Part 1 of this series discussed scholastic dishonesty in a general manner to show how quotes from the authoritative sources can be made to sound as if they have stated unreasonable propositions which they themselves obviously wouldn't. Parts 2 through 4 of this series introduced Peter Dimond's treatise, "Outside the Catholic Church There is Absolutely No Salvation," (hereinafter referred to as "the Treatise"), an attempt which gathers a great deal of material about the question of Baptism of Blood (hereinafter referred to as "BOB") and Baptism of Desire (hereinafter referred to as "BOD"), and there, the standard dogmatic and doctrinal texts, Sacred Scripture, and the Church Fathers were explored to see if their declarations and statements really showed any reason to doubt the Catholic doctrines of BOB and BOD, and to expose some significant instances of scholastic dishonesty employed to make it seem as if they did. Parts 5 and 6 began a consideration of the objections that the Church has raised to the denials of BOB and/or BOD, thus far including the teachings of the Council of Trent, its Catechism, the teachings of the Popes (on invincible ignorance and other things), and the peculiar mode of "private interpretation" that so characterizes all denials of BOB and BOD.
It is with some joy and relief as I set to writing this installment what I have learned regarding my correspondent whose sojourn with the Dimond brothers originally occasioned this series. In particular, he has clearly abandoned that error/heresy, and he credits me with having made the truly persuasive points, as most other writers seemed to have left him rather unimpressed. These sorts of events are always the one "wage" which this laborer in the Lord's vineyard is permitted to enjoy while as yet serving in the Church Militant, and it has proven to be quite an encouragement to me, weary as I have been in this battle not of my own choosing. It would be an easy temptation to slap the dust off my hands, consider it "mission accomplished," and move on to other more interesting writing projects (at least more interesting to me!). But that course is unacceptable. I think of it as being like when a doctor prescribes a sequence of twenty antibiotic pills to take, one a day, until all are used up. It is not good to stop taking them, say, six days in, no matter how well one is feeling at that time, for the full dose is necessary to eliminate the subtler and more virulent strains that may as yet still reside latent in the patient's system. I am therefore forced to press on to completion, clear to the bitter end, come what may.
In 1928, in a Eucharistic Congress being held in Sydney, Australia, a certain ordained priest Reverend Doctor Leslie Rumble commenced something called a "Question Box Radio Session, in which questions put to him, preferably by non-Catholics, were to be answered by him, thus showing the Catholic position regarding the question, and also how right that Catholic position is. In 1937, Fr. Rumble first published a selection of questions and answers from the first five years of that series in a book titled "Radio Replies." So popular was that book that the very next year, an American edition, based largely on Fr. Rumble's work, but also edited and adapted for American use by a Diocesan Missionary, another true priest - the Reverend Charles Mortimer Carty, was published by the Cathedral Press, located in the Chancery Building in Saint Paul, Minnesota, with the blessing (and imprimatur, dated February 11, 1938) of Archbishop John Gregory Murray. Publication Shortly thereafter, a need to explore the same categories of questions in more depth and detail, also drawing on questions and answers provided after 1932, materialized in a joint project of these two priests to provide another pair of volumes to accompany the initial "Radio Replies" volume, to be published by a newly-created "Radio Replies Press" also located in St. Paul Minn. In pell-mell order, volumes 2 and 3 of the Radio Replies series appeared in 1940 and 1942 (imprimatured July 10, 1940 and December 27, 1941, respectively by the same Archbishop).
In the course of the widespread attitudinal changes brought about as a result of Vatican II, publication of the Rumble and Carty books quietly lapsed sometime in the early-mid 1960's, seemingly to allow these extraordinary apologetic works to begin a decline into obscurity. Nevertheless, the three volumes are quite well-known to virtually all real Catholics today, thanks to the efforts of one Thomas A. Nelson of TAN Books and Publishers who reprinted them all three in a facsimile edition in 1979, and which remains in print to this day. What is not so well-known to most real Catholics of the English-speaking world today is the fact that Frs. Rumble and Carty later on had also prepared and published a fourth volume to this series in 1954, this time titled "That Catholic Church - A Radio Analysis" (imprimatured and introduced that same year by the same Archbishop, John Gregory Murray and also published by the same Radio Replies Press). Publication of this volume lapsed together with the other three, and sadly, this volume has yet to see print again, and is now available only through rare book dealers. The first three volumes addressed 1,588, 1,422, and 1,364 questions each, respectively, and to this the fourth volume added 1,650 more questions and answers, bringing the total to 6,024 questions and challenges to the Faith that have been answered by these intrepid and holy priests, full of a proper and true missionary spirit.
The original three volumes all came out while Fr. Feeney was as yet still an ordinary priest in good standing, and heretofore not as yet denying BOB or BOD. The fourth volume, being published after all the various decrees and declarations regarding Fr. Feeney and his "St. Benedict Center" however, does mention him, and of this more will be said in a future installment. One sees here however just how unfortunate it is that TAN Books has not reprinted this volume, thus unfortunately leaving the "Feeney" question unresolved in their published books. Perhaps if only it had been reprinted along with the rest this whole question might have been rendered moot, given the wide familiarity many have with this series of books (or rather, with the first three volumes). I mention these books, partially to push and plug this wonderful series of trustworthy books on the Catholic Faith, but also to introduce what seems to me to be one of the most succinct and yet accurate descriptions of what St. Thomas Aquinas actually accomplished, and why it is that he is listed as the greatest Doctor of the Church. It states (in the fourth book, Question numbers 439-441):
439. In his book, "Fall of the Idols," Dean Inge said that the Roman Catholic Church has been captured by the Thomistic Philosophy.
That sounds pretty sinister! But a Church is not captured by the philosophy it produces. Nor does Thomistic philosophy, as Dean Inge seems to imply, enslave the mind. It liberates the mind from the shackles of error and skepticism. What Modernists do not like about Thomistic philosophy is that it insists on the permanent value of truth, and will not let you contradict yourself. Modernists want whatever they may happen to think for the moment to be true, and they do not want to be tied down to consistency.
440. Would you please explain to us what is the Thomistic Philosophy of which he speaks?
It is the philosophy which derives its name from St. Thomas Aquinas, who died in 1274 A.D. St. Thomas Aquinas brought the philosophy taught in the European Christian Universities of the Middle Ages to its highest development. In general, the philosophy of these Christian Universities or "Schools" is known as "Scholasticism."
To understand Scholasticism, we must realize that Christians, besides knowing a great body of truth in the merely natural order, to be discovered from a study of this world, have received from God by revelation the knowledge of many truths belonging to the supernatural order which natural reason could not discover for itself. Of these revealed truths, therefore, pagan philosophers were necessarily ignorant.
Now Christian philosophers knew that, since God is the Author of all truth, whether of natural truth to be discovered by men from a study of the world He created, or of supernatural truth made known to us by revelation, nothing that is really true can ever contradict anything else that is really true.
They set to work, therefore, to unify and to harmonize both natural and supernatural truth.
They studied the philosophy of the pagan Greeks, of Plato and Aristotle, of the Stoics and Epicureans and others; they sifted the philosophies of the ancient Romans, and of the more recent Arabians; whatever of natural truth they found in these philosophies they accepted, rejecting what was false in them. Reason and logic were their guides; but they never lost sight of the additional supernatural truths made known to mankind by divine revelation. They therefore labored to build up a rational system of both philosophy and theology which did justice to every phase of truth whether known to us by reason or by revelation.
No one succeeded in the Middle Ages in this work so well as St. Thomas Aquinas, and the philosophical side of Scholasticism at its best is known as the Thomistic Philosophy.
The Protestant reformers not only rejected the teaching authority of the Catholic Church in the realm of faith, but also Thomistic philosophy in the realm of reason; and the result has been both doctrinal and philosophical confusion.
441. Do all Catholic priests have to study Thomistic philosophy?
Yes; although we should rather call it Neo-Thomistic philosophy. The past 700 years since the time of St. Thomas have naturally brought to light much information in the fields of science and of history of which he knew nothing. Where corrections have had to be made, they have been made; but the basic principles of the philosophy of St. Thomas, principles of what we call "philosophical realism," are permanently sound; and any departure from them leads to imaginative and often fantastic theories scarcely worthy of the name of philosophy. Students for the priesthood have to make a comparative study of these other and rival philosophies in order to be familiar with other people's ways of thinking and speaking in such matters. But the Neo-Thomistic philosophy, a philosophy of strict logic and common-sense, is the one upon which their own training is based.
The key point here is that what St. Thomas Aquinas introduced is not so much a body of knowledge, but rather a scientific process by which, through logic and reason, with ever an eye to the eternal truths already established in Divine revelation, our understanding of the Divine truths (and for that matter, all other truths, for example, of the material sciences), what we already know can be built upon and specific knowledge deepened. The Law of non-Contradiction (borrowed from Aristotle) is key within Scholasticism's logical pursuit of absolute consistency among all the facts and doctrines known, as understood by the Church.
There is a reason that Theology is called the "Queen of the Sciences," and St. Thomas Aquinas has a great deal to do with its having that title. So often these days people often associate "science" with the physical sciences, with Physics, Chemistry, Zoology, Botany, Geology, Astronomy, and so forth, and when one says the word "scientist" one pictures a spectacled man wearing a white lab coat, carrying a test tube, and equipped with all manner of nifty equipment such as electron microscopes and particle accelerators. In some cases one might even be willing to consider mathematics and mathematicians. Then there are also the so-called "soft sciences," such as Sociology or Psychology, in which results tend to be based more on statistical observations than rigorous and repeatable cause and effect, careful measurement, or mathematical proof.
