The Magisterium and Baptism of Desire

Our Lady's Purification

February 2, 2011

Dear Bishops, Priests, Friends and Interested Parties:

   The following is a clarification of Baptism of Desire(BoD) as taught by Fr. Feeney. These are the arguments which convinced me that there are no such things as BoD or Baptism of Blood (BoB). Hence, if you can refute these arguments, you can convince me to reverse my position. So far no one has been able to do that. Note well that the arguments come primarily from the Solemn and Ordinary Magisterium of the Church and do not rely upon quotes from saints or thumbnail sketches in the Martyrology. I'm continually amazed that priests will attempt to refute an infallible pronouncement by a couple of sentences from the Martyrology. It is an act of heresy to try and prove an infallible pronouncement false! These arguments are not based upon implications or assumptions of the meaning of Canon Law or Encyclicals etc. For example, many say that the law which allows catechumens to be buried in Catholic Cemeteries is because of BoD. But Canon law does not say that is the reason. The reason for this law has not been given. You certainly cannot use a law like this to refute a pope speaking infallibly or to say the Magisterium is here teaching BoD when BoD is not even mentioned! Or, worse yet, to use this as a reason to deny someone Holy Communion.

THE MAGISTERIUM AND BAPTISM OF DESIRE

   1. We begin with the most misunderstood decree from the Council of Trent on the sacraments. All the traditional priests, including myself, have misunderstood exactly what Trent is saying here. The only one who got it right was Fr. Feeney, who at one time was considered the greatest theologian in America. I'll bet not one of you ever understood his teaching on this Canon. Here is how he explained it. First, the entire canon.

Canon IV: If anyone saith that the sacraments of the New Law are not necessary unto salvation, but  superfluous; and that without them, or without the  desire thereof men obtain of God through faith alone the grace of justification; though all (the sacraments) are not indeed necessary for every individual; let him be anathema.

It is best understood when explained in parts.

Canon IV: If anyone saith that the sacraments of the New Law are not necessary unto salvation, but superfluous; and that without them, ...

   The above states very clearly that there is no salvation without the sacraments. Note well the word “superfluous.”  If you hold to BoD, you make the sacraments not necessary, but superfluous. Anathema follows at the end.

   The second part of the canon, below, says that you cannot obtain justification without a desire for the sacraments. Read it again, carefully. It is a refutation of the Protestants who say that faith alone gives justification. Trent is saying that it is not faith, but a desire for the sacraments which will or can give justification. Trent does not say that desire will give a soul Salvation. In summary, Trent says no salvation without the sacraments, but justification is possible by desire.

... or without the desire thereof men obtain of God through faith alone the grace of justification; though all (the sacraments) are not indeed necessary for every individual; let him be anathema.

   (Note the “anathema” which makes this infallible.)

   The canon makes a distinction between justification and salvation. Justification alone does not equal salvation.  The answer to the question, “Where does a person go if he dies in a state of justification without having received a sacrament?” has not been answered by the Church. No one would say the justified soul, unbaptized, would go to Hell, but no one can say that that soul goes to Heaven. You can scream at the top of your lungs that a soul will go to Heaven if he dies justified, but if you do you go contrary to what Trent teaches here, which is infallible! Father Feeney believed that God would not allow a justified unbaptized soul to die in that condition, but that was only an opinion.  He also believed that such a soul would not remain in this condition for more than a few days. 

   2. Secondly, we have the highest authority in the Church, Pope Eugene IV, speaking infallibly, in 1441:

The holy Roman Church believes, professes, and preaches that no one remaining outside the Catholic Church, not just pagans, but also Jews or heretics or schismatics, can become partakers of eternal life; but they will go to the “everlasting fire which was prepared for the Devil and his angels” (Matt. 25:41), unless before the end of life they are joined to the Church. For the union with the body of the Church is of such importance that the sacraments of the Church are helpful to salvation only for those remaining in it; and fasts, almsgiving, other works of piety, and the exercise of Christian warfare bear eternal rewards for them alone. And no one can be saved, no matter how much alms he has given, even if he sheds his blood for the name of Christ, unless he remains in the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church.”

   What could be more clearly stated and what could be said with more authority?  Yet this is ignored by almost everyone.

   Note, he says: "...the union with the body of the Church.” Does not this eliminate the “soul of the Church” argument? Note also, he says: “ . . . in the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church.” A person united to the “soul” of the Church would not be in its bosom. Also, he says: “ . . . even if he sheds his blood for the name of Christ . . . ”  Does this not eliminate the baptism of blood argument? It does for me. Why would it not eliminate it for you? I repeat, why does this not eliminate BoB for you?

   If we argue that the early catechumens were not baptized, we contradict an infallible pronouncement. We should therefore do our utmost to see if perhaps the early catechumens were indeed baptized and still remained catechumens, which was the practice during the times of persecution, as I’ve read.

   If we argue against this and we "prove" it to be untrue, we make the Popes fallible! The Martyrology as written about the saints in the early Church consisted of only thumbnail sketches written by unknown authors over 1,700 years ago. How can we base a dogma on this?

   Why would the authors think it important to state that the martyr was baptized with water? Regarding the martyrdom of St. Emerantiana, wherein the phrase “Baptized in her blood” is used, it can be compared to what Our Lord said before His passion: “I have a baptism wherewith I am to be baptized.” Meaning, his death on the Cross. He had already been baptized with water. Because He said that, it does not deny His water baptism.

   It is an act of heresy to try to prove an infallible pronouncement false! It is an act of heresy to say an infallible pronouncement does not mean what it says.

   3.  The 1917 Code of Canon Law has dishonestly been used to argue that the Magisterium teaches BoD. The argument says that Canon Law is part of the Magisterium and is based upon dogma. Then they quote only half of the law, which changes its meaning! Why would a traditional priest do this? Here is the first half of the law.

Canon 737:

          Baptism, which is the door and foundation for all other Sacraments, and which, either actually received or at least  Desired, is necessary for salvation to all,...

   Below is the second half of the sentence and the law, normally omitted by traditional priests.

           is given validly only by ablution with truly natural water and pronouncing the prescribed form of words . . .

   Note that this law is in one sentence. Hence, it contradicts itself in the same sentence! It says you can receive baptism by desire (i.e. e., without water), and then it says that it is valid only with water. This is double talk! It cannot possibly be both ways. Hence, this “law” is meaningless. Yet, many priests quote the first part about desire and leave out the second part about water and then say, “See, the Church teaches BoD in its Canon Law.” What could be more dishonest?

   4.  Our Lord Jesus Christ, stated the following regarding this question, which should end all debates.

. . . Amen, amen, I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter  into the kingdom of God.

   Some say that this is a law and that God can make exceptions to His law when He wishes (this is known as the principle that the Lawgiver is superior to his law and may change it if and when he thinks it to be fit). But this is not a law, but a statement of fact. A statement of fact is either true or false. A fact can be stated as such when a person says, “The sky is blue.” That is not a law, but a statement which is either true or false. The sky is blue or it is not. So it would follow, if Jesus Christ states a fact regarding the necessity of water, then water is absolutely necessary. To say otherwise is to make Our Lord a liar. The Truth says you cannot enter Heaven without water. Who dares to modify His words and say there are some men who can enter Heaven without water?

   Usually, at this point, rather than assenting to the necessity of water, BoD advocates quote saints who allegedly believed in BoD. So, again, they go to sources outside of the Magisterium to deny the Magisterium.  However, here is what Trent says about these words of Our Lord.

Baptism--Ex Cathedra (Infallible)

          If anyone shall say that real and natural water is not necessary for baptism, and on that account those Words of Our Lord Jesus Christ: “Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost” [John 3:5], are distorted into some sort of metaphor: let him be anathema. (Pope Paul III, The Council of Trent, Can. 2 on the Sacrament of Baptism, Sess. 7, 1547.)

