For centuries the Roman Catholic Church has maintained their doctrine of Limbo, the place to which the “innocent” who perish prior to baptism are relegated, forever to live in perfect happiness yet apart from the presence of God. An essay in the 09 January 2006 issue of Time magazine (full essay available here) reports that the Vatican may be doing away with this doctrine:
“My idea of God is not a God who would condemn a baby to an imperfect life for eternity.” Many priests have downplayed limbo out of similar concerns, and [Rev. James] Martin [an editor at the Jesuit publication America] lauds the Vatican panel for “bringing theological development in line with pastoral application.”
The essay states that the big loser is baptism. Baptism. If only this were true.
“Pope Benedict XVI…will probably approve a document recognizing unbaptized babies’ full entrée into heaven.” So Anthony and Mary Elizabeth have been relieved of any sense of urgency in getting Tony, Jr., to the font. Why? Because the Holy Papa will declare that original sin isn’t a problem at all. Excepting the unlikely event that little Tony commits a “grievous personal sin,” he shall enjoy all the blessings of God’s salvation.
Toss Psalm 51; toss Ephesians 2.
The real loser isn’t baptism. The real losers are those whose parents, on the basis of this new Papal understanding, don’t take sin seriously and therefore don’t make use of God’s gift of baptism. The real losers are those whose morally righteous civil actions apart from faith in Jesus Christ are logically deemed meritorious unto salvation. They lose because they’re led to trust in the logic of a fallible man/council instead in the Word and promises of God.
Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not advocating a doctrine of Limbo, but at least this particular effort in rationalizing the acts of the Deus absconditus took original sin at least halfway seriously. And I’m really scraping for this. Half wasn’t enough.
“Bringing theological development in line with pastoral application.” Wow. Anyone else want to take this one? It’s just too easy.
This new development is just one more piece of evidence in favor of thus editing the title “Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Jesus Christ, Successor of the Prince of the Apostles, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, Primate of Italy, Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Roman province, Sovereign of the State of the Vatican City, Servant of the Servants of God” and augmenting it with the title “Antichrist.”