Dilemmas of ‘Desire’;
or, It Is Foolish to Presume
Either ‘BOD’ or ‘WO’, as of Yet
in Our Era, to Be the ‘Final’ or
‘Inarguable’ Stance, Not Even
Bothering to Honestly Study
Each Side’s Evidence!
+++ 1. The Dilemmas of ‘Desire’ +++
(The Earthly Problems With BOD)
Let’s get down to business.
For while we already covered everything in Baptismal Confusion with a great thoroughness, it was long & complex --- too long and complex for most people. Overwhelmingly, the key point to get into one’s skull is the following precaution: NEITHER the ‘baptism of desire’ (BOD) theological stance NOR the ‘water only’ (WO) theological view have ever yet been infallibly & explicitly upheld, confirmed, defined or condemned by Holy Mother Church. A real Catholic, in an orthodox way, may still hold to either one. But BODers tend to be more numerous, more cocksure, more troublesome --- like a plague of ecclesiastical locust --- and thus more tyrannical & more confusing for most poor souls during the Great Apostasy. So... right here, right now, on the dot --- we’re keeping it brief… AND WE’RE DRIVING IT HOME HAAARRRD.
Ladies & gentlemen, start your religious cars and prepare your spiritual engines!
· 1.) There is NO evidence, prior to AD 400, that any REAL Catholic was a BOD (‘baptism of desire’) believer in its LATER formulation. (Chapters 23-82, 89-90 & 170-176 of Baptismal Confusion.)
· 2.) The existence of the ‘baptism of blood’ (BOB) teaching during the first millennium is NOT to the point. BOB & BOD were two SEPARATE ideas only LATER joined together with the MUSINGS of Scholastic theologians during the SECOND millennium, AFTER BOD had become the overwhelmingly popular opinion. (Chapters 23-28 of Baptismal Confusion.)
· 3.) Meanwhile, there is NO hard evidence belief in BOB existed PRIOR to the third century AD, and only about HALF of the early Church fathers uphold it. Thus, BOB CANNOT possibly be part of the Church’s ORDINARY Infallible Magisterium, as if ‘indubitable’. Which makes the tiresome and NOT-TO-THE-POINT ‘argument’ for BOD via a belief in BOB even that more outright RIDICULOUS. (E.g., Chapters 25 & 146 of Baptismal Confusion.)
· 4.) Supposedly ‘unbaptized’ martyrs in ancient pagan times are thus NO ‘final’ evidence for BOD. The martyrologies are NOT acts of ‘infallibility’, and God would sometimes miraculously provide WATER for catechumens right before martyrdom. He additionally sometimes RESURRECTED catechumens so that they could receive a REAL water baptism. Which doesn’t ‘prove’ WO (‘water only’)… but it DOES show the opinion of BOD to be quite susceptible to a VERY RATIONAL DOUBT. (Chapters 29-31 of Baptismal Confusion.)
· 5.) St. Ambrose, who everybody ASSUMED taught BOD ‘inarguably’ for the first time ever in Church history, by the end of the fourth century, is, in actuality, surprisingly AMBIGUOUS at his funeral eulogy for an imperial catechumen who died BEFORE the redoubtable St. Ambrose could give him water baptism. Read the COMPLETE eulogy --- which we have until this day in Ambrose’s OWN words --- for the clear PROOF that this is the case! But, of course, who in the world actually bothers doing so? NO ONE would be so ‘foolish’ as to dare to want the TRUTH UNSULLIED. (Chapters 33-37 of Baptismal Confusion.)
· 6.) St. Ambrose’s OWN priestly teachings upon the Sacrament of Baptism make this BEYOND dispute --- he allows for NO exceptions PRIOR to what everyone WANTS to think he taught at his late life funeral eulogy. What’s more, his own diocesan flock MOURNED for loss of an UNBAPTIZED catechumen because they naturally believed him CERTAINLY to be in HELL, since he died WITHOUT the life-giving waters of a very visible, material & watery BAPTISM! (Chapters 33-37 of Baptismal Confusion.)
· 7.) St. Augustine of Hippo is the FIRST Catholic to INARGUABLY teach BOD in a truncated yet accurate formulation in AD 400 that LATER became dominant by the turn of the SECOND millennium. But he makes it PLAIN this is simply his OPINION and NOT something that he got from Christ & His Apostles, or from an EARLIER tradition! (Chapters 38-41 of Baptismal Confusion.)
9.) And, were that
not enough, we learn WHY
· 10.) With the beginning of the SECOND millennium you see Church thinkers, like St. Bernard of Clairvaux, PRESUMING BOD to be correct based on what they PRESUMED to be the thinking of Ss. Ambrose & Augustine. But Bernard himself dares NOT to pretend that it is ‘certainly’ true just because he THINKS Ss. Ambrose & Augustine upheld it, as IF the theological opinion of BOD is a ‘certainty’ for this reason! Getting it? Two Church fathers’ OPINION do not a ‘dogma’ make! (Chapters 39 & 76-80 of Baptismal Confusion.)
· 11.) In a letter to St. Bernard from one of his theological & monastic peers, Hugh of St. Victor, we discover that during the AD 1100s there were still PLENTY of Roman Catholics who did NOT approve of the NEW-fangled notion of BOD! Ergo, the relatively NEW theory of BOD was NOT automatically accepted merely BECAUSE many theologians of THAT particular time liked the INNOVATION of BOD. (Chapters 76-80 of Baptismal Confusion.)