   Need I mention that BoD advocates distort these words of Jesus Christ and make them meaningless?

   5.  We come to the “Mercy of God Argument.” This seems to be what is in the hearts of BoD advocates. The issue is what happens to a man who is on the way to the Church to be baptized and dies getting hit by a truck? The Mercy of God, they say, would not let that soul go into Hell.

   Regarding souls who perish on the way to the baptismal font, it is impossible to know what God would or would not do with an individual soul. When we consider the most amazing and surprising things that God has already done, who can say what He will do next? 

   So many times God has done things and allowed things to happen (such as the current crises in the Church), that beforehand no one would have predicted that God would have done this or ever allowed that. Would anyone have predicted that God would destroy everyone on the face of the Earth, except for the eight souls of Noah’s family, by drowning them? Certainly, of the perhaps millions who died at that time, there would have been many who would have repented if given more time. But God did not give it to them. God therefore let souls perish who could have been saved!

   Hence, would God damn someone who was intercepted by death on the way to being baptized with water?  Virtually everyone would answer “No” to this question upon first hearing it. But, upon reflection, the answer is “Yes”! God would, indeed, damn someone who died on the way to the baptismal font. There are good reasons for this.

   Firstly, consider that the Church forbids an infant to be baptized if his parents are not Catholic. The reason, as you

know, is that the child in all likelihood would fall into mortal sin soon after reaching the age of reason and, not having the faith, would not go to confession and upon death would suffer much more in Hell because of the mark on his soul and having once been in a state of grace. 

   The Church denies baptism to such an innocent infant with good reason and great wisdom. Why is it any different for an unbaptized adult? God, who knows the future, knows if a person about to be baptized will later fall into mortal sin and die in that state. Hence, just as for the infant, it would be much better for that person not to have been baptized. He would suffer much less in Hell for all of eternity. Therefore, it would actually be an act of God’s mercy to let that adult die on the way to the baptismal font. Scripture expresses it below.

               For it had been better for them not to have known the way of justice than, after they have known it, to turn back from that holy commandment which was delivered to them. (2 Peter 2:21)

   Secondly, God often will punish a soul or damn a soul as an example for others. Many in the Old Testament were killed directly by God immediately after just one sin. The priests who used the unconsecrated matches at the altar, and the one who tried to stop the Ark of the Covenant from tilting over, and the act of Schism by Core and his followers. And then we read this from Scripture about Sodom and Gomorrah.

                And reducing the cities of the Sodomites and of the Gomorrhites into ashes, condemned them to be overthrown, making them an example to those that should after act wickedly. (2 Peter 2:6)

   So, it would not seem out of the realm of possibility that God would let a soul perish on the way to being baptized, if only to warn others not to procrastinate with their baptism; or, perhaps, to warn others not to be guilty of the same sins that person had committed. God’s judgments are unfathomable.

   In this context, we often hear it said that you cannot shorten the hand of God. Well, it is God that has shortened His own hand, not we, His creatures. He is the one who said, “Unless a man be born of water and the Holy Ghost he shall not enter the kingdom of Heaven.” Not us.

   It is for us to humbly accept His words as absolutely true, no matter how hard they may be. Recall that many walked away when Our Lord said to them, “Eat my flesh and drink my blood.” But, as for God’s hand being shortened, there are numerous examples of Him “shortening His own hand.” Here is just a sample.

(1) When Jesus said to Peter, “Whatsoever thou shalt bind upon Earth, it shall be bound also in Heaven, and whatsoever . . . ” (Matthew 18:19)

(2) Our infinite God placed Himself under subjugation, strict obedience, to lowly man, having to obey every command of Joseph and Mary. (Luke 2:51)

(3) Our loving Savior shortened His own hand again when He gave His priests the power to consecrate bread and wine. Is not He, the Creator of the universe, then subject to the words of man? Hence, any priest, no matter how evil, no matter the unholy state of his soul, nor the surroundings he may be in, such as a bar, will validly consecrate a host with proper matter and form and intention!

   Hence, again, even at a black Mass of Satan worshippers, such an evil priest would validly consecrate even when his intention after that is to desecrate the Eucharist! Indeed, God will not find a way to make the host invalid and “wiggle” His way out of the situation. He is faithful to His own words and institution. It is we who try to change the meaning of His words or find exceptions to them, when we find them too hard for ourselves to believe!

   6.  Some miscellaneous thoughts.

          (A) A problem with this issue of BoD is that BOD goes hand and glove with the new Church which teaches the same on this question. They  are preaching universal salvation and against water baptism, as the Protestant who says “All you need to do is to take Jesus into your heart and you are saved.” That is an example of BoD (a desire to be united with Christ), and we all laugh when we hear it, but the New Church does not laugh and believes it and traditional priests teach it, but with different words. For example, below is what Archbishop Lefebvre taught to his priests, who now cover the Earth.

                 The doctrine of the Church also recognizes implicit baptism of desire. This consists in doing the will of God. God knows all men and He knows that amongst Protestants, Muslims, Buddhists and in the whole of humanity there are men of good will. They receive the grace of baptism without knowing it, but in an effective way. In this way, they become part of the Church. (Open Letter to Confused Catholics, page 74)

   This is actually less of a “desire” than the “Born Again” who takes Jesus into his heart for salvation. The Born Again makes an “Explicit Act” of desire. But what Lefebvre is referring to is an “Implicit Act of Desire.” These are souls who may even hate Jesus Christ, but are saved anyway, so they teach. Their salvation is based upon, “What they would have done had they known better.” I’m sorry, but this is absolute heresy! It goes against all of the above from Trent, etc., as well as 2,000 years of tradition. With this kind of teaching, no wonder the descendants of Vatican II have embraced the teaching of universal salvation.

   There is so much double-think even in our traditional ranks that one priest even says that the dogma, “No Salvation Outside of the Church,” does not mean that you cannot be saved outside of the Church! This is how liberal or ridiculous the thinking has become on this subject.

   We must not forget that the agenda of the Modernist is to have a one-world dogma-less Church. Dogmas separate, and they can and have caused wars, such as the Protestant revolt did in its day. Hence, to have a religion for the whole world, that religion cannot have any strong beliefs, nor can it exclude anyone from Heaven for his belief if he even acknowledges that there is a Heaven. BoD is a perfect solution for them to push onto Catholics the concept of an “implicit desire to do some good if they knew what it was” as a most universal catch-all which brings everyone into Heaven, not only the ignorant, but also the evil, who would do good, they say, if they knew what it was.

          (B).  Note that BoD advocates all say that the desire for a sacrament is not a sacrament. If you cannot be saved without at least one sacrament, then it is a contradiction to say that you can be saved by only the desire for it.

          (C) Another point often ignored by BoD advocates is that Scripture is very clear and says that “without faith it is impossible to please God.” (Hebrews 11:6) They will put many into Heaven who have only implicit BoD and without

any faith at all. It’s as though ignorance supplies for not having the faith. Baptism is not enough, you must also believe. Someone with implicit desire does not believe. Again, Trent says that not just any desire will suffice for justification, but only a desire for the sacraments, which means a desire for baptism.

         

   The introduction and conclusion to the Athanasian Creed very strongly condemns anyone who does not believe what is in the Creed, as follows:

Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholic faith; which faith, except every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly. And the Catholic faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; neither confounding the persons nor dividing the substance...

And the conclusion:

...and shall give account of their own works. And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting and they that have done evil into everlasting fire. This is the Catholic faith, which except a man believe faithfully he cannot be saved.

    This dates from 325 A. D. Hence, from at least that time, the Church held that without the faith as stated in the Creed, a soul will perish. There are four points of our faith that are mentioned in the Creed. These are the same four points that St. Thomas says is the minimum knowledge that a person must have to be baptized. (No doubt St. Thomas took them from the Creed.) Thus, we should teach these to a man on his death bed who wants to be a Catholic before pouring water over him. After reading the Creed, how can anyone say that the faith is not necessary?

