Do babies go to hell?


#1

I know that it has probably been discussed many times but I tried searching, albeit quickly, but can’t find a thread on this subject.

If the parents of a baby are non-practicing Catholics, and the baby passes on, where does the baby pass on to?
Because of original sin, does it go to hell?
Because of original sin and the fact that the parents are not practicing Catholics, does the baby go to hell?

I know I’m asking alot, but:
If the parents were not practicing Catholics but intended to have the baby baptised because they somehow knew it was the right thing to do or because the rest of the family pressured them, and the baby dies, where does he or she go?

I’ve heard it said that the soul is in limbo. ??? Where is limbo?
Or does the baby go to purgatory?


#2

The Church teaches that such children rest in the mercy of God. They will not be able to enjoy the beatific vision (because of original sin) but that they will enjoy a natural knowledge of him.

Limbo is merely a theological theory put forward by some theologians to explain the state of the souls unbaptized children. However, the Church has never formally taught it as doctrine.

I’m not sure about the intention to baptize that never was fulfilled. It may be that the desire on the part of the parents may be regarded as a “baptism of desire” for the child. But, if a child is in danger of death anyone may baptize him as long as they use water and use the trinitarian rite: “In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”


#3

[quote=Della]The Church teaches that such children rest in the mercy of God. They will not be able to enjoy the beatific vision (because of original sin) but that they will enjoy a natural knowledge of him.
[/quote]

Could you provide a reference from the Catechism for this assertion? I thought the Church’s teaching was that God, in his infinite mercy, could allow the soul of an unbaptized infant to enter Heaven if He so desired. No offense, but your answer sounds a lot more like Limbo; with infants not enjoying the beatific vision but living in a state of perfect natural happiness.

Didn’t Pope Benedict recently say that we should have more faith in the idea of God allowing infants to enter Heaven than in the concept of Limbo?


#4

[quote=CollegeKid]Didn’t Pope Benedict recently say that we should have more faith in the idea of God allowing infants to enter Heaven than in the concept of Limbo?
[/quote]

ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI TO MEMBERS OF THE INTERNATIONAL THEOLOGICAL COMMISSION Thursday, 1 December 2005
“When he received the Members on 7 October last year, the late Pope John Paul II pointed out the great importance of two themes that you are currently examining: “The fate of children who die without Baptism in the context of the universal salvific will of God, of the one mediation of Jesus Christ and of the sacramentality of the Church”, and “Natural moral law”.”


#5

When King David’s baby died it is wirtten in the Old Testament the David made the statement that he would see his baby again in heaven.
I hope that helps.

forever Baptist
allischalmers


#6

[quote=CollegeKid]Could you provide a reference from the Catechism for this assertion? I thought the Church’s teaching was that God, in his infinite mercy, could allow the soul of an unbaptized infant to enter Heaven if He so desired. No offense, but your answer sounds a lot more like Limbo; with infants not enjoying the beatific vision but living in a state of perfect natural happiness.

Didn’t Pope Benedict recently say that we should have more faith in the idea of God allowing infants to enter Heaven than in the concept of Limbo?
[/quote]

I don’t know what the Holy Father has said recently about this, but I found this teaching about unbaptized children in the CCC:

1283 With respect to children who have died without Baptism, the liturgy of the Church invites us to trust in God’s mercy and to pray for their salvation.

So, what I stated is in line with what we know about unbaptized children. We simply do not know what happens to them because it hasn’t been revealed to the Church. All the more reason to make every effort to get our children baptized as soon as possible, yes?


#7

I figure that any given baby, if unbaptized, is at the hands of God.

Therefore there isn’t much we can do about it either way, except ensure that we baptize our own children promptly.

Alan


#8

From the Catechism:

1250 Born with a fallen human nature and tainted by original sin, children also have need of the new birth in Baptism to be freed from the power of darkness and brought into the realm of the freedom of the children of God, to which all men are called.[50] The sheer gratuitousness of the grace of salvation is particularly manifest in infant Baptism. The Church and the parents would deny a child the priceless grace of becoming a child of God were they not to confer Baptism shortly after birth.

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.


#9

Just an aside: This question never fails to divert the confident railing of a protestant who’s criticizing Catholics for believing it possible that a non-Christian could ever be saved.

The response is invariably evasive, and contradictory toward their previous assertions.

Peace.
John


#10

[quote=1ke]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,"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.
[/quote]

This concerns my brother-in-law who hates the CC though he is Catholic, because according to him a priest denied the baptism of his baby girl. (They were not practicing Catholics) So then according to the last sentence of the 1261 verse of the Catechism, was that priest wrong for doing this since he is called not to prevent little children coming to Christ through the gift of holy Baptism?