· 12.) The theological stance of Ss. Thomas Aquinas & Alphonsus Ligouri, etc., in favor of the relatively NEWLY accepted notion of BOD makes the blithe BODer ASSUME it ‘couldn’t’ be wrong. Yet NONE of them are an infallibly defining pope and Aquinas was flat-out WRONG regarding the Immaculate Conception PRIOR to its infallible definition in 1854 with Pope Pius IX. Ergo, an eminent Scholastic OPINION is then NEVER ‘certain’ just BECAUSE the Scholastic theologian THOUGHT it so. Ergo also, REAL Roman Catholics very politely disagreeing with a Scholastic is NOT THE SAME as Modernists trashing the Scholastics left-and-right because they HATE Catholicism! And there is NO shortage of imprimatured theologians who will DISAGREE with Alphonsus’ OPINION that the Council of Trent ‘infallibly’ taught BOD, all the while the same IMPRIMATURED theologians love to believe BOD is ‘proximate’ to dogma and think Trent ‘surely’ was referring to BOD in its LESS THAN PRECISE words ‘about BOD’. (Chapters 42-60 of Baptismal Confusion.)
· 13.) In the meantime, there’s an early Church father, doctor & saint who DESTROYED the heart of the BOD notion even WITHOUT meaning to! To wit, the magnificent St. Gregory Nazianzen. BODers HATE THIS FACT, trying all they can to deny it, nevertheless, it is HISTORICALLY testified, and PRIOR to Gregory Nazianzen’s reception of WATER baptism, he as well tells us of his immense FEAR that he would die and go to HELL in a ship during a storm WITHOUT real baptism! (Chapters 61-71 & 183 of Baptismal Confusion.)
· 14.) Everyone who believes in BOD ASSUMES it ‘must’ be true because their ‘catechism’ taught them it was so in the past century-and-a-half. They think this because they WRONGLY think a catechism is ‘infallible’, or that you never dare to intelligently SUSPECT that a particular catechism teaches an ERRONEOUS idea (erroneous, NOT necessarily heretical!). Yet NO catechism has ever YET been infallible in ALL of its words, NOT even the greatest of them all, mighty Catechism of the Council of Trent. (Chapters 83-132 in Baptismal Confusion.)
there is a pattern through the Church’s history. The EARLIEST eminent
catechism we have in writing, from the early Church father & doctor, St.
· 16.) Much, much LATER catechisms, since the AD 1500s, simply ALLUDE to BOD WITHOUT speaking of it by NAME. Obviously, the official writers of such catechisms did NOT think BOD to be an all-consumingly ‘important’ notion to teach to their readers like a ‘certainty’ that the LATER writers of catechisms make it out to be, from the turn of the TWENTIETH century onward till our perilous & apostate times. (Chapters 83-132 in Baptismal Confusion.)
· 17.) And, just as writers of official catechisms BEGIN to teach about BOD by name around AD 1900, they ALSO mysteriously begin to poison these NEWER catechisms with an unabashedly BLATANT teaching of a malevolent & wicked SALVATION HERESY. Period. (Chapters 83-132 in Baptismal Confusion.)
· 18.) Lots of BODers, including writers of LATER contemporary catechisms, love teaching BOD as IF Sacred Scripture supports the opinion. It does NOT. There is NEVER mention of BOD by NAME anywhere in the Bible, and the verses they PRETEND will uphold it are EASILY interpreted as meaning NO such thing! NEITHER has the Infallible Magisterium ever ‘ruled’ as IF Sacred Scripture ‘SURELY’ teaches us BOD is so. (Chapters 133-157 in Baptismal Confusion.)
· 19.) Devastatingly, BODers are apparently utterly CLUELESS that a mere TWO canons in the NEWLY systematized-for-the-FIRST-time-ever in Church history, the Pio-Benedictine or 1917 Code of Canon Law, is NO act of ‘infallibility’ and was a complete NOVELTY & INNOVATION in daring to treat BOD as if it is ‘doubtlessly’ true and thus ‘justifies’ putting the bodies of the UNBAPTIZED within CONSECRATED grounds. That is to say, PRIOR to this astonishing INNOVATION, the Church’s cautious leaders NEVER dared to allow for the routine & unquestioned burial of UNBAPTIZED catechumenal bodies in the HALLOWED ground of a Roman Catholic cemetery. Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever… PERIOD! (Chapters 170-186 in Baptismal Confusion.)
· 20.) This is because EARLIEST Roman Catholics NEVER knew about, or dared to believe in, the theological OPINION of BOD. They were WOers by default, it simply being what EVERY Roman Catholic believed WITHOUT even suspecting that there could POSSIBLY be another interpretation about the Holy Sacrament of Baptism. Only AFTER the great Ambrose (supposedly) and an equally great Augustine (for a while) were ASSUMED to have unflinchingly supported it, did such a NOTION start to spread. Consequently, the BOTTOM line is truly the BOTTOM line --- the most ancient & earliest of Roman Catholics were STAUNCHLY for WO. This conclusion is NOT truly arguable for the LEARNED Catholic person, and even learned BODers CANNOT ever, academically or honestly, without theological bias, PRETEND that this historically proven FACT is otherwise, somehow… nonetheless… ‘wrong’. Preeminently scholarly priests & theologians of the 20th century ADMIT, if only indirectly, the ‘water only’ position of the most ancient, earliest and ORIGINAL Roman Catholics in, and near to, APOSTOLIC centuries. They also know quite well, IF pressed to admit it, that BOD has NEVER been infallibly & explicitly upheld, the seemingly ‘impressive’ papal or curial documents they love to tout NEVER, all by themselves, WITHOUT adhering to the Vatican Council’s 1870 INFALLIBLE DEFINITION OF PAPAL INFALLIBILITY, as if these papal, curial or ‘official’ documents can amount to ANY KIND of ‘infallible’ teaching, and hence ‘never possibly mistaken’, support for the BOD THEOLOGICAL OPINION which has dominated up until our times of the Great Apostasy. (Chapters 170-186 in Baptismal Confusion.)
