Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Infant salvation and the Catholic tradition

In  the previous post here at AF, the issue of infant salvation was explored, with an emphasis the relevant passages contained in the Scriptures.

This post will focus on the Catholic tradition; which, as we shall shortly come to discern, has advanced more than one view in the attempt to address the issue at hand. Unlike a number of other important doctrinal topics, the destiny of most who die in infancy remains somewhat 'open', and this due to the fact that an official, irreformable, doctrinal definition has yet to be promulgated by the Magisterium of the Catholic Church (neither conciliar, nor papal).

In the year 2007, an important document was created and published by the International Theological Commission (Eighth Term), under the title:

From the opening paragraph on the site, we read:

The International Theological Commission has studied the question of the fate of un-baptised infants, bearing in mind the principle of the “hierarchy of truths” and the other theological principles of the universal salvific will of God, the unicity and insuperability of the mediation of Christ, the sacramentality of the Church in the order of salvation, and the reality of Original Sin. In the contemporary context of cultural relativism and religious pluralism the number of non-baptized infants has grown considerably, and therefore the reflection on the possibility of salvation for these infants has become urgent. The Church is conscious that this salvation is attainable only in Christ through the Spirit. But the Church, as mother and teacher, cannot fail to reflect upon the fate of all men, created in the image of God, and in a more particular way on the fate of the weakest members of the human family and those who are not yet able to use their reason and freedom.

And from the second paragraph:

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. (Bold emphasis mine.)

The site goes on to state that the teaching of limbo, "remains therefore a possible theological hypothesis", but then points out that it is not mentioned in Catechism of the Catholic Church (1992), which instead, "teaches that infants who die without baptism are entrusted by the Church to the mercy of God, as is shown in the specific funeral rite for such children".

The third paragraph is important, and quoted in its entirety below:

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.

After an "Introduction", the document then goes on to explore the "Biblical Foundations", followed by a look into the "Greek Fathers", and then the "Latin Fathers". The next section sheds light on the "Medieval Scholastics", and then the "Modern/Post-Tridentine Era" and the period between "Vatican I to Vatican II".

Sections 32 and 33 touch on the issue of the development of doctrine, and points out that as related doctrines become clear (and more precisely defined), this clarity sheds important light on the doctrine of infant salvation.

From section 41, we read:

Therefore, besides the theory of Limbo (which remains a possible theological opinion), there can be other ways to integrate and safeguard the principles of the faith grounded in Scripture: the creation of the human being in Christ and his vocation to communion with God; the universal salvific will of God; the transmission and the consequences of original sin; the necessity of grace in order to enter into the Kingdom of God and attain the vision of God; the uniqueness and universality of the saving mediation of Christ Jesus; and the necessity of Baptism for salvation. These other ways are not achieved by modifying the principles of the faith, or by elaborating hypothetical theories; rather, they seek an integration and coherent reconciliation of the principles of the faith under the guidance of the ecclesial magisterium, by giving more weight to God's universal salvific will and to solidarity in Christ (cf. GS 22) in order to account for the hope that infants dying without Baptism could enjoy eternal life in the beatific vision.

My 'introduction' to this important document shall come to a close, with an admonition to AF readers—Catholic and non-Catholic—that they take the time to read the entire treatment for themselves. I am convinced that all who do so will gain some important insights into the issue of infant salvation.

Grace and peace,



TOm said...

As I mentioned on the phone I really do not know what to do with this new belief that “there is hope for those who die without baptism.” As best I can tell it has been infallibly denied at two councils. Here is an answer offered in 2008 on EWTN:

