Monday, January 21, 2019

Can Unbaptized Infants Achieve Salvation?


Baptism is necessary for salvation. Every Traditionalist Catholic believes this as it has been defined by the Church.  However, what of the fate of unbaptized infants and those unborn who die in the womb? What of the severely retarded and habitually insane (born that way)? The Church teaches that these people go to Limbo,  a state of natural happiness, yet deprived from all eternity of the Beatific Vision of God. They suffer poena damni (pain of separation), but not poena sensus (pain of sense). In this post, I wish to explore the possibility, taught by some theologians, that the unbaptized in these cases (I'll refer to them all as "unbaptized infants"--if not in age, "infant-like" as they have no use of reason) might be able to achieve salvation (at least in some cases) instead of Limbo.  The study of this subject is fascinating, and the overview of the question comes from theologian Dyer's work, Limbo: Unsettled Question. It was written in 1962-63, just prior to the Great Apostasy.

I want to make it clear, yet again, that I have no Magisterial authority, and I'm neither a theologian or canonist (nor have I ever claimed such). I was really intrigued by the theological theory, and hold it as plausible. As every Traditionalist must, I stand willing to submit to Holy Mother Church in all things. Should a pope be restored, I shall adhere to his decisions in this, and all other matters of Catholic Faith and morals without reservation.

St. Augustine's View and Those of Modern Theologians (pre-Vatican II)

 St. Augustine took a harsher view of the effects of Original Sin than did the modern theologians. (I define a "modern theologian" as an approved theologian from the end of the Vatican Council [1870] until the beginning of Vatican II [1962]). Under St. Augustine's teaching, unbaptized infants are damned to Hell. Most modern theologians agree, but have reservations about "damned" meaning consignment to Hell in the usual and ordinary theological use of the word. Essentially, damnation for the unbaptized infant consists exclusively in banishment from the presence of God. As a corollary, the modern theologians can imagine the soul of an infant under the sentence of damnation who would not suffer the torments of Hell (poena sensus) nor grieve the loss over the Beatific Vision, to the point of having a degree of purely natural happiness. 

St. Augustine could not conceive of damnation apart from suffering. He was willing to concede that even if unbaptized infants spent eternity apart from Hell, they could not be free from the pain of the loss of the Beatific Vision (poena damni). When St. Augustine lived (354-430 AD), he was fighting against the Pelagian heresy. Simply put, Pelagius denied Original Sin and taught that the human will, as created with its abilities by God, was sufficient to live a sinless life. The bishops gathered in a non-ecumenical Council of Carthage, which drew up nine canons against the Pelagians.

The Third Canon states, "If any man says that in the kingdom of heaven or elsewhere there is a certain middle place, where children who die unbaptized live in bliss--- (beate vivant), whereas without baptism they cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven, that is, into eternal life, let him be anathema."

These canons were approved by Pope Zosimus, albeit non-infallibly. This would seem to rule out the existence of Limbo. The historical context shows it to be no problem at all. True, Limbo is a place or state between Heaven and Hell, yet it is a place of damnation insofar as you are deprived of the vision of God. The "eternal life" of the Pelagians was a state of innocence that implied a denial of Original Sin. It was this denial Carthage condemned. 

The Second Ecumenical Council of Lyon and The Ecumenical Council of Florence

 The Second Ecumenical Council of Lyon (1272-1274) defined the following, "However, the souls of those who die in mortal sin, or with Original Sin alone, shortly go down to Hell, to be punished with different punishments, however." The Council of Florence (1431-1449)  repeated these words almost verbatim. Doesn't that ratify what St. Augustine taught? Isn't Limbo rejected? No. The Church did not considered the matter closed and allowed theologians to hold the doctrine of Limbo. There were four interpretations of these definitions that were permitted:

1. There are those who die only in Original Sin

2. There is no teaching that anyone does actually die only in Original Sin alone; it defines only what would happen if someone did die in Original Sin alone

3. The Councils are actually defining the Limbo of St Thomas Aquinas

4. The Councils are defining the teaching of St. Augustine

Remember that the Angelic Doctor (Aquinas) ruled out the pain of sense for unbaptized infants. But is not the pain of the loss of God greater? The answer of Aquinas was ingenious. No one regrets not having something which he is totally unequipped to have. Hence, a person would regret the the loss of his house, or family, or good name, but not the fact he cannot fly naturally like a bird. Sanctifying Grace becomes "lumen gloriae" ("the light of glory") upon the soul's separation from the body and entrance into Heaven, thereby allowing the soul to enter the Beatific Vision of God for all eternity. (See theologian Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, [1955], pg. 22).  Since they had not the knowledge of Faith, they have no idea of their possible supernatural destiny and will be happy contemplating God insofar as their nature permits. God need not allow them to know what they could have achieved (Beatific Vision) which they are unequipped to have by nature. No one dared to state (or even imply) that Aquinas (1224-1270), the greatest of all theologians and Doctors of the Church was meant to have his opinion condemned by Lyon and Florence. Hence, the Church did not condemn Limbo. The second interpretation above seems to imply the possibility of at least some unbaptized infants somehow saved, and that will be explored in the next section after one more development is explained. 

In 1794, Pope Pius VI issued the decree Auctorum Fidei condemning the teaching which rejected Limbo as a "Pelagian fable." The Jansenist heretics denied Limbo (along with some approved Catholic theologians), but unlike the approved theologians, libeled their opponents' idea as a "Pelagian fable." Pope Pius VI was condemning the characterization of Limbo as a Pelagian fable, and something heretical. He was not making it a dogma, or censuring theologians who held the Augustinian view.

