Symbolism of Water: That Catholic Show


That Catholic Show – Water, Water Everywhere

Baptism Does Not Save You


Q. Baptism does NOT save a person. Baptism is an outward expression of your faith to the world. The bible says in Luke 23:40-43 that the thief received Jesus as his LORD and Savior and that saved him. As far as I know he was never baptized. Baptism is after you are saved.

A. You have expressed the Protestant view that baptism is merely an outward expression of an inward faith. It is true that the thief on the cross was saved without baptism. The Catholic Church does not deny that God may bring people to salvation without baptism.

But she teaches that baptism in the usual way for one to be initiated into salvation and the Body of Christ in obedience and conformity to Christ and Scripture..

The narrow Protestant definition of baptism does not adequately incorporate many passages of sacred scripture. The passages below are interpreted differently than the way the Catholic Church interprets them. But unless they are claiming infallible interpretation then Protestants must concede that our interpretation is as valid as theirs.

And of course we would say even more valid because the Catholic interpretation is more ancient than the Protestant interpretation.

When Jesus tells Nicodemus that one must be born of WATER and the SPIRIT. In John 3:5.

Mark 16:16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved

Matthew 28:18-20 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.

And Peter exhorted the crowd at Pentecost:

Acts 2:38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Again in:

1 Peter 3:20-21 ..when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, 21 and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you …

St. Paul also speaks of baptism through which we enter into Christ in order to live.

Romans 6:4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

Titus 3:5 He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,

Below is the result of a word search on BibleGateway…

  1. Acts 9:18 and the first thing St. Paul does is…
    Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized,

  2. Acts 10:47
    Then Peter said, “Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.”

  3. Acts 10:48
    So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days.

  4. Acts 11:16
    Then I remembered what the Lord had said: ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’

  5. Acts 16:15
    When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us.

  6. Acts 16:33
    At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized.

  7. Acts 18:8
    Crispus, the synagogue ruler, and his entire household believed in the Lord; and many of the Corinthians who heard him believed and were baptized.

  8. Acts 19:5
    On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus.

  9. Acts 22:16
    And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.’

  10. Romans 6:3
    Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?
  11. Galatians 3:27
    for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

Baptism of Blood or Desire


Q. Where do you find the doctrines of baptism of Blood and Baptism by desire in scripture?

A. The Catholic Faith is not based on Scripture in the same way Protestants do theology. (But please see this post for scripture on baptism)

For several reasons:

1. For 400 years after the birth of Christ, the New Testament, as we know it today, was non-existent.

2. Therefore, it would have been impossible for all theology to be based on something that did not exist.

The Church taught FIRST from the deposit of Teachings given to the Apostles by Jesus. Then as the need arose to write epistles or Gospels these were written, SECONDARILY. So, Sacred Scripture, is derived from the teaching of the Apostles or Sacred Tradition as we call it. Not the other way around as in most Protestant Churches.

3. The only Christian Churches in the world for over 1400 years based theology on both Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition (Teaching of the Apostles) until the advent of Martin Luther.

4. There is nothing in Sacred Scripture that commands the faithful to base theology on Scripture Alone/Sola Scripture.

5. Until some time after the invention of the printing press, the Bible, was an extremely costly book. At today’s minimum wages of $5.15 the cost of one Bible in today’s US Dollars would come to $21,424. And that still does not include the cost of materials, or for the time for another monk to decorate the pages and for someone else to bind the pages together and put on a cover. At these prices it is easy to see why every person could not have their own personal Bible for study and devotions. It also becomes clear why Churches chained the Bible in the Church to prevent the theft of this precious possession.

6. The idea of the necessity of Scripture alone for personal reading, salvation, and growth in holiness could not be an eternal Christian principle because the majority of people, until the last several hundred years could not read. Even today, 20% of the world population cannot read. So, Our Heavenly Father, in His infinite wisdom and mercy would not make salvation dependent upon personal reading of the Bible, as some Protestant sects teach.


