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Circumcision: Type of Baptism and its Necessity

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Circumcision: Type of Baptism and its Necessity

Post  tornpage on Sat Apr 09, 2011 1:00 am

Genesis 17

9 Again God said to Abraham: *And thou therefore shalt keep my covenant, and thy seed after thee in their generations.

10 This is my covenant which you shall observe between me and you, and thy seed after thee: All the male-kind of you shall be circumcised.

11 And you shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin, that it may be for a *sign of the covenant between me and you.

12 An infant of eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man-child in your generations: he that is born in the house, as well as the bought servant, shall be circumcised, and whosoever is not of your stock:

13 And my covenant shall be in your flesh for a perpetual covenant.

14 The male whose flesh of his foreskin shall not be circumcised, that soul shall be destroyed out of his people: because he hath broken my covenant.

Haydock Commentary:

Ver. 11. You shall, either by yourselves, or by the ministry of others, with respect to infants. That part of the body was chosen, because the effects of sin first appeared there; and because a part of the Hebrews' creed was, that Christ should be born of the family of Abraham. --- A sign that Abraham had agreed to the covenant with God, and to be a memorial of his faith and justice, Romans iv. 2; to distinguish also the faithful from infidels; to purge away original sin in male children, eight days old; and to be a figure of baptism. (Menochius) (Tirinus) --- God always appoints some sign of his covenants, as Jesus Christ instituted the holy sacrament of his body and blood, under exterior appearances, to assure us of his new alliance with Christians. (Calmet) --- The sacraments of the old law caused grace, only by means of faith in the Redeemer, of which they were signs. (St. Augustine, de Nupt. ii. chap. ult.[last chap.]) In this sense, the holy fathers assert, that circumcision remitted original sin to those who could receive it; though some think, it was only a bare sign or distinctive mark of the Jews. (Calmet) --- It is far beneath our baptism, which is more easy, general and efficacious; as the Christian sacraments are not like those of Moses, weak and needy elements. (Galatians iv. 9; St. Augustine ep. 158, ad Jan.; Psalm 73, &c.) (Worthington)

Ver. 12. Days, when he will be able to bear the pain without danger. This might be deferred for a just reason, as it was in the desert, Josue v. 6. In this case people might be saved, as younger children and all females might, by the application of the remedies used in the law of nature, sacrifice, the faith of parents, &c. (Menochius) --- Of your stock, and, being arrived at years of discretion, is desirous of enjoying your privileges. Some think, that slaves had no choice left; but servants, and people who had a mind to live in the country, were not bound to submit to this rite against their will. It is even more probable, that none were under this obligation, except Abraham and his posterity by Isaac. His other children adopted it in part, but not with the exactitude of the Jews. (Calmet)

Ver. 14. Circumcised. Septuagint adds, "on the eighth day," with the Samaritan and many Latin copies. (Calmet) --- Destroyed, &c. lose the privileges of the Hebrews, or be put to death, when he grows up and does not supply this defect. St. Augustine reading on the eighth day, concluded that as a child of that age, could not, with reason, be put to death for an offense, in which he could have no share, the destruction here threatened is that of the soul, for transgressing, in Adam, the original covenant, and dying in that state unclean, must be excluded from heaven, as people are now who die unbaptized. This difficult passage may, however, be explained as if the threat regarded the negligent parents. "He who shall not circumcise...shall be destroyed." Syriac, or, as the Hebrew may be rendered, "the male that doth not," &c.; in which case, he becomes guilty of a transgression, when he is arrived at the years sufficient to understand his duty, and does not fulfil it. (Worthington)


I like the KJV translation here also:

Genesis 17:13

He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with they money, must needs be circumcised . . .

All who are born into or brought into the "house" [i.e. the Church] "must needs be circumcised." This is emphatic, and leaves no doubt of the necessity and the fault of omission.

As to those outside "the house" or not aware of the "covenant," I ask how could they break it - or be bound by that of which they are unaware?
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Re: Circumcision: Type of Baptism and its Necessity

Post  MRyan on Sat Apr 09, 2011 9:56 am

Very good.

If you don’t mind, Tornpage, I’d like to move to the New Dispensation and highlight the distinction between the necessity of precept and of means as they relate to your post and the teaching of the CCC that says “Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament”.

