Existence of Limbo & discussion comments

The Reuters article "Theologians to ask Pope to suspend limbo?" prompted me to check out the comments made in the Yahoo! discussion boards.  It appears there is a great amount of misunderstanding about (as well as hatred toward) the things the Catholic Church teaches, as well as what constitutes official Church teaching/doctrine.
The following are some of the comments I posted:
From the article: ‘The Catholic Church teaches that babies who die before they can be baptized go to limbo, whose name comes from the Latin for "border" or "edge," because they deserve neither heaven nor hell.’

Wrong! The Catholic Church never made belief in limbo an official doctrine of the Church. It was a construct of some theologians in the Middle Ages to attempt to get around the question of what happens to unbaptized innocents (a.k.a. babies). The most notable example (and main reason for its popularity) is from the works of Dante.

However, Dante was not a pope, and no pope ever stated that this is, in fact, the eternal fate of unbaptized babies. If this were the case, then there would be 40 million souls in limbo from the past 33 years of "legal" abortion in the U.S.A. Somehow I think God’s mercy would not abandon these souls to forever be without the vision of his face.

For more information, please see
and http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/2001/0101fr.asp

God bless, and pray that less babies will go unbaptized, especially the unborn.

> It’s odd enough this medieval,
> hypocritical, BS organization still even exists!

You know what other things from medieval times still exist?
– universities (originally for studying theology)
– capitalism (Adam Smith)
– genetic research (Gregor Mendel)
– music notation
– buttons, watches

Does the fact that these originated or really took off during the Middle Ages make them also hypocritical or "BS"?

As C.S. Lewis said in "Surprised by Joy":
"’Why – damn it – it’s medieval,’ I exclaimed; for I still had all the chronological snobbery of my period and used the names of earlier periods as terms of abuse."

Good luck with your chronological snobbery.

(responding to post by noledu)
If you are actually interested in researching why the Church teaches what it teaches (rather than simply bashing it and feeling satisfied in yourself), check out http://www.catholic.com

think about it – 2000 years of corporate thought vs. your 20-50 years of existence, with the occasional fleeting thought toward theology and philosophy.

I think something that has, as it’s mission statement, the meditation upon the truths revealed to it by God, might be in a better position than the average amateur.

An example: does Boeing make a better airplane from scratch or do you? And Boeing’s only been around < 100 years!

> I renounced catholicism at 12 years of age for

And I’m sure you were a truly enlightened 12 year old.

Tell me, had you already studied Aristotle, or Augustine, or Aquinas by 12 years old, or were you satisfied to renounce a child’s understanding of Catholicism, thinking that was the real deal?

Christianity, like anything else that is real and true, is both simple and complex: simple enough to be understood as a child, but complex enough to have wise men pondering its intricacies for lifetimes.

If I may borrow from C.S. Lewis, take a chair: simple enough for a child to understand that they can sit on it. But does an adult see just a chair, or do they see a multitude of pieces of wood and cloth, connected and interlocked together – those pieces of wood and cloth themselves made up of chains of molecules, made up of atoms, made up of subatomic particles, held together by forces we do not understand, but can only describe and quantify?

If the chair doesn’t work as a ladder, does an adult assume it is no good for anything at all, not even for being a chair? Or does an adult realize that it has a set purpose (being a chair), with a proper use, and that anything else is an "ab"use (as in "abnormal use"), which can cause frustration or even harm?

The same holds true for those that reject Catholicism because it doesn’t explain science – it wasn’t meant to! Although it sometimes coincides with science (such as the case with Friar Gregor Mendel, the first geneticist), it often times is describing something outside of the bounds of science. (Science can no more quantify the soul than it can quantify love or pain or humor – these are not the realm of science.)

BTW, Fundamentalists are not Catholics. Pope Benedict XVI even made a statement warning Catholics away from Fundamentalist thinking, such as creationism. (If you missed it, Pope Benedict said Catholics should listen to science, and Pope John Paul II said that evolution is a viable theory for the existence of the human body, but not the soul.)

