No more Limbo??
#21
God's mercy is unlimited. If he so desires, unbaptized children may go to heaven. The issue is that this would be an exception to the laws of grace which He created, because of this we cannot definitively say that God does allow unbaptized children into heaven.

If God allows it then it is a miracle of grace, not the ordinary working of things. Hence limbo is the logical conclusion barring such miracles. 

We ultimately cannot know what happens to children who are unbaptized but limbo is our best logical guess.
Surréxit Dóminus vere, Alleluia!
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#22
(07-29-2018, 12:09 PM)pabbie Wrote: One other point to be made on the subject. I noticed many Catholics have recently been trying to use the argument (to try and bypass the traditional teaching on Limbo), that God is all merciful and "why can't He just save the unbaptized child". Obviously God can do anything, but Jesus has set the rules in Scripture, and everyone is judged by them equally, so we can't as Catholics start bending the rules on our own.

If we can bend the rule on unbaptized children, then next people will start creating further loopholes, such as, saying why can't God allow fornication, because doesn't he want us to be happy? Or why can't God allow us to stay home on Sundays instead of go to Mass - can't God hear us from home and provide us grace is directly there? Or why can't I put my grandfather out of his misery to save him from suffering, he was going to die anyway. The sky's the limit once we start bending the rules.

Jesus has set rules, but he has set those rules for us.  He is not bound by them.  It is correct that we cannot presume he will waive the rules for us, but we also cannot presume that he never does.  Hoping that he may bend the rules on certain occasions does not equate to Catholics bending the rules.  It is nothing more than a pious hope in something that is not absolutely impossible.
I have resigned myself to the reality that I shall have no peace or joy should I continue to exist for eternity.  The question of deism or Christianity no longer matters.  I hope that Christianity is a farce, and that when I die, my consciousness will cease to exist.  In the meantime, I ask the Theotokos to be at my side at my judgement and ask her to intercede to, as I beg, Christ to have mercy on me and to allow me to cease to exist when I die.
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#23
A full reply the preceding would take more time than I have right now, but in order to address the original question, the following may be of value.

In the 1958 edition of the American Ecclesiastical Review, Fr George J. Dyer wrote a theological study entitled Limbo : A Theological Evaluation.

Some pertinent points are quoted here (my emphasis in bold text only):

Quote:The problem we have set ourselves is only a fraction of Gregory's [of Nyssa] much larger difficulty. Ours is a question of evaluation: where does the limbus puerorum stand on the scale of theological values? Is it merely an opinion of theologians or is it something more? In recent years we have seen a denial of limbo used as a springboard for speculation about the possible salvation of children.* On the other hand, limbo has been declared a "Catholic doctrine which cannot be denied without temerity."** Which of these views is the more accurate appraisal of the limbus puerorum? A preliminary remark or two may help to illuminate both the question and a possible approach to it.

As the Scholastics envision it, limbo embraces two ideas: the exclusion of infants from heaven and their exemption from the pains of hell. Both of these elements are essential to the notion of limbo; of the two, however, the second is more important to limbo as such, the first being common both to infants and to those who die in a state of personal sin. It would seem, then, that any theological evaluation of limbo must be keyed to the second of the elements, exemption from the pain of sense. This at once suggests a solution and presents a problem. A survey of the past fifty years indicates that only one theologian in eight has gone as far as "common and certain" in evaluating the immunity of infants from the pain of sense. Kerygmatically the picture is much the same; only one catechetical writing in six has used the word "limbo." Two-thirds of them are completely silent on the question of the pain of sense for infants. A glance at the preceding century shows an even greater hesitation before the problem. This somewhat anomalous situation seems to find its explanation in aii earlier age, centuries during which a denial of limbo was protected by decrees of the Holy See. In this article we will try to trace the question of the pain of sense through the past four centuries. The information we gather may help towards a more accurate evaluation of limbo.

