The Catholic Encyclopedia (New Advent) has repeated the objective error of the Letter of the Holy Office to the Archbishop of Boston (1949).The Letter ( 1949) wrongly assumes that the baptism of desire ( BOD) refers to visible cases, personally known in the present times. It also wrongly assumes that these cases must exclude the baptism of water and that these 'known' cases are explicit exceptions, to all needing to formally enter the Catholic Church ( with faith and baptism) in the present times.
We now know that the BOD refers to a hypothetical case and there is no known case. If they existed they would only be known to God.
Also before the Council of Trent no saint or pope said that BOD is explicit or that it was an exception or relevant to EENS.They simply mentioned BOD. The wrong inference was made in the Letter(1949). It was supported by the magisterium, the Archdiocese of Boston and the secular media.
The Fathers and theologians frequently divide baptism into three kinds: the baptism of water (aquæ or fluminis), the baptism of desire (flaminis), and the baptism of blood (sanguinis).
They do not say that the baptism of desire (BOD) or baptism of blood(BOB) refer to explicit cases, visible in the flesh. Neither do they say that BOD or BOB are exceptions to EENS. This inference was made in 1949.
However, only the first is a real sacrament. The latter two are denominated baptism only analogically, inasmuch as they supply the principal effect of baptism, namely, the grace which remits sins.
Analogically, theoretically, hypothetically, speculatively.
It is the teaching of the Catholic Church that when the baptism of water becomes a physical or moral impossibility, eternal life may be obtained by the baptism of desire or the baptism of blood.
It is a teaching. There are no known cases.
The baptism of desire
The baptism of desire (baptismus flaminis) is a perfect contrition of heart, and every act of perfect charity or pure love of God which contains, at least implicitly, a desire (votum) of baptism. The Latin word flamen is used because Flamen is a name for the Holy Ghost, Whose special office it is to move the heart to love God and to conceive penitence for sin. The "baptism of the Holy Ghost" is a term employed in the third century by the anonymous author of the book "De Rebaptismate". The efficacy of this baptism of desire to supply the place of the baptism of water, as to its principal effect, is proved from the words of Christ. After He had declared the necessity of baptism (John 3), He promised justifying grace for acts of charity or perfect contrition (John 14): "He that loveth Me, shall be loved of my Father: and I will love him and will manifest myself to him." And again: "If any one love me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and will make our abode with him." Since these texts declare that justifying grace is bestowed on account of acts of perfect charity or contrition, it is evident that these acts supply the place of baptism as to its principal effect, the remission of sins. This doctrine is set forth clearly by the Council of Trent. In the fourteenth session (cap. iv) the council teaches that contrition is sometimes perfected by charity, and reconciles man to God, before the Sacrament of Penance is received. In the fourth chapter of the sixth session, in speaking of the necessity of baptism, it says that men can not obtain original justice "except by the washing of regeneration or its desire" (voto). The same doctrine is taught by Pope Innocent III (cap. Debitum, iv, De Bapt.), and the contrary propositions are condemned by Popes Pius V and Gregory XII, in proscribing the 31st and 33rd propositions of Baius.
So we do not and cannot know of any particular case, the person would be in Heaven and this would be visible and known only to God.
We have already alluded to the funeral oration pronounced by St. Ambrose over the Emperor Valentinian II, a catechumen. The doctrine of the baptism of desire is here clearly set forth. St. Ambrose asks: "Did he not obtain the grace which he desired? Did he not obtain what he asked for? Certainly he obtained it because he asked for it."
It is hoped that he obtained it. Only God can know. However, assuming he obtained it, this case cannot be an exception to the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus(EENS) in 2016.We do not know of any exception to the dogma EENS in 2016.
St. Augustine (On Baptism, Against the Donatists, IV.22) and St. Bernard (Ep. lxxvii, ad H. de S. Victore) likewise discourse in the same sense concerning the baptism of desire. If it be said that this doctrine contradicts the universal law of baptism made by Christ (John 3), the answer is that the lawgiver has made an exception (John 14) in favor of those who have the baptism of desire.
There would only be a contradiction if the BOD case was personally known, if it was objectively visible.Then it would be exception to the teaching on all needing the baptism of water in the Catholic Church for salvation.
It is a theoretical case. It is a possibility. So it cannot be an exception or relevant to the dogmatic teaching on there being exclusive salvation in the Catholic Church and all needing to formally enter the Church with no exceptions. The Letter(1949) made a mistake.
