Babies Not Doing Limbo Any More
Yeah, you think I am going to make a joke about dancing infants, right? No, this will be a joke about Catholics. I'm an old school Catholic. By 'old school' I mean I follow a lot of the more rigid traditions - not self-flagellation or anything like that, though mutual flagellation might be hot in the right circumstances. And, except for those bits about no pre-marital sex, no sodomy, etc. I have led a pretty clean life. Heck, I don't even take Communion because I know I don't follow some of the stuff and I know a lot of hypocrites who take it anyway so I can at least maintain a smug superiority over them.
But Limbo always stuck in my craw just a little. Babies, of course, can't consciously make a choice to believe in God. And Catholicism requires a conscious choice. So if a baby dies, the wee one certainly doesn't go to Hell but can't go to Heaven either. Now, I have always sort of subscribed to the "No one needs to explain God to a child" proverb thinking. But if you start picking the teachings of the Pope a la' carte you are really, really not a Catholic. You might as well be Episcopalian.
Why get into this at all? Well, each of us is born with Original Sin, right? Everyone knows that. So even if you're innocent you're not really innocent because of that Adam and Eve fiasco. The modern solution is just to get your kids baptized right away. But that never explained away what happened to all those babies who happened to die before Jesus was born. So it's a bit of a pickle. Saint Augustine came up with this whole "Limbo" thing and, as far as I can tell, it was never made part of Dogma but somehow became accepted anyway. That's a lot of babies in the last 700 years.
The Catholic Church has decided to tackle this issue once and for all. Pope John Paul II put together a commmittee and asked them to come up with "a more coherent and enlightened way" of describing the fate of these babies. Since the committee was then headed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who is now Pope Benedict XVI, you can bet it hasn't gone away.
The Church has become rather famous for "splitting the difference" in the last 40 years, and trying to make everyone equally unhappy has done nothing but send church attendance plummeting. Take a stand. Keep Limbo or get rid of it but letting it linger out there is far too much like Limbo for anyone to be comfortable with it.