Limbo out



Since Limbo was never a dogma defined by the Church it was never “in” to now be “out.”

That being said, I am still glad there is a clarification on it since I know many that subscribe to it as a theological concept that makes (or made) sense to them at the time.

It never made sense to me. If as the CCC says, we are created to know God and in coming to know Him we are happy and fulfilled as humans, then one being in limbo where they never see God but are happy makes absolutely no sense.

And that’s my 2 cents (I had to get in all three).


The limbo idea was always an idea we Mormon missionaries banged Catholics with back in my Mormon missionary days. The Book of Mormon specifically takes traditional Christians to task on this issue. It never made any sense and as a relatively new Catholic I’m happy it’s been thrown out completely. It makes no sense whatsoever that we can’t at least hope that little children who have died without any personal guilt can’t enter fully into God’s presence with or without baptism.


Another article on the matter:


If it were never in, why a need for a doc?

If Limbo was never an ‘official’ position, what was the official position on unbaptized babies?

The catechism indicates just to pray, but has no position.

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 the catholic church was not sure before what happened to babies that were unbaptized, and now they are claiming to know?

From the article:

“Our conclusion is that the many factors that we have considered … give serious theological and liturgical grounds for hope that unbaptized infants who die will be saved and enjoy the beatific vision,” the document said.

Does this mean that the fact that they are stating that ‘unbaptized baby’ now go to heaven an ‘official’ doctrine?

Is this a new revelation? Is it a ‘public’ revelation?

66 “The Christian economy, therefore, since it is the new and definitive Covenant, will never pass away; and no new public revelation is to be expected before the glorious manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Yet even if Revelation is already complete, it has not been made completely explicit; it remains for Christian faith gradually to grasp its full significance over the course of the centuries.

If it is a public revelation that existed from the time of Christ and they found a new document? Where is that new document?

Trying to understand the process here.

Or is this just private revelation, and catholics can except it or not?

What about unbaptized 2 year olds, 5 year olds, etc…


This gave me a little more faith in the church!


The Catholic Church has never officially taken a position on limbo, but it now is specifically saying that limbo is not part of the official teaching of the church. It is consistent with what the catechism says – it does not take a position on the final judgment of any soul, including unbaptized babies. It asks us to pray and hope that all will be saved while leaving the final judgment up to God.


ok, I read further, and it states:

“It must be clearly acknowledged that the church does not have sure knowledge about the salvation of unbaptized infants who die,” it said.

So basically, the article says the church denies Limbo as an explanation and it really does not know what happens.


Well, I didn’t read the article to the end so feel free to correct me, but if all that’s happened is the release of a document from the International Theological Commission (which carries no magisterial authority), nothing’s actually happened to Limbo, technically. Even if the Pope approved the document. Benedict would have had to make an Ex Cathedra statement for it to be definitive that Limbo is now “out” or “buried” or “nonexistent,” however you want to put it. From what I gather, though I coud be mistaken, the Pope has simply voiced his opinion that Limbo is a defective way of viewing the fate of infants who die before baptism.


Not that we shouldn’t take Pope Benedict’s reflection on the matter seriously, we should.


I think even this would be an overstatement. The fact that the Pope allowed the document to be published does not mean that he endorses it – or especially its way of reasoning. Rather, he may have allowed it to be published precisely to air the issue and to allow debate and criticism of the document among the Bishops and the faithful.

If the article is correctly representing and quoting the document, the reasoning offered seems strikingly weak. I am eager to read the document itself. Does anyone know where it is available, other than on the subscription cite for CNS?

The few quotes taken from the document on the Catholic News Service make its arguments seem to display a defective understanding of both mercy and justice. The arguments about Adam and the “impossibility” arising from the voluntary actions of parents seem ultimately to undermine the family and human relations at a fundamental level.

I would not be surprised if the reasoning used in the document were eventually condemned by the Magisterium in one form or another.

Certainly CollegeKid is correct that this opinion document drafted by a group of theologians is not a Magisterial teaching.

Pax Christi nobiscum.

John Hiner


Even given that the document has no weight, it still doesn’t say babies automatically go to Heaven–it just says that there is reason to hope so. Hardly burying Limbo–in fact, it still leaves the possibility open.


Yes, four things struck me from the article.

  1. That there is no scripture OR Tradition on this matter
  2. Hopefulness is not the same as certainty.
  3. We are all born into a state of original sin and there must be an act of Grace to wash it away

]“It must be clearly acknowledged that the church does not have sure knowledge about the salvation of unbaptized infants who die,” it said


Basically, we don’t know. We can Hope. And original sin exists.


Was the concept of “limbo” started by St. Thomas Aquinas? If not, by who and when?

Was the concept that all unbaptized infants go to hell set into motion largely by St. Augustine? If not, by who and when?

Has the Church always been “hopeful” that unbaptized children could enter in heaven? If not, when did we become open to that possibility?

This is clearly a sticky historical issue that our separated brethren understandably have a problem with. Just looking for a little more clarity…


A couple of sources you could read:)

Here is an article from New Advent

Out on a Limbo By Karl Keating


Since Limbo was never a dogma defined by the Church it was never “in” to now be “out.”



I think in my mind the issue comes down to one question: Which is more powerful, Adam’s sin or Christ’s atonement for Adam’s sin? It seems to me that if we accept that Christ atoned for Adam’s sin, that the guilt of original sin would not overcome God’s mercy.


OOPS! I made a thread about this. I hope mine gets deleted. :o


It cannot be this simple; if it were a matter of power, then God would impose what He wants on us, without regard to our choices. This is not how God acts nor what He desires. He respects the decisions of parents – even our first parents – more than is fashionable nowadays.

The commission report, at least as reported in the media so far, seems unrealistic. We should read the report and test the reasonableness of their proffered “hope” before we take it too seriously. It would be a shame to abandon children to hell, who could have been saved, because we are lulled into inaction by a comforting “hope” based on sophistry, disregard of the Savior’s words, and wishful thinking.

I am eager to read this report to see how fairly it assesses the Savior’s words, the teaching of the Council of Florence, and the seriousness of the work that God has given us to do. (It seems a dangerous notion to think that our increasing failure to baptize children before they die will be “cleaned up by Daddy,” who will save us from the consequences of our failures.) This seems to be the question at issue: Are we coworkers with God, bearing the weight of serious responsibilities for ourselves and others, or are we children playing at helping Daddy, as a sort of game with no real purpose – since the work will get done whether we do it or not.

Pax Christi vobiscum.

John Hiner


Here are my Top 10 ways that anti-Catholic fundamentalists will describe today’s announcement that limbo is not a feasable concept:

  1. The Catholic Church just abandoned its teaching of purgatory

  2. The Catholics finally opened their Bibles and didn’t find the word “limbo” so they realized it wasn’t true

  3. Catholics now agree that baptism doesn’t do anything

  4. The Catholic Church changed its teaching on limbo, so it cannot be infallible

  5. The new pope says the last pope was wrong about limbo

  6. Catholics finally realized that “limbo” came from paganism

  7. Catholics now believe that everybody goes to heaven

  8. Catholics think their church never changes but it just did

  9. Catholics are starting to get rid of their Catholic inventions; maybe the Eucharist will be next

  10. Catholics think there used to be a place called limbo until the new pope used his magic powers to eliminate it

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