Friday, May 01, 2009

Swine Flu

Cardinal DiNardo has requested that churches suspend distribution of Holy Communion from the chalice until more is known about the Swine Flu (H1N1) problem. That seems prudent, considering we don't truly know the scope, scale, or intensity of the problem just yet, in spite of the media's intent to sensationalize the issue. The media seems to have forgotten that the common influenza virus kills thousands of people every year in the United States, yet it seems more intent on exploiting the unknown with regard to this virus. As far as I can see right now, prevention seems to revolve around common sense habits: wash your hands before you eat! cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze! etc.

This isn't the first time we've faced a "swine flu" alarm in this country. Check out these ads from 1976 urging people to get swine flu vaccinations:

Get the message?

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Aquinas on Implicit Baptism of Desire

Taylor Marshall discusses Aquinas' articulation of an implicit baptism of desire:
Last Monday I was fascinated to learn that Saint Thomas Aquinas had articulated a doctrine of implicit baptism of desire.
As stated above (1, ad 2; 68, 2) man receives the forgiveness of sins before Baptism in so far as he has Baptism of desire, explicitly or implicitly [there are the key words]; and yet when he actually receives Baptism, he receives a fuller remission, as to the remission of the entire punishment. So also before Baptism Cornelius and others like him receive grace and virtues through their faith in Christ and their desire for Baptism, implicit or explicit: but afterwards when baptized, they receive a yet greater fullness of grace and virtues. Hence in Psalm 22:2, "He hath brought me up on the water of refreshment," a gloss says: "He has brought us up by an increase of virtue and good deeds in Baptism. Yet catechumens who die without baptism can be saved but only as through fire. That is, they are absolved of eternal punishment, not temporal punishment."

STh III, q. 69, a. 4.
The perplexing thing is that Saint Thomas Aquinas believes that baptism by desire only remits eternal punishment and not the temporal punishment due to sins.
Read the whole thing (and the comments).


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