In the theology of the Catholic Church, Limbo (Latin limbus, edge or boundary, referring to the "edge" of Hell) is a speculative idea about the afterlife condition of those who die in Original Sin without being assigned to the Hell of the Damned. Limbo is not an official doctrine of the Catholic Church. Medieval theologians, in western Europe, described the underworld ("hell", "hades", "infernum") as divided into four distinct parts: Hell of the Damned (which some call Gehenna), Purgatory, Limbo of the Fathers or Patriarchs, and Limbo of the Infants.
Limbo of the Patriarchs
The "Limbo of the Patriarchs" or "Limbo of the Fathers" (Latin limbus patrum) is seen as the temporary state of those who, in spite of the personal sins they may have committed, died in the friendship of God, but could not enter Heaven until redemption by Jesus Christ made it possible. The term "Limbo of the Fathers" was a medieval name for the part of the underworld (Hades) where the patriarchs of the Old Testament were believed to be kept until Christ's soul descended into it by his death through crucifixion and freed them (see Harrowing of Hell). The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes Christ's descent into "hell" as meaning primarily that "the crucified one sojourned in the realm of the dead prior to his resurrection. This was the first meaning given in the apostolic preaching to Christ's descent into hell: that Jesus, like all men, experienced death and in his soul joined the others in the realm of the dead." It adds: "But he descended there as Saviour, proclaiming the Good News to the spirits imprisoned there." It does not use the word "Limbo".
This concept of Limbo affirms that one can get into heaven only through Jesus Christ but does not portray Moses, etc., as being punished eternally in Hell. Like other religious terms, such as "Trinity" or even the very name "Bible", the term "Limbo" does not appear in the Bible. And like other religious concepts, that of the Limbo of the Patriarchs is not spelled out in Scripture, but is seen by some as implicit in various references.
Luke 16:22 speaks of the "bosom of Abraham", which both the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church, following early Christian writers, understand as a temporary state of souls awaiting entrance into Heaven. The end of that state is set either at the Resurrection of the Dead, the most common interpretation in the East, or at the Harrowing of Hell, the most common interpretation in the West, but adopted also by some in the East.
Jesus told the Good Thief that the two of them would be together "this day" in "Paradise" (Luke 23:43; see also Matthew 27:38); but between on the Sunday of his resurrection he said that he had "not yet ascended to the Father" (John 20:17). Some say that the descent of Jesus to the abode of the dead, his presence among them, turned it into a paradise. Others understand the text to mean not "I say to you, This day you will be with me in paradise", but "I say to you this day, You will be with me in paradise". Timothy Radcliffe explained the "today" as a reference to the "Today of eternity".
Jesus is also described as preaching to "the spirits in prison" (1 Pet 3:19). Medieval drama sometimes portrayed Christ leading a dramatic assault—The Harrowing of Hell—during the three days between the Crucifixion and the resurrection. In this assault, Jesus freed the souls of the just and escorted them triumphantly into heaven. This imagery is still used in the Eastern Orthodox Church's Holy Saturday liturgy (between Good Friday and Pascha) and in Eastern Orthodox icons of the Resurrection of Jesus.
The doctrine expressed by the term "Limbo of the Fathers" was taught, for instance, by Clement of Alexandria, who maintained: "It is not right that these should be condemned without trial, and that those alone who lived after the coming (of Christ) should have the advantage of the divine righteousness."
Limbo of Infants
The Limbo of Infants (Latin limbus infantium or limbus puerorum) is a hypothesis about the permanent status of the unbaptized who die in infancy, too young to have committed personal sins, but not having been freed from original sin. The fundamental importance, in Roman Catholic theology, of the sacrament of water baptism gives rise to the argument that, because original sin excludes from the beatific vision enjoyed by the souls in heaven, those who have not been freed from it either by the sacrament or by baptism of desire or baptism of blood are not eligible for entry into heaven.
Since at least the time of Augustine, theologians, considering baptism to be necessary for the salvation of those to whom it can be administered, have debated the fate of unbaptized innocents, and the theory of the Limbo of Infants is one of the hypotheses that have been formulated as a proposed solution. Some who hold this theory regard the Limbo of Infants as a state of maximum natural happiness, others as one of "mildest punishment" consisting at least of privation of the beatific vision and of any hope of obtaining it. This theory, in any of its forms, has never been dogmatically defined by the Church, but it is permissible to hold it.
