QUESTION 66: OF THE SACRAMENT OF BAPTISM
We have now to consider each sacrament specially: (1) Baptism; (2)
Confirmation; (3) the Eucharist; (4) Penance; (5) Extreme Unction; (6)
Order; (7) Matrimony.
Concerning the first, our consideration will be twofold: (1) of Baptism
itself; (2) of things preparatory to Baptism.
Concerning the first, four points arise for our consideration: (1)
Things pertaining to the sacrament of Baptism; (2) The minister of this
sacrament; (3) The recipients of this sacrament; (4) The effect of this
Concerning the first there are twelve points of inquiry:
(1) What is Baptism? Is it a washing?
(2) Of the institution of this sacrament;
(3) Whether water be the proper matter of this sacrament?
(4) Whether plain water be required?
(5) Whether this be a suitable form of this sacrament: "I baptize thee
in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost"?
(6) Whether one could baptize with this form: "I baptize thee in the
name of Christ?"
(7) Whether immersion is necessary for Baptism?
(8) Whether trine immersion is necessary?
(9) Whether Baptism can be reiterated?
(10) Of the Baptismal rite;
(11) Of the various kinds of Baptism;
(12) Of the comparison between various Baptisms.
Article 1: Whether Baptism is the mere washing?
Objection 1: It seems that Baptism is not the mere washing. For the washing of
the body is something transitory: but Baptism is something permanent.
Therefore Baptism is not the mere washing; but rather is it "the
regeneration, the seal, the safeguarding, the enlightenment," as
Damascene says (De Fide Orth. iv).
Objection 2: Further, Hugh of St. Victor says (De Sacram. ii) that "Baptism is
water sanctified by God's word for the blotting out of sins." But the
washing itself is not water, but a certain use of water.
Objection 3: Further, Augustine says (Tract. lxxx super Joan.): "The word is
added to the element, and this becomes a sacrament." Now, the element is
the water. Therefore Baptism is the water and not the washing.
On the contrary, It is written (Ecclus. 34:30): "He that washeth himself
[baptizatur] after touching the dead, if he touch him again, what does
his washing avail?" It seems, therefore, that Baptism is the washing or
I answer that, In the sacrament of Baptism, three things may be
considered: namely, that which is "sacrament only"; that which is
"reality and sacrament"; and that which is "reality only." That which is
sacrament only, is something visible and outward; the sign, namely, of
the inward effect: for such is the very nature of a sacrament. And this
outward something that can be perceived by the sense is both the water
itself and its use, which is the washing. Hence some have thought that
the water itself is the sacrament: which seems to be the meaning of the
passage quoted from Hugh of St. Victor. For in the general definition of
a sacrament he says that it is "a material element": and in defining
Baptism he says it is "water."
But this is not true. For since the sacraments of the New Law effect a
certain sanctification, there the sacrament is completed where the
sanctification is completed. Now, the sanctification is not completed in
water; but a certain sanctifying instrumental virtue, not permanent but
transient, passes from the water, in which it is, into man who is the
subject of true sanctification. Consequently the sacrament is not
completed in the very water, but in applying the water to man, i.e. in
the washing. Hence the Master (iv, 3) says that "Baptism is the outward
washing of the body done together with the prescribed form of words."
The Baptismal character is both reality and sacrament: because it is
something real signified by the outward washing; and a sacramental sign
of the inward justification: and this last is the reality only, in this
sacrament---namely, the reality signified and not signifying.
Reply to Objection 1: That which is both sacrament and reality---i.e. the
character---and that which is reality only---i.e. the inward
justification---remain: the character remains and is indelible, as stated
above (Question , Article ); the justification remains, but can be lost.
Consequently Damascene defined Baptism, not as to that which is done
outwardly, and is the sacrament only; but as to that which is inward.
Hence he sets down two things as pertaining to the character---namely,
"seal" and "safeguarding"; inasmuch as the character which is called a
seal, so far as itself is concerned, safeguards the soul in good. He also
sets down two things as pertaining to the ultimate reality of the
sacrament---namely, "regeneration" which refers to the fact that man by
being baptized begins the new life of righteousness; and "enlightenment,"
which refers especially to faith, by which man receives spiritual life,
according to Habac 2 (Heb. 10:38; cf. Habac 2:4): "But (My) just man
liveth by faith"; and Baptism is a sort of protestation of faith; whence
it is called the "Sacrament of Faith." Likewise Dionysius defined Baptism
by its relation to the other sacraments, saying (Eccl. Hier. ii) that it
is "the principle that forms the habits of the soul for the reception of
those most holy words and sacraments"; and again by its relation to
heavenly glory, which is the universal end of all the sacraments, when he
adds, "preparing the way for us, whereby we mount to the repose of the
heavenly kingdom"; and again as to the beginning of spiritual life, when
he adds, "the conferring of our most sacred and Godlike regeneration."
Reply to Objection 2: As already stated, the opinion of Hugh of St. Victor on
this question is not to be followed. Nevertheless the saying that
"Baptism is water" may be verified in so far as water is the material
principle of Baptism: and thus there would be "causal predication."
Reply to Objection 3: When the words are added, the element becomes a sacrament,
not in the element itself, but in man, to whom the element is applied, by
being used in washing him. Indeed, this is signified by those very words
which are added to the element, when we say: "I baptize thee," etc.
Article 2: Whether Baptism was instituted after Christ's Passion?
Objection 1: It seems that Baptism was instituted after Christ's Passion. For
the cause precedes the effect. Now Christ's Passion operates in the
sacraments of the New Law. Therefore Christ's Passion precedes the
institution of the sacraments of the New Law: especially the sacrament of
Baptism since the Apostle says (Rm. 6:3): "All we, who are baptized in
Christ Jesus, are baptized in His death," etc.
Objection 2: Further, the sacraments of the New Law derive their efficacy from
the mandate of Christ. But Christ gave the disciples the mandate of
Baptism after His Passion and Resurrection, when He said: "Going, teach
ye all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father," etc. (Mt. 28:19). Therefore it seems that Baptism was instituted after Christ's
Objection 3: Further, Baptism is a necessary sacrament, as stated above (Question , Article ): wherefore, seemingly, it must have been binding on man as soon
as it was instituted. But before Christ's Passion men were not bound to
be baptized: for Circumcision was still in force, which was supplanted by
Baptism. Therefore it seems that Baptism was not instituted before
On the contrary, Augustine says in a sermon on the Epiphany (Append.
Serm., clxxxv): "As soon as Christ was plunged into the waters, the
waters washed away the sins of all." But this was before Christ's
Passion. Therefore Baptism was instituted before Christ's Passion.
I answer that, As stated above (Question , Article ), sacraments derive from
their institution the power of conferring grace. Wherefore it seems that
a sacrament is then instituted, when it receives the power of producing
its effect. Now Baptism received this power when Christ was baptized.