#11

[quote=JGravel]This concerns my brother-in-law who hates the CC though he is Catholic, because according to him a priest denied the baptism of his baby girl. (They were not practicing Catholics) So then according to the last sentence of the 1261 verse of the Catechism, was that priest wrong for doing this since he is called not to prevent little children coming to Christ through the gift of holy Baptism?
[/quote]

No. Canon Law governs the Sacraments.

*Can. 868 ß1 For an infant to be baptized lawfully it is required: *

*1ƒ that the parents, or at least one of them, or the person who lawfully holds their place, give their consent;

2ƒ that there be a well‚founded hope that the child will be brought up in the catholic religion. If such hope is truly lacking, the baptism is, in accordance with the provisions of particular law, to be deferred and the parents advised of the reason for this. *

If your brother had no intention of raising the child in the faith-- and being “non practicing” is certainly evidence of this-- then Canon Law does state that baptism can be denied.


#12

[quote=Della]So, what I stated is in line with what we know about unbaptized children. We simply do not know what happens to them because it hasn’t been revealed to the Church. All the more reason to make every effort to get our children baptized as soon as possible, yes?
[/quote]

Yup.


#13

[quote=JGravel]This concerns my brother-in-law who hates the CC though he is Catholic, because according to him a priest denied the baptism of his baby girl. (They were not practicing Catholics) So then according to the last sentence of the 1261 verse of the Catechism, was that priest wrong for doing this since he is called not to prevent little children coming to Christ through the gift of holy Baptism?
[/quote]

It seems strange that someone who is not a practicing Catholic would care that he child was denied baptism.

Aren’t parents allowed to baptise their own infants in an emergency? Couldn’t he simply baptise his own child in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit?


#14

Della
So, what I stated is in line with what we know about unbaptized children. We simply do not know what happens to them because it hasn’t been revealed to the Church. All the more reason to make every effort to get our children baptized as soon as possible, yes?

CollegeKid yep

Sorry I don’t know how to link to other threads but there was another very simular discussion to this question.
So I’ll try to summerize.
There is a distinction between Limbo and what happens to a baby after it dies.

**1st. **
Limbo is not an official dogma - this is true. But it has a very long and nobel history by great saints since Thomas Aquinas and never questioned by orthodox theologians till the 20th century. (about the 1940’s or 50’s)
It is the highest part of Hell because those there will never have the Beatific Vision; this is there punishment not the fires of Hell . They will have a natural happiness without seeing God in the face.

2nd
We do know what happens to babies that are un- baptised. Because they die having original sin and therefore can not enter heaven. Limbo was the beautiful answer the Scolastics gave as to stay true to the teachings below and the Mercy of God.
Here are the official teachings of the Church on what happens to babies who die without baptism:

**Council of Lyons II: “…The souls of those who die in mortal sin or with original sin only, however, immediately descend to hell, to be punished with different punishments…-- (Denzinger 464) **

Council of Florence: “…Moreover, the souls of those who depart in actual mortal sin or in original sin only, descend immediately into hell but to undergo punishments of different kinds.— (Denzinger 693)

Pope John XXII: “It (The Roman Church) teaches… that the souls… of those who die in mortal sin, or with only original sin descend immediately into hell; however, to be punished with different penalties and in different places.” (Denzinger 493(a).

“It has been decided likewise that if anyone says that for this reason the Lord said: “In my father’s house there are many mansions”(JN14:2): that it might be understood that in the kingdom of heaven there will be some middle place or some place anywhere where the blessed infants live who departed from this life without baptism, without which they cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven, which is eternal life, let him be anathema. For when the lord says :“Unless a man be born of water and the Holy Ghost, he shall not enter into the kingdom of God”(Jn3:5), what Catholic will doubt that he will be partner of the devil who has not deserved to be a co-heir of Christ? For he who lacks the right part will without doubt run into the left” (Denzinger 102 fn.2; 30th edition)


#15

[quote=CollegeKid]Didn’t Pope Benedict recently say that we should have more faith in the idea of God allowing infants to enter Heaven than in the concept of Limbo?
[/quote]

I beleive so.


#16

[quote=Della]I don’t know what the Holy Father has said recently about this, but I found this teaching about unbaptized children in the CCC:

So, what I stated is in line with what we know about unbaptized children. We simply do not know what happens to them because it hasn’t been revealed to the Church. All the more reason to make every effort to get our children baptized as soon as possible, yes?
[/quote]

If this is so, and everlasting life in question, why do we not baptize our Christian children in the delivery room?

