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The Celebration of the Christian Mystery

321

1258

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.

1259

For

catechumens

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.

1260

“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.”

63

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

desired

Baptism explicitly

if they had known its necessity.

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

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,”

64

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.

VII.

T

he

G

race of

B

aptism

1262

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.

65

For the forgiveness of sins . . .

1263

By Baptism

all sins

are forgiven, original sin and all per-

sonal sins, as well as all punishment for sin.

66

In those who have

63

GS

22 § 5. cf.

LG

16;

AG

7.

64

Mk

10:14; cf.

1 Tim

2:4.

65 Cf.

Acts

2:38;

Jn

3:5.

66 Cf. Council of Florence (1439): DS 1316.

2473

1249

848

1257

1250

1234

977

1425