Friday, October 8, 2010

Baptism, Part 2

Pope Benedict XVI Celebrates Baptism Of Children At The Sistine Chapel

Our reflection on Baptism continues this week.

The usual way to receive Baptism is by the sacrament itself through the pouring on of water in conjunction with the words: "I baptize you N. in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." The ordinary minister is a bishop, a priest or a deacon. In the case of emergency, anyone can baptize, even an non-baptized person, as long as that person has the intention of doing what the Church does when he baptizes and uses the correct procedure.

Besides the Sacrament of Baptism, there are two other ways of receiving the benefits of Baptism, though they be uncommon. There is the Baptism of blood. This occurs when an non-baptized person suffers death for the sake of the faith. There is also the Baptism of desire. Here, a person desires to receive Baptism, as in the case of one studying the faith, but he or she unexpectedly die without having actually received the Sacrament.

Baptism is the first Sacrament without which one may not receive any of the other remaining six Sacraments. Baptism, as Jesus taught, is necessary for salvation. In the case of infant children who die without Baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God (Catechism, # 1261).

It is understandable why the Church desires baptism for everyone as long as they freely want it with the proper dispositions and intentions. Moreover, we can see why Catholic parents want this for their newborns. They want not only the best for their material well being, but they want the best for them spiritually.

Next week, I will write about the requirements for receiving this Sacrament in the Catholic Church.

Father Stanley