How many are in Hell?
http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/l...worknum=89

The MOST Theological Collection: Unbaptized Infants: St. Thomas, etc.


The Church has given us no teaching on the eternal fate of these babies. The view of St. Thomas Aquinas has been widely accepted, never rejected by the Church.

Here is the his position:

1) On the one hand, there is no positive suffering for the babies, for they have no personal guilt. This is confirmed by Pope Pius IX, in Quanto conficiamur moerore, August 10, 1863 (DS 2866) "God in His supreme goodness and clemency, by no means allows anyone to be punished with eternal punishments who does not have the guilt of voluntary fault."

2) On the other hand, their souls seem to lack the transformation by grace needed for the Beatific Vision. So they cannot have it. But they have a natural happiness, and do not miss what they do not have.

Toward a Solution:

1) God has the power to remedy this lack of grace even without a Sacrament. St. Thomas Aquinas, in Summa II. 68. 2. c. wrote that God "is not bound to the visible sacraments." Therefore God could supply that grace outside of Baptism. He did it in the case of the Holy Innocents.

2)Does He actually provide the remedy?

(1) Theologians commonly hold that God provided for the salvation of those who died before Christ in some way. As to the Hebrews, circumcision seems to have been the means for boys, but not of course for girls. (Cf. St. Thomas ST III. 62. ad 3). But the theological opinion just mentioned extended also to those outside the Hebrew people.

(2) St. Paul in Romans 3. 28-30 says that if God had not provided for those who did not know the Mosaic Law, He would not be their God. So, Paul concludes, He must have done so, and did it through the regime of faith. Would Paul argue similarly for unbaptized infants? Likely.

(3) St. Paul, in 1 Cor 7. 14 says that the pagan partner married to a Christian is made holy through union with the Christian, "Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy." "Holy" reflects Hebrew qadosh, set aside for God by the covenant. So the pagan partner and the children did come under the covenant.

(4) God shows great concern for the objective moral order (cf. Our Father's Plan, chapter 4. For example, in the Gospel description of the Last Judgment, Jesus does not accept the excuse of those who say they did not know it was Jesus in the poor, etc. He pays attention only to the objective fact. Cf. also Leviticus 4, 1 Cor 4. 4, and all instances of involuntary sin.

Does He also will to rectify the objective physical order?

In the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, Abraham explains (Lk 16. 25): "Remember that you in your lifetime received good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish." Of course the rich man had violated charity -- but that is not mentioned. Only the reversal and physical rectification is mentioned. The woes in Luke 6:24-26 seem similar.

Conclusion: In view of all the above, God may well speak thus of the aborted babies: "These infants have been deprived of everything in the normal objective order they should have had, even of a chance for birth. Instead, without deserving it, they have been torn apart or cut up alive. So it is right to make up for that. They suffered evil, like Lazarus. Now they should be comforted. I showed concern for the rebalancing the objective physical order in the case of Lazarus. I made provision for the eternal salvation of people before Christ. St. Paul argues in Romans 3. 28-30 that if I did not, I would not be their God. I revealed through St. Paul, in 1 Cor 7. 14, that a pagan partner in marriage is brought under the covenant merely from being united to the Christian, and similarly the children. So it is right for me to provide grace to these children even outside of the Sacrament. My hands are not bound by the Sacraments."

What of Limbo? If our deductions are not correct, then the babies would be in Limbo, which, as St. Thomas Aquinas said, involves no pain, and is such that the babies do not even know what they have missed (St. Thomas, De Malo q. 5, a. 3 ad 4). We might compare two persons: one whose tastes are not highly refined, who is completely happy with a ballgame and popcorn; the other whose ability to enjoy things has been refined: he will be satisfied only with the most artistic things. Similarly the babies, lacking the refinement of the power to know given by grace, will be fully satisfied, and not know what they have missed.

If Limbo be the answer, will they be separated from parents who have reached Heaven and the Vision of God? No, for two reasons: 1) Heaven is not essentially a place, but a state. You could have two persons side by side, even in a place, such that one is enjoying interiorly the divine vision, the other is not. They can be together, yet in different states. 2) God does satisfy every legitimate desire of those who reach heaven. (Cf. Apoc. 21. 4:"He [God] shall wipe away every tear from their eyes.") Parents who deeply want their children of Limbo will not be separated from them. Limbo and heaven are most basically states more than places. And even as to place, after resurrection, bodies will be like the Risen Body of Jesus, who came to see the Apostles locked in an upper room. He simply ignored the door, did not bother to open it by a miracle. Risen bodies are not bound by place.

