Table of Contents Table of Contents
Previous Page  226 / 665 Next Page
Show Menu
Previous Page 226 / 665 Next Page
Page Background

198 • Part II. The Sacraments: The Faith Celebrated

• Baptism seals the person’s soul with a permanent spiritual mark

or character identifying one as belonging to Christ. Because of this

character, Baptism cannot be repeated.

• People who die for the faith, catechumens who died before being

baptized, and those who do not know Christ or the Church through

no fault of their own but who, by the action of grace, seek God sin-

cerely and do his will can be saved even without being baptized.

• Infants have been baptized since apostolic times, for this is a gift

from God and does not presuppose human merit. Children are bap-

tized in the faith of the Church.

• Trusting in God’s mercy, we confidently hope for the salvation of

children who die without Baptism.

• In time of necessity such as the danger of death, all persons can bap-

tize. The person baptizing must intend to do what the Church does,

by pouring water three times on the candidate’s head while saying,

“I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the

Holy Spirit.”


By three immersions and as many invocations, the great mystery

of Baptism is performed. So the appearance of death is con-

veyed, and through the handing over of divine knowledge the

baptized are enlightened. Therefore, if there is any grace in the

water, it is not because of any power the water may possess, but

because it derives from the power of the Spirit. . . . The Lord,

to prepare us for the risen life, lays before us all the gospel pre-

cepts. We must avoid anger, endure evil, be free from the love of

pleasure and the love of money. So by our own choice we shall

achieve those things which are the natural endowments of the

world to come.

—St. Basil the Great,

On the Holy Spirit

, XV, nos. 35-36