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Sunday, April 22, 2007

THEOLOGICAL HEALTH WARNING

The International Theological Commission has NO MAGISTERIAL AUTHORITY its statements are not pontifical acts. They are not even acts of the Holy See's bureaucracy. No one is obliged to believe them. No guarantee of orthodoxy attaches to them. The fact that the Pope authorises their statements does not even indicate whether or not he assents to their contents even as a private theologian.

Having said that it does not seem that the new statement from the ITC says anything more than that the existence of Limbo remains an open theological question and that its members favour various possible ways in which un-baptized infants might receive baptismal grace extra-sacramentally. Strictly speaking a number of the proposed methods would leave limbo in tact just reduce its population and then only slightly.

Unfortunately, I cant find the document on the internet so I can’t check. Personally, it seems to me (as I’m always saying) that the existence of Limbo is a necessary consequence of various already solemnly defined teachings (such as that one can be damned on account of original sin without actual sin) and thus could be and should be defined.

This is a quite separate issue to whether or not baptism of desire can be received vicariously by the children of Catholic parents.

Limbo should be defined precisely because its denial in favour of a more positive appraisal of the possibilities for the un-baptised (which is the novel direction in which this is generally being taken) usually ends in a denial of Original Sin. The ITC document has already led to various pseudo-Catholics making this claim.