APOLOGETICS
Copyrightę 2000 by "morphogenesis"



Why Get Baptized? Baptism vs. Mark of the Beast (12/12/99)



You know, most of people in the "New Age", E-Age (electronic age) around the world are probably mostly worried about bank accounts, SS pension plans, etc. nowadays that the dawn of the New Millenium is upon us. Surely, I have my concerns on those regard but remember, there are many people around the world who are not into these - no computer, no money, no bank accounts, in remote provinces and rural towns which have not been "infected" by this Y2K bug.

So, do they really not have anything to worry about?

Last weekend, I made it a point to watch the remaining 2 movies that are "Church-related". O yes, 2 in a row, my niece and I went from one movie house to the next (with just 15 minutes apart) and we made it - we watched: "End of Days" and "Dogma". Before that, we watched, "The Messenger". I don't really know why this year, there has been proliferation of "Church-related" movies, ie. Stigmata, etc.

Although, of course, most of these movies are far-out from the Truth and are there to just mock the Catholic Church and God's Truth, they have one other thing in common: they do not convey or focus so much on "E-Age". They convey mostly about religious life vs. evil life, common people experiencing a spiritual manifestation in their life, ie. stigmata, messages from heaven that causes historical outcomes, ie. St. Joan of Arc in "The Messenger", etc.

These shows us that indeed, there is more to this modern "E-Age" life than just the "physical".

Now let me introduce you to a different matter that recently came up for discussion with one of my colleagues at work. We talked "chip talks" and I mean about digital chips, as related to semiconductor business. He posted a report which states that digital chips are not just in computers. They are actually all over us now, in household appliances, automotives, etc. As a matter of fact, majority are not just in computers but in these everyday devices, and so they are called "embedded" chips.

I asked him if he has heard about digital chip introduced to the human body as "identification". I told him that some herds/cattles have their animals implanted with such ID chip for inventory. He said, he has a friend whose pet has such chip implanted inside its body such that by simply scanning the pet, it can be uniquely identified.

I further asked him if he knows anything about a chip being introduced in the body intravenously. It is ultra-VLSI (very large scale integration) and microscopic and so, it can be put in the body simply with a shot or injection. I told him I do not want such "ID-chip" be used for human identification.

My issues about it is one, it would make humans like any commodity that you scan on check-out lines, etc. thus, demoralizing. The other real and main issue is more on its religious connotation as others argued before THIS chip inside the body IS the "mark of the beast" we've been warned about in Scripture, ie. "they received the mark of the beast on their forehead and right hand."

I told him I've argued against such implication in order to defend the goodness of technology and because I believe "forehead and hand" matters are about "mind and works" abstract things which is nothing to do with any "physical marks", ie. digital chip in the body.

The Scripture verse for debate is:
Revelation 13:15-17 = "...It foced all the people, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to be given a stamped image on their right hands or their foreheads, so that no one could buy or sell except one who had the stamped image of the beast's name or the number that stood for its name."
Folks, there's no doubt, that's the "mark of the beast" being talked about there. The only issue is, "how/what" exactly is this mark of the beast on the forehead and hand.

And take note of the English translation preposition used: "on" and not "in".

So, to further refute what others said about the "chip implant, embedded or injected" to be the "mark of the beast" well, Scripture says "on" not "in". Since the hi-tech ID-chip would be "in" the body, then that's not necessarily the "mark of the beast".

However, take note of the phrase "so that no one could buy or sell except one who had the stamped image of the beast's name..."

Okey, are credit cards we own, which are used to identify us and which we use to buy and sell as well, considered THE "mark of the beast"?

I have several credit cards, so should I start throwing them away? Afterall, I can do without them and proceed with life normally.

Anyway, I really haven't the foggiest how the "mark of the beast" can be a "physical" mark, especially if people are receiving it unless they are one of those ID chips or credit cards, or whatnot.

So I go back to my argument - that "on forehead and right hand" are "mind and works" abstract things we accept.

Whenever we think evil thoughts or do evil works, then we are getting into the "mark of the beast" business. And by that, we will be judged unless...

We eradicate such "mark of the beast" if ever we get it by...

receiving the sacraments, especifically those which gives us and reinforces in us the "Mark of God".

Revelation 14:1-5 -
"Then I looked and there was the Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with him a hundred and forty-four thousand who had His Name and His Father's Name written on their foreheads...These are they who were not defiled with women; they are virgins and these are the one who follow the Lamb wherever He goes...On their lips no deceit has been found; they are unblemished."
Folks, notices how "His (Lamb) Name and His Father's Name" is mentioned to be marked on their _foreheads_?

