Catechism of the Catholic Church

312 Part Two A rticle 1 THE SACRAMENT OF BAPTISM 1213 Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit ( vitae spiritualis ianua ), 4 and the door which gives access to the other sacraments. Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission: “Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration through water and in the word.” 5 I. W hat I s T his S acrament C alled ? 1214 This sacrament is called Baptism, after the central rite by which it is carried out: to baptize (Greek baptizein ) means to “plunge” or “immerse”; the “plunge” into the water symbolizes the catechumen’s burial into Christ’s death, fromwhich he rises up by resurrection with him, as “a new creature.” 6 1215 This sacrament is also called “the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit, ” for it signifies and actually brings about the birth of water and the Spirit without which no one “can enter the kingdom of God.” 7 1216 “This bath is called enlightenment, because those who receive this [catechetical] instruction are enlightened in their understanding . . . .” 8 Having received in Baptism the Word, “the true light that enlightens every man,” the person baptized has been “enlightened,” he becomes a “son of light,” indeed, he becomes “light” himself: 9 Baptism is God’s most beautiful and magnificent gift. . . . We call it gift, grace, anointing, enlightenment, garment of im- mortality, bath of rebirth, seal, and most precious gift. It is called gift because it is conferred on those who bring nothing of their own; grace since it is given even to the guilty; Baptism because sin is buried in the water; anointing for it is priestly and royal as are those who are anointed; enlightenment be- cause it radiates light; clothing since it veils our shame; bath because it washes; and seal as it is our guard and the sign of God’s Lordship. 10 4 Cf. Council of Florence: DS 1314: vitae spiritualis ianua. 5 Roman Catechism II, 2, 5; cf. Council of Florence: DS 1314; CIC, cann. 204 § 1; 849; CCEO, can. 675 § 1. 6 2 Cor 5:17; Gal 6:15; cf. Rom 6:3-4; Col 2:12. 7 Titus 3:5; Jn 3:5. 8 8 St. Justin, Apol. 1, 61, 12: PG 6, 421. 9 Jn 1:9; 1 Thess 5:5; Heb 10:32; Eph 5:8. 10 St. Gregory of Nazianzus, Oratio 40, 3-4: PG 36, 361C. 628 1257 1243