The Vatican Eliminates Limbo

From the Catholic News Service:

After several years of study, the Vatican’s International Theological Commission said there are good reasons to hope that babies who die without being baptized go to heaven.

In a document published April 20, the commission said the traditional concept of limbo — as a place where unbaptized infants spend eternity but without communion with God — seemed to reflect an “unduly restrictive view of salvation.”

The church continues to teach that, because of original sin, baptism is the ordinary way of salvation for all people and urges parents to baptize infants, the document said.

But there is greater theological awareness today that God is merciful and “wants all human beings to be saved,” it said. Grace has priority over sin, and the exclusion of innocent babies from heaven does not seem to reflect Christ’s special love for “the little ones,” it said.

“Our conclusion is that the many factors that we have considered … give serious theological and liturgical grounds for hope that unbaptized infants who die will be saved and enjoy the beatific vision,” the document said.

“We emphasize that these are reasons for prayerful hope, rather than grounds for sure knowledge,” it added.

This is creepy on so many levels.

The implication of the article is that the VITC is a group of scholars whose members have some sort of expertise that allows them to address this question in a serious way. But there is no indication of what, exactly, the commission studied to reach its conclusion. On what basis do they conclude that limbo represents an unduly restrictive view of salvation? One suspects that there is no basis. They are simply making it up as they go along.

Then we hear about greater theological awareness regarding God’s mercy. Again, from where did this awareness come? Several years of study were insufficient to resolve the question of where dead babies spend eternity. Must be a difficult question indeed.

It gets creepier. After all these centuries, why did the Church pick now for it’s intensive, multi-year study of the question of where babies go when they die?

The commission’s document said salvation for unbaptized babies who die was becoming an urgent pastoral question, in part because their number is greatly increasing. Many infants today are born to parents who are not practicing Catholics, and many others are the unborn victims of abortion, it said.

Confronted with a rising number of dead, unbaptized babies, the Church believes the proper response is an intensive theological study of how God treats their souls in the afterlife. Charming folks.

Atheists are frequently lectured about the subtlety and nuance of religious thought. Sure, there’s the ignorant fundamentalist kind of religion that is deservedly criticized. But there is also the enlightened kind, the kind that’s not so easily dismissed. Devotees of this kind of religion are also fond of speechifying about the wonders of humility, and of how scientists should not be so arrogant to think that their methods are the only route to truth.

So what, then, am I to make of this news report? How should I regard the spectacle of grown men not only discussing the question of the disposition of baby souls in the afterlife, but actually claiming these deliberations give them some basis for a conclusion on the matter? (At least they’re humble enough to admit they have not reached a state of sure knowledge on this question). What could possibly be more arrogant than claiming, on the basis of a handful of ancient documents and centuries of groundless tradition, that we know something about the disposition of our souls in the afterlife?

Does this represent the enlightened sort of religion? The kind I’m supposed to respect? Or is this the foolish sort of religion? It’s so hard to tell the difference.

Comments

  1. #1 Ex-drone
    April 25, 2007

    And atheists get criticized for being relativists? I thought that Christianity had been passed inerrantly down the ages through the meticulously careful custodianship of mother church. If so, how could there suddenly be a “greater theological awareness today”?

  2. #2 Alan Kellogg
    April 25, 2007

    Ex-drone,

    Don’t mistake “God Don’t Need no Eraser” Christianity for “Wiggle Room” Christianity. One says the Bbile is the direct Word of God and you can’t change it. The other says the Bible was inspired by God, and sometimes somebody made a typo.

  3. #3 ZacharySmith
    April 25, 2007

    Good point, Ex-Drone.

    If religious truth is eternal and unchanging, why would the matter of Limbo need to be re-visited? Was the old church doctrine wrong? What other doctrines are wrong?

    Seems to me that this just illustrates how religious thought changes with the political tides. This is not religious thought worthy of respect – these guys are just pulling this stuff out of their asses. Might as well be discussing how many angels can fit on the head of a pin.

  4. #4 John Wilkins
    April 25, 2007

    I wonder what new information they have that makes this resolvable, even just as a likelihood, now that they didn’t have before. Has a copy of St Peter’s sign-in book fallen into their hands?