Perhaps one part of the problem is that when a person goes to Elementary or Junior or Senior High School and takes a class in "science" or any specific "science," such as Physics or Chemistry etc., what he is taught is not the scientific method of thought and research and advancement of knowledge, but rather a corpus of "knowledge" as it stands within the particular field. For example, in Chemistry class one is taught what other Chemists have discovered, but not how these truly scientific Chemists came up with their theories, their experiments, or how they were able to use their experiments and findings to prove their theories to the general community of Chemical scientists. And while only the material sciences (or rather, their findings) commonly get taught in "science" classes, other categories of knowledge get lumped under such other, separate names, as History, English, Spanish, French, Mathematics, Sociology, Physical Ed., Health Ed., Industrial Arts, Home Economics, and (if attending a Catholic or any other "church" school) Religion. As if these alternate fields of study have nothing to do with science. So the common response whenever I or Fr. Anthony Cekada or Fathers Rumble and Carty or anyone else refer to Theology as being a science, tends to be one of incomprehension and the ever-classic "Huh?"
But Theology is also a science, and ultimately one as exact as any other. A study of the science of Theology is not merely some advanced catechism class. But where in the other sciences the means of evidence is the science experiment, or else the mathematical proof, the means of evidence in Theology is the scholastic findings, in particular that of Divine Revelation, in the form of the Sacred Scriptures. In short, the science of Theology depends heavily upon scholarship, hence the other name for the science of Theology (as developed by St. Thomas Aquinas), namely Scholasticism. Every other source is ancillary to that one source, on account of the fact that Divine Revelation itself completed with the last writing of the last Biblical writer putting down his pen for the very last time.
Of course, in this case it hasn't exactly helped that Sacred Scripture is not thematically or topically organized, as a Catechism would be, nor is it alphabetically arranged, as an encyclopedia or dictionary would be, but rather (and only loosely) chronologically, as God has revealed Himself over the ages of human history. Furthermore, many basic topics (such as the Triune nature of God) are not expounded upon within the pages of Holy Writ but have to be deduced from the most glancing mentions of the topic in Scripture, and also from the other basic "font" of Divine Revelation, namely Sacred Tradition.
But what exactly IS Sacred Tradition? Sacred Scripture we can at least positively identify as being the canonical books of the Holy Bible, nothing more nothing less. The nature and scope of Sacred Tradition on the other hand seems far more vague and unclear, with much more room for error, and yet it is upon Sacred Tradition we depend heavily for determining which of the two or more interpretations of Sacred Scripture, is actually the right one, as understood by those who first read and wrote it. In many standard Catechetical works, Sacred Tradition is typically identified with the "oral" tradition, as distinguished from the "written" tradition of Sacred Scripture.
In most cases, "oral tradition" would seem to be one of the more slippery concepts since such could easily be altered over time and no one would be the wiser, especially if done slowly and carefully. But as it happens in the case of Catholic Tradition (the "oral tradition" of all that is not contained in Sacred Scripture, or at most only glancingly hinted at therein), though this information did not get enshrined in the Bible itself, it did get captured within the writings of what is called the Ancient Fathers. Back in the first several centuries, when doctrinal corruption was largely prevented by the living memory of what the Church believed from the very first onward and jealously guarded, a great many of the saints (and also a very few non-saints whose writings nevertheless are considered essential to documenting the early practice and belief of the Church) left behind writings, either directly or as quoted by others, which tell us much of the most ancient beliefs of the Church, of how the Ancient Church originally understood its own Scriptures, of how She worshipped, and so forth. It was kind of a case of "Well, Ignatius told me that Polycarp told him that he had heard the Apostle John teach that… - so now I hereby commit it to writing."
One cannot call the writings of these Ancient Fathers "Tradition" itself, but rather Tradition is that body of revelatory information which is documented by these Ancient Fathers. Of these Ancient Fathers, some were Popes (e. g. Saints Leo the Great and Gregory the Great), others have since come to be counted as Doctors (e. g. Saints Ambrose, Augustine, Jerome, Athanasius, Basil), thus introducing another category of doctrinal source that would continue well past the Age of the Fathers (once the early Church would cease to be a matter of living memory) with such great figures as Saints Bernard of Clairvaux, Thomas Aquinas, Robert Bellarmine, and Alphonse de Liguori. Besides such great Doctors of the Church there also continue (in a manner of speaking, kind of "replacing" the Ancient Fathers of which there can be no more) the "Theologians" many of who seem to differ from the Doctors only in sheer scale of knowledge and learning, recognition, or other more subtle criteria beyond the scope of this essay to explore. And then also there has been all along the Popes and Councils, not only the great "Ecumenical Councils," but also any number of lesser local Councils and Synods and so forth.
With all of these extraordinary helps, one should be able to form a cohesive and comprehensive understanding of all that the Church solemnly teaches and enjoins upon to embrace as true. What the Popes and Councils tend to ratify is what the Doctors and Theologians (and before them the Ancient Fathers) have managed to conclude through their application of the principles of the science of Theology. For the true science of Theology is no mere building of castles in the air, but an objective science which provides within itself the means to ascertain the truth or falsehood of any possible claim or teaching.
Whenever a heresy came along, it was invariably a product of what happens when the true principles of the science of Theology are not applied, when ancient quotes, whether from Scripture or Ancient Fathers, are merely taken as useful to some agenda instead of understood in their original and full intent. Hence it never took long for those who were expert in the Theological sciences to detect a heresy, once it was brought to their attention. Where problems would enter in would be when a Pope, perhaps asleep at the wheel, or worse in some private sympathy with the heresy (whatever his public infallibility necessitated him to say, should he comment upon the topic of question), would delay or even refuse to endorse the teachings of the Theological and scientific community so as to rout the heresy and deprive it of any recognition among the Faithful.
Of the Doctors of the Church, no one (at least of anything like a Catholic frame of mind) could ever deny that St. Thomas Aquinas is the greatest, even the "Angelic Doctor," a title given to no other. And needless to say, he too has weighed in at some length upon the Baptism of Blood and Desire issue. As I have done before, I prefer to present his comments at some length, so that one may see the most crucial quotes in their true context, and understand them as much as possible, in the sense he originally intended. Then I will explore the manner in which tiny portions are quoted or misquoted in the Treatise so as to create a false impression.
For those not familiar with the Summa Theologica, I should tell you that it takes a format somewhat strange to modern readers, but once one sees what the format actually is, one sees the same format being repeated in cookie-cutter-like fashion in the Sainted Doctor's entire Summa. In writing the Summa, it was his goal to make even the most subtle and abstruse doctrinal concepts accessible to the ordinary reader. The format, once one get's used to it, is actually quite nice and makes for interesting reading regarding whatever question is being addressed.
Each numbered "Article" starts with a Title, framed in the manner of a question (much like found in many catechisms today such as the Baltimore Catechism, and also the Radio Replies series). Then there comes a numbered series of "Objections" to the Catholic position (usually about three but sometimes more and rarely, fewer). These objections may be culled from casual questions heard in the street, the writings of heretics or various other heterodox or unorthodox persons, or even from rival schools of theological thought or saintly writings that have been decided against. Some may even have been posited by himself in a hypothetical fashion, e. g. "What if somebody were to ask…," or "I suppose somebody could say..." After the objections comes an "On the contrary" in which the standard Church position, culled from the Fathers, the Popes and Councils, or catechisms, or other contemporary sources of doctrinal teaching is then given. This is the Church's standard "position" regarding the question, as was commonly given in his own day. Following that St. Thomas adds his own further commentary and enlargement of the Church's position with his "I answer that" in which he discusses the question more thoroughly but still in general terms. At the last comes his "Replies to Objections" in which he directly addresses the various objections, item by item, in a numbered series in which the numbers match the number assigned to the objection being responded to.
There are three such articles which directly address the issues pertinent to BOB and BOD, plus several others which also have some bearing on this issue. I start here with the main three articles, one at a time, in full:
St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica III, Q. 66: Article 11. Whether three kinds of Baptism are fittingly described--viz. Baptism of Water, of Blood, and of the Spirit?
Objection 1. It seems that the three kinds of Baptism are not fittingly described as Baptism of Water, of Blood, and of the Spirit, i.e. of the Holy Ghost. Because the Apostle says (Ephesians 4:5): "One Faith, one Baptism." Now there is but one Faith. Therefore there should not be three Baptisms.
Objection 2. Further, Baptism is a sacrament, as we have made clear above (Question 65, Article 1). Now none but Baptism of Water is a sacrament. Therefore we should not reckon two other Baptisms.
Objection 3. Further, Damascene (De Fide Orth. iv) distinguishes several other kinds of Baptism. Therefore we should admit more than three Baptisms.
On the contrary, on Hebrews 6:2, "Of the doctrine of Baptisms," the gloss says: "He uses the plural, because there is Baptism of Water, of Repentance, and of Blood."
