April 21, 2007

"The Hope of Salvation for Infants Who Die without Being Baptized"

THE NOTION OF LIMBO was a theological speculation. The Catholic Church never defined it as a doctrine (binding or otherwise).


1257 The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation.[60] He also commands his disciples to proclaim the Gospel to all nations and to baptize them.[61] Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament.[62] The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude; this is why she takes care not to neglect the mission she has received from the Lord to see that all who can be baptized are "reborn of water and the Spirit." GOD HAS BOUND SALVATION TO THE SACRAMENT OF BAPTISM, BUT HE HIMSELF IS NOT BOUND BY HIS SACRAMENTS.


1260 "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."[63] [....]

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,"[64] allow us TO HOPE THAT THERE IS A WAY OF SALVATION FOR CHILDREN WHO HAVE DIED WITHOUT BAPTISM. [....]

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[60] Cf. Jn. 3:5.
[61] Cf. Mt. 28:19-20; cf. Council of Trent (1547) DS 1618; Lumen Gentium 14; Ad Gentes 5.
[62] Cf. Mk. 16:16.
[63] Gaudium et Spes 22 ยง 5; cf. Lumen Gentium 16; Ad Gentes 7.
[64] Mk. 10 14; cf. 1 Tim. 2:4.


Blogger onionboy said...

Well, I certainly "hope" so because our first son died at age 44 hours and nearly two decades before we became Catholic. Before we even knew he was dying we dedicated him to the Lord, as his godly parents. One may call that baptism by desire. One may call it what one likes but I cannot see God in any way rejecting an infant who while born under the same curse of original sin as every human had neither the opportunity to sin on its own and that was committed fully to the Lord by its parents with eternity in mind.

Indeed, as we came into the CC and learned of its teaching on Baptism we leaned most on the final words of 1257.

I have no interest in Limbo, a teaching of convenience, it makes little sense. Rather, in my mind there is no doubt that God, a merciful God, the God of Jesus Divine Mercy, would welcome into the eternal abode of his most merciful heart all infants who die.

(As to 1261, I have never understood why She could not simple say, "the Church entrusts them to the mercy of God" rather than "can only entrust them.." which seems to open room for doubt. But perhaps I am tripping on semantics).

What does he do with those aborted? I believe he welcomes them home. How can it be any different with infants? "In a way known to God", indeed, yes.


4:51 PM  
Blogger Anita Moore said...

Here are my own speculations on this subject.

7:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I lost three babies to miscarriage; one at 10 weeks, one at 12 weeks and one at 5 weeks. When the pregnancy test came back positive for each of my babies I immediately dedicated him/her to Jesus and the Blessed Mother. I have never doubted that my husband, our four living children, and I will someday see these little ones in paradise; but I am glad that Mother Church is clarifying things a bit.

9:23 AM  
Blogger DimBulb said...

Father Al Kimmel of Pontifications has up a great series of posts on this subject:

People's ignorance and assumptions regarding this theological hypothesis are disturbing.

10:47 AM  

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