An Interesting Development at the Council of Trent
On the discussion regarding Baptism, the great theologian Cardinal Cajetan, proposed that infants in the womb could be saved by the desire of their (Catholic) parents. He reasoned thus: "In [the womb] the infant is capable of receiving Baptism of Blood; if a child yet enclosed in the womb of his mother could receive death for Christ, he would be a martyr as are the Holy Innocents. It is then reasonable to admit that the faith of his parents could produce the same result..." (See Dyer, pg. 141). What a blow to Feenyites who claim Trent condemned all but Baptism by water! There was no condemnation of Cardinal Cajetan!

We know infants and those deprived of reason can receive Baptism of Blood (BOB). (See theologian Ott, Ibid, pg. 357). Cajetan held that a pregnant woman who dies by BOB would have her unborn child share in her glory. At Trent, theologian Andrew de Vega, proposed the following proposition to be condemned:
"Children who die without baptism may be saved." His suggestion was denied by the Council Fathers. Another theologian, Leoninus, suggested condemning the idea children can be baptized in the womb. His suggestion, too, was rejected at Trent. Interestingly, on August 21, 1901, the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office under Pope Leo XIII declared baptism "in utero" performed by a needle inserted into the womb by doctors/nurses to be valid. There can be no doubt that the Holy Ghost was at work during the Council of Trent. 

 Some Council Fathers put forth the proposition that: "Children in the wombs of their mothers can be saved by blessing and the invocation of the Trinity" to be condemned. After thirteen days of deliberations, on February 22, 1547, the Secretary of the Council declared that the Fathers could not come to a decision. Therefore, the proposition was removed from the list of proposed condemnations because "it does not pertain to the teaching on baptism." It has been claimed Pope St. Pius V ordered this teaching removed from Cajetan's works, but the decision came from the editor of the book. There is no solid historical evidence Pope St. Pius V had any influence on the decision. So what did Trent mean by "it does not pertain to the teaching on baptism"?  Three things become clear from the deliberations:

1. When Trent defined the necessity of baptism for infants, it was speaking of a general, not absolute necessity, as BOB can substitute for the Sacrament
2. The definition was prompted by the Protestants who disputed the necessity of the sacrament to the extent of refusing to baptize their children
3. The infants who were the subject matter of Trent's decree were understood to be outside the womb, not in utero, as Cajetan suggested

The "Moment of Choice"?

 Is there a possibility that at least some unbaptized infants can be saved apart from BOB and the sacrament of baptism? Notable theologians have taught such without condemnation or censure. Such are theologians Klee and Schell. French theologian Glorieux seems to come up with a most interesting theory, that complements Klee. Does the moment of death belong to this life or the next? All human activity ends at death, and all possibility of merit and demerit. This is dogma. "Night is coming, when no one can work." (St. John 9:4). 

Death is the separation of the soul from the body. It is instantaneous, not something gradual over time. Hence, the moment of death is the same as the last moment of life. If that moment is considered part of your life, then it is possible that the soul, freed from the confines of the body, could be illuminated by God and given a test similar to the angels to either accept or reject God. If the former, they pass and go to Heaven, if the latter, they fail and go to Hell. Would this apply to all unbaptized infants? Just some? Why?

There is much to criticize. It seems close to Baptism of Desire (BOD), which Pope Pius XII taught cannot happen to infants. "In the present economy there is no other way of communicating this life to the child who has not yet the use of reason. But, nevertheless, the state of grace at the moment of death is absolutely necessary for salvation. Without it, it is not possible to attain supernatural happiness, the beatific vision of God. An act of love can suffice for an adult to obtain sanctifying grace and supply for the absence of Baptism; for the unborn child or for the newly born, this way is not open..." (See Address to the Congress of the Italian Catholic Association of Midwives [Oct. 29, 1951] Emphasis mine). 

A disembodied soul is not a complete person, so it would seem that the final moment of life is more appropriately the first moment of death, therefore no merit is possible. It might open the door to abortion by thinking the child still has a chance to see God if I kill him/her. 

Conclusion
The doctrine of Limbo has developed over centuries and is not fully settled. Without a pope, it cannot be. What does seem likely is that at least some unbaptized infants might have a path to salvation. How they are chosen and how it happens is known but to God--if it is true. This discussion does bring home the tremendous love God has for every person, and how He will go to any length to save a soul who is willing to turn to Him, repent, and be part of His One True Church. Let that be the lesson for us and do all we can to merit the grace of Final Perseverance. If we do our part, God will do His because He died for us and desires our salvation.

As to the possible salvation theories, theologian Ott said it best, "[extra-sacramental means of salvation for unbaptized infants] are indeed, possible, but their actuality can not be proven from Revelation." (Ibid, pg. 114). 

79 comments:

  1. So you have answered your own question. The answer is no. Some sort of Baptism is necessary for salvation. It may be the ordinary manner of Baptism by water or it could be the less defined BoD or BoB.

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    1. Tom,
      Some sort of WAY seems PROBABLE. It’s not BOD as Pope Pius XII said that wasn’t possible. Could it be a test like the angels at the first moment of death attached to our life? Perhaps. Without a pope we may never know in this life.

      God Bless,

      —-Introibo

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    2. What ever the way is, it will no doubt involve some sort of baptism.

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    3. Who knows. But good strike at feeneyites.

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    4. It depends what you mean by “Baptism.” BOD and BOB are not the Sacrament Of Baptism. They impart no indelible character on the soul. They are extra-sacramental means of achieving entrance into the Church and sanctifying grace to save your soul. God is not bound to give grace through the Sacraments alone. If this is what you mean by Baptism, I agree.

      —-Introibo

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    5. @poni
      Yes. I’d like to hear the Dimond brothers response to this one!

      God Bless,

      —-Introibo

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  2. A soul that is "freed from the confines of the body" is separated from the body. By definition, therefore, it is dead and unable to receive justification.

    This book was written during the anti-reign of the modernist Roncalli.

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    1. True, but the theologians cited within were not. Ott wrote under Pope Pius XII And was approved. He and Theologian Pohle both discuss the extra-sacramental theories and do not label them heretical or dangerous to the faith. Ott calls them “possible.” Furthermore, Dyer was a theologian prior to Roncalli. The bishops from 1958-1963 who were appointed by Pius enjoyed Ordinary jurisdiction.