Recent Catholic theological speculation tends to stress the hope, though not the certainty, that these infants may attain heaven instead of the supposed state of Limbo.
While the Catholic Church has a defined doctrine on original sin, it has none on the eternal fate of unbaptized infants, leaving theologians free to propose different theories, which Catholics are free to accept or reject. Limbo is one such theory.
Saint Augustine of Hippo held that because of original sin, "such infants as quit the body without being baptized will be involved in the mildest condemnation of all. That person, therefore, greatly deceives both himself and others, who teaches that they will not be involved in condemnation; whereas the apostle says: 'Judgment from one offence to condemnation' (Romans 5:16), and again a little after: 'By the offence of one upon all persons to condemnation' (Romans 5:18)."
The Council of North African bishops, which included Augustine of Hippo, held at Carthage in 418 did not explicitly endorse all aspects of Augustine's stern view about the destiny of infants who die without baptism, but said in a section of one canon (not found in all manuscripts) that there is no "intermediate or other happy dwelling place for children who have left this life without Baptism, without which they cannot enter the kingdom of heaven, that is, eternal life". However, the other Latin Fathers of the 5th and 6th centuries did adopt his position.
In the later medieval period, some theologians continued to hold Augustine's view. In the 12th century, Peter Abelard (1079–1142) said that these infants suffered no material torment or positive punishment, just the pain of loss at being denied the beatific vision. Others held that unbaptized infants suffered no pain at all: unaware of being deprived of the beatific vision, they enjoyed a state of natural, not supernatural happiness. This theory was associated with but independent of the term "Limbo of Infants", which was forged about the year 1300.
If heaven is a state of supernatural happiness and union with God, and hell is understood as a state of torture and separation from God then, in this view, the Limbo of Infants, although technically part of hell (the outermost part, "limbo" meaning "outer edge" or "hem") is seen as a sort of intermediate state.
Saint Thomas Aquinas described the Limbo of Infants as an eternal state of natural joy, untempered by any sense of loss at how much greater their joy might have been had they been baptized. He argued that this was a reward of natural happiness for natural virtue; a reward of supernatural happiness for merely natural virtue would be inappropriate since, due to original sin, unbaptized children lack the necessary supernatural grace. In regards to baptism of desire, Aquinas stated that only adults were capable of this, and this view seemed to be accepted by the Council of Florence, which quotes Aquinas in its Eleventh Session concerning baptism of infants.
The natural happiness possessed in this place would consist in the perception of God mediated through creatures. As stated in the International Theological Commission's document on the question:
- Because children below the age of reason did not commit actual sin, theologians came to the common view that these unbaptized children feel no pain at all or even that they enjoy a full, though only natural, happiness through their mediated union with God in all natural goods (Thomas Aquinas, Duns Scotus).
In some ways, this state bears a strong resemblance to the goal of Ignatian spirituality—seeing God in all things—and would be a form of happiness rarely attained by any human walking the earth.
The teaching of the Catholic Church expressed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church is that "Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament" and that, since "God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments," "Baptism of blood" (as in the case of the martyrs, who are understood to include the Holy Innocents) and, for catechumens at least, the explicit desire for Baptism, "together with repentance for their sins, and charity," ("Baptism of Desire") ensure salvation for those unable to receive Baptism by water.
The Ecumenical Council of Florence (1442) spoke of baptism as necessary even for children and required that they be baptised soon after birth. This had earlier been affirmed at the local Council of Carthage in 417. The Council of Florence also stated that those who die in original sin alone go to hell. John Wycliffe's attack on the necessity of infant baptism was condemned by another general council, the Council of Constance. The Council of Trent in 1547 explicitly stated that baptism (or desire for baptism) was the means by which one is transferred "from that state wherein man is born a child of the first Adam, to the state of grace, and of the adoption of the sons of God, through the second Adam, Jesus Christ, our Saviour.
