Maybe the “apple” was covered with chocolate?

chocolate_dipped_apples

Monsignor Charles Pope takes a closer look at the events leading up to The Fall of Man.

On Infant Baptism and the Complete Gratuity of Salvation

It is a simple historical fact that the Church has always baptized infants. Even our earliest documents speak of the practice. For example the Apostolic Tradition written about 215 A.D. has this to say:

The children shall be baptized first. All of the children who can answer for themselves, let them answer. If there are any children who cannot answer for themselves, let their parents answer for them, or someone else from their family. (Apostolic Tradition # 21)

Scripture too confirms that infants should be baptized if you do the math. For example

People were also bringing babies to Jesus to have him touch them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. (Luke 18:15-17 NIV)

So the Kingdom of God belongs to the little Children (in Greek brephe indicating little Children still held in the arms, babes). And yet elsewhere Jesus also reminds that it is necessary to be baptized in order to enter the Kingdom of God:

Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. (John 3:5 NIV)

If the Kingdom of God belongs to little children and we are taught that we cannot inherit it without baptism then it follows that Baptizing infants is necessary and that to fail to do so is a hindering of the little children which Jesus forbade his apostles to do.

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This Week’s Ask Alice: Newborn Babies and Original Sin



Send A Question To Alice

She’ll answer your Catholic questions
right here, every Thursday.

Email responses will also be provided, as time permits.

T.S. writes: Why do some Christians claim that a newborn baby has sinned while other Christians claim that a newborn baby is without sin?

Alice responds: Neither Catholics nor any other Christians claim that a newborn baby has sinned through his own fault. Catholics and many Christians believe that babies are born into the world with the original sin of Adam and Eve, our first parents.

The Old Testament states, “Behold I was shapen in sin,
and in sin did my mother conceive me.”
(Psalm 51:5)

In the New Testament, St. Paul explains the situation this way: “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world and with sin death, death thus coming to all men, inasmuch as all sinned_before the law there was sin in the world, even though sin is not imputed when there is no law_ I say, from Adam to Moses death reigned, even over those who had not sinned by breaking a precept as did Adam, that type of the man to come.” (Romans 5:12-14)

Scripture and tradition teach us that Baptism is necessary for salvation. Jesus set an example for humanity by asking his cousin, John the Baptist, to baptize him (even though John’s was merely a baptism of repentance … not the actual sacrament of Christian baptism.)

“Later Jesus, coming from Galilee, appeared before John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. John tried to refuse him with the protest, ‘I should be baptized by you, yet you come to me!’ Jesus answered, ‘Give in for now. We must do this if we would fulfill all of God’s demands.’ “ (Matthew 3:13-15)

Also, Jesus told Nicodemus, “I solemnly assure you, no one can enter into God’s kingdom without being begotten of water and Spirit. Flesh begets flesh, Spirit begets spirit.” (John 3:5-6)

The Catholic Church considers age 7 to be “the age of reason.”

A 7-year-old child is (generally) considered morally responsible, able to know right from wrong. This is typically the age that children make their first Confessions, since they can understand the 10 commandments and precepts of the Church.

From birth until age 7, a child is considered morally to be an infant, according to most Christians religions, thus incapable of committing a serious sin.

It can be argued some very intelligent children can be morally responsible before age 7. However, all Christians agree that a newborn baby definitely cannot commit a sin.

In Christ’s love,

Alice

Doug Lawrence adds: From the scriptures, we know for certain that death is the universal penalty for sin.

The reverse is also true:
One who has no sin is certainly NOT liable to die.

While the theological implications of this essential concept are truly awesome, one thing can easily be determined, beyond a shadow of a doubt:

The fact that even a newly conceived infant is subject to death provides absolute proof that even innocents such as these are profoundly affected by the Original Sin of Adam and Eve, our first parents.

The scriptures also state clearly that nothing sinful can enter heaven. Hence, the traditional Catholic practice of baptizing newborn infants, with as little delay as possible.

Since the sacrament of baptism, according to the faith of the universal church, washes away all sins (including Original Sin), infuses supernatural grace into the soul, makes the baptized a living temple of the Holy Spirit, an adopted child of God, a member of the church, a citizen of heaven, and co-heir with Jesus Christ, there is absolutely no reason to wait.

Those who believe otherwise have fallen victim to destructive old heresies which may leave their souls, and the souls of all their offspring, in jeopardy.