Consequently Baptism was truly instituted then, if we consider it as a
sacrament. But the obligation of receiving this sacrament was proclaimed
to mankind after the Passion and Resurrection. First, because Christ's
Passion put an end to the figurative sacraments, which were supplanted by
Baptism and the other sacraments of the New Law. Secondly, because by
Baptism man is "made conformable" to Christ's Passion and Resurrection,
in so far as he dies to sin and begins to live anew unto righteousness.
Consequently it behooved Christ to suffer and to rise again, before
proclaiming to man his obligation of conforming himself to Christ's Death
Reply to Objection 1: Even before Christ's Passion, Baptism, inasmuch as it
foreshadowed it, derived its efficacy therefrom; but not in the same way
as the sacraments of the Old Law. For these were mere figures: whereas
Baptism derived the power of justifying from Christ Himself, to Whose
power the Passion itself owed its saving virtue.
Reply to Objection 2: It was not meet that men should be restricted to a number
of figures by Christ, Who came to fulfil and replace the figure by His
reality. Therefore before His Passion He did not make Baptism obligatory
as soon as it was instituted; but wished men to become accustomed to its
use; especially in regard to the Jews, to whom all things were
figurative, as Augustine says (Contra Faust. iv). But after His Passion
and Resurrection He made Baptism obligatory, not only on the Jews, but
also on the Gentiles, when He gave the commandment: "Going, teach ye all
Reply to Objection 3: Sacraments are not obligatory except when we are commanded
to receive them. And this was not before the Passion, as stated above.
For our Lord's words to Nicodemus (Jn. 3:5), "Unless a man be born again
of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God,
seem to refer to the future rather than to the present."
Article 3: Whether water is the proper matter of Baptism?
Objection 1: It seems that water is not the proper matter of Baptism. For
Baptism, according to Dionysius (Eccl. Hier. v) and Damascene (De Fide
Orth. iv), has a power of enlightening. But enlightenment is a special
characteristic of fire. Therefore Baptism should be conferred with fire
rather than with water: and all the more since John the Baptist said when
foretelling Christ's Baptism (Mt. 3:11): "He shall baptize you in the
Holy Ghost and fire."
Objection 2: Further, the washing away of sins is signified in Baptism. But
many other things besides water are employed in washing, such as wine,
oil, and such like. Therefore Baptism can be conferred with these also;
and consequently water is not the proper matter of Baptism.
Objection 3: Further, the sacraments of the Church flowed from the side of
Christ hanging on the cross, as stated above (Question , Article ). But not only
water flowed therefrom, but also blood. Therefore it seems that Baptism
can also be conferred with blood. And this seems to be more in keeping
with the effect of Baptism, because it is written (Apoc. 1:5): "(Who)
washed us from our sins in His own blood."
Objection 4: Further, as Augustine (cf. Master of the Sentences, iv, 3) and
Bede (Exposit. in Luc. iii, 21) say, Christ, by "the touch of His most
pure flesh, endowed the waters with a regenerating and cleansing virtue."
But all waters are not connected with the waters of the Jordan which
Christ touched with His flesh. Consequently it seems that Baptism cannot
be conferred with any water; and therefore water, as such, is not the
proper matter of Baptism.
Objection 5: Further, if water, as such, were the proper matter of Baptism,
there would be no need to do anything to the water before using it for
Baptism. But in solemn Baptism the water which is used for baptizing, is
exorcized and blessed. Therefore it seems that water, as such, is not the
proper matter of Baptism.
On the contrary, our Lord said (Jn. 3:5): "Unless a man be born again of
water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God."
I answer that, By Divine institution water is the proper matter of
Baptism; and with reason. First, by reason of the very nature of Baptism,
which is a regeneration unto spiritual life. And this answers to the
nature of water in a special degree; wherefore seeds, from which all
living things, viz. plants and animals are generated, are moist and akin
to water. For this reason certain philosophers held that water is the
first principle of all things.
Secondly, in regard to the effects of Baptism, to which the properties
of water correspond. For by reason of its moistness it cleanses; and
hence it fittingly signifies and causes the cleansing from sins. By
reason of its coolness it tempers superfluous heat: wherefore it
fittingly mitigates the concupiscence of the fomes. By reason of its
transparency, it is susceptive of light; hence its adaptability to
Baptism as the "sacrament of Faith."
Thirdly, because it is suitable for the signification of the mysteries
of Christ, by which we are justified. For, as Chrysostom says (Hom. xxv
in Joan.) on Jn. 3:5, "Unless a man be born again," etc., "When we dip
our heads under the water as in a kind of tomb our old man is buried, and
being submerged is hidden below, and thence he rises again renewed."
Fourthly, because by being so universal and abundant, it is a matter
suitable to our need of this sacrament: for it can easily be obtained
Reply to Objection 1: Fire enlightens actively. But he who is baptized does not
become an enlightener, but is enlightened by faith, which "cometh by
hearing" (Rm. 10:17). Consequently water is more suitable, than fire, for
But when we find it said: "He shall baptize you in the Holy Ghost and
fire," we may understand fire, as Jerome says (In Matth. ii), to mean the
Holy Ghost, Who appeared above the disciples under the form of fiery
tongues (Acts 2:3). Or we may understand it to mean tribulation, as
Chrysostom says (Hom. iii in Matth.): because tribulation washes away
sin, and tempers concupiscence. Or again, as Hilary says (Super Matth.
ii) that "when we have been baptized in the Holy Ghost," we still have to
be "perfected by the fire of the judgment."
Reply to Objection 2: Wine and oil are not so commonly used for washing, as
water. Neither do they wash so efficiently: for whatever is washed with
them, contracts a certain smell therefrom; which is not the case if water
be used. Moreover, they are not so universal or so abundant as water.
Reply to Objection 3: Water flowed from Christ's side to wash us; blood, to
redeem us. Wherefore blood belongs to the sacrament of the Eucharist,
while water belongs to the sacrament of Baptism. Yet this latter
sacrament derives its cleansing virtue from the power of Christ's blood.
Reply to Objection 4: Christ's power flowed into all waters, by reason of, not
connection of place, but likeness of species, as Augustine says in a
sermon on the Epiphany (Append. Serm. cxxxv): "The blessing that flowed
from the Saviour's Baptism, like a mystic river, swelled the course of
every stream, and filled the channels of every spring."
Reply to Objection 5: The blessing of the water is not essential to Baptism, but
belongs to a certain solemnity, whereby the devotion of the faithful is
aroused, and the cunning of the devil hindered from impeding the
Article 4: Whether plain water is necessary for Baptism?