I answer that, As stated above (Question 62, Article 5), Baptism of Water has its efficacy from Christ's Passion, to which a man is conformed by Baptism, and also from the Holy Ghost, as first cause. Now although the effect depends on the first cause, the cause far surpasses the effect, nor does it depend on it. Consequently, a man may, without Baptism of Water, receive the sacramental effect from Christ's Passion, in so far as he is conformed to Christ by suffering for Him. Hence it is written (Apocalypse 7:14): "These are they who are come out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes and have made them white in the blood of the Lamb." In like manner a man receives the effect of Baptism by the power of the Holy Ghost, not only without Baptism of Water, but also without Baptism of Blood: forasmuch as his heart is moved by the Holy Ghost to believe in and love God and to repent of his sins: wherefore this is also called Baptism of Repentance. Of this it is written (Isaiah 4:4): "If the Lord shall wash away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall wash away the blood of Jerusalem out of the midst thereof, by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning." Thus, therefore, each of these other Baptisms is called Baptism, forasmuch as it takes the place of Baptism. Wherefore Augustine says (De Unico Baptismo Parvulorum iv): "The Blessed Cyprian argues with considerable reason from the thief to whom, though not baptized, it was said: 'Today shalt thou be with Me in Paradise' that suffering can take the place of Baptism. Having weighed this in my mind again and again, I perceive that not only can suffering for the name of Christ supply for what was lacking in Baptism, but even faith and conversion of heart, if perchance on account of the stress of the times the celebration of the mystery of Baptism is not practicable."
Reply to Objection 1. The other two Baptisms are included in the Baptism of Water, which derives its efficacy, both from Christ's Passion and from the Holy Ghost. Consequently for this reason the unity of Baptism is not destroyed.
Reply to Objection 2. As stated above (Question 60, Article 1), a sacrament is a kind of sign. The other two, however, are like the Baptism of Water, not, indeed, in the nature of sign, but in the baptismal effect. Consequently they are not sacraments.
Reply to Objection 3. Damascene enumerates certain figurative Baptisms. For instance, "the Deluge" was a figure of our Baptism, in respect of the salvation of the faithful in the Church; since then "a few . . . souls were saved in the ark [Vulgate: 'by water'," according to 1 Peter 3:20. He also mentions "the crossing of the Red Sea": which was a figure of our Baptism, in respect of our delivery from the bondage of sin; hence the Apostle says (1 Corinthians 10:2) that "all . . . were baptized in the cloud and in the sea." And again he mentions "the various washings which were customary under the Old Law," which were figures of our Baptism, as to the cleansing from sins: also "the Baptism of John," which prepared the way for our Baptism.
I cannot imagine a more clear and explicit description of BOB and BOD exactly as the Church has always taught, but nowhere quite so clear as here. And this is in the words of probably the greatest Doctor of the Church. One should think that this alone should be the end of any denials of BOB and BOD, and the writer of the Treatise to be at quite a loss to deal with this. As it is, his response is quite disingenuous, actually going so far as to try to slur the good name and orthodoxy of the Sainted Doctor.
Latching on to nothing more than one tiny extract from the above, he attempts to "prove" that St. Thomas Aquinas taught the absurdity of "three baptisms," as if he were somehow unaware that there is only "one faith, one baptism." See here with what brutality he tortures the words of the Angelic Doctor:
In Summa Theologica III, Q. 66, Art. 11, St. Thomas tries to explain his belief in baptism of desire and blood. He tries to explain how there can be "three baptisms" (water, blood and desire) when St. Paul declares in Ephesians 4:5 that there is only one. He says:
"The other two Baptisms are included in the Baptism of Water, which derives its efficacy, both from Christ's Passion and of the Holy Ghost."
With all due respect to St. Thomas, this is a feeble attempt to answer the objection as to how there can be "three baptisms" when God reveals that there is only one. It is feeble because St. Thomas says that the other two baptisms, desire and blood, are included in the baptism of water; but this is false.
But having now seen the quote in full, can you not see that the whole absurd notion of "three baptisms" is introduced, not by St. Thomas himself, but by his Objector(s), the first two of which are raising exactly the same false claim that Fr. Feeney and Peter Dimond and others like them today, who deny BOB and BOD, always raise. In no way is the Angelic Doctor endorsing here their claim to BOB and BOD making for "three baptisms" as though the well-known fact of there being only "one faith, one baptism" would refute BOB and BOD. In only two places (once in his "I answer that" and once in his "Reply to objection 1") does St. Thomas use the word "baptisms" with the plural with regards to directly addressing the absurd claim of the objector who so used the plural. In a third place (in his "Reply to objection 2") he deliberately omits the word but merely says "The other two" but omitting the word "baptisms" to avoid repeating such a sacrilege a third time. It is exactly as if he meant to put quotation marks around the phrase (but in the 1200's writers didn't do this sort of thing) exactly as Fr. François Laisney of the SSPX does in his article about the three errors of those who follow Fr. Feeney. Properly, if this had been a common practice in his day, the sentence quoted in the Treatise should have read, "The other two 'Baptisms' are included in the Baptism of Water…"
More importantly, St. Thomas has here acknowledged the Scripture regarding "one faith, one baptism" and in no way repudiated it, even while responding to the objection that introduced this scriptural passage. So it is useless to speculate "what St. Thomas would have said if he had lived until the dogmatic Council of Vienne in 1311" since he clearly showed here no need to wait until that Council to be aware of that dogmatic fact. He would have maintained exactly the same teaching, and with exactly the same wording. Hence it is possible (and certain in the next section) that he would only have employed the plural word "baptisms" as a shorthand for "modes of receiving the one baptism." And the plural of baptism could also refer to separate baptismal events, as for example "We had two baptisms today. We baptized Jim and then we baptized Suzan." (And that's if he actually did say "baptisms" since, for all I know, it is even possible that the translation may have been somewhat sloppy here.) The third objection regarding multiple baptisms (namely of John, or of the Flood, etc.) has no bearing on the question of BOB and BOD, but rather shows an opposite error also possible in this area, together with the Saint's response to it. I included it here only for completeness.
And what problem has the author of the Treatise with St. Thomas' statement to the effect that the "other two" are included in the Baptism of Water? He continues, "One who receives baptism of water doesn't receive baptism of desire and baptism of blood, even according to the baptism of desire advocates. Therefore, it is false to say, as St. Thomas does, that the other two baptisms are included in the baptism of water; they most certainly are not." Well excuse me, but there is not a single "baptism of desire advocate" who would dare to deny what St. Thomas has taught here, for it is in fact quite obvious that the "other two" most certainly are included in the Baptism of Water. How so? Desire is included in that there must be a desire to be baptized on the part of the person (or of their parents and godparents on their behalf in the case of infants) to be baptized, else the Church will not baptize the person. So right there is the desire. And the Sacrament of Baptism derives its efficacy from the merits of the Passion of Christ, thus uniting the baptismal candidate with our Lord's own martyrdom.
We are then (in the Treatise) treated to not just one but two repetitions of Peter Dimond's distortion of Pope Paul III, The Council of Trent, Can. 5 on the Sacrament of Baptism in which he inserted the words, "[the Sacrament]" so as to distort the plain meaning of the text (as I explained in the previous installment), as if that is supposed to refute St. Augustine's words (quoted by St. Thomas as an "On the contrary" in Article 2 of Q. 68) to the effect that it seems that some must have been saved without the sacrament itself. But the Sainted Doctor of the Church is by no means through discussing BOB and BOD:
St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica III, Q. 66: Article 12. Whether the Baptism of Blood is the most excellent of these?
Objection 1. It seems that the Baptism of Blood is not the most excellent of these three. For the Baptism of Water impresses a character; which the Baptism of Blood cannot do. Therefore the Baptism of Blood is not more excellent than the Baptism of Water.
Objection 2. Further, the Baptism of Blood is of no avail without the Baptism of the Spirit, which is by charity; for it is written (1 Corinthians 13:3): "If I should deliver my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing." But the Baptism of the Spirit avails without the Baptism of Blood; for not only the martyrs are saved. Therefore the Baptism of Blood is not the most excellent.
Objection 3. Further, just as the Baptism of Water derives its efficacy from Christ's Passion, to which, as stated above (Article 11), the Baptism of Blood corresponds, so Christ's Passion derives its efficacy from the Holy Ghost, according to Hebrews 9:14: "The Blood of Christ, Who by the Holy Ghost offered Himself unspotted unto God, shall cleanse our conscience from dead works," etc. Therefore the Baptism of the Spirit is more excellent than the Baptism of Blood. Therefore the Baptism of Blood is not the most excellent.
On the contrary, Augustine (Ad Fortunatum) speaking of the comparison between Baptisms says: "The newly baptized confesses his faith in the presence of the priest: the martyr in the presence of the persecutor. The former is sprinkled with water, after he has confessed; the latter with his blood. The former receives the Holy Ghost by the imposition of the bishop's hands; the latter is made the temple of the Holy Ghost."
I answer that, As stated above (Article 11), the shedding of blood for Christ's sake, and the inward operation of the Holy Ghost, are called baptisms, in so far as they produce the effect of the Baptism of Water. Now the Baptism of Water derives its efficacy from Christ's Passion and from the Holy Ghost, as already stated (11). These two causes act in each of these three Baptisms; most excellently, however, in the Baptism of Blood. For Christ's Passion acts in the Baptism of Water by way of a figurative representation; in the Baptism of the Spirit or of Repentance, by way of desire. but in the Baptism of Blood, by way of imitating the (Divine) act. In like manner, too, the power of the Holy Ghost acts in the Baptism of Water through a certain hidden power. in the Baptism of Repentance by moving the heart; but in the Baptism of Blood by the highest degree of fervor of dilection and love, according to John 15:13: "Greater love than this no man hath that a man lay down his life for his friends."