EWTN Catholic Q&A
Limbo in Church Doctrine
Question from John Harden on 01-01-2008:
I have read a number of discussions concerning limbo, which have me somewhat confused. It is said that 'limbo is not mentioned in Church doctrine'. However; a breif perusal of Denziger's "The Sources of Catholic Dogma" has yeilded the following texts concerning this issue:
Pope Innocent III , 1198-1216
"We say that a distinction must be made, that sin is twofold: namely, original and actual: original, which is contracted without consent; and actual which is committed with consent. Original, therefore, which is committed without consent, is remitted without consent through the power of the sacrament; but actual, which is contracted with consent, is not mitigated in the slightest without consent. . . . The punishment of original sin is deprivation of the vision of God, but the punishment of actual sin is the torments of everlasting hell" (DZ 410)
Ecumenical XIV, Under Pope Gregory X
"The souls of those who die in mortal sin or with original sin only, however, immediately descend to hell, yet to be punished with different punishments" (DZ 464).
Pope John XXII in his letter "Nequaquam sine dolore" to the Armenians, 1321
"It (The Roman Church) teaches. . . . . that the souls . . . . . of those who die in mortal sin, or with only original sin descend immediately into hell; however, to be punished with different penalties and in different places" (DZ 493a).
Ecumenical XVII, Under Pope Eugenius IV
"Moreover, the souls of those who depart in actual mortal sin or in original sin only, descend immediately into hell but to undergo punishments of different kinds" (DZ 693).
Pope Pius VI condemns the rejection of limbo by the Synod of Pistoia in the Constitution "Auctorem Fidei", 1794 saying
"The doctrine which rejects as a Pelagian fable, that place of the lower regions (which the faithful generally designate by the name of the limbo of children) in which the souls of those departing with the sole guilt of original sin are punished with the punishment of the condemned, exclusive of the punishment of fire, just as if, by this very fact, that these who remove the punishment of fire introduced that middle place and state free of guilt and of punishment between the kingdom of God and eternal damnation, such as that about which the Pelagians idly talk,--false, rash, injurious to Catholic schools" (DZ 1526).
My question is, if limbo is not a doctrine, then what weight do these pontifical and conciliar statements carry? Is the International Theological Commission's assesment of limbo superior in doctrinal authority to the words of two different Ecumenical Councils, and three Pontiffs?
Answer by Fr. Robert J. Levis on 01-01-2008:
Dear John, Ecumenical Councils and the teacing of Supreme Pontiffs are superior to the teaching of any theological commissions. Fr. Bob Levis

Here is the EWTN page, but I mostly quote it for the statements by the councils:

TOm said...

If this is not a settle question, I do not really see how there is anything that is infallible.
If this is not a settle question, I do not see how anyone can maintain there is “all truth” contained within Catholicism and it must just be developed and clarified.
I do disagree with Father Bob Lewis on a very minor point. The term “limbo” and the description of “limbo” is theological speculation. It is possible that those who die without actual sin and in original sin only are in some part of hell not called limbo and not like limbo at all (but different than the hell of unrepentant sinners). If the “hope for the salvation of infants” is that there is a different name than “limbo” and privations and suffering different than what is described as “limbo,” then that is still possible. I do not see how any part of hell is a place we can hope our unbaptized infants go however.
Obnoxiously, TOm

David Waltz said...

Hi Tom,

Thanks much for the link, and taking the time to comment. I have a couple of points that immediately come to mind: first, the issue of infallibility—especially Papal infallibility—has yet to be fully defined/developed. Second, I cannot help but wonder if the statements concerning the necessity of baptism in the above quotes have reference to sacramental baptism only. If this assessment has merit, then there may be room for development concerning the types of non-sacramental baptisms that are valid (i.e. there may be another besides the 'baptism of blood' and 'baptism of desire').

Grace and peace,


Rory said...

Hey Tom,

Good to see your words if I cannot see you.

I do not see a conflict between what the Church has always taught with the hope for heaven of every deceased child. This document speculating that original sin is removed without water baptism in these cases. They do not believe that original sin follows the infant to Heaven. However, I see a different problem.

The document itself opens with complaints from pastors who do not know how to console parents whose children have been taken from them by early death without being baptized. Sadly, I am not surprised.

Inconsolable parents and their troubled pastors could benefit from considering the Church's teaching on the sense pains of Hell, from which all dead children are forever protected. They could reflect on the nature of the Limbo of the Children which implies immortality in a society free from the consequences of sin in an environment that is according to St. Thomas Aquinas, compatible with a state of natural bliss. They could reflect on the tender mercies of God, all wise and all knowing, who gives and takes away for reasons that will be clear later on.

Many religions don't teach a heaven that is any different from the Catholic Limbo of the Children and I have a hunch that these "inconsolable parents" aren't hoping for much better for themselves!
I think the inconsolable parent is quite possibly unaware that the Limbo of the Children actually resembles the heaven for which he hopes.

Parents who are yearning for the Beatific Vision for themselves and their children will appreciate that God will be praised in all His works. If they bring a soul in to the world that brings glory to God in the Limbo of the Children, how can they be "inconsolable"? When God has offered them Himself who is infinite, they are satisfied with whatever finite goods He adds. There is no substituting for this knowledge.

The parent who is a disciple of Christ will accept God's will, and will trust Him who loves their children more than they who are only their temporary custodians. Their children belong to God first, and it is only by His generous privilege, that they enter in to His paternal care as loving Moms and Dads with the obligation to teach them and nurture them as God would have them.