   Thanks for taking the time to read this. If you can refute it, please do so, but please address the points made here before adding others. These come from the highest authority in the Church and it takes an equal authority to refute them. Therefore, please do not quote saints, as they are not the Magisterium. And, one last thought: I have never found the term BoD in the Magisterium. If you can find it, send me the reference.

In all things, charity.

In JMJ,

Most Rev. Neal Webster




Why is it so hard to understand?!

FEENEYITES Say You DO need:

Water Agree with words of Jesus Christ
The Sacraments Agree with the Council Trent
The Church Agree with the infallible Popes
The Faith Agree with sacred scripture

B.O.D.*ITES Say You DON'T need:

Water Disagree with words of Jesus Christ
The Sacraments Disagree with the Council Trent
The Church Disagree with the infallible Popes
The Faith Disagree with sacred scripture
*(BOD = Baptism of Desire)

Proof that there was sanctifying grace in the Old Testament

November 2008

Dear ...

What follows is really is lenghty coming from me but really only an introduction to the subject.   It convinces me but is not exhaustive.   Keep in mind definitions of terms are crucial in coming to a correct conclusion.  

It seems that the Council of Trent is focused on and discussing primarily salvation under the Catholic Faith or since Christ.   It is not a desertation on the Old Law and its economy of salvation which was very different.   The rules that apply now do not appy to the past execpt for some principals such as no man could enter heaven before Our Lord did at the Ascension.   But everyone in  history obviously was or will be saved by the merits of Jesus Christ on the cross.   These merits were applied backwards in time, therefore before the actual event, crucifixation, and forward in time to our day.    Hence that explains why Adam and Eve were not sent to hell immediately after their sin which would have been just.   They were promised a redeemer and that promise and His future merits spared their lives and allowed them to live to work out their salvation under the economy of salvation at that time, before Moses.  We know next to nothing about that except they made animal sacrifices.   (Cane slew Able etc.)   In this regard the Council makes a clear distinction of before and after the promulgation of the Gospel,  a distinction between the Old and the New Law.  

The  beginning of the promulgation of the Gospel occurred when the Apostels set out to spread the faith.    But before that, let us say  before Our Lord was incarnate,  a man could be justified without water as the council says:  ….This translation ….. (into a state of grace)  cannot, since the promulgation of the Gospel, be effected except through the laver ………etc.(6th Sess Chp.IV)     This certainly implies that before the promulgation a state of grace was possible.  

Note that the Council of Trent refers to the unbaptised, or those in a state of original sin, as, 'Children of wrath,' 'those under the dominion of the devil,' 'unclean,' 'the servants of sin' and under the 'power of the devil,' (6th Sess. Ch1)  and says when a man becomes just,  'from being an enemy becomes a friend.'  (Ch VII)  Hence these words  would apply to every saint in the Old Testament including not only John the Baptist but also to St. Joseph if they were not somehow unable to enter into a state of grace.   The Church considers St. Joseph to be the greatest  saint next to Our Lady in spite of what the scriptures say about St. John.   

Now what does it take to become a saint?   We know firstly that a man must be in a state of grace and only while in that state can he gain an increase in grace and earn merit in heaven.   So a man in a state of sin who gives alms earns no merit towards heaven i.e. towards his rank in heaven.   But the same man gives the same alms in a state of grace and he earns an increase in sanctifying grace, an increasae in merit in heaven or an increase in his rank amongst men and angels as an eternal reward.    The greater the saint the greater the merits he has earned towards heanven, and the more deeply or imitmate is the indwelling of the Holy Ghost inside his soul in this life.   If Saint Joseph had not lived his life in a state of grace he could not have earned merit in heaven during his entire life in spite of all of his labors working as a carpenter manually without electricity, supporting the Holy Family in his great humility.  Which by the way was very great if only because he was the King of Israel by inheritance yet had no throne or palace except the small home in Nazareth.   This only added to his spriitual and physical trials which were excessive.   Imagine losing the Saviour of the World for three days and nights, or thinking that your wife was pregnant by another man or having to flee with your family to a foreign country by mule to save the Childs life etc. If St. Joseph lived his life in a state of sin he could absolutly have not earned any merit for anything he suffered or did during his entire life.    He could not have become the greatest of saints.  Its also unthinkable that Our Lord lived with His earthly father day in and out while that father was under the dominion of the devil, and a child of wrath!

We know Our Lady was given a special privelege to be conceived immaculatly.   It was based upon the merits of the cross, which in her time had not yet been earned.   She is the only one who received that particular grace at conception from the crucifixtrion.   But that does not mean that she was the only one to receive a grace or graces from the cross before the Passion took place!!  Everyone who saved their souls before Christ received graces from the cross.    Adam and Eve again received benefits from the cross before the time.   Also before the time by the merits of the cross the first Mass occurred on Holy Thursday.    This pricinpal of receiving graces today based upon a future or a past event is very clear in the scripture and even way in the Mass.  

Our faith looks upon the events of the past, and saints in the Old Testament looked to the events of the future.  With God, either is acceptable.   And the principal of receiving benefits from the cross, out of time, that is not at the actual time of Our Lords death on the cross is equally valid for the new and the old testament saints.   Hence for St. Joseph to be justified is a favor given out of time and based upon a different economy of salvation then what we labor under.   We are justified under a new economy of salvation, (defined by Trent,) but still out of time from the time of the cross.  To say  Old Testament saints could not achieve justification  because Christ had not yet died on the cross misses this idea regarding  time. 

To respond directly to your last comments, there is a disticntion between holy objects and holy people.   Holy Water is water set aside for a holy purpose as our blessed medals and rosaries etc.   But holy people are not normally set aside in the same way for a holy pupose, such as yourself.   You live in a state of grace but your state in life is in the secular world.    A priest of course is different.   He is indeed set aside for a holy purpose and dose not live primarly in the secular world.   The priest is 'consecrated' in addition to being made holy via a state of grace.   So if we abuse an object set aside for a  holy purpose such playing with  Holy Water or stepping upon a Rosary etc., we commit a sacriledge.    Likewise if we abuse a priest and say punch him in the face we commit a sacrildege.   But if a holy layman in a state of grace is punched in the face there is not the sin of sacriledge.  But the layman can indeed become very holy  and become a saint and we say he is sanctified.    It does not mean he is set aside for a holy purpose as he may have 12 children and a bussiness.    So when the scriptures refer to Jeremias as being holy or sanctified it means he is in a state of grace albiet not necessarily set aside for a holy purpose. See below:

Jeremias Ch 1.

   4  And the word of the Lord came to me, saying:   5  Before I formed thee in the bowels of thy mother, I knew thee: and before thou camest forth out of the womb, I sanctified thee, and made thee a prophet unto the nations.

It is clear that Jereimias was made holy and also was set aside for a holy purpose, that of being a prophet.   To repeat, he was sanctified and set aside as is the priest in the New Law.

For what its worth what follows are some other quotes from scipture:

ACTS CH 9(Paul's conversion and zeal)

17  And Ananias went his way and entered into the house. And laying his hands upon him, he said: Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus hath sent me, he that appeared to thee in the way as thou camest, that thou mayest receive thy sight and befilled with the Holy Ghost.

What else can that mean except he is to enter into a state of grace?   This no doubt happens after his baptism but it is the exact same language as that applied to St. Elizabeth  and to St. John.

  18  And immediately there fell from his eyes as it were scales: and he received his sight. And rising up, he was baptized.

Acts ch2 (The disciples receive the Holy Ghost)

3  And there appeared to them parted tongues, as it were of fire: and it sat upon every one of them.   4  And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost: and they began to speak with divers tongues, according as the Holy Ghost gave them to speak. 

