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Monday, April 23, 2007

Yeah, we were just foolin' about purgatory, too

From BoingBoing.

Vatican decides not to believe in limbo any longer

A Vatican panel has issued a report that concludes that unbaptized babies go to Heaven, not limbo, as the Catholic church has been claiming for centuries.

In the 5th century, St. Augustine declared that all unbaptized babies went to hell upon death. By the Middle Ages, the idea was softened to suggest a less severe fate, limbo.

In his Divine Comedy, Dante characterized limbo as the first circle of hell and populated it with the great thinkers of ancient Greece and Rome, as well as leading Islamic philosophers.

The document published Friday said the question of limbo had become a "matter of pastoral urgency" because of the growing number of babies who do not receive the baptismal rite. Especially in Africa and other parts of the world where Catholicism is growing but has competition from other faiths such as Islam, high infant mortality rates mean many families live with a church teaching them that their babies could not go to heaven.

Father Thomas Weinandy, executive director for doctrine at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said the document "addresses the issue from a whole new perspective — if we are now hoping these children get to heaven, there is no longer any point in worrying about limbo."

Sadly, the LA Times article the BoingBoing report relied on is only available to registered users.

Comments on "Yeah, we were just foolin' about purgatory, too"


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (6:13 PM) : 

So I was baptized - heaven
I'm atheist - certainly hell

I had hoped to split the difference - hello Limbo - if my atheistic paradigm ultimately proved incorrect.

That plan is out the window. Hope Hell ain't a bad place to be. (Tip to AY).


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