Saturday, April 21, 2007

What a relief ! Babies who die unbaptized
don't have to worry about l
imbo - now that it’s been declared only a dance...

Mr. B. rejoices by dancing the limbo at right.

Last update: April 20, 2007 – 9:16 PM

Vatican: Unbaptized infants who die no longer in limbo Reversing centuries of traditional Catholic teaching, a report says there is hope those babies can go to heaven.

By Tracy Wilkinson, Los Angeles Times

ROME - Limbo has been in limbo for quite some time, but is now on its way to extinction.
A Vatican committee that spent years examining the medieval concept Friday published a much-anticipated report, concluding unbaptized babies who die may go to heaven.

That could reverse centuries of Roman Catholic traditional belief that the souls of unbaptized babies are condemned to eternity in limbo, a place that is neither heaven nor hell. Limbo is not unpleasant, but it is not a seat alongside God.
Limbo, the commission said, "reflects an unduly restrictive view of salvation."Our conclusion," the commission said in its 41-page report, is that there are "serious theological and liturgical grounds for hope that unbaptized infants who die will be saved and brought into eternal happiness."

The commission added that while this is not "sure knowledge," it comes in the context of a loving and just God who "wants all human beings to be saved."

In the 5th century, St. Augustine declared that all unbaptized babies went to hell upon death. By the Middle Ages, the idea was softened to suggest a less severe fate, limbo.

The document published Friday said the question of limbo has become a "matter of pastoral urgency" because of the growing number of babies who do not receive the baptismal rite. Especially in Africa and other parts of the world where Catholicism is growing but has competition from other faiths such as Islam, high infant mortality rates mean many families live with a church teaching them that their babies could not go to heaven.

Catholic conservatives criticized any effort to relegate limbo to oblivion. Removing the concept from church teaching would lessen the importance of baptism and discourage parents from christening their infants, said Kenneth J. Wolfe, a Washington-based columnist for the traditionalist Catholic newspaper the Remnant.

Mr. Bonzo remembers the concept of limbo from elementary school. Scary. He wishes the ability to change position on limbo extended to the ordination of women and the possibility of a married clergy. Ah well, if St. Augustine’s teachings can be softened then perhaps there is hope, but the timescale is a little depressing.

Ciao, Bonzo