Is limbo the place of the dead before Christ died for our sins and/or/both the place where babies go who have not been baptised?
The term is used for both.
Limbo patrem (of the fathers) is the place where the righteous dead from before Christ waited for Him to take them to Heaven. This limbo we know existed, but no longer does.
Limbo infantum (of the children) is a theological speculation about what happens to the unbaptized who die without actual sin. It is thought to be on the edge of Hell, where those there are denied the Beatific Vision, but have natural happiness, i.e. no suffring, as in the rest of Hell.
A Catholic is free to believe or disbelieve in Limbo. It is possible that some, all, or none of the unbaptized children go there. There is no definitive Church statement on the issue.
Limbo is no longer a part of Catholic teachings. Here is a good link to the topic.
The following are two teachings of St Augustine:
1.That infants who die without baptism have the penalty of fire in hell with the devil.
2.There is no place anywhere, in heaven, hell or anywhere else, where unbaptized infants have rest and happiness.
The teaching of St. Augustine on the fate of unbaptized infants was codified at the XVI Council of Carthage in 418, the Council of Lyons II in 1274, and at the Council of Florence in 1438-1445. The teaching of these councils is considered to be infallible by Catholic theologians because of the degree of authority given to them by popes.
There have been many, many studies done on the percentage of fertilized eggs (what some in this forum are arguing is soul-infused Life) that do not implant in the uterine lining. A safe median percentage is 50%. That is to say, 50% of all fertilized eggs fail to implant in the uterus. Furthermore, if the fertilized egg does implant, there is still a 15-25 percent chance of these pregnancies ending in miscarriage.
Thus according to Church doctrine, if one sees Church doctrine as stating the life begins at “conception” (And we have already pounded in the ground the discussion of the biological reality of what “conception” is in previous discussion), then for the year 2002, which had 281,057,000 births, and if at least double that amount should have been born, but could not implant in the uterus, that means that about 300, 000, 000 babies’ souls were sent to burn eternally in the sulfurous fires of hell.
This is not held by the Catholic Church. Even though it was codified by two councils, the Church in her wisdom never made Limbo part of her deposit of faith. In other words, Limbo is not a doctrine of the Catholic Church. It was a position worthy of belief, while it made sense. But given the developments in theology, this position is no longer held by the Catholic faith, unlike Purgatory which is a doctrine of the faith, because its source is biblical and cannot be called into question. The only thing that the Church can do with purgatory is explain it more clearly as time passes, but it cannot deny it.
Limbo has fallen into disuse in Catholic theology and official teachings of the Church. It was deliberately excluded by Pope John Paul II from the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC). It was in the Catechism of Trent and other older catechisms. But it is not included in the CCC nor recommended for inclusion in any catechism based on the official Catechism of the Church.
Children who are aborted are really victims. Therefore, they are not sentenced to eternal suffering. This also applies to children who die as a result of spontaneous abortions (miscarriages). Though they are not victims, they are not sentenced to eternal suffering. God is not so unmerciful as to make children suffer who were never baptized through no fault of their own. This is one of those situations where the Church applies Baptism of desire.
Actually Limbo Infantium has NEVER been a Church teaching. It was only ever a theological hypothesis.
I agree. Limbo is not part of Catholic thought. Do you have a link to Vatican writings dealing with Baptism of Desire and how it links with unbatized children who do not come to term.
A priest friend of mine - as he tried to find out the fate of a lost package - said in frustration that the church gave limbo to FedEx.
Here are two summary statements of what the Church believes regarding Baptism of desire, from the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
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.
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.
Here we must apply as we pray so must we teach.
Hope this helps.
I like to do the limbo it