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"Limbo" and the Pope....

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Have you guys seen this??


OK..so I am technically catholic, although just not really practicing (like going to church every Sunday, etc). My daughter was baptised (she is 2.5 now) because it was just important for me to do it since I was, my mother was, etc. DH is not Catholic..and he really doesn't like "man-made" religion (as he calls it) and pretty much follows what the Bible says versus what a church tells you.

This thing with the pope and "LIMBO" stuff is disturbing to me...I mean REALLY disturbing to me. My son is 3 months old and hasn't been baptised yet. If he were to die tonight, he won't go to heaven?? Is that what the Pope is saying????

Granted, we, apparently, are all born sinners, but you cannot sit here and tell me that my 3 month old son is sinning every day and has done something already to not save his behind if he were to die.

So I am confused. Why would the catholic church come up with something like that?? DH said that the Bible does state that infants will go....and totally thinks this thing with the pope right now is "man-made"....man making the call.

I am ill over this. The world is really starting to scare me lately!! Pet food, Gunman, The Pope.....Iran.....UGH. Help me.

So can anyone shed some light on this?? Does this really mean that, according to the Catholic church, my son will NOT go to heaven if he dies without being baptised??

What happens to those families that don't believe in baptism until the child is old enough to understand, except Christ, etc and so on! I think some religions it is like 8 years old or so....! Those babies that die within those families aren't saved, either??

Something doesn't sound right.

Any catholics out there that can help me?? Or anyone else?
post #2 of 16
The Church never really had an 'official' position on this. But they said 'unofficially' that there was probably a place (limbo) where the unbaptised babies could go. What it boils down to is, no one really knows for sure. But the Pope has written something that states that he feels the babies won't go to limbo, a place away from Heaven. Instead they would probably go to Heaven. So I think you are misinterperating it as the opposite of what he did say.

To quote from his paper "The Hope of Salvation for Infants Who Die Without Being Baptised."

"The conclusion of this study is that there are theological and liturgical reasons to hope that infants who die without baptism may be saved and brought into eternal happiness even if there is not an explicit teaching on this question found in revelation,"

"There are reasons to hope that God will save these infants precisely because it was not possible (to baptize them)."

Note the 'reasons to hope' part of it. He isn't saying he knows. Just that he has studied the issue and this is his finding.
post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 
Ohhhh....! DUH. OK...got it. Thank you! BUT....there is one thing that I don't like still ".....precisely because it was not possible (to baptize them)."

Does that mean LITERALLY not possible as in....Mom and Dad had no legs/arms and couldn't drive to the church to do it?? OR...what? I don't get it..and that disturbs me....because, naturally, we certainly can do it...it is possible! ..but if we choose not to and let my son decide what religion, faith, etc to follow when he is old enough.and he doesn't make it that far and dies tonght...then what??

My husband also says that the Catholic Church should not be referring to a priest as "FATHER" as the Bible apparently states that only GOD is the Father and that no one else is.

So if Catholics KNOW about the Bible (and I am assuming the Pope does..as well as other head Catholic people) then WHY the Father reference to priests?

And he thinks something isn't right with confession....confessing to another MAN when the only one you should be confessing to is God.

I never knew any differently...it is what I grew up with so now I am really wanting to understand this stuff.

post #4 of 16
Yes, the Catholic teaching is that we don't know. We know from the Bible that baptism is the normal means by which we can enter Heaven. So unbaptised babies, following this rule very strictly, would not. However, we also know that our God is merciful, and thus we can hope that God, being God and not bound to His own rules, would bring them home to be with Him. In the past though, some theologians, in an attempt to reconcile what would happen to unbaptized infants, came up with the idea of limbo, in which these individuals would be in a happy state, just not in the perfect happiness that is Heaven in the presence of God.

The main point is though, that no one knows. Its not something we can say definitively. However, because we don't know, we should make every effort to follow the normal means, which is of course, baptism.
post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 
UGH. I am confused. See, now my husband is telling me that baptism is NOT the way to heaven...it is accepting Christ as your savior and not "pouring water over your head". He told me baptism is a symbolism following what Christ did.

I just don't know enough about this to form my own opinion...I mean..how do we know who is right? I know..we don't....so are we just rolling the dice and taking chances?

