Saturday, January 23, 2016

"Spiritual" Baptism of Aborted Babies?

With the March for Life a pretty big success yesterday despite the impending blizzard along the Northeast, there was plenty of buzz from my pro-life friends and family on Facebook. One post in particular caught my attention, but not in the most positive way. The post contained two prayers, and the second one really caught my eye. I'm sure it'll catch yours too. Read below:

Heavenly Father, Your love is eternal. In Your ocean of love You saved the world through Your only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Now look at Your Son on the Cross who is constantly bleeding for love of His people and forgive Your world. Purify and baptize aborted children with the Precious Blood and Water from the Sacred Side of Your Son, Jesus Christ, who hung dead on the Cross for their salvation in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. May they, through His wounds be healed and through His Precious Blood be freed; there to rejoice with the Saints in Heaven. Amen

I believe in God (Here you should recite the Apostles Creed, continuing with...)that all who were born this day dead may reach everlasting life through Jesus Christ, Mary, Joseph, John and the Saint of the day ______. (I looked it up and here are 2-St. Vincent Pallotti and Bl. Laura Vinuna)
I Baptize you -(Sprinkle Holy Water to the North, South, East and West of your home or church) "IN THE NAME OF THE FTHER AND OF THE SON AND OF THE HOLY GHOST"
One our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory be to the Father.

St. Nicholas Mystikos Baptizes Constantine VII
The similarities with Mormon (Church of Latter-Day Saints) theology in the second prayer is pretty alarming. Mormons, of course, have a practice of baptizing the dead. I can't see this being approved by any bishop. It was obvious by my friend's post how dedicated she was (like all of us she was reaching out to) to praying for the unborn and for an end to abortion,

But let's look at those prayers posted, more so the second prayer for "spiritual baptism". It does indeed contradict Catholic teaching and theology. The first prayer seems fine for the most part; we should absolutely pray that our Lord's Precious Blood saves those unbaptized babies who were killed in the womb, but the word "baptize" doesn't need to be there. Likewise, the second prayer as a whole, while I'm sure reflects a good intention, is surely misguided.

Baptism is only reserved for the living. To make the Sacrament of Baptism happen, and for it to be valid, you need a living person and water. Otherwise, as I mentioned above, we're getting into Mormon theology with baptizing the dead, and straying from Catholic theology. See the following link and paragraph 1261 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC):

"As regards children who have died without Baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, as she does in her funeral rites for them. Indeed, the great mercy of God who desires that all men should be saved, and Jesus' tenderness toward children which caused him to say: 'Let the children come to me, do not hinder them,' allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism. All the more urgent is the Church's call not to prevent little children coming to Christ through the gift of holy Baptism." (CCC 1261)

Venerable Fulton J. Sheen
When my wife miscarried, we entrusted our child to God's mercy as the Church asks of us. Of course, there is such a thing as the "Baptism of Blood (or Desire)" that the holy martyrs have received without being sacramentally baptized (see CCC 1258). Take the Holy Innocents, whose feast we celebrated recently on December 28th... they are declared saints by the Church even though they were never baptized formally and never had a chance to know Christ. I would think, that in a similar way, we can hope that although these aborted babies may die without baptism, Christ's Blood that was shed on the Cross for humanity will help their souls as well.

All we can do is hope in God's mercy. As one religious brother who posts on Catholic Answers puts it, "Can we pray for these unbaptized souls? YES. Should we? YES. Can God supply the Grace of Baptism outside of the Sacrament of Baptism? YES. Can we Baptize them vicariously? NO." I personally think a better prayer to say instead of the second one posted would be the Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen's prayer. I think it's especially powerful and extends to all those who are at risk, or who have already died from abortion. Especially since, as we know, God is outside of space and time.

"Jesus, Mary ,and Joseph,
I love you very much.
I beg you to save the life of the unborn baby
that I have spiritually adopted,
and is in danger
of abortion.

"Mary, our Mother in Heaven,
pray for us,
and especially for your little ones
in danger of abortion!"

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