According to the
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...
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
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
"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
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)
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.]
Reminder: We make no guarantee whatsoever regarding any item herein. Items herein may be the opinions of their authors and do not necessarily reflect our views.
All applicable items may be subject to change at any time without notice. Utilize any link(s) appearing on this page at your own risk.
For more terms information, see "Important Notice" below.