24 Reasons Why Not To Reject Limbo
Limbo is in the news. A new document from Rome's International Theological Commission [ITC], released on April 20, states that Catholics may virtually ignore the teaching on limbo and may have "many reasons for hope" for the salvation of unbaptized infants.
Practically every major newspaper carried the story. Headlines such as "Vatican Abolishes Limbo;" "Vatican Report Rejects Limbo;" and "Concept of Limbo Now Assigned to Oblivion" appeared throughout the world.
Our Lord opening Limbo by Fra Angelico
Yet despite this latest study, many intend to hold to the conventional teaching that the souls of infants who die before Baptism do not attain Heaven, because they have not obtained the remission of Original Sin that only Baptism provides. They go to Limbo, a place of natural happiness wherein they suffer no pain of punishment since they are guilty of no personal sin.
Listed below are 24 of the chief reasons why I, and thousands of Catholics the world over, will not reject the Catholic doctrine of Limbo:
1. Because Pope Pius VI, in a formal magisterial decree, denounced the rejection of Limbo as "false, rash, slanderous to Catholic schools";
2. Because the ITC's study on Limbo is neither a papal document, nor a magisterial document, but a modern theological exercise that does not bind the conscience of Catholics in any way;
3. Because not even the highest Church authority has the power to change, discard or weaken objective Catholic truth;
4. Because it is an unchangeable article of Faith, taught infallibly by the Second Council of Lyons and the Council of Florence that the souls of those who depart this life in the state of original sin are excluded from the Beatific Vision;
5. Because Pope Sixtus V taught in a 1588 Constitution that victims of abortion, being deprived of Baptism, are "excluded from Beatific Vision," which is one of the reasons Sixtus V denounced abortion as a heinous crime;
6. Because the teaching of Limbo has been handed down to us by the Church Fathers, the denial of its existence has been censured, and its existence is held as theologically certain;
7. Because to reject Limbo strengthens the implicit denial of Original Sin, a chief error of our age;
8. Because all conventional textbooks on Catholic Moral Theology, basing themselves on the Council of Florence, teach that parents sin grievously by needlessly delaying Baptism of their newborns, as it endangers the infant's salvation. Father Prummer's Handbook of Moral Theology teaches, "Children of Catholic parents should be baptized at the earliest possible moment. Leo XIII fiercely condemned the postponing of Baptism of children";
9. Because the theory that babies who die before Baptism attain Heaven was never taken seriously by the Fathers, Saints, Doctors and Popes of the Church throughout History. As theologian Fr. Brian Harrison recently noted, the controversy regarding Limbo has never been whether unbaptized babies go to either Limbo or Heaven, but whether or not they suffer any pain of sense in Limbo;
10. Because one of the theologians cited in the ITC text is the late Fr. Karl Rahner, a modern theologian known for his dubious teaching on Original Sin;
11. Because another theologian cited in the ITC document was Fr. Jacques Dupuis, a man whom I heard at a 2003 conference denounce the Council of Florence as a "horrible text," which displays contempt for sacred, infallible doctrine;
Above, Our Lord in Limbo by Ducci di Bonisegna. Below, by Giotto
12. Because St. Thomas Aquinas, the Prince of theologians, taught that the unbaptized "cannot be saved, for there is only one means of being incorporated with Jesus Christ and of receiving his grace [Baptism], without which there is no salvation among men."
13. Because Limbo cannot be dismissed without doing violence to Catholic doctrine defined at the Council of Trent: That all human beings, with the exception of Christ and the Blessed Mother, are born with Original Sin; and that Baptism is necessary to remit Original Sin, obtain sanctifying grace and thus attain eternal life;
14. Because churchmen can not reform Catholic doctrine for the sake of alleged "new pastoral needs," since human considerations and "signs of the times" have no bearing on whether or not a Catholic doctrine is true;
15. Because nothing can be more unpastoral than to insinuate the consistent teaching of Popes, Saints and Doctors of the Church throughout the centuries may now be discarded. This causes great confusion and bewilderment among the faithful;
16. Because the novelties and ambiguities in the ITC document on Limbo can never supersede the clear, forthright teaching of the perennial Catholic Magisterium;
17. Because the ITC document neither affirms nor outright denies the existence of Limbo, but bleeds it to death with sentimental and modernist statements unworthy of a sound Catholic text;
18. Because the Second Council of Nicea formally anathematizes any Catholic who rejects written or unwritten Tradition;
19. Because the First Vatican Council, employing the full weight of infallible authority, commands Catholics to believe the Catholic Faith "in the same sense and in the same meaning," as the Church has held throughout the centuries;
20. Because Pope St. Pius X condemned the "evolution of dogma" as a principle error of the Modernist heresy;
21. Because the First Vatican Council teaches dogmatically that even a Pope has no authority to proclaim a new doctrine, or to change doctrine, but is bound to faithfully transmit what the Church always taught throughout the ages;
22. Because the revered Carmelite theologian Fr. Joseph de Sainte Marie observed that the Church is now going through "an extraordinarily abnormal period," in which it is "very often the case that the acts of the Holy See demand of us prudence and discernment;"
23. Because I cannot accept any teaching that would have been denounced by Pope Pius XII, Pope Pius XI, Pope Benedict XV, Pope St. Pius X, Pope Leo XIII, Pope Pius IX, and all previous Popes;
24. Because there are countless Catholic parents throughout the ages who have suffered the misfortune of miscarriages, but were not the least bit tempted to discard the teaching of Limbo, since they knew the souls of these unbaptized babies enjoy a state of natural happiness for eternity.