Neither would it be a consequence of this doctrine that a person justified by the baptism of desire would thereby be dispensed from seeking after the baptism of water when the latter became a possibility. For, as has already been explained the baptismus flaminis contains the votum of receiving the baptismus aquæ. It is true that some of the Fathers of the Church arraign severely those who content themselves with the desire of receiving the sacrament of regeneration, but they are speaking of catechumens who of their own accord delay the reception of baptism from unpraiseworthy motives. Finally, it is to be noted that only adults are capable of receiving the baptism of desire.
Theoretically and this is irrelevant to the dogma.No link should be made with the dogma EENS.Theologians who do this are irrational.
The baptism of blood
The baptism of blood (baptismus sanquinis) is the obtaining of the grace of justification by suffering martyrdom for the faith of Christ. The term "washing of blood" (lavacrum sanguinis) is used by Tertullian (On Baptism 16) to distinguish this species of regeneration from the "washing of water" (lavacrum aquæ). "We have a second washing", he says "which is one and the same [with the first], namely the washing of blood." St. Cyprian (Epistle 73) speaks of "the most glorious and greatest baptism of blood" (sanguinis baptismus). St. Augustine (City of God 13.7) says: "When any die for the confession of Christ without having received the washing of regeneration, it avails as much for the remission of their sins as if they had been washed in the sacred font of baptism."
Once again we would not be able to see or know any one saved in Heaven as such. So there are no objective cases, especially in the present times. So BOB is irrelevant to all needing faith and baptism for salvation.Every one needs to enter the Catholic Church formally for salvation and we do not know of any BOB exception.
The Church grounds her belief in the efficacy of the baptism of blood on the fact that Christ makes a general statement of the saving power of martyrdom in the tenth chapter of St. Matthew: "Every one therefore that shall confess me before men, I will also confess him before my Father who is in heaven" (verse 32); and: "He that shall lose his life for me shall find it" (verse 39). It is pointed out that these texts are so broadly worded as to include even infants, especially the latter text. That the former text also applies to them, has been constantly maintained by the Fathers, who declare that if infants can not confess Christ with the mouth, they can by act. Tertullian (Against the Valentinians 2) speaks of the infants slaughtered by Herod as martyrs, and this has been the constant teaching of the Church.
Another evidence of the mind of the Church as to the efficacy of the baptism of blood is found in the fact that she never prays for martyrs. Her opinion is well voiced by St. Augustine (Tractate 74 on the Gospel of John): "He does an injury to a martyr who prays for him." This shows that martyrdom is believed to remit all sin and all punishment due to sin.
We know they are invisible cases for us and so there is no connection here with the dogma EENS. These cases are not exceptions to the St. Robert Bellarmine, Fr. Leonard Feeney interpretation of the dogma EENS.
Later theologians commonly maintain that the baptism of blood justifies adult martyrs independently of an act of charity or perfect contrition, and, as it were, ex opere operato, though, of course, they must have attrition for past sins. The reason is that if perfect charity, or contrition, were required in martyrdom, the distinction between the baptism of blood and the baptism of desire would be a useless one. Moreover, as it must be conceded that infant martyrs are justified without an act of charity, of which they are incapable, there is no solid reason for denying the same privilege to adults. (Cf. Francisco Suárez, De Bapt., disp. xxxix.)...
The theologians can discuss BOB and BOD in itself but should not link them to EENS as an exception. Since for them to be exceptions they would have to be explicit.They would have to be visible.
None of us can say that he has seen someone in Heaven without the baptism of water. No one in 1949 or 196-1965 could physically see someone in Heaven who was an exception to the old ecclesiology; who was saved outside the Church.
In the following passages of this article, there is no problem with the theology of BOD and BOB.It is when the theology is related to EENS as an exception, that the error emerges. Since if a theologian assumes that BOD and BOB are exceptions to all needing to enter the Church, he infers that these cases are visible for us, objectively seen, to be exceptions. This is irrational. It is also non traditional and denies the dogma EENS and changes the Nicene Creed from 'I believe in one baptism for the forgiveness of sin' to 'I believe in three or more known baptisms '. It would also contradict Vatican Council II (AG 7, LG 14) which says 'all' need 'faith and baptism' for salvation.
-Lionel Andrades http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02258b.htm#x