Ratzinger Disparages Infant Baptism,
Questions Catholic Dogma
God and the World
(Ignatius Press, 2002)
"Gott und die Welt"
in Germany in 2000
What Ratzinger says:
"The question of what it means to say that baptism is necessary
for salvation has become ever more hotly debated in modern times. The
Second Vatican Council said on this point that men who are seeking for
God and who are inwardly striving toward that which constitutes baptism
will also receive salvation. That is to say that a seeking after God
already represents an inward participation in baptism, in the Church,
To that extent, the question concerning the necessity
of baptism for salvation seems to have been answered, but the question
about children who could not be baptized because they were aborted then
presses upon us that much more urgently.
Earlier ages had devised a teaching that seems to
me rather unenlightened. They said that baptism endows us, by means
of sanctifying grace, with the capacity to gaze upon God. Now, certainly,
the state of original sin, from which we are freed by baptism, consists
in a lack of sanctifying grace. Children who die in this way are indeed
without any personal sin, so they cannot be sent to hell, but, on the
other hand, they lack sanctifying grace and thus the potential for beholding
God that this bestows. They will simply enjoy a state of natural blessedness,
in which they will be happy. This state people called limbo.
In the course of our century, that has gradually come
to seem problematic to us. This was one way in which people sought to
justify the necessity of baptizing infants as early as possible, but
the solution is itself questionable. Finally, the Pope [John Paul II]
made a decisive turn in the  encyclical Evangelium Vitae,
a change already anticipated by the  Catechism of the Catholic
Church, when he expressed the simple hope that God is powerful enough
to draw to himself all those who were unable to receive the sacrament."
--Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, God and the World,
view scanned copies of these two pages of this book, please click: Page
What does the Holy Catholic Church teach on the Necessity of Baptism,
specifically Infant Baptism, and the Fate of those who die in Original
Pope Innocent III (1206):
"The punishment of original sin is deprivation of the vision of
Council of Florence (1438-1445):
"...the souls of those who depart in actual mortal sin or in original
sin only, descend immediately into hell but to undergo punishments of
different kinds." (Denzinger 693)
Council of Trent (1545-1563):
"If anyone denies that infants newly born from their mothers' wombs,
are to be baptized, even though they be born of baptized parents, or
says that they are baptized indeed for the remission of sins, but that
they derive nothing of original sin from Adam, which must be expiated
by the laver of regeneration for the attainment of life everlasting,
whence it follows, that in them the form of baptism for the remission
of sins is understood to be not true, but false: let him be anathema.
For what the Apostle has said: 'By one man sin entered into the world,
and by sin death, and so death passed upon all men, in whom all have
sinned' [Romans 5:12], is not to be understood otherwise than as the
Catholic Church spread everywhere has always understood it." (Denzinger
"Regarding children, indeed, because of danger of death, which
can often take place, when no help can be brought to them by another
remedy than through the sacrament of baptism, through which they are
snatched from the domination of the Devil and adopted among the sons
of God, it advises that holy baptism ought not be deferred for forty
or eighty days, or any time according to the observance of certain people
"If anyone shall say that baptism is optional, that is, not necessary
for salvation: let him be anathema." (Denzinger 861)
Catechism of the Council of Trent, a.k.a "Roman Catechism"
"Since infant children have no other means of salvation except
Baptism, we may easily understand how griveously those persons sin who
permit them to remain without the grace of the Sacrament longer than
necessity may require...."
Code of Canon Law (1917), Canon 737 §1:
"Baptism, the gateway and foundation of the Sacraments, actually
or at least in desire is necessary for all for salvation...."
Protocol Letter Suprema Haec Sacra (122/49) from the Holy
"But it must not be thought that any kind of desire of entering
the Church suffices that one may be saved. It is necessary that the
desire by which one is related to the Church be animated by perfect
charity. Nor can an implicit desire produce its effect, unless a person
has supernatural faith...."
is this important?
Because Pope Paul IV declared: "If ever at any time it shall
appear that any Bishop . . . or any Cardinal of the . . . Roman Church,
. . . or even the Roman Pontiff, prior to his promotion or his elevation
as Cardinal or Roman Pontiff, has deviated from the Catholic Faith or
fallen into some heresy: (i) the promotion or elevation, even if it
shall have been uncontested and by the unanimous assent of all the Cardinals,
shall be null, void and worthless..." (Apostolic Constitution Cum
Ex Apostolatus Officio, March 15, 1559 )
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