Catholic Church Says No To Limbo genre: Hip-Gnosis & Six Degrees of Speculation & Tongue-In-Cheek

When I was growing up and attending Catholic schools, we were taught that a child that died before it was baptized went to Limbo and remained there forever. For a number of years now, my dad has been asking what happened to Limbo because he hasn't heard it talked about by anyone within the Church hierarchy. Well, it appears that Limbo has passed away. The Church's Theological Commission (are they licensed like Realtors?) issued the ruling today.

From Reuters:

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - The Roman Catholic Church has effectively buried the concept of limbo, the place where centuries of tradition and teaching held that babies who die without baptism went.

In a long-awaited document, the Church's International Theological Commission said limbo reflected an "unduly restrictive view of salvation".

The 41-page document was published on Friday by Origins, the documentary service of the U.S.-based Catholic News Service, which is part of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The verdict that limbo could now rest in peace had been expected for years. The document was seen as most likely the final word since limbo was never part of Church doctrine, even though it was taught to Catholics well into the 20th century.

"The conclusion of this study is that there are theological and liturgical reasons to hope that infants who die without baptism may be saved and brought into eternal happiness even if there is not an explicit teaching on this question found in revelation," it said.

The document stressed that its conclusions should not be interpreted as questioning original sin or "used to negate the necessity of baptism or delay the conferral of the sacrament".

In writings before his election as Pope in 2005, the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger made it clear he believed the concept of limbo should be abandoned because it was "only a theological hypothesis" and "never a defined truth of faith".

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Well isn't that interesting. When my peers and I were taught about Limbo, the priests and nuns failed to mention that it was merely a hypothesis or that it wasn't yet part of Church doctrine. I can't say that this surprises me because it has been my experience that the Church functions along the lines of "you better believe this or else...until we tell you that you no longer have to believe this". Would anyone care for a dish of arbitrary and capricious? I hear it's quite tasty though difficult to swallow. But then I do have a bad habit of forgetting how the notion of infallibility works.

Perhaps the Church has realized, in this instance, that fear (don't let that baby die before being baptized a Catholic) may no longer be as effective as it used to be in keeping the flock in tow. One final point...do not make a mistake and think that you can site this example for the reconsideration of other "teachings"...after all, we followers aren't privy to the inner workings of where hypothesis ends and doctrine begins.

Fortunately, it allows me another opportunity to have a little fun with Photoshop.

No More Limbo

Daniel DiRito | April 20, 2007 | 11:40 PM
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Comments

1 On June 2, 2007 at 5:53 PM, Jim Dyer wrote —

The evaporation of limbo, following the death of purgatory, exposes Roman Catholicism as a "what shall we believe today" religion. How can intelligent RCs go along with these dodgy dictats which have no foundation? The "improvements" in Mary's status over the years is also very dodgy. Where is the evidence that she was sinless and did not experience death? Why do intelligent RCs not say "we are taught such and such that Protestant people are not taught - if we are right what can we show them to prove it?" So many people are fooled by this "make it up as we go along" sect.

Thought Theater at Blogged

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