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Rigorist theory refuted by Fr. Hardon

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Rigorist theory refuted by Fr. Hardon

Post  MRyan on Tue Jun 07, 2011 3:33 pm

http://www.therealpresence.org/archives/Mystical_Body/Mystical_Body_003.htm#_ednref321:

Please note that in the following section, Fr. Hardon is refuting the rigorist doctrine of Raymond Karam; specifically, his article in From the Housetops, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1949, Vol. III, no. 6. And, remember too that unlike the present St. Benedict Center, Karam at least recognized the salvific efficacy of baptism of blood and baptism of desire under certain "explicit" conditions.

Fr. Hardon writes:

II. Criticism of Doctrine

c. Sanctifying Grace without Actual Baptism is Not Sufficient for Salvation

Up to this point, the rigorist position may be summarized thus:

1. Actual Baptism is necessary for justification, except where—
2. Baptism of desire is coupled with:
a. An explicit desire for Baptism
b. An explicit faith in Christ
c. An explicit intension to enter the Catholic Church…death alone preventing the Baptism and actual entrance into Catholic communion.

Now, regarding the votum Baptismi, they conceive of two possibilities in the practical order:

1. For a person who is dying and it is absolutely impossible to give him Baptism of water, he is not only justified but may also be saved.

2. For a person who is not dying, though all the other conditions are fulfilled, including perfect charity, he is only justified but cannot be saved, unless and until he receives actual Baptism. Thus we are plainly told: “Sanctifying grace can be received ahead of the Sacrament of Baptism, and in that case it is sufficient for justification, but this does not mean that it is sufficient for salvation if the actual Sacrament of Baptism is not received.” Even John the Baptist, although “he was born in the state of sanctifying grace…yet he had to be baptized by the Baptism of Christ before he died,” otherwise he would not have been saved. [313]

We have here a distinction between justification and salvation that is not unfamiliar in the history of error. Various reasons have been given at different times for distinguishing between the two, and denying that a person who is justified is ipso facto entitled to salvation. But always the Church has vindicated an equality between the two, in the sense that a person who is justified is truly a friend of God, an heir to heaven, and nothing, per se, stands in the way of his salvation if he dies in the state of grace.

1. Thus, the Council of Trent, in the very decree in which it allows Baptism in re or in voto as a means of justification with a title to salvation. “Justification of a sinner,” it is said, “cannot, since the promulgation of the Gospel, be effected except through the laver of regeneration or its desire, as it is written: ‘Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.’” [314]

2. And shortly after, again, Trent says: “Justification (by whatever means achieved, even by voto Baptismi) is not only a remission of sins but also the sanctification and renewal of the inward man through the voluntary reception of the grace and whereby an unjust man becomes just, and from being an enemy becomes a friend, that he may be an heir according to the hope of life everlasting.” [315]

3. More recently, St. Pius V condemned the following proposition of Baius, that: “In men who are penitent before the Sacrament of absolution, and in catechumens before Baptism, there is true justification, but separated from the remission of sins,” and consequently not entitling them to eternal salvation. [316]

Moreover, when Bellarmine treats the subject of voto membership in the Church for catechumens, he explicitly declares that they are not only justified, but also have a title to salvation. Neither does he require a person to have an explicit desire to be baptized in order to qualify for voto membership. [317]

There is not the slightest suggestion that he considered justification and the possession of sanctifying grace as inadequate for salvation, even when justification was received before Baptism and there was no imminent danger of death. For when Bellarmine speaks of voto membership in the Church, it is always as a means of salvation and not merely of justification. Indeed, the very reason why he concludes to such membership is to explain the salvation of those people who die before receiving actual Baptism. Catechumens, he says, “are fideles and can saved.” [318] And, “when it is said that outside the Church no one can be saved, it must be understood of those who are in the Church neither in reality nor in desire, as theologians commonly speak about Baptism. But since catechumens are in the Church, if not re, at least voto, therefore, they can be saved.” [319]

It is worth special mention to see how the rigorists misrepresented Bellarmine on this issue in a way that is almost unbelievable. They claim that St. Robert is in favor of their position that sanctifying grace before Baptism does not entitle a person to salvation. To prove the point, they quote a Protestant objection from the Controversies and then give the objection itself as the doctrine of St. Robert. Parallel columns will illustrate the case:

BELLARMINE

“Sixteenth objection: … Moreover Augustine (says) in Epist. 57 Ad Dardanum; in lib.1, cap. 7 De Praedestinatione Sanctorum; In lib.1, quaest.2 Ad Simpliciarus; in lib.7, cap.8 De Baptismo; and in lib. IV, cap.21 of the same, that although Cornelius the Centurion was praised in the Scriptures, he was not yet such that he could have been saved, unless he became incorporated in the Church through the Sacrament of Baptism.” [320]