I am not suggesting this is something that can be taught once at a funeral. God's children need time and deliberate reflection to make themselves subject to God's care. But that is our calling! That is part of why we go to Mass on Sunday. We give time to gain eternity. But what are these pastors teaching if their flocks can't deal with the inevitability of death and the eternity that follows?

Maybe the bishop or priest himself had an inferior seminary formation. I don't know, but to complain that Limbo is unsatisfactory to the parents of dead children reveals something about the spiritual poverty of the flock. A rounded balance of Sunday sermons and lessons based on the teachings given in the liturgy of the day cannot fail to help the disciple of Christ to grow in virtue and to prepare them for their own deaths and their loved ones deaths.

These lessons can be given gently and encouragingly with the promise of God's paternal care and love for His children. The sweet consolations of the Catholic faith, correctly taught, begin at the cradle, extend to a death bed, and are carried beyond the graveside and in to eternity.

Rory said...

Just to be clearer, the Church has always and would still continue to teach that no one can enjoy the Beatific Vision if they retain original sin. The new document in favor of affirming that all dead babies receive the Beatific Vision assumes that original sin would be removed.

Another reason put forward in the document has to do with the principle that the law of prayer is the law of faith. If a practice is in the liturgy we assume the doctrine which would follow from it. So far so good. For instance, we draw doctrinal light from the fact that the Easter liturgy refers to the "felix culpa", happy fault of Adam's fall.

The argument this document makes comes from the fact that there is a funeral liturgy for unbaptized babies in the Roman Rite. I don't remember if it was a Mass or not. I had not ever understood this principle as being applicable to something that is a liturgical novelty. Of course, before 1970, and the New Roman Rite, Catholics had never experienced liturgical novelties. How about the fact that for 1,937 years, the Church never had a liturgy for unbaptized babies? Perhaps that is instructive?

Many Roman Rite Catholics including myself refuse to assist at the New Rite, because of other novel inventions. For us, the presence of something like this would seem like the fruit of the modernism that gave us this sterile liturgy that Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger described as a "banal, on the spot product". Unlike any other liturgical rite, the new Roman Rite was made up by a team of people, with a view to satisfying Protestants and even consulting Protestants. This is what Ratzinger meant when he referred to the New Mass as an "on the spot product".

The liturgy has always been subject to changes, but these were organic, and developed and grew over long periods of time, and after centuries, the 1962 Mass is still very recognizable as that which our Fathers knew in medieval times. The main feature of the 1962 Missal, which is different is that it included St. Joseph, the foster father of our Lord in the Canon.

I have read books from the 19th Century that have talked about the growth of the cultus of St. Joseph in the Church. His role in salvation history was later in being appreciated by the Church. But eventually it began to be understood that his name ought to be included with the Blessed Virgin, John the Baptist, and the Apostles, and there began to be a tide of sentiment in favor of his inclusion in the Canon coming from clergy and faithful all over the world. It took centuries, but in 1962, St. Joseph was added.

The New Mass didn't develop like that, at least according to the saying of the future Pope Benedict XVI, when he refers to it candidly as an "on the spot product". That is why the argument from the liturgical principle in favor of all unbaptized babies having the Beatific Vision doesn't help very much.

Today is St. Joseph's feast! It is usually on the 19th but had to moved to Monday because this year it was on the third Sunday of Lent, which is a Mass of the first class feast of our Lord. Thanks for considering my unique concerns with this document. I am saying things that really can't be said by many Roman Rite priests and bishops, even if they believe it.


TOm said...