If adults could effectively be baptised through a desire for the sacrament when prevented from actually receiving it, some speculated that perhaps sacramentally unbaptised infants too might be saved by some waterless equivalent of ordinary baptism when prevented. Thomas Cajetan, a major 16th-century theologian, suggested that infants dying in the womb before birth, and so before ordinary sacramental baptism could be administered, might be saved through their mother's wish for their baptism. Thus, there was no clear consensus that the Council of Florence had excluded salvation of infants by such extra-sacramental equivalents of baptism.
Through the 18th and 19th centuries, individual theologians (Bianchi in 1768, H. Klee in 1835, Caron in 1855, H. Schell in 1893) continued to formulate theories of how children who died unbaptised might still be saved. By 1952 a theologian such as Ludwig Ott could, in a widely used and well-regarded manual, openly teach the possibility that children who die unbaptised might be saved for heaven—though he still represented their going to limbo as the commonly taught opinion. In its 1980 instruction on children's baptism the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith stated that "with regard to children who die without having received baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, as indeed she does in the funeral rite established for them," leaving all theories as to their fate, including Limbo, as viable options. And in 1984, when Joseph Ratzinger, then Cardinal Prefect of that Congregation, stated that he rejected the claim that children who die unbaptised cannot attain salvation, he was speaking for many academic theologians of his training and background.
Thus in 1992, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, while affirming that "the Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude", but also stating that "God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments", stated: "As regards children who have died without Baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, as she does in her funeral rites for them. Indeed, the great mercy of God who desires that all men should be saved, and Jesus' tenderness toward children which caused him to say: 'Let the children come to me, do not hinder them,' allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism. All the more urgent is the Church's call not to prevent little children coming to Christ through the gift of holy Baptism." This merely restating what was said above, suggesting a "hope" that there could be a way of salvation not shown to us through revelation, which hope, being uncertain, leaves in place the urgency of baptism for infants, since this is the only certain means to "not prevent" their "coming to Christ" in order to have salvation.
On April 22, 2007, the advisory body known as the International Theological Commission released a document, originally commissioned by Pope John Paul II, entitled "The Hope of Salvation for Infants Who Die without Being Baptized." After tracing the history of the various opinions that have been and are held on the eternal fate of unbaptized infants, including that connected with the theory of the Limbo of Infants, and after examining the theological arguments, the document stated its conclusion as follows:
- Our conclusion is that the many factors that we have considered above give serious theological and liturgical grounds for hope that unbaptized infants who die will be saved and enjoy the beatific vision. We emphasize that these are reasons for prayerful hope, rather than grounds for sure knowledge. There is much that simply has not been revealed to us. We live by faith and hope in the God of mercy and love who has been revealed to us in Christ, and the Spirit moves us to pray in constant thankfulness and joy.
- What has been revealed to us is that the ordinary way of salvation is by the sacrament of baptism. None of the above considerations should be taken as qualifying the necessity of baptism or justifying delay in administering the sacrament. Rather, as we want to reaffirm in conclusion, they provide strong grounds for hope that God will save infants when we have not been able to do for them what we would have wished to do, namely, to baptize them into the faith and life of the Church.
Pope Benedict XVI authorized publication of this document, indicating that he considers it consistent with the Church's teaching, though it is not an official expression of that teaching. Media reports that by the document "the Pope closed Limbo" are thus without foundation. In fact, the document explicitly states that "the theory of limbo, understood as a state which includes the souls of infants who die subject to original sin and without baptism, and who, therefore, neither merit the beatific vision, nor yet are subjected to any punishment, because they are not guilty of any personal sin. This theory, elaborated by theologians beginning in the Middle Ages, never entered into the dogmatic definitions of the Magisterium. Still, that same Magisterium did at times mention the theory in its ordinary teaching up until the Second Vatican Council. It remains therefore a possible theological hypothesis" (second preliminary paragraph); and in paragraph 41 it repeats that the theory of Limbo "remains a possible theological opinion". The document thus allows the hypothesis of a limbo of infants to be held as one of the existing theories about the fate of children who die without being baptised, a question on which there is "no explicit answer" from Scripture or tradition. It ought also to be mentioned here that the traditional theological alternative to Limbo was not Heaven, but rather some degree of suffering in Hell. At any rate, these theories are not the official teaching of the Catholic Church, but are only opinions that the Church does not condemn, permitting them to be held by its members, just as is the theory of possible salvation for infants dying without baptism.