  5. #5 Kevin
    April 25, 2007

    you should also remember that Catholics are NOT considered Christians but rather PAGANS who have adopted the bible as a holy book to add to there numerous pre-christian rituals.

    So the whole Limbo, transubstanciation and mary worship thingies can be considered non-christian beliefs.

  6. #6 mollishka
    April 25, 2007

    Uhm, so, when do babies quit being “infants” and start being responsible for their sins? Will this require another few years of study?

  7. #7 Blake Stacey
    April 26, 2007

    mollishka:

    Obviously, when the Internet first exposes them to Teh Gay! (Or is it when they first hear rock and roll? Deep questions!)

    Theology would be so much cooler if unbaptized babies came back as fairies or zombies or something like that.

  8. #8 Koray
    April 26, 2007

    We are in violent agreement. News at eleven.

  9. #9 Bob Evans
    April 26, 2007

    Thanks Jason for the sober and scholarly manner in which you posted, framed and commented on this question. I think, even Catholics wouldn’t have been offended if you had allowed your cynicism to run wild. Of-course that would have accomplished little as far as setting the stage for an intelligent discussion. I admired your restraint though.

    Speaking as a Catholic, I can tell you that many of us have been perplexed with this doctrine from the time we were first instructed about it as young school children. I think that, regardless of the basis on which they arrived at the present conclusion, it is both interesting and ironic in light of recent blogs, to note that it was Cardinal Ratzinger who set the stage for this 19 years ago.

    In a 1988 interview with Vittorio Messori, Ratzinger spoke for the majority of contemporary Catholic theologians when he said this:”Limbo was never a defined truth of faith. “Personally–and here I am speaking more as a theologian and not as a Prefect of the Congregation–I would abandon it since it was only a theological hypothesis. “It formed part of a secondary thesis in support of a truth which is absolutely of first significance for faith, namely, the importance of baptism…One should not hesitate to give up the idea of “limbo” if need be;but the concern behind it must not be surrendered.”Baptism has never been a side issue for faith;it is not now nor will it ever be.”

    At least we can see that they’re not making it up, as Jason said,…”as they go along” I found that there’s actually some good logic for the delay on all of this when I read Kimels introduction to a very long thesis he wrote for “Pontifications” in Oct. 2006. Google up limbo and click on Pontifications.

  10. #10 Richard Wein
    April 26, 2007

    “They are simply making it up as they go along.”

    That was exactly the thought that came to me as I read the item. They just invent stuff that makes them feel good. Don’t feel comfortable with the idea that death is the end? OK, let’s believe in heaven. Wouldn’t the prospect of heaven feel better if it was more exclusive? OK, only the baptised (i.e. our lot) get into heaven. Oops, that’s a bit harsh; what about the poor little babies? OK, we’ll make an exception for them. Hey, isn’t it starting to feel like we’re making this up as we go along? No problem; just dress it up in a little theological mumbo jumbo and we can convince ourselves that there’s actually a rational basis for it.

    “…the spectacle of grown men…”

    Again, you took the words right out of my mind. ;)

  11. #11 C.W.
    April 26, 2007

    What I want to know is, do dead babies grow up in the afterlife? Or are they supposed to crawl around and say “ga” for all eternity? If they grow up, can they be saved and reach Heaven proper? Are they still innocent?

    But it’s deep stuff, theology. Better leave it to professional theologians. After all, they’re the ones who can prove the existence of purgatory by pointing out that people pray for their dead loved ones, and there wouldn’t be much point in that if there wasn’t a purgatory, now would it? Can any of you heathens come up with a similarly stunning proof for anything? I sure as hell can’t. I wish we atheists had a way to reach those higher spheres of enlightenment that theologians live in.

  12. #12 David Marjanovi?
    April 26, 2007

    We emphasize that these are reasons for prayerful hope, rather than grounds for sure knowledge, it added.

    Hey, that’s the first step toward agnosticism.

  13. #13 David Marjanovi?
    April 26, 2007

    you should also remember that Catholics are NOT considered Christians

    …by Southern Baptists.

