You know, this entry is a lot more confusing if you mis-read “infants” as “elephants”.
But this seems (to a non-Catholic) to be a weird move for the church. I mean, it’s a drag for all those dead babies to end up in limbo, but either you can’t go to heaven unless you’re in a proper state of grace, or you can, and I’d always thought the church was pretty clear about where it stood on the issue.
From commentary I”ve read about this, it means the Church no longer feels that babies are born in a state of original sin that is removed by baptism, but that baptism represents an initiation into the Church.
A far more positive take on the state of humanness!
(I thought this happened some years ago though…)
I don’t think it marks a retreat from the teaching on original sin and its effects at all. Rather, it merely brings the question of infants lost before baptism up to join many of the other questions about salvation outside the Church - questions answered with the contemporary adage of hope that “God works through the Sacraments, but He is not bound by them.”
As the Church panel noted, limbo was an “unduly restrictive” view of salvation. The Church seems to be keeping the matter open, not speaking definitively (having not exhaustively studied the issue in full communion with the magisterium it seems), but trying to put the thumb on the scale for hope and trust in God. Nevertheless, limbo itself was a rather hopeful doctrine itself. After all, it did not relegate unbatized innocents to hell (as a more restrictive view of original sin (and God’s power and perfect discretion) might), but placed them in a state of happiness and peace (albeit not perfectly united with God). Today it only offends our modern sensibilities of equity and fairness because the innocents didn’t “get in”, although they are still being cared for, according to the theory.
If original sin is primarily borne out in its effect on the human predisposition to sin, then perhaps its power to remove the soul from God’s grace does not occur until the person (catholic, prot, hindu, muslim, rosie o’donnell, Kodos) consciously commits their first grave, mortal sin. But don’t pope me on that.
Yes, the idea of limbo is a lot nicer than eternal damnation for the unbaptized.
But it seems that by changing this - allowing that those not properly prepared the opportunity to enter heaven - is a big step.
Again, I’m neither a Catholic nor a theologian, and certainly not saying that the church can’t or shouldn’t do this. It lines up more with my own fuzzy kinder/gentler god thinking, which goes against the idea of strong church authority and strikes me as rather protestant.
The hypothesis of “limbo” was first proposed during a period of intellectual ferment in the late Medieval known as “scholasticism.” This is the same period that brought us the modern university, and the degrees PhD and ThD (Doctorates of Philosophy and Theology, the original doctorates conferred by universities).
Contrary to popular belief, the Catholic Church did not clamp down on free-thinking theologians, but rather encouraged open (and often heated) scholarly debates about the nature of god, man and the afterlife. The church only demanded conformity on a few non-negotiables, but the rest was open for debate, and the church has never taken an official position on areas of philosophical argument (as philosopher and Pope, John Paul II said, “The church has no official philosophy.”)
Pope Benedict’s statement is merely an acknowledgement of the fact that the hypothesis of limbo, once popular among scholars (though never official church doctrine), has lost favor in current scholarship.
Those who believe the church must accept responsibility for all catholic philosophers must first insist that the church increase its regulation of free philosophical inquiry, so as to avoid even the near occasion of error.
I, however, prefer the scholastic model of free inquiry, even if some scholars occasionally get it woefully wrong. After all, it was the scholastic system of Catholic universities that eventually lifted Europe out of the dark ages, and propelled the west beyond the achievements of any other civilzation on earth (before that, other societies were far more advanced).
That’s just pure skepticism SDI. Assuming for the sake of argument that a particular religion, religions, all religions, or just the human search for truth in general could receive some kind of external divine revelation of truth, how do you propose it would occur. Obviously we have no knowledge of any Pope, even Peter, having a direct connection or dialogue with God in heaven after Christ ascended, but we never claimed that. We simply believe that the infallible teaching of Church leaders (either all bishops teaching as one or the Pope teaching explicitly ex cathedra “From the Chair of St. Peter” (which only been done twice)) is “inspired” by the Holy Spirit, just as Scripture was inspired so that human errors could not interfere with the truth value-revelation God intended. i.e. the scripture author, intending to write an historical account imbedded with teaching sits down to write, he prays, he considers; in the case of teaching, the bishops confer, they listen, the solicit ideas, they study, they pray, then they come to a decision. If you don’t believe that God involves Godself in their deliberations and inspired and leads them to the correct conclusions, fine, lots of people, lots of Christians, join you in the disagreement.
But your skeptic’s point seems to lack much substance. Assuming Catholic faith is a deposit of divine revelation, who cares whether Benedict got a phone call. Question is, do you have reason to believe that if God did use a phone, Benedict would be “in his Five”.
I do. But that’s just me.
(but I’ll let you in on a little secret. It’s awesome! There is no way I could see as much beauty in creation and existence with another creed. (and I’m a normally dumpy person)).
“But your skepticâ€™s point seems to lack much substance.”
My point lacks substance? Please explain to me the substance of some guy in a funny hat deciding babies don’t end up in limbo.
All this stuff is pure B.S. If there is a divine creator, there is plenty of evidence that we have absolutely no idea what it is or what its intentions could possibly be.
The scale of the universe is so large and our place in it so insignificant that it is hard to believe the creator of the Universe would need us to do His bidding. In addition, Christianity is such a blip, not only in regard to the timeline of life on Earth but also in the timeline of humans on Earth, that it is no surprise the Creationists are trying to convince people the Earth is only 5,000 years old. To recognize the truth would really call into question the whole concept of Christianity being relevant.
My point lacks substance? Please explain to me the substance of some guy in a funny hat deciding babies donâ€™t end up in limbo.
This sentence alone proves your point lacks substance. If you want to be critical of the Church and religion in general fine, but you might try doing so by putting forth informed criticisms instead of cartoonish rants. Your complete and utter lack of what is really going on shows that you not only have no clue what the Church teaches, but that you didn’t even bother to read the article before coming down on your high horse.
First, the Vatican isn’t ‘reversing’ anything because Limbo has never been a doctrine of the Church. It was widely believed, but was an open question (just like many other issues that most lay Catholics and non-Catholics mistakenly believe are doctrine). Limbo was actually a liberalizing of Augustine’s belief that all the unbaptized go to hell.
Second, although the Church does teach that everyone is born with original sin the Church does not teach that a need for water baptism is absolute. The Church has always taught that salvation is possible without the sacrament of baptism. For example, persons unable to be baptized before death can be saved by ‘baptism of desire’ and martyrs can be saved by ‘baptism of blood.’
All religion lacks substance. Thatâ€™s why it relies on faith instead of facts.
Thank you for furthering admitting your ignorance and unwillingness to engage in debate. Lets see which side is the one without substance, the one that is presenting explanations or the one making vague, biased, hostile attacks on something they disagree with. Yeah, thought so.
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