Monday, October 1, 2012

Jesuit Theologian Cornelius a Lapide On Mormon Heresy

We have a Mormon running for President of the United States and many people are learning more and more the heretical doctrines of the Mormons.
  • Mormons are polytheists (they believe in many gods, not one God). 
  • Mormons believe that the god of our galaxy (whom they identify with the Father of Scripture) has a wife-goddess
  • Mormons believe that this god (whom they identify with the Father) was once a human and that he still has flesh and bones
  • Mormons have an invalid baptism since they deny the doctrine of the Holy Trinity
  • Mormons have a secret rites
  • Mormons have baptisms for the dead

This last error, baptisms for the dead, is derived from Saint Paul's words in 1 Corinthians:

“Otherwise, what shall they do that are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not again at all? Why are they then baptized for them?” (1 Corinthians 15:29, D-R)

Mormons claim that this verse proves that the original Apostles baptized living people on behalf of dead people so that the dead might be redeemed.

How does the Catholic respond to this error?

1. This baptism is metaphorical, the baptism of pain, afflictions, tears, and prayers, which they endure on behalf of the dead, in order to deliver them from the baptism of fire in purgatory. For even those Judaisers are baptized who deny the resurrection, like Cerinthus and others, or, at any rate, their fellow-religionists, the Jews, and this, according to the faith and custom of the Hebrews, who are wont to pray for the dead, as appears from 2 Macc. xii. 43, and from their modern forms of prayer. This meaning best fits in with what follows. Baptism is in other places often used in this sense, (as S. Mark x. 53; S. Luke xii. 50; Ps. xxxii. 6). Throughout Scripture, waters and waves typify tribulations and afflictions.

2. “Baptism” can also be understood of purification before the sacrifices which were offered for the dead. The Jews were in the habit of being purified before sacrifice, prayer, or any Divine service. Cf. S. Mark vii. 9; Heb. vi. 12, and ix. 10.

3. The different interpretations of others are dealt with at length by Bellarmine (de Purgat. lib. i. c. 4) and Suarez (p. 3, qu. 56, disp. 50, sect. 1), and they all are referred to literal baptism. 
(a) S. Thomas explains it to mean baptism for washing away sins, which are dead works.
(b) Theodoret thinks that “for the dead” is “like the dead,” when they rise from death, viz., when they are baptized, and emerge from the waters of baptism as from the tomb, they symbolise the resurrection of the dead.
Epiphanius (Hære. 28) takes “for the dead” to mean when death is close at hand, and they are looked on as already dead. For then those who had deferred baptism wished to be baptized in hope and faith in eternal life and resurrection. Hence those to be baptized used to recite the Creed, in which is the Article, “I believe in the resurrection of the dead.”
(d) Claud Guiliaud, a doctor of Paris, thinks that the phrase refers to the martyrs, who suffer for the faith and the article of the resurrection of the dead. This meaning agrees well with the words that follow. “Why stand we in jeopardy every hour?”
(e) Others refer to a custom which the followers of Marcion afterwards observed, and suppose the meaning to be that some, in mistake and out of superstition, received baptism for the dead who had died without baptism. Cf. Ambrose and Irenæus (Hæres. 28), Tertullian (de Resurr. c. 24) and Chrysostom. {This would be one similar to the Mormon position.}
(f) Chrysostom proffers and prefers another explanation, viz., that S. Paul’s meaning is: Why do all receive baptism in hope of the resurrection of the dead, or to benefit their state when dead, that it may be well with them after death, if the dead do not rise? Surely, then, in vain do they do this. But this is not credible, for the common faith of all the faithful is that they do rise, so much so, that many of them put off their baptism, even to the end of life, and are baptized on their death-bed, in the hope that, being purified by baptism from all pain and guilt, they may fly to heaven, and obtain a joyful resurrection. Hence we get the name “clinical baptism.” Many canons are extant ordering that such baptism be not refused to those who ask for it.
This last meaning seems the simplest of all, and the one most on the surface, and is taken from the literal meaning of “baptized.” Tertullian says that “for the dead” means, “When the sacrament of baptism is performed over the body, the body is consecrated to immortality.”
Link (here) to read the full blog post of  Taylor Marshall at his blog entitled, Canterbury Tales

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