  14. #14 Wes
    April 26, 2007

    What makes me laugh is that guys like Dawkins are criticized for being “arrogant” for not considering this kind of stuff in his critique of religion. Obviously his arguments can be dismissed out of hand because he didn’t take into account this lengthy exposition on Limbo and infant souls and didn’t pay enough attention to Aquinas’s Five Ways and Anselm’s ontological argument. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go pray for That Greater Than Which Nothing Can Be Conceived to heal my aunt’s cancer and bring world peace.

    Do the religions really want this crap to be critiqued? Wasn’t he doing them a favor by just skimming the surface of religion, focusing on its popular manifestations, rather than going deeper into just how mind-bogglingly ludicrous theology is?

  15. #15 windy
    April 26, 2007

    Obviously, when the Internet first exposes them to Teh Gay! (Or is it when they first hear rock and roll? Deep questions!)

    I think baby Metallica must be steeped in the devil’s music already. Maybe the Pope was not aware how early the pollution begins.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/6525475.stm

  16. #16 David D.G.
    April 26, 2007

    “What could possibly be more arrogant than claiming, on the basis of a handful of ancient documents and centuries of groundless tradition, that we know something about the disposition of our souls in the afterlife?”

    I don’t know if it’s MORE arrogant, but I’d say it is at least right up there to assume that we have “souls” AT ALL, in the sense of souls being conscious aspects of ourselves that are immortal and independent of our bodies. To ask the question as it is posed here already assumes that souls exist, and that, in my opinion, already concedes too much ground to the theists.

    ~David D.G.

  17. #17 JasonR
    April 26, 2007

    Bob Evans,

    At least we can see that they’re not making it up, as Jason said,…”as they go along”

    Of course they’re making it up as they go along. The idea of Limbo is hard to reconcile with modern western ethical sensibilities, and so the Church is increasingly downplaying it. I wonder how much longer the doctrine of eternal punishment in hell for unrepented sin will survive as an official teaching. Even now, I doubt that most rank-and-file Catholics in the U.S. and Europe really believe it.

  18. #18 JohnnieCanuck
    April 26, 2007

    I, too found the phrasing strange in “about the disposition of our souls in the afterlife?”. Just a bit of inattention, I assume. Hope it doesn’t get quote-mined somewhere.

  19. #19 Mustafa Mond, FCD
    April 26, 2007

    you should also remember that Catholics are NOT considered Christians but rather PAGANS who have adopted the bible as a holy book to add to there numerous pre-christian rituals.

    By whom? I know that there is a subset of Protestants who do not consider Catholics to be Christians; I hope you understand that this is not a universal viewpoint amongst Protestants.

  20. #20 Mustafa Mond, FCD
    April 26, 2007

    The commission’s document said salvation for unbaptized babies who die was becoming an urgent pastoral question,

    I.e. it’s marketing. All those Muslim babies going straight to paradise; how do they compete with that?

  21. #21 Kevin
    April 26, 2007

    By whom?

    http://www.acts1711.com/xmas2.htm
    http://www.aloha.net/~mikesch/monstr.htm
    http://www.rapidnet.com/~jbeard/bdm/Cults/Catholicism/catholic.htm
    http://www.sabbatarian.com/Paganism/HecateTrinity.html

    I got tired of copying, and yes, I know that there are many sects like Lutherans, Methodists, Episcoplians who make common cause with the Catholics and I also hear that they are also all damned to hell because they don’t believe in the whole bible.

    I mean the bible is “THE” book for the christians isn’t it? And how can church leaders decide what to put in and what to leave out?

    http://www.google.com/search?source=ig&hl=en&q=catholics+pagans

  22. #22 Kevin
    April 26, 2007

    By whom?

    http://www.acts1711.com/xmas2.htm
    http://www.aloha.net/~mikesch/monstr.htm
    http://www.rapidnet.com/~jbeard/bdm/Cults/Catholicism/catholic.htm
    http://www.sabbatarian.com/Paganism/HecateTrinity.html

    I got tired of copying, and yes, I know that there are many sects like Lutherans, Methodists, Episcoplians who make common cause with the Catholics and I also hear that they are also all damned to hell because they don’t believe in the whole bible.

    I mean the bible is “THE” book for the christians isn’t it? And how can church leaders decide what to put in and what to leave out?

    http://www.google.com/search?source=ig&hl=en&q=catholics+pagans

  23. #23 Leni
    April 26, 2007

    This is creepy (but also hilarious) on so many levels.