Q. Should our desire be for baptism or for the Lord Jesus Christ?

A. BOTH OF COURSE. THE CATHOLIC FAITH IS NOT AN EITHER OR RELIGION BUT BOTH/AND. OUR DESIRE SHOULD BE FOR BAPTISM B/C IT BRINGS US INTO THE MYSTICAL BODY OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST AND THAT IS WHERE WE WANT TO BE.

Q. Shouldn’t our desire be for his saving grace and our devotion to him.?

A. ABSOLUTELY!

Q. Or should we focus on outward acts?

IN OBEDIENCE TO HIM, WE DO WHAT HE COMMANDED. Our outward acts He has commanded for reasons of His own. It is not the place of the clay to say to the potter…….

Q. Don’t you think we should be desiring the savior more than religious acts ?

A. AMEN. Of course, but don’t you think we should also be obedient to Christ? Will He be pleased if we explain our disobedience by saying, “But I really really desired You more than ritual actions.”

Q. I do not accept the Catholic Church’s assumed responsibility of authority by Christ as the conduit ofr truth on this earth. Where in Scripture does it tell me to take another man’s word as the truth or conduit for truth or as an interpreter of truth?

II Thessalonians 2:15 So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us.

II Thess. 3:6 Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw yourselves from every brother that walks disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.

1 Corinthians 11:2 Now I praise you because you remember me in everything and hold firmly to the traditions, just as I delivered them to you.

Your question is a fair one and this is some scriptural foundation. But I will ask you a question if I may. Where in scripture does it say that we are only allowed to believe something regarding theology if it is in scripture?

2 Timothy 3:16
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness..

This verse applauds scripture as does the Catholic Church but it nowhere forbids belief in anything unless it is found explicitly in scripture. Niether does it warn or teach that all theology must come strictly from scripture. It just does not say that. It recommends the benefits of sacrd scripture. That is all.

Q. If Roman soldiers were martyred for their conversion to Christ, were they joining a church when they made their profession of faith OR were they recognizing their sinfulneess and need for a savior…that savior being Jesus Christ the son of God?

A. They recognized something they wanted to be a part of if people were ready to die for their God. Only God knows exactly what was in their heart. But it is assumed they knew something about Christianity and when they witnessed the faith of the martyrs they were graced with conversion….martyrdom.


Q. If they truly put their faith in Christ yet were not baptized with water (they did not get “dunked, sprinkled or whatever method) then the truth is they did not get baptized. Only God knows if they were truly saved.

A. True. I don’t know if the Church states categorically that they were saved but that they certainly could have been saved surely they had enough faith to be willing to profess Christ in the face of certain and immediate death. Lack of water baptism would not prevent their reception by our loving and merciful Heavenly Father.

For instance there is a speed limit on our freeways. But when my son had convulsions with an extremely high temperature and a probable diagnosis of meningitis at 10 months old we drove him to children’s hospital and broke all the speed limits. If a highway patrol man had stopped us he could technically- legally give us a ticket but based on life and death he could instead have led the way at top speed to the hospital. And all would applaud his wisdom. How much more wise and just is Our Lord.

Q. I am thinking if they professed Christ, then they were saved…but really, that is only something God knows (none of us here on earth know it for sure!)

A. True. Of course, Protestants have no problem saying that a soldier who converted and was martyred would be saved without baptism. Because they do not believe baptism does anything sacramentally. I am only pointing out that the need for literal baptism is not absolute in the Catholic Faith either, even though baptism is the ordinary way.

Q. So, let’s assume they were savedthen, the truth is, they were saved without baptism. Right?

A. Yes without water baptism.

Q. You cannot hedge words …either you are (water) baptized or your not.

A. I agree.

Q. Either you need baptism for salvation, or you do not. Right?

No that is not right. It is not either /or. In obedience to Christ we are baptized in water and teach its necessity in accordance with scripture, yet grant that God can save whoever He wills to save by His own criteria. As through a “baptism” of desire or blood. But just b/c this is true does not give us the right to teach that water baptism is optional.