Reply to Objection 1. A character is both reality and a sacrament. And we do not say that the Baptism of Blood is more excellent, considering the nature of a sacrament; but considering the sacramental effect.
Reply to Objection 2. The shedding of blood is not in the nature of a Baptism if it be without charity. Hence it is clear that the Baptism of Blood includes the Baptism of the Spirit, but not conversely. And from this it is proved to be more perfect.
Reply to Objection 3. The Baptism owes its pre-eminence not only to Christ's Passion, but also to the Holy Ghost, as stated above.
In that article St. Thomas makes the case that BOB (specifically) is actually of greater merit than Baptism in Water, despite the fact that it does not impart the sacramental character. Notice that BOB was so solidly founded that it wasn't even a question as to whether it exists, but only whether the merits of BOB were superior to the merits of either BOD or Baptism of Water. Perhaps if St. Thomas were writing this today, with Fr. Feeney's teachings known, he would have to have added an "Objection 4. Baptism of Blood would be of no avail whatsoever because 'unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.'" Somehow I just can't see his hypothetical "Reply to Objection 4.," being "Oh my God! I never thought of that. Maybe there is no Baptism of Blood or of Desire." But actually, we don't need to speculate about what he would say. In this third and most amazing of these most basic quotes I show the full context of the quote from St. Augustine mentioned above:
St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica III, Q. 68: Article 2. Whether a man can be saved without Baptism?
Objection 1. It seems that no man can be saved without Baptism. For our Lord said (John 3:5): "Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter the kingdom of God." But those alone are saved who enter God's kingdom. Therefore none can be saved without Baptism, by which a man is born again of water and the Holy Ghost.
Objection 2. Further, in the book De Eccl. Dogm. xli, it is written: "We believe that no catechumen, though he die in his good works, will have eternal life, except he suffer martyrdom, which contains all the sacramental virtue of Baptism." But if it were possible for anyone to be saved without Baptism, this would be the case specially with catechumens who are credited with good works, for they seem to have the "faith that worketh by charity" (Galatians 5:6). Therefore it seems that none can be saved without Baptism.
Objection 3. Further, as stated above (1; 65, 4), the sacrament of Baptism is necessary for salvation. Now that is necessary "without which something cannot be" (Metaph. v). Therefore it seems that none can obtain salvation without Baptism.
On the contrary, Augustine says (Super Levit. lxxxiv) that "some have received the invisible sanctification without visible sacraments, and to their profit; but though it is possible to have the visible sanctification, consisting in a visible sacrament, without the invisible sanctification, it will be to no profit." Since, therefore, the sacrament of Baptism pertains to the visible sanctification, it seems that a man can obtain salvation without the sacrament of Baptism, by means of the invisible sanctification.
I answer that, The sacrament or Baptism may be wanting to someone in two ways. First, both in reality and in desire; as is the case with those who neither are baptized, nor wished to be baptized: which clearly indicates contempt of the sacrament, in regard to those who have the use of the free-will. Consequently those to whom Baptism is wanting thus, cannot obtain salvation: since neither sacramentally nor mentally are they incorporated in Christ, through Whom alone can salvation be obtained.
Secondly, the sacrament of Baptism may be wanting to anyone in reality but not in desire: for instance, when a man wishes to be baptized, but by some ill-chance he is forestalled by death before receiving Baptism. And such a man can obtain salvation without being actually baptized, on account of his desire for Baptism, which desire is the outcome of "faith that worketh by charity," whereby God, Whose power is not tied to visible sacraments, sanctifies man inwardly. Hence Ambrose says of Valentinian, who died while yet a catechumen: "I lost him whom I was to regenerate: but he did not lose the grace he prayed for."
Reply to Objection 1. As it is written (1 Samuel 16:7), "man seeth those things that appear, but the Lord beholdeth the heart." Now a man who desires to be "born again of water and the Holy Ghost" by Baptism, is regenerated in heart though not in body. thus the Apostle says (Romans 2:29) that "the circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not of men but of God."
Reply to Objection 2. No man obtains eternal life unless he be free from all guilt and debt of punishment. Now this plenary absolution is given when a man receives Baptism, or suffers martyrdom: for which reason is it stated that martyrdom "contains all the sacramental virtue of Baptism," i.e. as to the full deliverance from guilt and punishment. Suppose, therefore, a catechumen to have the desire for Baptism (else he could not be said to die in his good works, which cannot be without "faith that worketh by charity"), such a one, were he to die, would not forthwith come to eternal life, but would suffer punishment for his past sins, "but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire" as is stated 1 Corinthians 3:15.
Reply to Objection 3. The sacrament of Baptism is said to be necessary for salvation in so far as man cannot be saved without, at least, Baptism of desire; "which, with God, counts for the deed" (Augustine, Enarr. in Ps. 57).
Dear God, this quote is exactly as if St. Thomas were reaching outside time to appear here and now to debate Fr. Feeney and all those who followed him in his error/heresy! Though the denial of BOD by Peter Abélard was already known to him via his heretical writings, or at least the responses made to them by Saints Bernard of Clairvaux and Hugh of Saint Victor, the Council of Sens, and Pope Innocent II, these sorts of objections answered, as raised by St. Thomas, even hint at the possibility of someone denying BOB, not that anyone doing such had actually appeared anywhere! And yet even with this St. Thomas is not through speaking to this issue within the Summa. In the very next article we find (but this time I cropped out the "Objections," the "On the contrary," and the "Replies to objections" to cut more to the chase here):
St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica III, Q. 68: Article 3. Whether Baptism should be deferred?
I answer that, In this matter we must make a distinction and see whether those who are to be baptized are children or adults. For if they be children, Baptism should not be deferred. First, because in them we do not look for better instruction or fuller conversion. Secondly, because of the danger of death, for no other remedy is available for them besides the sacrament of Baptism.
On the other hand, adults have a remedy in the mere desire for Baptism, as stated above (Article 2). And therefore Baptism should not be conferred on adults as soon as they are converted, but it should be deferred until some fixed time. First, as a safeguard to the Church, lest she be deceived through baptizing those who come to her under false pretenses, according to 1 John 4:1: "Believe not every spirit, but try the spirits, if they be of God." And those who approach Baptism are put to this test, when their faith and morals are subjected to proof for a space of time. Secondly, this is needful as being useful for those who are baptized; for they require a certain space of time in order to be fully instructed in the faith, and to be drilled in those things that pertain to the Christian mode of life. Thirdly, a certain reverence for the sacrament demands a delay whereby men are admitted to Baptism at the principal festivities, viz. of Easter and Pentecost, the result being that they receive the sacrament with greater devotion.
There are, however, two reasons for forgoing this delay. First, when those who are to be baptized appear to be perfectly instructed in the faith and ready for Baptism; thus, Philip baptized the Eunuch at once (Acts 8); and Peter, Cornelius and those who were with him (Acts 10). Secondly, by reason of sickness or some kind of danger of death. Wherefore Pope Leo says (Epist. xvi): "Those who are threatened by death, sickness, siege, persecution, or shipwreck, should be baptized at any time." Yet if a man is forestalled by death, so as to have no time to receive the sacrament, while he awaits the season appointed by the Church, he is saved, yet "so as by fire," as stated above (2, ad 2). Nevertheless he sins if he defer being baptized beyond the time appointed by the Church, except this be for an unavoidable cause and with the permission of the authorities of the Church. But even this sin, with his other sins, can be washed away by his subsequent contrition, which takes the place of Baptism, as stated above (Question 66, Article 11).
Notice anything familiar here? He points out that baptism for infants should not be deferred, but that baptism for adults can and typically should be deferred until the appropriate times, for various practical reasons he explains here. Exactly like what the Catechism of the Council of Trent said, as presented a couple installments ago! He also mentions and integrates that ultimate recourse to BOD (or BOB) together with what Pope Siricius wrote (quoted elsewhere in the Treatise) about how water Baptism should not be deferred even for adults in cases where there is immediate danger of death, as well as that ultimate recourse to BOD (or BOB):
Pope St. Siricius, Letter to Himerius, 385: "As we maintain that the observance of the holy Paschal time should in no way be relaxed, in the same way we desire that infants who, on account of their age, cannot yet speak, or those who, in any necessity, are in want of the water of holy baptism, be succored with all possible speed, for fear that, if those who leave this world should be deprived of the life of the Kingdom for having been refused the source of salvation which they desired, this may lead to the ruin of our souls. If those threatened with shipwreck, or the attack of enemies, or the uncertainties of a siege, or those put in a hopeless condition due to some bodily sickness, ask for what in their faith is their only help, let them receive at the very moment of their request the reward of regeneration they beg for. Enough of past mistakes! From now on, let all the priests observe the aforesaid rule if they do not want to be separated from the solid apostolic rock on which Christ has built his universal Church."
