Monday, March 3, 2008

Everybody Limbo!

Did you know that for almost a year now, you have not had to worry about babies being in limbo?

That's right. Back in April of 2007, Pope Benedict XVI revised the Roman Catholic teaching about limbo, saying that there was "reason to hope that babies who die without baptism can go to heaven."

I have a couple of questions:
Was this based on a report from NASA?
What century is this?
Isn't Limbo a novelty dance with a stick that was popular in 1950's America?

To answer number one: no. It was based on findings of the "International Theological Commission," which aired the document on "Origins," which is the documentary service of "Catholic News Service," which is the news agency of the "American Bishop's Conference."

In other words, Hard Science.

To answer number two: in my world, it's 2008. In Roman Catholic World, it's 1172.

In answer to number 3, "Limbo" is a state of maximum happiness without communion with god. Having not committed any personal sins, theologians taught that unbaptized babies went to Limbo. For an atheist, "Limbo" sounds like a pretty good place to be. A state of maximum happiness without having to deal with all the god stuff? Count me in! It would be like the America I always dreamed of!

See, when you are born, you are born with the human element of original sin because of that pesky Eve, her apple, and her desire to for free thinking. If you are born with the human element of original sin and are not baptized, and then have the unfortunate experience of dying before you are baptized, then you get to burn in hell. Even though all you did was be born.

This is what the faithful believed. The actual teachings stated that infants who die unbaptized wind up in Limbo.

Apparently, the former and current pope had been looking for more study on this subject partially because of the issue of abortion. All those zygotes and blastocysts and embryos and fetuses floating around up there were troubling them. I believe I would have been more troubled about the emotional well being of the living, adult faithful who were not only dealing with the death of a child but the metaphysical torture of believing that their child was either burning in hell or floating in limbo. Then again, I am also concerned that grown ups are spending time and money putting together circular studies and issuing edicts on such things in the first place.

The revelations last year make it clear that there's reason to hope, but they can't be certain of salvation because Scripture does not say.

So that leaves the faithful in... limbo?

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