Objection 1: It seems that plain water is not necessary for Baptism. For the
water which we have is not plain water; as appears especially in
sea-water, in which there is a considerable proportion of the earthly
element, as the Philosopher shows (Meteor. ii). Yet this water may be
used for Baptism. Therefore plain and pure water is not necessary for
Objection 2: Further, in the solemn celebration of Baptism, chrism is poured
into the water. But this seems to take away the purity and plainness of
the water. Therefore pure and plain water is not necessary for Baptism.
Objection 3: Further, the water that flowed from the side of Christ hanging on
the cross was a figure of Baptism, as stated above (Article , ad 3). But that
water, seemingly, was not pure, because the elements do not exist
actually in a mixed body, such as Christ's. Therefore it seems that pure
or plain water is not necessary for Baptism.
Objection 4: Further, lye does not seem to be pure water, for it has the
properties of heating and drying, which are contrary to those of water.
Nevertheless it seems that lye can be used for Baptism; for the water of
the Baths can be so used, which has filtered through a sulphurous vein,
just as lye percolates through ashes. Therefore it seems that plain water
is not necessary for Baptism.
Objection 5: Further, rose-water is distilled from roses, just as chemical
waters are distilled from certain bodies. But seemingly, such like waters
may be used in Baptism; just as rain-water, which is distilled from
vapors. Since, therefore, such waters are not pure and plain water, it
seems that pure and plain water is not necessary for Baptism.
On the contrary, The proper matter of Baptism is water, as stated above
(Article ). But plain water alone has the nature of water. Therefore pure
plain water is necessary for Baptism.
I answer that, Water may cease to be pure or plain water in two ways:
first, by being mixed with another body; secondly, by alteration. And
each of these may happen in a twofold manner; artificially and naturally.
Now art fails in the operation of nature: because nature gives the
substantial form, which art cannot give; for whatever form is given by
art is accidental; except perchance when art applies a proper agent to
its proper matter, as fire to a combustible; in which manner animals are
produced from certain things by way of putrefaction.
Whatever artificial change, then, takes place in the water, whether by
mixture or by alteration, the water's nature is not changed. Consequently
such water can be used for Baptism: unless perhaps such a small quantity
of water be mixed artificially with a body that the compound is something
other than water; thus mud is earth rather than water, and diluted wine
is wine rather than water.
But if the change be natural, sometimes it destroys the nature of the
water; and this is when by a natural process water enters into the
substance of a mixed body: thus water changed into the juice of the grape
is wine, wherefore it has not the nature of water. Sometimes, however,
there may be a natural change of the water, without destruction of
species: and this, both by alteration, as we may see in the case of water
heated by the sun; and by mixture, as when the water of a river has
become muddy by being mixed with particles of earth.
We must therefore say that any water may be used for Baptism, no matter
how much it may be changed, as long as the species of water is not
destroyed; but if the species of water be destroyed, it cannot be used
Reply to Objection 1: The change in sea-water and in other waters which we have
to hand, is not so great as to destroy the species of water. And
therefore such waters may be used for Baptism.
Reply to Objection 2: Chrism does not destroy the nature of the water by being
mixed with it: just as neither is water changed wherein meat and the like
are boiled: except the substance boiled be so dissolved that the liquor
be of a nature foreign to water; in this we may be guided by the specific
gravity [spissitudine]. If, however, from the liquor thus thickened plain
water be strained, it can be used for Baptism: just as water strained
from mud, although mud cannot be used for baptizing.
Reply to Objection 3: The water which flowed from the side of Christ hanging on
the cross, was not the phlegmatic humor, as some have supposed. For a
liquid of this kind cannot be used for Baptism, as neither can the blood
of an animal, or wine, or any liquid extracted from plants. It was pure
water gushing forth miraculously like the blood from a dead body, to
prove the reality of our Lord's body, and confute the error of the
Manichees: water, which is one of the four elements, showing Christ's
body to be composed of the four elements; blood, proving that it was
composed of the four humors.
Reply to Objection 4: Baptism may be conferred with lye and the waters of Sulphur
Baths: because such like waters are not incorporated, artificially or
naturally, with certain mixed bodies, and suffer only a certain
alteration by passing through certain bodies.
Reply to Objection 5: Rose-water is a liquid distilled from roses: consequently
it cannot be used for Baptism. For the same reason chemical waters cannot
be used, as neither can wine. Nor does the comparison hold with
rain-water, which for the most part is formed by the condensing of
vapors, themselves formed from water, and contains a minimum of the
liquid matter from mixed bodies; which liquid matter by the force of
nature, which is stronger than art, is transformed in this process of
condensation into real water, a result which cannot be produced
artificially. Consequently rain-water retains no properties of any mixed
body; which cannot be said of rose-water or chemical waters.
Article 5: Whether this be a suitable form of Baptism: "I baptize thee in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost"?
Objection 1: It seems that this is not a suitable form of Baptism: "I baptize
thee in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."
For action should be ascribed to the principal agent rather than to the
minister. Now the minister of a sacrament acts as an instrument, as
stated above (Question , Article ); while the principal agent in Baptism is
Christ, according to Jn. 1:33, "He upon Whom thou shalt see the Spirit
descending and remaining upon Him, He it is that baptizeth." It is
therefore unbecoming for the minister to say, "I baptize thee": the more
so that "Ego" [I] is understood in the word "baptizo" [I baptize], so
that it seems redundant.
Objection 2: Further, there is no need for a man who does an action, to make
mention of the action done; thus he who teaches, need not say, "I teach
you." Now our Lord gave at the same time the precepts both of baptizing
and of teaching, when He said (Mt. 28:19): "Going, teach ye all nations,"
etc. Therefore there is no need in the form of Baptism to mention the
action of baptizing.
Objection 3: Further, the person baptized sometimes does not understand the
words; for instance, if he be deaf, or a child. But it is useless to
address such a one; according to Ecclus. 32:6: "Where there is no
hearing, pour not out words." Therefore it is unfitting to address the
person baptized with these words: "I baptize thee."
Objection 4: Further, it may happen that several are baptized by several at
the same time; thus the apostles on one day baptized three thousand, and
on another, five thousand (Acts 2,4). Therefore the form of Baptism
should not be limited to the singular number in the words, "I baptize
thee": but one should be able to say, "We baptize you."
Objection 5: Further, Baptism derives its power from Christ's Passion. But
Baptism is sanctified by the form. Therefore it seems that Christ's
Passion should be mentioned in the form of Baptism.
Objection 6: Further, a name signifies a thing's property. But there are three
Personal Properties of the Divine Persons, as stated in the FP, Question ,
Article . Therefore we should not say, "in the name," but "in the names of
the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."
Objection 7: Further, the Person of the Father is designated not only by the
name Father, but also by that of "Unbegotten and Begetter"; and the Son
by those of "Word," "Image," and "Begotten"; and the Holy Ghost by those
of "Gift," "Love," and the "Proceeding One." Therefore it seems that
Baptism is valid if conferred in these names.