Indeed, one finds this woven throughout the warp and woof of all of his teaching. If BOB and BOD did not fit into an overall understanding of Catholic theology, one should be able to find some arbitrary barrier between two inconsistent schools of thought on this within the works of the one man, for there is no way to integrate that which is false into a true theological system. But instead he has thoroughly integrated BOB and BOD quite seamlessly into the Theology of the Summa. For example, I provide here one short extract, namely from Question 61, Article 1, Whether sacraments are necessary for man's salvation:
In Objection 2, the idea is ventured that "Further, the Apostle was told (2 Corinthians 12:9): "My grace is sufficient for thee." But it would not suffice if sacraments were necessary for salvation. Therefore sacraments are not necessary for man's salvation." The Scripture is true of course, but the spin put on it (anticipating Protestant claims again quite accurately) is most certainly not. The reasons he provides are all based on the nature of man, of his dependence upon material things, of his voluntary subjection to same in his fall from Grace, and in the need for him to enshrine his commitments to God with material acts. In summary of this St. Thomas writes "It follows, therefore, that through the institution of the sacraments man, consistently with his nature, is instructed through sensible things; he is humbled, through confessing that he is subject to corporeal things, seeing that he receives assistance through them: and he is even preserved from bodily hurt, by the healthy exercise of the sacraments." Finally his reply to objection 2 is "God's grace is a sufficient cause of man's salvation. But God gives grace to man in a way which is suitable to him. Hence it is that man needs the sacraments that he may obtain grace."
See the Scriptural point is acknowledged, but the need for sacraments is shown only from the lesser causes of the nature and fall of man. Man (in the person, usually, of a cleric) needs the Sacraments in order to impart God's grace to a man, but most pointedly it does not say anywhere that God Himself needs such a sacrament in order to bestow His own grace to a man, for "God's grace is a sufficient cause of man's salvation." The sacraments exist, because of the way God instituted His Church to function, based on the nature of man, but not that God would not be capable of working outside that box should He so choose.
At the other end, see how Baptism of Desire is taken as an assumed in this discussion of the Eucharist:
St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica III, Q. 73: Article 3. Whether the Eucharist is necessary for salvation?
Objection 1. It seems that this sacrament is necessary for salvation. For our Lord said (John 6:54): "Except you eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink His blood, you shall not have life in you." But Christ's flesh is eaten and His blood drunk in this sacrament. Therefore, without this sacrament man cannot have the health of spiritual life.
Objection 2. Further, this sacrament is a kind of spiritual food. But bodily food is requisite for bodily health. Therefore, also is this sacrament, for spiritual health.
Objection 3. Further, as Baptism is the sacrament of our Lord's Passion, without which there is no salvation, so also is the Eucharist. For the Apostle says (1 Corinthians 11:26): "For as often as you shall eat this bread, and drink the chalice, you shall show the death of the Lord, until He come." Consequently, as Baptism is necessary for salvation, so also is this sacrament.
On the contrary, Augustine writes (Ad Bonifac. contra Pelag. I): "Nor are you to suppose that children cannot possess life, who are deprived of the body and blood of Christ."
I answer that, Two things have to be considered in this sacrament, namely, the sacrament itself, and what is contained in it. Now it was stated above (1, Objection 2) that the reality of the sacrament is the unity of the mystical body, without which there can be no salvation; for there is no entering into salvation outside the Church, just as in the time of the deluge there was none outside the Ark, which denotes the Church, according to 1 Peter 3:20-21. And it has been said above (Question 68, Article 2), that before receiving a sacrament, the reality of the sacrament can be had through the very desire of receiving the sacrament. Accordingly, before actual reception of this sacrament, a man can obtain salvation through the desire of receiving it, just as he can before Baptism through the desire of Baptism, as stated above (Question 68, Article 2). Yet there is a difference in two respects. First of all, because Baptism is the beginning of the spiritual life, and the door of the sacraments; whereas the Eucharist is, as it were, the consummation of the spiritual life, and the end of all the sacraments, as was observed above (Question 63, Article 6): for by the hallowings of all the sacraments preparation is made for receiving or consecrating the Eucharist. Consequently, the reception of Baptism is necessary for starting the spiritual life, while the receiving of the Eucharist is requisite for its consummation; by partaking not indeed actually, but in desire, as an end is possessed in desire and intention. Another difference is because by Baptism a man is ordained to the Eucharist, and therefore from the fact of children being baptized, they are destined by the Church to the Eucharist; and just as they believe through the Church's faith, so they desire the Eucharist through the Church's intention, and, as a result, receive its reality. But they are not disposed for Baptism by any previous sacrament, and consequently before receiving Baptism, in no way have they Baptism in desire; but adults alone have: consequently, they cannot have the reality of the sacrament without receiving the sacrament itself. Therefore this sacrament is not necessary for salvation in the same way as Baptism is.
Reply to Objection 1. As Augustine says, explaining John 6:54, "This food and this drink," namely, of His flesh and blood: "He would have us understand the fellowship of His body and members, which is the Church in His predestinated, and called, and justified, and glorified, His holy and believing ones." Hence, as he says in his Epistle to Boniface (Pseudo-Beda, in 1 Corinthians 10:17): "No one should entertain the slightest doubt, that then every one of the faithful becomes a partaker of the body and blood of Christ, when in Baptism he is made a member of Christ's body; nor is he deprived of his share in that body and chalice even though he depart from this world in the unity of Christ's body, before he eats that bread and drinks of that chalice."
Reply to Objection 2. The difference between corporeal and spiritual food lies in this, that the former is changed into the substance of the person nourished, and consequently it cannot avail for supporting life except it be partaken of; but spiritual food changes man into itself, according to that saying of Augustine (Confess. vii), that he heard the voice of Christ as it were saying to him: "Nor shalt thou change Me into thyself, as food of thy flesh, but thou shalt be changed into Me." But one can be changed into Christ, and be incorporated in Him by mental desire, even without receiving this sacrament. And consequently the comparison does not hold.
Reply to Objection 3. Baptism is the sacrament of Christ's death and Passion, according as a man is born anew in Christ in virtue of His Passion; but the Eucharist is the sacrament of Christ's Passion according as a man is made perfect in union with Christ Who suffered. Hence, as Baptism is called the sacrament of Faith, which is the foundation of the spiritual life, so the Eucharist is termed the sacrament of Charity, which is "the bond of perfection" (Colossians 3:14).
One should note here that though a subtle difference is deduced between John 3:5 and John 6:54, that difference is not based on any difference in their wording as written in the Bible, but on what effect Baptism has towards the Eucharist for which there is no equivalent prior to Baptism so as to have a similar effect on Baptism itself. Hence in the case of infants who die before receiving the Eucharist, their baptism united them to the Church's intention (or "desire," if you will) to receive the Eucharist on their behalf, and which desire, as with the desire in an adult, suffices in the absence of access to the Sacrament. But how could Baptism of Desire be so neatly paralleled to what might be called a "Eucharist of Desire" (actually making its explicit appearence as when one makes a "spiritual communion" when unable to receive for whatever reason) unless both existed, not as mere speculations or private opinions, but as integrally established components of Catholic doctrine? This again shows BOD (specifically) to be something woven through the warp and woof of all theology from the beginning and not merely something tacked on after the fact.
It really has not been explained anywhere (satisfactorily or not) why those who deny BOB and BOD seem to feel that God is somehow incapable of bestowing His grace upon a man under any circumstances, regardless of how extraordinary or exceptional that may be, apart from those He instituted that use His Church as the agent through the visible performance of the Sacraments. No such explanation has ever been produced, for no such has ever existed. And surely, if BOD and BOB were not universal opinions held throughout the Church, at least some great Doctor or Theologian would have come up with it so as to account for such a lack on the part of God's power. And even more ironic is how, after such discrediting of St. Thomas, the Treatise goes on to quote him as an authority only a couple sections later, on the subject of invincible ignorance (pages 88-89)! If St. Thomas were so fallible as the Treatise would have us believe, of what use would be his comments regarding invincible ignorance?
But of course we know St. Thomas most certainly is a good guide we can safely follow, and is rightly quoted on the topic of invincible ignorance, but see here the algorithm used throughout the Treatise. If what someone says is useful to the agenda, quote them as though they were the most sagacious guide to the truth, but where what they have to say goes against the agenda, point up just how "fallible" they are, as if they just can't even figure out which way is up. And how does one go about claiming fallibility for St. Thomas (beyond the obvious fact that he was never a pope)? The holy sainted Doctor is introduced, not as the greatest, or at least one of the greatest Church Doctors of all time, but rather thus:
St. Thomas Aquinas, despite all of his fabulous writing and learning about the Catholic Faith, being a fallible human being, was wrong on many points, including his explicit statement in the Summa Theologica that "The flesh of the Virgin was conceived in Original Sin." One scholar noted that the book St. Thomas was writing when he died was called The Compendium of Theology, in which are found at least nine explicit errors. In fact, "over thirty years ago, Dr. Andre Daignes, Professor of Philosophy in Buenos Aires, Argentina, pointed out twenty-four formal errors in the Summa of St. Thomas." This simply proves again that the theological speculations of even our greatest sainted theologians are just that - fallible speculations.
So, his writing was "fabulous," was it? What faint praise for him of whom whole papal encyclicals were written only to praise his theological methods and manner of thought! What do we really hear about him in the Treatise? That he "was wrong on many points." No one who is "wrong on many points" gets to be a Church Doctor. In fact, even if we allow for all "nine" or "twenty-four" errors (and even allowing these counts not to include that more glaring error regarding the Immaculate Conception) that hardly would constitute "many" errors out of the colossal size and weight (both literal-physical as well as theological) of his entire corpus of works and writings. As I have not tracked down any of these supposed "nine" or "twenty-four" errors (Which is it - nine or twenty-four? Can't these guys count?) I cannot comment on what any of these supposed errors would be (if indeed they be errors of our sainted Doctor and not merely errors of this mysterious "Dr. Andre Daignes, Professor of Philosophy in Buenos Aires, Argentina"). But regarding the only error actually identified, namely regarding the Immaculate Conception, there can be something to say.