Now, my dear & beloved reader, do you start to see how BOD is not ‘unquestionable’? The Scholastic theologians were in no way ‘reckless’ merely for touting the idea of BOD. And, once it gained traction, there being no lastingly serious opposition to it (and yet we see, from St. Bernard’s correspondence with Hugh of St. Victor during the 1100s, that there was indeed some serious opposition that didn’t end up lasting!), it is natural that BOD stuck around and became the dominant theological opinion. Nor was there any particularly galvanizing reason to question BOD at that point in history. Ergo why it became ‘unquestionable’ only after centuries of percolation inside Catholic minds. Consider --- wise Catholics are very cautious & conservative about novelty. Hence ‘baptism of desire’ having endured for several centuries, it gained the ‘aura’ of an ‘indisputable’ teaching without actually having been put beyond dispute with an indisputably infallible & explicit ruling from a wise & fearless pope! Strange?
Welcome to the world of arcane theology and the curious history of BOD.
The bullet points above are far from exhaustive. They must be brief.
Read the Baptismal Confusion book if you desire minute details.
But they start to make it clear --- BOD is quite questionable.
+++ 2. The Dilemmas of ‘Desire’ +++
(The Heavenly Problems With BOD)
Ah, yet we’re not finished. We’ve got some more problems.
The previous chapter was about historical & developmental difficulties.
Now we get really serious. Theologically, religiously & dogmatically serious.
· 1.) English is the GLOBAL language of today. Therefore, whether or not a slippery ‘desire’ is the term used by Catholics in every OTHER language of the world in the past 2 or 3 centuries, NO ONE learned in Latin --- the language of the Catholic Church --- can possibly PRETEND that ‘desire’ is an ‘excellent’ translation of the proper term in Latin, which is ‘VOTUM’. It is open & shut. Most of the time by far, when translating VOTUM (as in ‘baptismus voti’, the strict name for BOD in Latin, although not the most popular… the ‘baptismus flaminis’ was most often employed, meaning ‘baptism of spirit’ or ‘wind’, the Holy Ghost being metaphorically like the wind), it SHOULD be rendered in English as ‘vow’, ‘prayer’ or even ‘solemn resolution’. ‘Desire’ necessarily operates as the LAST and LEAST LIKELY choice in translating ‘votum’. Leading the intelligent & learned Catholic to ask, “Why this ODD choice translating the Latin, made by otherwise LEARNED Latin scholars? Is theological agenda driving the matter? Or is it just ‘chance’?” Yet no PRUDENTLY SHREWD Roman Catholic person can simply ASSUME it to be the latter possibility. In constantly rendering it as ‘desire’, it is EASIER for us to MIDUNDERSTAND BOD heretically. Viz., there is no need for a catechumen to have a ‘perfect contrition’ for his or her mortal sins --- a MERE ‘desire’ to do the ‘right’ thing is all that is ‘ESSENTIAL’. Which is straight out HERESY. Yet it’s exactly what more & more people, calling themselves Catholic, have BELIEVED. (Chapter 6 of Baptismal Confusion.)
· 2.) Speaking of which, by the time BOD was thought ‘NECESSARY’ to teach by name to ALL Roman Catholics around AD 1900 in the catechisms being written then, WHY is it that the vast majority of these Catholics then come away with a MISTAKEN idea of three DIFFERENT ‘baptisms’? When, in fact, Scholastic theologians were quite CAREFUL & PLAIN --- there are NOT three different ‘baptisms’, there are only three distinct WAYS TO PARTAKE in the ONE & SINGULAR Sacrament of Baptism. Period! Again… is there an AGENDA transpiring here, AGAINST Catholicism? At the very least, learned clergy practiced rather CARELESS catechism when teaching their flocks in the TWENTIETH century. (E.g., Chapter 147 in Baptismal Confusion.)
· 3.) Meanwhile, to WHOM are these clergy and their catechisms, around the turn of the 20th century, and afterward, aiming their teaching about BOD? And WHY do they think it ‘necessary’, now, after nearly TWO MILLENNIA, to explicitly INDOCTRINATE their Catholic flocks into believing BOD is ‘unquestionable’ teaching… indeed, as if it were a ‘dogma’? WHAT’S THE POINT? Recollect, too, WHO they’re teaching this to. Almost WITHOUT exception, to Catholics already LONG baptized in water, for whom the notion of BOD is, well, NOT exactly that ‘CRUCIAL’, as if they THEMSELVES might need to be nicely ‘REASSURED’ should they ‘accidentally’ fail to get water baptism. Again, they’re ALREADY LONG AGO BAPTIZED! So what’s the deal? 1500 ecclesiastical years went by WITHOUT the Church’s Hierarchy thinking it ‘critical’ to teach run-of-the-mill Catholics about the theological OPINION of BOD. Why now, in the last FIVE centuries --- especially since around 1900 --- is it SUDDENLY ‘imperative’ to do so? This is rather puzzling. Either bandwagon appeal is going on… and modern clergy simply must… MUST!... get with the theological program, or else a SUBVERSIVE motive is operating. Which explains things BETTER. (Chapters 119-132 of Baptismal Confusion.)
