Towards this last session of our discussion on Christian Baptism, I stand tall to challenge those who give a literal translation to the locus dassicus of baptismal rebirth (that is the Gospel of John 3:3-5. During the conversation between Jesus and Nichodmus, Jesus said to him ” Truly, truly, I say to you unless one is born a new, he cannot see the Kingdom of God” (Jn. 3:3). Does this really imply that the only condition to enter into the kingdom of God is to be born of water and the spirit? If that is the case, what happens to the souls of our forefathers, those who for no fault of theirs were not privileged to hear about the good news of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with their own understanding? Again what is the fate of those who have begun to complete it before their death and unfortunately were not baptized? What happens to the aborted babies whose cruel and ambitions mothers could not allow them to see the face of the earth? How about the people who shed their blood for their faith or for some Christian virtue but were not yet baptized?
We cannot doubt the fact that the Church teaches the necessity of baptism for our salvation especially for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament. Nevertheless, the Lord whose mercy is immense and who desires all people to be saved (1 Tim 2:4), is not bound by the sacrament of salvation. The Church has therefore always believed that Baptism of Water (Fluminis) could be substituted by what she calls by analogy, Baptism of Blood (Sangninus) and Baptism of Desire (Flaminis). They are called baptism by analogy because they supply the principal effects of Baptism, namely, the grace which remits sins but they cannot supply the baptismal character or remove all the debts of punishment.
For further clarification, Baptism of Desire is perfect conversion to God by contrition or love of God above all things accompanied by an explicit or implicit desire for true baptism of water. It is called “of wind” (Flaminis) because it takes place by the power of the Holy Ghost who is called a wind (Flamen). There can be both explicit and implicit desire for the sacrament. The former are the Catechumens who die before their Baptism while the later is every righteous man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church. The Catechism of the Catholic Church 1358, explains the Baptism of Blood when it says that those who suffer death for the sake of the faith without having received Baptism are baptized by their death for and with Christ.
Above all, I express the certainty that both the baptism of blood and the desire for baptism bring about the fruit of Baptism without being a sacrament.