On the contrary, our Lord said (Mt. 28:19): "Going . . . teach ye all
nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of
the Holy Ghost."
I answer that, Baptism receives its consecration from its form,
according to Eph. 5:26: "Cleansing it by the laver of water in the word
of life." And Augustine says (De Unico Baptismo iv) that "Baptism is
consecrated by the words of the Gospel." Consequently the cause of
Baptism needs to be expressed in the baptismal form. Now this cause is
twofold; the principal cause from which it derives its virtue, and this
is the Blessed Trinity; and the instrumental cause, viz. the minister who
confers the sacrament outwardly. Wherefore both causes should be
expressed in the form of Baptism. Now the minister is designated by the
words, "I baptize thee"; and the principal cause in the words, "in the
name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." Therefore
this is the suitable form of Baptism: "I baptize thee in the name of the
Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."
Reply to Objection 1: Action is attributed to an instrument as to the immediate
agent; but to the principal agent inasmuch as the instrument acts in
virtue thereof. Consequently it is fitting that in the baptismal form the
minister should be mentioned as performing the act of baptizing, in the
words, "I baptize thee"; indeed, our Lord attributed to the ministers the
act of baptizing, when He said: "Baptizing them," etc. But the principal
cause is indicated as conferring the sacrament by His own power, in the
words, "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy
Ghost": for Christ does not baptize without the Father and the Holy Ghost.
The Greeks, however, do not attribute the act of baptizing to the
minister, in order to avoid the error of those who in the past ascribed
the baptismal power to the baptizers, saying (1 Cor. 1:12): "I am of Paul
. . . and I of Cephas." Wherefore they use the form: "May the servant of
Christ, N . . ., be baptized, in the name of the Father," etc. And since
the action performed by the minister is expressed with the invocation of
the Trinity, the sacrament is validly conferred. As to the addition of
"Ego" in our form, it is not essential; but it is added in order to lay
greater stress on the intention.
Reply to Objection 2: Since a man may be washed with water for several reasons,
the purpose for which it is done must be expressed by the words of the
form. And this is not done by saying: "In the name of the Father, and of
the Son, and of the Holy Ghost"; because we are bound to do all things in
that Name (Col. 3:17). Wherefore unless the act of baptizing be
expressed, either as we do, or as the Greeks do, the sacrament is not
valid; according to the decretal of Alexander III: "If anyone dip a child
thrice in the water in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the
Holy Ghost, Amen, without saying, I baptize thee in the name of the
Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, Amen, the child is not
Reply to Objection 3: The words which are uttered in the sacramental forms, are
said not merely for the purpose of signification, but also for the
purpose of efficiency, inasmuch as they derive efficacy from that Word,
by Whom "all things were made." Consequently they are becomingly
addressed not only to men, but also to insensible creatures; for
instance, when we say: "I exorcize thee, creature salt" (Roman Ritual).
Reply to Objection 4: Several cannot baptize one at the same time: because an
action is multiplied according to the number of the agents, if it be done
perfectly by each. So that if two were to combine, of whom one were mute,
and unable to utter the words, and the other were without hands, and
unable to perform the action, they could not both baptize at the same
time, one saying the words and the other performing the action.
On the other hand, in a case of necessity, several could be baptized at
the same time; for no single one of them would receive more than one
baptism. But it would be necessary, in that case, to say: "I baptize ye."
Nor would this be a change of form, because "ye" is the same as "thee and
thee." Whereas "we" does not mean "I and I," but "I and thou"; so that
this would be a change of form.
Likewise it would be a change of form to say, "I baptize myself":
consequently no one can baptize himself. For this reason did Christ
choose to be baptized by John (Extra, De Baptismo et ejus effectu, cap.
Reply to Objection 5: Although Christ's Passion is the principal cause as compared to the minister, yet it is an instrumental cause as compared to the Blessed Trinity. For this reason the Trinity is mentioned rather than Christ's Passion.
Reply to Objection 6: Although there are three personal names of the three
Persons, there is but one essential name. Now the Divine power which
works in Baptism, pertains to the Essence; and therefore we say, "in the
name," and not, "in the names."
Reply to Objection 7: Just as water is used in Baptism, because it is more
commonly employed in washing, so for the purpose of designating the three
Persons, in the form of Baptism, those names are chosen, which are
generally used, in a particular language, to signify the Persons. Nor is
the sacrament valid if conferred in any other names.
Article 6: Whether Baptism can be conferred in the name of Christ?
Objection 1: It seems that Baptism can be conferred in the name of Christ. For
just as there is "one Faith," so is there "one Baptism" (Eph. 4:5). But
it is related (Acts 8:12) that "in the name of Jesus Christ they were
baptized, both men and women." Therefore now also can Baptism be
conferred in the name of Christ.
Objection 2: Further, Ambrose says (De Spir. Sanct. i): "If you mention
Christ, you designate both the Father by Whom He was anointed, and the
Son Himself, Who was anointed, and the Holy Ghost with Whom He was
anointed." But Baptism can be conferred in the name of the Trinity:
therefore also in the name of Christ.
Objection 3: Further, Pope Nicholas I, answering questions put to him by the
Bulgars, said: "Those who have been baptized in the name of the Trinity,
or only in the name of Christ, as we read in the Acts of the Apostles (it
is all the same, as Blessed Ambrose saith), must not be rebaptized." But
they would be baptized again if they had not been validly baptized with
that form. Therefore Baptism can be celebrated in the name of Christ by
using this form: "I baptize thee in the name of Christ."
On the contrary, Pope Pelagius II wrote to the Bishop Gaudentius: "If
any people living in your Worship's neighborhood, avow that they have
been baptized in the name of the Lord only, without any hesitation
baptize them again in the name of the Blessed Trinity, when they come in
quest of the Catholic Faith." Didymus, too, says (De Spir. Sanct.): "If
indeed there be such a one with a mind so foreign to faith as to baptize
while omitting one of the aforesaid names," viz. of the three Persons,
"he baptizes invalidly."
I answer that, As stated above (Question , Article ), the sacraments derive
their efficacy from Christ's institution. Consequently, if any of those
things be omitted which Christ instituted in regard to a sacrament, it is
invalid; save by special dispensation of Him Who did not bind His power
to the sacraments. Now Christ commanded the sacrament of Baptism to be
given with the invocation of the Trinity. And consequently whatever is
lacking to the full invocation of the Trinity, destroys the integrity of
Nor does it matter that in the name of one Person another is implied, as
the name of the Son is implied in that of the Father, or that he who
mentions the name of only one Person may believe aright in the Three;
because just as a sacrament requires sensible matter, so does it require
a sensible form. Hence, for the validity of the sacrament it is not
enough to imply or to believe in the Trinity, unless the Trinity be
expressed in sensible words. For this reason at Christ's Baptism, wherein
was the source of the sanctification of our Baptism, the Trinity was
present in sensible signs: viz. the Father in the voice, the Son in the
human nature, the Holy Ghost in the dove.
