Baptism Does NOT Save You!

October 31, 2008

Q. Baptism does NOT save a person. Baptism is an outward expression of your faith to the world. The bible says in Luke 24:40-43 that the thief received Jesus as his LORD and Savior and that saved him. As far as I know he was never baptized. Baptism is after you are saved.

A. You have expressed the Protestant view that baptism is merely an outward expression of an inward faith. It is true that the thief on the cross was saved without baptism. The Catholic Church does not deny that God may bring people to salvation without baptism.

But she teaches that baptism in the usual way for one to be initiated into salvation and the Body of Christ in obedience and conformity to Christ and Scripture..

The narrow Protestant definition of baptism does not adequately incorporate many passages of sacred scripture. The passages below are interpreted differently than the way the Catholic Church interprets them. But unless they are claiming infallible interpretation then Protestants must concede that our interpretation is as valid as theirs.

And of course we would say even more valid because the Catholic interpretation is more ancient than the Protestant interpretation.

When Jesus tells Nicodemus that one must be born of WATER and the SPIRIT. In John 3:5.

Mark 16:16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved

Matthew 28:18-20 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.

And Peter exhorted the crowd at Pentecost:

Acts 2:38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Again in:

1 Peter 3:20-21 ..when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, 21 and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you …

St. Paul also speaks of baptism through which we enter into Christ in order to live.

Romans 6:4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

Titus 3:5 He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,

Below is the result of a word search on BibleGateway…

  1. Acts 9:18 and the first thing St. Paul does is…
    Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized,

  2. Acts 10:47
    Then Peter said, “Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.”

  3. Acts 10:48
    So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days.

  4. Acts 11:16
    Then I remembered what the Lord had said: ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’

  5. Acts 16:15
    When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us.

  6. Acts 16:33
    At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized.

  7. Acts 18:8
    Crispus, the synagogue ruler, and his entire household believed in the Lord; and many of the Corinthians who heard him believed and were baptized.

  8. Acts 19:5
    On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus.

  9. Acts 22:16
    And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.’

  10. Romans 6:3
    Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?
  11. Galatians 3:27
    for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

Friday’s Flannery: The Short Stories of Flannery O’Connor

October 30, 2008

Introducing a new series on the short stories of Flannery O’Connor, a perennial favorite among Catholic American authors, this series of posts will look at each of her short stories from a Catholic point of view.

Flannery is one of the most misunderstood American authors, so it will be helpful to look at some aspects of her writing and biography which are keys to her work.


It is important to note that Flannery at age 16 watched her father die of the terrible disease lupus.  As a still young woman she learned she would share his fate.  She regarded her miseries as a mysterious gift, a preparation for heaven which may explain to some degree her fascination with suffering and death not as morbid but as a window into the purging beatific vision.

She who had left the south to live in New York among the literary set was forced to return home where her mother cared for her.  She wrote most of her stories from this home in rural Georgia which may illumine several of her stories in which a young son superior in knowledge and sophistication is trapped by circumstance or temperament living with his old fashioned and socially crude mother.

Southern Gothic

Three words are often applied to Flannery’s writing which she did not entirely appreciate, gratuitous, grotesque and Gothic. Her stories are replete with unsympathetic characters, hideous details and often end in violence. In a radio program broadcast from the University of Chicago, Flannery addresses these descriptions with an explanation of her literary aim, which is “to make people who do not want to see, see.” See what? The movement of the Holy Spirit.


Flannery considered the modern world with its many distractions and constant obsession with the material, to be such an obstacle to the spiritual life that often spiritual breakthroughs only happen when one is faced with a crisis, particularly death. Like a callous which renders the skin insensitive, the spiritual indifference engendered by modernity needs to be shed, often by force, to expose one’s soul to divine action.  This is certainly true of her characters, but she also believed it to be true of her readers as well,  who needed to be shocked into insight.  In other words her readers whether southern or not, inhabit the same world and are inflicted with the same spiritual sicknesses as her characters.  The violence and strangeness of her stories was as necessary to reach her readers as they were to bring her stubborn characters to conversion.

Read the rest of this entry »

October 30: Blessed Oleksa Zarytsky, Greek Catholic Martyr, 1912-1963

October 30, 2008

Blessed Oleksa Zarytsky
Greek Catholic Martyr 
1912 – 1963 Read the rest of this entry »

Two Jesuits Killed In Moscow

October 30, 2008

Catholic Church Conservation relays:

“Two Roman Catholic priests were murdered in their apartment in an upmarket district of Moscow, investigators said Wednesday. Victor Betancourt, a Jesuit priest from Ecuador, was killed in the apartment on Saturday and Otto Messmer, a Russian who led the country’s Jesuits, was killed there two days later, after returning from a foreign trip, their order said in Rome”

Read the whole story here.

