Council of Carthage and limbo
#1
Council of Carthage apparently condemned the idea of there being a special place in Heaven for unbaptized infants. Then we hear that limbo is a theological opinion and some people tend to believe that unbaptized infants receive baptism of desire or blood if they're aborted. Many tend to think they are in Heaven.  What is the Church teaching? I'm not looking for debates but just to know the Church teaching and to figure out what the Council meant. I mean its also condemned maybe to think that unbaptized adults can get to Heaven but then we believe in invincible ignorance, baptism of desire, etc... I understand that may be more rare than is generally supposed but - I just mean the ideas. If that's how it is for adults and these exceptions can happen, why not with babies? Is that view condemned? What do we think of limbo? Basically I'm confused and have no clue what the Church teaching is. I accept in advance whatever it teaches even if limbo but - what are we supposed to believe? And how Di we avoid heresy? Can we believe in invincible ignorance being possible for adults - so how does this compare to infants? Thank you.
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#2
(04-28-2015, 09:42 AM)little_flower10 Wrote: Council of Carthage apparently condemned the idea of there being a special place in Heaven for unbaptized infants. Then we hear that limbo is a theological opinion and some people tend to believe that unbaptized infants receive baptism of desire or blood if they're aborted. Many tend to think they are in Heaven.  What is the Church teaching? I'm not looking for debates but just to know the Church teaching and to figure out what the Council meant. I mean its also condemned maybe to think that unbaptized adults can get to Heaven but then we believe in invincible ignorance, baptism of desire, etc... I understand that may be more rare than is generally supposed but - I just mean the ideas. If that's how it is for adults and these exceptions can happen, why not with babies? Is that view condemned? What do we think of limbo? Basically I'm confused and have no clue what the Church teaching is. I accept in advance whatever it teaches even if limbo but - what are we supposed to believe? And how Di we avoid heresy? Can we believe in invincible ignorance being possible for adults - so how does this compare to infants? Thank you.

Read what the Councils said, then read what Christ said.  See if they match.
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#3
There's really two questions at play: (1) what happens to infants who die in original only? and (2) do unbaptized infants necessarily die in original sin?

(1) Regarding the first question, if you look at the whole canon from the Council of Carthage, it is saying the "intermediary place" being rejected is "in the kingdom of Heaven." A person in the state of original sin cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven, even if they are an infant who has not committed any actual sin. 

Original sin at the very least deprives one of the beatific vision. All that is dogmatically defined by the Church is that the punishment is "unequal" between those who die in original sin alone and those who die in actual sin.  Many of the Fathers, especially in the Latin tradition, thought that those who died in original sin alone still experienced at least some of the actual torments of Hell.  However, later, the opinion that they only experience the loss of the beatific vision, but are otherwise in a state of natural contentment became much more popular--this state is what we call "Limbo." 

Therefore, if an infant was not cleansed of original sin they would at best end up in that state, and at worse experience the torments of Hell. 

(2) Regarding the second question, the Sacrament of Baptism is the ordinary means by which we are cleansed of original sin and by which God has promised to do so. But we also acknowledge that God can cleanse a soul of original sin in extraordinary ways.  The omnipotent God could certainly, as a gratuitous privilege,  cleanse an infant of original sin.  St. Thomas Aquinas, for example, defends this possibility in response to the objection that since Baptism cannot always reach where original sin reaches, that therefore the sin of Adam is more powerful than the redemption of Christ. 

God has simply not revealed whether He does or does not grant this grace for any particular unbaptized infant. Therefore, the Catechism says both that "The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude" (CCC 1257), but also that we may "hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism" (CCC 1261).



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#4
(04-28-2015, 10:33 AM)Melkite Wrote:
(04-28-2015, 09:42 AM)little_flower10 Wrote: Council of Carthage apparently condemned the idea of there being a special place in Heaven for unbaptized infants. Then we hear that limbo is a theological opinion and some people tend to believe that unbaptized infants receive baptism of desire or blood if they're aborted. Many tend to think they are in Heaven.  What is the Church teaching? I'm not looking for debates but just to know the Church teaching and to figure out what the Council meant. I mean its also condemned maybe to think that unbaptized adults can get to Heaven but then we believe in invincible ignorance, baptism of desire, etc... I understand that may be more rare than is generally supposed but - I just mean the ideas. If that's how it is for adults and these exceptions can happen, why not with babies? Is that view condemned? What do we think of limbo? Basically I'm confused and have no clue what the Church teaching is. I accept in advance whatever it teaches even if limbo but - what are we supposed to believe? And how Di we avoid heresy? Can we believe in invincible ignorance being possible for adults - so how does this compare to infants? Thank you.

Read what the Councils said, then read what Christ said.  See if they match.

I believe if they seem not to match then I'm missing something... Cause they really should... Like with the Church bring interpretor of Scriptures. But maybe I'm misunderstanding what the Council said too - because some topics are so complicated they're explained by many different canons that approach them from different sides.. It helps to just have a dogma so we know. But not everything has dogmas.
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#5
(04-28-2015, 10:49 AM)SaintSebastian Wrote: There's really two questions at play: (1) what happens to infants who die in original only? and (2) do unbaptized infants necessarily die in original sin?

(1) Regarding the first question, if you look at the whole canon from the Council of Carthage, it is saying the "intermediary place" being rejected is "in the kingdom of Heaven." A person in the state of original sin cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven, even if they are an infant who has not committed any actual sin. 

Original sin at the very least deprives one of the beatific vision. All that is dogmatically defined by the Church is that the punishment is "unequal" between those who die in original sin alone and those who die in actual sin.  Many of the Fathers, especially in the Latin tradition, thought that those who died in original sin alone still experienced at least some of the actual torments of Hell.  However, later, the opinion that they only experience the loss of the beatific vision, but are otherwise in a state of natural contentment became much more popular--this state is what we call "Limbo." 