Remember our Baptism?



In our Baptism, the priest pours water on head uttering the Trinitarian formula "I baptize you in the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."

We are therefore marked with the INDELIBLE "Mark of God" at our Baptism.

No Baptism. No "Mark of God".

Baptism cleanses us and makes us "unblemished" and pure.

This is what we have to counter the despicable "mark of the beast".

The "Mark of God" is forever/eternal that's why we are not supposed to "repeat" Baptism. Once done, the "Mark of God" ON OUR FOREHEAD is forever.

Other sacraments that further enriches the "Mark of God" in us and upon us and at such, they are NOT repeatable: Confirmation (more on our forehead) and Holy Orders/Ordination of priests (priest's hands are marked with God's Mark).

These sacraments provide us indelible and perpetual Mark of God.

Surely, if we take the "mark of the beast" as falling into sin, we can easily eradicate it by receiving God's mercy and graces from the other "supplementary" sacraments which "removes" such and such "mark of the beast", ie. Penance/Reconcilation, Anointing of the Sick. Even marriage gives the couple blessings and purifies them too.

But no matter what, there is necessity for you and your children to be Baptized upfront! This gives us the "Mark of God" (ie. those who receive His Name and His Father's Name on ther foreheads...) and so we became "unblemished followers of Christ". And so, once baptized, we become part of His Mystical Body, following Him, obeying His will, a devout member of His Church.

This makes us have a "preventive" edge against the mark of the beast because once we have the "Mark of God" on our forehead, we become obedient members of His Church, following His will, and less and less attachment to falling prey into temptations or leanings towards the beast business. We are thus, prevented from getting the mark of the beast.

Please take note that our "original sin", from our ancestors, Adam and Eve, is a "beastly mark" considering they fell for the serpeants (the beast) temptation then.

That's why we need Baptism to remove such "mark of the beast" and in its place be given the Mark of God.

So please, if you have friends and love ones who have not been properly baptized, especially their babies, it is best to receive it in order to right away have the "Mark of God", permanently, and to remove any "mark of the beast" from us which we inherited from our ancestors (original sin) and with God's Name on our foreheads, we can be faith followers to Jesus as members of His Mystical Body, the Church.

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Born free!...Stay free???(8/22/99)



Um, folks, please don't mistake the last part of the title to be anything to do with the famous brand of you-know-what-girls.

It's again taken from the lyrics of one of "Blue Eyes'" (Frank Sinatra) song of which I don't even know the title. Is it "Born Free", really?

I've quoted to you last time part of the lyrics from his "My Way". Not sure why I've been caught up with his songs.

Ah - probably because my father (and my sister) used to play them at home.

And during religion classes in high school back in the Philippines, when the nun-teacher gave us time for "reflections" for moral lessons at hand, they would play such songs to us, ie:
"Born free...as free as the wind blows...as free as the grass grows.... "Stay free...for no one to guide you(?)...as free as the star(?)...where there's no need to hide(?)"

Pardon my groping in the latter quote because I really am not familiar with the lyrics except "Born free..." and "stay free..." because I even remember us girls giggling over "stay free..." in the class. Heh-heh. (Of course we were shallow then ;). Well, perhaps we're just innocent and pure 0:) 0:))

Well, to all of us Baptized (in the Holy Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen), we are indeed "(re)born FREE". We've been freed from the bondage of original sin, from satan's corruption, and brought back to the heavenly fold in God's family. Thanks to the sacrament given to us by our Lord when he told off the Apostles, "baptize them all in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit")

O but the catch in this discussion now is do we "Stay free?"

Unfortunately, some don't. Even more unfortunate is, some think they actually "stay free" - when they lapse away from the God's hold upon us through the Catholic Church.

Have you heard someone you know say,
"You know, I don't want to go to Mass anymore because I really don't have to...I can go to church whenever I want, when I have time...when I _feel_ like it... but if I don't feel like it, why should I go?...."

Or something like:
"O how about if just bara-bara (anything goes) do some christening a child, at _our_ own way? No, not in the "Holy Name of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit..." just _our_ way. Or better still, let's just do without baptism all together. Just _think_ this will happen to this child and so that should do it..."

