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FURTHER REFLECTIONS ON THE CLAIMING OF ABORTED CHILDREN
by Msgr. John F. McCarthy
From the original article
1. In the July 1996 issue of Living Tradition, I presented some reasons suggesting that aborted babies might be claimed as members of the Church, allowing that it is the sole prerogative of the Pope and of the universal Magisterium to determine whether, in the ultimate analysis, such a claiming could and should in fact be done. I noted that, while the Magisterium has never pronounced on the fate of babies attacked and killed in the womb, a growing number of people in the Church have come to believe that the Pope and the Magisterium have the power and the authority to claim these children as members of the Church, whether as companion martyrs of the Holy Innocents, or through Baptism of desire in the faith of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of the Church, or through sanctification by some other means available to the Lord Jesus. Doubts concerning such a possibility gravitate principally around their failure to receive Baptism of water before death and their failure to have given conscious witness to Christ as the cause of their death. I examined these doubts in the previous article, and the points developed can be briefly listed as follows.
a. The human fetus has a spiritual soul from the first moment of its conception (page 1).
2. The Holy Innocents were martyred in odium fidei by Herod the Great, because the daggers of the assassins were aimed to kill Jesus, but, as I also pointed out (page 4), these babies did not give conscious witness to Jesus Christ or to the Faith. And I went on to say: "It seems, therefore, that all aborted children could actually be martyrs of Christ. Just as the Holy Innocents of Bethlehem were murdered ultimately because of the hatred of Satan for the seed of Mary, Mother of Jesus and of the Church (Gen 3:15), so also are aborted children murdered ultimately because of the hatred of Satan for the seed of Mary, Mother of Jesus and of the Church. ... Would God ever give to Satan the power by acts of murder to rob unborn children of any chance to receive the saving grace of Christ?"
b. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (no. 1261) allows us "to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism" (page 2).
c. Human persons can be saved, not only by Baptism of water, but also by Baptism of blood and by Baptism of desire (page 2).
d. To be hated by one's parents can pertain to the economy of salvation, since Jesus came also to bring separation of parents against children and of children against their parents (p. 2; cf. Lk 12:51-53).
e. Saint John the Baptist died a martyr, not to the Christian Faith as such, but to the natural moral truth that adultery is forbidden by God, while aborted babies are silent witnesses to the moral truth of their right to life and to the pursuit of eternal happiness in Heaven, as well as to the natural obligation of their parents to protect and nourish them (page 3).
f. The knife of the abortionist is remotely moved by diabolical suggestion arising from the hatred of Satan for Jesus and is thus aimed ultimately at the Person of Jesus (pages 3-4, cf. Apoc 12; Gen 3:15).
g. The Holy Innocents are recognized by the Church as martyrs, even though they did not give conscious witness to Jesus Christ or to any moral truth (page 3).
h. The prophecy of Rachel weeping in Jer 31:15 and in Matt 2:18 may be applicable also to the Church and in a particular way to Our Lady weeping for babies attacked by abortionists (page 4).
i. St. Thomas Aquinas 1 points out that "Baptism does not require a movement of free will" and thus can be given to those who do not recognize it (page 5).
j. St. Thomas 2 teaches that babies in their mother's womb can "achieve sanctification by some privilege of grace, as is evident regarding those who have been sanctified in the womb." St John the Baptist was sanctified in his mother's womb without Baptism of water (page 5; cf. Lk 1:41).
k. Newly born babies, although they have no conscious intent to be baptized, are, nevertheless, validly baptized according to the teaching and practice of the Church (page 5).
l. According to St. Thomas 3, one human person can obtain the grace of sanctification for another, "according to the degree of friendship" that the beseeching person has with God, while the Church teaches that no human person has a greater degree of friendship with God and of motherly care for infants than has the Blessed Virgin Mary (page 6).
m. Jesus has the power to convert the dormant hearts of victimized babies in the womb into beseechers of his grace (page 7, cf. Ps 8:2-3).
n. Since, among other things, the Blessed Virgin Mary brought Our Lord Jesus, while He was in her womb, for the sanctification of St. John the Baptist, while he was in St. Elizabeth's womb, one has concrete historical reason to hope, and even seemingly to declare officially and publicly, that Mary will not fail to bring the sanctifying grace of Jesus to the side of every infant being slaughtered in the womb, so that her love can speak for these infants who cannot yet speak (page 8).
o. For the Church to proclaim intentionally aborted children as martyrs of Jesus Christ would encourage remorse in the hearts of their killers and would also constitute a blow against Satan, who cannot bear to see good brought out of evil.
3. John the Baptist was martyred, not in immediate intention as the Herald of the Messiah, whose teaching he was upholding with regard to the sanctity of marriage, but by Herod Antipas in order to please a dancing girl who in turn was motivated by a wicked desire to please her mother. More remotely he was martyred by Herodias, who hated him for saying that her union with Herod Antipas was adulterous and morally wrong, and ultimately this desire for revenge was sown in her heart by Satan. I noted in my article (page 3) that "John the Baptist died as a martyr in witness to the moral truth that adultery is contrary to the Sixth Commandment of the Law of God," and I quoted St. Thomas Aquinas as teaching that "the martyrdom of John the Baptist is also celebrated in the Church, even though he underwent death, not in favor of the Faith that was being denied, but as a reproof of adultery." 4 The point of this discussion was that, if babies being aborted are silent witnesses to a moral truth which their human killers, and ultimately their Satanic killer, find irksome, they may be eligible to be claimed as martyrs. Even though human life in the womb is being extinguished "for all sorts of bad reasons" in the immediate focus of their killers, this activity can be reduced to one reason on the part of Satan, its inspirer, who "was a murderer from the beginning" (Jn 8:44), and that reason is hatred for Jesus and for all of the seed of Eve and of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Gen 3:15; cf. Apoc 12:17).
4. We know, among other places in Sacred Scripture and in the teaching of the Church, from St. Paul the Apostle (1 Tim 2:1-6), as quoted in part in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (no. 1261) that "it is good and acceptable" that supplications be made for all men (that is, for all people) "in the sight of God our Savior, who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth" (Douay-Rheims translation). What can stand in the way of this desire of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who has the supreme power of life and death and who is the Supreme Judge of all mankind? Not the evil acts of demons or of other men. "Fear not them that kill the body and are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear him that can destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matt 10:28). Do infants facing abortion have reason to fear those who kill the body, or do the faithful on earth have reason to believe that Jesus, who is "the way, the truth, and the life" (Jn 14:6), has a way to provide truth and life for them?
From the teaching of the Magisterium
THE RIGHTS OF A HUMAN FETUS.
