Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Long delayed following-up

A while back I mentioned that the worst entailed supernatural consequence of a miscarriage is a new, innocent, naturally happy soul in Limbus infantum, singing to the Glory of perhaps they know not what, but it is very good indeed.

I should have mentioned at the time, perhaps, exactly everything the Church definitively teaches about this Infants' Limbo:
Would you like me to repeat anything?

But perhaps I should expand: the Limbo of Infants was conjectured on account of the circumstances: De fide, Baptism is Necessary for Salvation; with: Observationally, some infants die, bearing Original Sin but personally innocent, before it is possible to baptise them; and: certainly The Just cannot find innocents damned. But the proposed solution is a pious opinion, which is to say it ranks a tadge below approved private revelation in terms of its seriousness, yet there are no obviously bad doctrinal consequences to it. None obvious yet, anyways.

Dante, I understand, likes some sort of Limbo; I find a keen beauty in the idea. But there are, of course, reasonable grounds to question the argument itself for Infants' Limbo. Principally, there is the difficult word, "Necessary".

Here is something the Catholic Church (together with sensible Stoics and Taoists and, I should hope, Republican Democrats) definitively teaches about Necessity:
The Impossible is not Necessary.
That's already a whole proposition more than is definitively taught about Infants' Limbo! What follows is: the necessity of baptism is not an argument that those we cannot reach to baptise are unsaved. The necessity of baptism instead means two things: we who know to baptise those well-disposed1 must do so0, and those who do hear the Gospel (really hear it, understand it2), they must seek3 baptism, as necessary for (respectively) our salvation and theirs.

Of course there is another Limbo, about which it is Definitively Taught that Christ appeared there, the Limbus Patrum, the resort, refuge, and refreshment of the Righteous Souls who died before His advent on Earth. There is also a Jewish tradition of recognizing righteous Gentiles, evident in the Old Testament itself. I did read somewhere a claim that this Limbo "doesn't exist anymore", whatever that might mean, but if that's so, Ludwig Ott seems not to know so, and I can't find other references. And so, unless some great patriarch tells me otherwise, it seems reasonable to hope that every righteous soul who really could not hear the Gospel in life still arrives there to hear Christ himself preaching, infants included. And what comes after that... of course I do not know. But, at least there may be an argument for a pious opinion that "Limbus infantum" makes a good name for the condition of infant souls in Limbus Patrum? Maybe??

What do you all think? I already anticipate an objection or two, and am still considering, but external advice is even better.

0 : respecting the proper authority, of course: if the one asking is near death, you are the proper authority.
1 : infants in our care, and the unbaptised who ask for it.
2 : like... I expect there are lots of muslims who will never be able to hear the Gospel; I rather expect "Dalai Lama" Kundun has heard the Gospel by now, but again he still seems to be breathing, so there is yet hope.
3 : Again, seek: if it's impossible (no-one can reach you, or there's no water...), then it's not necessary


Post a Comment