The Fate of Unbaptized Infants


#1

How is it that the modern Catholic says that unbaptized babies ‘probably’ or ‘may’ go to heaven in light of the following quotes? I realize that the Magisterium, of late, has given no ruling on this issue…but the Catechism suggests that the issue is not defined. How is that reconciled with:

“We define…Also…the souls of those who depart this life in actual mortal sin, or in original sin alone, go down straightaway to hell to be punished, but with unequal pains.”

Pope Eugenius (Council of Florence - Session 6—6 July 1439)
(Realizing that the Latin “infurnus”, here translated as “hell”, can refer to basically any state of the afterlife outside of heaven).

"On account of this rule of faith, even infants are truly baptized unto the remission of sins. Moreover, if anyone says that

in the kingdom of Heaven there will be some place where infants live who departed this life without Baptism, without which they cannot enter into the Kingdom of Heaven which is eternal life: let him be anathema."

(Pope St. Zosimus: Denzinger:102, n.2; Canon 2, XVI Council of Carthage)

I’d appreciate any imput.

Thanks,
In Christ and Mary,
Tyler


#2

What about our feast day for the Holy Innocents. They are venerated as martyrs. But they are not baptised.
What about aborted babies. They can be martyrs if the abortion was carried out , out of hatred for Christ etc. Straight to Heaven with no baptism. This is not official Church teaching though.
There is a baptism of desire. It has been speculated that babies may somehow have their minds illumined just before death. Where they make a quick choice for God or not. Only speculation.
From what I’ve heard the Church cannot make a definitive ruling on the outcome of unborn and pre age of reason children who have not been baptised, as to whether they can go to Heaven or not. But I’m not infallible.
It’s up to God how He deals with this situation, and we probably won’t know until we die.
But woe to those who cause these little ones to lose Heaven, if that be the case.http://forums.catholic.com/images/icons/icon8.gif


#3

Since we know that Gods mercy is without bounds, and we know that He is justice himself, I do not believe he would put anyone in hell on a technicality.And all aborted babies are Martyrs, abortion itself is the devils work,God is Life,satan is a murderer and brought death into this world.God Bless


#4

The simple answer is that the Church has done a complete about-face on the issue. Look at the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia article with the addendum by the newadvent site managers:

from 1913:

The fate of infants who die without baptism must be briefly considered here. The Catholic teaching is uncompromising on this point, that all who depart this life without baptism, be it of water, or blood, or desire, are perpetually excluded from the vision of God. This teaching is grounded, as we have seen, on Scripture and tradition, and the decrees of the Church

newadvent.org/cathen/02258b.htm#XI

But then again:

Editor’s note: On this subject, the 1992 Catechism of the Catholic Church states: "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…

newadvent.org/cathen/02258b.htm#XI

The doctrine has essentially changed because of the disappearance of the teaching of limbo newadvent.org/cathen/09256a.htm

But the history of the evolution of Catholic beliefs in the after life has a long and winding history which has not finished its journey yet.

Adam


#5

[quote=John Russell Jr]It’s up to God how He deals with this situation, and we probably won’t know until we die.
But woe to those who cause these little ones to lose Heaven, if that be the case.http://forums.catholic.com/images/icons/icon8.gif
[/quote]

I agree, however.

‘What about our feast day for the Holy Innocents. They are venerated as martyrs. But they are not baptised.’

But they died because the king wanted Christ dead.

‘What about aborted babies. They can be martyrs if the abortion was carried out , out of hatred for Christ etc. Straight to Heaven with no baptism. This is not official Church teaching though.’

Yes, but most are not.

“There is a baptism of desire.”

Baptism of desire would not apply to infants.

“It has been speculated that babies may somehow have their minds illumined just before death. Where they make a quick choice for God or not. Only speculation.”

That is a possibility however that is not Baptism of Desire.

“From what I’ve heard the Church cannot make a definitive ruling on the outcome of unborn and pre age of reason children who have not been baptised, as to whether they can go to Heaven or not.”

They are working on it as we speak. It may be a few years however before we hear anything.


#6

[quote=Lisa4Catholics]Since we know that Gods mercy is without bounds, and we know that He is justice himself, I do not believe he would put anyone in hell on a technicality.And all aborted babies are Martyrs, abortion itself is the devils work,God is Life,satan is a murderer and brought death into this world.God Bless
[/quote]

You are correct that the Church does condemn the opinion that children who die without Baptism are being punished in the hell of the damned. Aborted children are not martyrs, they are murder victims.

The real answer is “We don’t know, but we have hope!”


#7

[quote=amarischuk]The fate of infants who die without baptism must be briefly considered here. The Catholic teaching is uncompromising on this point, that all who depart this life without baptism, be it of water, or blood, or desire, are perpetually excluded from the vision of God. This teaching is grounded, as we have seen, on Scripture and tradition, and the decrees of the Church
[/quote]

God knows whether or not an individual would have desired baptism had they had an opportunity to do so. That’s what baptism of desire is. Current Catholic teaching seems perfectly in line with the above statement.

