Baptize Dead Babies? Yes or No? Another Catholic Rabbit Hole

Catholicism’s teaching on baptism is an irreconcilable dichotomy. On the one hand, the Catholic church insists that people MUST be baptized for them to even be considered for salvation. On the other hand, it has made concessions to religious liberalism and now grants that non-baptized members of other religions and even atheists may also merit salvation if they “follow the light they are given” and are “good.” It’s quite strange that the Catholic church takes a very liberal attitude towards non-members regarding baptism, but still gets tightly wound around the legalistic axle when it comes to its membership.

For centuries, the Catholic church taught that infants who had died before they were baptized were consigned to a halfway house between Heaven and Hell called Limbo. In the last twenty years, the RCC has moved away from its Limbo teaching and now states that it “hopes” unbaptized babies will be allowed into Heaven. But baptizing babies from Catholic families is still a VERY important priority in the Catholic religion in stark contrast to the church’s liberal attitude with regards to non-Catholics and baptism.

Recently, I was listening to a podcast of the “Calling all Catholics” radio talk show and heard an example of how Catholicism still gets wrapped tightly around the axle over baptism technicalities.

Called to Communion – EWTN Radio – 4/1/19
Host – David Anders (photo above), Moderator – Thom Price

Beginning at the 16:07 mark, Anna from Omaha, Nebraska called in to say her aunt had stopped practicing her Catholic “faith” because the woman’s baby was born stillborn and her parish priest refused to baptize the baby because it was dead. Anna wanted to know from host and apologist, David Anders, if miscarried or stillborn babies can still be baptized. Let’s see how Anders responded:

David Anders: The church does baptize stillborn babies, and in the same way that the church would give last rites, anointings, and so forth, and absolution, to a person who had died biologically at the end of their life. Now, there’s a point beyond which you won’t do that. I mean you’re not going to baptize a corpse that’s three weeks old. You’re not going to anoint a corpse that’s in the grave three weeks. But when the priest is headed to the hospital to perform either an emergency baptism or last rites, and the nurse runs out and says, “Don’t worry about it, father, the person just passed.” The priest says, “Uh, sorry, excuse me, I’m coming in anyway,” because we don’t know the moment of metaphysical death. We know the moment of biological death. We can put that in a text book. But we don’t know when metaphysical death occurs. I’m not a priest. I don’t have a copy of the ritual in front of me and I don’t actually know what the (Canon) law says about how long can you legitimately wait, but we have a preference for performing the sacrament, and yes, you can baptize either a baby or an adult person who has expired because we don’t know for sure. You can’t wait a week, but, yeah, if you’re five minutes late, sure, yes you can, and the church has always done that.


Anders states above that a baby can be baptized after he/she has died. He specifies five minutes as an allowable lapse between death and baptism, but then cites three weeks and then a week as obviously unallowably long lapses. Well, what then is the absolute legal limit for baptism after biological death? Is it ten minutes? Fifteen minutes? Thirty minutes? I searched the Catholic Code of Canon Law on Baptism (Cann. 849-878) and there are no allowances made for baptizing babies that have already died. The closest related Canon is Canon 871: “If aborted fetuses are alive, they are to be baptized insofar as possible.”

In an article in the Journal of the Catholic Health Association, chaplains at Catholic hospitals are advised NOT to baptize dead infants, with no lingering time allowances specified. In fact, the article argues very strongly against baptizing deceased babies. See here.

Once again we have an example of Catholicism creating a legalistic rabbit hole where there is no authoritative answer for this, that, and the other exception.

In contrast to convoluted Catholic teaching, we read in the Bible that Jesus Christ invites all young children to abide with Him:

“But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 19:14

Baptism saves no one! It is Jesus Christ who saves. Repent of your sin and accept Jesus Christ as your Savior by faith alone. Praise the Lord God for the Good News! Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone.

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Catholic priest: “Sorry, I cannot marry you.”

Yesterday, I was listening to Catholic talk radio and the “delicate” subject material below was discussed. Some may be offended by this post, but God is the Lord of “delicate” and difficult circumstances as well as the politely acceptable.

Priest turns away engaged couple

Bob and Jennifer are both dutiful young Catholics and are planning to get married, but there’s one issue; Bob is sexually impotent due to a medical problem. Jennifer is fully aware of Bob’s condition, but loves him and is looking forward to marrying him. The couple meets with their parish priest to initiate the wedding ceremony plans. When the priest asks the couple if they are agreeable to having children (a mandatory requirement in Catholic sanctioned marriage), Bob candidly divulges his problem. The priest responds that he is restrained from marrying the couple, citing Canon law # 1084 which forbids marriage in a case where sexual union cannot be consummated. Bob and Jennifer look at each other in disbelief and angrily exit the church. Back in Bob’s car, the two reaffirm their decision to marry, in front of a civil magistrate if necessary, and also discuss leaving the Catholic church.

The above is a fictional scenario, but it represents the reality of what some Catholics seeking marriage have encountered. As Catholic priest, Paul McDonald, stated on the “Calling All Catholics” program broadcast on 10/12/17, priests are expressly forbidden by Canon Law from marrying someone who is physically incapable of consummating a marriage. See the article far below for detailed information.

