Council of Trent (16th century): Decree on Justification, Session VI, Chapter 4: “And this translation, since the promulgation of the Gospel, cannot be effected, without the laver of regeneration, or the desire thereof, as it is written; unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.”
Session VII, Concerning the Sacraments in General, Canon 4 (Denz 847): “If anyone shall say that the sacraments of the New Law are not necessary for salvation, but are superfluous, and that, although all are not necessary for every individual, without them or without the desire of them, through faith alone men obtain from God the grace of justification; let him be anathema.”
· Catechism of the Council of Trent (16th century): The Sacraments, Baptism: “…should any unforeseen accident make it impossible for adults to be washed in the salutary waters, their intention and determination to receive Baptism and their repentance for past sins, will avail them to grace and righteousness.”
· The New Testament, translated to English at the College of Rheims, 1582 (16th century): Annotations for John Chapter 3: “Though in this case, God which hath not bound his grace, in respect of his own freedom, to any Sacrament, may and doth accept them as baptized, which either are martyred before they could be baptized, or else depart this life with vow and desire to have that Sacrament, but by some remedilesse necessity could not obtain it.”
· St. Robert Bellarmine, Doctor of the Church (16th century): De Sacramento Baptismi, cap. 6: “…among the ancients this proposition was not so certain at first as later on: that perfect conversion and repentance is rightly called the Baptism of Desire and supplies for Baptism of water, at least in case of necessity”…..”it is certainly to be believed that true conversion supplies for Baptism of water when it is not from contempt but through necessity that persons die without Baptism of water.”
The Church Militant (De Ecclesia Militante), c. 3: “I answer therefore that, when it is said outside the Church no one is saved, it must be understood of those who belong to her neither in actual fact nor in desire [desiderio], as theologians commonly speak on baptism. Because the catechumens are in the Church, though not in actual fact, yet at least in resolution [voto], therefore they can be saved.”
The Church Militant De Ecclesia Militante, c. 3: “Concerning catechumens there is a greater difficulty, because they are faithful [have the faith] and can be saved if they die in this state, and yet outside the Church no one is saved, as outside the ark of Noah…”
The Church Militant (De Ecclesia Militante), c. 2: “Others, however, are of the soul but not of the body (of the Church), as Catechumens and those who have been excommunicated, who may have faith and charity which is possible.”
De Controversiis, “De Baptismo,” Lib. I, Cap. VI: “But without doubt it must be believed that true conversion supplies for Baptism of water when one dies without Baptism of water not out of contempt but out of necessity… For it is expressly said in Ezechiel: If the wicked shall do penance from his sins, I will no more remember his iniquities…Thus also the Council of Trent, Session 6, Chapter 4, says that Baptism is necessary in fact or in desire (in re vel in voto)”.
Jansen-ism Heresy, “no grace is given outside the Church.”
Actual Grace is needed for conversions
God will not force His grace upon anyone. He insists that every person accept His ordinary channels of grace: the sacraments, sacramental s, people, circumstances, events, things. When a man does not believe in God’s power to use anything or anybody as His instrument, God gives His grace to other men who do so believe. To disbelieve, and to reject God’s way and time for answered prayer, is to be like the
Nazarene s who rejected Christ. (1)
Grace. Strictly, a supernatural (q.v.) gift of God to an intellectual creature, bestowed with a view to eternal life. In 1713, In his bull Unigenitus, Pope Clement XI condemned the Jansenist, (today Feeneyites) proposition that, “no grace is given outside the Church.” (2)
Grace, Actual. Any supernatural (q.v.) and transient aid by which God enlightens the mind or assists the will to produce supernatural acts. It affects the faculties of the grace (q.v.) the faculties of the soul (intellect and will) , whereas habitual grace (q.v.) affects the very substance. Such grace may be given either immediately. (No man cometh to me, except the Father….draw him,” John vi, 44), or mediately, on the occasion of a reading of Scripture or the hearing of a sermon, from joy or a sorrow, a dream, a sunset, or a song. How could anyone be converted without Actual Grace?
We have a clear indication of this in Act’s 10: 44-48. Where the Gentiles received the Gifts of the Holy Ghost before they were baptized.
44 While Peter was still speaking the Holy Spirit came down on all the listeners. 45 Jewish believers who had accompanied Peter were all astonished that the Grace of the Holy Spirit should be poured out on gentiles too,46 since they could hear them speaking in tongues and proclaiming the greatness of God. Peter himself then said,47 ‘Could anyone refuse the water of baptism to these people, now they have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?’48 He then gave orders for them to be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ. Afterwards they begged him to stay on for some days.
(1) Maryknoll Missal 1959
(2) Catholic Encyclopedia Dictionary Attwater 1931- 1949