It's official. The Catholic Knight is retired.  I'm hanging up the helmet and passing the torch. There will be no more articles, no more commentaries, no more calls to action. THIS BLOG IS CLOSED. I've spent a very long time thinking about this, I believe the time has come, and is a bit overdue.  I want to thank my readers for everything, but most especially for your encouragement and your willingness to go out there and fight the good fight. So, that being the case, I've spend the last several weeks looking for bloggers who are fairly active, and best represent something akin to the way I think and what I believe.  I recommend the following blogs for my readers to bookmark and check on regularly. Pick one as your favourite, or pick them all. They are all great..... In His Majesty's Service, THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Pope To Abandon Theory of Limbo

THE Catholic Church is preparing to abandon the idea of limbo, the theological belief that children who die before being baptised are suspended in a space between heaven and hell.

The concept, which was devised in the 13th century and was depicted in numerous works of art during the Renaissance, such as Descent into Limbo by the painter Giotto, and in Dante's masterpiece, the Divine Comedy, is of a metaphysical space where infants are blissfully happy but are not actually in the presence of God.

The idea of limbo was developed as a response to the harshness of early Church teachings which insisted that any child who died before he or she was baptised would still be stained by Original Sin and so would be condemned to hell.

The belief, which is unique to the Catholic Church, has fallen out of favour over the past 50 years. It is rarely mentioned and until recently has been left in its own kind of limbo.

However, an international commission of Catholic theologians, meeting in the Vatican this week, has been pondering the issue and is expected to advise Pope Benedict XVI to announce officially that the theological concept of limbo is incorrect.

Instead, the new belief is expected to be that unbaptised babies will go directly to heaven....
{read full story here}

Actually, there is nothing new about this, but I suppose this would be the first time the theory was officially dropped in a formal way. To make matters clear, Limbo has always been a eschatological THEORY. It has never been proclaimed as an actual doctrine. The theory became popular in the late middle ages, and has since lost popularity among most Catholic theologians. Since the Second Vatican Council, the theory was relegated to the attic of irrelevance, as the Catechism clearly states that unbaptized babies who die are trusted to the mercy of God, who is able to save them, and who Himself is not bound to the sacraments.

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
1257 The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation. He also commands his disciples to proclaim the Gospel to all nations and to baptize them. Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament. The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude; this is why she takes care not to neglect the mission she has received from the Lord to see that all who can be baptized are "reborn of water and the Spirit." God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments.

1261 As regards children who have died without Baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, as she does in her funeral rites for them. Indeed, the great mercy of God who desires that all men should be saved, and Jesus' tenderness toward children which caused him to say: "Let the children come to me, do not hinder them," allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism. All the more urgent is the Church's call not to prevent little children coming to Christ through the gift of holy Baptism.