Views of some traditionalist Catholics
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Some Traditionalist Catholics deny that salvation is (or may be) possible for non-baptized infants and maintain that the existence of a Limbo of Infants is certain, claiming that any other view would contradict the Church's teachings on faith and morals. They say that the medieval Church statements indicate that no person could possibly be saved unless baptized, and that this was the meaning intended by the Popes of the time, whom they contend made no "lenient statements" on the matter.
Some traditionalists believe their understanding of the original doctrine to be correct and that, if the Church were now to teach that the salvation of infants outside baptism is possible, it would contradict its earlier teaching, and would violate the doctrine of the Church's infallibility. Some sedevacantists hold that current teachings have in fact defected from the Church's infallible teaching, and that what is today generally recognized as the Catholic Church is a counterfeit, which therefore is not infallible.
As evidence, traditionalists demonstrate that popes have taught the following concerning infants, hell, and limbo:
Decree for the Jacobites at the Council of Florence in 1442: “There is no other way to come to the aid [of little children] than the sacrament of Baptism by which they are snatched from the power of the devil and adopted as children of God”.
Pope Gregory X, Council of Lyons II, 1274: We define also that the souls of those who depart this life in actual mortal sin, or in original sin alone, go straightaway to hell, but to undergo punishments of different kinds. (Denz. 464)
Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, Letentur coeli, Sess. 6, July 6, 1439, ex cathedra: We define also that the souls of those who depart this life in actual mortal sin, or in original sin alone, go straightaway to hell, but to undergo punishments of different kinds. (Denz. 693)
Pope Martin V, Council of Constance, Session 15, July 6, 1415 - Condemning the articles of John Wyclif - Proposition 6: Those who claim that the children of the faithful dying without sacramental baptism will not be saved, are stupid and presumptuous in saying this. - Condemned
Pope St. Innocent I, in 417, Synod of Milevis : "The idea that infants can be granted the rewards of eternal life even without the grace of baptism is utterly foolish" (DS 219).
Pope Innocent III asserted that those dying with only original sin on their souls will suffer "no other pain, whether from material fire or from the worm of conscience, except the pain of being deprived forever of the vision of God" (Corp. Juris, Decret. l. III, tit. xlii, c. iii—Majores). (Denzinger 410)
The provincial Council of Cologne: "Faith teaches us that infants, since they are not capable of this desire (Baptism of Desire), are excluded from the kingdom of heaven if they die [unbaptized]." (Collectio Lacensis, V. 320)
Pope Gregory the Great (-604) taught the eternal torment of infants in his Moralia on the Book of Job. "For there be some that are withdrawn from the present light, before they attain to shew forth the good or evil deserts of an active life. And whereas the Sacraments of salvation do not free them from the sin of their birth, at the same time that here they never did aright by their own act; there they are brought to torment. And these have one wound, viz. to be born in corruption, and another, to die in the flesh. ....... As if reviewing the woes of mankind he said in plain words; With what sort of visitation does the strict Judge mercilessly slay those, whom the guilt of their own deeds condemns, if He smites for all eternity even those, whom the guilt of deliberate choice does not impeach?" (Moralia 9)
Pope St. Innocent, 414 A.D.: But that which Your Fraternity asserts the Pelagians preach, that even without the grace of Baptism infants are able to be endowed with the rewards of eternal life, is quite idiotic. But those who defend this for them without rebirth seem to me to want to quash Baptism itself, when they preach that infants already have what is believed to be conferred on them only through Baptism. (Jurgens, The Faith of the Early Fathers, Vol. 3: 2016.)