      —-Introibo

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    2. This is interesting, but you didn't respond to my first statement. This idea seems to rest on either saying that an infant can make an act of Faith, or that a separated soul can be justified, or that God works miracles to give infants the use of reason.

      If there is another explanation besides those I've mentioned, please let me know, but this is my understanding of the state of the question.

      The first possibility is impossible. The second is erroneous and probably heretical. The third is gratuitously asserted, and it is contrary to the principles of theology to answer difficulties by making up lots of miracles.

      Am I missing something here?

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    3. @ano9:03
      The last moment of life is simultaneously the first moment of death, so does it belong to death (end of probation) or not? That question has never been answered. God draws the line, not us. If that instant is considered life then sanctification is possible. Glorieux and Klee wrote and taught under true popes and were never censured or condemned. That’s not to say it is true. You assume that the instant of death must be the end of probation when it might be the last moment OF probation. The Church has never decided. Is it possible that God enlightens the soul of the infant JUST PRIOR TO DEATH? Possible. Nothing more.

      —-Introibo

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    4. "The last moment of life is simultaneously the first moment of death"

      Nope. A person is either alive or dead. You can't be dead and alive at the same time. And there is no third possibility.

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    5. What is death? Separation of soul from body. What is a person at that moment THE SEPARATION OCCURS? It could be DEATH. It could also be LIFE. The Church has never declared which side of the grave you’re on. It could be death, and Glorieux’s theory is wrong. It could be considered the last moment of life by God, and the theory is viable. The moment the SOUL IS SEPARATING could be viewed as life or death—and IN THIS RESTRICTED SENSE the last moment of life is simultaneously the first moment of death. It is not claimed you are both dead AND alive.

      —-Introibo

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    6. "The moment the SOUL IS SEPARATING" ...

      There is no moment the soul is separating. Separation of body and soul is not an event that takes any time.

      This discussion is like saying, "What state is the boundary between North Dakota and South Dakota in?" The answer is that the border is not a location and does not occupy any land that we could say is in either state.

      Let's approach this from a different direction. We seem to agree that the infant is either alive or dead, right? So he must be justified while he is in one of those two states. Which state are we saying it could be? Let's boil this down to that one simple question, and we can go from there.

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    7. What maters is that you do not experience the second death.
      Long Life Christ the King and Our Lady of Guadalupe.

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    8. @anon2:36
      Let me state I’m not defending the theory. We know man’s probation ends AT THE MOMENT OF DEATH. Does that INCLUDE or EXCLUDE the moment of death.

      Even if, physically speaking, we say the infant is dead, cannot God make the end of probation EXCLUSIVE of the first instant of death? If not, why not? The Church has never ruled on this point.

      So to answer your question, the child could be considered alive BY GOD. As we don’t know all the particulars of the moment of death and the separation of soul, the Church does not refuse to give the Last Rites to one who has just been pronounced dead. A friend of mine was a nurse in the later 1950s. A man had just been pronounced dead when the priest he summoned died. My friend informed him, “Father, you’re too late, he was just pronounced dead.” Pushing him aside he yelled, “It’s never too late!!”

      As to the North and South Dakota analogy, there is a demarcation between the states. My Property Law professor once asked, if a person is standing on the exact demarcation line between his house and the adjacent property, with his body equally divided, is he trespassing? Not trespassing? The was no answer only arguments on both sides as there was no case law that decided the matter. Same holds here.

      —-Introibo

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    9. Cannot God make probation INCLUSIVE OF THE MOMENT OF DEATH?
      (Correction Of above)

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    10. Second correction: When the priest he summoned arrived!!
      Hard to answer while working!

      —-Introibo

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    11. Anonymous January 21, 2019 at 2:36 PM and Introibo here is a interesting story about the seven sleepers of Ephesus. These men didn't seem to realize they were dead for 184 yrs.
      https://www.traditioninaction.org/religious/h083rp.Sleepers.html
      I figured I'd bring this up since you were both talking about possibilities. Even if the Church hasn't ruled one way or another it is consoling to read these stories which reminds us that with God anything can be possible.

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    12. @anon8:13
      Thank you for the information! Yes, indeed, we need to remember that “with God anything can be possible”!

      God Bless,

      —-Introibo

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  3. In this debate it is good to remind ourselves of one essential truth. That is God does not owe one soul salvation. It would be perfectly just because of Adam's sin that the entire human race spend eternity in hell. The fact that salvation is even possible is the good news of the Gospel.

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  4. If an adult (Catholic) person in mortal sin makes an act of perfect contrition before he/she dies when the sacrament of penance isn't available and can be saved (hence without the actual sacrament of penance, since perfect contrition can substitute) then why wouldn't it be possible for those unbaptised infants to obtain salvation in the baptism of their blood as Cardinal Cajetan put it?

    Introibo, you hit the nail on the head when you said, #1 When Trent defined the necessity of baptism for infants, it was speaking of a general, not absolute necessity, as BOB can substitute for the Sacrament. The Feenyites, particularly the Dimondbacks (Dimond Bros) title their book "Outside the Church there is absolutely no salvation." They use absolutely to shoot down BOD or BOB, when really their shooting themselves in the chest.

    P.S. A good reminder, St. Emerentiana's feast day is on Jan. 23rd which is almost here. A saint celebrated in the liturgical calendar and yet she died in the baptism of her blood as the traditional breviary stated.

