Panel Backs Hopes for Unbaptized Infants Who Die
Pope OKs Publication of Report on Limbo
VATICAN CITY, APRIL 20, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI authorized the publication of a report that expresses the hope that babies who die without baptism are able to get to heaven.
The report by the International Theological Commission, published today, concluded that there are serious theological and liturgical grounds for the hope that such babies are saved and enjoy the beatific vision.
The commission says the theological hypothesis of “limbo” appeared to be based on an unduly restrictive view of salvation.
The 41-page document noted this is an “urgent pastoral problem,” especially because of the large number of unbaptized babies who die as victims of abortion.
The commission’s documents are not considered official expressions of the magisterium. But the commission does help the Holy See to examine important doctrinal issues.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church in No. 1261 explains: "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.”