David (and Rory),
I really do not know the ins and outs of infallibility, but within the last couple of years I came to see it as connected with having (being guided towards) “all truth.” If revelation is complete with Christ and thus you have “all truth,” you might understand better the truth you have, but you will not learn new things you never had supposed (or so it seems to me). Infallibility, the possession of “all truth,” and the end of Public Revelation with Christ and the Apostles are all tied together in my mind now. Is that a mistake?
I also think Papal Infallibility is harder to know about than Conciliar Infallibility (of Councils) or Ecclesiastic Infallibility (of the Church). That being said, I don’t think the fate of those who have no personal sin and no baptism relies upon Papal statements (except if you view Conciliar Infallibility as connected with Papal acceptance of councils – and then Pope and Council agree).
To me the fathers who spoke at Lyons II and Florence were echoing the universal teaching of the church from the Council of Orange (not an EC) to their day. Their words were sealed by Papal acceptance. Their words make it clear to me that they intended to say that unbaptized infants cannot go to heaven (they surely knew that the “Baptism of Desire” and “Baptism of Blood” were things). So while they did not say that the unbaptized infants cannot be baptized (non-sacramentally) by the “baptism of perfect innocence,” it seems to me that that is precisely what they were addressing. The “original understanding” (a U.S. Constitutional term not a Catholic term) was that parents must have their kids baptized and evangelization must reach humanity else unbaptized infants will continue to be unsaved.
I would further suggest that with human creativity, I can maneuver numerous ideas through “loopholes,” such that very little becomes fixed and true in a way that most Catholics think it is (or at least the way I think most Catholics think it is). Catholicism can be better at resisting moving with the culture than other faiths, but if this is open development than what cannot also be open for development?
I belong to a faith that banned black folks from the priesthood (without revelation imo) and then changed. A faith that embraced polygamy and then changed (both with revelation). If I were not a LDS, I would have almost zero trouble being certain that it was society that put pressure upon my church and thus we took the “acceptable” position (no revelation guiding the change, just politics). As a non-Catholic, I have zero trouble believing that a church unprotected by divine gifts developed a theology that encouraged conversion and faithful baptism then in the face of abortion and volumes of unbaptized infants changed (not protected by infallibility, just politics). The willingness of the 2007 commission to entertain this has created further camels to swallow (not that I do not have other Catholic and Mormon camels I already see in my digestion or potential digestion, but more now).
I have found the Catholicism of Catholic Answers to be the Catholicism that produces the most compelling case for Catholic truth claims. Those who deny Vatican II and/or claim that the Pope is not Pope have too much private judgment IMO (though as a non-Catholic I see strength in their arguments). Those who believe Vatican II declared open season on any old innovations that could be considered, were wrong because Vatican II could (and should) be read in a way faithful to Tradition. The Catholic Answers version of Catholicism took a hit in 2007 IMO. It also suffered when prominent cardinals suggested that perhaps the divorced and remarried should receive communion (this looks to be not accepted at the moment, but I was shocked it was considered in the way it appeared to be considered – as were some of the CA Apologists from my observation).

TOm said...

Catholicism’s job is of course not to be compelling to TOm. I find the idea of possessing all truth infallibly to be a positive if true. I find the idea of receiving supernatural public revelation to guide a church to be a positive if true. In 2007 the idea that Catholicism believes itself to possess all truth infallibly was muddied. I suppose the absence of new sections in the D&C might muddy my church’s claims, but I personally am more interested in the possibility of new revelations (and the practical simple “revelations”) than in any particular course corrections.
Charity, TOm

TOm said...

Rory (and David),

Hello. It looks very unlikely that I will be in your neck of the woods again anytime soon. You or David still have a few months to run to Seattle and say hello to my son though! If you ever fly into BWI (Baltimore airport), give me a little heads up and I can meet you (I live and work 5 min away).

I saw two things in your post. The first I think I spoke about in my above post. The second I will talk about a little here.

I think before the day when the loss happens perhaps there is much that can be said about the “limbo of children.” I also think truth is far more important than good feelings. I do not need Catholics to tell me that they are “sure I am ‘invincibly ignorant,’ God loves me, and I am headed to the beatific vision.” This may or may not be true, but what is most important is that if the Pope is the Vicar of Christ, it “may not” be true.

I think much of Augustine’s thorough and the anti-Pelagian thought from the Council of Orange and onward points in a “potter’s freedom” (I will use this term to point towards a 3.5-5 point Calvinist God) direction. If God is free in the way some demand Him to be free, then at the end of the day we know He is good for a myriad of reasons. Because we cannot understand why or how He picks the saved and allows the damned to damn themselves (a somewhat charitable way of describing this IMO), we can know he is good by the good He has so clearly done. I cannot fathom how the God of the “potter’s freedom” is really good (not to mention, “no respecter of persons”), but net-net I am better off because of His actions in my life. I am either damned and a better human because He was part of my life; or elect, a better human because He is part of my life, and heaven bound. Short of some very powerful revelation, I am unlikely to believe in the “potter’s freedom” God. It seems so much better to compromise an omnipotence that give no power of will to a human, than to compromise a God who sincerely loves and desires salvation for ALL humans and is frustrated (saddened in a certain sense even; though not decimated, depressed, defeated, or …) by the POWER of those who reject Him.

