This question is particularly interesting in these times. The existence of the Limbo of Children (separate from the Limbo of the Fathers, in the Old Testament) on the one hand, is denied by some Protestants and on the other is misunderstood by many Catholics, either believing that souls detained there suffer or that we can ‘baptize’ them ‘at a distance’! The truth is always a summit between opposite errors.
When you come upon the issue of Limbo, you find topics like “Pope Changes Church Teaching on Limbo,” and “The Church Abandons Limbo.” From media outlets and from false preachers like this Soriano-which give the impression that Limbo was a defined doctrine of the Church, and that the Pope has the authority to change and reverse defined doctrine.
Now let me refute the lies and nonsense published by the coward leader of the Ang Dating Daan cult. In his article here, Eli Soriano calls Limbo (and purgatory too) invented lies of the Roman Catholic Church. It is all okay for us because, as usual, this is anti-Catholic rhetoric built on hatred and misinformation. So it gives us an opportunity to refute their claims;
Soriano starts like this;
“It is interesting to note how people invent lies to make people believe in them just so money keeps dropping to their coffers and reassure their hold on power.”
No but no thanks. As usual this is unsubstantiated nonsense. The Catholic Church does not invent and has never invented any doctrine to make money. If Soriano is honest, then he can provide proof for these accusations but again he cannot. On the flip side, it is clearly known to many people that Soriano is a false Preacher and that he preaches lies to get money from his poor followers. Just search through this blog to discover the many lies and tricks Soriano uses to trap and mislead people into his man made cult. The MCGI is only for business, using deceptive tricks to lure and trap people into a cult.
“The concepts of Limbo and Purgatory are two among them, created by the Roman Catholic Church and now deeply embedded in their non-biblical beliefs.”
Again no thanks! It happens that this bastard of a false preacher is Ignorant of the fact that these two concepts are rooted in Biblical and Patristic literature-though that former is not a defined doctrine of the Church while the latter is. If it is the Roman Catholic Church which invented them, why were they universal among Jews and extra-canonical writings of the second or first centuries B.C., where such belief finds repeated expression before the Catholic Church was founded or even Christianity came about?
Limbo: A biblical and theological perspective
Soriano then says;
“Limbo is not biblical in concept – in spirit and in letters. It is not found in the Bible.”
It so happens that this bastard of a preacher does not know the Biblical (or even a theological) basis for Limbo. First before we provide Biblical references for Limbo, let us first understand what Limbo is all about. Limbus, is a word of Teutonic derivation, meaning literally “hem” or “border,” as of a garment, or anything joined on ( Italian as Lembo or in English as limb).
The core concept or theological usage the name is applied to (a) the temporary place or state of the souls of the just who, although purified from sin, were excluded from the beatific vision until Christ’s triumphant ascension into Heaven (the “limbus patrum”); or to the permanent place or state of those unbaptized children and others who, dying without grievous personal sin, are excluded from the beatific vision on account of original sin alone (the “limbus infantium” or “puerorum”).
A scriptural reference for this state is found in the New Testament where Christ refers by various names and figures to the place or state which Catholic tradition has agreed to call the limbus patrum. In Matthew 8:11, it is spoken of under the figure of a banquet “with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of Heaven” (Luke 8:29; 14:15), and in Matthew 25:10 under the figure of a marriage feast to which the prudent virgins are admitted, while in the parable of Lazarus and Dives it is called “Abraham’s bosom” (Luke 16:22) and in Christ’s words to the penitent thief on Calvary the name paradise is used (Luke 23:43). St. Paul teaches (Ephesians. 4:9) that before ascending into Heaven Christ “also descended first into the lower parts of the earth,” and St. Peter still more explicitly teaches that “being put to death indeed, in the flesh, but enlivened in the spirit,” Christ went and “preached to those souls that were in prison, which had been some time incredulous, when they waited for the patience of God in the days of Noah” (I Pet 3:18-20).
Meanwhile they were “in prison,” as St. Peter says; but, as Christ’s own words to the penitent thief and in the parable of Lazarus clearly imply, their condition was one of happiness, notwithstanding the postponement of the higher bliss to which they looked forward.
The Church’s teaching on Limbo
Let us now turn what the Church teaches on this subject to counteract deception this Soriano is spreading. But before we do, let us see what this bastard of a preacher spouts;
“The braveness of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger or Pope Benedict XVI, to declare that Limbo does not exist contradicting almost all previous popes before him is a heroic act.”
Embarrassingly for Soriano, he doesn’t even understand the simple fact that limbo was never a doctrine of the church. He’s just some ignoramus with sites fomenting lies about a subject he is obviously vastly under educated on.