· 4.) Which is where it is useful to remark upon a very confusing MUDDLE of theological terminology when it comes to BOD. The Roman Catholic Church has ALWAYS taught Her members that the Sacrament of Baptism is a NECESSITY OF MEANS, no ifs, ands or buts. The Scholastic theologians were orthodox & smart… they knew this to be the case. I.e., that there is NEVER any way to enter EITHER Church OR Heaven (and the Roman Catholic Church teaches infallibly that She is God’s SOLE MEANS to Heaven!) WITHOUT Her Holy Sacrament of Baptism. This is WHY the Scholastic theologians ALSO carefully taught there is NEVER ‘another’ kind of ‘baptism’. RATHER, that BOB & BOD & sacramental water are simply three different WAYS to participate in the ONE MEANS of sacramental and baptismal grace. Yet this is a type of word play. Either something IS absolutely necessary, WITHOUT exception (‘necessity of means’) or it is NOT absolutely necessary, there CAN be at least a few exceptions (‘necessity of precept’, which means you intend to obey, yet can be excused if something serious prevents it). SO WHICH IS IT? Encountering this muddled terminology as a devout Catholic for the first time, it can almost seem as if someone is trying PURPOSEFULLY to confuse you. Certainly the Scholastic theologians were NOT trying to do that. They were simply trying to RECONCILE the WO stance of the most ancient of Catholics --- the Sacrament of Baptism is an absolute necessity, NO exceptions to the form & matter --- with their LATER BOD stance in its orthodox version for a supposedly good-willed catechumen who ‘accidentally’ dies --- he or she surely MEANT well, intending to join the Church in water baptism, God will have mercy upon them if they had PERFECT contrition for their mortal sins --- struggling not to sound as if they ‘denied’ what the Church has constantly maintained… that the Sacrament of Baptism is a NECESSITY OF MEANS, being ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY for visible membership in the Church, God’s SOLE MEANS OF SALVATION. Understood thusly, the muddling terminology gets a little easier to put up with. NOTWITHSTANDING, what this messy controversy then REALLY COMES DOWN TO is the following… is THE VISIBLE FORM & MATTER of the Sacrament of Baptism an absolute necessity of means, or merely a necessity of precept with occasional EXCEPTIONS? This the REAL ISSUE, and the REAL DISPUTE. All else is unnecessary (pun not really intended!) DISTRACTION. Unfortunately, for all their good intentions (again, pun not really intended!), the Scholastic theologians did NOT actually successfully clear this up. This is because they could NOT back then foresee UNINTENDED consequences and the whelming tide of the Great Apostasy. They ASSUMED BOD to be true WITHOUT an infallible & explicit papal pronouncement. The popes of that time TOLERATED this arrangement, WITHOUT ever infallibly & explicitly defining it to be true, since they, ADDITIONALLY, had been taught & presumed an identical theological OPINION. (Chapters 108-110 & 187-197 of Baptismal Confusion.)
· 5.) This is further compounded by the UNBAPTIZED catechumen quandary mentioned above in the previous chapter of this article. WITHOUT the visible form & matter (the correct words said along with real water correctly applied at the same time), HOW is anyone in the Church supposed to know WHICH of the ‘accidentally’ dead catechumens had a HOPE OF SALVATION since they had a PERFECT contrition for their mortal sins, and WHICH of them did NOT? It’s LUDICROUS to suppose that any mere human being could certainly know the INVISIBLE heart of another human being! This is the POINT of a VISIBLE sacrament. Being morally certain of a person’s water baptism, with resulting MEMBERSHIP in a visible Catholic Church, allows us, in God’s Sight, to RIGHTLY presume, with charity, the HOPE OF SALVATION of another Catholic, barring quite BLATANT evidence to the CONTRARY. Whereas, WITHOUT a visible water baptism, we are NOT then capable of a MORAL CERTAINTY regarding another Catholic’s Hope of Salvation! This is WHY God’s Roman Catholic Church has NEVER considered any UNBAPTIZED catechumens to be ‘members’ of this Church in any STRICT sense; rather, contrarily, they are NOT. (Chapters 170-197 of Baptismal Confusion.)
· 6.) Now we see WHY the Catholic Church once NEVER permitted any ‘accidentally’ dead yet UNBAPTIZED catechumen to be buried in the most HALLOWED & CONSECRATED ground of a Catholic cemetery. Catholic leaders NEVER presumed, in the FIRST millennium, apart from supposedly unbaptized martyrs for the Catholic Faith after the second century, that such a catechumen had ANY Hope of Salvation. THEN, with the advent of dominant BOD teaching in the SECOND millennium, they almost NEVER presumed to know an ‘accidentally’ dead UNBAPTIZED catechumen’s heart --- that he or she ‘certainly’ had PERFECT contrition for their mortal sins --- Catholic leaders thus still almost NEVER dared to bury such UNBAPTIZED catechumens in hallowed cemetery ground. They NEVER routinely dared to do such a thing, even during the SECOND millennium, UNTIL the Code of Canon Law put forth in 1917. Getting this? And WHY it’s disturbing to a wise, learned & devout Catholic? Such actions tended toward increasing CARELESSNESS & FLIPPANCY concerning HOLY THINGS. (Chapters 170-186 of Baptismal Confusion.)
· 7.) This point CANNOT be stressed too much. The Triune God of the Catholic Church DISTINGUISHES between the HOLY and UNHOLY. The Sacrament of Baptism is the ENTRANCE to His HOLY Catholic Church, being the means by which Our Lord CLEANSES such souls and makes them acceptably HOLY. It’s forgetting this VITAL TRUTH that has made people, claiming to be Catholic, to act increasingly CARELESS & FLIPPANT about DISTINGUISHING in these matters. Such people have been increasingly taught, and they have increasingly wanted to believe, that God is NEVER wrathful, that He is ONLY ‘loving’. Therefore, they grew to have NO fear of God and couldn’t care LESS about pleasing Him. CARELESSNESS about, and COLDNESS toward, the Holy Sacrament of Baptism, and its sacramental FORM & MATTER, is a key foreshadowing of our Great Apostasy. (Chapters 170-197 of Baptismal Confusion.)
· 8.) This is where Catholic theologians, AFTER the Scholastic era, became very slowly, subtly & shockingly DISMISSIVE of the imperative importance of water baptism. They had been INCULCATED in the misleading notion that it is ‘only the INVISIBLE graces’ of the Sacrament of Baptism that REALLY matter (no pun intended --- honestly!). Ergo, catechumens COULD be getting ‘invisibly’ baptized LEFT-&-RIGHT before their ACTUAL water baptism; that is, with PRESUMABLY PERFECT contrition in a catechumen’s heart. Ergo, too, as centuries went by, the form & matter of ACTUAL baptism are more a mere SYMBOL of the ‘thing’ that is REALLY important, which, thought they, increasingly as centuries slipped by, is the INVISIBLE graces. And thus WHERE it begins to be troubling. This is NOT outright heresy… YET. Howsoever, it is DISTURBING & UPSETTING for the wary, devout & informed Catholic. Most ANCIENT & EARLIEST Roman Catholics did ALWAYS treat the FORM & MATTER of the Sacrament of Baptism with UTTERMOST REVERENCE, HUMILITY & SPIRITUAL CAUTION. Remember… the Sacrament of Baptism, and getting it RIGHT, is a matter UNAVOIDABLY impinging upon each & every human being’s IMMORTAL SOUL’S ETERNAL LIFE OR DEATH. Period!!!!!!! (Chapters 170-197 of Baptismal Confusion.)