It has taken me forever to finish this. I am not posting or reading or … at the rate I once did. I am teaching Gospel Doctrine and every once in a while initiating wonderful conversations where my class and I are vulnerable and obviously not in the “museum for saints.” I still have hopes of posting and offering thoughts as a purported intellect on the other end of a computer, but I hope to balance this with being “a real boy.” BTW, you are much better at being a real person on the computer than I am.

Charity, TOm

David Waltz said...

Hi Tom,

I think Rory is in a better position to address many of the issues you have raised in your March 27 posts. Yet with that said, I would like to share a few of my own thoughts on the issue of the development of doctrine as it pertains to the topics of "all truth" and "public revelation". Concerning this, you wrote:

== If revelation is complete with Christ and thus you have “all truth,” you might understand better the truth you have, but you will not learn new things you never had supposed (or so it seems to me). Infallibility, the possession of “all truth,” and the end of Public Revelation with Christ and the Apostles are all tied together in my mind now. Is that a mistake?==

The incredible depth of the "public revelation" that is accepted by official Catholicism does not (IMO) preclude the possibility of learning "learn new things you never had supposed"; "new" in the sense that certain 'interpretations' of the Sacred Scriptures took centuries to develop.

Personally, cannot think of one ecclesiastical tradition that has not developed their interpretation of those revelations they accept as coming from God. This is true even of the CoJCoLDS. For instance, Brigham Young's "Adam God" speculations held sway for decades, but have been rejected by all subsequent Presidents, and the vast majority of their followers.

And so, with the issue of development in mind, I would like to share the following I recently read:

"The most difficult problem concerning this Divine will to save all men, a real crux theologorum, lies in the mysterious attitude of God towards children dying without baptism. Did God sincerely and earnestly will the salvation also of the little ones who, without fault of their own, fail to receive the baptism of water or blood and are thus forever deprived of the beatific vision? Only a few theologians (e. g. Bellarmine,
Vasquez) are bold enough to answer this question in the negative." (Joseph Pohle, Catholic Encyclopedia, 1909, VI.700.)

Pohle then mentions two attempts from Catholic theologians to reconcile the clear teaching of the universality of God's will to save all with the necessity of baptism. First is, "Klee, the writer on dogma, that self-consciousness is awakened for a short time in dying children, to render baptism of desire possible to them"; and the second, from, "Cardinal Cajetan's admission, disapproved of by Pius X, that the prayer of Christian parents, acting like a baptism of desire, saves their children for heaven." (Ibid.)

Pohle discounts both of the above options (too quickly IMO), but then writes:

"We are thus confronted with an unsolved mystery. Our ignorance of the manner does not destroy, however, the theological certainty of the fact. For the above-cited Biblical texts are of such unquestionable universality that it is impossible to exclude a priori millions of children from the Divine will to save humankind." (Ibid.)

And so, I personally believe that the issue of infant salvation within the Catholic tradition has room for further development.

Grace and peace,


Rory said...

Hi Tom.

Baltimore? You're in Maryland? Boy. Long way from Albuquerque. But maybe not so long? A prominent Catholic, that Albuquerque guy. Was he duke of Alba? you are in MARYland. I thought Lord Baltimore was pretty Catholic. That flag you fly looks okay to me too.

As for who "accepts" Vatican II?

What does that mean? Does "acceptance" include agreeing with what the promulgating pope says about its doctrinal authority? If so, I "accept". If it is insisted that contrary to Pope Paul VI, who denied that Vatican II taught any doctrine with the note of infallibility, that it is nevertheless infallible, I do not "accept". I follow Pope Paul VI on that question and the future Pope Benedict XVI when as Cardinal Ratzinger he was prefect for the institution that was once called the Holy Office of the Inquisition. (Its like changing from Secretary of War to Secretary of Defense). Same job, same function.

Catholic Answers rejects what those two popes say about the doctrinal authority of the Second Vatican Council. This kind of approach to the question is what led to my being banned for time and eternity from discussing Vatican II at Catholic Answers.

My proposition since about 2005 is that one can accept an ecumenical council according to the mind of the promulgating pope or one can reject it according to the same mind. I accept Vatican II according to the mind of the popes. Catholic Answers accepts Vatican II in a way that does not permit a pope the freedom to define the pastoral and doctrinal limits of his own ecumenical council.

A Traditionalist like me does not say everything in Vatican II is wrong or bad. I like a lot of it. I like the document on liturgical reform as it pertains to the use of Latin, Gregorian Chant, and instrumental music. The modern church doesn't comment about what it doesn't like. It simply disobeys. The document on the training of seminarians is really very good.