* G. Fangauer, "Fate of Unbaptized Infants," Homiletic and Pastoral Review 47 (1946) 11; E. Boudes, "Reflexion sur la solidarity des hommes avec le Christ," Nouvelle revue Mologique 71 (1949) 589.

** Cf. W. A. Van Roo, "Infants Dying without Baptism," Gregorianum 35 (1954) 408.

The author then notes that this seems to suggest a shift toward St Augustine's view that infants who die do still suffer pains, so that while their pains are "the lightest", they are still punished with actual sense pains in hell. The Scholastic view is one where such infants are exempted from these pains, which are due to actual sin only.

The author notes that while some in his days are starting to argue for the salvation of unbaptized infants, this is still an outlier. He also notes that his survey of the various authors on the subject seems to show a shift toward the Scholastic view point around the early middle ages, then the beginning of a shift back towards Augustine in the 16th century, blaming this shift on the Jansenist and Protestant interest in St Augustine.

He then surveys the history of the Synod of Pistoria (which Pius VI condemned as regards its view on Limbo), and suggests that the reason that Pistoria took such a view on Limbo was because it thought it was a Molinist and Pelagian admixture :

Quote:To protect their system of grace, the Molinists had eviscerated the doctrine of original sin, reducing it to a mere privation of grace. It was now possible, said Tamburini [the main theologian behind the Synod of Pistoria], to see the fatal logic of their views on the consequences of original sin. Having denied, in effect, that original sin was truly and properly a sin, the Molinists also denied that there was any punishment for it. Consequently, said Tamburini, they placed infants in a sort of middle place where there was neither suffering nor glory.

Tamburini found the limbo question useful in his apologia for Jansenism. Innovators, he said, considered the doctrine of the majority to be the truth. Tamburini sought the tessera of truth in antiquity, holding that the oldest doctrine was the truest one. The true doctrine could be traced back to the apostles, he said. If the link were broken, if at some time some doctrine had not been taught or the contrary had been taught, then it was clear that this doctrine was not an apostolic one. A good example of this, said Tamburini, was the limbo "fable." Limbo was some five or six centuries old, but in apostolic times the contrary had been taught. The age of the limbo "fable" and the conspiracy of the Schools in defending it served only to show, he said, that a revealed doctrine could exist in the Church in almost complete oblivion.

Of particular interest for those who would claim that the magisterium is settled on the infallible doctrine of Limbo is a dispute refereed by Paul III, described by Dyer :

Quote:Augustine Mainardi of Asti in Italy had been accused to Clement VII of preaching and defending ideas that were erroneous and not Catholic. Clement, on the complaint of the Bishop of Asti, told him to correct Mainardi or to silence him. Mainardi appealed his case to Rome, submitting ten propositions for examination. If the propositions were indeed Catholic and not erroneous, the Augustinian asked that the sentence passed upon him be revoked. The eighth proposition read as follows: "Pueri decedentes cum solo originali peccato damnantur ad aeternos cruciatus ignis inferni." ["Children who die only with Original sin are punished to the torture of eternal fire in Hell"] Paul III submitted the propositions to Thomas Badia, the Master of the Sacred Palace. Badia replied that the propositions were, as Mainardi claimed, "Catholic and not erroneous." The Pope thereupon forbade the Bishop of Asti or any other of Mainardi's superiors to molest him because of his ten propositions. Referring to the eighth proposition on the fate of infants, Paul declared that it, was Saint Augustine's and could be found in many of his writings.

This same Pope gave a nearly identical decision in the case of Musaeus Tarvisinus, another Augustinian. Here again the Pope imposed silence on the accusers and freed the accused of whatever strictures had been imposed upon him.

So whatever documents we can cite, or arguments we can make to try to suggest that the magisterium demands that Catholic accept Limbo, we see at least two cases where a Pope himself in fairly recent history (at least after the condemnation of Pistora by Pius VI) that the harsher view of St. Augustine as and acceptable Catholic theological opinion, and not in any way to be censured.

