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68. The Recipients of Baptism

1. Baptism is necessary for each person. All mankind arerequired to be baptized. Without baptism, there is no salvation.For baptism makes a person a member of Christ, through whom alonesalvation can be attained.

2. To be saved, a man must have at least the baptism ofdesire. Baptism of blood has all the sacramental power ofbaptism of water, except for the imprinting of the character, andit remits all sin and the penalties due to sin. Baptism of desireremits sin and the eternal penalty due to it, but does not remitall the temporal penalty due.

3. Since baptism is necessary for salvation, it should beconferred promptly on infants, both because of the danger of death,and because infants have no ability to elicit a desire for baptism.Adults who wish to be baptized should be put through a time ofinstruction and probation so that they may receive the sacramentwith understanding, reverence, and the firm will to discharge withfidelity the duties of the Christian life. Still, if adults be wellinstructed and disposed, they should not be made to wait forbaptism. Nor should adult baptism be deferred during sickness,especially when there is danger of death.

4. An adult sinner who has no repentance and no intentionof abandoning his sin is not to be baptized. A sinner who isrepentant and well resolved should be baptized.

5. No kind of penance or work of satisfaction is to beimposed on an adult who is baptized, for baptism takes away all sinand all punishment due to sin. To impose a penance at baptism wouldbe to dishonor the Passion and Death of Christ which make fullsatisfaction for all the sins of the person baptized.

6. An adult who is to be baptized must have some sorrowfor his sins, but he is not required to confess them, beyond thegeneral confession implied in the words of the ritual, by which herenounces Satan and all his works and pomps.

7. An adult to be baptized must have the intention ofbeing baptized. Such a person seeks baptism at the hands of theChurch; heasks to receive it; hence he expresses hisintention of receiving it.

8. To receive grace, the person to be baptized must havefaith. But even in the absence of faith, a person who intends to bebaptized and undergoes the rite of baptism, is actually baptized,and is marked with the sacramental character.

9. Since infants are in original sin, they need baptism.For a person capable of incurring the guilt of sin, even originalsin, is capable of receiving grace. Hence, infants are to bebaptized. Not only does baptism confer its wondrous andindispensable benefits on the souls of children, but it also setsthem in the way of Christian living at the very beginning of theirlives, and thus gives greater assurance of their persevering thanwould be the case if their baptism were deferred.

10. Children of Jews and other unbelievers are not to bebaptized without their parents' consent. By natural justice,young children are under the rule and control of their parents.Besides, baptism is not conferred, according to the usage of theChurch, on those who will have no normal opportunity of living theChristian life in conformity with the obligation imposed inbaptism.

11. A child cannot be baptized while it is yet in itsmother's womb. {-This is no longer true. Modernmethods in medicine and surgery make it feasible to convey water tothe child in the womb, so that the baptism is at least probablyvalid. Such a baptism is licitly conferred, under conditions set bychurch law, when the child is unlikely to have a normal birth, orto live until birth.-}

12. Insane and imbecile persons are to be baptized, likeinfants, in the faith of the Church. A person who, during hisnormal life, manifests no desire to receive baptism, is not to bebaptized if he becomes insane. Yet an insane person may have lucidintervals during which he desires to be baptized; he is not to berefused. If he lapses into madness before the sacrament can beadministered, the person baptizing should wait for the next periodof sanity; if such an interval is not likely to recur, or if deaththreatens, the sacrament should be administered at once, despitethe madness of the recipient. A person who is sane, butweak-minded, is to be treated as a normal person.

"Spiritual persons ought to be equally ready to experience sweetness and consolation in the things of God, or to suffer and keep their ground in drynesses of spirit and devotion, and for as long as God pleases, without their making any complaint about it."
St Philip Neri

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"A man should keep himself down, and not busy himself in mirabilibus super se."
St Philip Neri

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"It is not God's will that we should abound in spiritual delights, but that in all things we should submit to his holy will."
Blessed Henry Suso

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