Sex and Religion

Finding Religion and Spirituality in Population, Gender, Sexuality, and Reproductive Health Advocacy in the Philippines.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Catholic church decides limbo does not exist

In a long-awaited document, the Church’s International Theological Commission said limbo reflected an “unduly restrictive view of salvation,” according to the US-based Catholic News Service, which obtained a copy yesterday.

The thumbs-down verdict on limbo had been expected for years and the document, called “The Hope of Salvation for Infants Who Die Without Being Baptised,” was seen as most likely to be final since limbo was never formally part of Church doctrine.

Pope Benedict XVI authorised the publication of the document.

According to the CNS report, the 41-page document says the theologians advising the Pope concluded that since God is merciful he “wants all human beings to be saved.”

It says grace has priority over sin, and the exclusion of innocent babies from heaven does not seem to reflect Christ’s special love for children, CNS, which is owned by the U.S. Catholic Bishops Conference, quoted the document as saying.

Limbo, which comes from the Latin word meaning ‘border’ or ‘edge’, was considered by medieval theologians to be a place reserved for the unbaptised dead, including good people who lived before the coming of Christ.

“Our conclusion is that the many factors that we have considered give serious theological and liturgical grounds for hope that unbaptised infants who die will be saved and enjoy the beatific vision (of God),” the document said.

The Church teaches that baptism removes original sin which stained all souls since the fall from grace in the Garden of Eden.



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