Bro. Peter Dimond
Some time ago (and perhaps recently) Mark Pivarunas of the CMRI stated that people who deny ‘baptism of desire’ aren’t ‘competent’ to deal with the issue. Referring to members of Most Holy Family Monastery and to our teaching on the issue, he also said we are ‘false prophets’ and used by the Devil. Mark considers it diabolical and soul-destroying to maintain that no one enters Heaven without being reborn of water and the Spirit. In support of his position, he cited the teaching of St. Alphonsus on ‘baptism of desire’ as if it’s definitive and ends the debate. Pivarunas apparently thinks that St. Alphonsus’ explanation of ‘baptism of blowing’ (baptismus flaminis) supports his view. In making that statement and argument, Pivarunas not only demonstrates his complete lack of familiarity with the details of this issue, but he embarrasses himself.
First, Mark Pivarunas doesn’t even believe in ‘baptism of desire.’ He believes in ‘baptism by Judaism, Islam and Buddhism.’ He holds that souls can be saved in any religion, including in Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, etc., as this conservation with another heretical CMRI priest proved: CMRI priest confirms their belief in salvation for non-Catholics (video). The priest confirmed what we’ve mentioned and proven many times: the CMRI (like other groups which support ‘baptism of desire’) holds that souls can be saved in false religions. They believe ‘invincible ignorance’ can save anyone in any situation. They deny the defined Catholic dogma that one must have the ‘Catholic faith’ (which involves belief in the Trinity and Incarnation) to be saved. They are heretics who don’t possess an ounce of faith in Christ or His truth. Also, as the aforementioned conversation showed, the priest of the CMRI was not even familiar with the teaching of the Council of Florence. That’s another example of how Pivarunas’ group doesn’t understand Catholic teaching.
Second, in citing St. Alphonsus’ opinion as if it proves his position, Pivarunas embarrasses himself. That’s because, as we proved in the article below, St. Alphonsus’ explanation is untenable even if you accept ‘baptism of desire’ (BOD).
As the article linked to above shows (and it’s a must-read for those interested in the issue), St. Alphonsus’ explanation of the issue was not only riddled with errors (he cites the wrong portion of the Council of Trent), but he admits that ‘baptism of desire’ does not even provide the grace of baptism/spiritual rebirth. That’s a big problem because the Council of Trent declared that everyone must have the grace of baptism/spiritual rebirth in order to be justified. To put it another way: St. Alphonsus unwittingly admitted that ‘baptism of desire’ doesn’t provide the grace of first justification. That’s what the article proves. Yet, the truly foolish and obstinate proponents of ‘baptism of desire’ (such as Mark Pivarunas) still haven’t figured it out, even after we explained it for them. That’s precisely why we stated that defenders of BOD, who continue to promote St. Alphonsus’ opinion on the issue in the face of the facts, don’t merely contradict Catholic dogma, they make fools out of themselves. They demonstrate a complete lack of familiarity with the details of the issue, and they perpetuate a position that has been thoroughly refuted and debunked.
St. Alphonsus was not infallible. His position on ‘baptism of desire’ was simply false and it must be rejected by all Catholics. Nevertheless, Pivarunas still hasn’t realized that St. Alphonsus unwittingly admitted that ‘baptism of desire’ doesn’t even justify and that his position would have to be rejected even if you accept ‘baptism of desire.’ Pivarunas’ lack of familiarity with the relevant material, combined with his inability to grasp the ramifications of his assertions, demonstrates that he’s incompetent and unequipped to deal with the fine points of these theological issues. Despite his profound ignorance and incompetence, the heretic pontificates (literally) as if he possesses some special authority, when, in reality, he is just a guy who got himself ordained and then consecrated a bishop.