No real solemnity, no real grace, no real sign and sacrament occurs then - no "Father, Son and Holy Spirit" descending upon the child; no real "Mark of God" is bestowed upon the child being "christened(?)"

In the first place, that was not Christ's instruction!!! Christ's instruction was the sacrament of Baptism with Spirit and Water in the Holy Name of God, the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

Okey, so they think they have freed themselves up by not properly following instructions? They think they are _freer_ by not obliging themselves to "Honor your God on Sabbath Day" and such holy days of obligation?

Have they really "stayed free" that way?

Bara-bara, anything goes, I do what I want, regardless of what God or His Church wants.

That's not really staying free.

That's leading the way to "corruption" - back in the "old ways" of satan.

Remember the very first "obligation" that God bestowed upon the first man and woman? - "thou shalt not eat the fruits from the tree of knowledge of good and bad and the tree of life".

O and remember what the serpeat monster satan told off the man and woman to tempt them - something in the line of, "of course you can do whatever you want, even better if you eat from those fruit trees..."

See what happened then?

See what's happening now to those people who have lapsed away from the Catholic Church, the Way and Will of God?

Bara-bara, do it _my way_ not Gods or His Church's.

Same familiar line of thinking as in the Garden of Eden.

And they think that is "staying free".

Not!

It's going back to the "bondage" of satan's temptations.

You see, the more you keep away from God's Church, the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ, the more you give a chance to satan to grab at you.

Remember afterall what Jesus told St. Peter (first pope), "You are Peter...upon this rock I'll build My _Church_... and I'll give you the _key_ to My kingdom...so the _gates of hell will never prevail_..."

That's right - the gates of hell will not prevail in you (you will STAY FREE) in/with the Church.

But you lapse away from the Church which teaches us the Truth, the Way and the Life of God, then you let the gates of hell prevail in you!

Bottom line folks, True Freedom is NOT, "I'll go to church whenever I feel like it." or "Let's just get married in the drive-thrus in Las Vegas." or "Huuu...we don't need water or we don't need the Trinitarian formula for baptism - let's do out _our way_" (and to think even Jesus Christ Himself was baptized in water to demonstrate right there and then to all of us we _need_ water for the sacrament and then the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit will descend upon us).

"True Freedom" and "Staying Free" is to be _with_ the Catholic Church, _with_ the Mystical Body of Christ, His Whole Body in harmonious accord, doing God's Will and Way, in "Common-Union" (remember the reason for Holy Communion. And so we become "One Body, One Faith, One Bread, One Life..." in full accord, in Jesus Christ.

That's True Freedom and that's what "Staying Free" is all about.

So we were "Born Free" in our Baptism in water and in the Holy Name of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Thus, we've become part of Christ, His Body, His Church.

Are you "Staying Free"? keeping within His Body, His Church? (where the gates of hell will never prevail - thus True Freedom from satan).

Is the hype, "Too many things to learn, to do, to follow... I can't do it...really, I don't want to do it." "Those are just man-made and so I'll not follow." "I'll do it my way instead...which is _never_ doing it."

To continue a bit of what I discussed last time about "staying free" -

A lot of lapsed-away Catholic or just plain Protestants accuse the Church of "making things up".

Tell you who's really making things up or doing man-made things.

Take for example "Baptism" vs. "Christening".

What did Jesus original direct His Apostles on how to garner more members to the Church?

"Baptize them all in the Name of God, the Father, God, the Son, and God, the Holy Spirit."

And how was Jesus baptized? With water and right there and then the heaven above opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him as a dove and God, the Father was heard.

Right there and then, the Holy Trinity before them, "Father, Son and Holy Spirit".

No, not just Jesus. It's all of the Godhead, the Triune God, 3 Persons in 1, Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

But, then you will notice those so-called "born again Christians" they only say Jesus, but they set aside "God, the Father" and "God, the Holy Spirit".

And when "christening" a baby, it is not real and valid and sacramental baptism because it is not at all what Jesus directed to do.

That is what is man-made - that which does NOT follow Jesus' directive.

And that's really "born-free"?

Nope. I tell you, the poor child is not even baptized much more not a member of the Church of God.

Why delay?

Pride. Disobedience from the Church and God Himself. Even refusal to hear the Truth from God.

Inasmuch as they want to do bashing of the Catholic Church saying Church stuff are man-made, _they_ are the ones disobeying the will of God, of Jesus, by delaying and disobeying His will and directives!

