Council of Carthage and limbo
(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.

Messages In This Thread
Re: Council of Carthage and limbo - by Melkite - 04-28-2015, 10:33 AM
Re: Council of Carthage and limbo - by little_flower10 - 04-28-2015, 10:55 AM
Re: Council of Carthage and limbo - by shin - 05-01-2015, 11:08 PM
Re: Council of Carthage and limbo - by Oldavid - 05-03-2015, 03:34 AM

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)