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Early baptism

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 Contents - Nov 2006AD2000 November 2006 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: EWTN and the secular media: fighting fire with fire
Education: The Spirit of Generation Y: the challenge for Catholic schools - Cardinal George Pell
Living the Faith: What distinguishes a practising Catholic? - Bishop Luc Matthys
News: The Church Around the World
England: British Catholicism's dark night of the soul
Books: Is the Catholic Church in Australia 'lost'? - Michael Gilchrist
Brisbane Archdiocese: inclusive language in the liturgy continues - Michael Apthorp
Liturgy: US bishop sets out clear guidelines on celebrations of the Mass - AD2000 REPORT
Television: EWTN: now affordable and accessible in Australia - Moira Kirkwood
Letters: Missal translation - Pat Hurley
Letters: Translation hang-up - Fran Swindale
Letters: Accuracy needed - Carol V. Phillips
Letters: Faith and reason - Peter D. Howard
Letters: Narrow - Norm Yodgee
Letters: Infallible teaching - Don Ford
Letters: Education needed - Judy O'Reilly
Letters: Early baptism - John Schmid
Letters: Declining practice - Gerard J. Keane
Letters: Chavagnes College scholarship applications - Ferdi McDermott
Letters: Conversion by violence - Gregory F.J. O'Regan
Letters: Generation 'Y' - Kevin Cains
Letters: Common sense and married clergy - Errol Duke
Letters: Poem's author - Valerie J.Staunton
Letters: Anonymity - Michael Apthorp
Letters: EWTN by broadband - Bren Scheiner
Poetry: Sometimes Gladness: Collected Poems 1954 to 2005, by Bruce Dawe - Michael Gilchrist (reviewer)
Books: St John Bosco, St Dominic and the Rosary, St Thérèe of Lisieux - Siobhan B. Reeves (reviewer)
DVD: A Family Retreat, by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen - Daniel Tobin (reviewer)
Events: The teachings of the Catholic Church: an exploration
Events: Second Annual Victorian Catholic Students Association Conference 25-26 Nov 2006
Books: Order books from
Reflection: Catholic schools must proclaim the total love of Christ - Fr Sebastian Camilleri OFM

John Young drew attention to the importance of early baptism. Mark Moriarty in reply quoted the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Part of the quote is ‘allow us to hope there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism’. In other words, if the Church does not offer any certainty of salvation for unbaptised babies, neither does it declare they will not achieve salvation.

Here I understand salvation to mean the beatific vision, seeing God face to face in heaven.

The Catechism (1261) also states, ‘the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God’ and ‘God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but He Himself is not bound by His sacraments’.

Based on these teachings, I would question any suggestion that denies any hope of salvation for unbaptised babies. But the Catechism (1261) adds: ‘All the more urgent is the Church's call not to prevent little children coming to Christ through the gift of holy baptism’. Baptism, after all, gives the certainty of salvation to babies, should they die in infancy. Unbaptised, as noted, leaves hope but no certainty.

I think that this is the warning that John Young gave in his article. Cardinal Ratzinger (in The Ratzinger Report) wrote, ‘Limbo was never a defined truth of the faith. Personally - and here I am speaking as a theologian and not as Prefect of the Congregation - I would abandon it since it was only a theological hypothesis.’

Boronia, Vic

[Editor: The flood of letters prompted by John Young's article has continued. Again, it was not possible to publish all of them.]

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 19 No 10 (November 2006), p. 14

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