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Barbara Queen wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • When babies are born they are baptized for the removal of original sin from Adam And Eve but if the baby dies before they are baptized, do their souls go to Heaven?

Barbara

  { Do the souls of unbaptized babies go to Heaven? }

Paul replied:

Hello Barbara,

The problem you pose has been debated for the past two millennia because this information has not been specifically revealed to us by God:

  1. If every human being is born separated from God via original sin
  2. but if they have never personally sinned
  3. if they are not baptized, do they end up in hell for all eternity?

That conclusion seems just because of what we all did corporately in Adam: (a)
Yet it seems unfair because the individual does not choose to do anything wrong: (b)

Some theologians came up with the idea that these babies enter, not into supernatural happiness, but a kind of natural happiness called limbo. The experience not the pains of Hell but not the beatific vision of God.

John Paul II in his writings seemed to go in another direction, stating that these children are with God, prompting many Catholics to take solace that they do go to Heaven. This is probably the majority opinion today. The Spirit might make this question clearer to the Church in time; we just don't know, though we may hope in the Mercy of God.

Peace,

Paul

Mike replied:

Hi Barbara,

Someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but I though the Vatican wanted to drop the discussion on limbo due to the confusion it brought among the faithful. Nevertheless, if you read this paper that the International Theological Commission published on April 20, 2007 there was no mention of discouraging the term.

The Hope Of Salvation For Infants Who Die Without Being Baptized.

In the top summary part of the document said:

It is clear that the traditional teaching on this topic has concentrated on the theory of limbo, understood as a state which includes the souls of infants who die subject to original sin and without baptism, and who, therefore, neither merit the beatific vision, nor yet are subjected to any punishment, because they are not guilty of any personal sin. This theory, elaborated by theologians beginning in the Middle Ages, never entered into the dogmatic definitions of the Magisterium, even if that same Magisterium did at times mention the theory in its ordinary teaching up until the Second Vatican Council. It remains therefore a possible theological hypothesis.
.
.
The conclusion of this study is that there are theological and liturgical reasons to hope that infants who die without baptism may be saved and brought into eternal happiness, even if there is not an explicit teaching on this question found in Revelation. However, none of the considerations proposed in this text to motivate a new approach to the question may be used to negate the necessity of baptism, nor to delay the conferral of the sacrament. Rather, there are reasons to hope that God will save these infants precisely because it was not possible to do for them that what would have been most desirable — to baptize them in the faith of the Church and incorporate them visibly into the Body of Christ.


Number 7. in this document stated:

Finally, when reflecting theologically on the salvation of infants who die without Baptism, the Church respects the hierarchy of truths and therefore begins by clearly reaffirming the primacy of Christ and his grace, which has priority over Adam and sin.

Here is how the Catholic New Service reported it:

Vatican commission: Limbo reflects restrictive view of salvation

The Catechism of the Catholic Church puts it this way:

1261 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," (Mark 10 14; cf. 1 Timothy 2:4) 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.

It's also important to remember that God is not bound by His Own Sacraments, thus He may save whoever He wishes.

Mike

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