I can only pray hard for the affected child because as far as time goes, time is wasted since there is NO protecting the child from satan's snares and corruption since he/she is not yet "within" or "part" of the Church (where the gates of hell shall not prevail).

Not freed from bondage of sin, from original sin. Not exorcised from evil and not really seen the "light" (ie. candle at real baptism). Not given the Personhood and Priesthood of Jesus (ie. white garment at real baptism).

Let's pray for those who are misled to lapse away from Church and so they also lapse away from the Way, Will and Life of Christ as such important and divine matters are set aside for later, or worst, never.

Let's all be thankful to our parents for having us Baptized in the Holy Name of God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Exorcised of evil and bondage of sin. Claimed back to the heavenly fold and become really part of God, through His Church, the Mystical Body of Christ.

Next take for example, "Penance" vs. "self-forgiveness".

Right after Jesus died and resurrected from the dead, He re-appeared to the Apostles (bishop/priests) giving them further instructions, "He breathe to them and greeted them, 'peace be with you...whatever sin you forgive will be forgiven...whatever sin you retain will be retained."

People, Jesus told that to Apostles (bishops/priests) and not just to lay/laity people.

That's why we go through the priest to be absolved of our sins.

Per Jesus' instruction again!!!

Not man-made.

O but watch how others would make excuses not to go to confession - either Protestant-influenced as they are, they would rationalize, "why do I have to go through sombody, ie. priest, when I can go directly to God?"

Of course you can but you _may not_ because that is not how you will really receive the ACTUAL GRACE of absolution from sin.

Only priests have been given such "power" as Christ breathe to them and said, "whatever sins you forgive will be forgiven, whatever sins you retain will be retained."

Through the Apostles!

Through our bishops and priests!

And you say man-made.

Not!

Direct from Jesus Christ Himself in accordance to the will, way, truth and life of God.

Divine Providence.

So please folks, don't be deluded by "misinstructions" or bashings of the Church by others.

Keep with the Catholic Church and indeed you are definitely receiving divine grace and gifts. No doubt. Plus, you are definitely "staying free" for the gates of hell shall never prevail _in_ the Church.

And folks, let's not forget about the Papacy as well:
Jesus said to Peter, the first pope, when he said, "You are the Messiah, son of the living God." Jesus told him, "Neither flesh or bones told you this but the Father in heaven told you this.... You are Peter and upon this rock I will build My Church. And the gates of hell will not prevail. And I will give you the keys to My Kingdom. Whatever you bind on earth will be binded in heaven. Whatever you unbind on earth will be unbinded in heaven."

See how "powerful" that is?

Imagine the pope having the power to bind and unbind and _both_ earth and heaven would listen to the pope!

Per Jesus' instruction!!!

Not man-made!

Thus, there is much needed respect and obedience as well to our dear popes as they are only caring for all of us, what is best for us in the Church!

That's how _BIG_ their responsibility is. Not just responsibility over the Church on earth but in heaven as well!!! Even angels and saints in heaven are binded by the pope. Earth and Heaven combined.

That's why whenever a pope gets elected, it is almost fearful even as some of them would exclaim, "why me?"

So, let's not make it any harder for our pope, bishop, archbishop, priests and deacons and nuns.

They are just doing their responsibilities as "servants of God" themselves!

Serving God as well as all of us.

So keep within the Church, together with our pope, bishops, priests and nuns and so we remain "free" indeed and the gates of hell shall never prevail in us because we would always be living life according to God's Way, Will and Life.

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Jesus said, "Baptized them..."(4/22/00)



Matthew 28:18-20
"Then Jesus approached and said to them, 'All power in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.'"


The Church wonderfully elaborates and explains this great sacrament in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC):

CCC 1213:
Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit (vitae spiritualis ianua), and the door which gives access to the other sacraments. Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission: "Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration through water in the word."

What is this Sacrament called?

CCC 1214:
This sacrament is called "Baptism", after the central rite by which it is carried out: to baptize (Greek baptizein) means to "plunge" or "immerse"; the "plunge" into the water symbolizes the catechumen's burial into Christ's death, from which He rises up by resurrection with Him, as a "new creature".

CCC 1215:
This sacrament is also called "the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit", for it signifies and actually brings about the birth of water and the Spirit without which no one "can enter the kingdom of God".

