Friday, April 27, 2007

Limbo, not offically negated, just sort of in...limbo

It's hard to stay away from this...CNS STORY: Vatican commission: Limbo reflects 'restrictive view of salvation'

After several years of study, the Vatican's International Theological Commission said there are good reasons to hope that babies who die without being baptized go to heaven.

Apparently there's a feeling that the traditions that have developed in theology about coming to G*d through Christ and the teachings of the church 'seemed to reflect an "unduly restrictive view of salvation."' Umm, okay.

The church continues to teach that, because of original sin, baptism is the ordinary way of salvation for all people and urges parents to baptize infants, the document said.
It's the ordinary way, but now not the only way. Another good way is to die in childbirth. Or a car accident on the way home from the funeral. That's when God steps in and says, "Original sin? Naah, didn't really mean it. Sure you're tainted, but not tainted tainted."

But there is greater theological awareness today that God is merciful and "wants all human beings to be saved," it said. Grace has priority over sin, and the exclusion of innocent babies from heaven does not seem to reflect Christ's special love for "the little ones," it said.

Now if god wants all human beings to be saved, does that include non-Catholics. With this thought, is The Church becoming the church? Is the Vatican accidentally accepting the validity of other means of salvation, and with that the validity of other religions and their doctrines. Is it a moral relativist organization?

Limbo has never been defined as church dogma and is not mentioned in the current Catechism of the Catholic Church, which states simply that unbaptized infants are entrusted to God's mercy.

But limbo has long been regarded as the common teaching of the church. In the modern age, "people find it increasingly difficult to accept that God is just and merciful if he excludes infants, who have no personal sins, from eternal happiness," the new document said.

So this is PR and spin needed to correct old PR and spin.

Parents in particular can experience grief and feelings of guilt when they doubt their unbaptized children are with God, it said.

Or even just a bit of Dr Phil culture.

The church's hope for these infants' salvation reflects a growing awareness of God's mercy, the commission said. But the issue is not simple, because appreciation for divine mercy must be reconciled with fundamental church teachings about original sin and about the necessity of baptism for salvation, it said.

Although this is an argument from personal incredulity, I don't see how these two things can be reconciled. Either God laid down strict, just rules that mean some people go to hell and some don't or he didn't. Unfortunately for the Vatican's case that the Bible can be applied to stem cell research or human cloning or contraceptives, et cetera, in this case they "not[e] that there is "no explicit answer" from Scripture or tradition."

And what else would Scripture and tradition not hold an explicit answer for?

The commission said the new theological approach to the question of unbaptized babies should not be used to "negate the necessity of baptism, nor to delay the conferral of the sacrament."

"Rather, there are reasons to hope that God will save these infants precisely because it was not possible to do for them that what would have been most desirable -- to baptize them in the faith of the church and incorporate them visibly into the body of Christ," it said.

The commission said hopefulness was not the same as certainty about the destiny of such infants.

What a hopeful note to end the article on...they still might be burning in the lake of fire, but Christ we hope not.

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