Note, only after being filled did they then speak in tongues indicating that this charism occurs in a state of grace.

MARK CH 16(Christ's resurrection and ascension.)

15  And he said to them: Go ye into the whole world and preach the gospel to every creature.

16  He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall he condemned.

17  And these signs shall follow them that believe: In my name they shall cast out devils. They shall speak with new tongues.

Note, its only after being baptized and then filled with the H. Ghost and then they speak in new tongues.  Speaking in tonguew occurs in a state of grace. 

ACTS CH 10(Cornelius is received into the church.)

  43  To him all the prophets give testimony, that by his name all receive remission of sins, who believe in him.

  44  While Peter was yet speaking these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them that heard the word.

  45  And the faithful of the circumcision, who came with Peter, were astonished for that the grace of the Holy Ghost was poured out upon the Gentiles also.   46  For they heard them speaking with tongues and magnifying God.

  47  Then Peter answered: Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, who have received the Holy Ghost, as well as we?   48  And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ……

This passage is a little bit of a mystery considering its occurance in the New Law and in reference to Trent.  But somewhere I have read (I believe in Trent but cannot find it today),  that the promulgation of the Gospel, which began at Pentecost with the Aposltes preaching, was not completed until the destruction of the Temple by the Romans in the year 70.  Therefore the phrase, 'the promulgation of the Gospel',   can mean after the promulgation was completed not when it began.

There was thus a transition period between the Old and the New Law until the world or at least untl all the Jews realized the Messiah had come and the Old Law was abolished.  There was no doubt about this once the Temple was gone and sacrifices were no longer possible for nowhere else were sacrifices allowed.   Also once a year every Jew had to journey to the Jerusalem.   Until then it was remotly possible that a Jew faithful to the Old Law and who had somehow not yet heard the Gospel could be saved.   But after the Temple was gone it was impossible for him without baptism.   I only mention this in regards to Cornelius perhaps falling under 'the wire' or before the completion of the promulgation of the Gospel.   You can dispute that but if that is not true than Fr. Finney has a good case and we have a great mystery how to reconcile this scripture with Trent.   To simply say that 'Speaking in tongues' is an actual and not an interior grace of the Holy Ghost seems to me to be more of a 'fudge' than a thological answer to these scriptures or the questions they raise.

ACTS CH 19  (Paul establishes the church at Ephesus.)

1  And it came to pass, while Apollo was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper coasts, came to

Ephesus and found certain disciples.     2  And he said to them: Have you received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? But they said to him: We have not so much as heard whether there be a Holy Ghost.    3  And he said: In what then were you baptized? Who said: In John's baptism.    4  Then Paul said: John baptized the people with the baptism of penance saying: That they should believe in him, who was to come after him, that is to say, in Jesus.     5  Having heard these things, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6  And when Paul had imposed his hands on them, the Holy Ghost came upon them: and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.

Note again they did not speak in tongues until after baptism and only then did they have the  Holy Ghost and only then did they speak in tongues.   The Holy Ghost was inside of them.

LUKE CH1The conception of John the Baptist)

  15  For he shall be great before the Lord and shall drink no wine nor strong drink: and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb. ...41  And it came to pass that when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the infant leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth  was filled with the Holy Ghost.      

This is here for a reference but note that the same phrase is used, ….'Filled with….'

As with St. Joseph, it seems inconcievable that this the greatest of prophets would announce the presence of the Messiaha while in a state of sin under the dominion of the devil as a child of wrath etc.

80  And the child grew and was strengthened in spirit: and was in the deserts until the day of his manifestation to Israel.

Time forbids a proper treatment of this passage as well as the whole subject under discussion but a brief  commentary follows below from Lapide on this verse.   Personally I  fail to see what it could mean other than an increased in grace i.e., the indwelling of the Holy Ghost in his soul.

LAPIDE:

Verse 80. And the child (Syriac, little boy) grew (Arabic, matured) and was strengthened in spirit: As John grew in body, so also he waxed strong in spirit, because the Holy Spirit from day to day filled him with greater wisdom, grace, and strength. Hence we conclude that the use of reason, which was bestowed upon John in the womb (v. 41), continued after his nativity and increased. So Theophylact says, "The more the child grew, the more the powers of the Spirit were manifested in him, being an organ capable of receiving them." Meaning that the more the growing organs of John's childish body became capable of reason, wisdom, and spirit, the more the Holy Spirit infused them into him. And Titus says, "according to the proportion and increase of his age, he advanced in grace and spirit." The same is said of the child Jesus (Luke 2:52), but in a different manner and sense.

..., time forbids much more discussion but there is much more some more follows below my signature.  I know there are other objections that can be raised on your side.   I do believe that saints in the Old Testament did enter into a state of grace in anticipation of our redemption on the cross but there are never the less questions remaining in my mind and I'm sure in yours.   I havn't seen all the answers on this subject and the Dimonds don't seem to have them either.

After now re-reading your response there are a couple of points I'd like to add between your lines below.

The dicussion about Fatima will not even begin for at least three weeks.   Will be in touch.  Actually I'll see you first on Monday.

In JMJ

Fr. Neal Webster


Fr. Webster,

...According to the Council of Trent, Session 6, Chapter 7, "... the instrumental cause [of Justification] is the Sacrament of Baptism, which is 'the Sacrament of Faith,' without faith no is ever justified."  It is this same text from Trent that we use to help disprove the arguments in favor of Baptism of Desire.  St. John the Baptist could not have been cleansed from Original Sin without the Sacrament of Baptism.  Scripture makes no mention of his being Baptised in his mother's womb.

MY COMMENT:

"...the insturmental cause (of justification) is the sacrament of baptism, which is the sacrtament of faith, without which no one was ever justified."

In Latin it reads: ...instrumentalis autem, sacramentum baptismi, quod est sacramentum fidei, Sine qua nulli unquam contigit justificatio

Note that 'baptismi' above is neuter and 'fidei' is feminine. The word 'qua' (which) in the next phrase is also feminine meaning that 'qua' refers to 'faith' and not to baptism. Therefore it reads, 'without faith no one was ever justified.' For it, 'qua' to refer to baptism it would be spelled 'quo.'

 

YOU WROTE:

The quotation from St. Luke "... he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb" only means what it says.  Notice what the Nicene Creed says about the Holy Ghost speaking through the prophets: "I believe in the Holy Ghost ... who spoke by the prophets."  St. John the Baptist has been described as the greatest of all of the prophets and the Holy Ghost spoke through him in a most profound way.  But, this doesn't indicate that he was freed from Original Sin.

 

Jeremias, the prophet, is described in scripture as having been “sanctified”:

 

Jeremias Chapter 1, 5: “Before I formed thee in the bowels of thy mother, I knew thee: and before thou camest forth out of the womb, I sanctified thee, and made thee a prophet unto the nations.”

 

Does the word “sanctified” as used in Jeremias, Ch 1, Verse 5 mean that Jeremias was cleansed from Original Sin (ie put into a state of grace)?  A study of the use of this same word in other portions of the Old Testament would indicate not.  Consider the following examples:

 

Genesis, Chapter 2, Verse 3: “And he blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.”

 

Exodus, Chapter 19, Verse 14: “And Moses came down from the mount to the people, and sanctified them.”

 

MY COMMENT:

Are you saying here that ALL of the people were  'put aside for a special / holy purpose relating to God.?'     I agree some of them but not every Jew who followed Moses.         

 

 

YOU WROTE:

Exodus, Chapter 19, Verse 22: “The priests also that come to the Lord, let them be sanctified, lest he strike them.”

 

Exodus, Chapter 29, Verse 33: “That it may be an atoning sacrifice, and the hands of the offerers may be sanctified. A stranger shall not eat of them, because they are holy.”