Does that mean that those who do not have the possibility of asking for and receiving this sacrament are exempt from the law of Baptism? Yes, but only with respect to necessity of precept. Under the law of grace, however, the obligation and necessity to be regenerated to God through the grace of Baptism remains an intrinsic necessity of means.

The Catechism of the Council of Trent teaches that “the law of Baptism, as established by our Lord, extends to all, so that unless they are regenerated to God through the grace of Baptism, be their parents Christians or infidels, they are born to eternal misery and destruction.

Session VI, Ch. 4, of the Council of Trent it titled: “A description is introduced of the Justification of the impious, and of the Manner thereof under the law of grace.”

And under the law of grace, this translation to the state of grace and of the adoption of the sons of God cannot, since the promulgation of the Gospel, 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.

It should be clear that The Catechism and the Council of Trent are of one mind in teaching that no one at all can be saved (since the promulgation of the Gospel) without being regenerated to God through the grace of Baptism. This is why “the law of Baptism, as established by our Lord, extends to all”; even to infidels who have not heard the Gospel.

As such, regeneration to God through the grace of Baptism is necessary as an intrinsic necessity of means, meaning that without such regeneration by the laver of regeneration, or, when circumstances warrant, by the desire for it, no one at all can be saved. But the obligation to receive the sacrament is lifted as a necessity of Precept for those to whom the Gospel has NOT been proclaimed and who have NOT had the possibility of asking for this sacrament.

Far from “repudiated”, as some Feeneyites claim, the doctrine of St. Thomas Aquinas was confirmed at the Council of Trent and its Catechism, and is taught still today by the Church’s authentic, living and permanent Magisterium.
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Re: Circumcision: Type of Baptism and its Necessity

Post  tornpage on Sat Apr 09, 2011 10:53 am

MRyan,

Of course we are in absolute agreement.

As often, there is some confusion when the term "baptism" is used. Circumcision is a type of the necessity of water baptism. The extension of the type, to the necessity of precept of water baptism, is perfectly set forth in the current CCC, which I had in mind, and which you were good enough to provide:

Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament

Neither the CCC, nor I in pointing to circumcision as a type, was saying that the grace of baptism is not necessary for all, and I hope my post was understood in the sense I intended it.

Let me say, though - and this may stir up some debate - that there is a "gray" area here with those who may be "aware" of the Gospel but yet outside the "house" - Jews, Muslims, pagans etc. who have intercourse with Catholics and are aware of the proclamations (in some sense) of the faith. Where and when does their failure to receive water baptism trigger the necessity that causes the lack thereof to damn them?

There is a mystery here to which we don't know the answer, and I now come around to understanding these words of JPII which used to drive me into an apoplectic fit:

Redemptoris Missio

10. The universality of salvation means that it is granted not only to those who explicitly believe in Christ and have entered the Church. Since salvation is offered to all, it must be made concretely available to all. But it is clear that today, as in the past, many people do not have an opportunity to come to know or accept the gospel revelation or to enter the Church. The social and cultural conditions in which they live do not permit this, and frequently they have been brought up in other religious traditions. For such people salvation in Christ is accessible by virtue of a grace which, while having a mysterious relationship to the Church, does not make them formally part of the Church but enlightens them in a way which is accommodated to their spiritual and material situation. This grace comes from Christ; it is the result of his Sacrifice and is communicated by the Holy Spirit. It enables each person to attain salvation through his or her free cooperation.

For this reason the Council, after affirming the centrality of the Paschal Mystery, went on to declare that "this applies not only to Christians but to all people of good will in whose hearts grace is secretly at work. Since Christ died for everyone, and since the ultimate calling of each of us comes from God and is therefore a universal one, we are obliged to hold that the Holy Spirit offers everyone the possibility of sharing in this Paschal Mystery in a manner known to God."19

I guess I am formally and publicly - if not a Neocon because of my allegiance to the old liturgical traditions (the Latin Mass), at least in spirit - about as far from Feeneyism as I never imagined could be possible.

Though I still maintain that not one of the elect departs this life without the grace of the Gospel and explicit recognition, awareness and acceptance of the One Lord and Redeemer, Jesus Christ.

