Baptism of desire: Still controversial.

The sedevancantists at Most Holy Family Monastery (MHFM) claim that a Catholic should not attend the Novus Ordo Mass unless/until the priest affirms his personal belief that “Outside the Church There is No Salvation”.

However here in Rome there are Catholic priests who offer Mass in Italian. They affirm the dogma in public. They also correctly assume that the baptism of desire is implicit and so does not contradict the dogma.The MHFM on the contrary, imply that the baptism of desire is defacto known to us and so being explicit, contradicts the dogma. So the sedevancantists reject the baptism of desire. They believe every one, without exception, needs to enter the Church visibly and they imply that the baptism of desire taught by Trent etc., is an exception to the dogma.

Those who accept the baptism of desire (explicit or implicit) are called heretics by the MHFM. However there are priests from different countries here, who know that the baptism of desire can only be implicit and is never visible. So how can it be an exception to the dogma ?

If the MHFM, American sedevancantists, innocently, like so many Catholics assume that the baptism of desire is visible it is understandable. If they choose to continue in this error even after being informed, then it is heresy. This would apply also to Catholic non-sedevacantists, as they are rejecting the Council of Trent on the baptism of desire and they assume wrongly that the baptism of desire is an exception to the dogma.

Daphne McLeod,Chairman of Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice, England says there can be non-Catholics saved with the baptism of
desire and in invincible ignorance, and this is not an exception
to the dogma “Outside the Church There is No Salvation”.
– Lionel Andrades

Visit Lionel’s Catholic blog


Editor’s note: The term “sedevacantist” essentially means “empty chair” … referring particularly to office of the papacy. With some variations, sedevacantists believe, due to various heresies and apostasy in the modern church, that we no longer have a valid pope sitting in the authoritative chair of St. Peter.

Depending on which group of sedevacantists you encounter, the list of recent, false popes varies, but most begin with Pope John XXIII and go from there. The Most Holy Family Monastery (MHFM) is a relatively “high-profile” example of this type of groups … which are (hopefully) … pretty “far out there” in their theology.

The dogma “Outside the Church there is no salvation” (extra ecclesiam nulla salus) is both ancient and logical. Jesus Christ founded only one Church for the purpose of our salvation, so it just makes good, logical sense to believe that membership in the Catholic Church is (typically) required, in order for a soul to one day, be invited into Heaven.

The Church also rightly admits that our all powerful God is sovereign, and he can choose to save anyone he cares to … for any reason … or for none at all … whether that person is Catholic, Protestant, Pagan, or none of the above. But in any event, salvation remains solely dependent upon the divine application of that saving grace which Jesus obtained for us on the cross, at Calvary.

Yet, the Sacrament of Baptism remains the typical and ordinary means (the door) by which anyone may freely expect to become a member of the Church. And this forms the basis of the controversy!

Traditional Catholics, bolstered by some 1900+ years of consistent church teaching and practice, understand that sacramental baptism is a public, permanent, and very definitive event … for a number of very good reasons.

Alternatively, “baptism of desire” and similar types of “non-standard”, “special arrangements” are typically known only to God, and subject exclusively to his divine prerogatives and will.

Since no man … not even a pope, bishop, or priest … should be so presumptuous as to claim to understand the mind of God … these matters remain extraordinary events, similar to miracles, subject only to God’s inestimable love and incalculable mercy, and closely linked with his divine, all-knowing, eternal system of perfect justice.

In this, the best we can do is hope, since none of us can know … this side of Judgment Day … precisely whom God may have “singled out” for this non-standard “form” of divine mercy.

Yet many Catholics … including some popes, bishops, and priests … claim that God is love, and a loving God would never knowingly permit a soul that might otherwise be saved … to go to hell … simply due to what they consider to be a mere “technicality”. These folks maintain that something well short of the Sacrament of Baptism … “Baptism of Desire” … defined only according to various, theoretical, man-made criteria … is all that’s actually required.

I maintain that anyone who knows (or should know) the constant and traditional teachings and practices of the Catholic Church would be a fool to take any chances at all, when it comes to matters of his/her own, personal salvation. If water baptism was good enough for Jesus (and just about everyone else we know of) then that is obviously the “smart” way to go!

The divine “tie-breaker” in all of this, strongly in favor of reliance on the traditional sacrament, whenever possible, is the power of water baptism to instantly and definitively “wash away” all pre-existing sins of every kind … making 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 … right here and right now, with no waiting.

Can’t beat that!