Bringing you the "Good News" of Jesus Christ and His Church While PROMOTING CATHOLIC Apologetic Support groups loyal to the Holy Father and Church's magisterium
Home About
What's New? Resources The Church Family Life Mass and
Ask A Catholic
Knowledge base
AskACatholic Disclaimer
Search the
AskACatholic Database
Donate and
Support our work
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
New Questions
Cool Catholic Videos
About Saints
Disciplines & Practices for distinct Church seasons
Purgatory and Indulgences
About the Holy Mass
About Mary
Searching and Confused
Contemplating becoming a Catholic or Coming home
Homosexual and Gender Issues
Life and Family
No Salvation Outside the Church
Sacred Scripture
non-Catholic Cults
Justification and Salvation
The Pope and Papacy
The Sacraments
Relationships and Marriage situations
Specific people, organizations and events
Doctrine and Teachings
Specific Practices
Church Internals
Church History

Jack wrote:

Hi, guys —

My brother's baby was stillborn during the eight months of his wife's pregnancy. The baby was buried in the grave of our mother who had died many years before.

  • What happens to the soul of their baby girl who never had a chance at live?

We use to say these babies went to a place called Limbo where they were perfectly happy.
We don't hear about Limbo any more in the Catholic Church or whether it even ever existed.

  • What is the Church's teaching what happens to the souls of stillborn babies?


  { What is the Church's teaching what happens to the souls of stillborn babies? }

Mary Ann replied:

Jack —

The Church teaches that we can trust God's merciful love of these children. Blessed John Paul II said that they are living with the Lord. They are not condemned.

Limbo was never an official doctrine; it was more a common opinion held out of respect for the necessity of Baptism as the normal means of salvation. If, as St. Paul says in his epistles, pagans who follow the natural law and natural revelation can be saved, then of course the innocent can be saved.

It is important for family members to dedicate and surrender their child to God. Having a Mass said is a wonderful Memorial.

Mary Ann

Paul replied:


The simple answer is that we just don't know. Limbo was a theological opinion that gained favor in recent history before it went out of favor. It was a way of explaining where unbaptized babies went who were personally innocent of actual sin, but share in the punishment of original sin.

The teaching on Limbo, however, never gained the status of being Church doctrine. As far as we know, God has not revealed this information to us, as to what happens to stillborn, unbaptized babies. It is fashionable today among many theologians to conjure up feasible reasons why unbaptized babies go to Heaven.

Even Blessed John Paul II mentioned that they are with the Lord, but didn't define what exactly that means. So we hope in God's mercy, while understanding His justice, until a defined doctrine is defined by the Magisterium on the subject. We hope there is no logical contradiction in sanctifying and saving an unbaptized person under the age of reason.


Mike replied:

Hi, Jack —

I just wanted to add one comment to what my colleagues have said.

Although limbo never gained the status of being Church doctrine, the Early Church Fathers,
in their private theological opinions, did refer to the "Limbo of the Fathers".

This is where the saints of the Old Testament went, along with the babies you mentioned, before Our Blessed Lord opened the gates of Heaven at His Resurrection.

Just a historical note.


Please report any and all typos or grammatical errors.
Suggestions for this web page and the web site can be sent to Mike Humphrey
© 2012 Panoramic Sites
The Early Church Fathers Church Fathers on the Primacy of Peter. The Early Church Fathers on the Catholic Church and the term Catholic. The Early Church Fathers on the importance of the Roman Catholic Church centered in Rome.