    Taken from Rama Coomeraswamy's website:
    SAINT EMERENTIANA: Those familiar with the traditional Breviary (dropped from the Novus Ordo "missals") will know the story of this virgin and martyr. The idea that the Church would have her religious commemorate such a person who was - according to those who deny Baptism of Desire and Blood - on a yearly basis for some 1800 years - is to say the least "offensive to pious ears." Let us quote the Breviary directly:

    "Emerantiana, a Roman virgin, step-sister of the blessed Agnes, while still a catechumen, burning with faith and charity, when she vehemently rebuked idol-worshippers who were stealing from Christians, was stoned and struck down by the crowd which she had angered. Praying in her agony at the tomb of holy Agnes, baptized by her own blood which she poured forth unflinchingly for Christ, she gave up her soul to God."

    This virgin and martyr died in Rome about the year 350. A church was built over her grave. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia (1908), some days after the death of St. Agnes, Emerentiana who was still a catechumen, went to the grave to pray, and while praying she was suddenly attacked by the pagans and killed with stones. Her feast is kept on January 23 and she is again commemorated on Sept 16 under the phrase in caemeterio maiore (where she is buried). She is represented in the iconography of the church with stones in her lap and a palm of lily in her hands. Some have argued that she was baptized - but such is absurd as she is both called a catechumen, and the Church states in her liturgy that she was "baptized in her own blood."[4]


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    1. Thank you for the timely reminder of St Emerentiana! Your comment and information is greatly appreciated.

      God Bless,

      —-Introibo

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  5. Thank you for a well referenced and balanced article. In polarizing times, it is good to be armed with unbiased information as well as to remain composed, especially when it comes to complex things such as the doctrine on Limbo which isnt just a throw-away issue.
    On thinking about BOD/BOB, it occurred to me that if water Baptism is the ordinary means to become true children of God, then there is also an extraordinary means, too, where Baptism of desire or of blood can serve as well. I likened it to the ordinary means of supporting oneself in life by having an ordinary job that is steady, provides the needed money and can be counted on (insofar as such things go). Yet, one can also come into a lottery windfall, an inheritance, or help from charity. A person can never rely on such a circumstance, nor should they, but it CAN happen. That makes it extroardinary, to my thinking: within the same realm of the unlikely-but-not- impossible.
    Would you think that is too far off the mark in explaining the logic of BOB BOD to someone who adamantly disagrees with it?
    Thanks, Intro

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  6. Jannie,
    I think you have an excellent analogy for BOD and BOB! The logic is excellent! I use one which is similar: Certain saints did not eat. God allowed them to live on daily reception of Holy Communion. Our ordinary means of survival is earring food. By way of miracle we could be allowed not to eat or only receive Communion, but should we rely on it? Should we not feed the hungry and expect miracles?

    God Bless,

    —-Introibo

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  7. Introibo,

    I read where heaven wasn’t available before Jesus’ death. Is this true? If so, what happened to the righteous people who died prior to Jesus? Thanks much!

    JoAnn

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    1. They were held in hell till Christ ransomed them after Good Friday. It is called the Harrowing of Hell. The Gospel of Nicodemous, which was not included in the bible, gives a nice account of what took place when Christ descended into Hell.

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    2. Tom,
      I would not use non-canonical “scripture.” It has no value since it is not inspired by God and is mostly infested with Gnosticism.

      —-Introibo

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    3. That brings up a good question. Are all those other "gospels" condemned or simply not inspired. We read non inspired literature all the time.

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    4. Dante's Inferno is not "inspired" but it has great value.

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    5. @Tom
      Yes, but I cannot say the same for the non-inspired “gospels” which are rife with Gnostic doctrines. Gnosticism is heresy and stands condemned. If not the “gospel” itself, the doctrine it contains. That’s the equivalent of the books condemnation.

      —-Introibo

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    6. Introibo,

      I have another question. (Hope it qualifies for Anon @12:04&9:48 approval)! What are the non-inspired “gospels”? Thanks.

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    7. Joann,
      There were several “gospels” which claim to be written by some famous follower of Christ, such as St Mary Magdalene, St Thomas, and even Judas Iscariot the traitor! They are uninspired books rejected by the Church for good reasons. They were composed by Gnostic heretics for the lost part.

      For more on the subject, please see my post,
      http://introiboadaltaredei2.blogspot.com/2016/03/the-young-false-messiah.html?m=1

      As to anon9:48
      He needs our prayers and sympathy. Don’t waste time on toxic people.

      —-Introibo

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    8. To my readers:
      I will publish all comments that are civil in tone and don’t use vulgarity and/or blasphemy. I will not tolerate someone who comes on here to disparage one of my readers. That is completely uncalled for and uncivil.

      Anon@9:48 has sent me long ranting screeds unfit for publication. He makes many attacks upon my character. He claims I’m a “fraud” yet has nothing upon which to base that appellation. He claims my mistake regarding Christ descending into hell should not be blamed upon my “typing fast.” My point, which obviously went over his head, was that between seeing clients, writing briefs, etc, I need to type out a fast response at times, and can’t concentrate as I should—like when I’m home.

      He asked what happened to Dr Peter Lamb who used to comment here. I have communicated privately with the good doctor via email who is a regular reader to this day. He feels it unnecessary to comment on a blog where “people know more than me.” He is a very humble man. Lastly, anon’s invective claims that my defending the readers he attacks and fraternal correction of his actions is “creepy.” Yeah. Ok.

      Again, I will not engage with such people. Feel free to argue with me all you want. Just don’t unfairly call names and attack my readers. That’s not a “debate” or exchange of ideas.

      I renew my call to pray for that poor individual.

      —-Introibo

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    9. Introibo,
      It’s a shame that people like anonymous 9:48 can’t conduct themselves as Christians should. If he doesn’t like this blog and its readers he shouldn’t read it. I’m glad you ignore people like that. Most readers here seem to be good people.

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    10. @non8:47
      Yes, most of my readers are VERY good people. Inevitably, the proverbial “bad apple” comes along. He’s a return bad apple at that! From his responses, it was clear he was the same commenter from February 2018, who behaved in an inappropriate manner on my post re:NFP.

      Yet, here he is almost one year later doing the same thing! I will, indeed, ignore and not engage such people.