CCC 1216:
This bath is called "enlightenment", because those who receive this [catechetical] instruction are enlightened in their understanding..." Having received in Baptism the Word, "the true light that enlightens every man," the person baptized has been "enlightened," he becomes a "son of light", indeed, he becomes "light" himself:

Baptism is God's most beautiful and magnificent gift...We call it gift, grace, anointing, enlightenment, garment of immortality, bath of rebirth, seal, and most precious gift. It is called "gift" because it is conferred on those who bring nothing of their own; "grace" since it is given even to the guilty; "baptism" because sin is buried in the water; "anointing" for it is priestly and royal as are those who are anointed; "enlightenment" because it radiates light; "clothing" since it veils our shame; "bath" because it washes; and "seal" as it is our guard and the sign of God's Lordship. Christ's Baptism

CCC 1223:
All the Old Covenant prefigurations find their fulfillment in Christ Jesus. He begins His public life after having Himself baptized by St. John the Baptist in the Jordan. After His resurrectioon Christ gives this mission to His Apostles:"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you."

CCC 1224:
Our Lord voluntarily submitted Himself to the baptism of St. John, intended for sinners, in order to "fulfill all righteousness." Jesus' gesture is a manifestation of His self-emptying. The Spirit who had hovered over the waters of the first creation descended then on the Christ as a prelude of the new creation, and the Father revealed Jesus as His "beloved Son."

Baptism in the Church

CCC 1226:
From the very day of Pentecost the Church has celebrated and administered holy Baptism. Indeed St. Peter declares to the crowd astounded by his preaching:"Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." The Apostles and their collaborators offer Baptism to anyone who believed in Jesus: Jews, the God-fearing, pagans. Always, Baptism is seen as connected connected with faith:"Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household,"St. Paul declared to his jailer in Philippi. And the narrative continues, the jailer "was baptized at once, with all his family."

CCC 1227:
According to the Apostle Paul, the believer enters through Baptism into communion with Christ's death, is buried with him, and rises with Him:

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

The baptized have "put on Christ." Through the Holy Spirit, Baptism is a bath that purifies, justifies, and sanctifies.

CCC 1228:
Hence, Baptism is a bath of water in which the "imperishable seed" of the Word of God produces its life-giving effect. St. Augustine says of Baptism: "The word is brought to the material element, and it becomes a sacrament."

How is the Sacrament of Baptism celebrated?

CCC 1229:
From the time of the Apostles, becoming a Christian has been accomplished by a journey and initiation in several stages. This journey can be covered rapidly or slowly, but certain essential elements will always have to be present: proclamation of the Word, acceptance of the Gospel entailing conversion, profession of faith, Baptism itself, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and admission to Eucharistic communion.

CCC 1230:
This initiation has varied greatly through the centuries according to circumstances. In the first centuries of the CHurch, Christian initiation saw considerable development. A long period of catechumenate included a series of preparatory rites, which were liturgical landmarks along the path of catechumenal preparation and culminated in the celebration of the sacraments of Christian initiation.

CCC 1231:
Where infant Baptism has become the form in which this sacrament is usually celebrated, it has become a single act encapsulating the preparatory stages of Christian initiation in a very abridged way. By its very nature infant Baptism requires a post-baptismal catechumenate. Not only is there a need for instruction after Baptism, but also for the necessary flowering of baptismal grace in personal growth. The catechism has its proper place here.

CCC 1232:
Today in all the rites, Latin ad Eastern, the Christian initiation of adults begins with their entry into the catechumenate and reaches its culmination in a single celebration of the three sacraments of initiation: Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist. In the Eastern rites, the Christian initiation of infants also begins with Baptism followed immediately by Confirmatio and the Eucharist, while in the Roman rite it is followed by years of catechesis before being completed later by Confirmation and the Eucharist, the summit of their Christian initiation.

The Mystagogy of the Celebration

CCC 1234:
The meaning and grace of the sacrament of Baptism are clearly seen in the rites of its celebration. By following the gestures and words of this celebration with attentive participation, the faithful are initiated into the riches this sacrament signifies and actually brings about in each newly baptized person.

CCC 1235:
The "sign of the cross", on the threshold of the celebration, marks with the imprint of Christ the one who is going to belong to him and signifies the grace of the redemption Christ won for us by His cross.

CCC 1236:
The proclamation of the Word of God enlightens the candidates and the assembly with the reealed truth and elicits the response of faith, which is inseparable from Baptism. Indeed Baptism is the "sacrament of faith" in a particular way, since it is the sacramental entry into the life of faith.