My husband tells me to READ THE BIBLE, but yah..ok....how do you interpret THAT? That is filled with metaphors and symbolism...that you are guessing at what it means STILL!
post #6 of 16
Do you have some kind of instant messenger? It would be much easier to have this kind of discussion using something like that than this message board.
post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 
*SIGH* OK..we hauled the Bible out and read Mark 10:13-16. The titel of Mark 10 is "Jesus Blesses the Little Children", which should speak for itself, I guess. But where I think the catholic church misinterprets things is at Mark 10:15. I interpret it as if WE, as adults, do not have the heart of an innocent child (a good heart, overall) then we are done. But I can see where it would be interpreted as if kids do not receive the "Kingdom of God" as kids....

But that, to me, contradicts the title of Mark 10.

Who am I?
post #8 of 16
Ah, but who put the titles there? Those weren't originally there. :p Jesus told His Apostles, as one of His final commands, to go out and baptise in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. If that was just an optional thing, would that have been one of His final things to say while He was still present here?

Also, I think its Paul...talks about baptism being the new circumcision. In the Jewish law, circumcision was absolutely required of all males if they were to belong to the Covenant. If baptism is to take circumcisions place (as Jesus said, He came to fulfill, not destroy the Old Covenant), then how can baptism be any less required than circumcision was?
post #9 of 16
I think the Church is being really misrepresented in all of this. I can't think of a single Catholic or current theological work that actually says babies go to hell if unbaptized. The Catechism itself addresses the issue and states exactly what the Pope just reaffirmed- God is merciful and just and isn't going to send a baby to hell. This is one of those instances where most everyone, including the Pope believed something, but wanted to have it on the books officially to clarify misunderstanding. The same issue goes for suicide- the Church doesn't teach that suicides go to hell because a mentally ill person can't be held responsible for their suicide when in the throws of a serious mental illness.
post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 
We did a ton of reading that night (Bible) and come to realize this. Yes, babies will go to heaven regardless. I cannot comprehend where the Catholic Church thinks you (baby or otherwise) MUST be baptised to get to heaven and if you ARE, then it is an automatic you are going. That was my interpretation of what I read in a link provided by a PP through PM. ANd it bothers me that they were questioning infants and putting them in LIMBO when it clearly states ALL OVER the Bible that infants will go! I can see where in certain areas it may be interpreted that they WON'T BE, but what Jesus was saying is that the ADULT must have the HEART of a child (pure, loving, etc) or they will not gain entry. Other chapters that talk about this issue state it in a more obvious way. I wish I had written down the passages we read. GRRR.

And I am not knocking them for their own beliefs...everyone has their own right to it (and technically, I AM catholic) but I just don't understand how things seem so obvious to me...some common person...and not to the Catholic Church that has been doing this stuff for YEARS! I don't understand that.

If you are a baby and baptised by the catholic church...but then grow up to be an athiest...God hater, gunman killing people, pedohile (spelling?)....come on! That means you WILL go SIMPLY because you were baptised?

I don't believe that. I think you truly must accept Christ as your savior. If you do that...truly do that...I think you will be saved alone.

Baptism IS important...I think it is.... following in the steps of Jesus... But I don't believe that, alone, will get you to heaven nor do I think is it a requirement.

The thieves on the cross next to Jesus....Jesus said something to them to the extent of "I will see you in paradise today"....and they weren't baptised.

I don't think there is anything in the Bible that states you MUST be baptised to get to heaven.

John 3:16 really is the end-all statement. "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that he who believith in him shall not perish but have everlasting life".....

NOT......"he who is baptised shall not perish..."..

But, who am I? I am only interpreting what I read.
post #11 of 16
I know in my heart that babies and children would go straight to Heaven if they lost their life.

Limbo? I thought that was a dance from the 60's.

Babies and children don't sin, our Loving God would take them back to himself.

Limbo is just something the Roman Catholics made up and it is NOT scriptural.
post #12 of 16
Honestly, I don't understand what authority the Pope has to decide if unbaptized babies (or anyone else for that matter) will go to heaven or not. Wouldn't that be a job for God? I mean, limbo was first introduced in the Middle Ages because religious people felt it was needed to convince people of the importance of baptism and now that it's starting to make Catholicism unpopular, they can just eliminate it?

