Apostasy, the very thing the Holy Ghost, via St. Paul in Sacred Scripture, foretold. I.e., the “man of sin” would be “revealed”, the “son of perdition” pretending to be God and the “wicked one” who will be killed, the Triune Catholic Deity punishing us for our unbelief in His One True Religion and gross iniquity. He curses us with the “operation of error” so that rebellious humanity (all of us determined to believe in a false religion, to wit, people loathing God’s commandments) is deceived by Lucifer, that “great dragon” and “old serpent” --- “the devil and Satan” --- Our Creator allowing him to masquerade as an “angel of light”, thereby beguiling the world and leading his faction… those who are “children of wrath” and either outside the Church or, if inside, utterly sinful… into the fiery pit of an everlasting hell. (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, 8, 10; Apocalypse 12:9, 2 Corinthians 11:14, Ephesians 2:3 DRC.)


I therefore never made The Epistemologic Works with delusions of grandeur.


Put humanly, I knew hardly anyone would ever pay attention.


And whoever does will mock or dismiss it.


Only God can make it otherwise.


So, if you’ve stumbled upon this webpage, I trust God to give you humility to overlook potentially ‘biting’ remarks or candid statements that may look too ‘blunt’ or ‘offensive’ to those who are, mayhap, overly sensitive and rather arrogant. Be you of good will and truly craving the truth about our existence and purpose, then you will look further, investigating carefully and eagerly. My frankness will be no obstacle, my candor no real stumbling block.


But if, dear reader, you have read this book straight through, paying close attention --- or skipping about blithely, skimming here and there --- then, if of good will and having humility, you will take my admonishments to heart and review what you may have forgotten, or, if blithe yet suddenly humble, go back and read much more cautiously what we have made clear, admitting the factual and logical truth of what we have established as beyond doubt.


It is, after all, a very important subject, fraught with eternal peril.


And the bottom line is this, the experts cited above making it indisputable:


Ancient canon law NEVER allowed an unbaptized catechumen, who dies ‘accidentally’ PRIOR to receiving the sacramental & regenerating water, to be buried in the consecrated part of a CATHOLIC cemetery.


Case closed.


To my knowledge, Pope Innocent III, who ruled the Catholic Church as the visible head of Jesus’ Body and Vicar of Christ from AD 1198 to 1216, is the very first Roman bishop ever in history to officially permit the corpse of an unbaptized soul, who claimed the name of Catholic and membership in Jesus’ Body, to be buried in hallowed ground, with the accompanying ritual.


And yet even he, learned & great man that he was, plainly knew that this conflicted with the Church’s earlier practice. Hence, to my knowledge, neither he nor his successors up until the early 20th century, ever dared to enshrine this novelty within a collection of canon law. Ergo, by saying he ‘officially’ permitted this novelty merely means that he granted an exception… and absolutely not that he made it a widespread custom or a new & binding canon law.


The point?


Again, to my knowledge, the 1917 Code of Canon Law is the first time ever, in all of the Church’s long and glorious history, that this novelty --- allowing for ‘accidentally dead’ and unbaptized catechumens to be buried in the consecrated part of a Catholic cemetery --- was enshrined in a collection of ecclesial canon law, in defiance of ancient past practice.


Review Chapter 182 of this book, Baptismal Confusion, for proof of what I say.


Our dear & learned expert Jesuit priest, Fr. Thurstan, made it stark.


Just prior to the release of the 1917 Code of Canon Law, in 1908, he did not mention any canonical exceptions to the Church’s perpetual practice… something he would not have done, learned and expert theologian that he was, had there been an exception clause to burial for ‘accidentally dead’ but unbaptized catechumens in a collection of canon law before this innovation was introduced into the 1917 Code of Canon Law via its Canon 1239.


So what’s the problem?


+++ 186. The Hierarchical Authorities of the Roman +++

Catholic Church Never Allowed Unbaptized Corpses to Be

Buried in a Consecrated Cemetery at the Start of the

New Testament Body of Jesus Christ! (Part 7)


Well, dear soul, ask yourself a simple, rational question:


Were Roman Catholics way back then in ancient times correct, or did Roman Catholics just lately --- in our modern world of the last few centuries --- finally get it right at the start of the 20th century, becoming much more ‘charitable’ and ‘enlightened’ and ‘compassionate’?


You can’t have it both ways. The two positions are, in all honesty, polar opposites.


