Water: it's a sign of life, and a sign of death. And in Baptism, we celebrate both of these things. A guest post by Louis Masi of the Archdiocese of New York.
What Catholics can learn from Martin Luther.
St. John says that "there are three witnesses, the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree." Why does he limit it to three witnesses? And why *these* three? What can the waters of Baptism, the Blood of Christ, and the Third Person of the Holy Trinity do that no other witnesses can do?
In Exodus 14:13-14, Moses says to the Israelites, "Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today; for the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be still." It's a famous rallying cry, popularized on everything from t-shirts to non-denominational blogs as a way of living out "faith alone." But there's a problem: Moses' plan is a bad plan, and God corrects him for it.
Four questions routinely arise about the Church's view of the possibility of salvation for those outside of Her ranks: 1. Is Baptism necessary for salvation? 2. Are all of the non-baptized damned? 3. If the non-baptized can be saved, why share the Gospel? 4. Has the Catholic Church changed her answer to these prior three questions? To understand how the Church can simultaneously hold that Baptism is necessary for salvation and that those can be saved who have never been Baptized, we've got to consider two things: how to get to Heaven, and how to get to Hell.
Early Christians like St. Justin Martyr and his companions died for the Christian faith, rather than worshipping idols. But if Protestants like Peter Leithart and Mike Grendon are right, these early Christians were idolaters anyways. Why? Because they believed in transubstantiation, that the bread and wine become the actual Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ. So are Protestants right? Should we call him "Justin Idolater" instead? Or can we trust the early Christians?
Where do unbaptized babies go when they die? Catholics have traditionally said "to Limbo," since they can't go to Heaven (being unbaptized) or Hell (being without actual sin). But didn't Pope Benedict XVI "close" Limbo a few years back?
Woodcut of St. Patrick, Nuremberg Chronicle (1493) In an article entitled Saint Patrick the Baptist?, Stephen R. Button tries to claim St. Patrick for Evangelical Protestantism… or at least disassociate him from Roman Catholicism. Button is hardly alone: you can find similar attempts by Don Boys and others, some of them dating back several decades. The argument tends […]
Masaccio, Baptism of the Neophytes (1425) Do we need to be baptized to be saved? Catholics say yes, while acknowledging that certain cases exist in which water baptism is impossible, and a person is still saved, like the good thief on the cross. In other words, even if it’s possible that someone may be saved without […]
One area in which Catholics and many Protestants agree is that covenant is key to Christianity. After all, Judaism and Christianity are frequently referred to as the “Old Covenant” and “New Covenant,” and the terms Old and New Testament are also tied to the covenant. Granted, we often disagree with how the covenants should be […]