9.) My OWN
experience of conversion, interviews of elderly former Catholics
and careful study of documents over the past few centuries SUBSTANTIATES
this. When I BEGAN to be Roman Catholic, I thought at first the post-Vatican
II Novus Ordo ‘church’ was the
· 10.) Which brings us to another terrible impasse. For Novus Ordoists are NOT authentically Catholic. They HAVE, nonetheless, INHERITED what Catholics were coming to, in their HORRIBLE catechesis… or, um, LACK of catechesis… CEASING to believe, little by little, like Protestants of every stripe, that the Holy Sacrament of Baptism is ANY MORE really necessary to SALVATION of human immortal souls than is the ONE TRUE CHURCH itself --- which they also don’t believe to be ROMAN CATHOLIC, and neither more nor less, being what GOD HIMSELF COMMANDS. They are the inevitable OUTCOME, between heresy & theological DRIFT over centuries, of a LESSENING focus on human WILL, compared to an INCREASING emphasis on the INTELLECT. Or, should one say, while increasingly NEGLECTING the necessity of human WILL --- that it be either GOOD or BAD --- we have increasingly VENERATED ‘essentialness’ of human INTELLECT --- what we either KNOW or DON’T KNOW. In reality, real & wise Catholics realize that it’s NOT an either / or situation. Yet we also recognize, NECESSARILY, that the human WILL COMES FIRST. You can know FULLY that Roman Catholicism is God’s ONE & ONLY RELIGION, without which you CANNOT be saved, period. So what? You can STILL, maliciously, REFUSE TO OBEY, remaining OUTSIDE God’s Church. Comprehend? All the knowledge in the world DOES NOT GUARANTEE you will ever, or always, OBEY, becoming & remaining ROMAN CATHOLIC; thus, WHY SHOULD YOU BLITHELY ASSUME, conversely, that the IGNORANT person WOULD BE ‘GOOD-WILLED’ AND THUS ‘SINCERE’ were they to CONSCIOUSLY KNOW that the Roman Catholic Church is God’s SOLE MEANS OF SALVATION? How does the one follow FROM the other? It DOESN’T! Furthermore, NOR is the blithe person, calling his or her self Catholic, ‘justified’ ASSUMING that such a SUPPOSEDLY ‘sincere’ & ‘good-willed’ soul is CERTAINLY, or even LIKELY, to enter Heaven IGNORANTLY, when, in fact, IF he or she had a truly GOOD WILL, they’d hence have used their INTELLECT & INTELLIGENCE to actually SEEK FOR THE SINGULARLY TRUE RELIGION OF CATHOLICISM! And this is WHY such people --- who are NOT truly Catholic --- then ALWAYS resort to the made-up-out-of-nowhere FICTION of a purportedly INVISIBLE ‘membership’ in the Catholic Church. Which membership is NONSENSE, something real Catholics NEVER dared believe or teach in MOST ANCIENT TIMES, with Christ & His Apostles. ‘Invisible membership’ is DOUBLETALK… a lie!... made to ENTICE the foolish & unwary people, and to let PHONY ‘catholics’ sound ‘believable’ PRETENDING they’re actually Catholic, holding to an INFALLIBLE & UNCHANGEABLE RELIGION entitled Roman Catholicism. PERIOD. (Chapters 187-197 of Baptismal Confusion, with emphasis added.)
· 11.) This is further driven home by the fact that God, in His OMNISCIENCE, certainly knows WHO IS INTELLIGENT & GOOD-WILLED, and WHO IS NOT. The Scholastic theologians upheld this STAUNCHLY. Repeat --- quite adamantly. Both Ss. Thomas Aquinas & Alphonsus Ligouri taught PLAINLY how a human being, RAISED IN THE WILD BY WOLVES, would, all the same, IF OF GOOD WILL, receive more-than-sufficient TESTIMONY of Catholicism. NOR is an unwary or rebellious person, PRETENDING to be an actual Catholic, to PRESUME... with utter nonchalance, as IF they themselves couldn’t possibly be WRONG interpreting papal writings… that more recent popes speaking of an ‘INVINCIBLE’ ignorance meant, ‘doubtlessly’, that such ‘invincibly’ ignorant people are then of an ADEQUATE intelligence. TO THE CONTRARY, it is a matter of ANCIENT TEACHING & SIMPLE LOGICAL THINKING that the ONLY human beings who could ever POSSIBLY be in the state of a REALLY invincible ignorance are those who are INFANTS (thus NOT yet able even to know they are COMMANDED to seek for Catholicism, reading the Law of Natural Reason written upon their hearts), or COGNITIVELY DISABLED FROM THEIR INFANCY (ditto the previous parenthetical statement), or UTTERLY INSANE FROM THEIR INFANCY (ditto again!). These are, definitively, the ONLY human beings who can truly be INVINCIBLE in ignorance, NOT having an adequately intelligent mind to know to begin, cooperating --- of a GOOD will! --- with their guardian angels and other HEAVENLY denizens that are only MORE THAN HAPPY to assist, thus GUARANTEEING that they’ll FIND Roman Catholicism Whole, Entire & Undefiled even despite being, as Scholastic theologians loved to note, raised, SEPARATE from other human beings, by WOLVES IN THE WILDERNESS! And if this is what both ANCIENT Catholics and SCHOLASTIC theologians upheld… and it is!... then HOW in the world could souls raised amongst any NON-Catholic people have any more ‘excuse’ THAN a human raised in the WILDERNESS BY WOLVES? You savvy? There is NO EXCUSE. Most humans have intelligent minds; we, every one of us, have Natural Reason inscribed upon our hearts; we, every one of us, have guardian angels to wonderfully assist us; and God is not willing that any should perish. There is no other thing needed, in such situations, than a heart that is GOOD-WILLED. God will CERTAINLY correspond with graces & testimony for such persons. It is this crucial element that is MISSING in such human beings… it is WHY such tragic people NEVER find the One True Religion of Catholicism since they NEVER bother looking, being proud & lazy in their hearts & minds. OBVIOUSLY! (Chapters 56, 129 & 191-197 of Baptismal Confusion; see also Part 1 of Helplessly Ignorant, as well as the short article, Concerning Abjuration, Invincible Ignorance, Children & the Use of Reason.)