      God Bless,

      —-Introibo

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    11. I like Tom A’s comments and Joann’s questions. Too bad there are some jerks. Intro, please be more selective about what you permit. You give some people more leeway than they deserve.

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  8. Gee JoAnn, did you read that? Well, didn't this same source inform you of where,say, Abraham was before Jesus descended into Hell?

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    1. @anon12:04
      I’m not sure what point you’re trying to make. Abraham and all the Old Testament “saints” were detained in this “hell “ until Christ led them into Heaven.

      —-Introibo

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    2. Anon 12:04 -

      For your information, I don’t believe everything I read and I question everything. Hope that meets with your approval!

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    3. Not sure about Moses and Elijiah. Were they not at the Transfiguration? Some traditions hold that they were assumed into Heaven much as in the manner of the Blessed Mother.

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    4. @Tom,
      You’re thinking of Elias and Enoch. Neither of these Old Testament prophets has died. St. Paul tells us that Enoch was taken so that he might not see death, "By faith Enoch was translated, that he should not see death; and he was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had testimony that he pleased God." (See Hebrews 11: 5). The same is related to us regarding Elias, "And as they went on, walking and talking together, behold a fiery chariot, and fiery horses parted them both asunder: and Elias went up by a whirlwind into heaven." (See 4 Kings 2:11).

      We know Moses died because St Michael defended his body against Satan:
      “ But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”(St Jude 1:9). There is no theologian who supports a resurrection for Moses as do some Protestants.

      —-Introibo

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    5. No JoAnn, I have no problem with your method which obviously doesn't rely on reading approved Catholic sources coupled with your own research, but instead relies om asking "Introibo" the most basic of questions (this, particular, one I learned the answer to in the fourth grade) which he proceeds to flub thus compelling him to give his "Mea culpa" to Tom A. who corrected his error. Yes, I have no problem with the "blind leading the blind." ;-) It's so much better than just asking your traditional Catholic priest. :)

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    6. @anon9:48
      Too bad you never learned how to act like a Catholic in fourth grade :-)
      What do you know of Joann’s situation? She likes to check her sources, and I’m blessed to have a home library with over 4,000 titles. I also learned the Faith from Fr Gommar DePauw an approved canonist pre-Vatican II and the founder of the Catholic Traditionalist Movement. Everyone (except you, of course) makes mistakes, especially when working long hours(I’m a NYC attorney) and typing quickly.

      Do you know if Joann has ready access to a Traditionalist priest? There are a couple I know who gave seriously wrong answers, one of whom was humble and apologized, the other refusing to respond and I tell people to stay away from him.

      The blind leading the blind? Nah! A pseudo-educated, pompous windbag, who insults a dignified lady is in no position to call anyone blind when you don’t know basic Catholic courtesy. And lest you accuse ME. Of being “mean” to you—let me point out that pointing out such boorish behavior is an act of charity if you learn from your mistakes.

      Learn to see yourself before accusing others of being “blind.” As Christ taught, “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.” (St Matthew 7:5)

      —-Introibo

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    7. Anon @9:48,

      You seem to me to be an Anonymous BULLY who is afraid to give a real name. I am fairly new and I don’t profess to be a know it all like you. All I did was ask a question and you are turning it into a circus. Though I grew up pre-Vatican II,I never had the opportunity to attend Catholic Schools, nor due to circumstances beyond my control, able to attend Catechism on a regular basis. I have a lot to learn and try my best to grow in Grace and knowledge. I hope that satisfies your abhorrent curiosity regarding my question. If not, go bully someone your own size.

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    8. @Joann,
      Anon@9:48 can’t pick on someone his own size. No one is that small :-)

      —-Introibo

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  9. Joann,
    Yes. No one could enter Heaven until the death of Christ. In the Creed, it says Christ “descended into Hell.” He did not go to the Hell of the damned, but the “hell” with a small H. This hell was where all the just before Christ went until Christ destroyed it after He Rose and took those who died justified (like Moses) from the “limbo of the Fathers” to Heaven. In this place was no pain but also no glorious happiness.

    God Bless,

    —--Introibo

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    1. "After He rose?" I believe this was accomplished the moment He surrendered His Life on the Cross.

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    2. You are correct Tom. It was after He died. His Soul went there prior to His Resurrection.

      Mea culpa,

      —-Introibo

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  10. Introibo,

    Why did the Church oppose usury from the 13th century to the 16th century before accepting it? Thanks much.

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    1. Joann,
      Michael Hoffman, a historical revisionist, would like us to think the Church erred in the matter of usury. The best and most concise treatment of a complex issues comes from Catholic Answers, where even a broken clock is right twice a day! It states:
      There has certainly been a change from the time of Thomas (Aquinas) until today, but there is some dispute about how to characterize this change. Did the Church reverse itself and repudiate its prior teaching? Or was this change a development of doctrine?

      To answer this question, let us return to Thomas. He did not think it was right to sell and rent the very same thing, but he did not hold that in all cases a person extending a loan must accept as repayment the exact loan amount. The lender may also require monies as insurance against loss of the principle. Thomas did not think that, had the loan been returned on time, it justified charging interest. He said:

      The lender cannot enter an agreement for compensation through the fact that he makes no profit out of his money: because he must not sell that which he has not yet and may be prevented in many ways from having. (ST II-II.78.2 ad 1)
      This condemnation rests on circumstances that may, and did, change. In some market situations—apparently the ones prevalent in the thirteenth century—the likelihood of growing money through investment was seen as greatly uncertain. But in contemporary market situations, investment growth is virtually assured. As secure ways of investing money developed, the lender did lose profit on money unless interest was charged.

      To take a different example, in the Middle Ages removing a man’s heart was the same as killing him, but today a heart may be removed in surgery to restore life. Intentionally killing an innocent person is always wrong, but the specific actions that count as intentional killing change and depend in part upon the development of technology.”

