What happened to Limbo and where do aborted babies go?

Please tell me the aborted babied go to heaven.

Has the teaching about Limbo been abandoned? Is there still a Limbo?

I think all we know officially is that they don’t go to hell, or that is the belief, because of God’s mercy. I would like to think they go to heaven because in their death at the hands of those who know not what they do, I feel they are in some sense martyred. I know the limbo idea is still on the table as a possibility, but I don’t think we have any official teaching on it because there isn’t really anywhere in either Scripture or Tradition in which it is talked about. I would say that we just have to pray that in God’s Grace and Mercy that He lovingly accepts them into His Kingdom with open arms.

It was never a magisterial teaching. It was a philosophical construct that came from the middle ages. As for murdered unborn people; the Church teaches us that God is of infinite mercy. Where do you think an innocent, created soul ends up when killed at the callius hands of his own mother. The Church tells us that God has already factored in EVERY evil act we commit to damage his Plan. He decided before time to create each and every one of those innocent babies. He surely made provision for our vain attempt to control the creative process (Natural Order).

Remember, God always finds a way to cause life to continue. That’s probably one reason why he created us with such a strong survival instinct. Though he did surely imbue us with the capacity to so love another human being (even one we barely know) as to give up our life for another. What a GOD we have! Can the scourge of infanticide thwart his will that all should be with him in the end?

I was browsing on ‘Fisheaters.com’ and someone said since they are not baptized they cannot enter heaven. Pretty heavy stuff from the super knowlegable traditional cathlics on that site.

There is this thing called purgatory for purification before entering heaven. And as I mentioned before, I would consider them to have a baptism by blood (martyrdom).

“Moreover, 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” (Council of Florence, Laetentur coeli, 1439: Denz. 693).

The existence of limbo is not a Catholic doctrine. However, it has been believed that there must be a limbo. Where did good people go when they died before Christ came? They could not go to heaven. It was often said when I was young that baptized babies go to limbo, which was a place of perfect natural happiness. The simple fact that the subject, limbo, does not come up now is no reason for saying it cannot be said to exist. I don’t hear people speaking of the country of Senegal, but that does not mean it doesn’t exist.
However, the idea that unbaptized bapies go to limbo was never Catholic doctrine, If you believe that, because of the goodness of God, they go to heaven, you are prefectly free to believe that.

I would agree with you on this… Murder is a sin that God really abhors … and this is not just murder… but murder on a grand scale and against those who cannot defend themselves and not only that… the remains of these babies are used for genetic reseach for such things as chocolate bars… and vaccines and whatever else… this has to be one of the greatest… evils in our time… Its a silent holocost… At least when abortion was illegal the perpertrators could be arrested… now they are given funding and support by the state… I don’t know where to go on that… Sorry… Im off on one… But I believe God is merciful… He sent His Son to die for us… and that includes abortionists… and those that support it… Yes… I believe these babies are Martyrs.

This is the traditional way of looking at things.

We know from Scripture that in order to enter Heaven, one must be Baptized in water and the Holy Spirit. This is the only ordinary way we know that will get someone to Heaven.

We know that God is all-merciful and we trust in His mercy for all those who, through no fault of their own, die before being Baptized. This includes the aborted babies, still born and miscarried babies as well as all those who haven’t had the opportunity to be Baptized.

These two things are seemingly contradictory. But this is what has been revealed to us so this is what we have. Limbo was a construct that people used (and still use) to try to explain this contradiction. But we just don’t know for sure.

We recognize a Baptism by fire, which included many martyrs who died for the sake of the Church. And a Baptism by desire, which covers someone who truly wanted to be Baptized but who dies before they can be. In recent times, there has been some theological stretching to try to fit the fate of the other unbaptized, especially the unborn, into one of these categories. There is no real teaching about this. It’s a good** theory **but then, so was Limbo. :slight_smile:

Limbo means “fringe”, so it is part of another place.

The Magisterium does teach that there is a limbo of Purgatory, also called the limbo of the Fathers. This can be thought of as an upper level of purgatory where souls are no longer suffering for their sins, but are waiting for heaven. (Pope Benedict XII, On the Beatific Vision of God.)

The Magisterium also teaches that there is a limbo of Hell, a part of Hell where there is the least suffering. Souls there suffer only from the deprivation of Heaven, not any active punishments. The souls who die in original sin only go there. (Council of Lyons II, Council of Florence).

Limbo as a third final destination was a theological opinion that has fallen out of favor with most persons. The ordinary non-infallible Magisterium did at one time teach this idea (e.g. the 1949 Revised Edition of the Baltimore Catechism, n. 3). But the Magisterium no longer teaches it. The non-infallible teachings of the ordinary Magisterium are non-irreformable; they can change.

The CCC teaches that only those souls that commit an actual mortal sin and refuse to repent go to Hell. 1037 “God predestines no one to go to hell; for this, a willful turning away from God (a mortal sin) is necessary, and persistence in it until the end.”

But the Councils of Florence and Lyons II taught that persons who die in mortal sin or in ‘original sin only’ go to Hell. How can we reconcile these two teachings?

The sin of dying in ‘original sin only’ is the actual mortal sin of omission of never having found sanctifying grace in this life (baptism by water, or desire, or blood) despite ample opportunity. Prenatals, infants and young children who die without baptism do not die in original sin only. (None of the definitions of doctrine on this topic say that they do.) They receive a baptism of blood, just like the Holy Innocents, and so they die in a state of grace and go to Heaven.

