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April 20, 2007 at 11:12 pm #1634AnonymousInactive
The Roman Catholic Church has revised its teaching on one of the major concepts of limbo, as Pope Benedict approved a church report Friday that said there are “grounds for hope” that unbaptized babies can go to heaven.
The limbo of children is traditionally defined as the state of permanent exclusion from heaven for babies who die without being freed from original sin through baptism, although there is no formal Catholic doctrine.
The Pope, a respected theologian before his election as pontiff, approved the findings of the International Theological Commission that limbo reflected “unduly restrictive view of salvation.”
The commission’s long-awaited 41-page document was released on Origins, the documentary service of Catholic News Service, the news agency of the American Bishop’s Conference.
“We can say we have many reasons to hope that there is salvation for these babies,” the Rev. Luis Ladaria, a Jesuit who is the commission’s secretary general, told the Associated Press.
Baptism still necessary, says commission
Theologians have long taught that children in limbo enjoy an eternal state of perfect natural happiness but without being in communion with God.
Pope Benedict and his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, had urged further study on limbo, in part because of “the pressing pastoral needs” sparked by the increase in abortion and the growing number of children who die without being baptized, the report said.
In the document, the commission said there were “serious theological and liturgical grounds for hope that unbaptized infants who die will be saved and brought into eternal happiness.”
It stressed, however, that “these are reasons for prayerful hope, rather than grounds for sure knowledge.”
It also emphasized that the declaration was not a questioning of the concept of original sin and should not be used “to negate the necessity of baptism or delay the conferral of the sacrament.”
Ladaria said no one could know for certain what becomes of unbaptized babies since Scripture is largely silent on the matter.
The International Theological Commission is a body of Vatican-appointed theologians who advise the Pope and the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Benedict headed the Congregation for two decades before becoming Pope in 2005.April 25, 2007 at 6:09 pm #8048AnonymousInactive
The Church has always held high hope for infants. Nothing was revised…[/color:3jt7bjhs]
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