Therefore, if an infant was not cleansed of original sin they would at best end up in that state, and at worse experience the torments of Hell. 

(2) Regarding the second question, the Sacrament of Baptism is the ordinary means by which we are cleansed of original sin and by which God has promised to do so. But we also acknowledge that God can cleanse a soul of original sin in extraordinary ways.  The omnipotent God could certainly, as a gratuitous privilege,  cleanse an infant of original sin.  St. Thomas Aquinas, for example, defends this possibility in response to the objection that since Baptism cannot always reach where original sin reaches, that therefore the sin of Adam is more powerful than the redemption of Christ. 

God has simply not revealed whether He does or does not grant this grace for any particular unbaptized infant. Therefore, the Catechism says both that "The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude" (CCC 1257), but also that we may "hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism" (CCC 1261).

That helps, thanks! Do you happen to remember where St Thomas says this?

I do agree we can't have original sin for Heaven and everyone in Heaven has beatific vision and Baptism is regular way to get rid of original sin. Then as we know there are things like baptism of blood etc. I guess I'd leave the issue with infants to God and the Church while agreeing with the above doctrines of necessity of baptism and no original sin for Heaven.
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#6
Here's the reply from St. Thomas in the Summa.  It's actually a little more specific, since he is addressing infants in the womb, but I think the reasoning can be extended to additional circumstances where Baptism cannot be provided:

Quote:Reply to Objection 1. Children while in the mother's womb have not yet come forth into the world to live among other men. Consequently they cannot be subject to the action of man, so as to receive the sacrament, at the hands of man, unto salvation. They can, however, be subject to the action of God, in Whose sight they live, so as, by a kind of privilege, to receive the grace of sanctification; as was the case with those who were sanctified in the womb.

http://www.newadvent.org/summa/4068.htm#article11
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#7
This series of quotes gives a good little overview of Limbo.
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#8
Thanks for the replies! :)

Shin, the link helped me to finally understand how Limbo is related to God's Justice and Mercy.. and how it's not unmerciful. I mean the revelations to St Brigid.. that helped a lot. I was more confused before but now Limbo makes more sense. I don't have an objection to it. I mean it shows God's Justice because the infants have original sin, but it shows God's Mercy because they are not suffering... they are deprived of the Beatific Vision but they don't suffer torments of hell, which probably makes their existence sort of like a happy life on earth? I mean - maybe better than that because there's suffering on earth.

I'm still wondering about St Thomas and whether unbaptized babies like those who die before birth can have their original sin removed... I agree that with original sin people can't go to Heaven, and that Baptism is the ordinary way to remove original sin. So this makes Limbo the most likely. With adults, they can make a choice and have baptism of blood / desire... infants can't make choices yet... so that points to Limbo. I wonder what St Thomas meant though. I can just leave that part of it to God. As it says in the CCC we leave them to God's Mercy.. (which doesn't exclude Limbo cause they are close to God's Mercy in Limbo)
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#9
(05-02-2015, 04:47 PM)little_flower10 Wrote: I'm still wondering about St Thomas and whether unbaptized babies like those who die before birth can have their original sin removed... I agree that with original sin people can't go to Heaven, and that Baptism is the ordinary way to remove original sin. So this makes Limbo the most likely. With adults, they can make a choice and have baptism of blood / desire... infants can't make choices yet... so that points to Limbo. I wonder what St Thomas meant though. I can just leave that part of it to God. As it says in the CCC we leave them to God's Mercy.. (which doesn't exclude Limbo cause they are close to God's Mercy in Limbo)
You, Little flower10, remind me of another Little Flower  some time, somewhere... not at all daft and a good reminder of why God chose a woman to be His Mother. (And why He chose women to be mothers of us all).

Yes! the Limbo question; and S. Toms' explanation  seems to leave more questions than answers. I hope that you will not be dismayed by my social ineptitude and lack of political correctness so that I might consider your cunning insights and questions.
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#10
(04-28-2015, 10:33 AM)Melkite Wrote:
(04-28-2015, 09:42 AM)little_flower10 Wrote: Council of Carthage apparently condemned the idea of there being a special place in Heaven for unbaptized infants. Then we hear that limbo is a theological opinion and some people tend to believe that unbaptized infants receive baptism of desire or blood if they're aborted. Many tend to think they are in Heaven.  What is the Church teaching? I'm not looking for debates but just to know the Church teaching and to figure out what the Council meant. I mean its also condemned maybe to think that unbaptized adults can get to Heaven but then we believe in invincible ignorance, baptism of desire, etc... I understand that may be more rare than is generally supposed but - I just mean the ideas. If that's how it is for adults and these exceptions can happen, why not with babies? Is that view condemned? What do we think of limbo? Basically I'm confused and have no clue what the Church teaching is. I accept in advance whatever it teaches even if limbo but - what are we supposed to believe? And how Di we avoid heresy? Can we believe in invincible ignorance being possible for adults - so how does this compare to infants? Thank you.

Read what the Councils said, then read what Christ said.  See if they match.

I smell a protestant! The teachings of the Council and the Bible, i.e. what Christ said, can only be interpreted under the light of Apostolic authority given solely to the catholic Church. Bear in mind that the orthodox, the copts, the maronites, the syriac, are all part of the catholic, that is, the universal Church of Christ, not just the Latin Rite, also referred as "Roman Church" or "Catholic Church".

With that in mind, if Christ said he had a dog, and the Church says it was a cat, then it was a cat that was called dog. Got that?
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