Saturday, April 21, 2007


Yesterday, Pope Benedict XVI reversed traditional Roman Catholic teaching on limbo, that borderland between heaven and hell, by approving a Vatican report that said there were "grounds to hope" that children who die without being baptized can go to heaven. Full story here. Theologians had long taught that while children who die without baptism would not be in communion with God in heaven, they do enjoy an "eternal state of perfect natural happiness" in limbo. It probably looks something like this:

Oh wait, wrong limbo.

The Vatican report doesn't carry the authority of a papal encyclical, and it was stressed that "no one can no for certain". So limbo may be, well, in limbo for now. However, many (including myself) consider the Pope's decision to be both "sensitive and significant".

I like the statement by Rev. Richard McBrien, Notre Dame theology professor: "If there's no limbo and we're not going to revert to St. Augustine's teaching that unbaptized infants go to hell, we're left with only one option, namely, that everyone is born in the state of grace."


St. Casserole said...

Interesting post to read! I missed the Pope's announcement.

How about that Chubby Checker? I thought he only did the Twist!

Aristotle said...

It ought to be noted that the media, as usual, got this one wrong. This theological commission has no magisterial authority and the Pope simply accepted a report. He did not endorse its teachings and has not taught that there is no such thing as Limbo. No Church teaching changed, even though the media, as usual, jumps at any opportunity to make it look as if the Church is changing. It is absolutely reprehensible coverage and proves that one should wait for documents to be taught by bishops, and NOT by secular media, who wouldn’t know anything about Limbo or Catholic doctrine if it jumped up and bit them. The media clearly has a secular and “progressive” agenda, which would love to see Church changes in other areas, such as women in the priesthood, etc. Those things won’t change either.

For further information, check out the blog, Zadok the Roman.