Monday, April 23, 2007

Reasons for hope

This is a reason for hope.

And this.

and even this.

And don't forget this.

But this is not.
A document on the shelving of Limbo. First of all what does the document really say? It says that "we may hope" that infants who die without Baptism may be saved. It does not say that infants who die without Baptism will be saved.

But in our rush to oversentimentalize everything- THAT will be completely lost.

And the practical effects will be a further erosion in the importance of Baptism and its necessity for Salvation.

I wonder why we are falling all over ourselves worrying about the effects of the Motu Proprio as if that will be the great cataclysm? And this?

I don't get it.

But happily over at Rorate Caeli they do.


Rebecca Urban said...

I totally agree with you. I first heard the news on FOX. The following words scrolled across the bottom of my television screen: "POPE CHANGES TEACHING ON BAPTISM...NOW BABIES WHO ARE NOT BAPTIZED CAN GO TO HEAVEN..." Is that misleading or what? You're right. The Pope was not saying that babies who aren't baptized will definitely go to heaven...but this is bound to confuse people. So many Catholics (if they even baptize their babies at all) do it for social reasons as opposed to salvific reasons. It's more important that Grandma, Grandpa, and Aunt Jodie from Sweden can make it to the baptism than it is to take into consideration the necessity (and I would even go as far as to say the MORAL OBLIGATION OF THE PARENTS) to baptize their baby very soon after birth...regardless of whether or not Aunt Jodie from Sweden can make it on 'such and such a date,' etc. Personally, I would have my baby baptized even if my husband was away at war or something...I wouldn't wait for him to get back so he could be there. Baptism is not merely a celebration; it is a sacrament. I'm worried that many Catholics have lost site of this, and I worry that this pronouncement by the Pope will lead to more confusion and misunderstanding in regards to this important matter. I realize that I am neither God nor the Pope, but was this pronouncement really necessary?

Edward said...

Athanasius has a really well-written reflection on this, if anyone is interested.
Check it out.

Christina said...


Can you tell me where to find that reflection by Athanasius?

After losing a baby boy at 22 weeks of pregnancy, I have a very hard time with the "teaching" of limbo. I consider myself a conservative, even traditional, Catholic, and though I have done some reading on the topic, I am not convinced of its purpose. It seems arbitrary, and is no where declared a dogma of the Church.

Our baby was baptised after we delivered him, he was born stillborn, and is buried in a Catholic cemetary. Does it make any sense that he is in a lower level of hell because he was not baptised before dying? (And the notion that he will not suffer "the same punishment" of the other souls in hell brings me NO comfort...) I have been assured by a deacon and many priests that he will enjoy the full joys of heaven and union with God, yet everything on the site referenced by Mary insists otherwise.

Thanks for your time.

Edward said...

Dear Christina,

First of all, know that I am sorry for your loss, and that I can wholly sympathize with you.
My dear wife and I lost a son but a week before he was due.

I think you will find the same teaching revealed by Athanasius as you found on the other sites, and the reason is that the teaching concerning Limbo is in fact a Dogmatic truth.
Nevertheless, I still think you may be able to get some good from it. While there, read the other post he has on "Why bad things happen, etc.", plus all the comments in the comment section of both.
My own thoughts are under the eName of Lee. I don't think I can add anything here to what I have already expressed there.

It may seem odd, but at one time I was vehemently against the very idea of Limbo. My mind was only changed - as well as that of my dear wife - when our son died.
Sometimes the realization of deeper truths only comes when a truly profound and mysterious reality - in this case, death - hits us square in the face.

Edward said...

Oh, I'm sorry, Christina.
You may go to to find all this.
Duh. Forgot to pass that on.

tradcatholic said...

To Christina,
I too am so sorry for the loss of your unborn son. Knowing that he is perfectly happy in limbo can be a wonderful comfort, but will never replace his presence until you see him again.
Actually, I do believe that Limbo is not an actually defined dogma of Faith - I was always taught that it is the best we can do with what we know of Theology with our imperfect, incomplete knowledge of the things of God. After all, baptism with water is NOT always necessary - the prophets were not baptized with water - neither were the Holy Innocents whose feast day we celebrate right after Christmas - but we are told Christ saved them and brought them from the nether world to heaven - as did He with the Good Thief, again not baptized with water. Also, a Catechumen who is studying the Faith to become a Catholic, if he dies before the sacrament, is saved by reason of Baptism of Desire, as the Church teaches. So, just maybe, in the end of time as we know it, God will bring the babies who died before birth to heaven also. It is certainly not impossible with God. But, for the time being, unless such things are revealed to us explicitly, we have Limbo for the unbaptized, those who NEVER heard of Christ and His Church, those who had no means to hear His Word.(However, in this day and age of instant questions and answers on the internet, TV, etc., such "invincibly ignorant" people may be few and far between!)
By the way, nobody ever taught that the saints in heaven (i.e.US, hopefully) cannot see and be with those in Limbo! God can do what He likes! He revealed to us what He wanted us to know to be saved...and it has not even entered into our minds what He has yet in store for those who love Him.