But first, this gets back to the real value of St. Thomas' work. He was a theological scientist. What he developed was a method of finding out what is true and of reconciling all truth within itself, be it theological, material, or of any other domain. All truths of every domain fit together and hang together, and above all must be consistent within it. It is the method of his thinking for which he is praised, not that body of specific information (necessarily) that resulted from following this scientific method which he came up with. When, some centuries down the pike, the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception came to be finally codified infallibly by Pope Pius IX as being yea verily a true dogma, the reasoning by which the pope and his curia and counselors came up with that teaching was all based solidly on the scientific methods originally developed by St. Thomas. The Catholic Encyclopedia affirms as much:
St. Thomas at first pronounced in favor of the doctrine in his treatise on the "Sentences" (in I. Sent. c. 44, q. I ad 3), yet in his "Summa Theologica" he concluded against it. Much discussion has arisen as to whether St. Thomas did or did not deny that the Blessed Virgin was immaculate at the instant of her animation, and learned books have been written to vindicate him from having actually drawn the negative conclusion. Yet it is hard to say that St. Thomas did not require an instant at least, after the animation of Mary, before her sanctification. His great difficulty appears to have arisen from the doubt as to how she could have been redeemed if she had not sinned. This difficulty he raised in no fewer than ten passages in his writings (see, e.g., Summa III:27:2, ad 2). But while St. Thomas thus held back from the essential point of the doctrine, he himself laid down the principles which, after they had been drawn together and worked out, enabled other minds to furnish the true solution of this difficulty from his own premises.
In the thirteenth century the opposition was largely due to a want of clear insight into the subject in dispute. The word "conception" was used in different senses, which had not been separated by careful definition. If St. Thomas, St. Bonaventure, and other theologians had known the doctrine in the sense of the definition of 1854, they would have been its strongest defenders instead of being its opponents.
So why didn't St. Thomas come up with the correct dogma, if he had this so great method at his disposal? Well, as conceded by all he was no pope and fallibly did in this case merely fail to follow his own methods completely. But you want to see something really scary? The author of the Treatise actually recommends going back and "tweaking" the works of the Fathers and Doctors to bring them in accord with later findings. In discussing yet another "What-about" objection to the claims of his Treatise regarding a certain "papal silence" about BOB and BOD, he actually says the following:
One example that is very interesting to consider in this regard is the fact that no pope ever ordered St. Thomas Aquinas's opinion on the Immaculate Conception to be removed from the Summa Theologica, ... St. Thomas taught that Mary was not conceived immaculate more than once in the Summa Theologica. Obviously, he taught this before the definition of Mary's immaculate conception by Pope Pius IX in 1854, but to hold St. Thomas's position after that time would be heretical. Yet, the popes from 1854 on consistently recommended the Summa Theologica to seminarians and priests without ordering that St. Thomas's (now heretical) opinion be removed!
Imagine what an Orwellian scenario that would be, to have popes ordering all the doctrinal sources, Scripture, Fathers, Doctors, Theologians, etc. to have their works all "updated" with more recent doctrinal findings. And yet the author of the Treatise is actually in favor of this! One can only imagine the extent to which all these sources could be corrupted to a frankly fallible untrustworthiness if ever the Modernists should begin this sort of effort in earnest. Well, they now obviously have at least this one vote to go ahead and do so.
No, a man's work is to be inviolate, even his mistakes. And we see how those mistakes are handled even within the Summa itself. For example, the point has often been made that St. Cyprian's claim that baptisms of heretics are not valid has been subsequently ruled false by the Church. But no one would even dream of altering St. Cyprian's works to correct this mistake. Let us see what St. Thomas does with this. In Question 64, Article 9, in the Reply to objection 2, St. Thomas writes "Cyprian, however, thought that heretics do not confer even the sacrament: but in this respect we do not follow his opinion. Hence Augustine says (De unico Baptismo xiii): 'Though the martyr Cyprian refused to recognize Baptism conferred by heretics or schismatics, yet so great are his merits, culminating in the crown of martyrdom, that the light of his charity dispels the darkness of his fault, and if anything needed pruning, the sickle of his passion cut it off.'"
It is reported that this papal ruling was brought to St. Cyprian's attention and the holy saint promptly backed down regarding this claim. But do you see how this is handled? He is quoted as he actually wrote, but then regarding what he wrote, St. Thomas in quoting him adds, "in this respect we do not follow his opinion." Once again, another saint, Hugh of Saint Victor also once wrote down something that was wrong and again, this time in Question 66, Article 1, in the Reply to objection 2, St. Thomas writes, "As already stated, the opinion of Hugh of St. Victor on this question is not to be followed." By the same token, commentators on St. Thomas Aquinas's Summa, when discussing the topic of the Immaculate Conception, will tend to say similar things about his mistake in this one area. And that's all that's needed. For example, a prominent online edition of the Summa presents the famous quote about the Immaculate Conception, as follows:
St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica I, Q. 14: Article 3. Whether Baptism should be deferred?
Reply to objection 1. The flesh of the Virgin was conceived in original sin, [See introductory note to 27] and therefore contracted these defects.
The bracketed section (and brackets themselves) are in the translation of the Summa, both as originally printed as well as in the online edition. Regrettably, the introductory note itself to Question 27, contained in the original printed copy of the Second and Revised Edition, 1920, literally translated by Fathers of the English Dominican Province, was stripped off in preparing the online edition. But it doesn't take a genius to figure out that this introductory note was included to address this discrepancy, so that the reader does not come away denying the Immaculate Conception. Question 27 deals in quite some detail regarding the question of "The sanctification of the Blessed Virgin," and as the Catholic Encyclopedia quoted above indicates, was a significant and positive contributor towards the eventual decision made by the Pope in 1854.
At this point appears yet another abused quote out of context. Apparently he has taken Objection 3 from the above-quoted Question 68, Article 2, to heart and made this "objection" his own, without regard for the fact that St. Thomas already replied to it. And if one is not familiar with the structure of the Summa (which I described above before the first quote therefrom), one might think that this was some teaching of St. Thomas rather than something he refuted. After all, why stress the point that this was something "in St. Thomas' own Summa" unless there was the hope that the reader might not notice that it is in it as an "Objection," and as such included not as St. Thomas's own opinion, but one he refutes? The Treatise quotes it thus:
According to Part III, Q. 68, A. 2, Obj. 3 in St. Thomas' own Summa Theologica, 'that is necessary without which something cannot be (Metaph. V).' Thus, 'necessary' means without which something cannot be. Thus, salvation cannot be - it is impossible - without the Sacrament of Baptism (de fide, Council of Trent).
Notice also in that quote as given in the Treatise that it adds a reference to Trent ("(de fide, Council of Trent)"), which obviously was not in the Summa and only added by the author of the Treatise so as to add apparent weight to this objection, though as I have already shown in addressing Trent, no such claim was ever declared anywhere therein. St. Thomas already replied to that exact claim thus:
St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica III, Q. 68: Article 2. Whether a man can be saved without Baptism?
Reply to Objection 3. The sacrament of Baptism is said to be necessary for salvation in so far as man cannot be saved without, at least, Baptism of desire; "which, with God, counts for the deed" (Augustine, Enarr. in Ps. 57).
In other words, Baptism indeed is necessary, though it can be supplied with either the Sacrament of Baptism (using water) or else by desire or blood. Whatever we may think of the saint's rather terse way of putting this as we look at his response to it today, obviously St. Thomas did not think such a claim as being worthy of any further refutation. And then in this case, rather than introduce a fourteenth place to reiterate the Tridentine Council's declaration regarding the necessity of "baptism" with the words "[the Sacrament]" added to it he simply paraphrases it (deleting the need for brackets, since this is no real quote) as "Thus, salvation cannot be - it is impossible - without the Sacrament of Baptism (de fide, Council of Trent)."
But it is easy to say at this point, "Well, St. Thomas was only one person, and as only popes are infallible, what do we care of his opinions when he says something we disagree with?" But it isn't just one Doctor. And even of more significance, the "mistakes" or "errors" or whatever the author of the Treatise would like to call them (that of the Immaculate Conception, the other mysterious nine or twenty-four errors, etc.), are only of one Doctor. It is true that St. Thomas seems to have erred on the topic of the Immaculate Conception, but there are no others among the Doctors (with the possible exception of St. Bonaventure, who as his friend and contemporary was greatly influenced by him); he stood alone in this. On the other hand, BOB and BOD are proven, defended, or at least acknowledged by quite a number of Church Doctors. Let's put together what we have in this regard:
We have Saint Ambrose who wrote of BOD specifically in the case of Emperor Valentinian (and taking BOB as an assumed). Then we have Saint Augustine who defended BOB and BOD at some length, and whom I already quoted in this defense back in the fourth installment. Of these two Doctors of the Church who also happen to be among the Ancient Fathers, more shall be said in a later installment devoted to the Ancient Church Fathers. Next we have St. Bernard of Clairvaux whom I quoted at length in my third installment and therefore need not repeat. Then we have St. Thomas Aquinas whom I have quoted at length in this installment.
