Limbo

Duplicate post

Niether of your other two posts are working, so I will post here.

There word “Limbo” can reffer to the following:

The Limbo of the Fathers. A place separate from Hell-proper where the righteous who lived before Christ’s Death and Resurrection went at their death to await Him. The Creed, where it says that He descended to the dead, tells us that when Christ died He descended into the Limbo of the Fathers and released the souls there (like Moses and Abraham and the patriarchs and prophets of the Old Covenant) so that they could be saved. The Limbo of the Fathers was emptied and no longer exists. Like Purgatory this is a binding doctrine of the Church.

The Limbo of the Infants. A theological speculation that suggests unbaptized babies who die, still under the stain of mortal sin, go to a temporal paradise for all eternity, but will never enter into Heaven. This is a solution created by theologians to the question of unbaptized infants who, because they are not baptized, are not in a State of Grace necessary to enter Heaven, yet have not reached the age where they can be held accountable for their sins (hence they have commited no sins).

The Limbo of the Infants has had varying levels of acceptance in the Church throughout history, yet it is not and had never been binding doctrine. In recent decades the Limbo of the Infants has faded from common teachings. Several months ago the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith released a document on the Limbo of the Infants which some use to claim that the Church no longer supports such beliefs. A closer examination of the document shows that it merely states that we should all hope and trust in the wisdom and mercy of God in regards to the question of unbaptized infants. Any Catholic is still free to believe or disbelieve in the Limbo of the Infants.

Limbo has been taught since the earliest years of the Church. It has even been discussed in Church councils. The only thing unclear about Limbo is whether or not the unbaptized who have never committed an actual sin go to the fires of hell (which was taught by St. Augustine, St. Robert Bellarmine, and others), or whether they go to a place of natural happiness, which was taught by St. Thomas Aquinas and others. The common teaching is the later.

Limbo is indeed a doctrine of the Church, and has been taught in Catechisms, but it is not a defined doctrine. It is part of the ordinary magisterium, but not the extraordinary magisterium.

As with many other uncomfortable teachings todya, Limbo is now being called into question.

Here’s an article that will provide some of the magisterial quotes: seattlecatholic.com/a051207.html

I would agree that their are a few Early Church Fathers who led to the posit of a “Limbo of Infants” but I’m not sure I would say that it was taught ‘since the earliest years by the Church’.

For example, we don’t find it mentioned ‘by any’ of the venerable Greek Fathers and outside of the influence of St. Cyprian, St. Ambrose, and St. Augustine one simply doesn’t reach this line of reasoning of a Limbo of Infants. For example, the Anthropology articulated by St. Athanasisus doesn’t address our Fallen Nature is the fashion which the later Latin Fathers framed it (i.e. lacking Grace). This is also not found with any of the works of St. Basil, St. Gregory of Nyssa, and Gregory of Nazianzus (i.e. the Cappadocian Fathers). It appears to be a much later product of Jesuit Scholastics than anything taught ‘since the earliest years by the Church’.

I believe it is fair to call this hypothesis into question and recognize that it is indeed a later scholastic development with no roots in the ‘Deposit of Faith’ handed down by the Apostles.

Simply because some Church Fathers did not mention Limbo in any of their writings that have come down to us does not mean that Limbo was not a teaching during the early years; however, the fact that some Church Fathers did directly address the place we call Limbo proves that the teaching did exist in those days.

[quote=] I believe it is fair to call this hypothesis into question and recognize that it is indeed a later scholastic development with no roots in the ‘Deposit of Faith’ handed down by the Apostles.
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Do you believe that those who die in original sin only (not in actual sin) go to hell? Here’s a few quotes. The first is from the Dogmatic Council of Florence:

Dogmatic Council of Florence (1438-1445): “…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)

That clearly teaches that there is a place that corresponds to what we call Limbo. What is Limbo? It is a place in “hell” that is believed to have no pain of sense, but only the “pain of loss”, which is the deprivation of the Beatific Vision.

How can you hold to the teaching of the Council of Florence and deny Limbo? Here’s another quote:

Pope John XXII: “It (The Roman Church) teaches [doctrine] 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.” (Denz. 493a)

Notice the Pope said this is a “teaching” of the Church. That makes Limbo a “doctrine”.

