Can unbaptized people go to heaven?


Thinking about people before Christ came to Earth, for example. Or - babies, who some say go to Limbo.


Read the passage in one of the Gospels about the repentant thief on the cross.



Do they believe in Jesus?


People on the Earth before Jesus walked didn’t.


Since this is a Catholic forum, I think it is important to make clear that this is not Catholic teaching.

OP, I wish I knew the answer to your question, but I don’t. One thing is certain, God is merciful and just. We have reason to hope that babies who die before baptism will not be in eternal torment. Where they will be? I don’t know.


There is a thing called Baptism of Desire where someone who is righteous but does not “know” God can go to heaven. The Church never made Limbo a dogma. I believe the current teaching is that unbaptized infants who die do go to heaven. “Suffer the little children to come unto Me”. I may be wrong but if I am, someone here will surely correct me.



The Catechism Paragraph 1261 reads

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.

The latest document concerning this is " THE HOPE OF SALVATION FOR INFANTS

and the final paragraph reads:

What has been revealed to us is that the ordinary way of salvation is by the sacrament of Baptism. None of the above considerations should be taken as qualifying the necessity of Baptism or justifying delay in administering the sacrament. Rather, as we want to reaffirm in conclusion, they provide strong grounds for hope that God will save infants when we have not been able to do for them what we would have wished to do, namely, to baptize them into the faith and life of the Church.

So Limbo (sort of the fringe of either heaven or hell) is still a valid hypothosis, as is heaven (what we all hope occurs) or hell (if both Limbo and Heaven are ruled out). I have also read somewhere that some hope, on death, the child will be given knowledge necessary to make a choice (such as the angels received) and that choice decides where they go. The preference is always: Have your children baptized ASAP.


See, I knew someone would correct me if I were wrong. Thanks Even. I love this place.



Some of it is a mystery. Personally I believe limbo is the only theological solution to the unbaptized baby question. As for others. I personally hope for salvation for anyone but think baptism is indeed necessary, by desire or water. Before baptism was instituted as salvific obviously doesn’t count and would be a huge reason if not the reason He descended to the dead.


Death itself is indeed the ultimate mystery, the biggest unknown. No one knows what happens when you die so that is why it is a good to always be kind and love one another. If there is a heaven it is therefore impossible to say who is or will be there.


Again, since this is a Catholic forum, it is important to be clear that this is NOT Catholic teaching.


I’m pretty sure Catholic teaching especially the pope believes that anyone can get to heaven and it is impossible to know who is there, correct?


No, not correct. Canonized saints are in heaven. The Church has declared some who are in heaven and none that are in hell.


No. The canonization process is an example of how the Catholic Church does determine, in some cases, that someone is in heaven.


I don’t think it would be a stretch to say that babies could have the baptism of desire. If I understand right, the church allows infant baptism because we as the body of Christ “vouch” for their faith. So I don’t see why our intention to do so couldn’t be interpreted as baptism of desire, of sorts.

Of course that’s all just my theory not church teaching.


It’s not a matter of figuring out the right hoops to jump through to appease God and then to continually look to stay within God’s limits. It’s a matter of sincerely pursuing and loving God.

We all come from different backgrounds and life experiences. Some of us are born into the Church. Some of us are born outside of the Church. Thus it’s best not to think of it as a race where everyone begins at the start and tries to just get to the point where “Okay, that’s far enough. I’ve done it.”

If you look at the parable of the workers of the vineyard, those who worked barely an hour get paid first a full days wage. The first are last and the last are first. So those of us who were born into the right religion and who took advantage of the sacraments will be last because of our spiritual wealth. AND if we resent God for the fact that we’ve worked so hard, making a martyr of ouselves and whining at how unfair it is, then we will lose our salvation. Why? Because we have no sincere love for God in our hearts and were practicing our religion fruitlessly, failing to allow it to effect us, to change us, and instead worshipping like a pagan.

It’s like Lot’s wife turning to look at Sodom and Gomorrah and turning to stone. If you keep looking back, worrying about mortal sin, you will definitely fall into it. If you simply focus on loving God with your full heart, mind, soul, and strength, and recognize that if you do not love others, you do not know God and cannot claim to love Him but rather an idol you imagine Him as, you will barely make it. But it’s hard to realize that because when you’re in that zone of making a martyr of yourself, you think "Surely I’m doing more than others. I’m better than them. All those people behind me are such spiritually lazy bums and the whole world is going to Hell in a handbasket.

So, should you be baptized? Yes. But if you don’t know you should, then there’s no loss. All these vehicles of grace are for YOUR benefit, not God’s.


ONLY GOD knows!


Says you. Not all supernatural events in the bible are contextual. Some are indeed literal. Like the eucharist, resurrection healing etc. If the sun can dance in the sky then lots wife can turn to salt.


Why would God institute something say it was required, then decide it is unnecessary? It’s not that we should get baptized it’s that we must get baptized!


You’re missing the point. The spiritual meaning of the story is taken from the literal meaning. The literal meaning of the text has NOTHING to do with whether or not something historically happened or not. We can speculate till we’re blue in the face about what elements of the scriptures historically happened or not.

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