Showing posts with label Augustine--desire. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Augustine--desire. Show all posts

Monday, February 20, 2012

Baptism of Desire: Its Origin and Abandonment in the Thought of Saint Augustine

by Brian Kelly 

[editor: We at Catholic Vox thought that this is a very good article and wished to share it. We have edited it slightly to make it more readable for our readers. We changed no content and link to the original original link here , we hope it helps-- Bill Strom]

Perish the thought that a person predestined to eternal life could be allowed to end this life without the sacrament of the mediator. (Saint Augustine)

This article will focus on the question of explicit baptism of desire — as it was understood by most western doctors of the Church from the time of Saint Augustine (+430) until Saint Alphonsus Maria de Liguori (+1787), the last declared theological doctor who wrote in favor of its saving efficacy. The subject matter will deal specifically with the origin of the theological speculation, as given by Saint Augustine in one of his early doctrinal letters, and then move on to prove from authoritative testimony that the African doctor reversed his opinion in his later anti-Pelagian writing.


Go Ye, Preach the Gospel to Every Creature, and Baptize

Let us preface the following with an affirmation of the extreme importance of this issue in that the conversion of non-Christians to the Catholic Faith, in our day, is no longer considered a mission necessary for their salvation. The mandate of our Savior to “Go ye into the whole world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be condemned” (Mark 16:15-16), has been supplanted by a new gospel of salvation by sincerity through invincible ignorance. It is my intention to restore at least an appreciation for the zeal of the holy missionaries that went forth to convert the nations to Christ and to baptize the pagans and infidels who accepted the good news that is the gospel. These missionaries, whose exemplar since the sixteenth century is Saint Francis Xavier, were not distracted by any speculation about a baptism of desire. Xavier baptized three million pagans with his own hand. Biographers write that there were so many catechumens waiting to be baptized that assistants had to help him to lift his arm to perform the rite. Saint Francis Xavier never wrote a word about baptism of desire. Rather, he wrote these words from the Far East hoping to reach students aspiring for degrees: “How I would like to go to the universities of Paris and the Sorbonne and address many men who are richer in learning than in zeal, to let them know the great number of souls who, because of their neglect, are deprived of grace and are apt to go to hell. There are millions of nonbelievers who would become Christian if there were missionaries.” Was this missioner, considered the greatest after Saint Paul, misinformed?