      If you’d like to dig deeper let me know. Theologian Vermeersch goes into great detail.

      God Bless,

      —-Introibo


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    2. Introibo,

      Very interesting - Thanks much!!

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  11. Introibo, back to the topic of the gnostic gospels. My question is were all the books not accepted by the Church, as inspired, condemned? Were some rejected merely because their authenticity could not be confirmed? Some were no doubt forgeries and/or heretical but some may have been rejected even though they contained nothing offensive to the faith.

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    1. Tom,
      A gnostic gospel stands condemned by the very fact of its gnostic heresy. There are non-canonical books the authenticity of which cannot be ascertained. As I know of no Church document formally condemning them, they may lack authenticity alone. However, the failure to condemn does not (in and of itself) imply some sort of approbation. Without Magisterial guidance, to try and sift the wheat from the chaff, is a dangerous undertaking.

      —-Introibo

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    2. Absolutely agree, while there may be some interesting historical facts in these other non canonical books, there is absolutely nothing in them essential for the salvation of our souls.

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  12. Why would it be just for God to send all to hell due to Adam’s sin? This seems unjust to me.

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    1. God owes man absolutely nothing. We owe Him absolutely everything.

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  13. Tom, I agree God made us and can do what he wants, but he also made our innate instinct to normally think about creating something just to make it suffer permanently for all eternity being punished for something it didn’t do and had no chance to not do as something unjust. God is Just and loves us so I don’t know how to reconcile this. I think without BOD thins would not be just either, but with BOD is opens the door to those that were never given the opportunity for baptism by water.

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    1. In Genesis we see God banishing Adam and all his descendants from Eden to a life of toil because of his sin. So we may not think it just that we suffer for Adam's sin but God thought it just. We do not think it just due to our pride.

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    2. Is the inherited punishment something that you or other humans understand or just accept? I ask because I do not understand as I would not understand putting a 7 year old in prison because his dad killed a person. It is not my pride that I wouldn’t punish the 7 year old it is just what is deeply within my conscience.


      If I must accept inherited punishment as an article of faith than I will, but I cannot pretend to understand it. I believe this is why God did what he did (didn’t just stop at the inherited punishment, but sent a savior). I also think it is why BOD and BOB are necessary as if only Baptism by water were the option it wouldn’t seem just for all those who never had the opportunity. An unborn baby dying getting a similar test like the angels is a nice though and I could see that making sense although I could also see God choosing to apply BOD in a sense if it would have been so, but I guess the two may be the same thing in a way.

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  14. Introibo,
    What is your position on when the soul is created? I don’t think it can be at conception as identical twins happen after that and also two separate conceived eggs can merge into one. Do you think frozen fertilized eggs have a soul?

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    1. @anon8:59
      I believe it happens very soon after fertilization, and in some cases, at fertilization. Since the zygote is being fashioned to hold a human soul, in my opinion, it would be considered the equivalent of murder by God even without a soul present. I do not subscribe to the 40 day, 80 day theory of Aquinas. I do think it’s highly probable frozen fertilized eggs have souls. Remember, that God creates the soul immediately, Ex nihil, but does not have to do so at the same time for each individual. For example, God knows whether there will be twins or not. If not, He may create the soul instantly, or if He knows it will be twins, He waits until they are clearly such. Just my opinion.

      God Bless,

      —-Introibo

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  15. Very poorly titled and written article. Too discursive, no strong thesis backed by evidence, no firm analysis, and lacks important citations. You seem to be entertaining two different ideas: (1) that unbaptized infants can go to Heaven (this is definitely heretical), and (2) that unbaptized infants somehow can gain baptism by a miracle of God (something that has never been taught by the Church).

    Andrew de Vega’s proposition may not have been approved, but the Council of Trent, Canon 5, infallibly declared that baptism is necessary for salvation (Denzinger 861 from the 1955 English-language edition). Anybody who does not believe such is a heretic. The answer to the question “Can Unbaptized Infants Achieve Salvation?” is NO!!! Why even entertain such a heresy with your title?

    What is your source that the book editor, and not Pope St. Pius V, ordered the teaching removed from Cardinal Cajetan’s work? Please include a citation when you make these claims.

    Are you also asking whether God can, by a miracle, give an infant who was not physically baptized by another person some kind of “virtual” life, through which the infant can gain some sort of baptism and whereby the infant can be judged based on how he/she would have lived if born and by that test be saved or damned? Has the Church ever entertained this notion? Is lacking Church condemnation the same as having Church approval? If you think this is possible, why not at least give a summary of Klee’s, Schell’s, and Glorieux’s theories, along with the names of the works in which they disseminated their theories so that we can read the original source. Why not give some analysis of their arguments?

    The Ordinary Magisterium and the statements of the Popes have always implied that unbaptized infants cannot attain salvation. See the sources cited in Dr. Droleskey’s articles:

    • Pope Saint Siricius in 385
    • The Papal Bull Cantate Domino of Pope Eugene IV at the Council of Florence in 1441
    • The Papal Bull Effr√¶natam of Pope Sixtus V in 1588
    • Pope Saint Pius X in 1905

    http://www.christorchaos.com/DoNOTGoForthandBaptize.htm

    http://www.christorchaos.com/ExposingSoulstoaFateFarWorsethanLimbo.htm

    http://www.christorchaos.com/NoNeedtobeinLimboAnyLonger.htm

    http://www.traditionalmass.org/articles/article.php?id=73&catname=15

    http://www.personal.psu.edu/glm7/m256.htm

    I don’t endorse the writers of the last two articles (the first is a sedevacantist operating without jurisdiction and the second is a novus ordo), but their evidence is firm.

