The Catechism of the Council of Trent teaches that the law requiring baptism extends not only to adults but also to infants and children. Furthermore, the Council of Trent teaches that the Church has received this from Apostolic tradition and that it is confirmed by the unanimous teaching and authority of the Fathers.
Those Catholics, then, who have abandoned the Church and have embraced the man-made doctrines of the Baptists deprive their children of salvation. Heresy always leads to the most beastly, inhumane conclusions. Who can resist the sentiment of indignation at the thought of parents withholding the saving Sacrament of Baptism from their infants and children under some specious pretext invented by Satan and taught to fallen away Catholics?
Is it any wonder, then, that Satan reaps huge harvests of souls for his hellish kingdom from among the youngest? What must be said of all those millions of infants murdered in their mothers' wombs who are torn apart by callous butchers unworthy of the name `doctor'!
There are those who, moved perhaps by a good sentiment but based on bad theology, would console themselves with the thought that these murdered infants are baptized in their own blood.
Such a theory is utterly untenable because, these infants are not murdered out of hatred for Christ as were the Holy Innocents who were slaughtered by Herod in order to eliminate the prophesied Messiah.
That infants need Baptism as well as adults is proven from Holy Scripture. It is not to be supposed that Christ the Lord would have withheld the Sacrament and grace of Baptism from children of whom He said: "Suffer the little children, and forbid them not to come to me; for the kingdom of heaven is for such;" (Matt.19, 14). Jesus embraced them; He imposed His hands upon them; He blessed them.
Besides this, we read that an entire family was baptized by Paul. It is obvious enough that the children of the family must also have been baptized and cleansed at the saving font of Baptism.
Circumcision, the Catholic Catechism of Trent teaches, was a figure of Baptism. This affords a strong argument in proof of the practice of baptizing infants and children. That children were circumcised on the eighth day is universally known. If then circumcision made by hand, in despoiling of the body of the flesh (Col.2,11) was profitable to children, sit is clear that Baptism which is the circumcision of Christ, not made by hand, is also profitable to them.
The Apostle, St. Paul, teaches: "If by one man's offense death reigned through one, much more they who receive abundance of grace, and of the gift, and of justice, shall reign in life through one, Jesus Christ." (Rom. 5, 17) If through the transgression of Adam, children inherit original sin, with still stronger reason can they attain through Christ our Lord grace and justice that they may reign in life. This cannot be effected unless one is Baptized.
Those charged with the care of souls should inculcate the absolute necessity of administering Baptism to infants, and of gradually forming their tender minds to piety by education in the Catholic religion. According to the Book of Proverbs: "Train a boy in the way he should go; even when he is old, he will not swerve from it." (Prov. 22, 6).
Infants Receive the Grace of Baptism.
It would be a sin against the faith to doubt that in Baptism infants receive the mysterious gift of faith. It is not that they believe with the assent of the mind, but they are established in the faith of their parents, if the parents profess the true faith. If not _ using the words of St.Augustine - then in that of the universal society of the saints; for they are rightly said to be presented for Baptism by all those to whom their initiation in that sacred rite is a source of joy, and by whose charity they are united to the communion of the Holy Ghost. This is the teaching of the Church.
Baptism of Infants Should Not Be Delayed.
In our day, far too many parents wait for an unreasonably long time to have their infants baptized. Often, using some flimsy pretext of weather _ as if they had to walk for miles in snow or cold _ they dangerously postpone the Baptism of an infant.
The Church's concern for the salvation of the infants prompts this urgent exhortation. Infant children have no other means of salvation except Baptism. Parents, therefore, who postpone Baptism beyond reason are guilty of grievous sin.
Baptism of Adults.
Those who are of an adult age and enjoy the perfect use of reason, persons, namely, born of infidel parents are subject to a different discipline. Following the primitive Church's practice, the Christian faith is proposed to them; and they are earnestly exhorted, persuaded and invited to embrace it.
The abuse so commonly practiced in the Apostate Church is very dangerous. In many places, there is no longer a pre-Baptismal preparation whereby the catecheumen is instructed in the essentials of the faith. For example, one Bishop in Korea urged the clergy to baptize anyone who wished to be baptized without any prior instruction. One man was baptized simply on the grounds that he had been friends with a missionary!