    On the one hand, it’s kind of an improvement that they finally got around to disapproving of the condemnation of infants’ souls.

    But on the other, there is the glaring fact that it took them near 2000 years to figure out that banishing infants’ souls is something only a complete psychotic asshole of a God would do.

    While it’s good that they recognize that (sort of), one has to wonder: what the HELL were they doing all that time?? People actually thought that this is what happened to their miscarried babies and their priests let them. Encouraged them!

    This is supposed to be a moral compass? What an absolute load of crap. It’s sick and horrible and frankly I don’t see how anyone could call that a comfort. It’s an absolute nightmare. (Aside from being trivially and obviously idiotic.)

  24. #24 Bob Evans
    April 27, 2007

    I agree, Jason, as long as we’re talking about the convoluted metaphor they’ve couched the concept in all these years. Alvin Kimel, in ‘Pontifications’ makes a half-assed attempt to answer your question, but he offers-up his views from the standpoint of what I’ll call, a “non-appologist,appologist”. He starts off with the disclaimer that, while he feels the traditional Catholic belief…”is beyond my sympathies”,let me go ahead and explain why the majisterium believes it to be sound doctrine; he seems to be saying. He wrote the article before the Church expunged the Doctrine so I guess he felt he would hedge his bet as to the outcome, especially with the Pope looking over his shoulder. My point, was that they didn’t construct the turn-around over breakfast. A reading of Benedict’s 2000 views on Limbo,I think, attest to that. I defend the poor old guy not as a Catholic,but because I feel the facts should be out there,if he and all things Catholic are to be skewered and excoriated each time a Catholic issue is posted. ScienceBlogs stated mission of improving…”science literacy and to advance our science culture” is better served when the facts are known.

    In the fog of fatigue at 4:00 am yesterday,I failed to cite Kimel as the source of the Ratzinger quotes. While I cannot defend the centuries of debate on the question of Limbo, I think it’s important to check out those 2000 Ratzinger quotes. There are also great links to Catholic blogs that show that many of us have always seen this doctrine as nonsensical;one that we swallowed and didn’t talk much about. At the same time, many were happy it wasn’t dogma.

  25. #25 brtkrbzhnv
    April 27, 2007

    There’s no need to worry; Limbo has been acquired by the Discordian Society, so all the babies and whatnot can stay.
    PRESS RELEASE

  26. #26 Uber
    April 27, 2007

    Bob Evans-

    You just don’t get it. There is nothing really to discuss, nothing to think out. These are grown men simply acting by any sane standard, bizarre.

    My point, was that they didn’t construct the turn-around over breakfast. A reading of Benedict’s 2000 views on Limbo,I think, attest to that. I defend the poor old guy not as a Catholic,but because I feel the facts should be out there,if he and all things Catholic are to be skewered and excoriated each time a Catholic issue is posted

    Honestly the facts don’t make them look even remotely better. The catholic position is absurd and his meandering writings on the topic equally so.

  27. #27 khan
    April 27, 2007

    What about all those embryos that didn’t implant?

    Billions and billions floating around?

  28. #28 JasonR
    April 27, 2007

    Bob Evans,

    There are also great links to Catholic blogs that show that many of us have always seen this doctrine as nonsensical

    As opposed to, say, the doctrines of the virgin birth, or transsubstantiation, or the Resurrection, or the Assumption, or Hell, or…etc., etc., which are of course quite sensible.

    Sorry, but your entire religion is nuts. Limbo is just one small tip of the iceberg.

  29. #29 blf
    April 27, 2007

    So just what is a “soul” that now doesn’t go someplace? What does it look like? How much does it weight? Does it smell? And what are the map co-ordinates of the place this thing goes? What are law code is used there? What’s the climate like?

    Oh, sorry, I forgot…this is religion–rationality is not allowed. Them fools are flayed, burnt, quartered, or whatever particular torture the local priest likes…why should he (women cannot apply) care? His “soul” thingy is assured to go to some equally-weird place, regardless of how many children he has molested.

  30. #30 Kevin
    April 27, 2007

    What about all those embryos that didn’t implant?
    Billions and billions floating around?
    Posted by: khan | April 27, 2007 02:12 PM

    and sniff, all the potential little soldiers that were wasted by the M thing.