 

There are many such examples where scripture refers both to people and objects as having been “sanctified”, ie put aside for a special / holy purpose relating to God.  The use of this word does not state nor imply that the person such described has been freed from Original Sin or even of any actual sin.

 

MY COMMENT:

More comments follow yours below.

 

YOU WROTE:

Some of the fathers wrongly thought that people in the Old Law were justified by it.  The footnote to Exodus 13:2 in the Haydock edition is the answer to this: sanctified means "set aside"; he was set aside to be God's prophet from before he was born.  Also, Innocent III said that circumcision remitted Original Sin.  That is contrary to what Trent said.  Innocent III was wrong.  Thus, Ambrose and others certainly could have been wrong about justification and its full nature in the Old Testament.

 

MY COMMENT:

In my Bible the foot note reads,    'Sanctification in this place means …………. '   which obviously implies it  means something different in other places. 

 

YOU WROTE:

Pope Paul III, Council of Trent, Sess. 6, Chap. 3, ex cathedra: “But although Christ died for all, yet not all receive the benefit of His death, but those only to whom the merit of His Passion is communicated.”

 

It is a divinely revealed truth that no one can be freed from the state of sin and Justified/Redeemed without the application of the Blood of Redemption to him.  Of this no Catholic can doubt. 

 

 

MY COMMENT: 

True, and the Blood of Redemption was applied to Old Testament saints before the event of the passion in a different way than it is applied to us in the New.   More below.

 

 YOU WROTE:

According to the Council of Trent, Session 6, Chapter 7, "... the instrumental cause [of Justification] is the Sacrament of Baptism, which is 'the Sacrament of Faith,' without faith no is ever justified."  It is this same text from Trent that we use to help disprove the arguments in favor of Baptism of Desire.  St. John the Baptist could not have been cleansed from Original Sin without the Sacrament of Baptism.  Scripture makes no mention of his being Baptised in his mother's womb.

 

MY COMMENT:

All this is written in the present tense and not applied to the past.   Certaintly the Old Testament saints had faith.  

 

YOU WROTE:

Note the words of Pope St. Leo the Great:

Pope St. Leo the Great, dogmatic letter to Flavian, Council of Chalcedon, 451:

“Let him heed what the blessed apostle Peter preaches, that sanctification by the Spirit is effected by the sprinkling of Christ’s blood (1 Pet. 1:2)… It is He, Jesus Christ, who has come through water and blood, not in water only, but in water and blood.  And because the Spirit is truth, it is the Spirit who testifies.  For there are three who give testimony – Spirit and water and blood.  And the three are one.  (1 Jn. 5:4-8)  IN OTHER WORDS, THE SPIRIT OF SANCTIFICATION AND THE BLOOD OF REDEMPTION AND THE WATER OF BAPTISM.  THESE THREE ARE ONE AND REMAIN INDIVISIBLE.  NONE OF THEM IS SEPARABLE FROM ITS LINK WITH THE OTHERS.

This again reaffirms the dogmatic fact that without the Water of Baptism no one can ever be Redeemed from sin, ie Justified, put into a State of Grace.

MY COMMENT:

There are some things we don't know.   For if we say because of the above and the fact that saints in the Old Testament were not baptized, and conclude therefore that none of them could have entered into a state of grace, we have a big big problem.   How did Our Lady enter into a state of grace?   You say a special privilege but how did the privilege separate the inseparable, or divide the indivisible?!   We have a contradiction here and therefore another principal is in effect and the above cannot apply to Old Testament saints.  If  the spirit and the blood and the water were divided for Our Lady then they can be divided and the above statement is false.  

The Special Privilege was Our Lady's' conception and not her being in a state of grace in the womb after conception.  

The merits of the passion were applied differently to Old Testament saints than to us.   Pope???? Said it; 'Since the promulgation of the Gospel,'  baptism was required.   There is a lot we do not know about the salvaton of saints from the Old Law and we have to be careful how we apply statements from Trent to them.  

 

 

 

YOU WROTE:

When Christ came to St. John the Baptist at the river Jordan to receive John's baptism, St. John is quoted at saying "... I ought to be baptized by thee, and comest thou to me?" (Gospel according to Matthew, Ch 3, verse 14).  St. John is stating that he is still in need of the Baptism of Jesus, ie that he is not yet fully Justified (ie in a state of Grace).

MY COMMENT:

He may be  saying he needs to be baptized for salvation but that does not mean he is in need of justificaton.    Certainly he is saying that Christ is greater than he and therefore Jesus should be the baptizer.

 

 YOU WROTE:

St. John the Baptist was certainly put aside by God for a special purpose at Our Lady’s Salutation, but he wasn’t freed from Original Sin.  He was in need of Redemption just like all the rest of us since the fall of Adam and Eve.

FROM TRENT

Session 6 Ch 1

…..that each one recognise and confess, that, …….. Adam-having become unclean,……the apostle says, by nature children of wrath, as (this Synod) has set forth in the decree on original sin,-they were so far the servants of sin, and under the power of the devil and of death,

How can this apply to St. Joseph?

Session 6 Ch 4

 Justification ………as being a translation, from that state wherein man is born a child of the first Adam, to the state of grace, and of the adoption of the sons of God, through the second Adam, Jesus Christ, our Saviour. And this translation, since the promulgation of the Gospel, cannot be effected, without the laver………….

 

What about before the promulgation of the Gospel? 

A JUST MAN – FROM SCRIPTURE

Matt. Ch1

  19  Whereupon Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing publicly to expose her, was minded to put her away privately.

Acts 10

   1  And there was a certain man in Caesarea, named Cornelius, a centurion of that which is called the Italian band:

   2  A religious man, and fearing God with all his house, giving much alms to the people and always praying to God.

 

 19  And as Peter was thinking of the vision, the Spirit said to him: Behold three men seek thee.

  20  Arise, therefore: get thee down and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them.

  21  Then Peter, going down to the men, said: Behold, I am he whom you seek. What is the cause for which you are come?

 22  Who said: Cornelius, a centurion, a just man and one that feareth God, and having good testimony from all the nation of the Jews, received an answer of an holy angel, to send for thee into his house And to hear words of thee.

  45  And the faithful of the circumcision, who came with Peter, were astonished for that the grace of the Holy Ghost was poured out upon the Gentiles also.

  46  For they heard them speaking with tongues and magnifying God.

  47  Then Peter answered: Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, who have received the Holy Ghost, as well as we?

  48  And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Then they desired him to tarry with them some days.

(Check out the foot note in your Bible for this section wherein it discusses the neccesity for water.)

Acts 10   Cornelius is received into the church. Peter's vision.

ROMANS 5

   1  Being justified therefore by faith, let us have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ:

   2  By whom also we have access through faith into this grace wherein we stand: and glory in the hope of the glory of the sons of God.

   3  And not only so: but we glory also in tribulation, knowing that tribulation worketh patience;

   4  And patience trial; and trial hope;

   5  And hope confoundeth not: because the charity of God is poured forth in our hearts, by the Holy Ghost who is given to us.

   6  For why did Christ, when as yet we were weak, according to the time, die for the ungodly?

   7  For scarce for a just man will one die: yet perhaps for a good man some one would dare to die.

   8  But God commendeth his charity towards us: because when as yet we were sinners according to the time.

   9  Christ died for us. Much more therefore, being now justified by his blood, shall we be saved from wrath through him.

  10  For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son: much more, being reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.

 

JAMES 4

  15  And the prayer of faith shall save the sick man. And the Lord shall raise him up: and if he be in sins, they shall be forgiven him.

 

  16  Confess therefore your sins one to another: and pray one for another, that you may be saved. For the continual prayer of a just man availeth much.

  17  Elias was a man passible like unto us: and with prayer he prayed that it might not rain upon the earth. And it rained not for three years and six months.