Catholicism has some very strange teachings with regards to marriage, which is understandable given they were all formulated by celibate men. The church has always presented marriage as a much-less desirable option in comparison to a celibate religious vocation. The supreme role of marriage, according to church thinking, is to bring more little Catholics into the world and nothing must interfere with that. The use of any non-abortifacient contraceptives such as condoms is strictly forbidden under pain of mortal sin and eternal damnation. The church takes the contraceptive ban to dizzying, reason-defying heights by forbidding the use of condoms even when one of the marriage partners has a sexually communicable disease.

Pope Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical, “Humanae Vitae,” reaffirmed Catholicism’s ban on all forms of contraception, to the chagrin of church liberals. Most traditionalists view “Humanae Vitae” as an infallible declaration, but the vast majority of Catholics thumb their nose at it. Catholic sources report that “82 percent of American Catholics say birth control is ‘morally acceptable,’ and 98 percent of U.S. Catholic women of childbearing age have used contraception at some point while they’ve been sexually active.” “Humanae Vitae” precipitated a crisis of faith among many American Catholics, who reasonably conjectured, “If the church is wrong about contraception, what else is it wrong about?” The church recommends unreliable natural family planning (NFP) aka the “rhythm method” for married couples who seek to limit pregnancies, but members logically ask why NFP is allowed and not contraception? The bottom-line intent is the same and condoms and other non-abortifacient contraceptives are much more reliable than NFP.

Without going into great detail, the church also teaches that any sexual activity in a marital union outside of intercourse is sinful. See here. Imagine, if you can stomach it, contrite Catholic wives confessing their “forbidden” sexual activities with their husbands to a celibate priest.

[SMH]

Catholicism’s formal ban on marriage for the sexually impotent is as wrong as the day is long. It’s interesting to me that the Catholic church can’t bring itself to act graciously toward a couple in need, but had/has no problem jumping through thousands of hoops covering for pedophile priests. As Catholics study their religion ever more closely, they will increasingly find that it takes the form of religious calculus with its 1752 Canon Laws and 2865 numbered paragraphs in its official catechism. In startling contrast, the Good News! Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone is so simple even a child can understand it. Forgo complex religious legalism. Accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior by faith alone!

“Marriage is to be held in honor among all [that is, regarded as something of great value], and the marriage bed undefiled [by immorality or by any sexual sin]” – Hebrews 13:4 AMP


Why the Catholic Church Cannot Marry the Impotent
https://www.catholic.com/magazine/online-edition/why-the-church-cannot-marry-the-impotent

Flip flopping again: Cremation

The Catholic church claims it’s the “one true church” and that it never changes – “SemperCB edem” (Always the same) – but anyone who studies church history is aware of the fallaciousness of that claim. Let’s look at just one example: cremation.

For centuries, the Catholic church did not allow cremation based on the practice’s strong association with paganism (and later, Masonry)  and because of Scripture verses that taught a bodily resurrection. When cremation began to be introduced as a modern funerary method in the late-nineteenth century, the church banned all Catholics from participating via two documents published in 1886 and another one in 1892. When the Code of Canon Law was revised in 1917, it strictly prohibited cremation (Canon 1203). Catholics who arranged their own cremation prior to their death committed mortal sin and were excommunicated from the church and its sacraments. Catholics who arranged the cremation of deceased family members also committed mortal sin and were also excommunicated.

In 1963, pope Paul VI reversed the church’s stand on cremation with only minor restrictions, although the church strongly recommended burial. This change was reflected in the next revision of the Code of Canon Law in 1983 (Canon 1176).

So I must ask, what happened to those Catholics who chose to be cremated or had their loved ones cremated prior to 1963 and died in mortal sin? Did they receive an apology and a “Get Out of Hell Free” card from pope Paul VI?

Some people think it’s unkind, hypocritical, and judgmental to raise such questions about Catholicism. But, in regards to this issue and many others, no one can deny the blatant inconsistency of this religious institution, which has boasted over the centuries that it “never changes.” The takeaway is to put your faith in Jesus Christ, not “unchanging” religious institutions. Accept Jesus Christ as your Savior. Baptism doesn’t save. Sacraments don’t save. Being “good” doesn’t save because God’s Word says no one is good except for God. No one obeys the Ten Commandments. But God the Son, Jesus Christ, came into this world, lived a perfect life, and paid the penalty for your sins on the cross. He rose from the grave defeating sin and death and He desires to be your Savior. Pray to Jesus, repent of your sins and ask Him to save you today. Walk away from religious institutions that don’t teach the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone.

My opinion regarding cremation? Scripture doesn’t address cremation one way or the other. Christians in the very early church were expecting Christ’s imminent return and understandably favored burial. But in over two millennia, the dead bodies of innumerable saints have been consumed by bacteria, micro-organisms, insects, small animals, large animals, fish, birds, etc. Placing a dead body in a sealed casket and a sealed vault to “secure” it from the ravages of decay and scavengers strikes me as a bit of a useless and unnecessary battle. These practices seem to have more in common with ancient Egyptian funerary rites than with any Scriptural teaching. My wife and I agreed to have our bodies cremated when the Lord calls us home. The less money spent on the ritual, the better.

