Friday, October 06, 2006

NO, NOT THAT LIMBO



The news from the Catholic church is that the Pope is reconsidering his church's position on the doctrine of "limbo". Word is they are now saying it was just a theory. One definition for the Catholic "limbo" is "the abode of unbaptized infants or for the righteous who have died before coming to Christ (exactly how anyone can be righteous who has not come to Christ is not understood unless they mean people like Noah, Abraham, David and others). Another definition says that it is for "children who die without Baptism, without grievous personal sin, and are excluded from the beatific vision on account of original sin alone." Imagine the number of parents and grandparents who grieved that their dead child might be in limbo for no fault of their own. And how anyone ever held to a theory that "righteous" dead could be in limbo is beyond me. But Catholics are now taking the position that the doctrine was just that, a theory that can now be discarded. Unlike the Catholic church, most students of the Bible have long known the "theory" to be unscriptural. When a man dies he goes to one of two places and his fate is set. This Biblical fact also excludes the possibility of going to Catholic purgatory to "purge" away sins. The person who dies will either be in paradise with Christ or he will be in "pits of darkness reserved for judgment."

Here are some other doctrines the Catholic church might take a second look at:
  • Give up the doctrine of purgatory. Once a person has died, his fate is set.
  • Don't call the Pope the "Holy Father".
  • Stop the worship and veneration of Mary and others who are dead. Mary was a godly woman, but she was and is not deity.
  • Give up the Augustinian doctrine of original sin.
These are just a few areas I would like the Catholic Pope to consider making a reversal. After all, just as the "limbo" theory was poorly supported by Scripture, so are these.

Respectfully yours,
Discipler

5 comments:

  1. Thanks for you interest in Catholic doctrine and practice. To avoid confusion let's put things in categories:

    1. Purgatory is DOCTRINE. It's principles are well established in Sacred Scripture. "Nothing unclean shall enter Heaven" etc. Honestly, the Catholic Church takes this seriously. We should also recognize that when we die we are not totally clean to enter Heaven. Purgatory is simply the final stage of purification. A purification that begins in this life.

    2. Calling the Pope "Holy Father" is not doctrine but a custom. It is a title of respect.

    3. Catholics do not worship Mary.

    4. Original Sin is a DOCTRINE. With out the doctrine of Original Sin, frankly Christianity is meaningless.

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  2. Hi Pazdziernik,

    How are you today? We live in a mixed up world, do we not? I am sad to see and hear the turmoil that I believe has arisen due to the godless culture.

    Let me answer some of your comments. I think the usage of limbo by the Catholic church is what made it doctrine. Limbo was Catholic doctrine as determined by usage. You might say that having oak and not maple pews could be practice or opinion, but when it purports to explain the destination of infants, it is doctrine.

    If the doctrine of "limbo" was not issued "ex cathedra" and infallible, will the Pope now speak "ex cathedra" and say that children receive the blessings of heaven who have not reached the age of reason? I understand that he won't and the Catholic church position on the destiny of children will be a question. If the Pope has the power of speaking for God, with infallibility, why wouldn't he clear this matter up.

    But I think the Scripture is clear that sin is not inherited and children are without sin. God is righteous and just and would not condemn someone to hell who does not yet have faith.

    And concerning the Pope, calling him "Holy Father" as a custom makes it a bad custom. It is contrary to the spirit of Christ's words. Call "no one Father, for you have one Father in heaven." I think the whole "ex cathedra" and infallibility teaching has served to over inflate this man's position.

    And the absence of "original sin" would not mark the end of Christianity. It might mark the end of much that is called Christian, but Christianity would prosper once people stopped trying to save little babies and start calling on adults to repent of sin and be baptized for the remission of sins.

    Thanks for sharing here. Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.

    - Discipler

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  3. Discipler,

    I have no idea of what Pope Benedict may or may not do or define. An "ex cathedera" pronouncement is ONE WAY to exercise his charism of infability. (By the way, not everything the Pope teaches on faith and morals is at the level of infalability. Nevertheless "full assent of faith" is required. For example, an all male priesthood is not yet at the level of dogma, a defined doctrine. It is currently at the level slightly below: "definitive"). Trust me, many Catholics themselves fail to make these distinctions.

    "Limbo" has always been a "theological construct" (i.e. "speculation") to fill the hole of what happens to the souls of unbaptized babies and of course, those who have not yet reqched the "age of reason" (typically 7 years old). As Catholics we hold that baptism is necessary for salvation in the normal course. In Catholic usage a "Doctrine" is something that has been defined. "Limbo" has never been defines as such. I would like to see this clarified further as well.

    OS, as I noted before is in Genesis with the fall of our first parents Adam and Eve. it is not PERSONAL sin but an inherited state of the loss of grace. We all lost this original state because of the misdeeds of Adam and Eve.

    I totally agree we live in an increasingly Godless world. We are surely united together more than our theological differences may sometimes indicate.

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  4. Hello,
    Let me respond to your last post to ask IF the Pope had the "charism of infallibility", why wouldn't he be clearing everything up?

    Also, the very idea of "purging" your own sins to go to heaven is so contrary to the teaching of the Bible that the power of the blood is sufficient to purge it all away. Either a person is walking with God and is totally forgiven or he is not and an eternal hell is the purging that is provided. This sounds harsh, but it is Biblical.

    - Discipler

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  5. The Pope can "clear things up" on the doctrine Purgatory in regard to the unbaptized, infants in particular, by "defining" or "declaring" or by using similar language IF he chooses to address this topic. We'll have to see what particular language he may choose to use IF he does indeed choose to address this.

    He may choose not to address this for these reasons:
    1. The Church can not know if a particular person is damned. Therefore she can not make a pronouncement on this topic. The language of the Church had already shifted from St. Augustine (unbaptized children are probably damned but not with absolute certainity) to "we trust in God's infinite mercy" with regard to their eternal fate.

    2. The Church can and does make pronouncements of who is in heaven. The Blesseds and Canonized Saints are declared so by the Pope. These are infallible acts. Miracles, scientifically attested to, are signs of this. It is a rigorous process these days (as opposed to the "early days" of the Church). It's not likely that such a rigorous process will be able to be applied to infants in the same manner of thoroughness.

    Also, it would send the "wrong signal" to our society. Given the widespread murder of innocent children, many would perhaps "find comfort" and even "justification" if the Church told then that for certain their children were in heaven. It would perhaps even encourage even more abortions and infanticide.

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