My position is that there is no reason for Catholic Answers to try to say that it is all reconcilable with Tradition when the pope explicitly denies that it is infallible. Additionally, if "acceptance" of Vatican II is to be judged according to how much one obeys, the side I am against is the more disobedient. Vatican II is not all bad and not all good. Not all true, not all false. No wonder the pope denied it was infallible.

Rory said...

I came across a review of a review of the document of the International Theological Commission's work on the salvation of infants that dates back to 2007.

To me, the most relevant section involved the question of God's universal salvific will:

"...the argument comes down to this: God’s universal salvific will, plus the fact that Christ entered into solidarity with all humanity in a “great cosmic mystery of communion” (no. 92), give us “grounds for hope that unbaptized infants . . . will be saved” (no. 102). Given all the doctors, theologians, and popes on the other side of the question, one might think of this argument as being the triumph of hope over expertise.

Even calling it an argument, however, is generous. It amounts to nothing more than saying, “There seems to be a tension between . . . the universal salvific will of God on the one hand and the necessity of sacramental baptism on the other,” because the latter “seems to limit the extension of God’s universal salvific will” (no. 10).

The answer to this, of course, is obvious and well-known in sacred tradition. Although God wants all men to be saved, nevertheless some men are damned to hell (a fact the ITC acknowledges by quoting from the Synod of Quercy), and if God’s universal salvific will is compatible with some men being damned to hell, then there’s no problem at all with it being compatible with some unbaptized infants enjoying a natural but not a supernatural happiness in limbo."

The review of the review was found here:

- See more at:

David Waltz said...

Hi Rory,

Thanks much for the link. I also checked out the articles referenced in the post:

Limbo and the Gospel Out of Season

The Population of Hell

Certainly 'food for thought'...

Grace and peace,


Rory said...

Dave hey.

I came across some remarks yesterday that seemed to me to highlight the liberty with which Catholics have looked at the question you have raised. Republished in the year 2000, The Liturgical Year was mostly written in the 19th Century.

The context here is Holy Saturday when Christ "descended into hell". We ordinarily associate this with the Limbo of the Fathers, or Abraham's Bosom.

It is not contrary to the principles of faith to suppose as several learned theologians have taught, that the visit of the Man-God to limbo was a source of blessing and consolation to the abode of unregenerated children, and that they then received a promise that the time would come, when they should be reunited to their bodies, and, after the day of Judgment, be placed in a happier land than that in which the divine justice now holds them captives.

Dom Prosper Gueranger, The Liturgical Year, Vol. 6, p. 640, St. Bonaventure Publications, (2000)

Happy Easter!


David Waltz said...

Good morning Rory,

Thanks much for the reference; very interesting!

V and I are down in Windsor, CA--Sonoma/Nampa--and are going to be visiting a bunch of wineries during the week. It is supposed to hit the mid to high 70's this week; can't say that I am going to miss the rain.

Grace and peace,


David Waltz said...

Hello again Rory,

The 'gang' is currently watching TV, so I have some more time to spend on your past post. I was able to locate an online pdf edtion of the book you quoted:

The Liturgical Year - Passiontide and Holy Week

In this edition, the quote you provided is on page 636. I found the following from page 633 to be quite interesting:

>>In the centre of the earth, there are four immense regions, into which no one living can ever enter : it is only by divine revelation that we know of their existence. The farthest from us is the Hell of the damned, the frightful abode where Satan and his angels and the reprobate are suffering eternal torments. It is here that the Prince of darkness is ever forming his plots against God and his creatures. Nearer to us, is the Limbo wherein are detained the souls of children, who departed this world before being regenerated. The opinion which has met most favour from the Church, is that these souls suffer no torment; and that although they can never enjoy the beatific vision, yet are they enjoying a natural happiness, and one that is proportionate to their desires. Above the abode of these children, is the place of expiation, where souls, that have departed this life in the state of grace, cleanse themselves from any stains of lesser sins, or satisfy for the debt of temporal punishment still due to divine justice. And lastly, still nearer to us, is the Limbo where are kept from heaven the saints who died under the Old Law. Here are our First Parents, Abel, Noe, Abraham, Moses, David, and the Pr0phets; the just Gentiles, such as that great Saint of Arabia, Job ; and those holy personages who were closely connected with our Lord, such as Joachim and Anne, the parents of his Blessed Mother,—Joseph, her Spouse and his own foster-father,—and John, his Precursor, together with his holy parents, Zachary and Elizabeth.>>

Grace and peace,