Norris, another theologian was also accused to the Inquisition of promoting a Jansenist proposition with his strict view on the fate of the unbaptized, and in 1693, Pope Innocent also declared his work Catholic. When later the Spanish put the book on their local index, Benedict XIV order it removed and permitted, writing that : "Nothing bad or opposed to sound doctrine ... nothing worthy of condemnation or any other censure was found in his works."

Dyer then surveys various theological manuals from the 19th and 20th century to get a sense of the "mind of the Church": 

Quote:During the nineteenth century the limbo question retreated to the comparative obscurity of a theological scholion. For all practical purposes the controversy was dead; nevertheless, it seems to have left its mark on theological thought. In an attempt to appraise the "mind of the Church" as we find it in that century, the present author conducted a survey of the literature of the period. It is by no means exhaustive, yet it did produce some interesting results.

Of forty-two theological manuals: two teach the pain of sense (denial of limbo); forty teach no pain of sense (limbo). Thus the nineteenth-century theologians favor limbo overwhelmingly; yet they fail to display any unanimity at all when they come to evaluate their position. Of those who hold no pain of sense, we find the following qualifications: eleven consider it communis [the common opinion]; for six, controvertitur [disputed]; five give no theological qualification at all; four qualify it as communissima [most common]; four, probabilior [more likely]; two, communis et certa [common and certain]; two say that it is not dangerous to the faith; two, that it is not of faith; two, that it may be held; for one, ecclesia favet [the church favors it]; for another, nobis verior [more true for us].

We might ask how deeply the notion of limbo had taken root in the minds of the faithful during this same century. An apodictic answer is impossible, of course; but perhaps the catechetical writings of the period may give us some hint. Of forty-one catechetical writings, seven have nothing to say about the fate of infants. Of the thirty-four who deny them the beatific vision, thirteen add nothing else; of these, ten remain silent, three are unwilling to comment further. The remaining twenty-one further clarify the fate of these infants: two teach limbo by name; six say that the punishment is not like that of mortal sin; eleven, that there is no pain of sense; two, that they are not in hell. Somewhat surprisingly we find that only half of the catechists present the limbo of children to the faithful and only two of these mention it by name.

Limbo, as we find it in the nineteenth century, seems to have been theological opinion, although one held almost unanimously by the writers that we surveyed. The hesitation these men manifest in placing a stronger theological note on limbo may reflect the controversy of the previous centuries. If the catechetical writings we have observed are any indication of the mind of the faithful, we cannot conclude that limbo was very deeply rooted in their thinking. What theological value can we assign to limbo at the close of the nineteenth century? Sententia communis seems to be the fairest estimate.

The over-all picture of limbo in the twentieth century does not differ markedly from that of the preceding period. A survey of forty-six twentieth-century theological manuals shows unanimity on the fact that there is no pain of sense; there is wide divergence, however, on the qualification involved. For eighteen it is communis; six give no theological qualification; six have it communis et certa; three, communissima; two, probabilior; for two the pain of sense is not of faith; for two, ecclesia favet; for one, controvertitur; for one, probabilis; one says that it may be held; another, that it must be held; one affirms that it is almost certain; one, that it should be defended; one, that the pain of sense should not be admitted.

To some extent the catechetical writings mirror the uneven picture which we find among the theologians. Of sixty-six catechetical writings, nineteen have nothing to say about the fate of infants. The remaining forty-seven deny them the beatific vision; of these twenty-three add nothing else, twenty-four further specify. The specifications are: ten mention limbo; for seven there is no pain of sense; for four, they are not in hell; two say that the punishment is not like that for mortal sin; one, that they are in a place of rest. Limbo is presented in substance by about one-third of the catechetical writings; fewer than one in six mention it by name.

There is a clear tendency among twentieth-century theologians to give greater theological weight to the limbo of children. Six of them declare it to be communis et certa, and three others seem inclined to agree. The over-all picture, however, favors a more conservative view, with the simple sententia communis being most in evidence. The catechetical writings of the period once again fail to evince a common persuasion among the faithful.