  18  And he prayed again. And the heaven gave rain: and the earth brought forth her fruit.

LUKE  23

  46  And Jesus crying with a loud voice, said: Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit. And saying this, he gave up the ghost.

  47  Now, the centurion, seeing what was done, glorified God, saying: Indeed this was a just man.

  48  And all the multitude of them that were come together to that sight and saw the things that were done returned, striking their breasts.

  49  And all his acquaintance and the women that had followed him from Galilee stood afar off, beholding these things.

 

  50  And behold there was a man named Joseph who was a counsellor, a good and a just man,

 

  51  (The same had not consented to their counsel and doings) of Arimathea, a city of Judea: who also himself looked for the kingdom of God.

MATTHEW 10

  39  He that findeth his life, shall lose it: and he that shall lose his life for me, shall find it.

  40  He that receiveth you, receiveth me: and he that receiveth me, receiveth him that sent me.

  41  He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet, shall receive the reward of a prophet: and he that receiveth a just man in the name of a just man, shall receive the reward of a just man.

 

  42  And whosoever shall give to drink to one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, amen I say to you he shall not lose his reward.

MATTHEW 1

  18  Now the generation of Christ was in this wise. When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child, of the Holy Ghost.

  19  Whereupon Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing publicly to expose her, was minded to put her away privately.

  20  But while he thought on these things, behold the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in his sleep, saying: Joseph, son

LUKE CH. 2

  23  As it is written in the law of the Lord: Every male opening the womb shall be called holy to the Lord:

  24  And to offer a sacrifice, according as it is written in the law of the Lord, a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons:

  25  And behold there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon: and this man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel. And the Holy Ghost was in him.

  26  And he had received an answer from the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death before he had seen the Christ of the Lord.

  27  And he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when his parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the law,


Justification before Baptism

Dear C...

With great difficulty do I write this. It has taken me hours instead of minutes. I'm so sensitive to the computer that every 15 minutes I have to turn off the monitor.......what follows is a little bit of a 'Hodgepodge,'... But I think a couple of very important points are made towards understanding Justification and salvation. They will be met with resistance but the proof is here from Trent. ...Note that without God you can do nothing and especially when comes to salvation & justification.

 

One key to understanding this subject is the correct definition of Justification. This is given here from the Encyclopedic Dictionary 1931, and followed & verified by Trent. They agree.

 

JUSTIFICATION DEFINED:(The Catholic Encyclopedic Dictionary, Donald Attwater 1931)

1) ..Justification is the act of God declaring and making a person just; .it is the change in a soul which passes from the state of sin to that of sanctifying grace or justice.

At the time of the Reformation the following Protestant errors became current : (a) Faith alone is the necessary disposition for Justification ; (b) justifying faith is a mere confidence in the divine mercy ; (c) justification is separable from sanctification; ...

2) Another key is to understand that there is indeed a distinction between Justification and Salvation. Because a man is justified does not mean he is saved. We thank Fr. Feeny for bringing this to our attention.

3) A third key is understand what the following phrase says.

 

<>From Chapter VIIon the cause of justification. ...'the instrumental cause is the sacrament of baptism, which is the sacrament of faith, without which (faith) no man was ever justified; .....'

COMMENT: This does not mean no man was ever justified without Baptism but that no man was ever justified without faith. Men have been justified without baptism! This is perhaps the main source of confusion on this subject.

4) A fourth key is to understand that a man cannot become a saint in a state of sin. More on this later.

 

SESSION 6 CHAPTER VII.

What the justification of the impious is, and what are the causes thereof. This disposition, or preparation, is followed by Justification itself, which is not remission of sins merely, but also the sanctification and renewal of the inward man, through the voluntary reception of the grace, ...whereby an unjust man becomes just, and from being an enemy (state of sin) becomes a friend, (state of grace) that he may be an heir according to hope of life everlasting. (Note that this English translation matches very accurately the original Latin and was compared to it.)

 

Comment: Sins are remitted, and the soul enters into a state of grace.

 

SESSION 6 CHAPTER IV.

....the Justification of the sinner is indicated, as being a translation, from that state in which man is born a child of the first Adam, (therefore in a state of Original Sin) to the state of grace, and of the adoption of the sons of God, through the second Adam, Jesus Christ, our Saviour. And this translation, since the promulgation of the Gospel, cannot be effected, without the laver of regeneration, or the desire thereof, as it is written; unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.

Comment: Since the promulgation of the Gospel... Therefore one could be justified before the 'promulgation' without water. If we compare this with Session VII, Canon 4 on the Sacraments below, we see a consistent thought regarding desire. This above definition is not about salvation but entering into a state of grace. Hence to distinguish this point that the water saves and desire does not, Trent makes the reference to a man being born again etc., from John Ch 3, vs. 5. See session 7 below.

 

SESSION 7 CANON IV ON THE SACRAMENTS IN GENERAL: If any one saith, that the sacraments of the New Law are not necessary unto salvation, but superfluous; and that, without them, or without the desire thereof, men obtain of God, through faith alone, the grace of justification;... let him be anathema.

Comment; This says very clearly that Faith with Desire for the sacraments can justify a man i.e. put him into a state of grace. It also says you cannot be saved without the sacraments. Now if it does not mean what I've just said, then please tell me what it really means. Here is a distinction between Salvation and Justification being made by Trent. You cannot be saved by Desire but you can be justified by it with Faith.

 

Now understand that a soul cannot have sin on it and be in a state of grace at the same time. Or hence a man cannot be justified and be in sin, original or actual. So Trent says here that you can be justified by desire which means you enter into a state of grace and have your sins removed. Yes, without water. Some say that desire is not enough but if you think about it why should water be enough? To emphasize, a person justified by desire and faith is not saved until he receives baptism with water. I did not make this up Trent says it. With this consider the scriptures below.

Luke Ch. 18

10 Two men went up into the temple to pray: the one a Pharisee and the other a publican.

11 The Pharisee standing, prayed thus with himself: O God, I give thee thanks that I am not as the rest of men,

extortioners, unjust, adulterers, as also is this publican.

12 I fast twice in a week: I give tithes of all that I possess.

13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not so much as lift up his eyes towards heaven; but struck his breast, saying: O God, be merciful to me a sinner.

14 I say to you, this man went down into his house justified rather than the other: because every one that exalteth himself shall be humbled: and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

COMMENT: He was justified yet no water was poured on him. His sins were forgiven, but he was not saved. He was in a state of grace inside his soul. If this scripture does not mean this then what does it mean?

 

Luke Ch. 7 About Mary Magdalene.

47 Wherefore, I say to thee: Many sins are forgiven her, because she hath loved much. But to whom less is forgiven, he loveth less.

48 And he said to her: Thy sins are forgiven thee.

49 And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves: Who is this that forgiveth sins also?

50 And he said to the woman: Thy faith hath made thee safe. Go in peace.

COMMENT: Her sins were taken away. No water was poured on her. Certainly if she had not sin she was in a state of grace and therefore justified. Do you agree that she had no sin on her soul after Our Lord said, ' Thy sins are forgiven thee?'

 

I'm not able to edit the following from Romans because of my health so please read the bold type which says Abraham was justified by faith even before circumcision or that therefore he was in a state of grace. Keep in mind what Trent says of a soul in sin:

 

Trent refers to the unbaptised, or those in a state of original sin, as, 'Children of wrath,' 'those under the dominion of the devil,' 'unclean,' 'the servants of sin' and under the 'power of the devil,' (6th Sess. Ch1) If you hold that only water can put a man into a state of grace then you hold that every saint in the old testament was a child of wrath under the dominion of the devil etc. More on this is in the letter at the end of this letter.

 

ROMANS CH 4

Abraham was not justified by works done, as of himself, but by grace and by faith. And that before he was circumcised. Gentiles, by faith, are his children. (Comment: Abraham was justified or had his sins removed and was in a state of grace.) Do you deny this?

