Showing posts with label apologetics- Sacramental Seal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label apologetics- Sacramental Seal. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Sacrament of Baptism vs Penance: Precept and Means

       A point of  distinction  must be made between the necessity of Baptism and the necessity of the Sacrament of Penance, for our salvation. Baptism is wholly necessary, and the Sacrament of Penance is only provisionally necessary. Confession of one's sins is necessary but not a necessity of means, for salvation. It is necessary by the necessity of precept BUT  Baptism is necessary by the necessity of means and precept, together.

If you do not receive Baptism of Water, you cannot be saved, whether you were "guilty" or not "guilty"
for not having received it. If it was not your "fault" that you did not receive it, then you can't go to Heaven. You are lacking something required for Heaven. You did not add your own positive rejection of the requirement so as to give you a positive deficiency. Yours is a permanent lack of something required for eternal salvation. This may seem cruel but one's way of life of sin formed barrier to receiving the grace to seek your salvation, so indirectly one has rejected it.. For Jesus says all that seek find and all that knock it is opened to them.

With regard to the Sacrament of Penance, a man in the state of mortal sin is required to confess that mortal sin. If he should make a perfect act of love in the meantime, that mortal sin is forgiven, but the confessing of it is still required.

If a man should commit a mortal sin, and then elicit a perfect act of love of God, which included the intention to confess his sin, and then later went to Confession and refused to confess the sin he had been forgiven because of the act of perfect love, he would never get that sin back again. But he would get a new sin for failing to confess the old one, and that would be a new mortal sin. And that mortal sin would send him to Hell, if he died in that state.

If a man in the state of mortal sin made a perfect act of love of God, and intended to confess his mortal sin, but died before the priest reached him, he would have died before he received a sacrament which was necessary by precept, but not a sacrament which was necessary by the necessity of both precept and means. Penance is not of its essence a salvational sacrament. It is a sacrament of justification, or rather, of re-justification for those who are baptized. Baptism is the sacrament of justification and salvation in one sheer act where both these needs exist, and of salvation alone, if justification has preceded it.

What is necessity of means in a sacramental requirement? Necessity of means means, if you have not got the requirement, whether you are to blame or whether you are not to blame, you are missing something necessary. If you are not to blame, it is just sad. And if you are to blame, so much the worse!


Monday, April 2, 2012

The Sacramental Seal of Baptism:The Baptismal Watermark

[editor: here is an article from a few years back explaining the sacramental seal. Some Church Fathers called it "the seal of salvation". Understanding the seal (or sacramental "mark") is important to understand the doctrinal position of EENSers, Church Fathers or doctors of the Church considered  no one a member of the Church without it. This is the real crux of the debate: The seal can only be gotten by the Sacrament. Even Ott who defended BOD said the BOD couldn't make one a member of the Church because there is NO SEAL given by BOD or BOB. This is where we think the Church needs to focus on explaining the Seal of Baptism and how it works.

Dr. Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, Membership in the Church, p. 309:

“3. Among the members of the Church are not to be counted: a) The unbaptized… The so-called blood Baptism and the Baptism of desire, it is true, replace Baptism by water (sic) in so far as the communication of grace is concerned, BUT DO NOT EFFECT INCORPORATION INTO THE CHURCH… Catechumens are not to be counted among the members of the Church… The Church claims no jurisdiction over them (D 895).  The Fathers draw a sharp line of separation between Catechumens and ‘the faithful.’”
[Dr. Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, p. 309]





Why do we say that God requires more than just a desire? Why does He insist on Baptism with water? Why is such a common, superabundant substance like water so important in His designs?
We have seen that the principal difference between the Sacrament of Baptism (water) on the one hand, and the two theories (desire or blood) on the other, is the fact that only by the sacrament is the character impressed on the soul. The character, then, must carry with it a special importance and degree of necessity. It is too wonderful a spiritual reality to be arbitrary. Were it not necessary, Christ certainly would have qualified His statement to Nicodemus by naming the only allowable exceptions to Baptism by water. But He named no exceptions, so it behooves us to take a deeper look at this "watermark" on the soul called character.
From the Catholic Encyclopedia:


Character (Greek, engraving instrument), the mark or trait by which the personality of one person is distinguished from that of another. The word is used to express the spiritual and indelible sign imprinted on the soul by the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders.
The Sacramental Character marks the soul . . . as distinct from those who have it not; as obliged to perform certain duties; as conformed to the image of God; as disposed for God’s grace.
Baptism marks the soul as a subject of Christ and His Church; Confirmation, as a warrior of the Church Militant; Holy Orders, as a minister of its Divine worship.

In Volume I of The Sacraments by Pohle-Preuss, first published in 1915, the author, Monsignor Joseph Pohle, elaborates on these four functions of the sacramental character — to distinguish, to oblige, to conform, to dispose. We will take from his text those comments which pertain only to the baptismal character.
Since God does nothing without a purpose, we must first ask: Why did He institute the baptismal character? Monsignor Pohle answers: