What is going to happen to limbo?


#1

I read that the Church is going to drop limbo. Anybody else see this or am I late getting the news. I can remember the nuns explaining limbo to us in some detail. It is going away now?


#2

If it was they would not of put it in the Catechism of the Church. I will have to look up the quote on limbo tomorrow.


#3

Actually, it isn’t mentioned in the CCC and it’s also not a defined doctrine. Here’s a question and answer with Fr. Hardon:
catholic.net/rcc/Periodicals/Faith/7-8-98/Questions.html
Q. A priest has told me that the Church no longer believes in limbo. I believe the Catechism of the Catholic Church states that we can only trust in the mercy of God when an infant dies without Baptism. What is the position of the Church regarding infants who die without Baptism?
—T.S., Michigan

A. It is true that the Catechism of the Catholic Church does not speak of limbo. Over the centuries, the Church has understood limbo to be the abode of souls who enjoy the happiness that would have been our destiny if human beings had not been elevated to the supernatural order. The limbo of infants would therefore be a state or place of perfect happiness, but without the beatific vision of God.
Some theologians of renown have thought that God might supply the wont of Baptism by some other means. St. Bernard, for example, suggested that infants who died without Baptism could reach heaven because of the faith of their parents. The Catechism of the Catholic Church does not deny the possibility or the existence of limbo. It merely says we may trust that, in God’s mercy, innocent children, whether born or unborn, do reach heaven. To be noted, however, is that we may trust, but without being certain of their entering the beatific vision.

More on limbo: catholic.net/the_road_to_heaven/template_channel.phtml?channel_id=16


#4

[quote=OriginalJS]I read that the Church is going to drop limbo. Anybody else see this or am I late getting the news. I can remember the nuns explaining limbo to us in some detail. It is going away now?
[/quote]

The Church has not spoken yet. What you are reading is a whole bunch of wishful thinking and flat out guessing.


#5

the issue is sort of in limbo :o

Sorry, someone was going to say it. It might as well be me.


#6

[quote=Toni]If it was they would not of put it in the Catechism of the Church. I will have to look up the quote on limbo tomorrow.
[/quote]

The term “Limbo” is not officially used in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The closest in an Index reference to:

**1261 **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. Indeed, the great mercy of God who desires that all men should be saved, and Jesus’ tenderness toward children which caused him to say: “Let the children come to me, do not hinder them,” allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism. All the more urgent is the Church’s call not to prevent little children coming to Christ through the gift of holy Baptism.

PF


#7

[quote=WanderAimlessly]The term “Limbo” is not officially used in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The closest in an Index reference to:PF
[/quote]

Thank you I stand corrected!:o


#8

It is REALLY IMPORTANT that the terms “limbo” and “purgatory” be understood to be mutually exclusive from each other.

“limbo” was understood from the time of St. Augustine to be a place where the souls of the unbaptized go…such as aborted babies, or babies who die before baptism, etc.

It is not the same as purgatory, just a place of blessedness.

I actually just had a clase on this last night and clarified this.

PURGATORY is not a place, but it is a doctrine of the faith. It is a state of the soul, a baptized soul, in which it is purged of temporal punishment.

Please do not get the terms mixed up. Limbo is under review as far as the Catholic Church understands it, but PURGATORY is and will remain, a doctrine of the faith.


#9

[quote=bear06]Actually, it isn’t mentioned in the CCC
[/quote]

Do you only mean the CCC published in 1992? I have The Catholic Catechism: A Contemporary Catechism of the Teachings of the Catholic Church, by Fr. John Hardon, S.J., copyright 1981 (ISBN: 0-385-08045). It does mention limbo on page 510, in the bottom paragraph, starting on the third line:

“There is also the condemnation of the Jansenists, as teaching something ‘false, rash, and injurious to Catholic education,’ who claimed it was a Pelagian fable to hold there there is a place ‘which the faithful generally designate by the name of the limbo of the children,’ for the souls of those who depart this life with the sole guilt of original sin. St. Thomas taught that limbo is a place of perfect natural happiness, but minus the supernatural vision of God to which, of course, no creature has a natural right.”


#10

It is a point under discussion in Rome. There has yet to be a consensus. As a proponent for an actual definition of limbo myself I enjoied reading Fr. Cantalamessa’s argument against limbo on Zenit. I am sure that in time we will see an instruction of some sort on the issue.


#11

[quote=OriginalJS]I read that the Church is going to drop limbo. Anybody else see this or am I late getting the news. I can remember the nuns explaining limbo to us in some detail. It is going away now?
[/quote]

You are a little late. Check out this Catholic Answers thread:

Vatican theologians study issue of limbo


#12

As the Orthodox on this board aptly point out, eventhough there is nothing in the ancient Tradition to support the existance of Limbo, the Church did act in a way as to teach that Limbo was a real and sttled doctrine for hundreds of years.

Regardless of what the Catechism says now, the fact is is that everyone in the Church went around teaching that limbo was just as real and settled doctrine as purgatory was.


#13

[quote=Dan-Man916]As the Orthodox on this board aptly point out, eventhough there is nothing in the ancient Tradition to support the existance of Limbo, the Church did act in a way as to teach that Limbo was a real and sttled doctrine for hundreds of years.

