Limbo was suggested as a theological opinion to meet a definite need; it was never necessary to believe it.
Catholics take the sacrament of Baptism very seriously–without baptism, you cannot enter heaven. What then to do with those who had no personal sin (babies), and who through no fault of their own died without Baptism? We can’t just dismiss the difficulty without dismissing the necessity of sacramental Baptism.
With the unpacking of what sacramental Baptism can extend to–literal water baptism; baptism by desire; by blood–then we may make a different suggestion–that there is some mode after death before individual judgment whereby the soul is given the ability and the chance to choose God. If the soul chooses God, that would be baptism by desire.
Basically, the Church tells us that this is veiled to us; it’s a mystery; but we can Just trust in God to take care of the helpless ones who are innocent of all personal sin.
For those who have personal sin and who even commit suicide; this is a unpromising scenario. We understand if there is no final perseverance, if a man dies in mortal sin; that’s pretty final bad news for him. But the Church chooses to emphasize, nowadays, that even in the worst-appearing case, we cannot presume to know the secret state of that soul’s standng with God. What appears may not be *what really *is. So we these days may “err” on the side of not-presuming to judge another man’s soul. We can then pray for the dead; and never loose hope to see him again in God.
In choosing to emphasize trust and hope in re:a suicide, the Church is choosing to risk scandal. The scandal is the hurt to belief that the mortal sin of suicide, e.g., is truly mortal; that to die in unrepented mortal sin means going to Hell.
The Church is trusting us to see all the way around this issue without losing either our fear and hatred of mortal sin, or our insistence on the necessity for salvation of baptism.