[FONT=Arial]Questions on Limbo or more importantly the Fate of the Unbaptized Baby.
On another thread it was said:
If only that was true. It is not “doctrine” if it changes. I can list a plethora of “DOCTRINE” … was a liar. It is harsh to discount past … so easily.
This kind assessment of my views of course did not deal with Catholic teachings, but with the teachings of my leaders. It didn’t call Catholic leaders and thinkers “liar” but my church leaders.
I am do not believe I have ever or will ever speak of Catholic leaders like this, but the above does frame this discussion so …
With that intro however, I truly believe that “Limbo” and the “Fate of the Unbaptized Baby” is a problem for most Catholics.
A handful of modern Catholics acknowledge that Limbo or hell proper is the Traditional (with a big “T”) final resting place for unbaptized babies.
However, there is a SEA-CHANGE among modern Catholics that I am unsure is defendable.
I was listening to an episode of Catholic Answers and two topics came up. One was either homosexual marriage or female priests. The argument offered was the CCC clearly taught against this and we can hang our hats on that. OK. The other was Limbo. I was quite certain that Limbo was in the Baltimore Catechism with which my mother grew up. I was surprised to find the TENATIVE way in which Limbo was described there. What however was not tentative either here in in my follow on research was the fate of the unbaptized baby.
So, I agree that Limbo is not “big-T Tradition.” It has been taught and is thus strictly speaking a doctrine (or teaching), but it NEVER was an irreformable doctrine. Where I a Catholic I would have no trouble rejecting the theological speculation of Limbo (I find it ironic that I am not allowed to define what is and is not binding doctrine in my church).
That being said, from Thomas Aquinas and earlier (to the ECF), the fate of the unbaptized baby has always been some form of hell. Limbo was theological speculation for the purpose of rescuing the unbaptized baby from the horrors of hell, but Limbo was just the hell associated with the denial of the “beautific vision.”
I, like Thomas Aquinas, am aware of “baptism of desire” which was originally was for Catechumens who didn’t receive baptism for some reason.
I, like Thomas Aquinas, am aware of the “baptism of blood” where a person is martyred for the faith. That being said infant death from Thomas Aquinas and before has ALWAYS been excluded from these two categories.
I also know of nobody from the above timeframe that would have said, “We are governed by God’s sacraments, he is not,” as a reason to teach that unbaptized babies might not be in hell.
Now, I say always, never, and “T”-Tradition, but the literature is so vast I have not read it all (nobody has). My question then is, "Is there anything from Thomas Aquinas or earlier to suggest that the fate of the unbaptized is not hell (hell being at the least a denial of the beautific-vision for eternity)."