  31. #31 Bob Evans
    April 28, 2007

    I’m amazed,Jason,that a PhD facilitates a religion blog,ostensibly in the interest of intelligent discourse,under the stated banner of “New insights and discoveries”,only to impede a theists commentary by virtue of debunking the broad body of his faith. (Oh, I forgot, faith is nebulous) This,while having no problem with the inane comments that seem to proliferate in these blogs each time the Religion category is served up. Why pose the question at all,if it’s a given that a theist(particularly a Catholic) found to be remotely attempting to frame the question in a broader context,will find himself shoveling shit against the tide? Is this why there are virtually no commentators of the Catholic persuasion involved when the topic pertains to the Catholic Church? Even when the topic pertains to religion in general,it is virtually impossible for the theist viewpoint to be recognized as cogent. Instead, we see these terms and characterizations from various commentators,regardless of a given theist viewpoint: “…rhetorical trick.” “…stealth post” “…intellectual intimidation” “…sophisticated view of God” “…the usual run of theists.” “…stupid theists.” “…religions and cults.” “…theistic evolution”

    ” …simplistic view.” “…vacuous and irrelevent.” “…nebulous notions of experience.” “…popular religion is pretty stupid.” “…What Wilkins refers to as the most stupid version of religion,I would refer to as the most common.” Finally, my favorites: “…a philosophical vs. emperical analysis.” As if the victim here would have been any less excoriated had he or she postulated the emperical viewpoint. (Jason Rosenhouse)…”a logically possible entity for whom no evidence can be adduced.”(What?) Last,(John S. Wilkins)”Thiests can be rational in their own way…you cannot dismiss an entire tradition on the basis of it’s stupidest adherents,not honestly.” A very generous concession,John. But you forgot to mention how one avoids being dismissed. One might get a pass one day and then “mysteriously” your skewered the next. This, despite the fact that, I told the fellow,pertinent to the Limbo question: “I think, even Catholics wouldn’t have been offended if you had allowed your cynicicm to run wild.”

    Over-reaction, anyone? Overkill? I think not. I attempt to show why my Church remains relevent and viable and my reward is:”Sorry, but your entire religion is nuts” If I hang around for a few more discussions, I’ll show some folks who’s actually nuts…Little wonder that I was the only theist participant in the discussion.

    My reason for shedding light on aspects of the “limbo”(good riddance to that term)question,not commonly known, is primarily,to encourage a modicum of respect for Catholic participation in future discussions and also for a theist perspective in general,minus the “floating embryo”- type barbs. I don’t think it’s possible to completely eliminate that type of input but I’m sure some will agree that a theist shouldn’t refrain from a blog forum out of fear of being ridiculed and scorned on the basis of making heartfelt comments. Ditto for agnostics. Otherwise, why have a religion category at all, if it’s going to be purely esoteric in scope? Or, aren’t we worthy of participation at all? I saw a theist the other day(I can’t recall if it was the Chuck Norris blog or the Bill Mayer blog)hemming and hawing in a preamble to his or her comment that, an excoriation afterward was fully anticipated. Isn’t that a sad state of affairs? I think it is.

    Finally, is it fair, Jason,to ask me to extrapolate my views on “…the virgin birth,or transsubstantiation or the Resurrection or the Assumption,or Hell or…etc.,etc.,…” in one-fell-swoop, at a point where this particular subject is waning? Or in the space of maybe three or four paragraphs as a quick reply? That didn’t impress me as a particularly astute barb. I’m eager to postulate my very clear and abiding views on each of those questions in a manner that would be seen by many to be both cogent and non-prosylatizing. If there was a time when I practiced my faith by rote, that time has become a distant memory. I have a clear understanding of why I believe in these dogmas and I’m capable of expressing that in a scholarly fashion. If, in the process of doing that, a by-product, might be an agnostic or two, coming over to my persuasion,or a theist becoming more grounded in their faith,would that run counter to, or be in violation of ScienceBlogs stated mission? of-course, in order for me to participate in that type of format, it would be necessary for your staff to recognize that, the element of faith,based on sound theological reasoning,and a belief, by some, in things unseen,is an intrinsic element of one’s belief in a supernal God. I’m looking forward to taking part in a discussion in those areas,should they appear in this category down the road. That would depend,though,on the decurum of future discussions. I refrained from both the Chuck Norris and Bill Mayer blogs,due to the frivolous tone of the commentary. Lacking that, I will be only an interested observer of future Religion blogs. I would also have to see more of my fellow theists unhesitatingly becoming involved in the discussions.It is curious to me why,I seem to be an army of one in a few of these Religion categories. Otherwise,you will have succeeded in making me go away, which I will do with my head held high.

