November 30, 2005

'Limbo' is No More?

Its (almost) official, the status of the Catholic Doctrine of ‘limbo’ is no longer … well in limbo.

The Pope is set to abolish the concept of Limbo, overturning a belief held by Roman Catholics since the Middle Ages.

Limbo has long been held to be the place where the souls of children go if they die before they can be baptised. However, a 30-strong international commission of theologians summoned by the late John Paul II last year to come up with a “more coherent and illuminating” doctrine in tune with the modern age is to present its findings to Pope Benedict XVI on Friday.

Vatican sources said yesterday that the commission would recommend that Limbo be replaced by the more “compassionate” doctrine that all children who die do so “in the hope of eternal salvation”.

And get this …

There is little doubt that the Pope will agree. As Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger he presided over the commission’s first sessions. He is on record as saying that Limbo has no place in modern Catholicism. In 1984, he told Vittorio Messori, the Catholic author, that Limbo had “never been a definitive truth of the faith”.

He said: “Personally, I would let it drop, since it has always been only a theological hypothesis.”

Great start, now if they can just get to a few other ‘theological hypothesis’ they can clear up centuries of issues. Also, Limbo “has no place in modern Catholicism”? What exactly does that mean? I’d think it never had a place.

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