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'Quick Help' Page: Where Do Persons Go Who Have Not Committed Actual Sin But Die Without Baptism?

 

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Where do persons go who have not committed actual sin but die without baptism?

 

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According to the Baltimore Catechism...

Q. Where will persons go who - such as infants - have not committed actual sin and who, through no fault of theirs, die without baptism?

A. Persons, such as infants, who have not committed actual sin and who, through no fault of theirs, die without baptism, cannot enter heaven; but it is the common belief they will go to some place similar to Limbo where they will be free from suffering, though deprived of the happiness of heaven.

Regarding infants, note that the Catechism of the Council of Trent states...

"Since infant children have no other means of salvation except baptism, we may easily understand how grievously those persons sin who permit them to remain without the grace of the Sacrament longer than necessity may require, particularly at an age so tender as to be exposed to numberless dangers of death."

Remember that since Adam & Eve, the only human being ever conceived immaculately (besides Jesus) was the Blessed Virgin Mary. All other infants are conceived stained by original sin, which has always been held to prevent persons from seeing the Beatific Vision. The necessity of infant baptism has been part of the constant teaching of the Church, as indicated by quotations such as the following...

"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." (Council of Lyons II, Denzinger #464) [Note: Infants who die in the state of Original Sin only (that is, unbaptized infants), are traditionally believed to descend to the "upper regions of hell" where - although not suffering physical torments and are in a state of 'natural happiness' - are pained by being deprived by the loss of the Beatific Vision. Never has the Church formally recognized another means of salvation for such infants besides Baptism.]

"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." (Pope John XXII, Denzinger #493a).

"...the souls of those who depart [die] in actual mortal sin or in original sin only, descend immediately into hell but to undergo punishments of different kinds." (Council of Florence, Denzinger #693)

"'If anyone denies that infants newly born from their mothers' wombs are to be baptized,' even though they be born of baptized parents, 'or says they are baptized indeed for the remission of sins, but that they derive nothing of original sin from Adam, which must be expiated by the laver of regeneration' for the attainment of life everlasting, whence it follows, that in them the form of baptism for the remission of sins is understood to be not true, but false: let him be anathema. For what the Apostle has said: 'By one man sin entered into the world, and by sin death, and so death passed upon all men, in whom all have sinned' (Rom. 5:12), is not to be understood otherwise than as the Catholic Church spread everywhere has always understood it. For by reason of this rule of faith from a tradition of the apostles even infants, who could not as yet commit any sins of themselves, are for this reason truly baptized for the remission of sins, so that in them there may be washed away by regeneration, what they have contracted by generation, (see n. 102). 'For unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God' (Jn. 3:5)." (Council of Trent, Denzinger #791)

Those in our age who invent a novel 'hope' of salvation for unbaptized children since Christ instituted the Sacrament of Baptism essentially deny the necessity of Baptism for Original Sin, apparently reject constant teachings of the Church (as expressed above), and also seem to minimize the singular privilege of the Blessed Virgin Mary – the only human being since the fall (not counting Christ) who was conceived immaculately. When Christ has told us of the necessity of baptism, and the Church has confirmed it century after century, don't those who suddenly find a contrary 'hope' seem, at best, to be on 'extremely shaky ground'? And might such a 'new found' hope tragically result in increased number of abortions? Isn't it a fact that Catholicism must based on revelations from Christ, not mere human feelings? And isn't it true that relying on feelings contrary to Catholic dogma can be very dangerous to salvation (for example, wrongly thinking God might spare someone unrepentant of mortal sin from hell)? We should conform our feelings to dogma, not vice versa. [Note: Of course this does not prevent Catholics for praying for the salvation of ALL souls (even the unbaptized), even though we know not all will be saved.]


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Other Resources:

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Baptism (Topic Page)

Original Sin (Topic Page)

 

  

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