RIGORIST THEORY

“It is clear that Cornelius, who was already in the state of sanctifying grace even before the actual reception of Baptism, would not have been saved if he had not sent for Peter to be baptized by him… St. Robert Bellarmine says…on the authority of St. Augustine: ‘Further, Augustine in his Epistle 57 to Dardamus, in Book 1 Of the Predestination of the Saints, chapter 7; in Book 1, Question 2, To Simplician; in Book 1, Chapter 8, On Baptism; and in Book IV, Chapter 21 of the same, says that Cornelius the Centurion, although he was praised in the Scriptures, was not yet such that he could have been saved, unless he became incorporated in the Church through the Sacrament of Baptism.” [321]

Quite obviously, Bellarmine gives an answer to this objection which he quotes from the Sectarians. He says: “Cornelius had unquestionably received the forgiveness of his sins before Baptism, at least after he heard the faith from Blessed Peter and had a desire for Baptism. For, as it is said in Acts 10, he also had the Holy Spirit dwelling within him. But Augustine in the passages quoted is speaking of the time when Cornelius had not yet heard of Christ and did not even have a desire for Baptism. For, speaking of the later time, Augustine himself says (quest. 35 in Numbers): ‘Cornelius, hearing and believing what Peter preached, was so cleansed that even before visible Baptism he, together with those who were with him, received the gift of the Holy Spirit.’” [322]

[313] Karam, op. cit., pg. 59.
[314] DB 796. [Denzinger-Bannawart, Enchiridion Symbolorum, Friburgi, 1942]
[315] DB 799.
[316] “In nominsibus poenitentibus ante sacramentum absolutionis et in catechumenis ante baptismum est bera justification, separate tamen a remissione peccatorum.” DB 134.
[317] Besides the evidence already given we may add that Bellarmine was too familiar with the mind of St. Thomas, to have departed from the clear statement of the latter on the sufficiency of an implicit desire for Baptism as a condition for salvation. Thus in the Summa, “Ante Baptismum Cornelius et alii similes consequentur gratism et virtutes per fidem Christi et desiderium baptismi implicite vel explicite.” Pars 3a, q. 65, a. 4.
[318] De Ecclesia Militante, cap 8.
[319] De Ecclesia Militante, cap. 9.
[320] De Poenitentia, Lib. III, cap. 14.
[321] Karam, op.cit., Vol. III, pg. 59.
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MRyan

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Re: Rigorist theory refuted by Fr. Hardon

Post  Jehanne on Tue Jun 07, 2011 4:58 pm

MRyan wrote:More recently, St. Pius V condemned the following proposition of Baius, that: “In men who are penitent before the Sacrament of absolution, and in catechumens before Baptism, there is true justification, but separated from the remission of sins,” and consequently not entitling them to eternal salvation. [316]

As a follower of Father Fenney's theology (and, a hopeful Third Order MICM member), I agree with the above (that is, Pope Pius V's condemnation and Father Hardon's addon) 100%!!
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Re: Rigorist theory refuted by Fr. Hardon

Post  tornpage on Tue Jun 07, 2011 5:03 pm

1. For a person who is dying and it is absolutely impossible to give him Baptism of water, he if not only justified but may also be saved.

2. For a person who is not dying, though all the other conditions are fulfilled, including perfect charity, he is only justified but cannot be saved, unless and until he receives actual Baptism. Thus we are plainly told: “Sanctifying grace can be received ahead of the Sacrament of Baptism, and in that case it is sufficient for justification, but this does not mean that it is sufficient for salvation if the actual Sacrament of Baptism is not received.” Even John the Baptist, although “he was born in the state of sanctifying grace…yet he had to be baptized by the Baptism of Christ before he died,” otherwise he would not have been saved. [313]

Whether one is saved or not is determined at the moment of death. So #1 always applies to someone who would be saved by baptism of desire: they can only be saved by "baptism of desire" if baptism was "impossible" to receive. If it were possible for them to be baptized after being justified by baptism of desire, and they weren't baptized, the justification (and salvation) would be lost.

The so-called "Feeneyites" described by Hardon are getting very fuzzy in point #2, and I think they are - this happens with everyone when they put a certain point they want to make above everything else- because they want to emphasize a point (the necessity and obligation for water baptism) so badly that they declare point #2 and . . . fall into a tangle.
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