· 12.) So, to recap, the BOD theological OPINION, in its orthodox sense (only CATECHUMENS --- people of adequate intelligence consciously knowing they MUST to be Catholic in order to save their souls, and visibly, in some real way, trying to OBEY THIS COMMAND of Our Creator --- who die ‘accidentally’ without water baptism), CANNOT BE BLAMED AT ALL for automatically or intentionally CAUSING the salvation heresy, and consequent Great Apostasy, of our times. HOWEVER, it was most CERTAINLY the open door through which, theologically speaking, salvation heresy was able to POSE AS ‘DOGMA’ when theologians dared to teach, and clergy dared to accept, its poison, stretching the idea of an IMPLICIT BOD beyond the boundaries of SALVATION DOGMA, pretending AS IF ANCIENT & EARLIER clergy & theologians HAD EVER DARED TO THINK, let alone openly teach!, the SCANDALOUS NOTION adequately intelligent persons can die IN THE BELIEF & PRACTICE OF VISIBLY FALSE RELIGION, and, WITHOUT visibly & consciously CONVERTING TO CATHOLICISM, nevertheless enter Heaven Above! Teaching this clearly amounts to teaching salvation OUTSIDE the Church. Deceitful WORD PLAY calling ‘inside the church’ the SAME as an ‘invisible membership’ for intelligent people not knowing they are, is LYING, a complete & vicious DENIAL of what ANCIENT Catholics knew Christ to actually INTEND. Comprehending? WITHOUT BOD this rank nonsense could NOT have thereby saturated EVERYONE’S THINKING, buying into salvation heresy blithely, UNBENDING OPPOSITION TO IT instead coming from Hierarchy and academics until it was STAMPED OUT. This is WHY, even IF BOD is promulgated INFALLIBLY & EXPLICITLY in the near future, a pope necessarily MUST, to close the loopholes, define & condemn carefully, BLOCKING ALL POSSIBILITY of it happening once more… AGAIN. Successors to St. Peter MUST HALT THE COMPLETE NONSENSE of ‘invisible membership’ of intelligent humans WHO HAVE NO IDEA ON EARTH that they’re ‘catholic’ let alone that they want to be. PERIOD!!! (Chapters 187-197 of Baptismal Confusion.)
13.) And finally,
there is NO reason God, Who is BOTH Omnipotent &
Omniscient, ‘cannot’ act to provide water baptism
for the truly good-willed catechumen. Ergo, why MUST, then, BOD be the ONLY option for explaining the
catechumen who dies ‘accidentally’ BEFORE receiving water
baptism? This is inconsistent, to say the least. IF Scholastic theologians
readily accepted the idea a human being could be raised alone by WOLVES
IN THE WILDERNESS, who, nonetheless, are GOOD-WILLED and therefore
God provides them with the TESTIMONY OF THE CATHOLIC FAITH…
then what is the problem with it happening IN THE SAME WAY with the Sacrament
of Baptism? To wit, God provides the WATER BAPTISM to the good-willed
human being regardless, miraculously if NECESSARY! There really
reason WITHOUT popes DEFINING OR CONDEMINING INFALLIBLY &
EXPLICITLY. It is, astonishingly, merely OPINION that BOD is
correct, while WO not. What’s more, can the TRULY Catholic person imagine
the idiocy IF the same thinking were applied to, say, the Sacrament
of Holy Orders? THEN we could have men and women everywhere, whenever they
wish, CLAIMING that he or she, or someone else, IS a ‘priest’
simply because this person ‘desires’ it. Yes, that’s
correct… a so-called ‘ORDERS OF DESIRE’. Any
sensible & wise Catholic, who’s REALLY what they claim to be, can
see the INSANITY of such a thing. There is NO reason yet to
‘have’ to believe in BOD. It has a
Alright, my dear & precious soul. This is straightforward stuff. I’ve done pretty much all I can to make it as simple, easy & obvious to the adequately intelligent person who is of a good will in the matter --- earnestly & honestly wishing to understand and get through all of this confusion! --- to figure it out and get one’s head screwed on correctly. There are lots of unhinged, confused & bad-willed people. This is a way to stop them short.
And help them, if they’ll let me. We don’t want to needlessly offend others.
But this is become ridiculous and there’s no good excuse for it.
Time’s running out! It’s time to see right and act properly.
The above is NOT ‘proof’ that BOD is ‘certainly’ wrong. Rather, it’s VERY HARD EVIDENCE that a real Roman Catholic nowadays, during the Great Apostasy, has very excellent reasons to question the BOD theological opinion, at the very least, and, perhaps, even embrace the WO theological opinion. I simply hit hard here at BOD because, as said before, they’re more numerous, they’re often more stubborn, and, in any case, given this numerical advantage & stubbornness, they can behave like a spiritual plague of locusts.
I’d prefer to change the mind of the individual ‘locust’. Barring that, I swat hard.
No real Catholic needs to put up with more foolishness in this matter.
It’s time to start preparing for what’s to come soon.
This is an annoying sideshow. STOP IT.
+++ 3. ‘Baptism of Desire’ vs. ‘Water Only’ +++
(Catholic Orthodoxy & the Horns of Many Dilemmas)
There are times when a human being has to cast aside diplomatic talk and an endless ‘beating around the bush’ in order to be ‘nice’ or to ‘keep the peace’. It becomes clear, after enough experience, that others --- who claim to care about a particular subject --- are, instead, weirdly & sadly controlled by their passions and their prejudices.