Think of the odds. Let’s take a guess and say that 1 in 100000 babies die shortly after birth; how would we feel if we just found out we had a 1 in 100000 chance of hell if we died over the next few weeks? I think I’d lock myself in a rubber room with water and canned tuna.


#17

[quote=Mijoy2]If this is so, and everlasting life in question, why do we not baptize our Christian children in the delivery room?

Think of the odds. Let’s take a guess and say that 1 in 100000 babies die shortly after birth; how would we feel if we just found out we had a 1 in 100000 chance of hell if we died over the next few weeks? I think I’d lock myself in a rubber room with water and canned tuna.
[/quote]

What are the odds of bread becoming flesh when a certain man says some words?

Our Faith is based on the official teachings of the Church not statistics.
BTW it was standard practice, at least in Catholic Hospitals, that babies that were in danger of death were baptised immediately by the nurse or doctor.


#18

[quote=Jasny]What are the odds of bread becoming flesh when a certain man says some words?

Our Faith is based on the official teachings of the Church not statistics.
BTW it was standard practice, at least in Catholic Hospitals, that babies that were in danger of death were baptised immediately by the nurse or doctor.
[/quote]

I’m not sure of the implication here. Is it that God would not allow ones salvation to be dictated by statistics and chance?

If so I have often thought about this. Especially as it pertains to the potential of one to come to faith later in life. What if they didn’t make it to later in life? Another mystery difficult to explain.


#19

[quote=Mijoy2]I’m not sure of the implication here. Is it that God would not allow ones salvation to be dictated by statistics and chance?

If so I have often thought about this. Especially as it pertains to the potential of one to come to faith later in life. What if they didn’t make it to later in life? Another mystery difficult to explain.
[/quote]

I think we can safely assume that God’s will is not thwarted by statistical chance.
If it is true that God desires that all be saved, then that means that he must therefore, give the grace necessary to every single person to be able to be saved, for without grace we cannot be saved.

Therefore, one way to think of this, is that if one didn’t make it to later in life, then they did not freely respond to God’s free gift of salvation in grace because they did not cooperate with the grace which they have surely been given.

Thus, they are lost not out of God’s will being thwarted, but by their lack of cooperation with God’s gift of grace, which we know he gives to everyone.

This is one way in which it was presented to me. I can accept this explanation once someone has reached the age of reason, however, I have problems with it for infants.

the way that was explained to me was that God foresaw their demerits (sin), and did not give them the grace of final perseverence based on their sin, not on God’s will to predestine them to salvation.
That one is a little harder for me to understand because it brings us into predestination and God’s grace to predestine one and allow another to be reprobate.
The explanation that an unbaptized infant was lost due to their forseen de-merit.

If i understand correctly, this is the position of the followers of Fr. Feeney. I know that name makes people go all crazy, but i think that presented in that light, it is not contrary to the Church’s teaching on predestination and salvation.


#20

[quote=Dan-Man916]I think we can safely assume that God’s will is not thwarted by statistical chance.
If it is true that God desires that all be saved, then that means that he must therefore, give the grace necessary to every single person to be able to be saved, for without grace we cannot be saved.

Therefore, one way to think of this, is that if one didn’t make it to later in life, then they did not freely respond to God’s free gift of salvation in grace because they did not cooperate with the grace which they have surely been given.

Thus, they are lost not out of God’s will being thwarted, but by their lack of cooperation with God’s gift of grace, which we know he gives to everyone.

This is one way in which it was presented to me. I can accept this explanation once someone has reached the age of reason, however, I have problems with it for infants.

the way that was explained to me was that God foresaw their demerits (sin), and did not give them the grace of final perseverence based on their sin, not on God’s will to predestine them to salvation.
That one is a little harder for me to understand because it brings us into predestination and God’s grace to predestine one and allow another to be reprobate.
The explanation that an unbaptized infant was lost due to their forseen de-merit.

If i understand correctly, this is the position of the followers of Fr. Feeney. I know that name makes people go all crazy, but i think that presented in that light, it is not contrary to the Church’s teaching on predestination and salvation.
[/quote]

St. Ignatius advises not to speculate on predestination, that good for me. What I want to follow is the Church’s teaching that has been proclaimed. To deny Limbo would do damage to already established teachings as in :

Council of Lyons II: “…The souls of those who die in mortal sin or with original sin only, however, immediately descend to hell, to be punished with different punishments…-- (Denzinger 464)

Council of Florence: “…Moreover, the souls of those who depart in actual mortal sin or in original sin only, descend immediately into hell but to undergo punishments of different kinds.— (Denzinger 693)


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