The Celebration of the Christian Mystery
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.
who die before their Baptism, their explicit
desire to receive it, together with repentance for their sins, and
charity, assures them the salvation that they were not able to
receive through the sacrament.
“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.”
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. Itmay be supposed that suchpersonswouldhave
if they had known its necessity.
children who have died without Baptism,
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
desires that all men should be saved, and Jesus’ tenderness toward
children which caused him to say: “Let the children come to me,
do not hinder them,”
allow us to hope that there is a way of
salvation for children who have died without Baptism. All the
more urgent is the Church’s call not to prevent little children
coming to Christ through the gift of holy Baptism.
The different effects of Baptism are signified by the percep-
tible elements of the sacramental rite. Immersion in water symbol-
izes not only death and purification, but also regeneration and
renewal. Thus the two principal effects are purification from sins
and new birth in the Holy Spirit.
For the forgiveness of sins . . .
are forgiven, original sin and all per-
sonal sins, as well as all punishment for sin.
In those who have
22 § 5. cf.
66 Cf. Council of Florence (1439): DS 1316.