The Pope has never contradicted any other Pope on this issue and the sadist of this statement is that Soriano has not even indicated which Pope’s Pope Emeritus Benedict contradicted. Like I said above, media outlets and misinformation from false preachers like this Soriano give the impression that Limbo was a defined doctrine of the Church, when it was not and that the Pope has the authority to change and reverse defined doctrine-when he does not have.
If Soriano wants to tell the truth, then he should be quoting for us Official Church documents or sites on the subject but NOT Newspaper articles or gossip. As the Vatican website indicates;
“This theory, elaborated by theologians beginning in the Middle Ages, never entered into the dogmatic definitions of the Magisterium, even if 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.
However, in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1992), the theory of limbo is not mentioned. Rather, the Catechism teaches that infants who die without baptism are entrusted by the Church to the mercy of God, as is shown in the specific funeral rite for such children. The principle that God desires the salvation of all people gives rise to the hope that there is a path to salvation for infants who die without baptism (cf. CCC, 1261), and therefore also to the theological desire to find a coherent and logical connection between the diverse affirmations of the Catholic faith: the universal salvific will of God; the unicity of the mediation of Christ; the necessity of baptism for salvation; the universal action of grace in relation to the sacraments; the link between original sin and the deprivation of the beatific vision; the creation of man “in Christ”.
I think that Soriano should be honest in his writings and present facts other than spreading lies and misinformation. Limbo is not a doctrine of the Catholic Church and thus is open for discussion. That is why the Pope set up The International Theological Commission to study the question of the fate of un-baptized infants, bearing in mind the principle of the “hierarchy of truths” and the other theological principles of the universal salvific will of God, the unicity and insuperability of the mediation of Christ, the sacramentality of the Church in the order of salvation, and the reality of Original Sin. (cf: above link)
However, it must be remembered that the International Theological Commission made no rulings (because it does not have authority to do so) but rather offers reasons to hope that God may provide a way of salvation to those little ones whose lives ended before baptism was possible.
“We do not know if this was the reason why he later relinquished his post being the highest authority of the Roman Catholic Church. Maybe he was pressured by other authorities, maybe not! Only God knows the whole story.”
Hhhmmm Bogus statements! The whole world knows why Pope Emeritus Benedict resigned. Where was Soriano when Pope Benedict XVI resigned? He resigned for health reasons which could not allow him to continue his ministry. It was not Limbo that forced him to resign and no one forced him to resign. Period! Of course we do not need conspiracy theories from deranged criminals like Soriano about the Pope’s resignation.
“There isn’t the slightest doubt about the validity of my resignation from the Petrine ministry,” Benedict wrote in a letter to La Stampa, an Italian daily, in reply to questions by the newspaper’s Vatican correspondent.
“The only condition for the validity is the full freedom of the decision. Speculation about its invalidity is simply absurd,” Benedict wrote in his letter.
There are some people who waste their time building conspiracy theories and this criminal Soriano is one of them. But no one ever said conspiracy theories are truth. They are lies.
The Ratzinger Report
One wonders why Soriano is focusing on Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI other than proving to us that Limbo is an invention. He is instead beating around the bush with meaningless explanations and bogus accusations. His explanations are very shallow and unfounded.
“Two decades before this, way back in June 1985, the “Ratzinger Report” was published. It was an exclusive interview on the state of the Church written by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. It has Vittorio Messori as co-author, the Italian journalist that interviewed him. Ratzinger states that he is “speaking more as a theologian and not as Prefect of the Congregation, and that “I would abandon Limbo since it was only a theological hypothesis.” (Ratzinger Report, p. 147, www.amazon.com).”
So this proves what? It is true that Cardinal Ratzinger, as a private theologian, expressed his disbelief in the limbo of the infants about 25 years ago, but such has no bearing on Catholic doctrine. Limbo remains a valid opinion among others for the unsettled question of salvation of the unbaptized. The fact is Limbo has been a hypothesis not a doctrine of the Catholic Church. It was a hypothesis — a theory held out as a possible way to balance the Christian belief in the necessity of baptism with belief in God’s mercy. Like hypotheses in any branch of science, a theological hypothesis can be proven wrong or be set aside when it is clear it does not help explain Catholic faith.
The study of history shows an evolution and a development of Catholic teaching concerning the destiny of infants who die without Baptism. This progress engages some foundational doctrinal principles which remain permanent, and some secondary elements of unequal value. In effect, revelation does not communicate directly in explicit fashion knowledge of God’s plan for unbaptized children, but it enlightens the Church regarding the principles of faith which must guide her thought and her practice. (cf: The hope of salvation for Infants who die without being baptized, ITC)
May I also remind everyone that Soriano has a habit of misquoting and twisting people’s speeches and statements. In the Ratzinger report, Soriano also hid important statements to create bias.