With regard to the claiming of aborted babies by the Church, one factor is the increased awareness in the Church of our time of the fully human status of infants in the womb from the first moment of conception, a fact that was not clearly recognized in earlier times. Thus teaches the Catechism of the Catholic Church (no. 2270): "Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the first moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person - among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life." 5 Although the evil of abortion from the first moment of conception has always been condemned by the Church, based on the common realization that from the moment of fertilization this new living thing is dynamically aimed to become a human person, I think that we are now reaching certainty that from the moment of fertilization this new living thing is a human person, whose human soul has been directly created by God (CCC, no 366), and who thus is already endowed with a human intellect and a human will, even though he cannot use these apart from preternatural assistance from God until a sufficient organic base has been built up. This fact of pervasive human existence provides added motivation for the Church to extend her maternal care to infants in the womb. In spite of this awareness, worldly society has unfortunately moved toward "legalizing" abortion and has found the means to make abortions ever more convenient and available. This gives the Church added reason to be concerned about the fate of aborted children. We have, then, in the Church increased concern for all babies whose lives are threatened in the womb and increased awareness of the social responsibility resulting from the phenomenon of abortion.
THE NECESSITY OF BAPTISM.
The Church gives witness to the truth told us by Jesus that "unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God" (Jn 3:5). How does the Church interpret these words? The Catechism of the Catholic Church relates them to the words of Jesus in Mk 16:16, where He says: "He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believes not shall be condemned" - and it declares: "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," so that "God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments" (CCC, 1257). Thus, the Church allows for the salvation of some apart from Baptism of water. "The Church has always held the firm conviction that those who suffer death for the sake of the faith without having received Baptism are baptized by their death for and with Christ. This Baptism of blood, like the desire for Baptism, brings about the fruits of Baptism without being a sacrament" (CCC, 1258). Furthermore, "Since Christ died for all, and since all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny, which is divine, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partakers, in a way known to God, of the Paschal mystery" (Gaudium et Spes, 22, 5). Hence, "Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity" (CCC, 1260). Two facts about aborted babies are to be noted in the light of these quotations: a) aborted babies have had no possibility whatsoever to know about the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but have sought the truth in the one way that was open to them, which was to grow physically in the womb; and b) they have suffered a violent death on the part of persons acting contrary to the teaching of Christ and of the Church.
CHILDREN WHO DIE WITHOUT BAPTISM OF WATER.
As I pointed out in my article of July 1996, the Limbo of Children is not an official doctrine of the Church. "The Church has never made any official pronouncement on the reality or nature of limbo; but it does teach that baptism in some form is required for salvation." 6 The Catechism of the Catholic Church leans toward the salvation of such children, where it says (no. 1261): "As regards children who have died without Baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, as she does in her funeral rites for them. Indeed, the great mercy of God, 'who wants all men to be saved' (1 Tim 2:4), 7 and Jesus' tenderness toward children which caused him to say: 'Let the children come to me, do not hinder them' (Mk 10:14), allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism," that is, without Baptism of water. The Catechism is here reechoing the words of Lumen Gentium (no. 22): "Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or of his Church, but who, nevertheless, seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience - those too may achieve eternal salvation. Nor shall divine Providence deny the assistance necessary for salvation to those who, without any fault of theirs, have not yet arrived at an explicit knowledge of God, and who, not without grace, strive to lead a good life." The opening prayer of the funeral Mass of a child who died before Baptism says rather cautiously: "Lord, listen to the prayers of this family that has faith in you. In their sorrow at the death of this child, may they find hope in your infinite mercy." There is here no mention of eternal beatitude in Heaven, but there is a mention of the Christian faith and Christian hope of others in relation to the deceased child. The point I am making here is that, if there may be a way of salvation for children in general who have died without Baptism, how much more may there be a way of salvation for children who have been killed before they could have made any act of the will that might hinder their call to Heaven. Through no fault of their own they had not yet arrived at an explicit knowledge of God, and they were striving in the only way open to them to lead a good life. The context of their violent death could be for them an instrument of grace, allowing the Church to be more explicit about their salvation, although it is the sole prerogative of the Magisterium of the Church to proclaim whether this is so.
8. In a fifth-century response to the heresy of Pelagianism, the Sixteenth Provincial Council of Carthage (418 A.D.), guided by St. Augustine, who was present as a member, in a canon which was not afterwards included among the articles of faith binding on the universal Church 8, declared as follows: "It has likewise been decided that if anyone says that for this reason the Lord said, 'In my Father's house there are many mansions" (Jn 14:2), that it might be understood that in the kingdom of Heaven there will be some middle place or some place anywhere where the blessed infants live who have departed from this life without Baptism, in the absence of which they cannot enter into the kingdom of Heaven, which is life eternal, let him be anathema. For, when the Lord says: 'Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Spirit, he shall not enter into the kingdom of God" (Jn 3:5), what Catholic will doubt that whoever has not deserved to be a coheir of Christ will be a partner of the Devil? For whoever is wanting on the right hand without doubt runs into the left hand" (DS 224). Pope Pius VI, in the Apostolic Constitution Auctorem fidei (1794 A.D.), promulgated in opposition to the Synod of Pistoia (1786 A.D.), censured as "false, rash, and injurious to Catholic schools ... the doctrine which rejects as a Pelagian fable that place in the lower regions which the faithful generally designate by the name of the Limbo of Children, in which the souls of those dying with Original Sin alone are punished with the punishment of damnation but without the penalty of fire, as if by the very fact of removing the punishment of fire they were introducing that intermediate place and state free of guilt and penalty between the kingdom of God and eternal damnation about which Pelagians idly talk" (DS 2626). The Second Ecumenical Council of Lyons (1274 A.D.) had already declared that "the souls of those who die in actual mortal sin or only in Original Sin descend forthwith into the Inferno, but to undergo different punishments (DS 858; cf. DS 1306). The Ecumenical Council of Florence (1442 A.D.) decreed: "But regarding children, on account of the danger of death, which can often take place, since they cannot be helped by another remedy except by the sacrament of Baptism, through which they are snatched from the power of the Devil and adopted as children of God, (the Holy Roman Church) advises that holy Baptism ought not to be deferred ..." (DS 1349). In view of this necessity of Baptism in order to be saved, in continuing to discuss the question of aborted babies in particular, we shall consider whether they might be saved through a vicarious desire for the sacrament of Baptism (as I suggested in my former article under the theme of the prayer of the Church) or through Baptism of blood in association with the Passion and Death of Jesus (as I also suggested in comparison with the Holy Innocents of Bethlehem). Thus, it is not the aim of these two articles to question the existence of the Limbo of Children, or to deny that those who die only in Original Sin will be taken there, but rather to examine whether aborted children may be sanctified at the moment of their death and thus not die in the state of Original Sin.