 

1 What shall we say then that Abraham hath found, who is our father according to the flesh?

2 For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory, but not before God.

3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God: and it was reputed to him unto justice.

4 Now to him that worketh, the reward is not reckoned according to grace but according to debt.

5 But to him that worketh not, yet believeth in him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is reputed to justice, according to the purpose of the grace of God.

6 As David also termeth the blessedness of a man to whom God reputeth justice without works:

7 Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven: and whose sins are covered.

8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord hath not imputed sin.

9 This blessedness then, doth it remain in the circumcision only or in the uncircumcision also? For we say that unto Abraham faith was reputed to justice.

10 How then was it reputed? When he was in circumcision or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision.

11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the justice of the faith which he had, being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, being uncircumcised: that unto them also it may be reputed to justice:

12 And he might be the father of circumcision; not to them only that are of the circumcision, but to them also that follow the steps of the faith that is in the uncircumcision of our father Abraham.

13 For not through the law was the promise to Abraham or to his seed, that he should be heir of the world: but through the justice of faith.

14 For if they who are of the law be heirs, faith is made void: the promise is made of no effect.

15 For the law worketh wrath. For where there is no law, neither is there transgression.

16 Therefore is it of faith, that according to grace the promise might be firm to all the seed: not to that only which is of

the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all,

17 (As it is written: I have made thee a father of many nations), before God, whom he believed: who quickeneth the dead and calleth those things that are not, as those that are.

18 Who against hope believed in hope; that he might be made the father of many nations, according to that which was said to him: So shall thy seed be.

19 And he was not weak in faith. Neither did he consider his own body, now dead (whereas he was almost an hundred years old), nor the dead womb of Sara.

20 In the promise also of God he staggered not by distrust: but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God:

21 Most fully knowing that whatsoever he has promised, he is able also to perform.

22 And therefore it was reputed to him unto justice.

23 Now it is not written only for him. that it was reputed to him unto justice,

24 But also for us, to whom it shall be reputed, if we believe in him that raised up Jesus Christ, our Lord, from the dead,

25 Who was delivered up for our sins and rose again for our justification.

Comment: Justification in the Old Testament was by faith.

 

Some more to show that even in Adam's time men were able to obtain justice.

HEBREWS CH. 11

What faith is. Its wonderful fruits and efficacy demonstrated in the fathers.

 

1 Now, faith is the substance of things to be hoped for, the evidence of things that appear not.

2 For by this the ancients obtained a testimony.

3 By faith we understand that the world was framed by the word of God: that from invisible things visible things might be made.

4 By faith Abel offered to God a sacrifice exceeding that of Cain, by which he obtained a testimony that he was just, God giving testimony to his gifts. And by it he being dead yet speaketh.

5 By faith Henoch was translated that he should not see death: and he was not found because God had translated him. For before his translation he had testimony that he pleased God.

6 But without faith it is impossible to please God. For he that cometh to God must believe that he is: and is a rewarder to them that seek him.

7 By faith Noe, having received an answer concerning those things which as yet were not seen, moved with fear, framed the ark for the saving of his house: by the which he condemned the world and was instituted heir of the justice which is by faith.

8 By faith he that is called Abraham obeyed to go out into a place which he was to receive for an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing whither he went.

 

EXCERPTS FROM TRENT SESSION 6

DECREE ON JUSTIFICATION

CHAPTER I.
The holy Synod declares ... for the correct .understanding of the doctrine of Justification, it is necessary that each one recognize and confess, that, whereas all men had lost their innocence in the prevarication of Adam-having become unclean, and, as the apostle says, by nature children of wrath, as (this Synod) has set forth in the decree on original sin,-they were so far the servants of sin, and under the power of the devil and...

CHAPTER IV.
By which words, a description of the Justification of the impious is indicated,-as being a translation, from that state wherein man is born a child of the first Adam, to the state of grace, and of the adoption of the sons of God, through the second Adam, Jesus Christ, our Saviour. And this translation, since the promulgation of the Gospel, cannot be effected, without the laver of regeneration, or the desire thereof, as it is written; unless a man be born again of water and the

CHAPTER VII.
This disposition, or preparation, is followed by Justification itself, which is not remission of sins merely, but also the sanctification and renewal of the inward man, through the voluntary reception of the grace, and of the gifts, whereby an unjust man becomes just, and from being an enemy becomes a friend, that so he may be an heir according to hope of life everlasting.

...the instrumental cause is the sacrament of baptism, which is the sacrament of faith, without which (faith) no man was ever justified; .....

(COMMENT: No man was ever justified without faith. Men have been justified without baptism!)

CHAPTER VIII.
And whereas the Apostle saith, that man is justified by faith and freely, ...those words are to be understood in that sense which the perpetual consent of the Catholic Church hath held ...that we are therefore said to be justified by faith, because faith is the beginning of human salvation, ....

 

CHAPTER X.
Having, therefore, been thus justified, and made the friends and domestics of God, advancing from virtue to virtue, they are renewed, as the Apostle says, day by day; that is, by mortifying the members of their own flesh, and by presenting them as instruments of justice unto sanctification, they, through the observance of the commandments of God and of the Church, faith co-operating with good works, increase in that justice which they have received through the grace of Christ, and are still further justified, as it is written; He that is just, let him be justified still; and again, Be not afraid to be justified even to death; and also, Do you see that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. And this increase of justification holy Church begs, when she prays, "Give unto us, O Lord, increase of faith, hope, and charity."

 

Below is a letter written a couple of years ago to attempt to prove that a state of grace existed in the Old Testament.

(2008)

Dear K....–

 

What follows is really is lengthy coming from me but really only an introduction to the subject. It convinces me but is not exhaustive. Keep in mind definitions of terms are crucial in coming to a correct conclusion.

 

It seems that the Council of Trent is focused on and discussing primarily salvation under the Catholic Faith or since Christ. It is not a dissertation on the Old Law and its economy of salvation which was very different. The rules that apply now do not apply to the past except for some principals such as no man could enter heaven before Our Lord did at the Ascension. But everyone in history obviously was or will be saved by the merits of Jesus Christ on the cross. These merits were applied backwards in time, therefore before the actual event, crucifixion, and forward in time to our day. Hence that explains why Adam and Eve were not sent to hell immediately after their sin which would have been just. They were promised a redeemer and that promise and His future merits spared their lives and allowed them to live to work out their salvation under the economy of salvation at that time, before Moses. We know next to nothing about that except they made animal sacrifices. (Cane slew Able etc.) In this regard the Council makes a clear distinction of before and after the promulgation of the Gospel, a distinction between the Old and the New Law.

 

The beginning of the promulgation of the Gospel occurred when the Apostles set out to spread the faith. But before that, let us say before Our Lord was incarnate, a man could be justified without water as the council says: ..This translation ... (into a state of grace) cannot, since the promulgation of the Gospel, be effected except through the laver ...etc.(6th Sess Chp.IV) This certainly implies that before the promulgation a state of grace was possible.

 

Note that the Council of Trent refers to the unbaptised, or those in a state of original sin, as, 'Children of wrath,' 'those under the dominion of the devil,' 'unclean,' 'the servants of sin' and under the 'power of the devil,' (6th Sess. Ch1) and says when a man becomes just, 'from being an enemy becomes a friend.' (Ch VII) Hence these words would apply to every saint in the Old Testament including not only John the Baptist but also to St. Joseph if they were not somehow unable to enter into a state of grace. The Church considers St. Joseph to be the greatest saint next to Our Lady in spite of what the scriptures say about St. John.

