Reconquest Episode 109: Catholic Considerations on ‘Baptism of Desire’

Written by on 01/10/2018


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Mandeville, LA – Episode 109 debuts on January 10, at 8:00 PM Eastern. Rebroadcasts will take place according to the Crusade Channel programming schedule (note: all times listed are Central time). My topic is Catholic Considerations on ‘Baptism of Desire.’

The Baptism of Christ, by Andrea del Verrocchio [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons. Image, top: the same theme, by Pietro Perugino (public domain).

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  • Tobias T says:

    Hello, Bro. Andre Marie,

    Thank you for much for this presentation. I have an objection to one of your points. I’m not sure how strong the objection is.

    You mention that it’s strange that someone with baptism of desire only should be excluded from the Eucharist, but they are allowed to enter the Beatific Vision.

    Is there an analogy to the Sacrament of Penance? I don’t think there’s any dispute that a Catholic who has fallen into mortal sin, if he die in a state of true repentance but without having an opportunity to receive the Sacrament of Penance, nevertheless is saved in this state. Likely they’ll go to Purgatory.

    In this scenario, the penitent 1.) is saved at death despite 2.) not being eligible to receive the Eucharist in their current state. If they die repentant but not yet confessed, they go to Heaven. If they attend Mass while repentant but not yet confessed, they may not receive Holy Communion in this state.

    Does this analogy hold? I *think* that the Council of Trent proposed an analogy in some respects between Baptism’s role in first justification and Penance’s subsequent role in the re-justification of wicked Catholics.

    That said, I don’t know that Trent defined the limits of the analogy. Additionally, I think that analogy might not be as strong as it seems. I think that even proponents of baptism of desire regard Baptism as necessary by a necessity of means, whereas Penance is necessary by a necessity of precept.

    Past that, and I mean this, no one knows whether any repentant-but-as-yet-unconfessed Catholic who finds himself in articulo mortis has ever died without benefit of the Sacrament of Penance. In the 20th century, we learned that St. Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio) apparently bilocated and levitated in miraculous ways that show precisely how little God is restrained by physical laws: not at all. How many deathbed confessions did he hear on WWII beachheads, in gulags, in seemingly impregnable fortresses of unbelief? No one knows. We’ll find out at the Last Judgment.

    Hmm. What do you think?

    Thank you and God bless,

    • Brother Andre Marie says:

      It’s true that someone who has made a perfect act of contrition cannot receive Holy Communion without first confessing. (Exceptions for this have, believe it or not, been made for Religious Sisters in the past. I don’t think that is still permitted.)

      Setting aside that exception, such persons are are, strictly speaking, worthy to receive, but are prevented by the Church’s sacramental discipline from doing so.

      However, the unbaptized person is not worthy to receive because he is missing a requirement for the worthy reception of the sacrament.

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