Better to be safe … than eternally sorry!

St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas on Original Sin


The celebration of the conception of the Blessed Virgin without original sin is the national feast day of the United States.


Bishop John Carroll, the first Catholic bishop in the United States consecrated the United States to the Immaculate Conception in 1792. This might come as a surprise to those who remember that the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception was not proclaimed officially until Pope Pius IX issued Ineffabilis Deus (Ineffable God) on December 8, 1854.

The dogma of Mary’s Immaculate Conception refers to the fact that by a special grace of God when Mary was conceived in the womb of her mother, whom tradition calls St. Anne, she was conceived without original sin, as would be appropriate for the one chosen to be the mother of Jesus. Although the dogma was not proclaimed officially until 1854, the feast has a long history in the church.

Read more from Bishop Kevin Farrell

Can Catholics (Licitly and/or Faithfully) Accept the Theory of Evolution?


This is a great, two-part series by Monsignor Charles Pope, of the Archdiocese of Washington, who is a constant teacher of the authentic faith of the one, holy, apostolic, and Catholic church.

The reader comments tend to be almost as interesting and informative as the article’s content.

Read part one here

Read part two here

Martin Luther believed in the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Here are some surprising words. It seems that Martin Luther, that once Augustinian priest turned Revolutionary, upheld belief in the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception (even before it was declared a dogmatic doctrine in 1854 by Pope Pius IX). The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception holds that Mary was preserved from original sin at her conception and from all sin during her life – that she was conceived, lived, and died without any taint of sin.

The eminent Lutheran scholar Arthur Carl Piepkorn (1907-73) has also confirmed that Luther believed in the Immaculate Conception even as a Protestant. Here is Martin Luther in his own words:

“It is a sweet and pious belief that the infusion of Mary’s soul was effected without original sin; so that in the very infusion of her soul she was also purified from original sin and adorned with God’s gifts, receiving a pure soul infused by God; thus from the first moment she began to live she was free from all sin”

– Martin Luther’s Sermon “On the Day of the Conception of the Mother of God,” 1527.

“She is full of grace, proclaimed to be entirely without sin—something exceedingly great. For God’s grace fills her with everything good and makes her devoid of all evil.

– Martin Luther’s Little Prayer Book, 1522.

Both quotations derive from Luther’s writings after his break from Rome.

Link

Do you go to hell if you don’t believe in God?

Q: Do you go to hell if you don’t believe in God?

I find it hard to believe that God is so touchy that he sends a perfectly good person to hell for all eternity if they don’t believe in him when they are alive.

A: It’s important to understand exactly how these things work.

Due to the first man’s original sin, all of his (Adam’s) descendants (us) are born in a pre-exisiting state of sin, already “pledged” to Satan, the devil.

The only one with the power to break that domination and save someone from eternal slavery to Satan, sin, and death is Jesus Christ.

The work of salvation is typically accomplished through the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic church that Jesus personally founded, for that express purpose.

The sacrament of Baptism provides an authentic and extremely powerful opportunity for an individual to reject Satan and all his works, in favor of Jesus Christ, God and savior.

Once a person has sworn faithful allegiance to Jesus Christ in this way, he is no longer a slave to Satan, but a child of God, a citizen of Heaven, a temple of the Holy Spirit, a member of the church and a co-heir with Jesus Christ. Also necessarily included in this divinely mandated system of things is a provision for the forgiveness of sins.

So far as God being “touchy” … God’s perfect justice demands a certain amount of specificity and fidelity … balanced by a certain quality of divine mercy … something which is not at all unreasonable.

The bottom line is this:

Without faith in Jesus Christ and his church … something that’s typically declared through baptism … a person remains subject to Satan, sin, and eternal death. The only reasonably certain future for one such as this is an eternity in Hell, to which Satan and all his subjects will most certainly be consigned. It’s really that simple.

Since God is sovereign, all powerful, merciful and loving, there’s a chance that he might take pity on someone who has chosen to repeatedly reject him over the course of a lifetime, and choose to save that person’s soul and admit him to heaven, anyway. But that wouldn’t be the norm,  it wouldn’t be exactly fair to all of the other faithful, and it would be very problematic, in many other ways.

So … “good person” … knowing what you now know … why would you want to take that kind of a chance with your eternal destiny?