Pope St. Zosimus, The Council of Carthage, Canon on Sin and Grace, 417 A.D.- It has been decided likewise that if anyone says that for this reason the Lord said: In my Fathers house there are many mansions [John 14:2]: that it might be understood that in the kingdom of heaven there will be some middle place or some place anywhere where the blessed infants live who departed from this life without baptism, without which they cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven, which is life eternal, let him be anathema. For when the lord says :"Unless a man be born of water and the Holy Ghost, he shall not enter into the kingdom of God"(Jn3:5), what Catholic will doubt that he will be partner of the devil who has not deserved to be a co-heir of Christ? For he who lacks the right part will without doubt run into the left" (Denz. 102, authentic addition to canon 2.)
St. Augustine, A.D. 415: Anyone who would say that infants who pass from this life without participation in the Sacrament [of Baptism] shall be made alive in Christ truly goes counter to the preaching of the Apostle and condemns the whole Church, where there is great haste in baptizing infants because it is believed without doubt that there is no other way at all in which they can be made alive in Christ. (Jurgens, The Faith of the Early Fathers, Vol. 3: 2016.)
St Aquinis, Summa Theologica Question 68, Article 3 "I answer that, In this matter we must make a distinction and see whether those who are to be baptized are children or adults. For if they be children, Baptism should not be deferred. First, because in them we do not look for better instruction or fuller conversion. Secondly, because of the danger of death, for no other remedy is available for them besides the sacrament of Baptism. On the other hand, adults have a remedy in the mere desire for Baptism, as stated above
Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, Session 11, Feb. 4, 1442: "Regarding children, indeed, because of danger of death, which can often take place, when no help can be brought to them by another remedy than through the sacrament of baptism, through which they are snatched from the domination of the Devil and adopted among the sons of God, it advises that holy baptism ought not be deferred for forty or eighty days, or any time according to the observance of certain people."
Pope Sixtus V, Effraenatam, Oct. 29, 1588: "Noticing that frequently by various Apostolic Constitutions the audacity and daring of most profligate men, who know no restraint, of sinning with license against the commandment 'do not kill' was repressed; We who are placed by the Lord in the supreme throne of justice, being counseled by a most just reason, are in part renewing old laws and in part extending them in order to restrain with just punishment the monstrous and atrocious brutality of those who have no fear to kill most cruelly fetuses still hiding in the maternal viscera. Who will not detest such an abhorrent and evil act, by which are lost not only the bodies but also the souls? Who will not condemn to a most grave punishment the impiety of him who will exclude a soul created in the image of God and for which Our Lord Jesus Christ has shed His precious Blood, and which is capable of eternal happiness and is destined to be in the company of angels, from the blessed vision of God, and who has impeded as much as he could the filling up of heavenly mansions, and has taken away the service to God by His creature?"
Pope Pius VI, Auctorem fidei, Aug. 28, 1794: The doctrine which rejects as a Pelagian fable, that place of the lower regions (which the faithful generally designate by the name of the limbo of the children) in which the souls of those departing with the sole guilt of original sin are punished with the punishment of the condemned, exclusive of the punishment of fire, just as if, by this very fact, that these who remove the punishment of fire introduced that middle place and state free of guilt and of punishment between the kingdom of God and eternal damnation, such as that about which the Pelagians idly talk. Condemned as false, rash, injurious to Catholic schools. (Denz. 1526)
Pius XII-Allocution to midwives, October 29, 1951. "An act of love is sufficient for the adult to obtain sanctifying grace and to supply the lack of baptism; to the still unborn or newly born this way is not open."
Faithful Catholics maintain that, as stated by the current catechism, "God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments". Critics view this as a cop out to the expressed intention of past papal teachings. Some traditionalists who prefer the view that infants go to hell, point out that Catechisms, that might teach salvation without baptism is possible, are not in themselves infallible. Catechisms are only infallible insofar as they represent outside infallible teachings. This means the catechisms teaching Limbo and current catechisms offering hope for eternal life, are not necessarily infallible. Traditionalists argue the only remaining infallible teachings of popes are those that indicate that unbaptized infants go to hell, while opponents of the Church assert that contradiction has occurred. Some accept the teaching of Limbo, but only understood as a place within, or similar to, hell.
In other denominations and religions
Neither the Eastern Orthodox Church nor Protestantism accepts the concept of a limbo of infants; but, while not using the expression "Limbo of the Patriarchs", the Eastern Orthodox Church lays much stress on the resurrected Christ's action of liberating Adam and Eve and other righteous figures of the Old Testament, such as Abraham and David, from Hades (see Harrowing of Hell).