Soon I'll dredge up in a positive light those comments of Archbishop Lefebvre that drove me crazy. Rolling Eyes SSPX here I come? Not. Hey, JPII and the Archbishop never said what I said in the above paragraph . . . maybe I'm still ok. Very Happy





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Re: Circumcision: Type of Baptism and its Necessity

Post  Jehanne on Sat Apr 09, 2011 11:24 am

Pope Benedict XIV, Cum Religiosi (On Catechesis), 1754, #1, 4: "We could not rejoice, however, when it was subsequently reported to Us that in the course of religious instruction preparatory to Confession and Holy Communion, it was very often found that these people were ignorant of the mysteries of the faith, even of those matters which must be known by necessity of means; consequently, they were ineligible to partake of the Sacraments. [...] school-masters and mistresses should teach Christian doctrine; that confessors should perform this part of their duty whenever anyone stands at their tribunal who does not know what he must by necessity of means know to be saved."

"All ceremonies are professions of faith, in which the interior worship of God consists. Now man can make profession of his inward faith, by deeds as well as by words: and in either profession, if he make a false declaration, he sins mortally." ( Summa Theologica I-II, Q.103, A.4 )

"If we consider unbelief as we find it in those who have heard nothing about the faith, it bears the character of punishment, not of sin, because such ignorance is the result of the sin of our first parents. When such unbelievers are damned, it is on account of other sins, which cannot be taken away without faith, not because of their sin of unbelief." ( Summa Theologica, II-II, Q.10, a.1. )

"Everyone is bound to believe something explicitly...even if someone is brought up in the forest or among wild beasts. For it pertains to Divine Providence to furnish everyone with what is necessary for salvation, provided that on his part there is no hindrance. Thus, if someone so brought up followed the direction of natural reason in seeking good and avoiding evil, we must most certainly hold that God would either reveal to him through internal inspiration what had to be believed, or he would send some preacher of the faith to him as He sent Peter to Cornelius (Acts 10:20)." ( The Disputed Questions on Truth, Q.14, a.11. )

"After grace had been revealed, both learned and simple folk are bound to explicit faith in the mysteries of Christ, chiefly as regards those which are observed throughout the Church, and publicly proclaimed, such as the articles which refer to the Incarnation, of which we have spoken above ( Question 1, Article 8 ). As to other minute points in reference to the articles of the Incarnation, men have been bound to believe them more or less explicitly according to each one's state and office." ( Summa Theologica, II-II, Q.2, A.7 )

"It is impossible to believe explicitly in the mystery of Christ, without faith in the Trinity, since the mystery of Christ includes that the Son of God took flesh; that He renewed the world through the grace of the Holy Ghost; and again, that He was conceived by the Holy Ghost. Wherefore just as, before Christ, the mystery of Christ was believed explicitly by the learned, but implicitly and under a veil, so to speak, by the simple, so too was it with the mystery of the Trinity. And consequently, when once grace had been revealed, all were bound to explicit faith in the mystery of the Trinity: and all who are born again in Christ, have this bestowed on them by the invocation of the Trinity, according to Matthew 28:19: 'Going therefore teach ye all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.'" ( Summa Theologica, II-II, Q.2, A.8 )

"Explicit faith in those two things was necessary at all times and for all people: but it was not sufficient at all times and for all people." ( Summa Theologica, II-II, Q.2, A.8 )

The Athanasian Creed, infallibly declared at the Council of Florence and reaffirmed again at the Council of Trent:

1. Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic faith;

2. Which faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.

3. And the catholic faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity;

28. He therefore that will be saved must thus think of the Trinity.

29. Furthermore it is necessary to everlasting salvation that he also believe rightly the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.

30. For the right faith is that we believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and man.

44. This is the catholic faith, which except a man believe faithfully he cannot be saved.

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."
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Re: Circumcision: Type of Baptism and its Necessity

Post  tornpage on Sat Apr 09, 2011 11:46 am

Jehanne,

I love these citations that pop up, like a yo-yo on a string coming out of the darkness. Who is this aimed at?

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."

Yeah, right. Even JPII says that in his most liberal musings:

Christ is the one mediator between God and mankind: "For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, the testimony to which was borne at the proper time. For this I was appointed a preacher and apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth" (1 Tm 2:5-7; cf. Heb 4:14-16). No one, therefore, can enter into communion with God except through Christ, by the working of the Holy Spirit. Christ's one, universal mediation, far from being an obstacle on the journey toward God, is the way established by God himself, a fact of which Christ is fully aware. Although participated forms of mediation of different kinds and degrees are not excluded, they acquire meaning and value only from Christ's own mediation, and they cannot be understood as parallel or complementary to his.

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