Friday, March 13, 2009
The Church wonders aloud why, if atheists and secularists believe baptism is so meaningless, they are letting it upset them.
From the Catechism of the Catholic Church, on Baptism:
Incorporated into Christ by Baptism, the person baptized is configured to Christ. Baptism seals the Christian with the indelible spiritual mark (character) of his belonging to Christ. No sin can erase this mark, even if sin prevents Baptism from bearing the fruits of salvation. Given once for all, Baptism cannot be repeated.
Nor can it be taken back.
From the Moscow Patriarchate:
As St. Paul says, we are called upon to confess one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism (Eph. 4:5). The Church teaches one Baptism because rebirth through grace experienced by man in this Sacrament is one and unrepeatable, just as one and unrepeatable is our natural birth, our death and the Resurrection of Christ.
And again, it cannot be taken back.
This from the Anglican Diocese of Southwark, where this gentleman was baptized as an infant:
The local Anglican diocese, Southwark, refused to amend the baptismal roll as Mr Hunt had wanted, on the grounds that it was a historical record.
"You can't remove from the record something that actually happened," said the Bishop of Croydon, the Right Reverend Nick Baines.
The bottom line: If you leave the faith, you leave the faith, period! But don't expect the Church to take back what she cannot take back, pretending it didn't happen. The Anglican Bishop of Croydon gives a minimalist view of the significance of the sacrament as a public record, but it is, at the very least, that, and to pretend otherwise is like trying to remove your image from a photo through photoshop. It can be done, but it does not change the reality of what occured. That's why anyone leaving the Church is received back by way of confession and communion; he or she is never re-baptized. You can choose not to act on your baptism, but you can't undo it. The Church just considers you an excommunicate, by your own choice.