After all of the Fr Dyer concludes :

Quote:The common acceptance of an idea among theologians would seem to create a presumption in its favor. May we conclude from this that limbo is a sententia certa? In view of the tortured history of the question—the decisions of the magisterium, the varied opinions of theologians, the lack of a clear persuasion among the faithful—sententia certa appears to be too strong a qualification. It seems that we would reflect its theological position more accurately if we said that limbo was a safe and commonly accepted explanation of a difficult question.

I think that presents more or less the case I was trying to make here, and in doing so, I think shows the flaws with taking isolated quotations and assuming that these show dogmatic teaching which must be held.

The conclusion and reminder I would make is that it is clear that no one before modern times ever gave any kind of founded hope that unbaptized infants are saved. This is a novel concept which must be rejected (at least as theological-founded). There is absolutely no Catholic theological foundation for such wishful thinking, and certainly, if God did desire to send unbaptized children to heaven He would not reveal this to us, lest we fail to take seriously the necessity of Baptism. 

The only question is whether they are damned to the fires of hell or excluded from heaven without pain of sense. That is a matter of differing opinions, which the most recently traditional theology considers as the more common or possibly the likely Truth.
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#24
(07-29-2018, 08:16 PM)MagisterMusicae Wrote: The conclusion and reminder I would make is that it is clear that no one before modern times ever gave any kind of founded hope that unbaptized infants are saved. This is a novel concept which must be rejected (at least as theological-founded). There is absolutely no Catholic theological foundation for such wishful thinking, and certainly, if God did desire to send unbaptized children to heaven He would not reveal this to us, lest we fail to take seriously the necessity of Baptism. 


This is unsettling to me, that for hundreds of years, no one thought it appalling or difficult to accept (at least, so it seems from what you've quoted above), that infants who die without baptism, who could have had no opportunity to do anything wrong, could be punished for merely being created in an unchosen state.  The above quotations would have us believe that theologians of the middle ages and later were almost quaking in their boots to give more than speculative credence to the mercy of Christ over such children but didn't see any problem with the lack of mercy by sending them to hell. 

I'm also curious why nothing remotely explicit mentions limbo in the Gospels or the rest of the new testament (not that it necessarily needs to be mentioned there in order for it to be true).  Both the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox churches have no problem believing that God can be merciful on these children and allow them into heaven.  Are they both guilty of historic revision on this problem?
I have resigned myself to the reality that I shall have no peace or joy should I continue to exist for eternity.  The question of deism or Christianity no longer matters.  I hope that Christianity is a farce, and that when I die, my consciousness will cease to exist.  In the meantime, I ask the Theotokos to be at my side at my judgement and ask her to intercede to, as I beg, Christ to have mercy on me and to allow me to cease to exist when I die.
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#25
The Gospels do mention limbo. It's referred to as "Abrahams Bosom" and "Sheol", prior to Christ's coming all righteous people went there. The wicked went to the Hell of the Damned or Gehenna.

The question is not whether Limbo exists but whether unbaptized innocents go there.
Surréxit Dóminus vere, Alleluia!
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#26
(07-29-2018, 11:35 PM)Dominicus Wrote: The Gospels do mention limbo. It's referred to as "Abrahams Bosom" and "Sheol", prior to Christ's coming all righteous people went there. The wicked went to the Hell of the Damned or Gehenna.

That is the Limbo of the Just or Limbo of the Fathers, limbus patrum, which was emptied at Christ's descent into hell. We're not talking about it. Limbus puerorum, the Limbo of Infants, may be in the same place, but it has nothing to do with Limbus patrum.
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#27
(07-29-2018, 09:24 PM)Melkite Wrote: This is unsettling to me, that for hundreds of years, no one thought it appalling or difficult to accept (at least, so it seems from what you've quoted above), that infants who die without baptism, who could have had no opportunity to do anything wrong, could be punished for merely being created in an unchosen state.  The above quotations would have us believe that theologians of the middle ages and later were almost quaking in their boots to give more than speculative credence to the mercy of Christ over such children but didn't see any problem with the lack of mercy by sending them to hell. 