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me.” – Philippians 1:21-26.


Is cremation forbidden by the Catholic Church?
(Ultra-traditionalist Catholic perspective – I relied on this article for dates and canon specifics)
http://sspx.org/en/is-cremation-forbidden-by-catholic-church

What does the Bible say about cremation? Should Christians be cremated?
(Sample from evangelical perspective)
http://www.gotquestions.org/cremation-Bible.html

 

Sorry, no unbaptized babies allowed!

Catholics like to believe their church is the unchanging, “one true church,” but even aBFC casual student of church history knows Catholic theology has always been evolving.

I’m currently reading “Catholicism Against Itself, Volume 2” (1965) by O. C. Lambert and there’s one bit of information I came across that I’d like to focus on.

We all know Catholics view baptism as the initial gateway to Heaven. It was once believed that if a person wasn’t baptized they couldn’t go to Heaven. Period. This belief extended to infants. Personnel at Catholic hospitals were instructed to go to great lengths to baptize all newborns who were in danger of dying.

Although never “official” doctrine it was widely disseminated by the church that the souls of unbaptized babies went to a place in hell called “limbo.” Furthermore, unbaptized babies were not permitted to be buried in Catholic cemeteries.

[Long pause for effect]

You read that right. Babies who were not baptized were refused burial in “blessed” Catholic cemeteries.

“If (the fetus or child is) not baptized, it should be buried in unconsecrated ground, without any religious rites.” – Quizzes on Hospital Ethics (1946), 57-58. See also the Catholic Encyclopedia (1913), 11, 267, Administrative Legislation (1930) 87, and Medical Ethics (1949), 245.

These days the Catholic church no longer talks about limbo. It now states that it “hopes” all unbaptized infants will go to Heaven. – CCC 1261.

When did the change in church doctrine take place? Canon 1183 in the 1983 edition of Canon law replaces the no-burial-for-unbaptized-babies policy found in the 1917 Canon however the mourning family must still obtain the permission of the presiding bishop to bury their unbaptized dead child in a Catholic cemetery.

I shake my head in sadness for all the bereaving families who had to endure this grievous offense. Catholic bishops wouldn’t allow unbaptized infants to be buried in their cemeteries but they allowed pedophile priests and members of organized crime.

“For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.” – Matthew 23:4-5

“Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” – Matthew 19:14

“And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 18:3

The Gospel – salvation by God’s grace through accepting Christ as Savior by faith – is so simple even a child can understand, unlike the mile-long, legal laundry list, one-year RCIA indoctrination that Catholicism imposes. There’s no salvation in trying to obey your way to Heaven.

“Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin. But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.” – Romans 3:20-22

 

 

“No Meat on Friday Nonsense” Redux

In a previous post I discussed how eating meat on non-Lenten Fridays was allegedly a “mortal”no-meat sin for Catholics prior to 1966. In that year, canon law 1253 was issued, which allowed the bishops of a particular country to decide whether to continue enforcing the abstention of eating meat on non-Lenten Fridays or to “substitute other forms of penance, especially works of charity and exercises of piety, in whole or in part, for abstinence and fast.” As we all know, the U.S. bishops opted to discontinue enforcing the abstention of eating meat for substituting other forms of penance.

Getting a headache yet?

The question I had in my previous post was as follows: For the Catholics who did eat meat on non-Lenten Fridays and died prior to 1966, are they still in hell or did the pope give them a Get Out of Jail Free card in 1966? Disappointingly, no Catholic has responded to my question up to this point.

Now for the “redux” part. This morning I was listening to the February 13, 2015 podcast of the “Calling All Catholics” radio program with “father” Joe Campbell answering questions from listeners. An email from a listener acknowledged that, as of 1966, it’s no longer a “mortal” sin to eat meat on non-Lenten Fridays but inquired if it was a “mortal” sin to fail to substitute another form of penance or charity as prescribed by canon law? Young “father” Joe was COMPLETELY stumped by the question and referred the writer to their diocesan office.

Oy vey! How is it that Catholic souls are hanging in the balance with questions regarding “mortal” sin and canon law and their church’s long and complicated laundry list of rules and regulations BUT CATHOLIC PRIESTS DO NOT KNOW THE ANSWERS?!?!?

“Father” Mark Gantley, writing for EWTN, suggests it’s NOT a “mortal” sin to fail to substitute another form of penance or charity in place of abstaining from meat on non-Lenten Fridays, that the substitution is “encouraged but not strictly required,” but why should Catholics trust this one fallible priest when the very salvation of their souls depends on the correct answer? Someone call pope Jorge and get the infallible answer!  🙂

Ach! What utter and completely anti-Biblical NONSENSE! Thank the Lord for freeing me from the Catholic chains of man-made traditions and rules. I praise you Lord for Your salvation by Your grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone! Accept Jesus Christ as your Savior and walk away from this apostate, spiritual train wreck.

“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.” – John 1:12