  32. #32 Kevin
    April 28, 2007

    Bob,

    a few comments.

    its one space after a comma, two after a period or question mark. sentances should have a point and quotations should be credited. Paragraphs are encouraged to be concise and have internal consistency. maybe you should check http://hospitality.hud.ac.uk/studyskills/writing/structure/size.htm

    “Finally, is it fair, Jason,to ask me to extrapolate my views . . .in the space of maybe three or four paragraphs as a quick reply?”

    well, Bob, you just wrote 876 words without saying anything so maybe if you had just answered the question there would be more to discuss.

  33. #33 JasonR
    April 28, 2007

    Bob Evans,

    You do drone on, don’t you. And yet in all those words, I can’t find a single sentence that actually addresses the problem I alluded to–the nonsensical nature of the doctrines of your religion.

    You say, “I have a clear understanding of why I believe in these dogmas [the virgin birth, the Resurrection, etc.] and I’m capable of expressing that in a scholarly fashion.” Terrific. Please explain to us, as clearly and concisely as you can, why you think it is reasonable, or rational, or justified, to believe in those dogmas. I find it ironic that you seem to recognize the absurdity of the doctrine of Limbo, and yet cannot see the absurdity of all the rest of it.

  34. #34 JasonR
    April 28, 2007

    Perhaps this is a good time to mention the Harris vs. Sullivan debate again, which has now concluded. Jason Rosenhouse made several posts about some earlier installments in this debate. Like Bob Evans, Sullivan identifies himself as a Catholic, although not a particularly faithful one. Ostensibly, Sullivan was defending his Catholicism, and religious belief more generally, but towards the end he just seemed to surrender and abandon any attempt at a rational defense of his beliefs (after first engaging in a prolonged evasion of Sam Harris’s questions, and then making a half-hearted attempt at addressing them). I think Harris’s final entry provides a good description of Sullivan’s bizarre responses:

    In your last essay you admit that your notion of God is “preposterous” and then say that you never suggested I should find it otherwise. You acknowledge the absurdity of faith, only to treat this acknowledgement as a demonstration of faith’s underlying credibility. While I have yet to see you successfully pull yourself up by your bootstraps in this way, I have watched you repeatedly pull yourself down by them. You want to have things both ways: your faith is reasonable but not in the least bound by reason; it is a matter of utter certainty, yet leavened by humility and doubt; you are still searching for the truth, but your belief in God is immune to any conceivable challenge from the world of evidence. I trust you will ascribe these antinomies to the paradox of faith; but, to my eye, they remain mere contradictions, dressed up in velvet.

  35. #35 Greg Byshenk
    April 30, 2007

    It should be noted, I think, that “limbo” was already something of a sop
    to human sensitivities. The problem arose because of the unpleasant consequences of
    two Church doctrines (that, to the best of my knowlege, remain non-negotiable): 1)
    original sin, and 2) baptism. That is, the Church holds that all persons are born in
    sin, and sinful from birth (meaning tha there is no human being innocent of sin), and
    also holds fast to the Biblical claim that baptism is required for salvation.
    Which means, it would seem, that unbaptised babies cannot be saved, and must suffer
    eternal damnation. Which seems a bit harsh, under the circumstances. Thus, the idea
    of ‘limbo’: unbaptised babies cannot be saved, but they don’t necessarily have to
    suffer eternal torment, either.

    But this means, further, that if one jettisons limbo, but continues to take Church
    doctrine seriously, then that must mean that unbaptised babies are consigned to hell.

    Of course, one can appeal to “grace”, as does the Theological Commission, But this
    has some dangers for the Church, in that, once one accepts that “grace” overrides
    Church doctrine, then one has to wonder: why bother with the doctrine at all?

