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Laura wrote:

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 statements?

Thank you,

Laura

Question:

  • 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?

Answer:

According to the constant teaching of the Church, those who die before baptism will never see the Kingdom of God.

Source: hidden

"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. 415)
Web site source where quote was taken: hidden

  { Is it fair to say that before Baptism the state of the child is hopelessly lost and self condemned? }

Eric replied:

Laura —

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 saved.

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.

Eric

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