Regardless of what the Catechism says now, the fact is is that everyone in the Church went around teaching that limbo was just as real and settled doctrine as purgatory was.
[/quote]

I wouldn’t say this either. There was an alternate to Heaven and Hell for God’s faithful who died before Christ’s Resurrection. However, that place was “closed” upon Christ retrieving the souls from there. So an alternative to Heaven and Hell is possible. I also don’t think you are correct in saying that it was anything close to settled doctrine. Limbo has been debated by the best. If it was settled doctrine, I doubt the saints would have been debating the issue amongst themselves. newadvent.org/cathen/09256a.htm


#14

[quote=bear06] I also don’t think you are correct in saying that it was anything close to settled doctrine. Limbo has been debated by the best. If it was settled doctrine, I doubt the saints would have been debating the issue amongst themselves. newadvent.org/cathen/09256a.htm
[/quote]

I am not saying it was settled doctrine. I am saying that the Priests, Bishops, and religious taught the laity about limbo as if it were settled doctrine. And they did this for hundreds of years.
I did a simple test (and i know this is anecdotal) of my parents and grandparents generation asking them about this. All of them, absolutely all of them, said they were taught that Limbo was dogma. Look at any of the writings after Trent onward (Trent does not mention LImbo) in which Limbo is mentioned and it is pretty much the opinion of any writer that limbo existed, and all of these had imprimatur’s and nihil obstats on them.

I know that it is theological speculation.
However, the fact remains, the Church did not treat it that way in practice for hundreds of years.

To me, with those facts, I find it quite that we simply dismissed Limbo with a wave of the hand, as we did after Vatican II. And I think this was done beacuse the idea is distasteful to the modern notions of universalism.


#15

[quote=Dan-Man916]… I am saying that the Priests, Bishops, and religious taught the laity about limbo as if it were settled doctrine.
[/quote]

Oh… this is probably true of most priests and bishops. St. Bernard, Cardinal Cajetan, and some other notable theologians are more the exception.

What seems settled is that if one dies with original sin alone, they descend immediately to hell. What that punishment consists of differed among those pre-Augustine, Augustine, post-Augustine, Thomas, and post-Thomas. Post-Trent was very post-Thomas in its influence, but it appears that the Church is leaning more towards their pre-Augustine view.


#16

[quote=OriginalJS]I read that the Church is going to drop limbo. Anybody else see this or am I late getting the news. I can remember the nuns explaining limbo to us in some detail. It is going away now?
[/quote]

I think the answer is still in Limbo…

Ha! I just had to get that in!


#17

However, the fact remains, the Church did not treat it that way in practice for hundreds of years.

The Church has always treated it as theological speculation. That said, many in the Church did not showing, once again, that humans are fallible even before Vatican II.

To me, with those facts, I find it quite that we simply dismissed Limbo with a wave of the hand, as we did after Vatican II. And I think this was done beacuse the idea is distasteful to the modern notions of universalism

I hardly think that it’s dismissed when a commission has been set up to research the issue. It should be distasteful to all the an innocent child would be condemned to an everlasting life without the beatific vision. That doesn’t mean that isn’t what happens but it’s certainly as distasteful as someone being condmened to hell. Actually, I’d think it more distasteful. Justice, however, isn’t always easy to stomach. It really has nothing to do with universalism. As a mother who has lost 2 children before baptism, I choose to believe what the Church has always taught. God is merciful and just.


#18

[quote=bear06] I hardly think that it’s dismissed when a commission has been set up to research the issue. It should be distasteful to all the an innocent child would be condemned to an everlasting life without the beatific vision. That doesn’t mean that isn’t what happens but it’s certainly as distasteful as someone being condmened to hell. Actually, I’d think it more distasteful. Justice, however, isn’t always easy to stomach. It really has nothing to do with universalism. As a mother who has lost 2 children before baptism, I choose to believe what the Church has always taught. God is merciful and just.
[/quote]

The Church hasn’t dismissed it but people in the Church seem to simply dismiss it now.
I agree it is distasteful. Who wants to think of an infant separate from God for eternity. I certainly don’t understand how God could do that either.

I think it challenges us to contemplate our perception of justice and mercy and what God owes us, and what we think God owes us.

If anything, i think talking about Limbo should cause us to look inward.


#19

Which is not necessarily an assertion by the Magisterium that souls who depart only in original sin are condemned to eternity in hell.… there is no positive suffering for the babies, for they have no personal guilt. This is confirmed by Pope Pius IX, in Quanto conficiamur moerore, August 10, 1863 (DS 2866) “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.”


… The Council of Florence in 1439 taught (DS 1306):“The souls of those who depart in actual mortal sin **or only original sin ** descend into the realm of the dead (infernum), to be punished however with unequal punishments.”
[INDENT]… The word poena in Latin need not always be the same as English “pain” - it can mean merely deprivation of something. As we saw above, Pius IX taught that God does not allow anyone to be punished with eternal punishments without the guilt of personal fault.
The word infernum in Latin means merely the realm of the dead, not hell in the English sense. Cf. the Creed in which we read that after His death, Jesus “descended into hell”- the archaic English use of the word.Unbaptized Infants: St. Thomas, etc.[/INDENT]


#20

[quote=OriginalJS]I read that the Church is going to drop limbo. Anybody else see this or am I late getting the news. I can remember the nuns explaining limbo to us in some detail. It is going away now?
[/quote]

There is no such thing is Limbo. That was only a theory that some theologins had.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.