My Soliloquies on the kinds of torments of unbaptized infants.
#34
(03-16-2017, 05:37 PM)Vox Clamantis Wrote:
(03-16-2017, 05:11 PM)Gregory I Wrote: I don't think it would be proper to privately censure a theological opinion that Popes have said is allowable. And even theologians after Trent have gotten behind it like Petavius and St. Robert Bellarmine, Cardinal Enrico Norris, Berti, Belleli and many of the 18th century Augustinians. Theology is not supposed to be an imaginative exercise, but seeking understanding of God according to the truth.

And the simple truth is that the notion of infants living a life of blessedness in any place at all is a pelagian teaching, condemned by the Council of Carthage in 418 and Promulgated by Pope St. Zosimus in his Tractoria. Pope Pius VI acknowledged this and said the notion of a middle place devoid of guilt and punishment is Pelagian.

It's simply a matter of consistency.

No, it isn't simply a matter of consistency; it's a matter of abiding by the teaching of the Church. That infants who are not guilty of actual sin aren't roasting in Hell is in no ways Pelagianism; there is no denial of the reality of original sin.

The oldest teachings of the Fathers is reflected in this, from St. Gregory Nanzianzen's 40th Oration " And so also in those who fail to receive the Gift, some are altogether animal or bestial, according as they are either foolish or wicked; and this, I think, has to be added to their other sins, that they have no reverence at all for this Gift, but look upon it as a mere gift— to be acquiesced in if given them, and if not given them, then to be neglected. Others know and honour the Gift, but put it off; some through laziness, some through greediness. Others are not in a position to receive it, perhaps on account of infancy, or some perfectly involuntary circumstance through which they are prevented from receiving it, even if they wish. As then in the former case we found much difference, so too in this. They who altogether despise it are worse than they who neglect it through greed or carelessness. These are worse than they who have lost the Gift through ignorance or tyranny, for tyranny is nothing but an involuntary error. And I think that the first will have to suffer punishment, as for all their sins, so for their contempt of baptism; and that the second will also have to suffer, but less, because it was not so much through wickedness as through folly that they wrought their failure; and that the third will be neither glorified nor punished by the righteous Judge, as unsealed and yet not wicked, but persons who have suffered rather than done wrong. For not every one who is not bad enough to be punished is good enough to be honoured; just as not every one who is not good enough to be honoured is bad enough to be punished. "

And that is what the Church has determined is the case, which has adoped Scholasticism, not Augustinianism, as Her official philosophy. What the Catholic Encyclopedia has to say about this:
  • we must not confound St. Augustine's private authority with the infallible authority of the Catholic Church; and

  • if allowance be made for the confusion introduced into the Pelagian controversy by the want of a clear and explicit conception of the distinction between the natural and the supernatural order one can easily understand why St. Augustine and the Council of Carthage were practically bound to condemn the locus medius of the Pelagians. St. Augustine himself was inclined to deny this distinction altogether, although the Greek Fathers had already developed it pretty fully, and although some of the Pelagians had a glimmering of it (see Coelestius in August., De Peccat. Orig., v), they based their claim to natural happiness for unbaptized children on a denial of the Fall and original sin, and identified this state of happiness with the "life eternal" of the New Testament.

  • Moreover, even if one were to admit for the sake of argument that this canon of the Council of Carthage (the authenticity of which cannot be reasonably doubted) acquired the force of an ecumenical definition, one ought to interpret it in the light of what was understood to be at issue by both sides in the controversy, and therefore add to the simple locus medius the qualification which is added by Pius VI when, in the Constitution "Auctoreum Fidei", he speaks of "locum illium et statum medium expertem culpae et poenae."

  • Finally, in regard to the teaching of the Council of Florence, it is incredible that the Fathers there assembled had any intention of defining a question so remote from the issue on which reunion with the Greeks depended, and one which was recognized at the time as being open to free discussion and continued to be so regarded by theologians for several centuries afterwards. What the council evidently intended to deny in the passage alleged was the postponement of final awards until the day of judgement. Those dying in original sin are said to descend into Hell, but this does not necessarily mean anything more than that they are excluded eternally from the vision of God. In this sense they are damned; they have failed to reach their supernatural destiny, and this viewed objectively is a true penalty. Thus the Council of Florence, however literally interpreted, does not deny the possibility of perfect subjective happiness for those dying in original sin, and this is all that is needed from the dogmatic viewpoint to justify the prevailing Catholic notion of the children's limbo, while from the standpoint of reason, as St. Gregory of Nazianzus pointed out long ago, no harsher view can be reconciled with a worthy concept of God's justice and other attributes.

That's all a nice allowable opinion within limits, but not my main point. My MAIN point is that it most certainly is pelagian to posit unbaptized infants in a state of PERFECT natural happiness, the very happiness of Adam in Eden before he fell. This is precisely what he LOST for all of us, not the beatific vision which he did not have. They cannot therefore exist in such a state without reversing the penalties of original sin. My second point was that their punishment in this life typifies their punishment in the next, for in the end all that is left is the New Jerusalem and a lake of fire. And unbaptized infants simply are not written in the book of life therefore they must share in the common end of the reprobate, just as it is typified in the Old Testament where they shared in the destruction of Noah's flood, which was sent to destroy WICKEDNESS.

Perhaps they can exist in some grey painlessness, but not perfect natural happiness. Such a view actually destroys original sin. For if the just reward of their soul is perfect natural happiness apart from the body, then they certainly were entitled to it IN the body. But that means at conception each person would be in the state of Adam before the fall, therefore there is no original sin and infants are not baptized for its remission.
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Re: My Soliloquies on the kinds of torments of unbaptized infants. - by Gregory I - 03-16-2017, 07:16 PM



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