All Persons of Good Will are Adopted Children of God

We faithful Catholic Christians believe that Christianity is the truest form of religion on earth, and that Catholicism is the truest form of Christianity. The one true Church and sole Ark of Salvation is the one holy catholic and apostolic Church, which subsists in the Roman Catholic Church. We say “subsists” because non-Catholic Christians are formal members of the Church by the Sacrament of Baptism, and because non-Christians, who are not formal members of the Church, can be non-formal members (implicit members) by entering the state of grace through a non-formal baptism (of desire or of blood).

Everyone who is in the state of grace, by any form of baptism (water, desire, blood), is a member of the Church, either explicitly or implicitly.

Everyone who is in the state of grace is a child of God by adoption, regardless of whether they entered the state of grace by the formal Sacrament of Baptism, or by a non-formal baptism of desire or of blood.

The Council of Trent INFALLIBLY taught that formal baptism and non-formal baptism each give the person the state of grace and make that person an adopted son of God. Many ignorant and arrogant Catholic teachers, authors, speakers, and commentators today are spewing an evil HERESY by claiming that ONLY persons who receive the formal Sacrament of Baptism are children of God in the sense of supernatural adoption. They are directly contradicting the infallible teaching of the Council of Trent on supernatural adoption.

Yes, baptism makes us adopted children of God. Yes, baptism is the only way for persons conceived with original sin to become true children of God, in the fullest sense. But ANY FORM of baptism is sufficient: water, desire, or blood.

Do you really believe that an unbaptized catechumenate who willingly give up his life, rather than give up the Faith, is not a child of God due to the lack of baptism with water? What kind of idiot teaches such nonsense? Certainly, the catechumenate martyr enters the state of grace by his baptism of blood, and thereby becomes a child of God in the full sense of supernatural adoption.

And what do you think happens when a non-Christian (and non-catechumenate) willingly gives up his life out of true love of God or neighbor? How absurd it would be to claim that such a faithful and loving person can’t be in the state of grace and has not received a baptism of blood also!

Do you really believe that an unbaptized worshiper of God, in a non-Christian religion, is unable to love God and neighbor? It is a dogma of the Faith that the Jews of Old Testament times could enter the state of grace by an implicit baptism of desire (1 Cor 10:1-4). They loved God and neighbor with the theological virtue of love, and they had the theological virtues of faith and hope as well (Heb 11). Therefore, a non-Christian can be in the state of grace, and truly love God and neighbor, without a formal baptism, through the baptism of desire.

Pope Pius XII: “An act of love is sufficient for the adult to obtain sanctifying grace and to supply the lack of baptism.” [Address to Midwives, 21a]

This baptism of desire need not be explicit; it is often implicit. The unbaptized person who truly loves God or who truly loves his neighbor receives a baptism of desire.

Everyone who is truly a person of good will loves his neighbor. And the true love of neighbor always includes, at least implicitly, the love of God. This love of God and neighbor is sufficient to obtain the state of sanctifying grace by a baptism of desire. Therefore, all persons of good will are in the state of grace, and have received some form of baptism. And all the baptized are children of God, including non-Christians, who love God, and non-believers, who love their neighbor.

Even an atheist, who was never formally baptized, can still enter the state of grace by an implicit baptism of desire by love of neighbor. And if he commits actual mortal sin afterward, he can return to the state of grace by implicit perfect contrition. Not every objective mortal sin is also an actual mortal sin. So those persons who commit objective mortal sin without repentance might still be saved, if their sin does not have the full culpability of actual mortal sin, and if they receive some form of baptism and die in a state of grace.

However, the further away from the true holy Catholic Faith one goes, the harder it is to be saved. The easiest path of salvation is to be a believing and practicing Catholic Christian.

But if, as a Catholic Christian, you choose to become like the Pharisees, hating your neighbor and filling yourself with pride, then you will lose the state of grace and be condemned by Jesus, just as He condemns the Pharisees of every generation.

by
Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian and translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible.

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2 Responses to All Persons of Good Will are Adopted Children of God

  1. Rico says:

    Ron,

    When you speak of “non-Catholic Christians” who are “formal members by the Sacrament of Baptism”, I get somewhat confused. Do you mean only those Christian sects whose rites of baptism are acceptable to the Roman Catholic Church, ie, Lutherans or Anglicans?

    What then of Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Swedenborgians, etc.? I call them the unwanted children of Protestantism because they seem to have gone beyond the boundaries of normal Christianity yet still claim that they are Christians. In the case of Mormons, the RCC has declared their baptismal rite to be invalid. What then, should we still try to evangelize and convert them to the Catholic faith? Many Mormons live godly and exemplary lives, but a lot of them are converts from the Catholicism. They have the indelible mark of Catholic baptism on their soul. Should we even try to win them back?

    I have many friends and family members who have converted out of the Catholic faith, so for me, this issue is not an academic question only. I would greatly appreciate if you can clear this up. Thanks.

    • Ron Conte says:

      Yes, I was referring to Orthodox and Protestant Christians who have a valid Sacrament of Baptism. From a Catholic point of view, any sect that does not have a valid Sacrament of Baptism (Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, etc.) are not really Christians. The indelible mark of Baptism is the same for every valid Sacrament of Baptism, whether Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant.

      Should we try to convert former Catholics back to the faith? Yes, if they are open to it. Should we try to convert other non-Catholic Christians and non-Christians to the Catholic faith: yes, if they are open to it.

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