Objection: The Council of Florence in 1439 taught (DS 1306):"The souls of those who depart in actual mortal sin or only original sin descend into the realm of the dead (infernum), to be punished however with unequal punishments."

Reply: 1)The word poena in Latin need not always be the same as English "pain" - it can mean merely deprivation of something. As we saw above, Pius IX taught that God does not allow anyone to be punished with eternal punishments without the guilt of personal fault.

Vatican II, On ecumenism #6, taught that if any language in older teachings is in need of improvement, it should be improved. Such is the case here, at least if we do not think of the difference of Latin poena and English "pain". Paul VI in Mysterium fidei did not contradict the Council, but said that the older texts are not untrue in themselves, if properly understood.

2) The word infernum in Latin means merely the realm of the dead, not hell in the English sense. Cf. the Creed in which we read that after His death, Jesus "descended into hell"- the archaic English use of the word.

3) Our reasoning above tends to show that the aborted babies, and probably other unbaptized babies also, are given grace by God outside the Sacrament of Baptism, and so do not depart this world in original sin, which is merely the lack of grace that should be there.

END
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I heard somewhere once, I dont recall where, that Maybe God gives aborted and unbaptised infants, a kind of instant choice at the last judgement. Heaven or hell is chosen. And of course all have a soul, so why cannot God in his mercy take the soul of someone who would have lived a sinful life and had this person be an aborted baby instead, thereby avoiding hell for them? There is much we dont know. There are 7 Archangels, we know 4, so what else dont we know?
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The unbaptised babies question has not been formally decided upon so it remains speculation.  That being said, there is a certain tradition in the Church which emphasizes the reality of limbo.  Denying this tradition, which has a strong (indeed the strongest) foundation in Catholic thought, should only be done with good reason.

Those who believe that God not saving those babies and infants and bringing them into heaven is a sign of injustice need to go back and read about the true sense of justice and our relation to God.  He does not owe us, including these babies, anything.

As Gerard pointed out, the concept of limbo is a beautiful one because it implies that God does show mercy on these souls and saves them from hell.  To find eternal natural happiness in this state is an amazing, amazing blessing.
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(05-26-2011, 12:13 AM)Walty Wrote: The unbaptised babies question has not been formally decided upon so it remains speculation.  That being said, there is a certain tradition in the Church which emphasizes the reality of limbo.  Denying this tradition, which has a strong (indeed the strongest) foundation in Catholic thought, should only be done with good reason.

Those who believe that God not saving those babies and infants and bringing them into heaven is a sign of injustice need to go back and read about the true sense of justice and our relation to God.  He does not owe us, including these babies, anything.

As Gerard pointed out, the concept of limbo is a beautiful one because it implies that God does show mercy on these souls and saves them from hell.  To find eternal natural happiness in this state is an amazing, amazing blessing.

This.
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The Fewness of the Saved  - 101 Quotations (from scripture and the saints).

”You ask why one infant dies in the mother's belly while another emerges alive. There is a reason. All the strength of the child's body comes, of course, from the seed of its father and mother; however, if it is conceived without due strength, because of some weakness of its father or mother, it dies quickly. As a result of the negligence or carelessness of the parents as well as of my divine justice, many times it happens that what was joined together comes apart quickly. Yet a soul is not brought to the harshest punishment for this reason, however little time it had for giving life to the body, but, rather, it comes to the mercy that is known to me. Just as the sun shining into a house is not seen as it is in its beauty - only those who look into the sky see its rays - so too the souls of such children, though they do not see my face for lack of baptism, are nevertheless closer to my mercy than to punishment, but not in the same way as my elect.”

The Lord Jesus Christ, from 'The Revelations of St. Bridget of Sweden'

'By reason of my tender love, I even show mercy to the infants of pagans. If any of them die before reaching the age of discretion, given that they cannot come to know me face to face, they go instead to a place that it is not permitted for you to know but where they will live without suffering.'

The Lord Jesus Christ, from 'The Revelations of St. Bridget of Sweden'

'Do not be surprised at what I say. If the wisest man in the world could count up how many souls fall into hell each day, they would outnumber the sands of the sea or the pebbles on the shore. This is a matter of justice, because these souls have separated themselves from their Lord and God.'

The Lord Jesus Christ, from 'The Revelations of St. Bridget of Sweden'
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