Mark Pivarunas denies Catholic teaching and believes that souls can be saved in false religions. He’s a heretic and a false shepherd who leads souls to Hell. He is also an apostle of birth control, a vigorous defender of Natural Family Planning. His group even endorses methods of Natural Family Planning that involve taking steps to physically alter a woman’s body chemistry to avoid conception, as proven in this video: NFP: A Birth Control Deception. The video, NFP: A Birth Control Deception, also soundly refutes Pivarunas’ argument that Natural Family Planning must be permissible because certain churchmen before Vatican II (e.g., members of the Sacred Penitentiary) allegedly approved primitive forms of it.
MARK FURTHER DISPLAYS HIS INCOMPETENCE
As a further display of his incompetence, Pivarunas also stated that St. Alphonsus taught ‘implicit desire,’ as if the saint favored the notion that people don’t need to have faith in Jesus Christ and the Trinity to be saved. No, he didn’t. As we explain in the article on his ‘baptism of desire’ error, when St. Alphonsus mentions the ‘implicit’ desire for baptism, he’s referring to people who believe in the Trinity and the Incarnation (the essential mysteries of Catholic faith), but aren’t aware of water baptism or have not expressed that desire for water baptism in words. Again, the ‘implicit desire’ to which he refers is an implicit desire for water baptism, not an implicit desire for faith in Christ. St. Alphonsus did not believe that anyone (ignorant or not) could be saved without faith in the essential mysteries of Catholicism: the Trinity and the Incarnation. However, he did wrongly think that one who believed in the Trinity and the Incarnation could be saved without water baptism by an implicit desire for water baptism. Nevertheless, BOD heretics abuse Alphonsus’ passage in which he uses the word ‘implicit’ – a passage that already contains numerous errors. They falsely assert that by ‘implicit desire’ St. Alphonsus taught the heresy of ‘implicit faith in Christ’ (which can save Jews, Muslims, etc.), when he did not.
Mark still hasn’t learned the distinction between an ‘implicit desire’ for water baptism (which requires explicit faith in Christ and the Trinity) and an implicit desire for faith in Christ (the completely heretical notion that souls can be saved in non-Christian religions, which he and his group hold). The two are not the same. Perhaps Mark is incapable of understanding the distinction. St. Alphonsus did not hold the latter, but the former. The fact that St. Alphonsus (with St. Thomas and all the saints) believed that no one could be saved without knowing the essential mysteries of the Catholic faith (and thus rejected the CMRI’s heretical position on salvation through ‘invincible ignorance’) is proven in this file: St. Alphonsus rejected the idea that souls in invincible ignorance can be saved.
Thus, as we can see, Mark Pivarunas truly has no idea what he’s talking about. He’s ignorant and incompetent. Yet, he presides over a group of alleged traditionalists and he pretends to possess authority to speak on behalf of the Catholic Church. Simply put, he’s a faithless individual in whom the Devil found an effective instrument to encourage birth control and corrupt belief in the necessity of Jesus Christ and the Catholic faith. Pivarunas is a heretical, non-Catholic disgrace – a false shepherd leading souls to Hell.
Besides their obstinate promotion of St. Alphonsus’ false opinion, the heretical CMRI promotes other false arguments on the issue. Actually, they employ a devilish combination of lies, distortions, misquotes, half-truths and fallible arguments to deceive people and promote their false position. None of those arguments withstand scrutiny. Our salvation book, our video Baptism of Desire Buried, and our other materials thoroughly refute their claims on the issue.
The truth is that the Catholic Church does not teach ‘baptism of desire.’ It has never taught it, which is why the defenders of BOD must always resort to fallible documents and opinions to make their arguments. Rather, the Catholic Church infallibly teaches that there is only one baptism of water, and that no one is saved without the rebirth of water and the Spirit, as it is written in John 3:5. That’s the teaching of the Catholic Church. Anyone who tells you otherwise is not telling you the truth. The Catholic teaching on this point is proven by the quotes below, our book, videos and articles.