Such is the case with the ‘baptism of desire’ (BOD) vs. ‘water only’ (WO) battle.
People, saying they’re Catholic, desire to believe whatever they want, case ‘closed.’
As if. AS IF ‘what you want to believe’ is always the certain truth, no matter what.
I have found most people, who tout their Catholicity, to care more about being thought ‘right’ than actually being right. And, while there are many, many, many things people can get caught up in, it is strange how self-proclaimed Catholics become so pompous, vicious, fearful and just plain unhinged in their practically crusading support of BOD, allied with their positively inexplicable, and practically banal, attitude toward what is genuinely threatening Roman Catholic Orthodoxy & Praxis, which is a diabolically deranged salvation heresy that masquerades as if ‘orthodox’ and ‘moral’ under the purportedly ‘unquestionable’ stance of an implicit BOD which can actually never harmonize properly and authentically with the always infallible & explicit dogma, ‘NEVER Salvation OUTSIDE the Catholic Church’ in its original, ancient, narrow, correct, simple, universal & unchanging sense. Something any Scholastic theologian himself confirms since the Scholastics NEVER pretended, or understood, an ‘implicit’ BOD to mean that a human being can die visibly OUTSIDE the Catholic Church and, somehow, this human being is invisibly ‘inside’ the Catholic Church WITHOUT this person, or any real & visible Catholic, having any visible PROOF that such a person wound up consciously INTENDING to be an actual MEMBER of Christ’s Church.
This is no ‘chance’ or ‘happenstance’. And it’s beyond high time to call a spade a spade.
The foolishness must end. I cannot possibly do that by myself, in my own ‘power’. I have no wealth, power, fame or prestige in this world. But I also don’t have to play along with foolish people any more. The foolishness is blatantly demonic, issuing from the Pit of Hell itself. A presently orthodox version of BOD has been mentally mangled into most rank heresy, boldly denying both Catholicity & Scholasticity. As my name’s sake said to his fellow Hebrews after having long attempted to get them to see the truth about Christ Jesus of Nazareth, their Messias, and Jesus & Mary’s Singular Catholicism:
“But they gainsaying and blaspheming [attacking St. Paul the Apostle mindlessly, to the point of committing blasphemy against God & His Singular Religion of Catholicism], he [i.e., Paul] shook his garments [to metaphorically signify that he had nothing more to do with them --- see Matthew 10:14, Mark 6:11, Luke 9:5, Matthew 23:35 & 27:24-25], and said to them, ‘YOUR BLOOD BE UPON YOUR OWN HEADS; I am clean: from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles [those who don’t claim to be Catholic or are at least willing to listen seriously, think carefully and prayerfully seek the truth about something I’m daring to tell you, FOR IT IS UTTERLY CRUCIAL].” (Acts of the Apostles 18:16 DRC. All annotations & emphasis added in this or other quotes.)
In 2011, we began posting a long & complex book in the global cloud at The Epistemologic Works website. It’s called Baptismal Confusion: What the Fight Over ‘Baptism of Desire’ vs. ‘Water Only’ Is All About, and Where Both Sides Get It Very Wrong, Falling into Heresy or Schism as a Result. I did not write this book because I thought myself adequate for the job. I did not think I would be capable of it. I wrote it, and dared to post it, because I could not find anything else, anywhere in the world, which got the controversy wholly correct, fully explained, and thoroughly documented. Which is NOT to say that the book is an exhaustive scholarly statement upon the subject; I seriously doubt it is. It most certainly IS, however, to say that it is a very, very COMPREHENSIVE scholarly statement upon a now URGENT controversy.
We kept at it for several more years. Then came an intense year of pain, wherein we nearly gave it up, even thinking that, perhaps, The Epistemologic Works should close. Then came a celestial shot in the arm, wherein my spirits lifted and what I could not do by myself… and did not dare to think that I could ever do it successfully on my own!... got done, regardless. No one has to believe that this is heavenly or miraculous. You’re free to believe whatever the hey you want! The facts, however, are the facts. Three gigantic books are now in the public domain, available anywhere on earth or in the heavens, including Baptismal Confusion (the other two are the massive Helplessly Ignorant and the still rather lengthy, yet not nearly as massive, Inter Regnum).
And these three gigantic books all got done & posted by the close of AD 2018.
Now, if you don’t have any more patience or curiosity about this, then skip on.
Or go to Chapters 1 & 2 of this article and study the dilemmas of BOD.
But if you won’t look seriously at the facts & logic, then I am clean.
YOUR BLOOD BE UPON YOUR OWN HEAD. You have been warned.
And if you would pretend to be ‘omniscient’ and just somehow magically ‘know’ --- without actually knowing me personally or bothering to get to know me --- that I’m just as ‘biased’ about the subject as I say most others are, who go by the name of Catholic, then step back… back down… take a deep breath… and be truly just, factual & fair.
When I became truly Roman Catholic during the Great Apostasy, I very naturally adopted the opinion of
a so-called ‘baptism of desire’ (BOD). This is because it
has been the dominant theological opinion of both
clergy & laity, the learned & the unlearned, in the
I hence had NO problem with BOD, and I understand the position completely.
Then I was exposed to the theological stance of ‘water only’ (WO) by the turn of the 21st century and found the logical syllogism cited in WO’s favor, based on the infallible & greatest council of the Church ever yet, the Council of Trent, vastly compelling. For, clearly, infallible definitions & rulings are the gold standard of Roman Catholicity.
I thus had NO problem with WO, and I understand the position completely.
Got it, my dear soul? You’re dealing with someone utterly informed. Someone who once believed in BOD wholeheartedly, then believed in WO wholeheartedly. Someone who was honest enough, and earnest enough, to admit he was wrong about his former positions and therefore changed his stance accordingly, seeking for the unvarnished truth about this now much-fought-over topic of ‘baptism of desire’ vs. ‘water only’.