9. In 1546 A.D. the Ecumenical Council of Trent declared that "if anyone denies that infants newly born from their mothers' wombs are to be baptized ..., or says ... that they derive nothing of Original Sin from Adam which must be expiated by the laver of regeneration," let him be anathema (DS 1514). In 1547 the Council of Trent went on to declare that this transfer to the state of grace "after the promulgation of the Gospel cannot be effected except through the laver of regeneration or through a desire for it (aut eius voto)" (DS 1524). These declarations affirm that infants incur Original Sin at their conception and that they cannot be transferred to the state of sanctifying grace without Baptism of water or of desire. In the present study we are examining whether aborted infants might be sanctified by something equivalent to Baptism of desire at the moment of their death. We are not so much questioning whether some deceased children go to the Limbo of Children as we are suggesting that aborted children do not go there. Pope Pius XII touched on this matter where he said: "Under the present economy there is no other way of giving this [supernatural] life to the child who is still without the use of reason. ... In the case of a grown-up person, an act of love may suffice for obtaining sanctifying grace and making up for the lack of Baptism. To the child still unborn or the child just born this path is not open." 9 Pope Pius XII is here declaring that, "under the present economy" of the visible Church, infants are unable of themselves to supply for the lack of the sacrament of Baptism, but he is not denying that they could be sanctified in some way outside of this economy by a direct intervention of divine grace or through Baptism of blood. St. Alphonsus Liguori 10 defines Baptism of blood as "the shedding of blood, or death undergone for the Faith or for another Christian virtue," and he explains that it remits fault and punishment "from a kind of privilege based upon an imitation of the Passion of Christ." He goes on to say that "martyrdom avails infants as well, seeing that the Church venerates the Holy Innocents as true martyrs." He adds that "in adults an acceptance at least habitual of martyrdom for a supernatural reason is required," not, therefore, in infants. Thus, if "the Church knows no other way apart from Baptism [of water] of ensuring children's entry into eternal happiness," 11 this does not mean that the teaching of the Church excludes the salvation of children by any other way. Similarly, when the Roman Catechism teaches 12 that "infant children have no other means of salvation except Baptism (of water)," it means that they have no other ordinary means by which the Church can ensure their salvation. Thus, there is every reason to insist on the Baptism of infants at the earliest reasonable moment after their birth.
10. The growth of devotion to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary has made ever more vivid our understanding of the merciful love of Jesus and the maternal love of Mary, the new Eve, for all children coming into this world: "By her maternal charity, she cares for the brethren of her Son who still journey on earth surrounded by dangers and difficulties, until they are led into their blessed home. Therefore, the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix" (LG, 62). "The Son whom she brought forth is he whom God placed as the firstborn among many brethren (Rom 8:29), that is, the faithful, in whose generation and formation she cooperates with a mother's love" (LG, 63). Infants in the womb about to be aborted are surrounded by dangers and difficulties of the greatest kind. Are we to suppose that Mary, in her superabundant mother's love for the faithful, in whose generation and formation she cooperates, is not concerned about the loss of Heaven threatening infants being aborted? Are we to assume that she is not an advocate, helper, benefactress, or mediatrix for them in their fundamental vocation to eternal life with Jesus in Heaven?
VICTORY OVER SATAN.
Where the Catechism of the Catholic Church proclaims the inviolate right to life of every infant in the womb (no. 2270), it cites the words of the Lord to the Prophet Jeremiah: "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you" (Jer 1:5). While there is no doubt that sanctification of an infant living in the womb is in itself a rare and extraordinary grace, nevertheless, a special case can be made for infants facing the moment of their violent death in the womb, in the sense that the grace of sanctification might be expected as a common divine intervention given from the merits of Jesus Christ through the maternal intercession of Mary. The Catechism, in explaining the constant petition of the Church to God the Father to "deliver us from evil" (Matt 6:13), speaks as follows: "In this petition, evil is not an abstraction, but refers to a person, Satan, the Evil One, the angel who opposes God" (CCC, 2851). "Victory over the 'prince of this world' (Jn 14:30) was won once for all at the Hour when Jesus freely gave himself up to death to give us his life. This is the Judgment of this world, and the prince of this world is 'cast out' (Jn 12:31; Apoc 12:10). 'He pursued the woman' (Apoc 12:13-16), but had no hold on her: the new Eve, 'full of grace' of the Holy Spirit, is preserved from sin and the corruption of death (the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption of the Most Holy Mother of God, Mary, ever virgin). 'Then the dragon was angry with the woman, and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring' (Apoc 12:17). Therefore the Spirit and the Church pray: 'Come, Lord Jesus,' since his coming will deliver us from the Evil One" (CCC, 2853). Since the Church prays to Jesus and believes that "his coming will deliver us from the Evil One," is it not likely that Jesus does come to deliver these infants from the Original Sin by which they are bound to the power of Satan and to offer them the grace of Heaven?
From the teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas
THE LIMBO OF CHILDREN.
The Greek and Latin Fathers of the first four centuries saw in general no more severe penalty for infants who died without Baptism than exclusion from the beatific vision. But St. Augustine and the other African Fathers, in opposition to the Pelagians who were holding that infants have no sin, maintained that infants who die in Original Sin only will share in the positive misery of the damned, although with a penalty mild enough that they would want to continue in existence. This opinion remained dominant from the fifth to the thirteenth century; a few theologians differed, but St. Thomas was the first great theologian to eliminate the pain of suffering from Limbo by reasoning that infants who die in Original Sin only will live in perfect natural happiness, having lost the blessing of the beatific vision, but with no awareness of having lost it, 13 and this is what the majority of Catholic theologians have continued to hold ever since then. 14 However, it is important to note that St. Thomas, in presenting his argument for a Limbo of Children, does not speak about children who die without the sacrament of Baptism, but only of children who die "in Original Sin," and it seems obvious that, to the extent that a child might die in the state of Original Sin, this is a benevolent and convincing solution. However, the question before us is whether aborted infants do die in the state of Original Sin. St. Thomas teaches 15 that all human beings will rise again. "The resurrection is necessary in order that those who rise again may receive punishment or reward according to their merits. Now either punishment or reward is due to all, either for their own merits, as to adults, or for others' merits, as to children. Therefore, all will rise again." Dan 12:2 declares: 'Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake.' Does this imply that not all will awake? St. Thomas answers: "Augustine 16 explains many as meaning all: in fact, this way of speaking is often met with in Holy Writ. Or else the restriction may refer to children condemned (to Limbo) (quantum ad pueros damnatos), who, although they shall rise again, are not properly said to awake, since they will have no sense either of pain or of glory, and waking is the unchaining of the senses." Yet, it could be objected that babies who die in their mothers' wombs can never be born again, and so they will not rise again. St. Thomas replies: "We are born again by the grace of Christ that is given to us, but we rise again by the grace of Christ whereby it came about that He took our nature, since it is by this that we are conformed to Him in natural things. Hence, those who die in their mother's womb, although they are not born again by receiving grace, will nevertheless rise again on account of the conformity of their nature with Him, which conformity they acquired by attaining to the perfection of the human species." From these quotations we see that St. Thomas does visualize little children, and even those who die in the womb, as condemned to the loss of Heaven, and he states that children who die in the womb "are not born again by receiving grace." The direction that St. Thomas takes in these statements is significant. Whereas he begins with the principle that everyone should receive punishment or reward according to his merits, and children according to the merits of others, he bases his reasoning on punishment of little children because of the demerits of Adam, rather than on the reward of little children because of the merits of Christ. It was the strongly pessimistic theological tradition of St. Thomas's time that seems to have disposed him to take for granted that aborted children die in Original sin, but the outlook of today is far more positive and open to the hope of their salvation (nos. 5-7 above).