Note that I said that it must be rejects as having a theological foundation, not that it must be rejected entirely.

It is important to note the the study of Theology concerns God and what is related to God as known through the use of human reason on revelation. Theology can only speak accurately about what is revealed or tied to revelation and can be known by revelation. No where in Scripture or other sources of revelation do we have any example where after the institution of the Sacrament of Baptism any unbaptized child was saved. Thus theology cannot answer this question except to say there is no theological foundation to the salvation of unbaptized children.

Further, even if God were to do this is certain cases, it would be unwise for him to reveal it, seeing as a consequence is that it would remove the motive for baptizing such children.

It is certainly not a condemned opinion that God may provide for the salvation of unbaptized children, but neither does it enjoy the support of the Church.

(07-29-2018, 09:24 PM)Melkite Wrote: I'm also curious why nothing remotely explicit mentions limbo in the Gospels or the rest of the new testament (not that it necessarily needs to be mentioned there in order for it to be true).  Both the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox churches have no problem believing that God can be merciful on these children and allow them into heaven.  Are they both guilty of historic revision on this problem?

The problem with Eastern theology, especially Orthodox, is that it is not usually systematic, and the mystical aspects of certain things are mixed in with doctrinal aspects of others. There also is a highly emotion element to their theology and worship which is going to have its effect.

It is de fide that every soul in Heaven is in the State of Grace. Sanctifying Grace is a sine qua non condition. If unbaptized children are saved they must receive this somehow, but we know of no means except Baptism.
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#28
(07-29-2018, 11:35 PM)Dominicus Wrote: The Gospels do mention limbo. It's referred to as "Abrahams Bosom" and "Sheol", prior to Christ's coming all righteous people went there. The wicked went to the Hell of the Damned or Gehenna.

The question is not whether Limbo exists but whether unbaptized innocents go there.

In the Byzantine liturgies, when Abraham's bosom is mentioned, we're referring to heaven.
I have resigned myself to the reality that I shall have no peace or joy should I continue to exist for eternity.  The question of deism or Christianity no longer matters.  I hope that Christianity is a farce, and that when I die, my consciousness will cease to exist.  In the meantime, I ask the Theotokos to be at my side at my judgement and ask her to intercede to, as I beg, Christ to have mercy on me and to allow me to cease to exist when I die.
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#29
(07-30-2018, 12:52 AM)Melkite Wrote: In the Byzantine liturgies, when Abraham's bosom is mentioned, we're referring to heaven.

So the unbaptised go to heaven?
Jovan-Marya of the Immaculate Conception Weismiller, T.O.Carm.

Vive le Christ-roi! Vive le roi, Louis XX!
Deum timete, regem honorificate.
Kansan by birth! Albertan by choice! Jayhawk by the Grace of God!
  “Qui me amat, amet et canem meum. (Who loves me will love my dog also.)” 
St Bernard of Clairvaux

My Blog 'Musings of an Old Curmudgeon'


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#30
(07-30-2018, 12:52 AM)Melkite Wrote:
(07-29-2018, 11:35 PM)Dominicus Wrote: The Gospels do mention limbo. It's referred to as "Abrahams Bosom" and "Sheol", prior to Christ's coming all righteous people went there. The wicked went to the Hell of the Damned or Gehenna.

The question is not whether Limbo exists but whether unbaptized innocents go there.

In the Byzantine liturgies, when Abraham's bosom is mentioned, we're referring to heaven.

The liturgical meaning is pretty meaningless in the discussion of the Gospels. The Latin liturgy speaks this way as well.

The Evangelical meaning, however is the Limbus Patrum.

The episode of Lazarus and Dives makes clear that Abraham's Bosom in the Evangelical context must not be Heaven itself, since Lazarus would have been incapable of being in heaven (it was not yet opened by the Sacrifice of Christ).
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