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Baptism Day


Today, water baptism is most readily identified with Christianity, where it symbolizes the cleansing (remission) of sins, and the union of the believer with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection so that he becomes one of Christ's Faithful. Most Christian groups practice some form of literal water-based baptism and agree that it is important, yet strongly disagree with other groups regarding any or all of several aspects of baptism, such as:

* form of the baptism
* recipients of baptism
* meaning/effects of the act of baptism

However, a few Christian groups assert that water-based baptism has been supplanted by the promised baptism of the Holy Spirit, and water baptism was unnecessarily carried over from the early Jewish Christian practice.

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Catholic Baptism


In Catholic teaching, Catholic baptism plays an essential role in salvation. This teaching dates back to the teachings and practices of first century Christians, and the connection between salvation and baptism was not, on the whole, an item of major dispute until Martin Luther's teachings regarding grace. The Church teaches that "Catholic baptism is necessary for salvation" (Catechism, 1257) and entry into heaven; and therefore, a person who knowledgeably, willfully and unrepentantly rejects baptism has no hope of salvation. Three forms of baptism are acknowledged by the Church. Baptism by water refers to the traditional baptism where the individual is immersed or infused with water in the name of the Trinity.

The Church also recognizes two other forms of baptism: "baptism of blood" and "baptism of desire." Baptism of blood refers to unbaptized individuals who are martyred for the Faith, while baptism of desire generally refers to catechumens who die before they can be baptized. The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes these two forms:

The Church has always held the firm conviction that those who suffer death for the sake of the faith without having received Baptism are baptized by their death for and with Christ. This Baptism of blood, like the desire for Baptism, brings about the fruits of Baptism without being a sacrament. (1258)

For catechumens who die before their Baptism, their explicit desire to receive it, together with repentance for their sins, and charity, assures them the salvation that they were not able to receive through the sacrament. (1259)

Non-Christians who seek God with a sincere heart and, moved by grace, try to do his will as they know it through the dictates of conscience can also be saved without water baptism; they are said to desire it implicitly. (cf. Catechism, 1260). As for unbaptized infants, the Church is unsure of their fate; "the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God" (Catechism, 1261).

Source: wikipedia


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