Either they were right back then, or else we finally got it correct in 1917.


So which is it?


This is why, my beloved reader, the argument from canon law cuts more deeply against the ‘baptism of desire’ position. Neither Canons 737 nor 1239 in the 1917 Code of Canon Law are an act of papal infallibility. Ergo, they could be erroneous or unwise. The Holy Ghost does not, with the Charism of Infallibility, assure us that every pope will be perfectly wise & holy, or correct & impeccable, in everything he thinks, says or does. He must study, he must be watchful, and he must invoke four dogmatic criteria to gain useful infallible assistance.


So we ask, once more, which is it?


Were ancient Roman Catholics during the first millennium correct about unbaptized catechumens, or are we Roman Catholics today of the last century correct about burying unbaptized catechumens in hallowed ground?


This is no idle flight of fancy. This has real consequences. Either those unbaptized catechumens who died ‘accidentally’ before getting the sacramental water are in heaven or they are in hell. Be it heaven, then we should pray for them and offer up sacrifices to greatly shorten their time in purgatory, or lessen their suffering. How could a good & charitable Catholic do otherwise? Whereas, if in hell, then why in the world are we trying to help eternally damned souls? Moreover, why would we risk offending God by treating them as if they could be safe? Intelligently speaking, has God spoken clearly via His Church about their eternal fate?


The answer is, yes He has --- at least in the sense of disciplinary practice.


Ancient Catholics never dared to think ‘accidentally dead’ catechumens were in heaven.


And has God’s Church ever infallibly & explicitly assured us to the contrary?


No, She hasn’t.


So, then, where do we get off acting like She has?


I’m not pretending the Church has infallibly ruled in this matter with explicit intent. Au contraire, throughout this book, Baptismal Confusion, with solid facts and ironclad logic, I have constantly pointed out that She has not. Hence, how dare we defy ancient canonic custom and act as if She has? And if the Church has not spoken infallibly & explicitly regarding BOD (‘baptism of desire’) or WO (‘water only’), then how is it we have the audacity to contradict ancient law?


This is why, dear soul, I counsel caution. Canons 737 & 1239 in the 1917 Code of Canon Law were, at the very least, hasty and imprudent. Again --- either ancient Roman Catholics were correct for centuries & centuries on end, or else Roman Catholics of a mere past century suddenly have it right. There is no in-between, logically speaking. Which is why I say:


“I don’t know about you, precious soul, but I’m cautiously sticking with the ancients.”


Because whenever a blatantly contradictory position is taken up by later generations of purportedly ‘catholic’ people, without infallible & explicit assurance --- and to the degree of outrageously denying an infallible dogma of old, pretending the dogma’s meaning can ‘change’, or that the new meaning is the ‘same’ as the old meaning, when, in fact, it’s not! --- then something foolish and evil is going on. That’s precisely what has happened here.


At the very moment in the early 20th century people who called themselves Catholic were being taught, en masse, that the theological opinion of BOD was indubitably true, they were also being taught that the infallible dogma of ‘no Salvation outside the Church’ didn’t mean what earliest Catholics had always known that it meant in its most ancient, narrow & correct sense.


(Please review Chapters 83 to 132 for historical proof of this assertion.)


This is vile and disturbing.


It doesn’t ‘prove’, all by itself, that the theological opinion of BOD --- in its orthodox sense, applying solely to the ‘accidentally dead’ and intelligent catechumen --- is erroneous. But it does certainly suggest that BOD was a gateway used by learned heretics, posing as members of the Church, for their own nefarious purpose, trying to destroy Catholicity from the inside out.


The upshot?


It is as we said:


The argument based on the 1917 Code of Canon Law is the weakest of all arguments for the theological opinion of BOD (‘baptism of desire’). It is, too, when examined thoroughly, shockingly powerful evidence for the opposite theological opinion of WO (‘water only’).


Or would a wise reader have the nerve to call ancient Catholics stupid or wrong?


+ + +


Part One of Baptismal Confusion (Chapters 1-32)


Part Two of Baptismal Confusion (Chapters 33-60)


Part Three of Baptismal Confusion (Chapters 61-82)


Part Four of Baptismal Confusion (Chapters 83-105)


Part Five of Baptismal Confusion (Chapters 106-132)


Part Six of Baptismal Confusion (Chapters 133-169)


+ + +


Pilate’s query met:




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