And what St. Thomas says in the citations that will be given below seem to provide a foundation for the belief that aborted babies are given the grace of salvation.
THE NECESSITY OF BAPTISM.
St. Thomas teaches that "sacraments are necessary for human salvation," even though "the Passion of Christ is a sufficient cause of human salvation," because "they work in virtue of the Passion of Christ, and the Passion of Christ is in some way applied to men through sacraments, according to what the Apostle says in Rom 6:3: '... all we who have been baptized in Christ Jesus have been baptized in his death.'" 17 Therefore, "the power of Christ is linked to us through faith, but the power to remit sins pertains in a special way to his Passion, and so, men are freed from sins especially through faith in his Passion." 18 And children need the grace of Baptism: "That children contract Original Sin from the sin of Adam is evident from the fact that they are subject to death. ... And so all the more can children receive grace through Christ that they may reign in eternal life. But the Lord Himself says in Jn 3:15: 'Unless one has been born again of water and the Holy Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.' Consequently, it became necessary to baptize children, in order that, just as through Adam they have incurred damnation in being born, so through Christ they may reach salvation in being reborn." 19 Hence, "Baptism of water takes effect from the Passion of Christ, to whom someone is configured through Baptism and, further, from the Holy Spirit, as from the first cause." Also, "The Passion of Christ is shared for a remedy with every baptized person as if that person had suffered and died." 20 And "by the Passion of Christ, the door of the heavenly kingdom has been opened for us." 21 Now, "although the effect depends upon the first cause, nevertheless, the cause exceeds the effect and does not depend upon the effect. And, therefore, besides Baptism of water, one can attain to the effect of the sacrament from the Passion of Christ, inasmuch as one is conformed to Him by suffering for Christ. ... For the same reason also someone can receive the effect of Baptism by the power of the Holy Spirit, not only without Baptism of water, but also without Baptism of blood, insofar as one's heart is moved by the Holy Spirit to believing and loving God and to repenting of one's sins; whence this is also called Baptism of repentance" (cf. Isa 4:4). Thus, there are three Baptisms, namely, "of water, of blood, and of the Spirit (flaminis), that is, of the Holy Spirit." 22 St. Augustine is in agreement: "Whence Augustine says 23: 'That suffering sometimes fills the place of Baptism, Blessed Cyprian not lightly cites the case of that unbaptized thief to whom it was said, Today you will be with me in Paradise. And considering this again and again, I find that not only suffering for the name of Christ can supply what was lacking to Baptism, but also faith and conversion of heart, if perchance, due to the lack of time, a celebration of the mystery of Baptism cannot be arranged.'" 24 With these three kinds of Baptism in mind, St. Thomas affirms the necessity of Baptism for salvation: "Baptism is given for this that someone, having been regenerated by it, may be incorporated into Christ and made a member of Him: whence it is said in Gal 3:27: 'For as many of you as have been baptized in Christ have put on Christ.' And from this it is manifest that all men are held to Baptism and that without it there cannot be salvation for men." 25
BAPTISM OF BLOOD AND OF DESIRE.
Baptism of blood is not a contradiction. "From the side of Christ flowed water for washing and blood for redeeming. Therefore, blood fits the sacrament of the Eucharist, while water fits the sacrament of Baptism. But Baptism has its washing power from the power of the Blood of Christ." 26 In fact, Baptism of blood is even more powerful than Baptism of water. "For the Passion of Christ works, indeed, in Baptism of water by a certain figurative representation; and in Baptism of the Spirit, or of repentance, by a certain affection; but in Baptism of blood by an imitation of the work. Similarly, the power of the Holy Spirit works in Baptism of water by a certain hidden power, and in Baptism of repentance by a movement of the heart, but in Baptism of blood by a very strong fervor of love and affection" (cf. Jn 15:13). 27 But Baptism of desire is also possible. "The sacrament of Baptism can be lacking to someone in fact but not in desire, as when someone desires to be baptized, but perchance is taken by death before he can receive Baptism. Such a one can attain to salvation without actual Baptism on account of a desire for Baptism which proceeds from faith working through love (Gal 5:6), through which God, whose power is not bound by visible sacraments, interiorly sanctifies the man." 28 Now, according to John 3:5, "unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." To this St. Thomas replies: "He who desires to be regenerated through Baptism of water and the Holy Spirit is regenerated in heart, although not in body" 29 Thus, "The sacrament of Baptism is said to be necessary for salvation because there cannot be salvation for a man unless he has it at least in wish: which with God is considered as accomplished" 30 And so, "Just as the fathers of old were saved by faith in Christ to come, so also are we saved by faith in Christ already having been born and having suffered." 31 By Baptism a person is incorporated into Christ as a member of Him. 32 But do not adult converts have to be already believing in Christ before Baptism will be ministered to them? "Adults who believe in Christ beforehand are incorporated into Him mentally, and afterwards, when they are baptized, they are somehow incorporated into Him bodily, viz., through a visible sacrament, without the intention of which they could not have been incorporated even mentally." 33
15. It may seem to some that for little babies Baptism of blood does not take the place of Baptism of water, if Baptism of water takes effect ex opere operato, while Baptism of blood takes place only ex opere operantis, and, therefore, only with the exercise of charity (cf. 1 Cor 13), of which little babies are incapable because they do not have the use of free will. To this problem St. Thomas responds as follows: "Baptism of water takes effect from the Passion of Christ inasmuch as it represents it sacramentally, while Baptism of blood conforms in reality to the Passion of Christ, not by sacramental representation. ... [Hence], as regards the res tantum, [sanctifying grace], it totally takes the place of Baptism of water, when a moment of need excludes the sacrament." And so, "Baptism of blood does not have its effect only ex opere operantis, ... but it has it from imitation of the Passion of Christ. So it is said in Apoc 7:14 regarding martyrs: 'they have washed their garments in the Blood of the Lamb,' and, therefore, children, although they do not have free will, if they are killed for Christ, are saved as baptized in his Blood." 34
SACRAMENTS BEFORE THE COMING OF CHRIST.
