Hi, guys —
- According to the statements below, is
it fair to say, according to Catholic teaching,
that the state of a child at birth before
Baptism is hopelessly lost and self condemned?
- If not, what is the state of the child
and how do you harmonize it with the following
- What if God, Our Father, called
His children at an early age from
say one day old or to fourteenth
years old or older depending on
what age they are baptized?
- Where do their souls go?
According to the constant teaching
of the Church, those who die before
baptism will never see the Kingdom
"Likewise, whosoever says
that those children who depart
out of this life without partaking
of that sacrament shall be made
alive in Christ, certainly contradicts
the apostolic declaration, and
condemns the universal Church,
in which it is the practice to
lose no time and run in haste
to administer baptism to infant
children, because it is believed,
as an indubitable truth, that
otherwise they cannot be made
alive in Christ."
Augustine, Epistle 167,7,21 (A.D.
Web site source where quote was
it fair to say that before Baptism the
state of the child is hopelessly lost and
self condemned? }
These statements do not represent
the official teaching of the Catholic
Church, which is that we don't know
the fate of unbaptized infants and
we leave them to God's mercy. The
Catechism of the Catholic Church,
the official guide to Catholic doctrine,
in paragraph 1261 says:
As regards children who have died
without Baptism, the Church can
only entrust them to the mercy
of God, as she does in her funeral
rites for them. Indeed, the great
mercy of God who desires that
all men should be saved, and Jesus'
tenderness toward children which
caused him to say: "Let the
children come to me, do not hinder
them," allow us to hope that
there is a way of salvation for
children who have died without
Baptism. All the more urgent is
the Church's call not to prevent
little children coming to Christ
through the gift of holy Baptism.
However, those who believe that unbaptized
infants cannot be saved are not condemned
by the Church.
It is a fact that all are born into
a state of separation from God, and
need some form of baptism, usually
water baptism, to receive the enlivening
grace necessary to see God and be
However, God is not bound by the
sacraments, and we cannot rule out
the possibility that, in his mercy,
he provides some, or even all unbaptized,
infants some sort of grace or opportunity
to be saved.