Thus endeth the lesson. I pray you will reconsider an adult religion, such as the Catholic faith.

Comment 2949:
> So don’t be so indignant and defensive about your precious self-righteous fraud of a church.

Whoa! I didn’t realize I was being indignant! If I came off that way, I apologize – it’s difficult to put vocal tone into written words.

As for your family, I am sorry to hear all of that. However, that was a fault of those priests (and we know and admit there have been more than a few who did not live up to their station) – not a fault of the Church.

As for other "false teachings", I’d say they are more due to perspective (of which you only cited a few – one cannot draw universal conclusions on just a few selective examples. Any statistician will tell you that!)

The Church does teach against divorce – however, when it says you must stay married, it does not mean that you must stay in the same house/town/country as an abusive spouse. Separation is allowed, as long as adultery/remarriage/bigamy/etc. does not enter in.

As for your Mom’s friend – one doctor told her she might die if she has another child, but doctor’s have been wrong on countless occasions. There’s also natural family planning, whereby a husband and wife can have a healthy sex life, all the while avoiding those times of peak fertility. As for being told she was living in mortal sin for having her tubes tied – well, I’d have her consult another priest, and explain the situation to him that her life was at risk. God’s mercy may extend beyond what she did in her past – that’s the grace of the sacrament of reconciliation. If she’s truly sorry for having done that, there’s a distinct probability that forgiveness will be granted.

Please, don’t be so judgmental of a faith based on both justice and mercy. Charity is always at work in God’s Church. I hope it is also at work in your heart and those of your loved ones as well.

(responding to a post by Ol_Timer)
I try not to shove. The problem with Bible thumping is that everyone involved ends up with a headache.

G.K. Chesterton said, (and I paraphrase), "You must appeal to the heart, rather than the intellect. This is why we say you can touch a man’s heart. The only thing you can do with a head is hit it."

The way I try to present religion is like an upper science class – it is truth, and if you’re interested, my bet is that it will help you to more fully understand and enjoy life.

But not everybody likes a science class. To them, I pray that science (or in this case, religion) doesn’t teach its own lesson painfully, like gravity being taught to the man who walks off a cliff.

willimar1 wrote (in response to Comment 2913):
> is a Pope, a Cardinal, a Bishop, a Deacon,
> an Elder, a Pastor, a Priest, etc any closer
> to or more priviliged to recieve Gods’ word
> than any believer who truly asks "Lord guide me".

On a personal level, no – The Lord is no respecter of persons – what He does for one, He will do for another. (see Acts 10:34-35)

However, on a universal, truths-received-from-Christ-Jesus-basis, to be given and interpreted to all mankind for all time, the Magisterium of the Church does have an advantage: the are the keepers of the deposit of faith. The deposit of faith is both the sacred Scriptures *and* sacred Tradition.

Here I must define "Tradition" (with a capital T). Tradition is *not* (necessarily) the customs and rituals of the Church culture (this is the most common definition of tradition). Tradition is actually the original meaning, from the Latin "traho/tradere/tredi/trasus", which means "handed on", as in "the teachings handed on to the Apostles by Jesus, which they then handed on to their successors."

This is actually supported by Scripture where it says: "Therefore, brothers, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught, either by an oral statement or by a letter of ours." (2 Thess 2:15) It is also supported by Eph 3:10 – "so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church…" Finally, it is the Church, not Scripture or an individual believer’s own thoughts, that is the pillar of truth, the final interpreter of God’s word: "But if I should be delayed, you should know how to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth." (1 Tim 3:15). 

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4 Responses to Existence of Limbo & discussion comments

  1. Unknown says:

    Dear Sir,I would like your permission to add a link to your blog on my sites. Thank You!Pax,+ Abbot Mason Paramore, OSB

  2. Unknown says:

    Update to the Limbo story.Limbo is for sale – http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Limbo_W0QQitemZ4424477850QQcategoryZ48757QQssPageNameZWD4VQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItemCurrently selling for 9.5 British pounds. 🙂

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