St. Thomas teaches that there were sacraments before the coming of Christ. "It was fitting that before the coming of Christ there be certain visible signs by which a man could profess his faith concerning the future coming of the Savior. And signs of this kind are called sacraments." 35 The efficient cause, to be sure, cannot come afterwards in time, and, nevertheless, "the fathers of old were sanctified by faith in the Passion of Christ, as are we. But the sacraments of the Old Law were declarations of that faith inasmuch as they signified the Passion of Christ and its effects. It is thus evident that the sacraments of the Old Law did not have in themselves any operational power of conferring sanctifying grace, but they only signified the faith by which they [the fathers of old] were sanctified." 36 Hence, "Circumcision conferred grace inasmuch as it was a sign of the future Passion of Christ." 37
According to St. Thomas, since Abraham was noted for his faith and is called our Father in faith, "a sign (signaculum), or sacrament, of faith was fashioned for him, namely, circumcision." 38 And St. Thomas explains that circumcision had an express likeness to the taking away of Original Sin in four ways, of which the fourth way is "with regard to the shedding of blood, in which is signified the Passion of Christ, through which satisfaction would be made for Original Sin, and, with regard to this benefit, circumcision is defined as the sign (signaculum) of healing from Original Sin." 39 And so the circumcised were thereby disposed for eternal life, even though the gate of Heaven was not yet open. "..., because the final positive effect of grace is to make one worthy of eternal life, which was done through circumcision, as is now done also through Baptism," although "in Baptism greater grace is given." 40 In fact, the benefit of circumcision was also more restricted than that of Baptism, "because it had a determined people, a determined sex, and a determined time [the eighth day of birth], which does not occur in Baptism." 41 Circumcision signified justification by faith in the coming Passion of Christ, "in such wise that the man who was receiving circumcision was professing that he accepted this faith, either an adult for himself or another for little children." 42 So circumcision was like the sacraments of the New Law in that it could wipe away sin by its very performance. "It is fitting that a sin contracted from another be taken away by another, and, therefore, in every stage (statu) after the Sin there has been some remedy by which Original Sin could be taken away in virtue of the Passion of Christ. And, again, because a born baby, before he had the use of free will, was not able to prepare himself for grace, in order that he should not be left without any remedy at all, it was needful that some remedy be given which would wipe out sin by its very performance (ex opere operato), and this remedy was circumcision. Therefore, it is conceded by all that, as it was signifying a removal, it did take away sin, and in this it coincided in some way with the sacraments of the New Law, because it accomplished what it figured." 43
THE ROLE OF FAITH.
St. Thomas, therefore, points out that, "before the coming of Christ, people were incorporated into Christ through faith in his future advent, the sign of whose faith was circumcision." St. Paul says to the Romans: "'Blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not reckon his sin.' Is this blessing pronounced only upon the circumcised, or also upon the uncircumcised? We say that faith was reckoned to Abraham as righteousness. How then was it reckoned to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised. He received circumcision as a sign or seal of the righteousness which he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised and who thus have righteousness reckoned to them, and likewise the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but also follow the example of the faith which our father Abraham had before he was circumcised" (Rom 4:8-12 - RSV). And, says St. Thomas, before circumcision was instituted, as Gregory says, 44 people were incorporated into Christ by the offering of sacrifices, by which the ancient fathers professed their faith. "Also after the coming of Christ, people are incorporated into Christ through faith, according to Eph 3:17: 'that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.' ... Hence, although the sacrament itself of Baptism was not always necessary for salvation, nonetheless, faith, of which Baptism is the sacrament, was always necessary." 45
JUSTIFICATION OF CHILDREN THROUGH FAITH.
Before the institution of circumcision, did faith alone suffice for the justification of children? St. Thomas replies: "Just as before the institution of circumcision faith in Christ to come justified both children and adults, so also when circumcision had been given. ... But it is probable that believing parents said some prayers to God for their newborn infants, and especially for those in danger, or they performed some blessing upon them which was a kind of sign of faith (signaculum fidei), just as adults offered prayers and sacrifices for themselves." 46 However, it does not say in Sacred Scripture that the Patriarch Isaac, for instance, offered sacrifice to God. To this St. Thomas replies that, while Gregory says 47 that among the ancients Original Sin was remitted through the offering of sacrifices, nevertheless, "Isaac signified Christ inasmuch as he was offered in sacrifice (Gen 22:9-10), and so it was not needful that he should signify as offering sacrifice." 48 And, "it is also said of the children of the ancients that they were saved in the faith of their parents (in fide parentum)." 49 But circumcision was prescribed in the Law for the eighth day after birth, not before, and those who were born during the forty years of wandering in the desert were uncircumcised (cf. Jos 5:5-6). For St. Thomas: "If some died uncircumcised, they were in the same situation as those who died before the institution of circumcision. And this is also to be understood regarding boys who died before their eighth day in the time of the Law." 50 Circumcision was incomplete in its extension only to males. St. Thomas explains: "Circumcision was instituted as a sign of the faith of Abraham, who believed that he would be the father of the Christ promised to him (Rom 4:11 ff.), and, therefore, it suitably pertained only to males." 51
FAITH IN THE MEDIATOR.
St. Thomas asks "whether faith alone availed little children for the remission of Original Sin, seeing that Gregory says that for little children faith alone, for adults sacrifices and offerings were effective [among the ancients]." 52 And St. Thomas responds: "Faith in the Mediator was always effective for healing from Original Sin: their own in those who had the use of free will; of another in the others, lest a divine remedy should be entirely lacking to them." 53 It seems to St. Thomas, following the teaching of St. Gregory the Great, "that for little children faith alone sufficed without any exterior sign [before the institution of Baptism]; not, however, the habit alone of faith, but an act of it regarding the salvation of this child, by force of an interior profession of faith, whosoever it might be who referred a profession of faith to this child; but this pertained more to his parents, who were obliged to take care of the child and through whom he had contracted Original Sin." 54 How could faith alone suffice for the salvation of a child? "That at one time the faith of another together with some witnessing sufficed for the salvation of a child, this was so insofar as that witnessing had the sacramental power which Baptism of water has now." 55
BAPTISM OF BABIES.
In comparing the plight of babies before the institution of Baptism with that of babies in the New Testament, St. Thomas treats the following problem: "The age of childhood is more inclining towards pity than is mature age .... But children are not forgiven Original Sin simply in exchange for the faith and contrition of others, if Baptism of water is not administered to them. It seems, therefore, that Original [Sin] together with actual sin is not remitted to adults either without Baptism of water." 56 And he answers thus: "Since the salvation of a man regards the greatest values, it cannot be taken away from someone who wants it. But it is in the power of a man to impede another man from being baptized with water. Therefore, there can be salvation even without Baptism of water by faith and contrition alone." 57 St. Thomas points out that Baptism of penance, that is, of desire, is not ordinarily sufficient for salvation, but it is sufficient "when the moment of need excludes the sacrament from being received, for then, although the repentance is without Baptism in act, it is, nevertheless, with the desire and intention of Baptism, and the wish is considered as the accomplished fact for him who does not have time to perform it." 58 And so, although the age of children is more pitiful, it is, nonetheless, needful, if they must be saved, that there be some reason for salvation in them. And because they cannot be saved by their own act of free will, it is needful that they be saved through the sacrament of Baptism." 59 But, as regards the little children of non-believers, St. Thomas is of the opinion that to baptize them against the will of their parents, even to rescue a child in danger of physical death from the danger of eternal death, would be "contrary to natural justice" and an infringement upon the order of the natural law, "in virtue of which a child is under the care of his father." 60
SANCTIFICATION WITHOUT THE SACRAMENTS.