Reply to Objection 1: It was by a special revelation from Christ that in the
primitive Church the apostles baptized in the name of Christ; in order
that the name of Christ, which was hateful to Jews and Gentiles, might
become an object of veneration, in that the Holy Ghost was given in
Baptism at the invocation of that Name.
Reply to Objection 2: Ambrose here gives this reason why exception could, without
inconsistency, be allowed in the primitive Church; namely, because the
whole Trinity is implied in the name of Christ, and therefore the form
prescribed by Christ in the Gospel was observed in its integrity, at
Reply to Objection 3: Pope Nicolas confirms his words by quoting the two
authorities given in the preceding objections: wherefore the answer to
this is clear from the two solutions given above.
Article 7: Whether immersion in water is necessary for Baptism?
Objection 1: It seems that immersion in water is necessary for Baptism.
Because it is written (Eph. 4:5): "One faith, one baptism." But in many
parts of the world the ordinary way of baptizing is by immersion.
Therefore it seems that there can be no Baptism without immersion.
Objection 2: Further, the Apostle says (Rm. 6:3,4): "All we who are baptized
in Christ Jesus, are baptized in His death: for we are buried together
with Him, by Baptism into death." But this is done by immersion: for
Chrysostom says on Jn. 3:5: "Unless a man be born again of water and the
Holy Ghost," etc.: "When we dip our heads under the water as in a kind of
tomb, our old man is buried, and being submerged, is hidden below, and
thence he rises again renewed." Therefore it seems that immersion is
essential to Baptism.
Objection 3: Further, if Baptism is valid without total immersion of the body,
it would follow that it would be equally sufficient to pour water over
any part of the body. But this seems unreasonable; since original sin, to
remedy which is the principal purpose of Baptism, is not in only one part
of the body. Therefore it seems that immersion is necessary for Baptism,
and that mere sprinkling is not enough.
On the contrary, It is written (Heb. 10:22): "Let us draw near with a
true heart in fulness of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil
conscience, and our bodies washed with clean water."
I answer that, In the sacrament of Baptism water is put to the use of a
washing of the body, whereby to signify the inward washing away of sins.
Now washing may be done with water not only by immersion, but also by
sprinkling or pouring. And, therefore, although it is safer to baptize by
immersion, because this is the more ordinary fashion, yet Baptism can be
conferred by sprinkling or also by pouring, according to Ezech. 36:25: "I
will pour upon you clean water," as also the Blessed Lawrence is related
to have baptized. And this especially in cases of urgency: either because
there is a great number to be baptized, as was clearly the case in Acts 2
and 4, where we read that on one day three thousand believed, and on
another five thousand: or through there being but a small supply of
water, or through feebleness of the minister, who cannot hold up the
candidate for Baptism; or through feebleness of the candidate, whose life
might be endangered by immersion. We must therefore conclude that
immersion is not necessary for Baptism.
Reply to Objection 1: What is accidental to a thing does not diversify its
essence. Now bodily washing with water is essential to Baptism: wherefore
Baptism is called a "laver," according to Eph. 5:26: "Cleansing it by the
laver of water in the word of life." But that the washing be done this or
that way, is accidental to Baptism. And consequently such diversity does
not destroy the oneness of Baptism.
Reply to Objection 2: Christ's burial is more clearly represented by immersion:
wherefore this manner of baptizing is more frequently in use and more
commendable. Yet in the other ways of baptizing it is represented after a
fashion, albeit not so clearly; for no matter how the washing is done,
the body of a man, or some part thereof, is put under water, just as
Christ's body was put under the earth.
Reply to Objection 3: The principal part of the body, especially in relation to
the exterior members, is the head, wherein all the senses, both interior
and exterior, flourish. And therefore, if the whole body cannot be
covered with water, because of the scarcity of water, or because of some
other reason, it is necessary to pour water over the head, in which the
principle of animal life is made manifest.
And although original sin is transmitted through the members that serve
for procreation, yet those members are not to be sprinkled in preference
to the head, because by Baptism the transmission of original sin to the
offspring by the act of procreation is not deleted, but the soul is freed
from the stain and debt of sin which it has contracted. Consequently that
part of the body should be washed in preference, in which the works of
the soul are made manifest.
Nevertheless in the Old Law the remedy against original sin was affixed
to the member of procreation; because He through Whom original sin was to
be removed, was yet to be born of the seed of Abraham, whose faith was
signified by circumcision according to Rm. 4:11.
Article 8: Whether trine immersion is essential to Baptism?
Objection 1: It seems that trine immersion is essential to Baptism. For
Augustine says in a sermon on the Symbol, addressed to the Neophytes:
"Rightly were you dipped three times, since you were baptized in the name
of the Trinity. Rightly were you dipped three times, because you were
baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, Who on the third day rose again
from the dead. For that thrice repeated immersion reproduces the burial
of the Lord by which you were buried with Christ in Baptism." Now both
seem to be essential to Baptism, namely, that in Baptism the Trinity of
Persons should be signified, and that we should be conformed to Christ's
burial. Therefore it seems that trine immersion is essential to Baptism.
Objection 2: Further, the sacraments derive their efficacy from Christ's
mandate. But trine immersion was commanded by Christ: for Pope Pelagius
II wrote to Bishop Gaudentius: "The Gospel precept given by our Lord God
Himself, our Saviour Jesus Christ, admonishes us to confer the sacrament
of Baptism to each one in the name of the Trinity and also with trine
immersion." Therefore, just as it is essential to Baptism to call on the
name of the Trinity, so is it essential to baptize by trine immersion.
Objection 3: Further, if trine immersion be not essential to Baptism, it
follows that the sacrament of Baptism is conferred at the first
immersion; so that if a second or third immersion be added, it seems that
Baptism is conferred a second or third time. which is absurd. Therefore
one immersion does not suffice for the sacrament of Baptism, and trine
immersion is essential thereto.
On the contrary, Gregory wrote to the Bishop Leander: "It cannot be in
any way reprehensible to baptize an infant with either a trine or a
single immersion: since the Trinity can be represented in the three
immersions, and the unity of the Godhead in one immersion."
I answer that As stated above (Article , ad 1), washing with water is of
itself required for Baptism, being essential to the sacrament: whereas
the mode of washing is accidental to the sacrament. Consequently, as
Gregory in the words above quoted explains, both single and trine
immersion are lawful considered in themselves; since one immersion
signifies the oneness of Christ's death and of the Godhead; while trine
immersion signifies the three days of Christ's burial, and also the
Trinity of Persons.
