Monday, April 3, 2017

LIMBO IS BACK, BUT NEVER REALLY GONE, AND IT IS A DOCTRINE OF THE CHURCH BUT NEVER SOLEMNLY DEFINED AND CERTAINLY NOT A DOGMA


Of course Limbo is believed by the Church.We proclaim so in the solemnly defined dogmas of the Apostles Creed when on Holy Saturday Jesus Christ descended into "hell" to release from limbo all the Old Testament figures who anticipated the future coming of the Messiah. This also presumes their children, some of whom were infants when they died, but all of them unbaptized.

Rorate Caeli has an announcement on an upcoming conference on the undefined doctrine of limbo:

The topic of Limbo is of particular importance to those who wish to defend the Catholic tradition, as it has come under particularly strong attack from modern theologians with novel views on grace. If eternal life is really an entirely gratuitous gift of God, which is given only to those who believe in Christ, then what of those who die without Baptism or Divine Faith, but who have never committed actual mortal sin? The overwhelming wight of the witnesses to Tradition is that such persons cannot enter eternal life, but rather enter descend to the underworld, without, however, receiving the punishments of those who died in actual mortal sin. The place of such souls is what has been called “Limbo”. (Cf. Rorate’s previous posts on topic, especially here and here). But modernist theologians, who think that their is a natural desire to enjoy the supernatural gift of the Beatific Vision, and that  therefore Divine Faith in Christ can be implicit in the general intention to do good, claim that God gives eternal life to all such persons. The Dialogos Institute’s Colloquium will thus directly address some of the most important issues in the struggle between Tradition and (neo-)modernism. - See more at: http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2017/04/dialogos-institute-to-hold-colloquium.html#more

Discuss!

14 comments:

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Limbo is a much "back" as phrenology. But, since you brought it up again...

"The topic of Limbo is of particular importance to those who wish to defend the Catholic tradition,..."

No, it is of particular importance to those who take a particular and peculiar view of what does and does not constitute the Traditional teaching of the Church. Many who "defend the Catholic tradition" are not lamenting the disappearance of Limbo.

"But modernist theologians, who think that their is a natural desire to enjoy the supernatural gift of the Beatific Vision,..." That would include such luminary "modernists" such as St. Paul - 2 Cor 5:6, "So we are always courageous, although we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord,..." and St. Augustine. "You have made us for Yourself, O God, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you."

Yes, there is a natural desire in all humans to be one with God. This desire was not lost due to Original Sin nor washed away in the Great Flood.

The shelving of Limbo is not a denial of grace. It reveals, rather, a better understanding of how grace operates beyond the boundaries some, for their comfort and pleasure, feel a need to create.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

You neglect the solemnly believed limbo outside the gates of hell where the Old Testament figures awaited the Messiah. Of course when we pray about Jesus' descending to them, their release does not include every Jew since so many rejected Him. So where are they, in Hell or still in limbo?

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Where are they? We don't know. And that's all we can say about that. That's all we can say about any of the departed, save those who are known to be in heaven by virtue of their canonization.

As far as "every Jew" is concerned, there were not a few non-Jews who were ushered into the Kingdom with the coming of Christ.

And I don't know that those awaiting the coming of the Messiah were ever said to be in Limbo as Limbo is understood to be a state of natural happiness for the unbaptized...

"Awaited" presumes that the salvation won for us by Christ operates according to the limits of time as we know it. This is not the case. (It is not the case in the same way that saying heaven is "here" or hell is "there" is not the case. The category of location doesn't obtain in the life to come.)

Jacob said...

Limbo is preached from our pulpit and is taught to all our CCD students at my parish. It always has been, and always will be because it is Catholic Doctrine.

George said...

"And I don't know that those awaiting the coming of the Messiah were ever said to be in Limbo as Limbo is understood to be a state of natural happiness for the unbaptized..."