St. Thomas points out that "it is Christ who principally baptizes" (cf. Jn 1:33). 61 And so: "The man who baptizes exercises only an external ministry, while it is Christ who baptizes internally, and He can use all men for whatever He wants." 62 The human person baptizing acts "as a minister of Christ, who does not bind his power [of ministry] to baptized persons or to the sacraments." 63 Thus, Christ, without the sacrament of Penance, conferred the effect of the sacrament upon Magdalen (Lk 7:48). 64 And Christ conferred Baptism of blood upon the Good Thief on Calvary, even though he was not put to death for witnessing to the teaching of Christ: "Nor was that thief crucified for the name of Christ. On the contrary, as Jerome says, 'Christ turned a penalty for murder into a martyrdom (Christus homicidii poenam in illo latrone fecit esse martyrium), and it is to be said that he had something of martyrdom, namely, a penalty and a righteous will, and he lacked something for martyrdom, namely a cause, just as in the [Holy] Innocents there was lacking a righteous will, but there was a penalty and a cause." 65 But God can also administer the sacraments through angels. "Just as God did not bind his power to the sacraments in such wise that He could not confer the effect of the sacraments without the sacraments, so also He did not bind his power to the ministers of the Church in such wise that He could not bestow even upon angels the power of ministering in the sacraments. And, since the good angels are messengers of truth, if some sacramental ministry should be carried out by good angels, it must be considered valid (ratum), because it ought to be evident that this was done by divine will, as certain churches are said to have been consecrated by angelic ministry." 66 However, "what men do in a lower way, viz., through sensible sacraments, which are proportionate to their nature, angels do as higher ministers in a higher way, viz., by invisibly cleansing, illuminating, and perfecting." 67
THE CHILD IN THE WOMB.
Regarding babies in the womb: "Children in their mothers' wombs ... cannot be subjected to the actions of humans in such a way that through their ministry they may receive the sacraments of salvation. But they can be subject to the work of God, in whose presence they live, that by a privilege of grace they may obtain sanctification, as is evident from those who have been sanctified in the womb." 68 According to St. Thomas, "Sanctification in the womb is Baptism of the Spirit (Baptismus flaminis)." 69 St. Thomas mentions the Blessed Virgin Mary, John the Baptist, and the prophet Jeremiah as prime examples of persons who have been sanctified "outside of the common law as though miraculously in their mothers' wombs." 70 An act of the mind can extend equally to the born or to the preborn. If, therefore, faith ever was sufficient for wiping out Original Sin, why cannot those in the womb be cleansed from Original Sin through the faith of another? St. Thomas replies: "A child living in the womb of his mother does not, as far as human knowledge can tell (quantum ad humanam cognitionem pertinet), have being separate (distinctum) from his mother, and, therefore, cannot be reached by an act of man, whether in these times to be cleansed from Original Sin through Baptism, or in those [ancient] times to be cleansed through the faith of his parents, but he can be divinely cleansed, as appears in the case of those who have been sanctified in the womb." 71 Nevertheless, "a child in his mother's womb is entirely another according to the rational soul which he has from without." 72 Why, such as in the case of Sodom, does God punish little children for the sins of their parents? "Little children are temporally punished together with their parents for two reasons: because they belong to their parents, and so their parents are punished in them; and because this turns to their good, lest, if they were spared, they might be imitators of their parents' malice and thus might merit heavier penalties." 73
CHILDREN AND THE DIVINE MERCY.
St. Thomas maintains that salvation is available in some way to everyone. "Just as there was no stage of the world in which the way of salvation was shut to the human race, so there is no age of the individual man in which the way of salvation is shut. And so, since Original Sin is in children, by which they are impeded from attaining to eternal salvation, it is needful that some remedy be used for them to remove the aforesaid impediment, and this is Baptism. Hence, whoever denies that Baptism can be afforded to little children is denying the divine mercy, on account of which it is heretical to say this." 74 Yet, St. Thomas holds that "no one should be baptized before he is born from the womb," or, more strongly, "in no way can those living in their mother's womb be baptized." 75 But those in the womb have independent existence. "A child living in the mother's womb pertains to her by a certain connection of distinct bodies." 76 Babies in their mothers' wombs cannot be baptized "because they cannot be subjected to the activity of the ministers of the Church, through whom such remedies are administered." 77 As Augustine says in his letter to Dardanus: 78 "No one is reborn unless he is first born." And, adds St. Thomas, "Baptism is a spiritual regeneration. Therefore, no one should be baptized before he is born from the womb." 79 But, he adds, "if a mother should die while a child is living in her womb, the womb should be opened and the child should be baptized." 80 Furthermore, he notes, "Those who are asleep are not to be baptized unless they are in immediate danger of death." 81 And babies cannot sin gravely either before death or after: "Since children before the use of reason do not have an inordinate act of the will, neither will they have one after death." 82
THE SALVATION OF BABIES.
How can babies be baptized, when they cannot intend to be baptized? St. Thomas points out that "as children in their mothers' wombs do not receive nourishment by themselves, but are sustained by the nourishment of their mother, so also children not having the use of reason, being, as it were, in the womb of Mother Church, receive salvation by an act of the Church. ... And, for the same reason, they can be said to be intending, not by an act of their own intention, since they sometimes resist and cry, but by the act of those by whom they are being offered." 83 Can little babies have faith or a good conscience without having the use of reason? "A little child believes through others, not by himself, and so he is questioned, not himself but through others, and those questioned confess the faith of the Church in the person of the child, who is aggregated to this faith by the sacrament of faith. But the child acquires a good conscience even in himself, not, to be sure, in act, but in disposition (habitu) through sanctifying grace." 84 In the Church of the Savior, as Augustine says 85, "Little children are presented to receive spiritual grace, not so much by those in whose hands they are carried, although also by them, if they too are good believers, as by the entire company of the saints and of the faithful." And thus, says St. Thomas, "the faith of one person, indeed of the whole Church, benefits the little child through the working of the Holy Spirit, who unites the Church and conveys the good things of one person to another." 86 In fact, he avers, "The prayers which are said in the administration of the sacraments are offered to God, not on the part of the individual person, but on the part of the entire Church." 87 Consequently, "Children believe, not by their own act, but by the faith of the Church, which is imparted to them. And, by force of this faith, grace and the virtues are conferred upon them." 88 Not only, but "since children are baptized, not in their own faith but in the faith of the Church, they are all equally disposed towards Baptism, and they all receive an equal effect in Baptism." 89 Hence, it does not really matter what the intention is of those who are carrying them. "For it is not that they [children] are not regenerated on account of this that they are not presented by someone for this intention." 90 Finally, in the rite of Baptism, "by prayers and blessings and other things of this kind, the power of the Demon is kept from impeding the sacramental effect." 91
Application to the question of aborted babies
26. Just as the teaching of the Church allows us "to hope that there is a way of salvation" for little children who die without having received the sacrament of Baptism (no. 7 above), so does the teaching of St. Thomas leave the door of salvation open to them. St. Thomas does not teach that aborted babies are saved, but what he says in scattered responses relating to this question (nos. 12-25 above) seems to lay a solid theological foundation for hope of their salvation. Regarding these responses I note the following.