In Christ,
Nancy :slight_smile:


#8

[quote=amarischuk]The simple answer is that the Church has done a complete about-face on the issue.
[/quote]

None of these seem to say an “unbaptized child who dies will go to eternal damnation in hell.”

They seem to say things like will not see the beatific vision. Will not go to heaven, etc.

i.e. It doesn’t seem to rule out going to purgatory on the way to heaven.

Are there official documents that clearly demonstrate this “complete about-face” that your talking about?

Chuck


#9

[quote=amarischuk]The simple answer is that the Church has done a complete about-face on the issue.
The doctrine has essentially changed because of the disappearance of the teaching of limbo

But the history of the evolution of Catholic beliefs in the after life has a long and winding history which has not finished its journey yet.

Adam
[/quote]

There has never been a teaching/Doctrine of Limbo and the Church has not done an about-face on the issue. It is put forth as one possibility and can be held by any Catholic today. I believe that St. Alphonsus Liguori in The Great Means of Salvation and Perfection explains this idea in the best way I have ever read. I hold the opinion that Limbo is a possibility for those who could have been Baptized but for one reason or another were not. I also believe that it is possible that especially those children who are aborted or miscarried (who never had the possibility of Baptism) are given the Grace of Baptism by God, outside of the Sacrament of Baptism.


#10

[quote=Br. Rich SFO]You are correct that the Church does condemn the opinion that children who die without Baptism are being punished in the hell of the damned. Aborted children are not martyrs, they are murder victims.

The real answer is “We don’t know, but we have hope!”
[/quote]


#11

[quote=Br. Rich SFO]I agree, however.

‘What about our feast day for the Holy Innocents. They are venerated as martyrs. But they are not baptised.’

But they died because the king wanted Christ dead.

‘What about aborted babies. They can be martyrs if the abortion was carried out , out of hatred for Christ etc. Straight to Heaven with no baptism. This is not official Church teaching though.’

Yes, but most are not.

“There is a baptism of desire.”

Baptism of desire would not apply to infants.

“It has been speculated that babies may somehow have their minds illumined just before death. Where they make a quick choice for God or not. Only speculation.”

That is a possibility however that is not Baptism of Desire.

“From what I’ve heard the Church cannot make a definitive ruling on the outcome of unborn and pre age of reason children who have not been baptised, as to whether they can go to Heaven or not.”

They are working on it as we speak. It may be a few years however before we hear anything.
[/quote]

Thanks for the info. Should be interesting.http://forums.catholic.com/images/icons/icon14.gif


#12

[quote=Catholic4aReasn]God knows whether or not an individual would have desired baptism had they had an opportunity to do so. That’s what baptism of desire is. Current Catholic teaching seems perfectly in line with the above statement.

[/quote]

Read what Brother Rich said:

Baptism of desire would not apply to infants.

Current Catholic teaching is not at all in line with the quote from the CE 1913 ed. You are trying to mix water and oil. It is a historical anachronism to look for a justification of the Church’s present position by appealing and altering the meaning of the term baptism by desire.

I am not saying unbaptized infants are in hell, far from it. I find that a disgusting statement. Especially considering the fact that anywhere from 10-33 percent of pregnancies end in miscarriages.

I am saying that this is actually one of the issues which cause a great shift to the liberal side of Catholicism for me. I no longer have such a static view of the Church and as such, the doctrine of infallibility has lost a lot of its potency.

Adam


#13

I am from Memphis and one of the abortion mills is directed by a sanaria priestess. That psuedo religion is demonic and uses animal and human sacrifice.She admitted to a priest that she has supernatural manifestastion that she believes comes from God through these demon spirits,she also claims to heal people through these means. Wouldn’t you consider the activity at this mill, since these children are being offered in sacrifice to demons, martyrs?I do hope and it is a supurnateral hope. I know God is just and it would not be just to condemn a unborn child who was murdered, it doesn’t make sense.If I am thinking about this wrong please explain, further.God Bless


#14

[quote=amarischuk]Read what Brother Rich said:

Baptism of desire would not apply to infants.

[/quote]

I’d be interested to know why it wouldn’t apply.

Current Catholic teaching is not at all in line with the quote from the CE 1913 ed. You are trying to mix water and oil. It is a historical anachronism to look for a justification of the Church’s present position by appealing and altering the meaning of the term baptism by desire.

Perhaps the Church’s understanding of the scope of baptism of desire has developed. She has simply never taught that unbaptised babies go to hell.

I am saying that this is actually one of the issues which cause a great shift to the liberal side of Catholicism for me. I no longer have such a static view of the Church and as such, the doctrine of infallibility has lost a lot of its potency.

Is it your understanding that the Church has infallibley stated that unbaptised infants go to hell? Keep in mind, ex cathedra statements have only been made twice ever. Both of those dealt with Mary.

In Christ,
Nancy :slight_smile:


#15

“Is it your understanding that the Church has infallibley stated that unbaptised infants go to hell? Keep in mind, ex cathedra statements have only been made twice ever. Both of those dealt with Mary.”

There are more than two Excathedra statements and the Church specifically condemns the opinion that unbaptized children are punished in the Hell of the damned.