  36. #36 Greg Byshenk
    April 30, 2007

    My apologies. The points in the first two paragraphs were already addressed under another topic (that I hadn’t yet read when I posted).

  37. #37 Superman
    May 2, 2007

    Ok, I haven’t had time to read all the comments, so since I don’t know what has been said for the most part, I’ll just address Mr. Byshenk and his last two comments along with alot of the other stuff I’ve read.
    So basically you guys are arguing about limbo and church doctrines and the like. For the most part, you are saying that church doctrines, Catholic ones to be specific, do not make sense. I agree that they don’t, but that doesn’t mean anything except that Catholicism doesn’t make sense. All this stuff about Baptizing babies and “limbo” aren’t anywhere in the Bible. The need for baptism in order to go to heaven isn’t either. All the Bible says is needed to go to heaven, is to accept the forgiveness of your sins from God, which he has offered to all mankind via Jesus. Babies of course don’t have the mental capacity to do this. Babies aren’t capable of understanding the difference between right and wrong, and therefore cannot be held accountable for the crimes against God’s law that they commit. If you really want I can look up the scripture references to support all my points, but you fellas obviously don’t care what the Bible has to say. You’re far more interested in attacking lies than finding the truth.

  38. #38 Kevin
    May 2, 2007

    Hey Superman, that’s what I said:

    “you should also remember that Catholics are NOT considered Christians but rather PAGANS who have adopted the bible as a holy book to add to there numerous pre-christian rituals.

    So the whole Limbo, transubstanciation and mary worship thingies can be considered non-christian beliefs.

    Posted by: Kevin | April 25, 2007 11:03 PM ”

    I agree with you that “the Bible says is needed to go to heaven, is to accept the forgiveness of your sins from God, which he has offered to all mankind via Jesus. Babies of course don’t have the mental capacity to do this” and of course the bible says that anyone who does NOT accept Christ as their savior is dammed to hell. All babies, aetheists, savages and christ-deniers, they are all dammed to hell.

    I’m glad that you at least understand that.

  39. #39 Superman
    May 3, 2007

    Actually, after a little study I have concluded that babies do not go to hell for another reason. That is that babies are not born guilty of sin. If they were, then Jesus would have been born guilty of sin and His death would have no significance to us because he would be just another sinner like the rest of us. Because He was completely innocent of sin, He was capable of dieing as a sacrifice for our sin.
    Therefore babies are innocent of sin until they commit some sin, so if they die before committing a sin then they go to heaven. The only reason why you or I would go to hell is because of sin we have committed because as the Bible says,”The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”(Romans 6:23) so until babies do something to earn going to hell, they will go to heaven. They don’t need forgiveness for something they haven’t done.

  40. #40 Kevin
    May 3, 2007

    “Actually, after a little study I have concluded ”

    “Actually, after very little study of anything meaningfull I have concluded”

    Superdude, I fixed your typo.

  41. #41 Superman
    May 3, 2007

    Why thank you Kevin, But my argument about Jesus still stands that he was born a human but obviously wasn’t born guilty of sin. And if you mean the Bible is nothing meaningful then there isn’t much I can argue with you because that is my only weapon. Try reading John 9:35-41 where “Jesus said,”If you were blind you would not be guilty of sin”” He is of course speaking of spiritual blindness which is the inability to understand sin or accept forgiveness for it for that matter. If babies can understand sin, then they must also have the mental capacity to accept forgiveness for it, and then must have the ability to forgiveness and have at least a chance at going to heaven. If on the other hand they can’t understand, then they are what Jesus is referring to as “Spiritually Blind” and are not guilty of sin.

  42. #42 Kevin
    May 3, 2007

    “But my argument about Jesus still stands that he was born a human but obviously wasn’t born guilty of sin.”

    Then why did he have to be baptised? And if he was then he had to repent of some sin no? what was his depravity?

  43. #43 Lionel Andrades
    March 29, 2012

    http://eucharistandmission.blogspot.it/2012/03/international-theological-commission_29.html
    Thursday, March 29, 2012
    INTERNATIONAL THEOLOGICAL COMMISSION USES PREMISE THAT IS FACTUALLY INCORRECT : LIMBO
    The International Theological Commission (ITC) in ‘The Hope of Salvation for Infants who die without being baptized’ uses a premise which is factually wrong.

