Limbo under threat from Vatican theologians

Rome reports indicate that the Holy See's International Theological Commission is examining the notion of limbo at a meeting this week and may be on the verge of scrapping it.

Ad Kronos International (AKI) reports that the Vatican reportedly appears set to abolish the Catholic tradition that holds that the souls of children who die before being baptised going to limbo.

Citing a report in Turin, Italy newspaper, La Stampa, AKI says that the issue is being discussed this weeke by the International Theological Commission, a body of Catholic theologians from around the world that advises the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

According to the 1904 catechism published by Pope St Pius X in 1904, "children who died without baptism go to the limbo where they do not enjoy God but don't suffer either as having the original sin, and only that, they do not deserve Paradise nor Hell or Purgatory".

The Church however has for a long time stopped referring to the concept Limbo and in 1984 theologian Joseph Ratzinger, elected Pope Benedict XVI in April last year, said that Limbo "was never a truth of the faith."

"I would let it drop as this has always only been a theological hypothesis," he said.

According to the Fathers of the Church, the concept limbo is that people who lived good lives but died before the Resurrection did not go to heaven, but rather had to wait for Christ to open the gates of heaven.

The term limbo does not appear in the Bible. In Holy Scripture, limbo is referred to as the term bosom of Abraham, appearing twice in it.

The bosom of Abraham represents the blissful state where the righteous dead await their eternal reward.

As such, this concept corresponds to the concept of limbo of the fathers in that it is neither heaven nor hell and the people there are waiting to enter paradise.

Vatican: Limbo for children likely to be scrapped (AdKronos International, 3/10/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Limbo (Wikipedia)
Limbo (Catholic Encyclopaedia 1910)
International Theological Commission
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

Vatican theologians to shine "light of God's mercy" on Limbo conundrum (CathNews, 29/11/04)

4 Oct 2006