All the Church knows it what Jesus taught us through the disciples. And this we faithfully teach. The Church cannot safely teach that water baptism is optional when a person could be perfectly able to receive water baptism. And neither do the scriptures say anywhere it is optional. We teach the obedience of faith as Paul opens and closes his letter to the Romans.

Q. You (or the Catholic church, or anybody) cannot just come up with some other doctrine (teaching) to make up for the “holes” in your present theology.

A. Of course you are right. But what the Church believes has been believed from the first centuries of Christianity. I am afraid the Protestants need to cite by what authority they, against the history of Christian theology, can reject what is in scripture and historical Christianity.



No Salvation Outside the Catholic Church


Q. Is it true that there is no salvation outside of the Catholic Church?

A. Yes. But, unlike the oft heard teaching that, “If you are not a Christian you are going to Hell”– this teaching of The Catholic Church does NOT mean that you must be Catholic in order to be saved or that if you are not Catholic you are going to Hell. But, the Church also does NOT teach that everyone will be saved.

In fact, in the early 20th century. Fr. Leonard Feeney, SJ taught that all unbaptized people, including babies, would be condemned to Hell. This was contrary to Catholic Theology so the pope called him to Rome to explain himself. He refused to go.

He was excommunicated for disobedience, refusing to go to Rome to explain his position. Then the Holy Office, under Pius XII, sent a letter to the Archbishop of Boston, condemning Feeney’s error. (It is known that Pius XII personally checked the English text of that letter). The very first paragraph pointed out what is obvious: we must avoid private interpretation of Scripture — for that is strictly Protestant. But then the letter said we must also avoid private interpretation of the official texts of the Church. To insist on our own private interpretation, especially when the Church contradicts that, is pure Protestant attitude.

Some years before his death he was reconciled to the church. The Church teaches that she KNOWS that a baptized person who dies without mortal sin on his soul may go to Heaven. Because

Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. John 3:5

The unbaptized we leave to the mercy and justice of a loving God.

However, the Church also acknowledges that God is God and although baptism in the normal way to begin the journey to Heaven and be initiated into the Body of Christ, God is the final Judge. So, even those who might attain Heaven without having been baptized (like some of the inhabitants of the Americas for thousands of years before Christianity was introduced) are saved by Christ death and the ministry of His Church, according to the plan of God.

This teaching, “There is no salvation outside of the Catholic Church” does not mean your are going to Hell if you are not Catholic. It means basically that salvation is possible only through Jesus and His One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church; even if:

a person is not a member of a Catholic Church,

a person lived before the time of Christ,

a person never heard of Jesus, etc.

a person was never baptised

All these are left to the mercy of God to judge how they responded to His graces by keeping the moral law. They will be judged on what they knew, not what they didn’t know. So, those who are judged worthy to attain to salvation do so through Jesus Christ and His Church.

Roman 3:1 Then what advantage is there in being a Jew (Christian)? Much in every way, for to (us) has been entrusted the very words of God….

We have more information and especially GRACE from God through the sacraments to strengthen us and help us stay close to Christ.

Catechism of the Catholic Church

Wounds to unity

817 In fact, “in this one and only Church of God from its very beginnings there arose certain rifts, which the Apostle strongly censures as damnable. But in subsequent centuries much more serious dissensions appeared and large communities became separated from full communion with the Catholic Church – for which, often enough, men of both sides were to blame.”269 The ruptures that wound the unity of Christ’s Body – here we must distinguish heresy, apostasy, and schism270 – do not occur without human sin:

Where there are sins, there are also divisions, schisms, heresies, and disputes. Where there is virtue, however, there also are harmony and unity, from which arise the one heart and one soul of all believers. Origen

818 “However, one cannot charge with the sin of the separation those who at present are born into these communities [that resulted from such separation] and in them are brought up in the faith of Christ, and the Catholic Church accepts them with respect and affection as brothers . . . . All who have been justified by faith in Baptism are incorporated into Christ; they therefore have a right to be called Christians, and with good reason are accepted as brothers in the Lord by the children of the Catholic Church.”272