In the next quote, Pope Innocent III discusses the different punishments for those who die in original sin only, or in actual sin:

Pope Innocent III: “The punishment of Original Sin is the deprivation of the vision of God, but the punishment of actual sin is the torments of everlasting Hell…” (Innocent III Den. 410).

These quotes show that Limbo is more than merely a “hypothesis”, but is a actual “teaching” (doctrine) of the Church. It has not beed defined de fide, but as Catholic we are requried to believe all that the Church teaches, and not just the de fide dogmas.

If the majority of the hierarchy does not like the teaching of Limbo and therefore rejects it, that is no reason for us to reject it as well. Let us “hold fast to Tradition” and to what the Church teaches, regardless of how many others reject it.

Clearly, if we believe what the Council of Forence taught, we must believe in Limbo.

Rejecting Limbo probably does not reach the level of formal heresy, since it has not been infallibly defined, but it is dangerous because it you deny Limbo you are probably going to conclude that those who die unbaptized (but who have not committed a mortal sin) will be saved… and that is clearly contrary to what the Church teaches.

Just to address a point that will certainly be raised: As we all know, God can do all things. If someone jumps off of a 300’ bridge, for example, God can have the have them land safely on the ground with no injuries. Therefore, based in this “possibility” should we say that all those who jump off a bridge will land safely? Or course not. Therefore, just because it is “possible” for God to perform, what I call, a “supernatural miracle”, by which an unbaptized child receives the state of grace through extra sacramental means, does that mean we should conclude, contrary to what the Church teaches, that those who die without baptism, but before the age of reason, will be saved?

The second example is no less foolish than the first.

“Possibilities” do not nullify the rule. And for one to reject a teaching of the Church based on a “possibility” of what God can do, is very “imprudent” :wink:

Actually, it’s not as simple as that. No one articulated Limbo outside of Latin Scholastics. If we followed the line of reasoning which led to positing Limbo we’d have to look at the clash which risen from St. Cyprian rationale for the necessity of Baptism for Infants and the apparent injustice done by a God who demands His Grace ‘only’ be distributed through an institution which isn’t or wasn’t actually universal in it’s reach to serve the vast majority of mankind. That was the Jesuit sympathy which allowed for the reinterpreting of St. Cyprians’ necessities for salvation.

Do you believe that those who die in original sin only (not in actual sin) go to hell?

I believe that in a rigorist interpretation of the datum of the Christian Revelation such a belief can be reached. This was the views held by St. Cyprian and others.

The first is from the Dogmatic Council of Florence:

Dogmatic Council of Florence (1438-1445): “…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)

That clearly teaches that there is a place that corresponds to what we call Limbo. What is Limbo? It is a place in “hell” that is believed to have no pain of sense, but only the “pain of loss”, which is the deprivation of the Beatific Vision.

Byzantine Catholics, Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox don’t have this teaching of “Limbo” so it clearly post-dates our unity with them. Again I would suggest that this is a very rigoristic interpretation of the datum of our faith. Note that this Council was at the height of Scholastic Rigorism and reached an interpretation which is pregnant with is presuppositions. You’ll not find Byzantine Catholics agreeing with it’s conclusions.

[quote=Chrisb] Actually, it’s not as simple as that. No one articulated Limbo outside of Latin Scholastics. If we followed the line of reasoning which led to positing Limbo we’d have to look at the clash which risen from St. Cyprian rationale for the necessity of Baptism for Infants and the apparent injustice done by a God who demands His Grace ‘only’ be distributed through an institution which isn’t or wasn’t actually universal in it’s reach to serve the vast majority of mankind. That was the Jesuit sympathy which allowed for the reinterpreting of St. Cyprians’ necessities for salvation.
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There’s no clash between God’s justice and the un-baptized not being saved. It would only be unjust if man had a right to heaven, which he doesn’t. Man is born into this world separated from God, and has no right to grace, or heaven. Both heaven and grace are pure gifts. Therefore it is in no way unjust for God not to grant someone that which they have no right to.

