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Catholics: RCIA issue/question

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
In RCIA I'm being told that the communion of saints includes the unbaptized but I can't seem to get an explanation from them as to how or why that would be. They are not talking about baptism of desire, because I asked.

Can someone help me out with links because I'm not getting it. My understanding is that the communion of saints are the Church Militant ( those here on earth ), the Church Penitent ( those in purgatory ) and the Church Triumphant ( those in heaven ). What I can't figure out is how the unbaptized are part of the Church so as to be part of the communion of saints.


After typing this I did more reading and I can't find anything in the Pope JPII CCC that states the unbaptized are members of the Church or the communion of saints. I also checked the catechism of the council of Trent and Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma by Walter Ott and This is the Faith, all these sources state that the communion of saints are members of the church IE the baptized.

Am I missing something?
post #2 of 15
Does the Catholic Church recognize the righteous from the OT (Abraham, Moses, King David, the Prophets, etc.) as saints as the Orthodox Church does?

That's what I immediately thought of when I read your post about unbaptized people being part of the Communion of Saints.
post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
Well, to me there is a difference in saying that we don't know who of the unbaptized may be in heaven and the unbaptized ARE part of the communion of saints.

The first one allows that through God's grace ( or something else, I'm not an expert) those that were never baptized become part of the church and as such the communion of saints.

The second one de facto declares that those that are unbaptized are part of the communion of saints.

My understanding is that there is a teaching ( can't remember where or exactly what it comprises) that the righteous from the OT are in heaven and as such part of the communion of saints. IIRC it's associated with Jesus opening the gates of heaven.
post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 
No one can help me with a source for this? Is he just incorrect that the unbaptized are part of the communion of saints?

Anyone?
post #5 of 15
Dis he say that it was all of the unbaptized? Or some of the unbaptized?

In any case, I am pretty sure that, as Tradd said, a number of OT characters are understood to be in Heaven - I know Adam and Eve are thought to be there. Plus, there is the thief on the cross, who was unbaptized. So I think it would be fair to say there were at least some unbaptized people in the communion of Saints.

And on the other hand, not all the baptized are going to be included unless they all went to Heaven, which we can't affirm.
post #6 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arduinna View Post
No one can help me with a source for this? Is he just incorrect that the unbaptized are part of the communion of saints?

Anyone?
He's got to be incorrect. If he's saying ALL of the unbaptized are part of the communion of saints, that means, IMO, that then all of the BAPTIZED go to heaven, too! How can you say ALL of the UNbaptized go to heaven, when it's probably a good bet not all of the baptized go to heaven.

If he meant ALL of the UNbaptized, well, that smacks of universalism and that's part of why Origen was condemned by the Fifth Ecumenical Council. We can't know who goes to heaven, but to say everyone goes to heaven? That's not part of Catholic OR Orthodox doctrine.

I don't know about the general tenor of your parish, but I've read other stories here of wacky stuff that people have been taught in RCIA.
post #7 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tradd View Post
He's got to be incorrect. If he's saying ALL of the unbaptized are part of the communion of saints, that means, IMO, that then all of the BAPTIZED go to heaven, too! How can you say ALL of the UNbaptized go to heaven, when it's probably a good bet not all of the baptized go to heaven.

If he meant ALL of the UNbaptized, well, that smacks of universalism and that's part of why Origen was condemned by the Fifth Ecumenical Council. We can't know who goes to heaven, but to say everyone goes to heaven? That's not part of Catholic OR Orthodox doctrine.

I don't know about the general tenor of your parish, but I've read other stories here of wacky stuff that people have been taught in RCIA.
He can't be saying all the unbaptized go to Heaven, can he?? That just seems too weird.
post #8 of 15
No, I don't think he can be saying ALL the unbaptized go to heaven, but I'd love for Arduinna to ask for clarification from him, and come back and tell us what he said!

This is a strange one, to be sure...
post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 
I did ask, a couple weeks ago and he told me maybe we would talk about it later . That is why I asked here. He hasn't answered me yet.

He was telling us to pray to our dead relatives for intersession for us so that implies that they would need to be in the communion of saints. And he specifically said the unbaptized were included in the communion of saints which left me He didn't specifically say all or some.
post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluegoat View Post
And on the other hand, not all the baptized are going to be included unless they all went to Heaven, which we can't affirm.
In Catholicism, one doesn't need to be in heaven to part of the communion of saints though. Those in purgatory are also part of the communion of saints. That part I was able to confirm through the sources I listed. Also the damned are for obvious reasons not part of the communion of saints, so yes even those baptized but for whatever reason have become damned are not included.
post #11 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arduinna View Post
I did ask, a couple weeks ago and he told me maybe we would talk about it later . That is why I asked here. He hasn't answered me yet.

He was telling us to pray to our dead relatives for intersession for us so that implies that they would need to be in the communion of saints. And he specifically said the unbaptized were included in the communion of saints which left me He didn't specifically say all or some.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arduinna View Post
In Catholicism, one doesn't need to be in heaven to part of the communion of saints though. Those in purgatory are also part of the communion of saints. That part I was able to confirm through the sources I listed. Also the damned are for obvious reasons not part of the communion of saints, so yes even those baptized but for whatever reason have become damned are not included.
It sounds to me like he means some of the unbaptized may be in Heaven/purgatory. (For all practical purposes, if one believes in purgatory, it is a kind of sub-section of Heaven. I wouldn't be surprised if this is the official view.)

I think if we are praying to dead relatives we are assuming they are ones who have gone to Heaven or purgatory And it could be that unbaptized relatives could be in Heaven as well as baptized ones, since we know there are some unbaptized people there. Though I suppose one would not be likely to ask for intercession from someone we really thought would not be in Heaven, baptized or not - it might be better to offer prayers for those people.
post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 
Well we can spend all day speculating on what we think he might have meant, since I'm not sure myself LOL but that is why I posted asking for a source of the Catholic teaching that the communion of saints includes the unbaptized since it's not mentioned in the sources I cited up thread.
post #13 of 15
I didn't spend much time, but according to the Catholic Answers "Ask an Apologist" section, it is generally believed that Adam and Eve are in Heaven, as well as other OT figures, and that it is acceptable to pray to them.

Also, I know the CC teaches that the unbaptized MAY be in Heaven. Since that is as much as we know about any of our relatives, I suppose that may be enough.
post #14 of 15
I was taught that the church militant are the people on Earth who are working out their salvation. I never considered if that meant just the baptized or if that could include the unbaptized as well. I suppose it would make sense that the unbaptized are working out their salvation as well as the baptized, and as Bluegoat pointed out, some unbaptized people may perhaps make it to heaven by the grace of God. The only thing is that they have not yet alligned themselves with the Church. Maybe this is a question for one of the Catholic Answers apologists.
post #15 of 15
Yes, there are many unbaptized who are considered part of the Communion of Saints. In addition to those who have been mentioned in this thread already, the Church also celebrates the Feast of the Holy Innocents every year, recognizing all the children Herod slaughtered in Christ's stead. None of these children were baptized. Also, a few years ago, it was pronounced that the speculative "Limbo of the Innocents" is not a reality, so all the children who die before they can be properly baptized must be in Heaven, as well.

In general, man is confined by the revealed Sacraments, but God has the freedom to work outside of those bounds if it is His Will. That said, we cannot presume that adult persons who had access to baptism, and perhaps willfully denied it, will be saved. Hope for the best, and keep these dear souls in prayer, because prayer can reach outside of time.
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