Some Protestants have a similar understanding of those who died as believers prior to the crucifixion of Jesus residing in a place that is not Heaven, but not Hell. The doctrine holds that Hades has two "compartments", one an unnamed place of torment, the other named Abraham's Bosom. Luke 16:19–26 speaks of a chasm fixed between the two which cannot be crossed. Those in the unnamed "compartment" have no hope, and will ultimately be consigned to hell. Those in Abraham's bosom are those of whom it is written of Jesus, "When He ascended on high, He led captive a host of captives..." (Eph. 4:8, quoting Psa. 68:18). These individuals, the captives, now reside with God in Heaven. Both "Compartments" still exist, but Abraham's Bosom is now empty, while the other chamber is not, according to this doctrine.
Mormons teach that "all who have died without a knowledge of [the] gospel, who would have received it if they had been permitted to tarry, shall be heirs of the celestial kingdom of God." Jehovah's Witnesses, Christadelphians, and others have taught that the dead are unconscious (or even nonexistent), awaiting their destiny on Judgment Day.
In Islam, which denies the existence of Original Sin in totality, the concept of Limbo exists as Barzakh, the state which exists after death, prior to the day of resurrection. During this period sinners are punished and the faithful rest in comfort. The concept of underage children is that they go exempt of sin and that they are classed as Muslims and after death they go to heaven where they are cared for by Abraham.
- In the Divine Comedy poem Inferno, Dante depicts Limbo as the first circle of Hell. The virtuous pagans of classical history and mythology inhabit a brightly lit and beautiful—but somber—castle which is seemingly a medieval version of Elysium. They include Hector, Julius Caesar, Virgil, Electra, and Orpheus. Virtuous non-Christians, such as the Muslim Saladin, were also described as among its residents.
- One of Nobel Prize-winning poet Seamus Heaney's best known works is titled Limbo.
- In the Artemis Fowl series, "Limbo" is the timeless plane of existence where demons live.
- In the film Inception, Limbo is a deep subconscious level, far beyond false awakening, and a state in which the characters may be trapped indefinitely.
- In The Matrix Revolutions, third and last installment of The Matrix series, Neo gets trapped in a train station named Mobil Ave. He learns that the station (located "nowhere") is a sort of borderworld, passage between the Matrix and the real world. Mobil is an anagram of Limbo.
- In the final episode of the BBC time travel/cop show Ashes to Ashes (Series 3, Episode 8), it is revealed that the world that Alex Drake awoke to after being shot, which Sam Tyler described and that other major characters inhabit, is a kind of Limbo, one seemingly specifically for members of the police force, who had died in violent or sudden ways.
- In the indie game Limbo, a boy walks through a black and white world searching for his sister.
- In DmC: Devil May Cry, Limbo is the name of a city that drags its victims into a demonic version of its human world counterpart.
- In Marvel Comics, Limbo is a section outside time, ruled over by a future version of Kang the Conqueror called Immortus.
- "In Limbo" is the 11th track on Genesis' debut album "From Genesis to Revelation".
- "In Limbo" is the 7th track on Radiohead's 2000 album "Kid A".
Differing slightly from the original meaning, in colloquial speech, "limbo" is any status where a person or project is held up, and nothing can be done until another action happens. For example, a construction project might be described as "in limbo" if political considerations delay its permit.
A "legal limbo" may occur when varying laws or court rulings leave a person without recourse. For example, a person may earn "too much" to receive public assistance from the government, but not enough to actually pay for basic necessities. Likewise, various parties in a dispute may be pointing blame at each other, rather than fixing the problem, and leaving the person or group suffering from the problem to continue to suffer in limbo.
The Amstrad PCW's bundled word processing software, LocoScript, used the term "in limbo" to refer to files which had been deleted but which could still be restored, a concept similar to that later implemented by the Trash in the Apple Macintosh and the Recycle Bin in Microsoft Windows 95.
In the licensing of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs), properties registered under a previous scheme, but would not be licensable under mandatory arrangements, would go into a state of limbo when they expire, until the status of any potential additional licensing scheme is fully resolved.
