...is an understanding father.
As an analogy, imagine a father telling his
daughter that she may go sledding with her friends as long as she's
wearing her snow pants, coat, hat, etc in time. The “normal” way that
this will play out is for the daughter to put on her snow gear by the
designated time and gets to go sledding or she watches TV too long and doesn't get to go. However, there may be exceptions.
What if the kid really wants to and is trying to get her gear on but
only has 2 minutes? What father would let his child fail simply because
there wasn't enough time?. This is like the Catholic notion of “baptism
by desire” when a person is preparing for baptism but dies before they
have a chance to receive the Sacrament.
Or what if the child
honestly doesn't know that they need their winter clothes on (didn't
hear her father) then we'd expect the father to help here, too. In a
similar way, those who haven't been told about Christ and baptism may
still be joined to him if they have “invincible ignorance” of the need
We could also use the analogy for those who simply
aren't capable of getting themselves dressed. We'd expect a father to
help them as well. Though the Church has no official teaching on what
happens to unborn babies who die to miscarriages and abortion we trust
them with hope to the care of our loving God.
believe those who die for Christ (martyrs) who aren't baptized are
“baptized in blood” because of their clear love for him.
Remember, though, that if the kid just didn't get around to it or
could've gotten ready but just chose not to then the father very likely
to not allow the kid to go sledding because she "chose" not to get
ready. We can't neglect baptism because "God will save us anyway". If
we have the opportunity then we need to take it.
That God is a
loving father is yet another reason Catholics believe we need to be
baptized if we can but salvation's not a strict impossibility without