Who Cares About Limbo?

Apparently, Pope Benedict XVI is about to change the church’s teaching on limbo – at least it was the teaching I was brought up on — that unbaptized babies don’t go to heaven or to hell but to some kind of intermediate state called limbo where they reportedly languish for all eternity.

     More than six million children die of hunger every year – many of them in Muslim countries where the teaching is that stillborn babies go straight to heaven.  Naturally Rome doesn’t want potential converts turning to Islam which provides a much better fate for babies.

    There is a theological commission lookin g into this question of limbo and it is not scheduled to report until some time in 2008.  But because of the Islamic threat the Pope has decided to speed up the process.  Can you imagine a group of septuagarian celibate males sitting around for months discussing the pros and cons of limbo?  Do you think anyone cares?

7 Comments »

  1. 1
    jim Says:

    Limbo exists. The Vatican is in it.

  2. 2
    SUZANNE Says:

    There is no official Church doctrine on limbo. There is no “change” in Church teaching. Limbo was a hypothesis that was widely disseminated but never treated as Church doctrine.

    Naturally Rome doesn’t want potential converts turning to Islam which provides a much better fate for babies.

    I think that’s just naive. People don’t choose religions based on where stillborn children go in the afterlife.

    Can you imagine a group of septuagarian celibate males sitting around for months discussing the pros and cons of limbo? Do you think anyone cares?

    Outsiders may not, but faithful Catholics care, and they care a lot. It’s a bit insensitive to say “does anyone care?”. Beliefs that may seem frivolous are important to believers. I don’t think anybody cares about Jewish rules involving kashrut, but Jews do. It may all seem like minutiae, but then you’re not affected by it.

  3. 3

    You make some good points, all believed by fundamentalist Catholics.

  4. 4
    SUZANNE Says:

    No. I’m sure non-believers can understand that one may seem like a frivoulous doctrine from the outside is important to the religion. Revelation is not just an arbitrary set of beliefs to people who belong to a traditional religion. Knowing what God revealed or is consistent with Revelation is all part of intimacy with God. It’s like wanting to know your girlfriend’s favourite movie. Who cares? But then, it’s just something nice to know. Relationships are made of such small details.

  5. 5
    alan hustak Says:

    I recall my Jesuit teachers at Campion College telling me almost 50 years ago the notion of limbo was hogwash. As a kid growing up in Saskatchewan the concept was used to scare people in rural parts who might otherwise wait until the spring thaw, or until the crops were in, to get their babies baptised sooner than later. We were also taught that in a pinch we could conduct baptisms ourselves.

  6. 6

    Alan, I think your Jesuit teachers 50 years ago in the West wereright on the money. And in an emergency you could indeed conduct a baptism yourself. Too bad it took 50 yers to catch up with the truth.

  7. 7
    SUZANNE Says:

    Catch up with the Truth? It was never a doctrine in the first place.

    The Church has long taught anyone can perform baptism in an emergency. I have an apologetics book from 1929 that says so.


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