- "Christ's soul descended only into that part of hell wherein the just were detained." Thomas Aquinas, http://www.newadvent.org/summa/4052.htm#2
- Catechism of the Catholic Church, 633
- See Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: Christ the Conqueror of Hell
- François Xavier Schouppe (2010). Abridged course of religious instruction, apologetic, dogmatic, and moral: for the use of Catholic colleges and schools. Burns & Oates. p. 248.
- Anne Clark Bartlett, Thomas Howard Bestul (1999). Cultures of Piety: Medieval English Devotional Literature in Translation. Cornell University Press. p. 100. ISBN 0-8014-8455-3.
- Timothy Radcliffe (2004). Seven Last Words. Burns & Oates. p. 25. ISBN 0-86012-397-9.
- Stromata, book VI, chapter VI
- The Hope of Salvation for Infants Who Die without Being Baptised, ITC, April 22, 2007.
- Study by International Theological Commission, 22 April 2007, 32–40
- Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1261
- On Merit and the Forgiveness of Sins, and the Baptism of Infants, ; cf. Study by the International Theological Commission, 22 April 2007], 15–18]
- Study by the International Theological Commission, 22 April 2007, footnote 41]
- Canon 110 of the Code of Canons of the African Church
- Study by the International Theological Commission, 22 April 2007, 19]
- Study by the International Theological Commission, 22 April 2007, 20
- Study by the International Theological Commission, 22 April 2007, 21–25]
- Summa Theologica Question 68, Article 3 "I answer that, In this matter we must make a distinction and see whether those who are to be baptized are children or adults. For if they be children, Baptism should not be deferred. First, because in them we do not look for better instruction or fuller conversion. Secondly, because of the danger of death, for no other remedy is available for them besides the sacrament of Baptism. On the other hand, adults have a remedy in the mere desire for Baptism, as stated above (A)."
- Feingold, Lawrence. The Natural Desire to See God According to St. Thomas and His Interpreters. 2nd edition. Ave Maria: Sapientia Press of Ave Maria University. 2010.
- The Hope of Salvation for Infants Who Die Without Being Baptized, 23
- Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1257-1261
- Council of Florence Session 11 (Bull Cantate Domino): "With regard to children, since the danger of death is often present and the only remedy available to them is the sacrament of baptism by which they are snatched away from the dominion of the devil and adopted as children of God, it admonishes that sacred baptism is not to be deferred for forty or eighty days or any other period of time..."
- Council of Florence Session 6 "..the souls of those who depart this life in actual mortal sin, or in original sin alone, go down straightaway to hell to be punished, but with unequal pains."
- Session 15, 6 July 1415
- Council of Trent, Session 6
- "Other emergency means of baptism for children dying without sacramental baptism, such as prayer and the desire of the parents or the Church (vicarious baptism of desire—Cajetan), or the attainment of the use of reason in the moment of death, so that the dying child can decide for or against God (baptism of desire—H. Klee), or suffering and death of the child as quasi-Sacrament (baptism of suffering—H. Schell), are indeed possible, but their actuality cannot be proved from Revelation. Cf. Denzinger 712." Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, Book 2, Section 2, § 25 (p. 114 of the 1963 edition)
- Pastoralis Actio, 13
- Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1257
- Mark 10:14; cf. 1 Tim 2:4
- Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1261
- cf. John 16:12
- cf. 1 Thes 5:18
- Catholic News Service (April 20, 2007). "Vatican commission: Limbo reflects 'restrictive view of salvation'". Retrieved 2007-04-20.
- New York Times (April 21, 2007) "Vatican City: Pope Closes Limbo"
- Limbo: Recent statements by the Catholic church, and Protestant views at Religioustolerance.org
- D&C 137:7 See Baptism for the Dead
- Al-Bukhary, Volume 9, Book 87, Number 171
- Interview with Leight Alexander
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- "Limbo". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913.
- The Hope of Salvation for Infants Who Die Without Being Baptized (document of the International Theological Commission)
- Unbaptized Infants Suffer Fire and Limbo is a Heretical Pelagian Fable (a Traditionalist sedevacantist perspective)