What’ve YOU done, dearest soul? About seeking the TRUTH of this topic, I mean.
At a bare minimum, if you hear of this enormous research and mammoth effort to communicate the results to the world at large, yet are not able or willing to examine it carefully, with infinite patience and taking a serious look at all the sides involved in this controversy, then be prudent, wise & candid --- step back from the precipice and, at the very least, admit that you could be wrong in your present opinion about the topic. And, charitably (if truly Catholic!) permit other real Catholics to think as they wish of it.
As long as they’re truly Catholic, then what’s your problem with this?
What’s the burr in your saddle that bugs ya so much, eh?
Are you a busybody? Can’t you just live and let live?
Or must you go off the deep end and be a jerk?
Acting like you ‘know’ when you don’t?!?
That is very, very, very, very, very foolish.
Sorry if I’m stepping on your toes. Yet diplomacy and endless ‘nice talk’ does no good in this matter. Most people, calling themselves Catholic, go unhinged about the BOD vs. WO controversy. I’ve seen it for countless years. And I’m not putting up with it.
Nor should anyone else who is truly Roman Catholic. This is going to end.
And until it does, the Great Apostasy is not going to go away. Period!!!
It is THAT IMPERATIVE. A ‘little’ thing now become very, very, very HUGE.
Prepared to listen and take an extremely close look? I suggest you do. Either that, or BACK OFF. And humbly admit you have neither the knowledge nor the patience or curiosity to rightly opine in the matter. And if you would try to ‘turn the tables’ on tiny little me, as if I have no knowledge, patience & curiosity to have done what I counsel others to do --- who dare to call themselves Catholic --- then I quote my name’s sake:
“Would to God you could bear with some little of my folly: but do bear with me. For I am jealous of you with the jealousy of God. [I wish God would make you both capable & willing to put up with my ‘foolishness’, but, I beg you, please do so! Because I care about you immensely with the same concern that Our Creator has for you.]… But I fear lest, as the serpent seduced Eve by his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted, and fall from the simplicity that is in Christ [I am afraid that satan has, or will, fool you with his clever lies, causing you to lose a simple & correct comprehension of the Roman Catholic Religion Whole, Entire & Undefiled, filling you with his brainy yet mindless lies, converting you into witless & hate-filled automatons who do his hellish bidding]. For if he that cometh preacheth [comes and preaches to you] another Christ, whom we have not preached [that we, God’s Chosen Founders of the New Testament of Roman Catholicism, never taught you to believe with unbending servitude]; or another gospel which you have not received [another form of ‘christianity’ that we never taught you to begin with]; you might well bear with him [knowing your tendency toward simplistic & proud folly, you very likely will listen to that erroneous person… while you won’t spend a single second paying attention to what I have to say, in opposition to that foolish & dangerous person.]” (2 Corinthians 11:1-2a, 3-4, DRC.)
Which is why dear
“I say again, (let no man think me to be foolish,
otherwise take me as if one foolish, that I also may glory a little):
that which I speak, I speak not according to God, but as it were in foolishness,
in this matter of glorying. [Don’t
you dare think me ‘foolish’ to speak like this, you who
put up with fools leading you astray! These
misleading fools glorify themselves highly, causing you to put your
trust in them? Alright, then so do I. In doing so I’m not
going to sound like I’m speaking ‘wisely’ with the Wisdom of
God, but, as it were instead, as if I’m ‘foolish’ to talk
like I’m going to talk, as if I ‘glorify’ my own self in the
humanly superficial appearance of ‘pride’.] Seeing
that many glory according to
the flesh, I will glory also.
For you gladly suffer the
foolish; whereas you yourselves are wise.
For you suffer a man to bring you into bondage…
I speak according to dishonour, as if
we had been weak in this part. Wherein if any man dare (I speak foolishly), I dare also. They are Hebrews: so
am I. They are Israelites: so am I. They are the seed [descendants] of Abraham: so am
Think this isn’t what
Oh, goodness. You’re part of the crowd who doesn’t understand language!
And how it changes over the centuries and over the various countries & nations. Given enough time from an ‘old’ way of speaking, or a far ‘distant’ way of speaking elsewhere in this wide world, naïve human beings --- especially the traditionally religious sort of the ‘conservative’ kind --- presume that nobody would have said things like that. That would be too shocking! This is imbecilic. Words or phrases thought ‘crude’ can change over centuries, but the ability to be blunt and too-the-point, as if ‘harsh’, is timeless. I.e.:
The way we speak changes over time, and in different places. Get it? Once you comprehend what something means, in the original language, you can then safely translate those original words into another language, reliably telling others what the original writer had in mind. In this case, being part of Sacred Scripture, it both comes from the saintly & wise mind of the Apostle Paul, and from the Holy & Divine Mind of the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity. And guess what? Both saint and Holy Ghost dare to speak quite bluntly. Which is why I, an abject & abominable sinner, dare to speak in this matter likewise. For in infirmity, as says my name’s sake, God’s Power is manifest. (2 Corinthians 12:9) That is to say, God delights in using the worst of instruments.
Which is why we have the supposed ‘audacity’ to say the following blunt words:
You call yourself Roman Catholic? SO
Savvy? Think you got ‘bragging rights’? SO HAVE I. As much or more than you, dearest soul. And you’re ‘dearest’ since I care for you… though likely you hate me.
I care intensely about the truth and I care intensely about you, my beloved one.
Enough to be blunt and call a spade a spade. Enough to risk sounding ‘harsh’.
Neither BOD nor WO has yet, with infallible & explicit ruling, been finally defined or condemned. And yet, while a real Catholic can still hold to an orthodox version of BOD, this theological opinion now has many problems, problems that have now been revealed during the last century and a half. Indeed, it has become the Church’s Achilles’ Heel.
Which doesn’t make an orthodox BOD ‘wrong’. But it does send up a red flag.
I’m waving it as clearly as I can. And welcoming real & charitable Catholics.
+ + +
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