I’m not sure what you are talking about with respect to Cyprian, but what I think you are doing is confusing his teaching that heretics can not confer a valid baptism (which was incorrect) with something else. Cyprian taught that heretics who come into the Church must be rebatized, even if they were baptized using the correct form. He was mistaken on that point and it was corrected. I think you are getting that teaching of St. Cyprian confused with something else.

[quote=Pax et Caritas] Do you believe that those who die in original sin only (not in actual sin) go to hell?
[/quote]

[quote=Chrisb]I believe that in a rigorist interpretation of the datum of the Christian Revelation such a belief can be reached. This was the views held by St. Cyprian and others.
[/quote]

Not only can such an interpretation be reached, but it has been reached and is now an official doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church - clearly taught at the Council of Florence.

[quote=Pax et Caritas] The first is from the Dogmatic Council of Florence:

Dogmatic Council of Florence (1438-1445): “…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)

That clearly teaches that there is a place that corresponds to what we call Limbo. What is Limbo? It is a place in “hell” that is believed to have no pain of sense, but only the “pain of loss”, which is the deprivation of the Beatific Vision.
[/quote]

[quote=Chrisb] Byzantine Catholics, Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox don’t have this teaching of “Limbo” so it clearly post-dates our unity with them.
[/quote]

The Orthodox also reject Papal Infallibility, and the Primacy of the Roman Pontiff. Does that mean you reject those dogmas as well?

And the quote above is from the Infallible Dogmatic Council of Florence, which is a council that the Orthodox accepted. The Orthodox accepted the council the council of Florence and at the same time were reunited with Rome. They later fell back into schism, but at the time they accepted that council.

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[quote=Chrisb] Again I would suggest that this is a very rigoristic interpretation of the datum of our faith. Note that this Council was at the height of Scholastic Rigorism and reached an interpretation which is pregnant with is presuppositions. You’ll not find Byzantine Catholics agreeing with it’s conclusions.
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Two times you have referred to the clear and unambiguous teaching of the Church as “rigorist”. Does that mean you don’t accept it? What you call a rigorist interpretation is not an interpretation at all. It is clear doctrinal teaching of the Church. This is not a case of someone applying an interpretation to this or that verse; it is a case of the Church teaching. And this teaching is clear, ambiguous, and leaves no wiggle room. Let’s review it again.

Dogmatic Council of Florence (1438-1445): “…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

Either we believe that those who die in original sin only go to hell, or we don’t. And this teaching corresponds perfectly with other dogmatic teachings of the Church, such as this one…

Council of Trent: “If anyone shall say that baptism is optional, that is, not necessary for salvation: let him be anathema.” (Denzinger 861)

And both of those teachings correspond perfectly which what St. Augustine taught.

St. Augustine (415 AD) “Likewise, whoever says that those children who depart out of this life without partaking of that Sacrament (Baptism) are alive in Christ, certainly contradicts the apostolic declaration and condemns the universal Church, in which it is the practice to loose no time and run in haste to administer Baptism to infant children, because it is believed as an indubitable truth, that otherwise they cannot be made alive in Christ.” (Augustine, Epistle 167 – AD 415)

AUGUSTINE on UNBAPTIZED INFANTS: “If you wish to be Catholic, do not believe, do not say, do not teach that infants who are overtaken by death before they can be baptized are able to come to a forgiveness of original sins (Augustine, “The Soul and Its Origin, A.D. 419-420)

The teaching of the Church is very clear. An unbaptized person who is not guilty of any actual sin goes to hell, but does not suffer any pain of sense, only the loss of the Beatific Vision.

If you have any magisterial documents to support another position, please post them.


From his profile—chrisb is going Eastern Orthodox—so he would be rejecting said dogmas.

I agree with pretty much everything you say here. Just because there is a possibility that God may grant baptismal grace extra-sacramentally to some (possibly even including infants) does not mean that this is what always happens. While we may certainly hope and pray for their salvation, we cannot merely dismiss Church teaching based on our likes and dislikes.

Grace and Peace Walking_Home,

Actually that profile is a year and half old and I have continued to remain faithful to our Holy Father and the Roman Catholic Church but that doesn’t mean we cannot call into question teachings and perhaps even councils which might appear overly influenced by a particular school of theology within the larger Catholic Tradition.

Peace.

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