Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Limbo in limbo

Interesting story in the NYTimes today - Vatican Considers Consigning Limbo to Oblivion

Limbo, that netherworld of unbaptized babies, worthy pagans and even a few Muslims, is very much on the way out...
This month, 30 top theologians from around the world met at the Vatican to discuss, among other quandaries, the problem of what happens to babies who die without baptism.

Frankly, I think such a move is long overdue. It is nothing short of cruel for the church to tell a mother who just lost a baby that her infant is going anywhere other than to be with God. But I can also see why they have been hesitant to do so up until now.

How can you convince people that they have to be baptized without the fear of hellfire and damnation? If you make an exception for babies, how far does that exception go? At what age can they declare that a child has been consigned to hell for not being cleansed of its “original sin” ? Such a quandry!

The idea of sending innocent babies to hell has always been hard for most people to stomach. But sending them to limbo isn’t much better. So what will they do now? Admit that the church doesn’t have the official rulebook from God that says who does and doesn’t get into Heaven? That’ll be the day!

So I will be interested to see what these Vatican theologians come up with. My guess is that they will take the same stance as doctors dealing with terminal diseases. They will highly recommend baptism for babies, but won’t make any guarantees that it is the final arbiter of salvation.

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