I am myself an agnostic and a Buddhist, but I figured if there is a God, I can't imagine him not accepting babies into heaven because they are unbaptized... or even not accepting good people who have beliefs other than Catholic or Christian.

This said, I understand how some Catholics can view the Pope as a spiritual guide. I do consider the Dalai Lama a spiritual guide... but to me, that's the most a human being can be... a guide. Humans are by definition imperfect and none of them as complete knowledge of God, death or life. If the Dalai Lama says something that doesn't ring true to me, I will disregard it.
post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 

The other thing my husband and I were talking about was how catholics refer to a priest as FATHER (did I already talk about this? I don't remember!).....

He pointed out that the Bible says that the ONLY one that is referred to as FATHER is God...

And the only one to worship is Him....but....Catholics pray to Mary.

AGAIN...I am just pointing out the things that "make sense" to me based on what we talked about......not a judging thing....because...GEESH! Again, I am a member of the catholic church here!
post #14 of 16
Well, dear, what do you call the man who sired you? I'm pretty sure you probably call him some version of dad, father, daddy, pappa, etc. And the same passage also says that you shouldn't call anyone a teacher, but that's what we call the people who pass down knowledge to us. This is an example of a hyperbole - Jesus is not saying that we should call no one else on earth "Father", but using instead an extreme to make a point.

And the whole point that we tried to make earlier is that the Pope doesn't have the authority to say whether babies go to heaven or not - he doesn't know. Benedict instead makes it clear that we have hope that they do - a very good reason to hope, but we can't know for sure. He is, as a private theologian and not in his capacity as the Pope, I believe, saying that we have reason to hope that God would call innocent babes to His side.

Limbo has never been an official teaching of the Church - instead, it was a popular theory from theologians (not the Pope) as to what happened to unborn babies. However, the idea of a third place other than Heaven and Hell is Scriptural - there are mentions of the "limbo of the fathers" and "Abraham's bosom" throughout Scripture. I'm at work right now, so if you want verses for anything I've said, let me know and I'll get them for you when I get home tonight.

It is declared that one must be born again of water and the Spirit in order to gain entrance to Heaven. Jesus Himself started off His ministry by being baptized by John the Baptist - who was very reluctant to do so. But if baptism was so important to Jesus, then it must play a central role to our salvation. Its not the only thing, for sure. But why would Jesus insist on His own baptism if it was not necessary? Once again, remember that baptism is the new circumsion. To belong to the covenant, every male Jew had to be circumcised. Similarly, to belong to the new covenant, we must all undergo a form of baptism.

As far as prayer to Mary goes - many people here (and I'm sure you yourself have) ask for prayers from us - their brothers, sisters, and friends - when they are in need. The word "pray" in its most ancient sense simply means to ask. (Think "Pray, would you do this for me?" in old medievalish English) So when Catholics "pray" to Mary and the saints, all we are asking is that our brothers and sisters in Christ pray alongside us in our requests to God. We know that the prayers of holy people have great power with God, both instinctively and Scripturally (Again, passages when I get home if you want them), and who is holier than someone who is already in heaven?

Please email me if you have any more questions - this could get very complicated!
post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Sandtigress View Post
Well, dear, what do you call the man who sired you? I'm pretty sure you probably call him some version of dad, father, daddy, pappa, etc.

I think it was the actual word "FATHER" that my husband thought shouldn't be used for other reasons.

And I think with the Mary thing...it was more of the "worship" issue versus a prayer thing...bowing in front of Mary in a catholic church, etc. When others ask us to pray for them, we are praying FOR them TO GOD....

But you are soooo right. It is very complicated!!! The Bible just isn't so clear-cut all the time
post #16 of 16
Well, remember, the Bible was not written in English - Jesus most likely spoke Hebrew, Aramaic, and/or Greek. So with a little research, I'll try and find you the Greek/Hebrew/Aramaic/and or Latin text for that particular verse.

As far as Mary goes - she is a very special creation of God. No other mother in all of time was created by her Son, and an angel addressed her as royalty. If Christ loved His mother so much (and as a good Jew He would have been obedient to her and loved her in all things) then the very least that we can do as Christians (which means "little Christs") is also love and respect her. Loving His mom takes nothing away from loving Jesus - instead, she shows us how to love her son in the way that only a mother can.
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