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192 • Part II. The Sacraments: The Faith Celebrated

this the Church confidently hopes for the salvation of children who die

without Baptism.

Baptism of Blood, Baptism of Desire

Often the question is raised about those who die without Baptism. The


offers this principle: “God has bound salvation to the sacra-

ment of baptism, but he himself is not bound by the sacraments” (CCC,

no. 1257). The Church holds that those who suffer and die for their faith

in Christ before they could be baptized are saved by Baptism of Blood.

Candidates for Baptism who die before they receive the Sacrament

but have repented their sins and have embraced Christ’s love are saved

by what is called Baptism of Desire. What about those people who have

never had the Gospel presented to them, who do not know Jesus or the

Church, yet seek the truth and try to do God’s will as they understand

it? “It is may be supposed that such persons would have desired baptism

explicitly had they known its necessity” (CCC, no. 1260).


Sins Forgiven

By Baptism all sins are forgiven, Original Sin and all personal sins, and

temporal punishment due to sin is removed. After one has been reborn

in Christ, there is nothing to prevent one’s entry into God’s Kingdom.

However, though all sins are removed, there remains, as an effect

of Original Sin, the inclination to sin that is called


. This

inclination to sin shows itself in what is sometimes referred to as a dark-

ening of the mind and a weakening of the will, that is, the inability to

know clearly the right or wrong of an action and/or the lack of strength

to resist temptation and always to do the right thing no matter how hard

this is. The effects of Original Sin need not harm us so long as we seek

strength to resist them through the Sacrament of Penance, the Sacrament

of the Eucharist, prayer, a deepening spirituality, growth in virtue, and a

wholehearted dependence on God.