"Awaited" presumes that the salvation won for us by Christ operates according to the limits of time as we know it. This is not the case. (It is not the case in the same way that saying heaven is "here" or hell is "there" is not the case. The category of location doesn't obtain in the life to come.)"


I suppose what we experience now could be characterized as a "state of being". There are terms used today such as "altered mental state" and of course this refers to what going on just in the mind. But we are more than the sum of just our mental processes.

Being is one of the fundamental aspects of existence. "To be" is to exist somewhere; in some place if you will. Even with no physical body, the soul will exist someplace, as the Divine Being does. Christ in His physical body, and likewise the Blessed Virgin in hers, both exist in some place and that place is the Eternal Heaven. Eventually, our bodies will be re-united with our souls and we will then exist in some place, just as we do now.
As for Purgatory, I agree with St, Augustine that it will be experienced temporally.Just like everything else that exists in time,iIt had a beginning and it will have an end.
The Eternal Heaven on the other hand, always was and always will be, and so is beyond ans transcends time.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

I think that, in the case of God, "place" has no meaning for existence. God is "omnipresent."

"To be" denotes place only for mortal existence. "Love is in the air" says the song, but that does not mean that love, a non-material reality, is "here" or "there."

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

You seem to be guilty of dualism. Our Risen Lord exists in heaven with a tangibl, corporal Body. So does the Mother of God, Our Blessed Mother. As well at the tangible Second Coming of Christ in His Risen Body, the bodies, tangible and corporal will rise from the dust of the earth and be joined to their souls in heaven and the tangible world will be redeemed and exist as such. Thus apart from the Hersey of dualism, there is not love in the air but the foul smell of dualism rightfully condemned by Holy Mother Church as stinking to high heaven.

Willette said...

Obviously, you have no idea what Holy Mother Church condemned when dualism was declared to be heretical...

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Important to recall: "The idea of limbo, which the Church has used for many centuries to designate the destiny of infants who die without baptism, has no clear foundation in revelation even though it has long been used in traditional theological teaching. Moreover, the notion that infants who die without baptism are deprived of the beatific vision, which has for so long been regarded as the common doctrine of the Church, gives rise to numerous pastoral problems, so much so that many pastors of souls have asked for a deeper reflection on the ways of salvation."

from :"The Hope of Salvation for Infants Who Die Without Being Baptized"

Also: "The Church does not know of any means other than baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude . . . God has bound salvation to the sacrament of baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacrament" (CCC 1257).

He himself is not bound by his sacrament... Thus, we can have the hope that those who are unbaptized will not spend eternity in a state of "natural happiness" - which is insufficient for those created to spend eternity in supernatural happiness - but can, in God's mysterious providence, see him face to face in heaven.

Anonymous said...

Father McDonald,

I assume Kavanaugh was "trained" when seminaries gave up teaching authentic Catholic theology, so let's give the old boy a pass!!! Mercy, you know.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Anonymous - If you can show with evidence, not personal attacks, that I am incorrect, please do so.

George said...

Anonymous Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

I think that, in the case of God, "place" has no meaning for existence. God is "omnipresent."

God being God, and superior to and all He created, can be omnipresent, and yet exist in a place such as Heaven. He is a Mystery beyond our comprehension and capable of doing things beyond whatever His creatures are capable of doing. He sustains all things in existence after all.
Was not Christ God, being always a Divine Being, even when He walked and existed on our earth?
Of course being God, He in His being was not confined to just the existential plane.

George said...

I found out when you copy a comment, as I copied Father Kavenaugh's , "Anonymous" precedes it (by default)unless you delete it. I should have reviewed the comment and deleted that because he is definitely not anonymous.

George said...

One more thing I should have also added in my previous comments is that God, in the person of Christ, is substantially present in his Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Holy Eucharist at Mass, and likewise in our Adoration chapels. We know and accept this by faith, by which we embrace what has been revealed to us in Sacred scripture and Tradition. This is not something that we as human creatures can fully grasp or understand, other than to accept that God, being as He is God, will always be beyond our rational comprehension.