CCC 1237:
Since Baptism signifies liberation from sin and from its instigator the devil, one or more "exorcisms" are pronounced over the candidate. The celebrant then anoints him with the oil of catechumens, or lays his hands on him, and he explicitly renounces satan. Thus prepared, he is able to confess the faith of the Church, to which he will be "entrusted" by Baptism.

CCC 1238:
The "baptismal water" is consecrated by a prayer of epiclesis (either at this moment or at the Easter Vigil). The Church asks God that through His Son, the power of the Holy Spirit may be sent upon the water, so that those who will be baptized in it may be "born of water and the Spirit".

CCC 1239:
The "essential rite" of the sacrament follows: "Baptism" properly speaking. It signifies and actually brings about death to sin and entry into the life of the Most Holy Trinity through configuration to the Paschal mystery of Christ. Baptism is performed in the most expressive way by triple immersion in the baptismal water. However, from ancient times it has also been able to be conferred by pouring the water three times over the candidate's head.

CCC 1241:
The "anointing with sacred chrism", perfumed oil consecrated by the bishop, signifies the gift of the Holy Spirit to the newly baptized, who has become a Christian, that is, one "anointed" by the Holy Spirit, incorporated into Christ who is anointed priest, prophet, and king.

CCC 1242:
In the liturgy of the Eastern Churches, the post-baptismal anointing is the sacrament of Chrismation (Confirmation). In the Roman liturgy the post-baptismal anointing announces a second anointing with sacred chrism to be conferred later by the bishop - Confirmation, which will as it were "confirm" and complete the baptismal anointing.

CCC 1243:
The white garment symbolizes that the person baptized has "put on Christ", has risen with Christ. The "candle", lit from the Easter candle, signifies that Christ has enlightened the neophyte. In Him the baptized are "the light of the world".

The newly baptized is now, in the only Son, a child of God entitled to say the prayer of the children of God: "Our Father".

Who can receive baptism?

CCC 1246:
"Every person not yet baptized and only such a person is able to be baptized."

Faith and Baptism

CCC 1253:
Baptism is the sacrament of faith. But faith needs the community of believers. It is only within the faith of the Church that each of the faithful can believe. The faith required for Baptism is not a perfect and mature faith, but a beginning that is called to develop. The catechumen or the godparent is asked: "What do you ask of God's Church?" The response is: "Faith!"

CCC 1254:
For all the baptized, children or adults, faith must grow after Baptism. For this reason, the Church celebrates each year at the Easter Vigil the renewal of baptismal promises. Preparation for Baptism leads only to the threshold of new life. Baptism is the source of that new life in Christ from which the entire Christian life springs forth.

CCC 1255:
For the grace of Baptism to unfold, the parents' help is important. So too is the role of the godfather and godmother, who must be firm believers, able and ready to help the newly baptized - child or adult - on the road of Christian life. Their task is a truly ecclesial function (officium). The whole ecclesial community bears some responsibility for the development and safeguarding of the grace given at Baptism.

Who can baptize? CCC 1256:
The ordinary ministers of Baptism are the bishop and priest and, in the Latin Church, also the deacon. In case of necessity, any person, even someone not baptized, can baptize, if he has the required intention. The intention required is to will to do what the Church does when she baptizes, and to apply the Trinitarian baptismal formula. The Church finds the reason for this possibility in the universal saving will of God and the necessity of Baptism for salvation.

The Necessity of Baptism

CCC 1257:
The Lord Himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation. He also commands his disciples to proclaim the Gospel to all nations and to baptize them. Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament. The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beautitude; this is why she takes care not to neglect the mission she has received from the Lord to see that all who can be baptized are "reborn of water and the Spirit". God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but He Himself is not bound by His sacraments.

CCC 1258:
The Church has always held the firm conviction that those who suffer death for the sake of the faith without having received Baptism are baptized by their death for and with Christ. This "Baptism of blood", like the "desire for Baptism", brings about the fruits of Baptism without being a sacrament.

CCC 1259:
For catechumens who dies before their Baptism, their explicit desire to receive it, together with repentance for their sins, and charity, assures them the salvation they they were not able to receive through the sacrament.

CCC 1260:
"Since Christ died for all, and since all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny, which is divine, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partakers, in a way known to God, of the Paschal mystery." Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of His Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity.