St. Bonaventure (the contemporary of St. Thomas) is also known to have endorsed the three modes of baptism, for in a commentary on the Eucharist in which he identifies the distinction between eating Christ with the mouth (in Holy Communion, whether received justly or sacrilegiously), and eating Christ with the heart (either in proper devotion as one eats His flesh with his mouth at the same time, or only with the heart where Holy Communion cannot be received, as in what we today would call making a "spiritual communion"), in this vein he even makes a passing remark about the three modes of receiving Baptism:
St. Bonaventure's Commentary on the Book of Sentences of Peter Lombard, Commentary on Distinction IX in Book IV, Article I, Question I, Concerning the Sacrament of the Eucharist in respect to those receiving It: To that which is objected, that there are three manners [of receiving] in Baptism, and so etc.; it must be said, that that third manner is not distinguished from the other two except materially. ("etc." in original)
St. Bonaventure simply goes unacknowledged in the Treatise. But, without any particular section devoted to him, St. Robert Bellarmine gets a rather considerable amount of attention. Peter Dimond is hardly in a position to discredit St. Bellarmine very much since his sedevacantist stance relies heavily upon a certain treatise of St. Bellarmine's. But there is no getting around the fact that St. Bellarmine wrote:
St. Robert Bellarmine, De Ecclesia Militante, c. 2: "But it is our teaching that there is only one ecclesia, and not two, and that this one and true Church is the assembly of men bound together by the profession of the same Christian faith and the communion of the same sacraments, under the rule of the legitimate pastors, and especially that of the Roman Pontiff, the one Vicar of Christ on earth. From this definition it is easy to infer which men belong to the Church and which do not belong to it. There are three parts of this definition; the profession of the true faith, the communion of the sacraments, and subjection to the Roman Pontiff, the legitimate pastor.
By reason of the first part all infidels, both those who have never been in the Church, such as Jews, Turks, and pagans; and those who have been in it and left it, as heretics and apostates, are excluded. By reason of the second part catechumens and excommunicated persons are excluded, because the former are not yet admitted to the communion of the sacraments, while have been sent away from it. By reason of the third part there are excluded the schismatics who have the faith and the sacraments, but who are not subject to the legitimate pastor and who thus profess the faith and receive the sacraments outside [of the Church]. All others are included [within the Church in the light of the definition] even though they be reprobates, sinful and impious men.
Now there is this difference between our teaching and all the others [the "definitions" offered by the various heritics and discussed in the first section of this second chapter of the De ecclesia militante], that all the others require internal virtues to constitute a man "within" the Church, and hence make the true Church invisible. But, despite the fact that we believe that all the virtues, faith, hope, charity, and the rest, are to be found within the Church, we do not think that any internal virtue is required to bring it about that a man can be said absolutely to be a part of the true Church of which the Scriptures speak, but [that what is required for this] is only the outward profession of the faith and the communion of the sacraments, which are perceptible by the senses. For the Church is as visible and palpable an assembly of men as the assembly of the Roman people or the Kingdom of France or the Republic of the Venetians.
We must note what Augustine says in his Breviculus collationis, where he is dealing with the conference of the third day, that the Church is a living body, in which there is a soul and a body. And the internal gifts of the Holy Ghost, faith, hope, charity, and the rest are the soul. The external profession of the faith and the communication of the sacraments are the body. Hence it is that some are of the soul and of the body of the Church, and hence joined both inwardly and outwardly to Christ the Head, and such people are most perfectly within the Church. They are, as it were, living members in the body, although some of them share in this life to a greater extent, and others to a lesser extent, while still others have only the beginning of life and as it were, sensation without movement, like the people who have only faith without charity.
Again, some are of the soul and not of the body, as catechumens and excommunicated persons if they have faith and charity, as they can have them.
And, finally, some are of the body and not of the soul, as those who have no internal virtue, but who still by reason of some temporal hope or fear, profess the faith and communicate in the sacraments under the rule of the pastors. And such individuals are like hairs or fingernails, or evil liquids in a human body.
Consequently, our definition takes in only this last way of being in the Church, because this is required as a minimum in order that a man may be said to be a part of the visible Church."
St. Robert Bellarmine, De Ecclesia Militante, c. 3: "Concerning catechumens there is a greater difficulty, because they are faithful [have the faith] and can be saved if they die in this state, and yet outside the Church no one is saved, as outside the ark of Noah…"
St. Robert Bellarmine, De Ecclesia Militante, c. 3: "I answer therefore that, when it is said outside the Church no one is saved, it must be understood of those who belong to her neither in actual fact nor in desire [desiderio], as theologians commonly speak on baptism. Because the catechumens are in the Church, though not in actual fact, yet at least in resolution [voto], therefore they can be saved."
One may note that it is with this chapter of his work "The Church Militant," that St. Robert Bellarmine first introduced the illustration of the Church like a human as being with both body and soul. With this being the case it becomes clear just how one could account for the situation of the catechumen who, though as yet not a member and therefore outside the body of the Church, could still be united to (though still not exactly a part of) the soul of the Church, and as such capable of supernatural faith, hope, charity, contrition for sins, and true and faithful attachment to the Church, such that if a man’s final death overtook him he could thereupon enter the Church Suffering or Triumphant as a full member, and in that thereby be saved. So a basis is again provided here that, as stated in chapter 3 of the same work, St. Bellarmine could write, "Because the catechumens are in the Church, though not in actual fact, yet at least in resolution [voto], therefore they can be saved."
And what response is made to this in the Treatise? First, a legitimate quote of St. Bellarmine's is falsely taken as evidence that he denied BOB and BOD, a concept and claim altogether lacking in the quote itself. Here is the quote:
St. Robert Bellarmine (16th century): The Church is one, not twofold, and this one true [Catholic] Church is the assembly of men united in the profession of the same Christian faith and in the communion of the same sacraments, under the rule of legitimate pastors, and in particular, that of the one Vicar of Christ on earth, the Roman Pontiff. The first part excludes all infidels, those who were never in the Church such as Jews, Turks, and pagans, or those who once were in it and later fell away, like the heretics and apostates. The second part excludes the catechumens and excommunicated, since the former are not admitted to the sacraments and the latter are excluded from them…
But the fact that those to whom BOB and BOD could apply are outside the Church Militant has already been addressed, namely that of course they are not as such as yet "inside" the Church Militant and won't be until and unless they are baptized in water, but if they die thus in a justified state they then enter directly into the Church in the afterlife, whether the Church Suffering (Purgatory), or the Church Triumphant (Heaven), and at that point do enter the Church and at that point would be saved. In this life they would be best described as being "attached to" the Church, as a nursing suckling is attached to its mother, not inside her (as it had been before it was born), but still gaining its sustenance from its mother. For the Church is a good Mother who not only looks after that which is within herself (her own tissues and unborn children inside her) but also after that which is attached to her, namely her progeny. So the above quote presents no difficulty for either BOB or BOD, despite the attempt in the Treatise to discredit St. Bellarmine thus:
But it is a fact, which may surprise some, that St. Robert Bellarmine did not remain consistent with his definition of the Church above. He actually adopted the false idea of baptism of desire, which became somewhat widespread among theologians in the late middle ages, as I discussed in the section on the history of baptism of desire. But in adopting the false idea of baptism of desire, St. Robert simply failed to remain consistent with his own definition of the Church above, as well as the unanimous definition of theologians on the Church.
What blatant disrespect for the holy Sainted Doctor! "Well, Gee, he just can't seem to make up his mind what to believe or teach…" - Hogwash! Note here also the way he shoots himself in the foot by letting slip the fact that the idea of BOD (specifically) was "somewhat widespread among theologians in the late middle ages." In point of fact, BOB and BOD have been quite widespread beliefs among the Fathers, Doctors, and Theologians of practically every Church era. He next attempts to turn St. Bellarmine's comments on the difficulties of Limbo into yet another supposed inability to make up his mind what to believe or teach.
Next we have St. Alphonse de Liguori who also weighed in quite explicitly in favor of BOB and BOD. He writes thus (as quoted in the Treatise):
St. Alphonsus: "Baptism by fire, however, is the perfect conversion to God through contrition, or the love of God above all things, with the explicit desire, or implicit desire, for the true river of baptism. As the Council of Trent says (Sess. 14, Chap. 4), it takes the place of the latter with regard to the remission of the guilt, but does not imprint a character nor take away all the debt of punishment. It is called fire because it is made under the impulse of the Holy Spirit, who is given this name… Thus it is of faith (de fide) that men are saved even by the baptism of fire, according to c. Apostolicam, de pres. non bapt. and the Council of Trent, Sess. 6, Chap. 4, where it is said that no one can be saved without the laver of regeneration or the desire for it."
St. Alphonsus, Moral Theology, Bk. 6, nn. 95-97: "Baptism of blood is the shedding of one's blood, i.e. death, suffered for the faith or for some other Christian virtue. Now this Baptism is comparable to true baptism because, like true Baptism, it remits both guilt and punishment as it were ex opere operato… Hence martyrdom avails also for infants seeing that the Church venerates the Holy Innocents as true martyrs. That is why Suarez rightly teaches that the opposing view is at least temerarious."
And again, what response can be made in the Treatise? First the claim is made that St. Alphonse misunderstood the Council of Trent. But as I have already shown a couple installments ago, he is not alone in so "misunderstanding" Trent, since every priest and theologian who has ever quoted the relevant passages in Trent have all "misunderstood" it in exactly the same way, even including Fr. Feeney himself, and no one, clear up until the coming of the Dimond brothers, has ever once discerned this secret "inner meaning" of Trent that is being foisted on us in the Treatise.
