explain the catholic faith
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Q. If Justification is by Baptism, why didn't Jesus baptize anyone
(John 4:2)?
A. When you are in charge, you just let other people take care of some duties.
For example: Acts 10:48 where we see Peter: "commanded them to be baptized
in the name of Jesus Christ."

Q. Why did Jesus tell the repentant thief on the cross, who was never
baptized, "Truly, I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise"
(Lk. 23:43)?
A. By Baptism, grace enters the soul. One who, through no fault of his own, is
not baptized, may still receive it [Sanctifying Grace]; for the Church teaches that
everyone who reaches the use of reason is given by God sufficient actual grace to
enable him, if he will, to lift his soul in a movement of love to God and so
receive from God sanctifying grace. In St. Augustine's words, We are bound by
the sacraments, God is not."
But Baptism is God's plan for us.

Q. Why did Cornelius and those who were with him receive the Holy
Spirit before they were baptized (Acts 10:44-48)?
A. Peter was the one in the early Church to make the decision to accept gentile
converts into the Church without being circumcised, he was following the
prompting of the Holy Spirit. In order for God to bring this about (allowing
gentiles into the Church without circumcision) God had to give His Spirit to
Cornelius and his family in order for Peter to put two and two together. The
vision Acts 10:9-16; and the Holy Spirit falling v. 44, "on all who heard the word".
Peter didn't let God down, he announced in v. 47: "Can anyone forbid water for
baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?" In
chapter 11, back at Jerusalem v. 2, "the circumcision party criticized him" he
answered v. 17, "If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when
we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God?"
God was making a point!

Q. Why did Paul say: "For Christ did not send me to baptize but to
preach the gospel,"?
A. In v. 10, Paul is begging the believers to "agree and [let] there be no
dissension among you, but be ...united in the same mind and the same
judgment". There are still those who would cause disunity in the Body of Christ,
in the Church established by Jesus, which is the "pillar and bulwark of truth" (1
Timothy 2:15). Paul is addressing a pastoral concern among the Corinthians. He
mentions that they need to be united in mind and judgment. He mentions that
every one of them has been baptized v. 13. He also mentions that he has
baptized some of them, but since they are being so childish about their new
found faith he is glad that he only baptized "Crispus and Gaius, lest anyone
should say they were baptized in my name." (Vv. 14-15) Paul also mentions here
that he baptized a "household" v. 16, which infers that he baptized children and
even infants!
Paul is not addressing the need for baptism here, he is addressing the need for

Q. Why is baptism left out of so many verses explaining salvation,
such as "For I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God
for salvation to everyone who has faith." (Romans 1:16)?
A. We know that there are many verses in Scripture that have only part of a
teaching, that is why it is necessary to teach the whole Bible and the Oral
Tradition of the Church, just as Jesus and the Apostles did.
(1 Cor. 10 {the "rock" in the dessert following the Jews, is not found in the Old
Testament}; Jude 8-9; Mt. 23:2 {"Moses' Seat not in Old Testament}; 2 Thess.
2:15) For example Romans 2:6-11: "For he will render to every man according to
his works:" There is no mention of the need for faith here, by the same reasoning
faith would not be necessary for salvation!

Q. If the person receiving baptism normally needs to repent and
acknowledge Jesus as Lord, living a new life, how can an infant be
A. The Catholic Church teaches, "The faith of the priest, parents, and godparents
justifies the infant in baptism." In the Acts of the Apostles 2:38-39: "And Peter
said to them: "Repent, and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus
Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy
Spirit. For the promise is to you and your children..."
1 Cor. 1:16; Acts 16:15, 33, 18:8, 11:14 - "household"
God's general wish for salvation 1 Timothy 2:4, Matthew 19:14 (infants included),
the necessity of Baptism for salvation John 3:5.