CCC 1261:
As regards "children who have died without Baptism", the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, as she does in her funeral rites for them. Indeed, the great mercy of God who desires that all men should be saved, and Jesus' tenderness toward children which caused Him to say: "Let the children come to Me, do not hinder them," allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism. All the more urgent is the Church's call not to prevent little children coming to Christ through the gift of holy Baptism.

The Grace of Baptism

CCC 1262:
The different effects of Baptism are signified by the perceptible elements of the sacramental rite. Immersion in water symbolizes not only death and purification, but also regeneration and renewal. Thus, the two principal effects are purification from sins and new birth in the Holy Spirit.

For the forgiveness of sins...

CCC 1263:
By Baptism all sins are forgiven, original sin and all personal sins, as well as all punishment for sin. In those who have been reborn, nothing remains that would impede their entry into the Kingdom of God, neither Adam's sin, nor personal sin, nor the consequences of sin, the gravest of which is separation from God.

CCC 1264:
Yet certain temporal consequences of sin remain in the baptized, such as suffering, illness, death and such frailties inherent in life as weakness of character, and so on, as well as an inclination to sin that Tradition calls concupiscence, or metaphorically, "the tinder for sin" (fomes peccati); since concupiscense "is left for us to wrestle with, it cannot harm those who do not consent but manfully resist it by the grace of Jesus Christ." Indeed, "an athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules."

A new creature

CCC 1265:
Baptism not only purifies from all sins, but also makes the neophyte "a new creature," an adopted son of God, who has become a "partaker of the divine nature", member of Christ and co-heir with him, and the temple of the Holy Spirit.

CCC 1266:
The Most Holy Trinity gives the baptized sanctifying grace, the grace of justification:
Thus the whole organism of the Christian's supernatural life has its roots in Baptism.

Incorporated into the Church, the Body of Christ

CCC 1267:
Baptism makes us members of the Body of Christ: "Therefore...we are members one of another." Baptism incorporates us into the Church. From the baptismal fonts is born the One People of God of the New Covenant, which transcends all the natural or human limits of nations, cultures, races and sexes: "For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body."

CCC 1268:
The baptized have become "living stones" to be "built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood." By Baptism they share in the priesthood of Christ, in His prophetic and royal mission. They are "a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own people, that [they] may declare the wonderfull deeds of Him who called [them] out of darkness into His marvelous light. Baptism gives a share in the common priesthood of all believers.

CCC 1269:
Having become a member of the Church, the person baptized belongs no longer to himself, but to Him who died and rose for us. From now on, he is called to be subject to others, to serve them in the communion of the Church, and to "obey and submit" to the Church's leaders, holding them in respect and affection. Just as Batpsim is the source of responsibilities and duties, the baptized person also enjoys rights within the Church: to receive the sacraments, to be nourished with the Word of God and to be sustained by the other spiritual helps of the Church.

CCC 1270:
"Reborn as sons of God, [the baptized] must profess before men the faith they have received from God through the Church" and participate in the apostolic and missionary activity of the People of God.

The sacramental bond of the unity of Christians

CCC 1271:
Baptism constitutes the foundation of communion among all Christians, including those who are not yet in full communion with the Catholic Church: "For men who believe in Christ and have been properly baptized are put in some, though imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church. Justified by faith in Baptism, [they] are incorporated into Christ; they therefore have a right to be called Christians, and with good reason are accepted as brothers by the children of the Catholic Church." "Baptism therefore constitutes sacramental bond of unity existing among all who through it are reborn."

An indelible spiritual mark...

CCC 1272:
Incorporated into Christ by Baptism, the person baptized is configured to Christ. Baptism seals the Christian with the indelible spiritual mark (character) of his belonging to Christ. No sin can erase this mark, even if sin prevents Baptism from bearing the fruits of salvation. Given once for all, Baptism can not be repeated.

CCC 1273:
Incorporated into the Church by Baptism, the faithful have received the sacramental character that consecrates them for Christian religious worship. The baptismal seal enables and commits Christians to serve God by a vital participation in the holy liturgy of the Church and to exercise their baptismal priesthood by the witness of holy lives and practical charity.

CCC 1274:
The Holy Spirit has marked us with the "seal of the Lord" (Dominicus character) "for the day of redemption". "Baptism indeed is the seal of eternal life." The faithful Christian who has "kept the seal" until the end, remaining faithful to the demands of his Baptism, will be able to depart this life "marked with the sign of faith", with his baptismal faith, in expectation of the blessed vision of God - the consummation of faith - and in the hope of resurrection.

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