Prayers for the repose of the souls of Frs. Otto Messmer & Victor Bentancourt.

Prayer to Saints is Wrong

October 29, 2008

Jerry: The body of Christ are to pray together or alone for each other but never to Mary or to the Saints who have gone to Heaven. Only to God the Father, the Son , and the Holy Spirit.

BFHU: Where does scripture forbid asking Mary and the Saints to intercede for us?


Romans 8:26-27 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 27And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.

Luke 11:1-4

One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” 2He said to them, “When you pray, say:

” ‘Our Father…”

Acts 4:23-30 shows us that we are to pray to God only.

BFHU: The scripture in Acts 4 is the recounting of the prayers of the Christian community in thanksgiving for the release of Peter and John from prison. It tells us that:

they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said……

But none of these passages forbid the intercessory prayer of the saints in Heaven. This first passage explains that the Spirit will intercede for us when we do not know what we ought to pray for. That is a great comfort of course. The Catholic Church believes this as well. The second passage is a prayer we pray at every single mass. And the third passage is an example of direct prayer to God.

The issue of “praying to Mary and the Saints” is different than what any of these passages address. For Catholics, asking Mary or another Saint to pray for us is basically exactly the same as asking any other Christian to pray for us. It is all simply intercessory prayer. Just as you stated:

“The body of Christ are to pray together or alone for each other…”

Since Mary and the Saints are all a part of the Body of Christ we are asking them to pray together with us as you said. We consider them to be just as much a part of the Body of Christ as they were on Earth. And even more completely alive as they contemplate Our Lord in Heaven. And their love and concern for us is beautiful.

What you may have misunderstood is that “Prayer to Saints” is NOT the same thing as “Prayer to God.” Prayer to Saints is a request, to the saint, to pray FOR us to God or pray WITH us to God. We know that God is the ONE who answers our prayer. Where as, in “Prayer TO God” we are directly asking God to answer our prayer. We believe both types of prayer, direct and intercessory, are legitimate.

For more info see my post: Why do Catholics Pray to Mary?

Assumption of Mary

October 29, 2008

Q. What is the Assumption of Mary?

A. The assumption of Mary is the dogma that at the end of her life on Earth, Mary was assumed into Heaven through the power of her Son. Her body did not decay in the grave. Today, August 15th is the Feast of the Assumption of Mary. The Church has not defined whether Mary died and then was assumed or whether she was assumed into Heaven before death similar to Elijah and Enoch. Because Mary was sinless, she was not subject to death but she may have chosen to experience death in union with her son. Or, she may never have experienced death and just went straight to Heaven, body and soul. This Feast day has been celebrated since the year 650AD.

Hear Father Ragheed Ganni, New Martyr of the Chaldeans

October 29, 2008

“Hear the voice of a Christian Martyr singing a hymn in Arabic to the Blessed Mother, while watching a slideshow of his funeral mass. Hear the angelic voice of Father Ragheed Ganni, a 35 year old Chaldean Catholic Priest killed on Sunday
June 3rd, 2007 with subdeacons Basman Yousef Daoud, Wadid Hanna and Ghasan Bida Wid right after celebrating mass at Holy Spirit Chaldean Catholic Church in Mosul, Iraq. The car of Father Ragheed and the three deacons was stopped by terrorists shortly after leaving the church.

“They were forced to get down from the car and asked to declare their conversion to Islam. When the four martyrs refused they were brutally gunned down with machine guns. Lord, protect all the innocent people of Iraq and all those trying to defend them. Jesus we trust in you and we are sustained by the prayers of your most holy mother to whom you never refuse a request. We pray for the repentance and conversion of Father Ragheed’s killers and all other terrorists. May she who gave birth to us at the foot of the cross beg you for mercy. “


It is really tough to listen to or watch this with dry eyes.

UPDATE: Someone emailed the following to me, I wanted to share it – I hope that is alright.”I clicked over to your blog and found your post on Fr. Ragheed from Iraq.He came to visit our parish back in 2002 or 2003 (I forget?)… and we got to know him personally very well. My husband and I took him out to lunch on a couple occasions…He was a beautiful person… I enjoy reading about him. Thanks for your blog post.”

I had not known Father Ragheed had spent any time in America. That was fascinating to learn. Thank you for sharing that.