Q. How can a baby be a Christian merely because someone has
baptized it?
A. Consider the parallel relationship between a baby and its parents. This is very
definitely a personal relationship, and one which the child has with the parents
even before being able to conceptualize what parents are.
The parents love and care for the child, providing for its needs, protecting it from
danger, and comforting it when it is distressed, even before the child is able to
reciprocate in the relationship or understand the nature of its parents.
The child has a very definite relationship with them - it is their child- even
though it cannot conceptualize them the way it will when it is a little older.
It is the same with a baby who is a child of God. The baby has a personal
relationship with God, one stronger then with its natural parents. Even though
the baby cannot yet conceptualize God, God loves the baby, caring for it,
protecting it, and sending his blessings upon it.
The baby, because it is God's child, has a personal relationship with God - it is
his child. The mistake made by many non-Catholics is assuming that a personal
relationship always involves the conscious interaction of both parties. It doesn't,
as family situations at the beginning of life (and often at the end of life) reveal.
All who have become Christians and thus children of God have a personal
relationship with him, even if they are not aware of it because of youth, mental
of physical incapacity, or their own neglect or forgetfulness of the relationship.
They remain God's children just the same.
One objection to "Infant Baptism" is that the infant cannot acknowledge Jesus as
their Lord and Savior and so, they should not be baptized.
Modern research has shown that babies are "aware" in the womb. For example:
They can tell if their parents love them and want them. The Catholic teaching on
Luke 1:44; "For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the
babe in my womb leaped for joy." Although he was conceived in sin -original sin-
like other men, St. John the Baptist was born sinless because he was sanctified
in his mother's womb by the presence of Jesus Christ (then in Mary's womb) and
of the Blessed Virgin. On receiving this grace of God St. John rejoices by leaping
with joy in his mother's womb - thereby fulfilling the archangel's prophecy (cf. Lk
1:15)."he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother's womb". It is
unfair for us to judge babies unacceptable for baptism simply because they react
to God differently than an adult!
Baptism is a grace from God; not something we do for God. Grace does not
depend on our intellectual achievements any more than it depends on any other
achievement. To refuse baptism to a baby on the grounds that "the child isn't
able to understand what is happening" is to presume that God gives grace only
to those who are smart enough to figure out how to get it. This is an implicit
assumption of salvation by intellectual works specifically condemned by Scripture
and Catholic teaching.

Q. I've read that being "born again" or "born of water and the Spirit"
(Jn. 3"3-5) refers to baptism. My problem is 1 Peter 1:23: "You have
been born anew, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through
the living and abiding word of God." What is responsible for the new
birth: the water of baptism or the word of God?
A. That is like asking which of your parents is responsible for your natural birth.
Notice that John 3 mentions the new birth in the context of feminine or maternal
imagery (the mother's womb), whereas 1 Peter gives a masculine or paternal
image (the "seed" of the word of God). The new birth is not water alone, nor the
word alone, but the "washing of the water with the word" (Eph. 5:26). They
should be united, not pitted against one another. In fact, Peter's readers had
been led by hearing the word to embrace new birth in baptism. Their new birth in
baptism was the result of the word being implanted earlier - a spiritual
"conception" in more than one sense. Even if the images did conflict, this would
not invalidate one or the other. After all, Scripture sometimes uses the same
image for different aspects of divine truth. The Church is said to be built on the
foundation of Christ (1 Cor. 3:11), the apostles and prophets (Eph. 2:20; Rev.
21:14), and Peter in particular (Mt. 16:18). the image of the lion is applied to
both the devil and the Lord. There is no reason why birth imagery should not be
applied to both the water and the word. As it is, though, the happy
complimentary of the two images (paternal and maternal) powerfully brings out
both aspects of the new birth.

Q. Being baptized is a useless work of man, it is not necessary for
our salvation. How can you say that it is necessary?
A. In the Gospel of Matthew, John the Baptist tries to stop Jesus from being
baptized by him. [Mt. 3:13-17] "Jesus said to him in reply, 'Allow it now, for thus
it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.'"

Sanctifying Grace: (CE) According to Scripture, Baptism makes a person a new creation,
through a
rebirth and communication of the Holy Spirit [2 Peter 1:4]. [...] It is lost through mortal sin
8:12] (but restored in the sacrament of Penance [John 20:21]) and can be increased by
good works
[James 2:24] and the reception of the sacraments [John 6:53].

THEOLOGICAL VIRTUES: Faith, hope and love. Supernatural gifts enabling man to attain
his final
MORAL VIRTUES: Prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance. The moral virtues enable
us to easily
perform good actions inspired by the Holy Spirit.

Theology for Beginners, Frank J. Sheed
2) Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, Dr. Ludwig Ott
3) The Gospel According to Rome, by James G. McCarthy
4) Catholic Dictionary, general editor Donald Attwater
Scott Hahn
Philip Turgati, (ME)
7) Catholicism and Fundamentalism, Karl Keating
8) The Navarre commentary on St. Luke
*Unless noted, all Scripture quotes are from the Revised Standard Version, Catholic
Edition, Ignatius