Souls of Children Lost in Miscarriages?

Please correct me if I’m wrong, it’s been awhile since I learned this, but this is my understanding of original sin and baptism:

The moment an egg is fertilized, it is given a soul.

We baptize children when they are infants because, even though they don’t understand right and wrong yet, they are born with the stain of original sin. Therefore if they pass away before baptism, they can’t go to heaven. They go to a special place in hell that is like heaven, but God is not present. They aren’t pure enough to enter heaven but not sinful enough to deserve suffering. The punishment is not eternal suffering as in torture and burning but rather they can never know God.

This is one of many reasons Catholics view abortion as especially sad, because aside from viewing it as taking an innocent life, it also condemns an innocent life to never being able to know God or reunite with family in heaven. I just want to note my question doesn’t really have anything to do with abortion, and I’m not trying to be controversial.

Miscarriages are out of a woman’s hands. Why they occur isn’t really known, but I think I read they’re usually the result of some genetic anomaly that causes the body to terminate the pregnancy for some reason. Often women do everything they’re supposed to for a healthy pregnancy and yet still may experience one. So when a miscarriage occurs, obviously the child never had a chance to be baptized.

But God is all knowing, and therefore would have to know if a woman was going to have a miscarriage or not. Miscarriage isn’t a choice, so it’s not a free will issue (as abortion would be). Rather, if God knew a miscarriage would occur, would he send a soul into the fertilized egg knowing it wouldn’t have a chance to be baptized? I know we can’t know what God thinks, but maybe there’s a teaching on this?

I just can’t imagine God letting the souls of miscarried children go to “limbo” or whatever the term might be. I don’t know if “limbo” is the official Catholic term.

Please correct me if I have my info wrong, I’m pulling this from Catholic school memories. We’d write down questions and put them in a box, and once in a while our parish priest would drop into the classrooms and answer our questions. I think he answered something about baptism and why it’s so important to baptize kids early. I was probably between 9-12 years old, so I may have got some things wrong.

Thank you in advance for input, this is really bothering me. It hits kind of close to home because I know a couple of women who have had more than one miscarriage.

Catechism of the Catholic Church:

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.

One does not need to believe the theological idea of “limbo” that was discussed often in the past.

One can believe that God knows Parents and their intent to baptize their child - a kind of baptism of desire of sorts. Thats how I see it in terms of our children who died before birth.

Thank you for the link.
Was limbo ever an official teaching? Is it not taught anymore?

It was not some defined teaching.

May one believe that there is a limbo? Yes. It is one theological idea regarding what has not been revealed to us (what happens if a child dies without baptism).

But one will not find such being taught in such as the Catechism etc.

Oh ok, thanks.

Thank you very much :slight_smile:


Do not forget that aside from Baptism by Water, there is also Baptism by desire. If a baby’s soul is placed before the grandeur of God, would it not desire God, it’s Creator and Completion? Never let the love of God for even the smallest of His children be bound by the minds of man. Does not He care for every sparrow that falls? Does He not do all things well? His creation of a soul is always for the best of that soul. Could we ever conceive of God creating a soul He does not want? Separated from Him through no free will of its own? Our belief in a loving God is found in the doctrine of the Church that we leave to His mercy all babies who die before birth for whatever reason.

Here is the very best Catholic teaching regarding souls of children lost in miscarriages.

I took the liberty of putting the essential truth in bold. Please notice how many times the word all is used. It is my understanding that the word all would not exclude humans in the womb – especially since Christ died for all humans.

“Since Christ died for all, and since all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny, which is divine, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partakers, in a way known to God, of the Paschal mystery.”

To me, limbo is a comforting idea. It is the only thing the reconciles logically the theological truth of original sin, and Christ dying to open the gates that were closed because of original sin. All other explanations to me fail the logy part of theoLOGY.

Me too. Limbo was always described as a place of perfect natural happiness, although outside the beatific vision. Having lost one to miscarriage, it comforts me to think this may be his eternal resting place.

I think it’s illogical to assume that an unbaptized infant doesn’t go to heaven. A baby is ignorant of its own original sin, so they would fit into the category defined by Vatican II as not in the Chirch by any fault of their own. God is not limited to his sacraments, so I think it is extremely likely that he would cleanse an unbaptized baby from original sin

So how does that translate to B.C. Theology or the need for a savior at all?

There is a website for Catholic miscarriage support. Many quotes, bible passages and church teachings are on the site for grieving families. This is my favorite and it has given me great comfort during my times of loss.

St. Bernard of Clairvaux who wrote to a couple that had a miscarriage. In response to their question, “What is going to happen to my child? The child didn’t get baptized,” St. Bernard said, “Your faith spoke for this child. Baptism for this child was only delayed by time. Your faith suffices. The waters of your womb — were they not the waters of life for this child? Look at your tears. Are they not like the waters of baptism? Do not fear this. God’s ability to love is greater than our fears. Surrender everything to God.”

Post 10, CCC 1260, which Catholics seem to ignore for some dumb reason, is far more real and thus very comforting. Also, try adding the last sentence of CCC 1257, another ignored paragraph.

Links to the universal Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition

Would an unbaptized baby or a miscarried/aborted baby still be allowed to enter heaven if their parents had no intention of ever baptizing them or raising them in the faith?


I would also add the following argument from a perfectly orthodox Catholic scholar, Fr. William Jurgens and derived from St. Thomas Aquinas:

  1. The Eucharist is, according to both Sacred Scripture (John 6) and Tradition, essential for salvation (“Unless you eat My Body and drink My Blood, you shall have no life in you”.)
  2. That said, what of those who die before receiving the Eucharist (that is, baptised children who die before the age of 7?)
  3. According to St. Thomas, in these cases, the “desire for the Eucharist”, presumed and supplied by the Church, suffices.
  4. Extending this, we can assume (at least in the case of an unbaptised child who dies in utero, whose parents had the full intent of raising him as a Catholic), that the “desire for Baptism”, presumed and supplied by the parents and the Church, would also suffice in these cases.

I’ve never seen this stated elsewhere, but it seems quite logical to me. (Fr. Jurgens also points out that Limbo, far from being a 100% orthodox teaching, was actually originated by the Semi-Pelagians in opposition to the rigorist position that all unbaptised children went to Hell. :()

According to the argument presented below, probably not, but the Church has still asked us to “commend them to God’s mercy”, so the door is not completely shut. Perhaps a Limbo-like state exists for such cases?

Mary was without original sin and still needed a savior. Infants would still have a savior, I think God would just cleanse them from original sin without baptism.

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