Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Limbo Banished to . . . Limbo

The Vatican is putting an end to limbo:
It is an odd place. The inhabitants include Plato, Moses, Abraham and lots of babies. Now after more than 700 years of shadowy existence, limbo faces closure. The world's 30 leading Roman Catholic theologians were meeting behind closed doors in the Vatican yesterday to discuss a document which would sweep the concept out of the church's teaching.

Limbo was concocted in the 13th century as a solution to the theological conundrum of what happened to babies who died before they were christened.

According to doctrine, they could not go to heaven because their original sin had not been expunged by baptism. Yet they had done nothing to harm anyone so they scarcely deserved purgatory, let alone hell. Limbo also proved a useful solution to other problems such as where to put holy people who lived before Christ and who also had no chance of baptism. Dante added the classical sages.
From The Guardian. Interestingly, it appears that the change in the doctrine may be motivated in part by PR concerns:
More than six million children die of hunger every year in underdeveloped countries where the Church is keen to see its support continue to grow.

It is concerned that the concept of limbo may not impress potential converts.

The Church is aware that Muslims, for example, believe that all children go straight to heaven without passing any test.
From The Telegraph.

I'm not clear on where the Vatican's official position will be after limbo is abolished. Will all the unbaptised babies and good souls who died before Christ be deemed admitted, nunc pro tunc, into heaven? Bonus points to any commenter who can draw illuminating connections to the new guest worker and immigration reforms being bandied about in D.C.


mhelbing said...

'Scuse me, son. I can sell you salvation for a buck-fifty. I've been reading Sam Harris's The End of Faith. Worth reading if you're interested in poking holes in religious ideology of all sorts.

Anonymous said...

Aww, nuts! I was so looking forward to an eternity of conversations with Aristotle. The Dante Inferno test placed me in Limbo (virtuous unbelievers):


chanchow said...

This is very interesting, although it doesn't change the fact that I'm going to hell. (sniff)

Octopus Grigori said...

MH: Okay. I am more interesting in patching with Superglue religious ideologies of all sorts, but okay.

MK: I feel like maybe you've already had an eternity of conversations with Aristotle.

CHANCHOW: Oh, no you're not, missy, cuz I'm gonna open up a big can of Salvation on your purty self.