If prenatals who die in the womb went to Hell, then that would be tantamount to predestination to Hell, since no baptism of water is possible in the womb. Such a claim contradicts the Magisterial teaching on the universal salvific will of God.

I have a very difficult time believing that these babies are anywhere either than in the arms of Jesus and his mother Mary. I would like to know when our soul is joined with our body. Is it at the moment of conception or at the moment of live birth and we take our first breath?

When we think of Limbo as a physical place instead a state of spiritual existance we sometimes forget the power, justice and mercy of God and put limits on our own reasoning. We know that aborted babies have spirits from the moment of conception and therefore can never cease to exist. So the question is in what state will they exist for all eternity? We know that they have done nothing to merit eternal damnation but at the same time being unbaptised still carry the stain of original sin that we all inherited from the disobediance of Adam and Eve.

There is a mystery here. A mystery is something that we cannot know everything about because all hasn.t been revealled to us but at the same time a mystery isn’t something that we cannot know something about based on what has been revealled. We do know that God is just, that He is merciful and that He loves us.He is our heavenly Father and He is their heavenly Father too! Therefore it is reasonable to believe and trust our Father that these babies are not suffering and that they are in a state with as much happiness and contentment in which their innocent and pure state of being are capable of experiencing.

God loves them so that means they experience the love of God eternally without any barriers like those that we ourselves erect between us and God’s love here on earth. They are not seperated from the love and goodness of God as a soul in hell would be but neither do they experience the full beautific vision of God that a soul can attain through a life of grace.

The Lord gave us all His Mother from the cross and I believe that these babies wherever or however they are, are resting in her arms.

Something like Limbo is, in fact, a part of the Magisterium. It was endorsed in the Council of Florence (which, IIRC, quoted Aquinas word for word on the matter) and has appeared in at least one Papal bull directly and several others have condemned contrary positions as heretical. Pius IX, for instance, condemned the Jansenist teaching that Limbo was a Pelagian fable revived by Scholastics.

The Church doesn’t really talk about it presently, primarily for pastoral reasons (if the ITC document on the matter is any indication of the mood in the Vatican, which it is) and also of course because of the understanding that God Himself is not bound by the sacraments – something which previous generations of the Church were not ignorant of (e.g., Aquinas wrote as much) and did not think contradicted Limbo. The present framing of the Church’s teaching, that she “can only entrust them to the mercy of God,” does not really say much of anything either way, and certainly doesn’t contradict its previous teachings.

And that’s why the Church teaches that we should have hope regarding the eternal disposition of unbaptized babies. (one of whom is mine) But this is just not part of revealed truth.

I would like to know when our soul is joined with our body. Is it at the moment of conception or at the moment of live birth and we take our first breath?

The Church’s teaching is that each human life is infused with a soul. Each new life begins at conception - no point after that makes sense as the time for ensoulment.

That’s why the pro-aborts get it wrong when they say the Church used to teach that abortion before quickening was accepted. The Church indeed used to teach that quickening coincided with ensoulment. But that is only because we didn’t have the biological knowledge of the joining of two sets of genetic material to form a new life. The teaching has always been consistent with the available human knowledge.

Thank you Corki. I have one as well.

Your explanation makes sense and is just want I was thinking.

One day, I pray, we’ll be reunited with our little ones. Now that I’m Catholic I have this image of Mary coming to me holding a little boy or girl and telling me that she has been taking care of my baby until I got there.

People didn’t go to Limbo before Christ, they went to the Bosom of Abraham, a part of the Land of the Dead (Hades), which is a different concept than Limbo. Limbo is an eternity of nothingness, which I guess could leave one with a sense of happiness and calm. Hades was split into the Bosom of Abraham and what we would consider Hell. A large chasm separated the two. After Jesus died, he went into the Bosom of Abraham and preached to the souls there to get them to go with him to Heaven. Jesus then came back to Earth and finished up his business before he Ascended to our Father in Heaven.

First let’s understand that limbo, if it exists, is indeed hell. It is eternal separation from God - what else is hell if not that?

Second, don’t let anybody tell you that limbo is Catholic doctrine because it is not. We are bound by God’s sacraments, but he is not (thus, for example, Jesus could be conceived within a married woman).

The Church is pretty clear that baptism is required for salvation, but the Church also notes that this baptism is not always water baptism. The Holy Innocents were not baptised, but the Church recognizes that they are in heaven. So we have every reason to hope that, regarding those who die without personal sin but without water baptism, that God, who loves them more than anybody could love them, more than they could love themselves, will offer them the gift of salvation. If he offers their murderers that gift (and he does), will he not also offer it to the murderers’ victims?

Just curious, why would it matter if they knew about two sources for the genetic material or not? As I understand it, quickening was thought to occur when fetal movement was detected, some weeks after any material was deposited.

It was St. Thomas Aquinas who wrote about ensoulment and quickening coinciding. In those days, the thinking was that the whole potential was in the man’s sperm. Deposited “material” wasn’t really any more of a baby (to thier thinking) until some degree of development had occured. And yes, quickening is around 18-20 weeks after conception.

Unfortunately we can’t do that. We simply trust in God’s mercy. Know that whatever God does it will be merciful and just.

Limbo of the infants is no longer the most commonly believed theory about the fate of the unbaptized babies, but it is allowed and personally I believe in it.

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