    1. We cannot telephone or meet people in Heaven and so we do not know these cases in particular.
    2. Extra ecclesiam nulla salus was not an only an adage and an expression it was a dogma, defined three times.

    3. Pope Pius IX did not state anywhere that those saved in invincible ignorance are explicitly known and so are exceptions to the dogma which says whoever does not enter into the Church will perish forever.

    ITC
    58. In the face of new problems and situations and of an exclusive interpretation of the adage: “salus extra ecclesiam non est”,[88] the magisterium, in recent times, has articulated a more nuanced understanding as to the manner in which a saving relationship with the Church can be realized.
    Lionel:
    The present Magisterium assumes that we know cases of persons saved in invincible ignorance and so it is a defacto exception to the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus ? This is factually incorrect. We do not know those who are in Heaven except for the saints.
    On this faulty premise a whole theology has been built up ie the visibly-known cases of those saved in invincible ignorance and the baptism of desire.

    ITC
    The Allocution of Pope Pius IX, Singulari Quadam (1854) clearly states the issues involved: “It must, of course, be held as a matter of faith that outside the apostolic Roman Church no one can be saved, that the Church is the only ark of salvation, and that whoever does not enter it, will perish in the flood. On the other hand, it must likewise be held as certain that those who live in ignorance of the true religion, if such ignorance be invincible, are not subject to any guilt in this matter before the eyes of the Lord”.
    Lionel:
    The Allocution of Pope PIus IX clearly does not state in the passage cited above that those saved in invincible ignorance are explicitly known and so are exceptions to the dogma which says whoever does not enter into the Church will perish.These exceptional cases are known only to God.The Church Councils and popes knew this. This unfortunately was the error of the Archbishop of Boston Richard Cushing and the Jesuits there.
    They also included it in Vatican Council II (LG 16). That a non Catholic can be saved in invincible ignorance is not a problem and neither was it an issue. However when it is assumed, with no magisterial texts including that of Vatican Council II, that these cases are explicitly known and are an exception to the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus, here we are given a new doctrine which is not part of the Deposit of the Faith.It is also irrational.

    ITC
    59. The Letter of the Holy Office to the Archbishop of Boston (1949) offers further specifications. “To gain eternal salvation, it is not always required that a person be incorporated in reality (reapse) as a member of the Church, but it is necessary that one belong to it at least in desire and longing (voto et desiderio). It is not always necessary that this desire be explicit as it is with catechumens.
    Lionel:
    Yes in principle a person can be saved with the baptism of desire. In reality, explicitly we do not know any case of a person saved in Heaven with the baptism of desire. So it is not an issue with respect to the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus.

    ITC
    When one is invincibly ignorant, God also accepts an implicit desire, so called because it is contained in the good disposition of soul by which a person wants his or her will to be conformed to God’s will”.
    Lionel:
    Yes and the ITC assumes that these cases are explicit and known in reality so they contradict the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus.
    -Lionel Andrades

    Nostra Aetate does say that the Church is the’ new people of God’. Catholics are the Chosen People.They have the Promised Jewish Messiah, the Eternal Covenant and the Sacrifice of the Holy Masshttp://eucharistandmission.blogspot.it/2012/03/nostra-aetate-does-say-that-church-is.html#links

    The International Theological Commission’s position paper Christianity and the World Religions 1997 has an objective factual error and is approved by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger : invincible ignorance is not an exception to the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus
    http://eucharistandmission.blogspot.it/2012/03/international-theological-commissions.html#links

    INTERNATIONAL THEOLOGICAL COMMISSION ASSUMES ‘SEEDS OF THE WORD’ (VATICAN COUNCIL II ) IN OTHER RELIGIONS ARE KNOWN TO US AND THIS IS AN EXPLICIT EXCEPTION TO THE DOGMA EXTRA ECCLESIAM NULLA SALUS
    http://eucharistandmission.blogspot.it/2012/03/international-theological-commission.html#links

    VATICAN’S INTERNATIONAL THEOLOGICAL COMMISSION MAKES AN ERROR IN ITS POSITION PAPER CHRISTIANITY AND THE WORLD RELIGIONS
    http://eucharistandmission.blogspot.it/2012/03/vaticans-international-theological.html#links

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