Babies who die before being baptized


#1

I believe that they go to Heaven. Is this what the Catholic church teaches?

If not, why not? Is there scripture saying otherwise?


#2

The key thing to understand here is that God, for whatever reasons, chose not to reveal the fate of such babies. It is simply not part of the deposit of faith given to the Church. So the best we can do is make an educated guess.

Now, my personal belief is that, since God desires all to be saved, that he somehow offers salvation to these babies, and they are somehow able to accept it or reject it.


#3

Good answer. That’s something that I can definitely go along with.

Now, what does the CC teach?


#4

The Church teaches that we trust these babies to the mercy of God. From the Catechism:

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,"64 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.


#5

scborromeo.org/ccc/p2s2c1a1.htm#1261
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,"64 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.


#6

How interesting! I was just thinking about this on the drive home today. I suppose the same would hold true for babies lost to early miscarriage.

I wonder why, if as Catholics we believe that life begins, and a soul is instilled at conception, we tend to “gloss over” these deaths.

I’ve never heard of a funeral or memorial service being offered after a miscarriage. Would that be a weird thing to do?


#7

And babies that are aborted, as well.


#8

Fair point, Rodney! :thumbsup: Though I hear more about them than the ones lost through miscarriage.


#9

True. I’ve always held the view that babies who die before the age of accountability or through abortion or miscarriage went to Heaven.


#10

No, it’s not what the Catholic Church teaches. Because nothing in Divine Revelation - Scripture or Sacred Apostolic Tradition, tells us they do.


#11

The Catholic Church teaches that we don’t know exactly what happens to those infants who die without Baptism, but that we can hope that there might be some way for them provided by God.


#12

I’m all for God’s mercy!! :smiley:


#13

God is so full of mercy that He became a man and was tortured and killed horrifically so that they may be saved. We’re right to put our trust in God’s mercy - how much greater it is than the mercy of man.


#14

I belive that all things are in Gods hands.God is not goin to condem a baby .


#15

St Augustine said they burn in Hell, along with Catechumens who die before their Baptism (unless by martyrdom) though I’d disagree strongly with this.

I’d say the two possibilities are they enter Heaven in God’s mercy, or they go to Limbo and have natural happiness but are deprived of the supernatural happiness of the Beatific Vision, though due to their lack of experience they wouldn’t know they lack this. They’d technically be in Hell due to their Original Sin, but due to their lack of committed sins or culpability their punishment given would equal zero


#16

What you find in the above posts looks like a good executive summary version to me.

This link will take you to a recent Church document that goes into detail on historic and current Church teaching on the subject.

Chuck

vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/cti_documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20070419_un-baptised-infants_en.html


#17

True. I’ve always held the view that babies who die before the age of accountability or through abortion or miscarriage went to Heaven

You will not find the expression “age of accountabiliy” anywhere in the Bible.


#18

I know many modern Catholics like to believe and hope that unbaptized babies can go to heaven, but no one can go to heaven when still in a state of original sin.

I think people these days are really downplaying the importance of the sacraments. It causes people to think that God will just let anyone into heaven.

I was taught that:

A) Unbaptized babies go to hell – period.

or

B) Unbaptized babies go to hell – without pain. (limbo)

Heaven was not an option. :ehh:


#19
  1. In summary: the affirmation that infants who die without Baptism suffer the privation of the beatific vision has long been the common doctrine of the Church, which must be distinguished from the faith of the Church. As for the theory that the privation of the beatific vision is their sole punishment, to the exclusion of any other pain, this is a theological opinion, despite its long acceptance in the West. The particular theological thesis concerning a “natural happiness” sometimes ascribed to these infants likewise constitutes a theological opinion.
  2. Therefore, besides the theory of Limbo (which remains a possible theological opinion), …

Keping in mind that the Church did not do away with the Theory of Limbo of the Infants with this document.


#20

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