The Catholic Church officially retired the notion of a place called “Limbo”. A sort of spiritual way-station for infants unfortunate enough to die before their parents get a chance to baptize them. A curious theological “educated guess” according to a Reuters report released about the Catholic Church’s recent decision. Seems to me, what the educated mucky-mucks of the Catholic Church had batted around for centuries as a matter of theological debate, reserved for the educated, the exclusive, may have had a negative impact of scores upon scores of families who lost children, or others through death, then piled on top of that, the realization that their beloved departed would forever languish in Limbo.

According to one of the many Catholic diocese websites www.dioceseoflincoln.org: “The Catholic Church never “believed” in limbo. The existence of limbo for unbaptized infants is not part of divine revelation, but rather was and is an educated theological “guess.” The term was coined by St. Augustine of Hippo and literally means “fringe.” This came about because God has not chosen to reveal what happens to deceased unbaptized infants. We know that baptism is absolutely necessary for salvation (John 3:5) because God revealed this. We also know that something called “baptism of desire” is possible. Since unbaptized infants seem incapable of any “desire” or act of their will, theologians have speculated throughout the ages about their destiny in this context St. Augustine thought that it would be an offense against God’s justice to suppose He would allow such creatures to suffer any pain, but that rather God places such infants in a state of “natural,” but not supernatural happiness for eternity. This he called “limbo.” Other theologians say that God’s “universal salvific will” (1 Timothy 2:4) includes unbaptized people who do not have the use of reason when they die and that they enjoy supernatural happiness by some means we do not now know. Catholics are free to believe or disbelieve in limbo. What happens to unbaptized people who do not have the use of reason and who die in that state is an open question. Read the Catechism of the Catholic Church, number 1261.”

In writings before his election as Pope Benedict XVI in 2005, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger expressed doubts about the concept of limbo as it was “only a theological hypothesis” and “never a defined truth of faith.”[1] In 2007, the International Theological Commission called limbo an “unduly restricted view of salvation”[2].

Amen.

For more from Andy Kopsa, visit her blog at www.ladytime.squarespace.com  

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