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Vatican theologians to shine "light of God's mercy" on Limbo conundrum


As the public imagination wrestled with the idea of hundreds of invalid baptisms in South Brisbane, the Vatican's International Theological Commission was last week determining that the question of Limbo - the supposed destination for the unbaptised - would be studied "in the light of God's mercy".

The Commission - which includes Redemptorist Fr Anthony Kelly of the Australian Catholic University's Brisbane campus - said that the response to calls to resolve long-standing doubts about the status of limbo should not focus on limbo in isolation from its larger context.

Last week's media revelation of the fact of improperly baptised Catholics in Brisbane brought the question of Limbo into fresh focus. Archbishop John Bathersby declared that children baptised at a South Brisbane church using non-traditional words would have to be re-baptised.

Commission Secretary Fr Luis Ladario told Zenit after a recent session that "to concentrate only on the question of limbo would be to lose the focus of the problem."

He stressed that it would be studied "in the light of God's mercy".

He affirmed that "limbo is not the problem; in fact, it was a historical attempt to proffer a solution in the face of the death of a child who has not been baptised."

"What is interesting is to study this topic in the light of God's universal saving will, the unique mediation of Jesus Christ, and the Church's sacramentalism," he said.

In addition to limbo, the theologians of this commission, which forms part of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, are studying natural law -- moral norms that correspond to man's nature and that can be known by the use of reason -- and the status of theology and its methods.

The commission comprises theologians of various schools and nations, distinguished for their knowledge and faithfulness to the Church's magisterium. The members, whose number does not exceed 30, are appointed by the Pope for five years after being proposed by the prefect of the doctrinal congregation in consultation with the bishops' conferences.

SOURCE
Theologians to Go Beyond Question of Limbo (Zenit 25/11/04)

LINKS
Australian priests stop 'New Age' baptism, retake Trinitarian formula (Catholic News Agency 27/11/04)
Australian bishop rebukes priests for invalid baptisms (Catholic World News 23/11/04)
Non-traditional baptisms ruled invalid (The Courier Mail 24/11/04)
Brisbane Tribunal vicar comments on invalid baptisms (CathNews 25/11/04)
Parishioners to be re-baptised after 'invalid' service (ABC Radio PM 24/11/04)
Toe the line, church tells priest (Sydney Morning Herald/Australian Associated Press 24/11/04)
Australian bishop rebukes priests for invalid baptisms (Catholic World News 23/11/04)
Non-traditional baptisms ruled invalid (The Courier Mail 24/11/04)
Brisbane Archbishop stops "inclusive" baptism (CathNews 23/11/04)
Church rebuked for 'new' baptism (The Courier Mail 23/11/04)
Bathersby censures St Mary's Church (Online Catholics 13/10/04)
Catholic Parish of South Brisbane
Vatican Instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum



29 Nov 2004