Saturday 21 April 2007

Sitting here in limbo

After death, then what?

I am no expert in paedo-theology, the religiosity of the unborn or the spirituality of the foetus, but a document released by the Vatican International Theological Commission brings this topic into new focus.

Obviously, there are dogmatic differences between Christian denominations on the matter of infant baptism and the issues of salvation before or after death, the posthumous expectations do matter a lot to those still living.

In contemporary terms, we view limbo as a place of undecided and unresolved situations, Catholic Theology has viewed it as a place not in heaven and definitely not in hell, but an almost there place in view of salvation but not entering into the presence of the Almighty.

The doctrine of the dead child

The Catholics have also agonised about the spiritual status of the aborted unborn child or children who die before they are baptised - this has varied from outright damnation to an almost heaven place.

The study now aims to redefine limbo in terms of the more comfortable green room but never getting to meet the host, though there is hope.

Suffer the children

Whilst I would not deign to challenge the authority of the Pope, I would recall that his boss Jesus Christ made such an issue of asking children to His company and blessing them whilst admonishing the learned adults that flocked Him that except they, the adults became like children they would not enter the Kingdom of God.

Other preachers listeners to repent and be baptised - whilst this is no exegesis of religious dogma, a few points are clear from these issues - children exhibit innocence and dependencies of trust that are necessary to establish a strong relationship with God and baptism accompanies repentance, indicating the person who is baptised be accountable, that person cannot be an infant.

Jesus was never ambiguous about children belonging in the presence of God and this is at variance with extant Catholic teaching.

Hope of salvation

However, in what is looking like trying to bolster the social views against abortion and committing a child to a religious association they do not understand; parents in those unfortunate circumstances of worrying about the loss or the possible loss of a child now have serious indulgence-like obligations to distress the child with a baptism service lest they have to regret leaving the child in a state of near damnation but with one eye of God on the child.

What I would hate to happen is a new doctrine that emerges on the conclusions of this one suggesting that the child can be prayed out of limbo into the arms of God through the much reviled indulgences of old, thus, playing on the hopes of the vulnerable parents.

Let me say we have the makings of a new Protestant reformation brewing whilst I am sitting here in limbo.

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