There are a number of very interesting new points on these matters. We hope to cover them soon, but we have been involved with other projects. One of those points will further demonstrate that obstinate proponents of ‘baptism of desire,’ while they think they are of safe ground promoting the position that one can be saved without the rebirth of water and the Spirit, are actually doing that which is criminal according to Catholic teaching. Their spiritual crime involves obstinately preaching contrary to the one and only dogmatic rule of faith on the matter.
Pope Clement V, The Council of Vienne, 1311-1312: “Besides, one baptism regenerating all who are baptized in Christ must be faithfully confessed by all just as ‘one God and one faith’ [Eph. 4:5], which celebrated in water in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit we believe to be commonly the perfect remedy for salvation for adults as for children.”
Pope Clement V, The Council of Vienne, 1311-1312: “But since one is the universal Church, of regulars and seculars, of prelates and subjects, of exempt and non-exempt, outside of which absolutely (omnino) no one (nullus) is saved (salvatur), one is the Lord, one is the Faith and one is the baptism of all.”
Consider these two dogmatic statements from The Council of Vienne on baptism as a unit. All in the Church (outside of which no one at all is saved) have one and the same baptism; and that one baptism (which all in the Church, outside of which no one at all is saved, have) is of water.
Pope Eugene IV, The Council of Florence, “Exultate Deo,” Nov. 22, 1439: “Holy baptism, which is the gateway to the spiritual life, holds the first place among all the sacraments; through it we are made members of Christ and of the body of the Church. And since death entered the universe through the first man, ‘unless we are born again of water and the Spirit, we cannot,’ as the Truth says, ‘enter into the kingdom of heaven’ [John 3:5]. The matter of this sacrament is real and natural water.”
Pope Paul III, The Council of Trent, Can. 5 on the Sacrament of Baptism, Sess. 7, 1547: “If anyone says that baptism [the sacrament] is optional, that is, not necessary for salvation: let him be anathema.”
Pope Gregory XVI, Mirari Vos (# 13), Aug. 15, 1832: “With the admonition of the apostle that ‘there is one God, one faith, one baptism’ (Eph. 4:5) may those fear who contrive the notion that the safe harbor of salvation is open to persons of any religion whatever. They should consider the testimony of Christ Himself that ‘those who are not with Christ are against Him,’ (Lk. 11:23) and that they disperse unhappily who do not gather with Him. Therefore, ‘without a doubt, they will perish forever, unless they hold the Catholic faith whole and inviolate’ (Athanasian Creed).”
Pope St. Leo the Great, dogmatic letter to Flavian, The Council of Chalcedon, 451: “Let him heed what the blessed apostle Peter preaches, that sanctification by the Spirit is effected by the sprinkling of Christ’s blood (1 Pet. 1:2); and let him not skip over the same apostle’s words, knowing that you have been redeemed from the empty way of life you inherited from your fathers, not with corruptible gold and silver but by the precious blood of Jesus Christ, as of a lamb without stain or spot (1 Pet. 1:18). Nor should he withstand the testimony of blessed John the apostle: and the blood of Jesus, the Son of God, purifies us from every sin (1 Jn. 1:7); and again, This is the victory which conquers the world, our faith. Who is there who conquers the world save one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? It is He, Jesus Christ, who has come through water and blood, not in water only, but in water and blood. And because the Spirit is truth, it is the Spirit who testifies. For there are three who give testimony – Spirit and water and blood. And the three are one. (1 Jn. 5:4-8) IN OTHER WORDS, THE SPIRIT OF SANCTIFICATION AND THE BLOOD OF REDEMPTION AND THE WATER OF BAPTISM. THESE THREE ARE ONE AND REMAIN INDIVISIBLE. NONE OF THEM IS SEPARABLE FROM ITS LINK WITH THE OTHERS.”
How Can ‘Baptism of Desire’ Be Contrary to Dogma? [A very important section of the debate below, which discusses how saints and popes have been wrong about dogmatic issues without becoming heretics]