819 “Furthermore, many elements of sanctification and of truth”273 are found outside the visible confines of the Catholic Church: “the written Word of God; the life of grace; faith, hope, and charity, with the other interior gifts of the Holy Spirit, as well as visible elements.”274 Christ’s Spirit uses these Churches and ecclesial communities as means of salvation, whose power derives from the fullness of grace and truth that Christ has entrusted to the Catholic Church. All these blessings come from Christ and lead to him,275 and are in themselves calls to “Catholic unity.”276

Do You Have to Be Baptized to be Saved?


Q. Is baptism necessary in order to be saved?

A. Yes. As Jesus explained to Nicodemus in John 3…

John 3:3…Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.

John 3:5 Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.

We must be born again of water and the Spirit in order to see the Kingdom of God. And Jesus also said:

Mark 16:16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved

Matthew 28:18-20 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.

And Peter exhorted the crowd at Pentecost:

Acts 2:38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Again in:

1 Peter 3:20-21 ..when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, 21 and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you …

St. Paul also speaks of baptism through which we enter into Christ in order to live.

Romans 6:4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

Titus 3:5 He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,

John’s baptism was for repentance. But the baptism of Jesus is the sacrament that initiates a person into the people of God just as circumcision initiated Jewish babies into the Old Testament people of God. We are baptised into Christ and become a member of His body in order to participate in His resurrection.

However, to further answer the question, the Catholic Church recognizes all Christian baptism “In the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” So, when I entered the Catholic Church my Protestant baptism was accepted and I received First Communion and Confirmation at the Easter Vigil.

BAPTISM OF DESIRE OR OF BLOOD

In addition, the Catholic Church also teaches about the Baptism of Blood and Baptism of Desire. In the times of the early Church there are stories of people dying for their faith in Christ before they could receive baptism. For instance, Roman soldiers, participating in the execution of Christians for refusing to recant, were impressed by their amazing Christian Faith–being willing to die for it. They, by the grace of God were converted and executed on the spot.

Also the Church recognizes Baptism of Desire. This would be the baptism of one in the process of entering the Church through Christian Baptism but is killed in a car accident, for instance.

Also, those are baptized with this baptism, if God knows that in their heart they would have received baptism if they had known about it or known it was necessary.

For instance, if they were taught that baptism was unnecessary and therefore did not receive it, and died believing in Christ but unbaptized. If that person’s heart was such that they would have been baptized IF they had known it was necessary then we believe a baptism of desire existed also in their hearts.

Also, Our Merciful Father would attribute this baptism to all those people of good will towards God, throughout history on all continents, who never heard about Jesus and baptism.

You might find these posts interesting:

Do Catholics Have to Work their Way to Heaven?
Works Salvation/Works Righteousness
Can We Lose Our Salvation?
Confession to God Alone? Scripture Alone?
Atonement, Salvation, & Temporal Punishment

Are Catholics Christian?



Q. Are Catholics Christians?
A. Yes. The Catholic Church was founded by Jesus Christ.

“Upon this rock I will build my Church and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.” Matt. 16:18

Q. Why is it called the Catholic Church?

A. “Catholic” comes from the Greek word kataholos meaning universal. The Christian Church has been called “The Catholic Church” at least since 110 AD. We know this from a letter written by St. Ignatius of Antioch:

“Let no one do anything of concern to the Church without the bishop. Let that be considered a valid Eucharist which is celebrated by the bishop or by one whom he ordains. Wherever the bishop appears, let the people be there; just as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church” (Letter to the Smyrneans 8:2 Ignatius of Antioch;
110 A.D. ).

Q. Are Catholic Christians born again?

A. Certainly. In the Catholic faith tradition we believe that we are born again through the waters of baptism.
Jn 3:5 “Unless one is born again of water and the Spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”
I Peter 3:21 “…baptism now saves you..”.

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