a. When St. Thomas recommends that the babies of non-believers not be baptized, even in danger of death, if their parents are unwilling (no. 21 above), he must be speaking only about remote danger of death, because to grant a natural right to parents of excluding their children from Heaven is unthinkable. In fact, it is against the teaching and practice of the Church (cf. can. 868.2 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law). And we can confidently say that the natural right of parents to care for their child ends with their decision to murder their child and is then superseded by the right of the Church to sanctify that child (cf. Prov 24:11).
b. St. Thomas says (no. 22 above), with reference to the Holy Innocents of Bethlehem, that they are considered to be martyrs, even though they did not have the conscious intention or desire to suffer for Christ, but they did suffer the penalty of death because of Him. Hence, if babies killed in the womb suffer the penalty of death in some way because of Christ, they may be eligible to become martyrs of Christ.
c. St. Thomas declares (no. 25 above) that little children intend and believe, not by themselves, but through others, namely, through their parents or their sponsors, but especially through the entire membership of the Church. Hence, to the extent that babies being aborted are sponsored in faith by members of the Church in Heaven or on earth, they may be said to have belief in the saving power of Christ and to have the intention of suffering in union with the Passion of Christ, which adds another element to their eligibility for the grace of martyrdom.
d. St. Thomas points out (nos. 13 and 21 above) that Baptism of desire takes the place of Baptism of water only when circumstances exclude the receiving of the sacrament. Otherwise, the Lord Jesus has established the rule that Baptism of water is necessary for salvation (no. 6 above). But babies being aborted are in a situation in which they are prevented from receiving the sacrament of Baptism.
e. St. Thomas avers (no. 24 above) that salvation is available in some way at every age in the life of every human individual. But living in the womb is an age in the life of every human individual, since human embryos and human fetuses are already human individuals endowed with a human soul and with the faculties of intelligence and free will (nos. 5 and 23 above). Therefore, salvation must in some way be available to them, especially if they are facing death in the womb. But Baptism of water is not available, and so, some other means of salvation must be at hand.
f. St. Thomas maintains (no. 21 above) that, since "it is in the power of a man to impede another man from being baptized with water," therefore, "there can be salvation even without Baptism of water by faith and contrition alone." But babies being killed in the womb are being prevented by the power of man from ever receiving Baptism of water. And, as innocent children, they have no need of contrition, while their faith can be supplied from the faith of the Church. Therefore, sanctification should in some way be available to them.
g. No one deserves sanctifying grace and no one merits the first grace, but the only great obstacle to the merciful love of Jesus is bad will, and St. Thomas assures us (no. 24 above) that babies in the womb "do not have an inordinate act of the will." Hence, they are fully disposed for an infusion of sanctifying grace, either directly by Christ or indirectly through the ministry of others. St. Thomas teaches also that, since Original Sin is in children, it is needful that some remedy be available to them, and he goes on to say that "whoever denies that Baptism can be afforded to little children is denying the divine mercy." Hence, one might equally argue that whoever denies that sanctification is in some way available to children being aborted from the womb is denying the divine mercy.
h. St. Thomas maintains (no. 23 above) that children in their mothers' wombs cannot be subjected to the physical or the mental acts of human beings in such wise as to be administered the sacraments of salvation, although they can, "by a privilege of grace," be sanctified by the work of God, "outside of the common law", as though miraculously, "as is evident from those who have been sanctified in the womb." It seems that St. Thomas is here referring to a general law laid down by Jesus and cited by St. Augustine (no. 24 above) to the effect that children who will be born are not to be baptized until they are born. However, this law would not seem to apply to children who will never be born. And thus, St. Thomas says also that, "if a mother should die while a child is living in her womb, the womb should be opened and the child should be baptized." // But not without hesitation does St. Thomas venture to say that a child in his mother's womb cannot be cleansed from Original Sin by any act of man, whether physical or mental, for he adds "as far as human knowledge can tell." In this he is relying partly upon the medical knowledge available in his time, and modern medicine can reach the child physically in the womb. 92
i. St. Thomas explains (no. 25 above) that, when children are being baptized, "it does not matter what the intention is of those who are carrying them," because children intend and believe through the faith of the Church. Hence, the murder of an infant in the womb can be received as a martyrdom.
j. St. Thomas notes (no. 22 above) with the Church (CCC 1257) that it is Christ who principally baptizes, but He did not bind his saving power to the sacraments. We know of the willingness of Jesus to let the little children come unto Him (Mk 10:14). Now, St. Thomas points out (no. 17 above) that circumcision was an efficacious sign of healing from Original Sin, also in the shedding of the blood of the infant, "in which is signified the Passion of Christ." Why, then, would not Jesus see, in the cutting to death of an infant in the womb, a sign of his own Passion, and so administer to the child, either directly or through others, his healing and saving grace?
k. St. Thomas recalls that the children of the ancients "were saved in the faith of their parents" (no. 19 above) or of some other believing adult (no. 20). St. Thomas does not include children in the womb in this operation of faith, which, he says "had the sacramental power which Baptism of water has now." However, he was not adverting to the special case of infants being killed in the womb. Now, the virtue of Christian faith is not weaker after the coming of Christ than it was before. Therefore, why can we not believe with grounded hope that Jesus will use the faith of his Church, and in particular the charity of Blessed Mary and of the saints along with the fervor of his faithful on earth to sanctify these victimized babies? This would be an act of living faith, not having the sacramental power of Baptism, but having intercessory power with the Heart of Jesus.
l. St. Thomas allows (no. 23 above) that, as with Sodom, little children, therefore, even children in the womb, may be temporally punished for the sins of their parents, but he does not say that they may be eternally punished for their parents' sins. Yet, to be deprived of Heaven because of the Sin of one's First Parents would be an eternal penalty that St. Thomas does not seem to correlate here. Nor does St. Thomas anywhere visualize anyone being punished for sins that he would have committed in other circumstances, but never actually committed.
m. St. Thomas gives reasons (no. 19 above) why, under the Old Law, circumcision was given to males as a remedy for Original Sin, but not to females, and he points out that male infants who were faced with death before their eighth day of birth could be saved eternally by an act of faith of their parents. But he says nothing specifically about how female infants could be saved, and yet it is contrary to the tenor of his thought to assume that he visualized no ordinary means of salvation for females throughout the entire period of the Old Testament. Similarly, it is reasonable to assume that, while St. Thomas does not speak specifically about a remedy for Original Sin in infants being murdered in the womb, his general principles would allow for some ordinary means of salvation for these infants, over and above a rare direct sanctification by Jesus alone.
1. Aquinas, In IV Sent., bk. 2, dist. 23, q. 2, art. 2c.
2. Aquinas, S.Th., III, q. 68, art. 11, ad 2.
3. Aquinas, S.Th., I-II, q. 114, art. 6, corp.
4. Aquinas, S.Th., II-II, q. 124, art. 5.
5. Cf. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Donum vitae, I, 1.
6. R. Lawler, D. Wuerl, and T. Lawler, eds., The Teaching of Christ (Our Sunday Visitor: Huntington, 1976), p. 529.
7. Adjusted according to the Latin text of the Catechism.
8. Cf. D.J. Kenedy, "Pelagius and Pelagianism," in The Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. 11, p. 607A.