    The Vatican II sect, which promulgates every form of heresy and error, promotes the idea of salvation for unbaptized infants. The Catholic Church never gave Catholic burial to unbaptized infants nor buried them in consecrated ground. Surely, the Church would pray for unbaptized infants if they could be helped by prayer. By contrast, the Vatican II developed specific prayers and a funeral mess for unbaptized infants. Remember, back in 2007, when the Novus Ordo religion released the heretical document called “The Hope of Salvation for Infants Who Die without Being Baptized” (http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/cti_documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20070419_un-baptised-infants_en.html) and the controversy it caused among the conservative novus ordo followers? And, last All Souls’ Day, Antipope Francis prayed at the graves of stillborn infants for their souls.

    Lastly, will the souls of the unbaptized infants in Limbo be present at the Last Judgment and therefore have all history revealed to them? If so, they will know what they lost.

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    1. @clarity
      First, this is a terse post, not a doctoral thesis. I'm merely exploring a possibility written about by theologian Dyer. Hence, there is no "strong thesis." I do not endorse or oppose the possibility of unbaptized infants (at least some) obtaining salvation by the extraordinary grace of God.

      1. The idea that unbaptized infants can go to Heaven without the sacrament of baptism is NOT heretical as Baptism of Blood clearly proves.

      2. That God could provide grace as indicated by the theologians is clearly a possibility, as they were never censured or condemned. Other approved theologians who didn't agree with them, such as Ott and Pohle, wrote that the theories were "possible" and not heretical.

      3. As explained above, I am not "entertaining heresy." As to Canon 5 of the Council of Trent, the sacrament of Baptism (water) is not optional as the Canon clearly states. A person can not "opt out" of the sacrament of Baptism and be saved. However, the Baptism of Desire (BOD) and Baptism of Blood (BOB)are for those who weren't given an option. If such were heretical Cardinal Cajetan would have been excommunicated at the Council of Trent and his proposition condemned. Neither took place.

      4. The citation for Cardinal Cajetan's teaching being removed by the editor and not Pope St Pius V is theologian Dyer, "Limbo: Unsettled Question" pg. 145

      5. I'm not claiming a "virtual life" nor did I state such. The infant would be given a test analogous to the angels. When lacking Church condemnation, and even lacking condemnation by peer-theologians, such theories may indeed be entertained even if not taught. The matter is up for deliberation and debate.

      6. You ask, "If you think this is possible, why not at least give a summary of Klee’s, Schell’s, and Glorieux’s theories, along with the names of the works in which they disseminated their theories so that we can read the original source. Why not give some analysis of their arguments?" Answer: Because I'm a NYC lawyer working an average of 90 hours a week. I'm also a family man with duties and responsibilities. That's why my blog is composed of short posts in the (very few) hours of spare time in which I research and write for my blog. It is not my purpose to write a doctoral dissertation.

      7. You cite Dr. Droleskey's articles, yet the good Dr, does not deny BOD or BOB. The letter of Pope St Siricus and Cantate Domino were both promulagted prior to the Council of Trent, yet obviously did not settle the issue, or Cardinal Cajetan's theory would have been condemned as heresy. The fact that theologian Ott was still calling the theories of Klee, etc. as "possible" which would have put his writings under censure/condemnation had he contradicted Pope St. Pius X or Pope Sixtus V.

      8. The Vatican II sect is preaching universal salvationism at best, and contradicting itself at worst. Why pray FOR the stillborn if they are saved? These theologians are not teaching universalism--just that another way to join the Church MIGHT be possible for at least SOME unbaptized infants.

      9. You ask, "Lastly, will the souls of the unbaptized infants in Limbo be present at the Last Judgment and therefore have all history revealed to them? If so, they will know what they lost."
      Answer: I don't know. That's why this topic was being debated by the theologians. Only the Church can answer that.

      ---Introibo

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    2. I certainly understand your being busy with work and family (working a 90-hour week, commuting, and raising a family, I don’t know when you sleep), but you shouldn’t put this out if you do not have time to do the in-depth research and analysis that this topic demands. This can create great confusion in the minds of the readers.

      Dyer’s work was written after the eclipse of the Church began on October 28, 1958, the day that Angelo Roncalli usurped the Papal Throne, and therefore should not be considered approved theology, even if he was a valid theologian and his jurisdiction had not yet expired.

      Please pay attention to the lexical nuances. You are introducing the word “sacrament.” You say “the sacrament of baptism” versus “baptism.” By “the sacrament of baptism,” I presume you mean the act of a person having water poured over his head by another person and the pourer pronouncing the words “I baptize you in the name of the Father…and of the Son…and of the Holy Ghost.”

      I did not say it was heretical to deny that the sacrament of baptism was necessary to enter Heaven. I did say that it is heretical to deny that baptism is necessary to enter Heaven. Denzinger 861 states, in the 1955 English-language edition, “If anyone shall say that baptism is optional, that is, not necessary for salvation: let him be anathema.” Notice it used the term, “baptism,” not “the sacrament of baptism.” Baptism of Blood and Baptism of Desire may not be formal sacraments, but they are baptism and satisfy the requirement of baptism in order that a person may enter Heaven. To presume that someone enter Heaven without some kind of baptism (sacramental, blood, desire, or another form that God has not revealed to us) is heresy. Your wording is dangerous, because someone may read this and think “Oh, infants can enter Heaven without baptism.”

      As late as 1905, Pope Saint Pius X was affirming, although not infallibly, that unbaptized infants go to Limbo. Modern scholars on the subject, Harrison, Sanborn, Dr. Droleskey, and Novus Ordo Watch, who have all studied the Church’s teachings extensively, all scowl on the idea that the infants who do not receive Sacramental Baptism or Baptism of Blood can be saved and assert that the Church has always implied that such infants go to Limbo. Here is NOW’s commentary on Antipope Francis praying at the graves of the unbaptized infants and how that stunt was an attack on the faith (Tradcast Express 71): https://traffic.libsyn.com/preview/secure/tradcast/express071.mp3

      Did Cardinal Cajetan actually believe that unborn infants’ parents could make a vicarious desire on the infants’ behalf, or was he just floating the idea in order to have the council determine its veracity? Surely council attendees are allowed to present ideas to the council to have their correctness determined.

