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Pessimistic view

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 Contents - Oct 2006AD2000 October 2006 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: The way ahead for the education of Catholics - Michael Gilchrist
Generation Y: New survey confirms low belief and practice levels of young Catholics - Michael Gilchrist
News: The Church Around The World
Spanish bishops attack false theologies - AD2000 Report
Benedict XVI interviewed by German journalists
Educating young Catholics: a bold initiative in Wagga Wagga - Michael Gilchrist
University: Campion College: a pioneer in Australian higher education - Stephen McInerny
Modernism's 'second wave' continues to impact on the Church - Fr Martin Durham
Letters: Missal translation - Philip Holberton
Letters: Counter Reformation - Alan Barron
Letters: Early baptism - Frances McEniery
Letters: Pessimistic view - Francis Vrijmoed
Letters: Church teaching on baptism - C.V. Phillips
Letters: Accuracy needed - Tony Sheehan
Letters: Intelligent Design - Michael Griffiths
Letters: Evolution hoax - Fr G.H. Duggan SM
Letters: Abortion and health insurance discounts - Robert Bom
Letters: Homosexuality - Daphne Preston
Books: ARMS OF LOVE by Carmen Marcoux - Jacinta Cummins (reviewer)
Books: Towards A People's Liturgy: The Importance of Language, by Mark Twinham Elvins - Michael E. Daniel (reviewer)
Book Launch: Lost! Australian Catholics Today, by Michael Gilchrist
Books: Order AD2000 books from
Reflection: Philosophy and theology: avoiding the pitfall of human pride - Fr John O'Neill

In his article "An unbaptised baby may never see God face to face in heaven" (August AD2000), John Young gives a rather pessimistic view of the Catholic Church's teaching with regard to the fate of those infants who die before having been baptised. He quotes from several sources, including the Catechism of the Catholic Church: "The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitudes".

That here a "Baptism with water" is meant can be deduced from another sentence in the same article (1257): "Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament".

This clearly means that those to whom, through no fault of their own, the Gospel has never been proclaimed, cannot be held responsible for not having asked for the sacrament of baptism with water. This must be the reason why the Compendium of the Catechism, article 262, states that "all those who, even without knowing Christ and the Church, still (under the impulse of grace) sincerely seek God and strive to do his will can also be saved through a Baptism of desire".

As infants, including aborted fetuses, have never had the opportunity to ask for a Baptism with water, it would be illogical to assume that Our Lord, in His mercy, would not give an infant the same possibility "under the impulse of grace" of asking for a Baptism of desire as He would give to an adult, the more so since they have never committed a personal sin.

Hong Kong, China

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 19 No 9 (October 2006), p. 15

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