 

Now what does it take to become a saint? We know firstly that a man must be in a state of grace and only while in that state can he gain an increase in grace and earn merit in heaven. So a man in a state of sin who gives alms earns no merit towards heaven i.e. towards his rank in heaven. But the same man gives the same alms in a state of grace and he earns an increase in sanctifying grace, an increase in merit in heaven or an increase in his rank amongst men and angels as an eternal reward. The greater the saint the greater the merits he has earned towards heaven, and the more deeply or imitate is the indwelling of the Holy Ghost inside his soul in this life. If Saint Joseph had not lived his life in a state of grace he could not have earned merit in heaven during his entire life in spite of all of his labors working as a carpenter manually without electricity, supporting the Holy Family in his great humility. Which by the way was very great if only because he was the King of Israel by inheritance yet had no throne or palace except the small home in Nazareth. This only added to his spiritual and physical trials which were excessive. Imagine losing the Saviour of the World for three days and nights, or thinking that your wife was pregnant by another man or having to flee with your family to a foreign country by mule to save the Childs life etc. If St. Joseph lived his life in a state of sin he could absolutely have not earned any merit for anything he suffered or did during his entire life. He could not have become the greatest of saints. Its also unthinkable that Our Lord lived with His earthly father day in and out while that father was under the dominion of the devil, and a child of wrath!

 

We know Our Lady was given a special privilege to be conceived immaculately. It was based upon the merits of the cross, which in her time had not yet been earned. She is the only one who received that particular grace at conception from the crucifixion. But that does not mean that she was the only one to receive a grace or graces from the cross before the Passion took place!! Everyone who saved their souls before Christ received graces from the cross. Adam and Eve again received benefits from the cross before the time. Also before the time by the merits of the cross the first Mass occurred on Holy Thursday. This principal of receiving graces today based upon a future or a past event is very clear in the scripture and even way in the Mass.

Our faith looks upon the events of the past, and saints in the Old Testament looked to the events of the future. With God, either is acceptable. And the principal of receiving benefits from the cross, out of time, that is not at the actual time of Our Lords death on the cross is equally valid for the new and the old testament saints. Hence for St. Joseph to be justified is a favor given out of time and based upon a different economy of salvation then what we labor under. We are justified under a new economy of salvation, (defined by Trent,) but still out of time from the time of the cross. To say Old Testament saints could not achieve justification because Christ had not yet died on the cross misses this idea regarding time.

 

To respond directly to your last comments, there is a distinction between holy objects and holy people. Holy Water is water set aside for a holy purpose as our blessed medals and rosaries etc. But holy people are not normally set aside in the same way for a holy purpose, such as yourself. You live in a state of grace but your state in life is in the secular world. A priest of course is different. He is indeed set aside for a holy purpose and dose not live primarily in the secular world. The priest is 'consecrated' in addition to being made holy via a state of grace. So if we abuse an object set aside for a holy purpose such playing with Holy Water or stepping upon a Rosary etc., we commit a sacrilege. Likewise if we abuse a priest and say punch him in the face we commit a sacrilege. But if a holy layman in a state of grace is punched in the face there is not the sin of sacrilege. But the layman can indeed become very holy and become a saint and we say he is sanctified. It does not mean he is set aside for a holy purpose as he may have 12 children and a business. So when the scriptures refer to Jeremias as being holy or sanctified it means he is in a state of grace albeit not necessarily set aside for a holy purpose. See below:

 

Jeremias Ch 1.

4 And the word of the Lord came to me, saying: 5 Before I formed thee in the bowels of thy mother, I knew thee: and before thou camest forth out of the womb, I sanctified thee, and made thee a prophet unto the nations.

It is clear that Jereimias was made holy and also was set aside for a holy purpose, that of being a prophet. To repeat, he was sanctified and set aside as is the priest in the New Law.

For what its worth what follows are some other quotes from scripture:

 

ACTS CH 9(Paul's conversion and zeal.. )

17 And Ananias went his way and entered into the house. And laying his hands upon him, he said: Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus hath sent me, he that appeared to thee in the way as thou camest, that thou mayest receive thy sight and befilled with the Holy Ghost.

What else can that mean except he is to enter into a state of grace? This no doubt happens after his baptism but it is the exact same language as that applied to St. Elizabeth and to St. John.

18 And immediately there fell from his eyes as it were scales: and he received his sight. And rising up, he was baptized.

 

Acts ch2 (The disciples receive the Holy Ghost..)

3 And there appeared to them parted tongues, as it were of fire: and it sat upon every one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost: and they began to speak with divers tongues, according as the Holy Ghost gave them to speak.

Note, only after being filled did they then speak in tongues indicating that this charism occurs in a state of grace.

 

MARK CH 16 (Christ's resurrection and ascension.)

15 And he said to them: Go ye into the whole world and preach the gospel to every creature.

16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall he condemned.

17 And these signs shall follow them that believe: In my name they shall cast out devils. They shall speak with new tongues.

Note, its only after being baptized and then filled with the H. Ghost and then they speak in new tongues. Speaking in tongues occurs in a state of grace.

 

ACTS CH 10 (Cornelius is received into the church.)

43 To him all the prophets give testimony, that by his name all receive remission of sins, who believe in him.

44 While Peter was yet speaking these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them that heard the word.

45 And the faithful of the circumcision, who came with Peter, were astonished for that the grace of the Holy Ghost was poured out upon the Gentiles also. 46 For they heard them speaking with tongues and magnifying God.

47 Then Peter answered: Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, who have received the Holy

Ghost, as well as we? 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ..

 

ACTS CH 19 (Paul establishes the church at Ephesus.)

1 And it came to pass, while Apollo was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper coasts, came to

Ephesus and found certain disciples. 2 And he said to them: Have you received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? But they said to him: We have not so much as heard whether there be a Holy Ghost. 3 And he said: In what then were you baptized? Who said: In John's baptism. 4 Then Paul said: John baptized the people with the baptism of penance saying: That they should believe in him, who was to come after him, that is to say, in Jesus. 5 Having heard these things, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had imposed his hands on them, the Holy Ghost came upon them: and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.

Note again they did not speak in tongues until after baptism and only then did they have the Holy Ghost and only then did they speak in tongues. The Holy Ghost was inside of them.

 

LUKE CH1(The conception of John the Baptist)

15 For he shall be great before the Lord and shall drink no wine nor strong drink: andhe shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb. .... 41 And it came to pass that when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the infant leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost.

This is here for a reference but note that the same phrase is used, ..'Filled with..'

As with St. Joseph, it seems inconceivable that this the greatest of prophets would announce the presence of the Messiah while in a state of sin under the dominion of the devil as a child of wrath etc.

80 And the child grew and was strengthened in spirit: and was in the deserts until the day of his manifestation to Israel.

Time forbids a proper treatment of this passage as well as the whole subject under discussion but a brief commentary follows below from Lapide on this verse. Personally I fail to see what it could mean other than an increased in grace i.e., the indwelling of the Holy Ghost in his soul.

 

LAPIDE:

Verse 80. And the child (Syriac, little boy) grew (Arabic, matured) and was strengthened in spirit: As John grew in body, so also he waxed strong in spirit, because the Holy Spirit from day to day filled him with greater wisdom, grace, and strength. Hence we conclude that the use of reason, which was bestowed upon John in the womb (v. 41), continued after his nativity and increased. So Theophylact says, "The more the child grew, the more the powers of the Spirit were manifested in him, being an organ capable of receiving them." Meaning that the more the growing organs of John's childish body became capable of reason, wisdom, and spirit, the more the Holy Spirit infusedthem into him.And Titus says, "according to the proportion and increase of his age, he advanced in grace and spirit." The same is said of the child Jesus (Luke 2:52), but in a different manner and sense.

In JMJ

Fr. Neal Webster

11/2011

Well C.., there is a lot more to say but I cannot be in front of the computer any longer. Hope this is well received by everyone and I look forward to seeing you on Monday.

I send a blessing to you.

In JMJ

Bishop Neal Webster