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Commission discussing fate of children who die without baptism

The Vatican-based International Theological Commission has resolved to find an answer to the question of what happens to children who die without being baptised.

According to traditional Catholic teaching, baptism is necessary for salvation. However few Catholics believe that children, who have not had the opportunity to accept or reject the sacrament of initiation into the Church, will be denied salvation by God.

"The Congregation [for the Doctrine of the Faith] asked us to reflect on the question of baptism, at the request of the episcopal conferences have raised many questions of that subject," said Archbishop Roland Minnerath of Dijon, France, a member of the Commission.

The Commission, which includes the Australian Catholic University's Fr Anthony Kelly CSsR, has begun its week-long annual meeting in Rome.

Other topics for discussion include the relationship between natural law and moral law, and the "proper way" to conduct theological studies.

The International Theological Commission usually spends several years studying particular topics, finally producing reports for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. It released a report on creation last month.

Destiny of Children dead without baptism being discussed by Theological Commission (Catholic News Agency 6/10/04)

Plenary session of the International Theological Commission (Vatican Information Service 6/10/04)
Theological Commission opens new work cycle (Catholic World News 6/10/04)
The Seven Sacraments of the Church (Catholic Catechism / Christus Rex)
Baptism (Catholic Encyclopedia)

7 Oct 2004