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Wednesday, 4 February 2015

In answer to a reader today....

Someone who has never desired baptism cannot be baptized if unconscious. If the person was studying to be baptized, then there was an indication of faith. All the sacraments must be received with and in faith.

It is magical thinking to suppose a person wants the Last Sacrament, without willing it. Remember the scene in Brideshead Revisited, 

 Then I knew that the sign I had asked for was not a little thing, not a passing nod of recognition, and a phrase came back to me from my childhood of the veil of the temple being rent from top to bottom,

where Lord Marchmain indicated he wanted to come back to the Church right before death.

This type of sign is necessary. From the CCC:

.1123 "The purpose of the sacraments is to sanctify men, to build up the Body of Christ and, finally, to give worship to God. Because they are signs they also instruct. They not only presuppose faith, but by words and objects they also nourish, strengthen, and express it. That is why they are called 'sacraments of faith.'

To think otherwise is to fall into magical thinking, and see my other posts on this.

Again, here is the CCC:Superstition is the deviation of religious feeling and of the practices this feeling imposes. It can even affect the worship we offer the true God, e.g., when one attributes an importance in some way magical to certain practices otherwise lawful or necessary. To attribute the efficacy of prayers or of sacramental signs to their mere external performance, apart from the interior dispositions that they demand, is to fall into superstition.

Of course, this refers to adult and those over the age of reason, not infants. See Canons in comments.