9. Pope Pius XII, Discourse of 29 October 1951.
10. Liguori, Theologia moralis, bk. 6, tract 2, ch. 1, no. 97.
11. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Pastoralis actio, art. 13.
12. Roman Catechism, Part II, "Baptism."
13. Aquinas, Quaest. disp. de malo, q. 5, art. 2, corp. et ad 1.
14. For a brief history of this theological discussion, see P.J. Toner, "Limbo," in The Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. 9, pp. 256-259.
15. Aquinas, In IV Sent., dist. 43, q. 1, art. 1b = S.Th., Suppl., q. 75, art. 2.
16. Augustine, De civitate Dei, bk. 20, ch. 23.
17. Aquinas, S.Th., III, q. 61, art. 1, corp. et ad 3.
18. Aquinas, S.Th., III, q. 62, art. 5, ad 2.
19. Aquinas, S.Th., III, q. 68, art. 9, corp.
20. Aquinas, S.Th., III, q. 69, art. 2, corp.
21. Aquinas, S.Th., III, q. 49, art. 5, corp.
22. Aquinas, S.Th., III, q. 66, art. 11, tit. et corp.
23. Augustine, De Baptism. contra Donatist., bk. 4, ch. 22: ML 43, 173.
24. Aquinas, S.Th., III, q. 66, art. 11, corp.
25. Aquinas, S.Th., III, q. 68, art. 1, corp.
26. Aquinas, S.Th., III, q. 66, art. 3, ad 3.
27. Aquinas, S.Th., III, q. 66, art. 12, corp.
28. Aquinas, S.Th., III, q. 68, art. 2, corp.
29. Aquinas, S.Th., III, q. 68, art. 2, ad 1.
30. Aquinas, S.Th., III, q. 68, art. 2, ad 3.
31. Aquinas, S.Th., III, q. 61, art. 4, corp.
32. Aquinas, S.Th., III, q. 69, art. 5, corp.
33. Aquinas, S.Th., III, q. 69, art. 5, ad 1.
34. Aquinas, In IV Sent., dist. 4, q. 3, art. 3c, ad 1.
35. Aquinas, S.Th., III, q. 61, art. 3, corp.
36. Aquinas, S.Th., III, q. 62, art. 6, corp.
37. Aquinas, S.Th., III, q, 62, art, 6, ad 3.
38. Aquinas, In IV Sent., dist. 1, q. 1, art. 2d.
39. Aquinas, In IV Sent., dist. 1, q. 2, art. 1a.
40. Aquinas, In IV Sent., dist. 1, q. 2, art. 4c.
41. Aquinas, In IV Sent., dist. 1, q. 2, art. 5a.
42. Aquinas, S.Th., III, q. 70, art. 4, corp.
43. Aquinas, In IV Sent., dist. 1, q. 2, art. 4b.
44. Gregory the Great, Moral., ML 75, 635B.
45. Aquinas, S.Th., III, q. 68, art. 1, ad 1.
46. Aquinas, S.Th., III, q. 70, art. 4, ad 2.
47. Gregory the Great, Moral., bk. 4, ch. 3: ML 75, 635B.
48. Aquinas, S.Th., II-II, q. 85, art. 1, ad 2.
49. Aquinas, S.Th., III, q. 68, art. 10, corp.
50. Aquinas, S.Th., III, q, 70, art. 4, ad 3.
51. Aquinas, S.Th., III, q. 70, art. 2, ad 4.
52. Aquinas, In IV Sent., dist. 1, art. 6c, sed contra.
53. Aquinas, In IV Sent., dist. 1, q. 2, art. 6a, corp.
54. Aquinas, In IV Sent., dist. 1, q. 2, art. 6b, corp.
55. Aquinas, In IV Sent., dist. 4, q. 3, art. 3b, ad 3.
56. Aquinas, In IV Sent., dist. 4, q. 3, art. 3b, ob. 3.
57. Aquinas, In IV Sent., dist. 4, q. 3, art. 3b, sed contra 1.
58. Aquinas, In IV Sent., dist. 4, q. 3, art. 3b, corp.
59. Aquinas, In IV Sent., dist. 4, q. 3, art. 3b, ad 3.
60. Aquinas, S.Th., III, q. 68, art. 10.
61. Aquinas, S.Th., III, q. 67, art. 4, corp.
62. Aquinas, S.Th., III, q. 67, art. 5, ad 1.
63. Aquinas, S.Th., III, q. 67, art. 5, ad 2.
64. Aquinas, S.Th., III, q. 64, art. 3, ad 4.
65. Aquinas, In IV Sent., dist. 4, q. 3, art. 3d, ex.
66. Aquinas, S.Th., III, q. 64, art 7, corp.
67. Aquinas, S.Th., III, q. 64, art. 7, ad 1.
68. Aquinas, S.Th., III, q. 68, art. 11, ad 1.
69. Aquinas, In IV Sent., dist. 6, q. 1, art. 1c, s.c. 2.
70. Aquinas, In IV Sent, dist. 6, q. 1, art 1b, corp.
71. Aquinas, In IV Sent., dist. 1, q. 2, art. 6b, ad 2.
72. Aquinas, In IV Sent., dist. 6, q. 1, art. 1a, ad 2.
73. Aquinas, S.Th., II-II, q. 108, art. 4, ad 3.
74. Aquinas, In IV Sent., dist. 4, q. 3, art. 1a, corp.
75. Aquinas, S.Th., III, q. 68, art. 11, s.c. et corp.
76. Aquinas, S.Th., III, q. 68, art. 11, ad 2.
77. Aquinas, In IV Sent., dist. 6, q. 1, art. 1a, corp.
78. Augustine, Epist. 187: ML 33, 844.
79. Aquinas, S.Th., III, q. 68, art. 11, s.c.
80. Aquinas, S.Th., III, q. 68, art. 11, ad 3.
81. Aquinas, In IV Sent., dist. 4, q.3, art. 1c, ad 3.
82. Aquinas, Quaest. disp. de malo, q. 5, art. 3, corp.
83. Aquinas, S.Th., III, q. 68, art. 9, ad 1.
84. Aquinas, S.Th., III, q. 68, art. 9, ad 2.
85. Augustine, Epist. ad Bonifacium: ML 33, 362.
86. Aquinas, S.Th., III, q. 68, art. 9, ad 2.
87. Aquinas, S.Th., III, q. 64, art. 1, ad 2.
88. Aquinas, S.Th., III, q. 69, art. 6, ad 3.
89. Aquinas, S.Th., III, q. 69, art. 8, corp.
90. Aquinas, S.Th., III, q. 69, art. 6, ad 4; quoting Augustine: ML 33, 361.
91. Aquinas, S.Th., III, q. 66, art. 10, corp.
92. See Liguori, Theologia moralis, bk. 6, tract 2, ch. 1, no. 107.
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