But for various reasons, according as the Church has ordained, one mode
has been in practice, at one time, the other at another time. For since
from the very earliest days of the Church some have had false notions
concerning the Trinity, holding that Christ is a mere man, and that He is
not called the "Son of God" or "God" except by reason of His merit, which
was chiefly in His death; for this reason they did not baptize in the
name of the Trinity, but in memory of Christ's death, and with one
immersion. And this was condemned in the early Church. Wherefore in the
Apostolic Canons (xlix) we read: "If any priest or bishop confer baptism
not with the trine immersion in the one administration, but with one
immersion, which baptism is said to be conferred by some in the death of
the Lord, let him be deposed": for our Lord did not say, "Baptize ye in
My death," but "In the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy
Later on, however, there arose the error of certain schismatics and
heretics who rebaptized: as Augustine (Super. Joan., cf. De Haeres. lxix)
relates of the Donatists. Wherefore, in detestation of their error, only
one immersion was ordered to be made, by the (fourth) council of Toledo,
in the acts of which we read: "In order to avoid the scandal of schism or
the practice of heretical teaching let us hold to the single baptismal
But now that this motive has ceased, trine immersion is universally
observed in Baptism: and consequently anyone baptizing otherwise would
sin gravely, through not following the ritual of the Church. It would,
however, be valid Baptism.
Reply to Objection 1: The Trinity acts as principal agent in Baptism. Now the
likeness of the agent enters into the effect, in regard to the form and
not in regard to the matter. Wherefore the Trinity is signified in
Baptism by the words of the form. Nor is it essential for the Trinity to
be signified by the manner in which the matter is used; although this is
done to make the signification clearer.
In like manner Christ's death is sufficiently represented in the one
immersion. And the three days of His burial were not necessary for our
salvation, because even if He had been buried or dead for one day, this
would have been enough to consummate our redemption: yet those three days
were ordained unto the manifestation of the reality of His death, as
stated above (Question , Article ). It is therefore clear that neither on the
part of the Trinity, nor on the part of Christ's Passion, is the trine
immersion essential to the sacrament.
Reply to Objection 2: Pope Pelagius understood the trine immersion to be ordained
by Christ in its equivalent; in the sense that Christ commanded Baptism
to be conferred "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the
Holy Ghost." Nor can we argue from the form to the use of the matter, as
stated above (ad 1).
Reply to Objection 3: As stated above (Question , Article ), the intention is essential
to Baptism. Consequently, one Baptism results from the intention of the
Church's minister, who intends to confer one Baptism by a trine
immersion. Wherefore Jerome says on Eph. 4:5,6: "Though the Baptism,"
i.e. the immersion, "be thrice repeated, on account of the mystery of the
Trinity, yet it is reputed as one Baptism."
If, however, the intention were to confer one Baptism at each immersion
together with the repetition of the words of the form, it would be a sin,
in itself, because it would be a repetition of Baptism.
Article 9: Whether Baptism may be reiterated?
Objection 1: It seems that Baptism may be reiterated. For Baptism was
instituted, seemingly, in order to wash away sins. But sins are
reiterated. Therefore much more should Baptism be reiterated: because
Christ's mercy surpasses man's guilt.
Objection 2: Further, John the Baptist received special commendation from
Christ, Who said of him (Mt. 11:11): "There hath not risen among them
that are born of women, a greater than John the Baptist." But those whom
John had baptized were baptized again, according to Acts 19:1-7, where it
is stated that Paul rebaptized those who had received the Baptism of
John. Much more, therefore, should those be rebaptized, who have been
baptized by heretics or sinners.
Objection 3: Further, it was decreed in the Council of Nicaea (Can. xix) that
if "any of the Paulianists or Cataphrygians should be converted to the
Catholic Church, they were to be baptized": and this seemingly should be
said in regard to other heretics. Therefore those whom the heretics have
baptized, should be baptized again.
Objection 4: Further, Baptism is necessary for salvation. But sometimes there
is a doubt about the baptism of those who really have been baptized.
Therefore it seems that they should be baptized again.
Objection 5: Further, the Eucharist is a more perfect sacrament than Baptism,
as stated above (Question , Article ). But the sacrament of the Eucharist is
reiterated. Much more reason, therefore, is there for Baptism to be
On the contrary, It is written, (Eph. 4:5): "One faith, one Baptism."
I answer that, Baptism cannot be reiterated.
First, because Baptism is a spiritual regeneration; inasmuch as a man
dies to the old life, and begins to lead the new life. Whence it is
written (Jn. 3:5): "Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy
Ghost, He cannot see [Vulg.: 'enter into'] the kingdom of God." Now one
man can be begotten but once. Wherefore Baptism cannot be reiterated,
just as neither can carnal generation. Hence Augustine says on Jn. 3:4:
"'Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born again':
So thou," says he, "must understand the birth of the Spirit, as Nicodemus
understood the birth of the flesh . . . . As there is no return to the
womb, so neither is there to Baptism."
Secondly, because "we are baptized in Christ's death," by which we die
unto sin and rise again unto "newness of life" (cf. Rm. 6:3,4). Now
"Christ died" but "once" (Rm. 6:10). Wherefore neither should Baptism be
reiterated. For this reason (Heb. 6:6) is it said against some who wished
to be baptized again: "Crucifying again to themselves the Son of God"; on
which the gloss observes: "Christ's one death hallowed the one Baptism."
Thirdly, because Baptism imprints a character, which is indelible, and
is conferred with a certain consecration. Wherefore, just as other
consecrations are not reiterated in the Church, so neither is Baptism.
This is the view expressed by Augustine, who says (Contra Epist. Parmen.
ii) that "the military character is not renewed": and that "the sacrament
of Christ is not less enduring than this bodily mark, since we see that
not even apostates are deprived of Baptism, since when they repent and
return they are not baptized anew."
Fourthly, because Baptism is conferred principally as a remedy against
original sin. Wherefore, just as original sin is not renewed, so neither
is Baptism reiterated, for as it is written (Rm. 5:18), "as by the
offense of one, unto all men to condemnation, so also by the justice of
one, unto all men to justification of life."
Reply to Objection 1: Baptism derives its efficacy from Christ's Passion, as
stated above (Article , ad 1). Wherefore, just as subsequent sins do not
cancel the virtue of Christ's Passion, so neither do they cancel Baptism,
so as to call for its repetition. on the other hand the sin which
hindered the effect of Baptism is blotted out on being submitted to
Reply to Objection 2: As Augustine says on Jn. 1:33: "'And I knew Him not':
Behold; after John had baptized, Baptism was administered; after a
murderer has baptized, it is not administered: because John gave his own
Baptism; the murderer, Christ's; for that sacrament is so sacred, that
not even a murderer's administration contaminates it."
