In the discussion on universalism, TNT suggested that I start this thread. I’m not trying to argue one way or the other. As some of you know, I was raised Protestant, so this whole limbo concept is fairly new to me, even if it is not new to the Church.
My understanding of the issue is that people like St. Augustine theorized that the unbaptized infants were damned, though with less “pain of sense” than those who had committed personal sin. As time went by, theologians, troubled by the apparent lack of God’s mercy in such a position, theorized that maybe there was some sort of alternate destination, between Heaven and Hell (perhaps a part of Hell, separate from all the nastiness), where the unbaptized infants could experience a sort of natural happiness. I think I’ve read somewhere that some people thought that righteous non-Catholics might possibly go here as well, though I may be wrong.
This teaching became very popular, though my understanding is that it was never made a dogma of the Church.
In the Catechism produced after Vatican II, the Church simply states that we entrust unbaptized infants to the mercy of God and hope and pray that they may somehow attain to salvation. While many Catholics find this belief encouraging, and a sign of true humility on the part of the Church, being willing to admit it does not know something, others believe this stance will lead to universalism. Some even seem positively horrified at the thought that unbaptized infants (or ignorant pagans, following God to the best of their knowledge) *may *somehow go to Heaven.
So, to repeat the post title, “Is Limbo a Capital ‘T’ Tradition & de fide?”
Thanks and God bless!