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Sunday, 6 May 2012

On Baptism again and again and again.....

OK, back to the necessity of Baptism. Today, a person in my parish noted that it was not necessary to get babies baptized who were seriously ill in the hospital, (are you ready for this?) because one could not have a baptismal party for the family. I cannot stress too much that Pelagianism is a heresy gaining popularity  here in England.

Pelagius supposedly said, and his ideas were condemned soundly at the Council of Carthage in 418, that humans could merit heaven and gain salvation without baptism. His emphasis was on human will power choosing good over evil and thus meriting heaven. My little friend in Ireland a few months ago insisted that she would go to heaven, "just by being good." It is not that simple. I hope she is baptized, as she wants to go to heaven. I hope she is a practicing Catholic.

Obviously, these ideas are contrary to the teachings of Christ and His Church. Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except any one be born of water and of Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. Douay Rheims. John 3:5. This is not the doctrine of Supertradmum but of Jesus Christ, True God and True Man.

Basically Pelagianism denies that the human soul is flawed and lost through Original Sin.  Pelagianism denies the efficacy of baptism, sanctifying grace, and the life of the infuse virtues.  Pelagianism denies the need for Christ to die for our sins on the Cross, the need for atonement. Here is a snippet from the online Catholic Encyclopedia.  Much of this will sound familiar to you, as it does me, as I here these ideas almost daily.

During his sojourn in Rome he composed several works: "De fide Trinitatis libri III", now lost, but extolled by Gennadius as "indispensable reading matter for students"; "Eclogarum ex divinis Scripturisliber unus", in the main collection of Bible passages based on Cyprian's "Testimoniorum libri III", of which St. Augustine has preserved a number of fragments; "Commentarii in epistolas S. Pauli", elaborated no doubt before the destruction of Rome by Alaric (410) and known to St. Augustine in 412. Zimmer (loc. cit.) deserves credit for having rediscovered in this commentary on St. Paul the original work of Pelagius, which had, in the course of time, been attributed to St. Jerome (P.L., XXX, 645-902). A closer examination of this work, so suddenly become famous, brought to light the fact that it contained the fundamental ideas which the Church afterwards condemned as "Pelagian heresy". In it Pelagius denied the primitive state in paradise and original sin (cf. P.L., XXX, 678, "Insaniunt, qui de Adam per traducem asserunt ad nos venire peccatum"), insisted on the naturalness ofconcupiscence and the death of the body, and ascribed the actual existence and universality of sin to the bad example which Adam set by his first sin. As all his ideas were chiefly rooted in the old, paganphilosophy, especially in the popular system of the Stoics, rather than in Christianity, he regarded themoral strength of man's will (liberum arbitrium), when steeled by asceticism, as sufficient in itself to desire and to attain the loftiest ideal of virtue. The value of Christ's redemption was, in his opinion, limited mainly to instruction (doctrina) and example (exemplum), which the Saviour threw into the balance as a counterweight against Adam's wicked example, so that nature retains the ability to conquer sin and to gain eternal life even without the aid of grace. By justification we are indeed cleansed of our personal sins through faith alone (loc. cit., 663, "per solam fidem justificat Deus impium convertendum"), but this pardon (gratia remissionis) implies no interior renovation of sanctification of the soul

I am not taking out the blue links, but these probably will not work unless you are on the website linked here.

I have come to the conclusion that the bad catechesis of forty years and the influence of the Anglican Church, which is heavily Pelagian, has affected Catholics. This must be stopped, as the stupidity of passing up a baptism for a baby who is critically ill and waiting until he is released from the hospital cannot be acceptable to any real Catholic. All this is connected to a need for an understanding of baptism....sound familiar? Read my post a few days ago and this past winter on the same subject.

We cannot deny Original Sin and the state of the soul without grace. Another heretic, Caelestius, believed that if one only followed the Ten Commandments, that was sufficient for salvation. Sorry, folks. Here are the eight ideas clarified n the condemnation of Pelagianism,  listed in the Catholic Encyclopedia. 
  1. Death did not come to Adam from a physical necessity, but through sin.
  2. New-born children must be baptized on account of original sin.
  3. Justifying grace not only avails for the forgiveness of past sins, but also gives assistance for the avoidance of future sins.
  4. The grace of Christ not only discloses the knowledge of God's commandments, but also imparts strength to will and execute them.
  5. Without God's grace it is not merely more difficult, but absolutely impossible to perform goodworks.
  6. Not out of humility, but in truth must we confess ourselves to be sinners.
  7. The saints refer the petition of the Our Father, "Forgive us our trespasses", not only to others, but also to themselves.
  8. The saints pronounce the same supplication not from mere humility, but from truthfulness.
  9. Some codices containing a ninth canon (Denzinger, loc. cit., note 3): Children dying without baptism do not go to a "middle place" (medius locus), since the non reception of baptism excludes both from the "kingdom of heaven" and from "eternal life".
The first eight are articles of our faith and we must believe these, in order to be in keeping with the Teaching Magisterium. According to this text, two pupils of Pelagius brought the heresy to England-Agricola and Fastidius. We are fighting this heresy still here.

People, it is only through Baptism, in the Passion and Resurrection of Christ, that we are saved. We must be baptized In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. 

If we withhold baptism from our children, it is child abuse of the worst kind-denying the children eternal life.

And, may I add a nice summary of St. Augustine's arguments against this heresy from R. Scott Clark at
  • Human nature was created blameless, without vitium. All sin and weakness is ex originali peccato. (13)
  • The threat of punishment upon the first disobedience entailed bodily & spiritual death. (14)
  • Adam's sin is transmitted from him to all humans through natural descent. (15)
  • The reason infants are baptized, is to wash away original sin. (16.
  • Just as sin is propagated (traducere) by natural descent, grace is infused .(17)
  • Romans 5.12 teaches that in quo all sinned. (A misreading of the Greek here as as a locative rather than a causal phrase?) In this he may have followed "Ambrosiaster." (18)
  • Original sin is to be distinguished from actual sin. Original sin is not just the first actual sin. It is corporate in nature. Therefore we are born to condemnation. We sin in actu because we are sinners, in Adam. (19)
  • After baptism, the guilt of original sin is removed, but concupiscentia (spark of sin, yearning of lower appetites) remains. (20)
  • The result of Adam's sin is that humanity is now massa damnitionis or massa peccatorum et impiorum corporately and individually. (21.
  • The result of original sin is spiritual and physical death. (22)
  • Therefore grace is, in the nature of the case, "free" and unmerited.
  • God justly condemns those who have not heard the gospel because all have sinned in Adam.