Chapter 15. Baptism: Becoming a Christian • 195
(character) of his belonging to Christ. No sin can erase this mark, even if
sin prevents Baptism from bearing the fruits of salvation. Given once for
all Baptism cannot be repeated” (CCC, no. 1272). This spiritual mark is
also called a character, which St. Augustine likened to distinctive brand-
ings impressed upon soldiers and slaves during Roman times to signify
the commander or owner to whom they belonged. Baptism marks us
permanently as belonging to Christ, whose image we bear.
BAPTISM IS A CALL TO HOLINESS
Reborn . . . [the baptized] . . . must participate in the
apostolic and missionary activity of the People of God.
—CCC, no. 1270
“Baptism is the door to life and to the Kingdom of God. Christ offered
the first sacrament of the new law to all that they may have eternal
life. Baptism is, above all, the sacrament of that faith by which men
A number of non-Catholic Christians call themselves “born-again.”
Catholics, for the most part, do not use this term. A “born-again”
Christian is one who has experienced a particularly intense
moment of conversion that leads him or her to want to dedicate
his or her life to God. It is a one-time action that is not necessar-
ily tied to any type of baptismal rite. While we Catholics are born
again as children of God in the Sacrament of Baptism, our rebirth
happens in and through the grace of the Sacrament. Our rebirth
in Baptism is also not a one-time event but a lifelong process
through which we continually strive to die to sin and rise to new
life in Christ. Catholics are indeed born again.
ARE CATHOLICS BORN-AGAIN?