Reply to Objection 3: The Paulianists and Cataphrygians used not to baptize in
the name of the Trinity. Wherefore Gregory, writing to the Bishop
Quiricus, says: "Those heretics who are not baptized in the name of the
Trinity, such as the Bonosians and Cataphrygians" (who were of the same
mind as the Paulianists), "since the former believe not that Christ is
God" (holding Him to be a mere man), "while the latter," i.e. the
Cataphrygians, "are so perverse as to deem a mere man," viz. Montanus,
"to be the Holy Ghost: all these are baptized when they come to holy
Church, for the baptism which they received while in that state of error
was no Baptism at all, not being conferred in the name of the Trinity."
On the other hand, as set down in De Eccles. Dogm. xxii: "Those heretics
who have been baptized in the confession of the name of the Trinity are
to be received as already baptized when they come to the Catholic Faith."
Reply to Objection 4: According to the Decretal of Alexander III: "Those about
whose Baptism there is a doubt are to be baptized with these words
prefixed to the form: 'If thou art baptized, I do not rebaptize thee; but
if thou art not baptized, I baptize thee,' etc.: for that does not appear
to be repeated, which is not known to have been done."
Reply to Objection 5: Both sacraments, viz. Baptism and the Eucharist, are a
representation of our Lord's death and Passion, but not in the same way.
For Baptism is a commemoration of Christ's death in so far as man dies
with Christ, that he may be born again into a new life. But the Eucharist
is a commemoration of Christ's death, in so far as the suffering Christ
Himself is offered to us as the Paschal banquet, according to 1 Cor.
5:7,8: "Christ our pasch is sacrificed; therefore let us feast." And
forasmuch as man is born once, whereas he eats many times, so is Baptism
given once, but the Eucharist frequently.
Article 10: Whether the Church observes a suitable rite in baptizing?
Objection 1: It seems that the Church observes an unsuitable rite in
baptizing. For as Chrysostom (Chromatius, in Matth. 3:15) says: "The
waters of Baptism would never avail to purge the sins of them that
believe, had they not been hallowed by the touch of our Lord's body." Now
this took place at Christ's Baptism, which is commemorated in the Feast
of the Epiphany. Therefore solemn Baptism should be celebrated at the
Feast of the Epiphany rather than on the eves of Easter and Whitsunday.
Objection 2: Further, it seems that several matters should not be used in the
same sacrament. But water is used for washing in Baptism. Therefore it is
unfitting that the person baptized should be anointed thrice with holy
oil first on the breast, and then between the shoulders, and a third time
with chrism on the top of the head.
Objection 3: Further, "in Christ Jesus . . . there is neither male nor female"
(Gal. 3:23) . . . "neither Barbarian nor Scythian" (Col. 3:11), nor, in
like manner, any other such like distinctions. Much less, therefore can a
difference of clothing have any efficacy in the Faith of Christ. It is
consequently unfitting to bestow a white garment on those who have been
Objection 4: Further, Baptism can be celebrated without such like ceremonies.
Therefore it seems that those mentioned above are superfluous; and
consequently that they are unsuitably inserted by the Church in the
On the contrary, The Church is ruled by the Holy Ghost, Who does nothing
I answer that, In the sacrament of Baptism something is done which is
essential to the sacrament, and something which belongs to a certain
solemnity of the sacrament. Essential indeed, to the sacrament are both
the form which designates the principal cause of the sacrament; and the
minister who is the instrumental cause; and the use of the matter,
namely, washing with water, which designates the principal sacramental
effect. But all the other things which the Church observes in the
baptismal rite, belong rather to a certain solemnity of the sacrament.
And these, indeed, are used in conjunction with the sacrament for three
reasons. First, in order to arouse the devotion of the faithful, and
their reverence for the sacrament. For if there were nothing done but a
mere washing with water, without any solemnity, some might easily think
it to be an ordinary washing.
Secondly, for the instruction of the faithful. Because simple and
unlettered folk need to be taught by some sensible signs, for instance,
pictures and the like. And in this way by means of the sacramental
ceremonies they are either instructed, or urged to seek the signification
of such like sensible signs. And consequently, since, besides the
principal sacramental effect, other things should be known about Baptism,
it was fitting that these also should be represented by some outward
Thirdly, because the power of the devil is restrained, by prayers,
blessings, and the like, from hindering the sacramental effect.
Reply to Objection 1: Christ was baptized on the Epiphany with the Baptism of
John, as stated above (Question , Article ), with which baptism, indeed, the
faithful are not baptized, rather are they baptized with Christ's
Baptism. This has its efficacy from the Passion of Christ, according to
Rm. 6:3: "We who are baptized in Christ Jesus, are baptized in His
death"; and in the Holy Ghost, according to Jn. 3:5: "Unless a man be
born again of water and the Holy Ghost." Therefore it is that solemn
Baptism is held in the Church, both on Easter Eve, when we commemorate
our Lord's burial and resurrection; for which reason our Lord gave His
disciples the commandment concerning Baptism as related by Matthew
(28:19): and on Whitsun-eve, when the celebration of the Feast of the
Holy Ghost begins; for which reason the apostles are said to have
baptized three thousand on the very day of Pentecost when they had
received the Holy Ghost.
Reply to Objection 2: The use of water in Baptism is part of the substance of the
sacrament; but the use of oil or chrism is part of the solemnity. For the
candidate is first of all anointed with Holy oil on the breast and
between the shoulders, as "one who wrestles for God," to use Ambrose's
expression (De Sacram. i): thus are prize-fighters wont to besmear
themselves with oil. Or, as Innocent III says in a decretal on the Holy
Unction: "The candidate is anointed on the breast, in order to receive
the gift of the Holy Ghost, to cast off error and ignorance, and to
acknowledge the true faith, since 'the just man liveth by faith'; while
he is anointed between the shoulders, that he may be clothed with the
grace of the Holy Ghost, lay aside indifference and sloth, and become
active in good works; so that the sacrament of faith may purify the
thoughts of his heart, and strengthen his shoulders for the burden of
labor." But after Baptism, as Rabanus says (De Sacram. iii), "he is
forthwith anointed on the head by the priest with Holy Chrism, who
proceeds at once to offer up a prayer that the neophyte may have a share
in Christ's kingdom, and be called a Christian after Christ." Or, as
Ambrose says (De Sacram. iii), his head is anointed, because "the senses
of a wise man are in his head" (Eccl 2:14): to wit, that he may "be ready
to satisfy everyone that asketh" him to give "a reason of his faith" (cf.
1 Pt. 3:15; Innocent III, Decretal on Holy Unction).
Reply to Objection 3: This white garment is given, not as though it were unlawful
for the neophyte to use others: but as a sign of the glorious
resurrection, unto which men are born again by Baptism; and in order to
designate the purity of life, to which he will be bound after being
baptized, according to Rm. 6:4: "That we may walk in newness of life."