      Even if it is possible that infants not receiving Sacramental Baptism or Baptism of Blood can somehow receive a form of baptism and be saved, the Church has never taught it. If you are going to take on the traditional teaching (although not doctrinally-defined position) of the Church, you are going to have to do some extensive research and analysis, far more than can be done in a blog post.

      And I suppose the question has to be asked, if infants without Sacramental baptism are given a “moment of choice,” are infants who die with sacramental baptism also required to make a choice rather than being immediately admitted to Heaven? Would God let anyone into Heaven without their having consciously to choose Him?

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    3. @clarity
      Thank you for a charitable and thoughtful reply.

      Points on which I must disagree:


      1. I don’t believe that anyone would get the idea that unbaptized infants can be saved apart from (a) entrance into the Church and (b) sanctifying grace. That is what both the Sacrament Of Baptism and its substitutes effectuate. The title is in the form of a question and does not attempt an answer. A person who reads this post will not think I’m advocating lack of Church membership or sanctifying grace for salvation.

      2. Please remember that these theories are discussed by theologians Pohle and Ott, who wrote under Pope Pius XI and Pius XII. They declared the theories “possible” and not heretical. Klee and company were also pre-V2 and never censured or condemned.

      3. I have the greatest respect for the individuals you list, yet they would be the first to admit they are not approved theologians or canonists. Their opinions bind no one—nor do mine.

      4. Cardinal Cajetan did believe in his theory. He spoke and wrote of it well before Trent.

      5. I am not “taking on” any teaching. I’m simply bringing to light an interesting topic that has a moral for us.

      Finally, you ask if God would allow anyone in to Heaven without having to consciously choose Him, my opinion is “yes” for baptized infants. Those who contract original sin have done so without their fault (no conscious decision) so it can be remitted also without conscious decision in Baptism which makes the soul pleasing to God so it can achieve its supernatural end.

      —-Introibo

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  16. As I stated last week, to attain salvation one requires some form of baptism. Be it water, desire, or blood. On that we should all agree.

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  17. Introibo,

    Recently Pope Francis stated that the souls of the aborted are in Heaven. But if they are, then a mother who aborts her child assures that it will go to Heaven, whereas my poor wife and I have five adult children who still might just go to Hell. If the souls of the aborted enter Heaven, then Planned Parenthood has gotten more people into Heaven in America in the last fifty years than the Conciliar Church has.

    And imagine a teenage gal pregnant and in desperate straits. What to do? Give birth and have the child grow up in a terrible situation, or abort and assure that the child will be in Heaven. The belief that the aborted enter Heaven might just put her over the wrong edge.

    No, I think we had better stick with the teaching about Limbo.

    P.S. Good, thoughtful website.

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    1. Fred,
      Thank you for the kind words. One of the downsides to the theories is the possible rise in abortion. However, the theories don’t claim that aborted babaies go to Heaven. SOME may, but others will not, analogous to BOD—not everyone is thereby saved.

      The doctrine of Limbo can therefore be retained. A child who has the choice at the last moment of life may reject God because they did not grow enough in the state of grace—an argument against abortion.

      I’m not advocating the idea Fred. Your concerns are real. The doctrine of Limbo May indeed be the only correct answer.

      God Bless,

      —-Introibo

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    2. Introibo,

      If some babies went to Heaven and others didn’t, wouldn’t that be analogous to predestination? Limbo seems to be the only explanation.

      JoAnn

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    3. Joann,
      Limbo may indeed be the answer, but the theory of Klee, etc. is not like predestination. BOD is not predestination. Nor is it predestination if infants are given a test like the angels. They pass or fail on their acceptance or rejection of God which they freely choose.

      However, Klee may be completely wrong. Limbo may indeed be the only answer. Only the Church can decide this question if and when we get a true pope back!

      God Bless,

      —-Introibo

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    4. Introibo,
      I don’t understand what the “test like the angels” means. Can you explain? Thanks.

      JoAnn

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    5. Joann,
      According to Theologian Pohle the fall of the angels was unlike the Fall of the human race. The human race apostasized as a whole because all people were represented and virtually contained in Adam; thereby all contracted Original Sin through him except for Mary and Christ’s Human Nature. The angels were tested as individuals. About one third failed the test and became demons. The first to rebel was Satan, who is thought by most theologians to be of the highest of the nine choirs of angels—the Seraphim. The angels knew things better than people as they are pure spirits with no body. There was a test, the exact nature of which has not been defined. Most theologians agree that it was revealed to them what God planned to do. The angels were asked to submit to God and His plans. Some angels rebelled out of pride. Some theologians think it was a rejection based on their refusal to be subject to God, others think it was rebellion against His intent to create inferior humans and love them. (See Dogmatic Theology 3:340-342).

      God could reveal to the intellect of the Infant all He plans to do with him and the universe, and the infant can accept or reject God in an analogous manner.

      God Bless,

      —-Introibo

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    6. Introibo,

      Thanks very much for the explanation!! Very interesting.

      JoAnn

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  18. Introibo - regarding the ascension of the holy souls from the Old Testament detained in hell, what did Christ do there other than preach on Holy Saturday?

    The Catechism of St. Pius X states that Christ was the [fittingly] first Soul Who entered heaven. Hence I don't buy the idea that the souls ascended on Holy Saturday.

    Aquinas even says that Sts. Enoch and Elias were in a lower heaven.

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    1. @anon10:39
      The simple answer: we don’t know. There is no definitive Church teaching on this matter. Perhaps preach was all He did.

      —-Introibo

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    2. Thanks Introibo. Sorry for this question, but I'm curious as to why this blog's time is the US Pacific time zone, yet you live in NYC?

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    3. Another simple answer:
      I’m not the most tech savvy guy and this is how Google does the time. No big deal. I just think ahead three hours.

      —-Introibo

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