He then goes on to claim that since other Doctors have been in error (he cites St. Cyprian, though he is not considered a Church Doctor), perhaps this is meant to imply that St. Alphonse was also in error. Next, without quite saying so much, he actually accuses St. Alphonse of practicing a kind of "scholastic dishonesty" on the basis that the Saint, in the above-quoted passage, cited a passage from Trent which actually speaks of the Sacrament of Penance instead of Baptism. But clearly the principle is the same, and St. Alphonse was applying the principle of the one to the other, since the parallel between the two situations is legitimately all that close. "Finally," the Treatise quibbles over the fact that the various theologians have assigned differing theological notes to the Catholic doctrines of BOB and BOD. St. Alphonse concluded them to be de fide, but given the range of variations, Fr. Jean-Marc Rulleau, could only say of them that they must be "at least," yes, at the very, very least, "proximate to the faith."
And ironically, while glossing over so slickly his accusation of the sainted Doctor of the Church of practicing scholastic dishonesty by quoting a passage on Penance as if it applies to Baptism, he has no hesitation to declare here Fr. François Laisney to be "the incredibly dishonest author of the Society of St. Pius X" simply because he elected to omit this passage and avoid exploring the complex and intricate parallel between Baptism and Penance in his own work as made by St. Alphonse, instead opting to pass over it in silence. And even were St. Alphonse to have been somehow wrong to quote a passage regarding Penance in a piece regarding Baptism, Fr. Laisney's refusal to mention this could be no worse than Shem and Japeth covering their father's nakedness (Genesis 9:23).
The next step is to point out that St. Alphonse again reiterates from the Creed that other religions do not save and those truly believing in them are not to be saved. But is this supposed to be taken as meaning that all those contemporary traditional Catholic luminaries who allow for the theoretical possibility that some few who are within these false systems might be saved are therefore all wrong. But who would dare to assert that St. Alphonse would mean by any of his words that (for example) a Moslem could never be saved under any circumstances, even if he became a Catholic? And as outlined in the previous installment, if that Moslem, in embarking upon a decision to become a Catholic should be prematurely cut off before completing his journey (as God sees the heart), it most certainly is not up to the Dimond brothers or any other mere man to say of them that they must be damned, for is that not for God to decide?
After some further discussion regarding the Holy Innocents and the BOB in the case of infants (which will be addressed in a future installment), he goes quite out on a limb when in the Treatise he writes:
It is also important to note that while the principle of Papal infallibility was always believed in the Church (expressed from the earliest times by such phrases as in the apostolic see the Catholic religion has always been preserved untainted and holy doctrine celebrated), there is no doubt that after the definition of Papal infallibility at the First Vatican Council in 1870 there is much more clarity about which documents are infallible and which are not. St. Alphonsus and others who lived before 1870 did not necessarily have this degree of clarity, which caused many of them to lessen the distinction, in certain cases, between the infallible decrees of popes and the fallible teaching of theologians. It also caused them to not look quite as literally at what the dogma actually says, but rather at what the dogma might mean in light of the opinion of popular theologians of the time.
Can you imagine St. Alphonse or any other Doctor or Saint of the Church saying (even to himself), "Hey, I know the Pope has taught this, but since he has not been declared to be infallible I can just ignore what he taught"? It is not the way of any serious and qualified Theologian, let alone Doctor of the Church to fail to address any contrary opinions, be they from whomever, nor to be so ignorant of what the Popes of the Church have taught. You never see any Doctor of the Church saying "I know that Pope Leo/Eugene/Pius taught this (or Council of Florence or any other Council taught this), but this is not to be followed" regarding any of the famous quotes so misused and abused within the Treatise. In point of fact, the Doctors of the Church, if anything, understood both first and best the true meaning of Roma locuta est, causta finita est - "Rome has spoken; the cause is finished." Papal infallibility would not have been news to any of them.
So there I have just listed SEVEN Sainted Doctors of the Church who have all at least specifically affirmed BOB and BOD (where the issue is addressed), and in most cases defended them as well! Seven! Count them! And who is to say that there might not be yet others? And this is out of a total of less than three dozen Church Doctors. And how many such Doctors can be found who specifically denounce BOB and/or BOD? Surely if any such existed they would have been loudly proclaimed from the housetops by those who deny BOB and BOD! But none have been identified. Absolutely none.
And this gets to something even more serious within the Treatise. See what is made of the following quotes:
Pope Benedict XIV, Apostolica (# 6), June 26, 1749: "The Church's judgment is preferable to that of a Doctor renowned for his holiness and teaching."
Pope Pius XII, Humani generis (# 21), Aug. 12, 1950: "This deposit of faith our Divine Redeemer has given for authentic interpretation not to each of the faithful, not even to theologians, but only to the Teaching Authority of the Church.'"
Pope St. Pius X, Pascendi domenici gregis (#45), Sept. 8, 1907: "It goes without saying that if anything is met with among the scholastic doctors which may be regarded as an excess of subtlety, or which is altogether destitute of probability, We have no desire whatever to propose it for the imitation of present generations."
Though he never states it outright, a rather curious implication emerges from what he evidently expects us to make of these quotes (and I will in this case grant these quotes sufficient accuracy and completeness, for the intended error is in how they are to be applied and not as to their actual content). Evidently we are supposed to believe that no matter what all the Fathers and Doctors and Theologians and so forth have to say about a topic, a pope could just "rule" contrary to them all, just like that. It is as if infallibility of the Pope makes him into some sort of revelatory oracle, capable of bringing new "truths" into the world.
He seems to picture (and thereby subtly conveys to his readers the impression) that it doesn't matter what even Scripture, all Ancient Fathers, all Doctors, and even all Theologians may agree on, a pope could just teach contrary to all of that infallibly, and thereby be right and thereby just blow away everything previously known to the Church on that subject. What this really amounts to is the claim that Divine Revelation has not ceased back in the First Century after all, but rather has continued in the Popes and Councils of the Church. For example recall how the Treatise falsely accuses St. Thomas of teaching "three baptisms," but then excuses him on the supposed basis that the teaching of there being only one baptism had not as yet been revealed and would not be until the Council of Vienne.
It is as if one could use papal infallibility to "solve" or "answer" any question, even those to which no answer or even a hint has ever been received. For example, Is there intelligent, sentient, and moral life on other planets out there in outer space, or whether God died for their sins as well? Well, all we need to do is to get one pope to try to infallibly teach one position, and then get another pope to infallibly teach the contrary, and see who proves capable of going through with it. Then we will know the answer!
But of course, Papal Infallibility simply does not even apply to this sort of question, for it exists to decide, judge, and rule between known theological schools of thought, not to provide new teachings. In any such question, such as that of the Immaculate Conception, the various theological schools of thought are presented to the Pope, and then he gives a ruling. This ability is not dependent upon his learning, his understanding of the issues at hand, his private personal assumptions as a man, or even his good will or intent to rule infallibly. It depends only upon two things, 1) that he actually is pope, and 2) that he actually wills to go through with proclaiming something about the issue at hand, as pope. And it doesn't even guarantee that what he says will be the whole truth, only that all of whatever he says in this capacity, so far as it actually goes, will be absolutely true.
The above-given papal quotes therefore do not refer to a pope's ability to proclaim infallibly something never imagined or expected by any Fathers, Doctors, or Theologians, or against all of them taken together, but rather with regard to any single particular such Father or Doctor or Theologian. This is why we don't have to follow St. Cyprian's opinion that heretical baptisms are invalid, or St. Augustine's opinion that those who die as unbaptized infants burn in Hell (pain of sense), or even St. Thomas Aquinas' opinion that Mary's flesh was conceived in sin, and in fact why it would be sinful to follow any such undeniably great Theologians, Fathers, and Doctors in these particular sorts of points. For Calvinism and Jansenism were both borne of certain ones who thought they were following St. Augustine slavishly at the expense of all else (and that very process has been ruled out by the above quotes, and others like them), though in fact Calvinism and Jansenism both misquote Augustine in a manner not all that different from how the present Treatise under examination misquotes its sources.
But again I ask, where are the Doctors of the Church who expound any position that denies BOB and/or BOD, specifically? Where are the Doctors or serious Roman Theologians who say "I know that Saints Ambrose, Augustine, Bernard, Thomas, Bonaventure, Bellarmine, Alphonse, (and possibly others) all taught of a Baptism of Blood, and also of Desire, but we do not follow them in this"? I have shown seven who are unambiguously in favor of these Catholic doctrines. Who can find even one who is anywhere near as unambiguously opposed to BOB and/or BOD? Imagine a true Pope some day in the future committing to rule infallibly on the question of BOB and BOD. On one side he has Sacred Scripture, all these Doctors (and Fathers and Theologians, which I will explore in more detail in future installments) in favor, and on the other side, ZIP, unless he wants to count the condemned crackpot Fr. Feeney, and a small cluster of untrained laymen whose lack of understanding and scholastic dishonesty is a documented fact. Legitimately, this isn't even a question. But it certainly would be of pragmatic use for a pope someday to elevate what the Ordinary Magisterium has long taught on this to the rank of the Extraordinary Magisterium. I am certain that a great many of those who have long been swept up in such denials of BOB and BOD would readily yield to such an ex cathedra papal ruling. By why wait? It has to be quite clear by now that no other possible outcome could ever be the result of an ex cathedra infallible papal ruling on this question.