Reply to Objection 4: Although those things that belong to the solemnity of a
sacrament are not essential to it, yet are they not superfluous, since
they pertain to the sacrament's wellbeing, as stated above.
Article 11: Whether three kinds of Baptism are fittingly described---viz. Baptism of Water, of Blood, and of the Spirit?
Objection 1: It seems that the three kinds of Baptism are not fittingly
described as Baptism of Water, of Blood, and of the Spirit, i.e. of the
Holy Ghost. Because the Apostle says (Eph. 4:5): "One Faith, one
Baptism." Now there is but one Faith. Therefore there should not be three
Objection 2: Further, Baptism is a sacrament, as we have made clear above
(Question , Article ). Now none but Baptism of Water is a sacrament. Therefore we
should not reckon two other Baptisms.
Objection 3: Further, Damascene (De Fide Orth. iv) distinguishes several other
kinds of Baptism. Therefore we should admit more than three Baptisms.
On the contrary, on Heb. 6:2, "Of the doctrine of Baptisms," the gloss says: "He uses the plural, because there is Baptism of Water, of Repentance, and of Blood."
I answer that, As stated above (Question , Article ), Baptism of Water has its
efficacy from Christ's Passion, to which a man is conformed by Baptism,
and also from the Holy Ghost, as first cause. Now although the effect
depends on the first cause, the cause far surpasses the effect, nor does
it depend on it. Consequently, a man may, without Baptism of Water,
receive the sacramental effect from Christ's Passion, in so far as he is
conformed to Christ by suffering for Him. Hence it is written (Apoc. 7:14): "These are they who are come out of great tribulation, and have
washed their robes and have made them white in the blood of the Lamb." In
like manner a man receives the effect of Baptism by the power of the Holy
Ghost, not only without Baptism of Water, but also without Baptism of
Blood: forasmuch as his heart is moved by the Holy Ghost to believe in
and love God and to repent of his sins: wherefore this is also called
Baptism of Repentance. Of this it is written (Is. 4:4): "If the Lord
shall wash away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall wash away
the blood of Jerusalem out of the midst thereof, by the spirit of
judgment, and by the spirit of burning." Thus, therefore, each of these
other Baptisms is called Baptism, forasmuch as it takes the place of
Baptism. Wherefore Augustine says (De Unico Baptismo Parvulorum iv): "The
Blessed Cyprian argues with considerable reason from the thief to whom,
though not baptized, it was said: 'Today shalt thou be with Me in
Paradise' that suffering can take the place of Baptism. Having weighed
this in my mind again and again, I perceive that not only can suffering
for the name of Christ supply for what was lacking in Baptism, but even
faith and conversion of heart, if perchance on account of the stress of
the times the celebration of the mystery of Baptism is not practicable."
Reply to Objection 1: The other two Baptisms are included in the Baptism of
Water, which derives its efficacy, both from Christ's Passion and from
the Holy Ghost. Consequently for this reason the unity of Baptism is not
Reply to Objection 2: As stated above (Question , Article ), a sacrament is a kind of
sign. The other two, however, are like the Baptism of Water, not, indeed,
in the nature of sign, but in the baptismal effect. Consequently they are
Reply to Objection 3: Damascene enumerates certain figurative Baptisms. For
instance, "the Deluge" was a figure of our Baptism, in respect of the
salvation of the faithful in the Church; since then "a few . . . souls
were saved in the ark [Vulg.: 'by water']," according to 1 Pt. 3:20. He
also mentions "the crossing of the Red Sea": which was a figure of our
Baptism, in respect of our delivery from the bondage of sin; hence the
Apostle says (1 Cor. 10:2) that "all . . . were baptized in the cloud and
in the sea." And again he mentions "the various washings which were
customary under the Old Law," which were figures of our Baptism, as to
the cleansing from sins: also "the Baptism of John," which prepared the
way for our Baptism.
Article 12: Whether the Baptism of Blood is the most excellent of these?
Objection 1: It seems that the Baptism of Blood is not the most excellent of
these three. For the Baptism of Water impresses a character; which the
Baptism of Blood cannot do. Therefore the Baptism of Blood is not more
excellent than the Baptism of Water.
Objection 2: Further, the Baptism of Blood is of no avail without the Baptism
of the Spirit, which is by charity; for it is written (1 Cor. 13:3): "If
I should deliver my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth
me nothing." But the Baptism of the Spirit avails without the Baptism of
Blood; for not only the martyrs are saved. Therefore the Baptism of Blood
is not the most excellent.
Objection 3: Further, just as the Baptism of Water derives its efficacy from
Christ's Passion, to which, as stated above (Article ), the Baptism of Blood
corresponds, so Christ's Passion derives its efficacy from the Holy
Ghost, according to Heb. 9:14: "The Blood of Christ, Who by the Holy
Ghost offered Himself unspotted unto God, shall cleanse our conscience
from dead works," etc. Therefore the Baptism of the Spirit is more
excellent than the Baptism of Blood. Therefore the Baptism of Blood is
not the most excellent.
On the contrary, Augustine (Ad Fortunatum) speaking of the comparison
between Baptisms says: "The newly baptized confesses his faith in the
presence of the priest: the martyr in the presence of the persecutor. The
former is sprinkled with water, after he has confessed; the latter with
his blood. The former receives the Holy Ghost by the imposition of the
bishop's hands; the latter is made the temple of the Holy Ghost."
I answer that, As stated above (Article ), the shedding of blood for
Christ's sake, and the inward operation of the Holy Ghost, are called
baptisms, in so far as they produce the effect of the Baptism of Water.
Now the Baptism of Water derives its efficacy from Christ's Passion and
from the Holy Ghost, as already stated (Article ). These two causes act in
each of these three Baptisms; most excellently, however, in the Baptism
of Blood. For Christ's Passion acts in the Baptism of Water by way of a
figurative representation; in the Baptism of the Spirit or of Repentance,
by way of desire. but in the Baptism of Blood, by way of imitating the
(Divine) act. In like manner, too, the power of the Holy Ghost acts in
the Baptism of Water through a certain hidden power. in the Baptism of
Repentance by moving the heart; but in the Baptism of Blood by the
highest degree of fervor of dilection and love, according to Jn. 15:13:
"Greater love than this no man hath that a man lay down his life for his
Reply to Objection 1: A character is both reality and a sacrament. And we do not say that the Baptism of Blood is more excellent, considering the nature of a sacrament; but considering the sacramental effect.
Reply to Objection 2: The shedding of blood is not in the nature of a Baptism if
it be without charity. Hence it is clear that the Baptism of Blood
includes the Baptism of the Spirit, but not conversely. And from this it
is proved to be more perfect.
Reply to Objection 3: The Baptism owes its pre-eminence not only to Christ's
Passion, but also to the Holy Ghost, as stated above.