Such abuses are certainly lamentable because as St. Paul has said: "How then are they to call upon him in whom they have not believed? But how are they to believe him whom they have not heard? And how are they to hear, if no one preaches? And how are men to preach unless they be sent?" (Rom. 10, 15).
Truly, what is the content of the dogmatic faith of those who have not been instructed in the basics of the Christian religion?
On the other hand, Baptism should not be unduly delayed. The longer Baptism is deferred, the longer the use and graces of other Sacraments is denied. Since our Christian life is nourished with the Sacraments, the longer they are kept from us, the more spiritually deprived we remain. To unduly delay the Baptism of adults, then, is to deprive them of the abundant fruits of the Sacrament itself, and to keep them in a state of sin.
Dispositions for Baptism.
It is here that the third essential element for valid Baptism is encountered: the internal intention.
The Catholic Catechism of the Council of Trent instructs the clergy to see to it that the faithful are instructed in the necessary dispositions for Baptism. The first necessary disposition is the desire and intention to receive the Sacrament. Since by Baptism we die to sin and resolve to live a new life, it is only fitting that it be administered to those only who receive it of their own free will and accord. No one is to be forced to receive it.
From this comes the Church's practice of asking of each individual prior to being baptized if he is willing to receive it. The internal intention is necessary for the validity of the Sacrament and no simple external intention suffices.
By `external intention' is understood the visible reception of the Sacrament which does not necessarily express what is in the mind and will of the recipient. Those are in error who hold that the internal intention is presumed to be present from the simple external motions of receiving the Sacrament.
There are too many cases where unscrupulous individuals have used the Sacraments for evil purposes and never had the internal intention of receiving the Sacrament. This is not only true in the case of Baptism, it is likewise true for the other Sacraments. The mere submission to external rites when the mind and will are not united to the purpose of the Sacrament are more frequent than people think.
It is safe to say that over a period of years, the faithful have not been duly instructed by the clergy to the point that in many, many cases the Sacrament of Baptism has not been validly received. True, these people went through the external ceremonies; but, lacking sufficient internal intention, they have received nothing more than an external rite. This would explain quite well the mysterious lack of supernatural faith in so many who have embraced the apostate doctrines of the Modernist-controlled Church.
Faith is also necessary in order to receive the grace of the Sacrament. Our Lord has said: "He that believes and is baptized shall be saved."
Since only the true faith can obtain the grace of the Sacraments, it follows of necessity that the true faith is necessary for the fruitful reception of the Sacrament of Baptism.
This is the reason why the Church teaches that although a Sacrament may be validly received in heretical sects, the fruit of the Sacrament is not received. The fruit of the Sacrament is precisely the supernatural grace attached to the Sacrament.
Repentance is another necessary condition for the reception of Baptism. Repentance is sorrow for past sins and a fixed determination to avoid all sin in the future. Anyone who desires Baptism and is unwilling to correct the habit of sinning, should altogether be rejected. Nothing is so opposed to the grace and power of Baptism as the intention and purpose of those who resolve never to abandon sin.
In view of the fact that Baptism should be sought for the purpose of putting on Christ and of being united to Him, it is manifest that anyone who proposes to continue in a life of sin should be refused the Sacrament.
The reason for this is that none of those things which belong to Christ and His Church are to be received in vain. And since we well know that as far as sanctifying and saving grace are concerned, Baptism received with such contrary intentions is received in vain by him who proposes to live according to the flesh, and not according to the spirit, such should not be allowed to receive the Sacrament.
If the person who is rightly baptized intends to receive what the Church administers, as far as the Sacrament is concerned, he receives the Sacrament validly without the least doubt.
Some Considerations for Modern Times.
Because of the rampant and visible signs of Satanism all around us and in every land, we are entitled to seek the cause for this destructive attack upon social and personal morality. The devils are very active today because fewer and fewer people receive the antidote to demonism: The supernatural grace flowing from valid and fruitful Sacraments.
We are well aware that within the ranks of those who claim to profess the Catholic faith, there are those, laymen and clergy, who mock the fact of diabolical possession.
The very first line of battle between the powers of darkness and the light of Christ is at the Baptismal font. It is the neglect of Baptism that lets Satan rule!
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