While the words of the Pope have long gone unchallenged in Latin America and other countries with large Catholic communities, even the staunchest supporters of the Vatican’s doctrines must be scratching their heads at this: after 800 years, Pope Benedict XVI has done away with the concept of “limbo”:
The decision was taken after Benedict XVI was presented with Vatican studies that said there were “serious” grounds that such souls could go to heaven, rather than exist between heaven and hell as they have done for almost 800 years.
The 41-page report by the Vatican’s Theological Commission, which was compiled following a three-year study, said the concept was an “unduly restrictive view of salvation”. However, it added that baptism was the only way to remove the stain of original sin – which according to the Catholic faith all are born with – and urged parents to continue to baptise their children.
I’ll fully prepare myself to be bashed by Catholics for this, but I can’t understand how it’s acceptable to invent and uninvent concepts related to issues as serious as one’s eternal salvation/damnation. I won’t pretend to know much about Catholic doctrine, but if Catholicism is a Christian religion, and Christianity is based on “biblical truths”, how is it that things like “limbo” which aren’t in the bible introduced into the belief system, fervently believed in for centuries, then later eliminated? What’s next, purgatory?
If anything, however, the elimination of limbo seems to offer hope to those who before might have been relegated to an afterlife “away from God” (such was the case of unbaptized babies), by suggesting that instead of limbo they might enjoy heaven:
“There is greater theological awareness today that God is merciful and wants all human beings to be saved. Grace has priority over sin, and the exclusion of innocent babies from heaven does not seem to reflect Christ’s special love for the little ones,” the report says.
My mind must be rather narrow as I can’t fathom how a declaration by the Pope can dictate the fate of people in the afterlife. Just saying something exists or doesn’t exist makes it so? Educate me, please.
Via / Telegraph.co.uk