Baptism of Desire is when a person personally and specifically makes known their desire to receive Baptism. But are prevented from receiving Baptism because of their unexpected death.

An example would be an adult Catechumen. Who through the Rite of Acceptance publically states their desire for Baptism. But who is killed before being Baptized. They receive the full Mass of Christian burial.


#16

Are there official documents that clearly demonstrate this “complete about-face” that your talking about?

Council of Trent Fifth Session, fourth paragraph:

  1. If any one denies, that infants, newly born from their mothers’ wombs, even though they be sprung from baptized parents, are to be baptized; or says that they are baptized indeed for the remission of sins, but that they derive nothing of original sin from Adam, which has need of being expiated by the laver of regeneration for the obtaining life everlasting,–whence it follows as a consequence, that in them the form of baptism, for the remission of sins, is understood to be not true, but false, --let him be anathema. For that which the apostle has said, By one man sin entered into the world, and by sin death, and so death passed upon all men in whom all have sinned, is not to be understood otherwise than as the Catholic Church spread everywhere hath always understood it. For, by reason of this rule of faith, from a tradition of the apostles, even infants, who could not as yet commit any sin of themselves, are for this cause truly baptized for the remission of sins, that in them that may be cleansed away by regeneration, which they have contracted by generation. For, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

history.hanover.edu/texts/trent/trentall.html

Br Rich wrote:

the Church specifically condemns the opinion that unbaptized children are punished in the Hell of the damned.

It is true that Pope Pius IX said (Quanto conficiamur moerore): “God in His supreme goodness and clemency, by no means allows anyone to be punished with eternal punishments who does not have the guilt of voluntary fault.”

But there is a subtlety in that. That is why limbo is seen not as a positive punishment by Aquinas but really the highest level of hell where there is no positive punishment but only the absence of the beatific vision. Just because the unbaptized infants according to old Catholic teaching are not being positively punished, this doesn’t mean that they are permitted to enjoy the beatific vision.

This is also true for the medieval belief in those who died prior to Jesus’ coming, like Virgil in Dante’s inferno.

She has simply never taught that unbaptised babies go to hell.

Yes she has. They do not go to heaven, they only do not suffer positive punishment in hell.

I believe that St. Alphonsus Liguori in The Great Means of Salvation and Perfection explains this idea in the best way I have ever read.

Is this the quote from Alphonsus you are looking for:

“This was also taught by the Council of Trent in the Fifth Session, number Four: there the fathers declared that infants dying without Baptism, although born of baptized parents, are not saved, and are lost, not on account of the sin of their parents, but for the sin of Adam in whom all have sinned.”
("Opera Dogmatica, or History of the Council of Trent)

Brother, let’s look at two of your quotes:

the Church specifically condemns the opinion that unbaptized children are punished in the Hell of the damned.

and

There has never been a teaching/Doctrine of Limbo

Well, if the Church has also taught that unbaptized infants do not go to heaven, and they do not go to the hell of the damned (suffer positive punishement) where do they go? A rose by any other name…There is an implicit historical teaching of limbo as a place without positive punishment.

Adam


#17

[quote=John Russell Jr]What about our feast day for the Holy Innocents. They are venerated as martyrs. But they are not baptised.
What about aborted babies. They can be martyrs if the abortion was carried out , out of hatred for Christ etc. Straight to Heaven with no baptism. This is not official Church teaching though.
There is a baptism of desire. It has been speculated that babies may somehow have their minds illumined just before death. Where they make a quick choice for God or not. Only speculation.
From what I’ve heard the Church cannot make a definitive ruling on the outcome of unborn and pre age of reason children who have not been baptised, as to whether they can go to Heaven or not. But I’m not infallible.
It’s up to God how He deals with this situation, and we probably won’t know until we die.
But woe to those who cause these little ones to lose Heaven, if that be the case.http://forums.catholic.com/images/icons/icon8.gif
[/quote]

I think it wise to presume the necessity of baptism. That way we do not presume on the mercy of God, that we undertake to spread the Gospel as He has commanded us.


#18

The church teaches baptism is necessary for redemption. The church acknowledges that over a long period of time some have felt with good reason that blood and desire may replace the water baptism in the eyes of God. The Church has every reason to Hope that non-baptized children may enter a heavenly state of rest. The church does not know if it is heaven or some other state however we do know that the Pope has called for a theological review on the Limbo concepts in early Oct.

God Bless


#19

But my question is, in light of the Magisterial statements provided on this thread, how can there be any question? If the Church says that out of God’s mercy some infants could go to heaven, how could that be reconciled with the seemingly, at least to me, clear meaning of the Council of Trent’s decree? Limbo, it seems, is the only alternative that does not contradict the infallible proclamations of Holy Mother Church on this matter.

Adam: I mean no offence, but is it possible that you doubt infallibility because you, with your limited human understanding, have not been personally able to reconcile certain perceived contradictions? Many have alledged errors in Sacred Scripture as well, but orthodox scholars have answered every charge.


#20

In the East there are two basic options: heaven and hell.

So they go to heaven.


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