In the 1985 book-length interview, “The Ratzinger Report,” the future Pope Benedict said, “Limbo was never a defined truth of faith.” But a “theological hypothesis” which Ratzinger noted “formed part of a secondary thesis in support of a truth which is absolutely of first significance for faith, namely, the importance of baptism”
In “God and the World,” published in 2000, he said limbo had been used “to justify the necessity of baptizing infants as early as possible” to ensure that they had the “sanctifying grace” needed to wash away the effects of original sin.
Nobody is denying the dogma of Original Sin or the reason for water Baptism, and nobody is saying that anyone can be admitted to the Beatific Vision without Sanctifying Grace.
All that has been suggested is that it is possible for God to supply Sanctifying Grace in some other way than through water Baptism, Baptism of Desire, or Baptism of Blood, which is unknown to us. Nobody is even saying that is definitely what happens. All that is being suggested is that it is possible, and an examination of Sacred Scripture and authoritative Church teaching supports this possibility.
Moreover, the official teaching of the Church on the matter of children who have died without Baptism does not demand that Catholics believe in the Limbo of the Unbaptized and recognizes that God’s Mercy may provide “a way of salvation”:
“1261 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,”63 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.”
The quotes Soriano provided above are slanted and taken out of context with an intention to mislead. I admire Pope Benedict XVI, he is one my best and have been impressed by him. He is a very wise man, far too smart and far too orthodox than Soriano can dream. He’s orthodox, very much so, in his theology, and he’s not going to go around approving documents that are not orthodox in their teachings. He knows what the history of limbo is, and knows where it can and can’t go. Think again.
In the Ratzinger Report, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI showed that he can, without betraying the historical truths contained in the Apostolic faith taught by the Catholic Church, preach God’s love and mercy by raising our understanding of those truths beyond the rigid interpretations required by a need for defensiveness and protectiveness, as is often the case in apologetics, canon law, and other branches of theology.
Back to Soriano now;
“When Ratzinger became Pope Benedict XVI in 2005, the following year in October 2006 he announced that limbo does not exist. [In February 2013, Benedict XVI resigned from his position as pope].”
The absurd thing about this statement is that there is source to back it. The intention of Soriano is to make people desperately believe his lies because he knows that if he provided a source, people would get the correct meaning of what the Pope said and discover that Soriano lied. Soriano is very careless the way he presents quotes as I showed in the article Bag of Tricks.
It is hard to know where Soriano got this quote but the truth of the matter is that the Pope didn’t actually say that Limbo doesn’t exist; only that there is not solid proof that it does but rather hope that unbaptized infants will not be barred from God’s grace (and therefore be granted state in Limbo) but there are no grounds for true knowledge that this is so.
Limbo is more or less a medieval theological answer to what happens to unbaptized babies and innocents who never heard the proclamation of Jesus and people like this Soriano do not seem to know that. Because this understanding of limbo was merely an attempt by theologians to understand Christian doctrine and was never itself Christian doctrine, such an understanding can be either accepted or rejected by the Church. The Church currently entrusts the fate of unbaptized babies to the mercy of God and does not presume to state that God cannot make provision for their entry into heaven. The quotes of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI cited by Soriano are private theological thoughts. He just stated something that we all know: Since limbo is not a doctrine of the Church, it matters not to us whether a Pope is pro or anti limbo. Catholics can have a free conscience accepting or rejecting the idea because the Church has not proclaimed any de fide statement on the matter. It has never been canonized and Catholics are free to accept or reject it as has always been the case.
“However, in that Ratzinger Report, Benedict asserted that “if Purgatory did not exist, we should have to invent it.” (P.146).”
Purgatory is not the same as Limbo and Pope Benedict has never said that any one should have to invent Purgatory. Soriano is lying. I will disprove Soriano’s cranked accusations and lies in the next confutation of his about Purgatory. But the Post script of this is that Purgatory is Biblical, Patristic, logical and has been part of the Apostolical Faith since the beginning. It is a core teaching of the Catholic Church. So how can anyone invent something now when it has been around as part of the faith? What the Pope was actually referring to is, if protestants like this criminal Soriano say Purgatory does not exist, then it has to be made because it is Biblical, Patristic and because it displays a wonderful combination of both reason and spanine revelation-all of which Protestant do not seem to realize.
Well, it would be nice for Soriano to show us which of the Pope’s writings is he supposedly “writing off” or “inventing” purgatory” but he is not doing so. The answer is simple: No, he has not written off or will invent purgatory.
With that being said, Soriano can continue his tired act of making a mockery of Catholic teaching, calling on his followers and some Catholics to “accept” his ridiculous stuff, and then inferring that we do not know the truth if we don’t follow his ignorant claims. This tactic may work to hoodwink less knowledgeable Catholics into thinking they have to abandon Orthodoxy for cultists’, but it won’t work on Catholics who know their faith.