Sunday, April 22, 2007

New Teaching On Limbo?
Don't get too wound up just yet

New Catholic over at Rorate Caeli posted a terse, yet concise, comment about the latest that has the secular media (and Roman Protestants) all in a tizzy.

It is not worthwhile to write a lengthy post on the study by the International Theological Commission, which: (1) did not (and could not...) "abolish" limbo; (2) is not a Papal document neither a Magisterial document of any kind; (3) is not binding for anyone, but purely a theological exercise.

Well-informed Catholics cannot fall into the traps set by ill-informed or malicious secular journalists.

And a couple of wonderful examples of those within The Church who saddle up with those very same ill-informed or malicious secular journalists ---

"...everyone is born in the state of grace," said the Rev. Richard McBrien, professor of theology at the University of Notre Dame. Baptism does not exist to wipe away the "stain" of original sin, but to initiate one into the Church." (And this goomba teaches theology? Notre Dame, Our Mother... pray for us)

And this little gem;

"Parents who are mourning the death of their child are no longer going to be burdened with the added guilt of not having gotten their child baptized," said the Rev. Thomas Reese, a senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University. He said the document also had implications for non-Christians, since it could be seen as suggesting that non-baptized adults could go to heaven if they led a good life.

I think it shows that Benedict is trying to balance his view of Jesus as being central as the savior of the world ... but at the same time not saying what the Evangelicals say, that anyone who doesn't accept Jesus is going to hell," he said in a phone interview.

(Ummm... Father Reese... Catholicism has been teaching that for 2,000 years now, with Invincible Ignorance being the exception. But anyone who is even vaguely familiar with the Woodstock Theological Center already knows that it's a den of heresy that's enamored with Universal Salvation, etc. That bunch would make Cdl. Mahony of Los Angeles blush. By the way, did anyone else notice that Fr. Reese referred to Pope Benedict simply as "Benedict"? Not "The Holy Father" or "His Holiness" or even "Pope"... just Benedict. Interesting.)

OK, gang... I have just a few questions that we can all ponder as we get ready to attend Mass this fine Sunday morning -

1. Does Original Sin exist anymore?

2. Did it ever exist?

3. Is Baptism even a necessary Sacrament anymore, or just some type of Ecclesiastical Debutantes Ball as Fr. McBrien describes?

As a father who has buried an un-Baptized son, let me say this... there is no doubt in my mind that my Paul James is in a spiritual state of perfect happiness. He's in a "special part of Heaven", so to say, even though he'll never experience the Beatific Vision.

After all, if my son IS experiencing the Beatific Vision... if EVERYONE is born into a State of Grace... if anyone can attain Salvation "just by being a good person"... then why did Jesus have to die?


Blogger paramedicgirl said...

With professors like that taeching theology, it's no wonder the state the Church is in. I guess it's up to the educated laity to correct the misguided educators.

1:57 PM  
Blogger Londiniensis said...

Dante et al were wrong. Limbo isn't an antechamber of Hell, it's an antechamber of Heaven.

4:44 PM  
Blogger Alexander said...

Dante et al were wrong. Limbo isn't an antechamber of Hell, it's an antechamber of Heaven.

What do you mean?

Limbo is defined as a place where the ones without actual sin but the stain of original sin go.
Defined dogma states that whoever dies with original sin only goes to hell.
Therefore limbo is apart of hell, without the demons, punishments and is a place of bliss.

6:07 PM  
Blogger Former Altar Boy said...

Yes, that was always my understanding of the Church's teaching, as in the Apostle's Creed...."He (Christ) descended into hell..." After Christ opened the gates of heaven with His death, he went to "hell" -- a place outside the Divine Presence (limbo) to get all the righteous Jews of the Old Testament.

8:21 PM  
Blogger Anita Moore said...

VSC, may I offer my own speculations on the subject of the fate of unbaptized infants?

8:49 PM  
Blogger SMA said...

I am only referring to the last three paragraphs of the original post. First, Fr. McBrien has been off since the seventies when he thought JP II would allow women priests. Enough said about him.

As far as being born into a state of grace…it hasn’t happened since Mary. Salvation by just being a good person can be played a couple of ways. In most ways it is completely wrong. The only rationalization could be if one says being a good person infers a “good person” completely recognizes Christ as Lord and desires Baptism but dies in defense of the Lord before a Baptism can be performed. This would then be Baptism by blood. The only other way the above statement is correct is if ignorant of the Gospel and the Church but seeks the truth and seeks the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, he can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity (CCC 1260). Like I said, in most ways it is wrong.

The last two paragraphs are the real issue. Too many issues exist to hit on them all here but I will try to be concise. As far as an un-baptized child is concerned you should not be too quick to dismiss desire for Baptism, which brings about the fruits of Baptism without being a sacrament (CCC 1258). I would highly encourage a deep reflection on paragraph 1261 of the Catechism for the situation you are dealing with.

To claim someone is in a spiritual state of perfect happiness precludes the Beatific Vision. Anything short of the Beatific Vision will be short of “perfect” happiness. The idea of levels within Heaven is a strongly Muslim and Protestant philosophy and has had some influence with a minority of Catholics due to certain interpretations of the Book of Revelation and the influence of protestant theology. This is not however the traditional view of Catholic theology.

Lastly, the question “why did Jesus have to die?” can be answered through the fact that mankind needed redemption. Man has always owed God perfection. With the first sin man was in debt to God. Therefore, every man after Adam could be perfect and mankind would still owe God. There was no way for man to pay the debt back to God since even a life of perfection would only keep that one individual even with God. In order to pay the debt a man needed to exist that was fully human and fully divine. By the sacrifice of a divine the debt could be paid. The trick was that this divinity also had to be human so that humanity could be credited for the sacrifice; hence, Christ.

I hope this was helpful. God Bless!

3:50 AM  
Blogger M. Alexander said...

Fr. McBrien's misleadingly titled book "Catholicism" has been condemned by the Vatican. However he continues at Notre Dame. Fr. Reese was fired as editor of the Jesuit's America Magazine a few minutes after Pope Benedict's ascension to the Papal throne.

When they are rejoicing and spinning we know there is something wrong.

8:53 AM  

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