Rorate Caeli

The Roman Church teaches...

The Roman Church teaches [...] that the souls of those who depart in mortal sin or with only original sin descend immediately to hell, nevertheless to be punished with different punishments and in disparate locations...
Nequaquam sine dolore
November 21, 1321

...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.
Decree for the Greeks (Laetentur Caeli)
Ecumenical Council of Florence
July 6, 1439

[Errors of the Synod of Pistoia.] The doctrine which rejects as a Pelagian fable that place of the lower regions (which the faithful generally designate by the name of 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 [...] is false, rash, injurious to Catholic schools.
Auctorem Fidei
Pius VI
August 28, 1794


  1. Anonymous11:54 PM

    That doesnt seem like it's only a theory of speculation... Perhaps I am wrong... but I really don't think I am.

  2. I believe the word being used to describe limbo is "hypothesis". It's merely a hypothesis which can be discarded in the interests of ecumenical expediency, unlike the "theory" of evolution which is something more than a hypothesis because it has been affirmed by the infallible magisterium of modern science. Maybe the Vatican theologians should take the next logical step and declare that because adult sinners are also released into the hands of a merciful God they too are saved. It's terrible to think how much unnecessary anxiety is suffered by unrepentent sinners thinking they might actually go to hell for their sins. This would have the side benefit that finally after 2000 years Catholics can be freed from the burden of evangelism. Hooray. I can just see it now, Mark Shea and Karl Keating driving around with the new Catholic Answers bumper sticker: "Baptism is for sissies!"

  3. Eureka! They have almost arrived at "Universal Salvation". We also have all the religions on the face of The Earth being pathways to salvation. Who is left for Satan to claim? Only Madonna & one or two blasphemous artists remain. Soon, all they will need is a doctrine to release all those souls already in Hell so that they may be welcomed into Paradise.

    Now wait for more philosophical and theological pedantics to hack away more customary Catholic teachings.

    Personally, limbo does not reduce me to insomnia nor do I contemplate it very often, if at all, but this represents yet another step in the modernist direction which has done nothing but destroy, obfuscate, confuse, corrupt and deny. Change is such an incurable disease in Rome and the provinces today that the admonitions of Our Blessed Lady of Salette and Fatima, Pope Leo XIII, Blessed Catherine Anne Emerick, Sister Lucia and others had better be taken seriously soon.

  4. here's a quote from a Muslim scholar's remark against Benedict XVI's address to Regensburg University...I think you can see the points which refer to the "pastoral council"
    The image of an opportunist Prophet, which Benedict XVI invokes in passing, is deeply painful and offensive to Muslims. How would Benedict XVI feel if Muslims pointed out that the Catholic Church only became tolerant of Muslims and Jews after it lost its power in Europe, and that this tolerance was really granted by secular states and not by the Church, but opportunistically claimed by it. Such a point is likely to give pain and offence. Imagine, then, the pain and offense we Muslims feel as Benedict XVI claims that our beloved Prophet is an opportunist who teaches one thing when he is weak, only to reverse it when he gets stronger.

  5. The evidence which gave rise to the theory of limbo is better explained by developments in the Church's understanding of the Baptism of desire. It remains that a person cannot be saved except through Baptism and those who die without this grace certainly cannot enter heaven. But we also know that this grace can be extended to people who engage in the sorts of works described in Matthew 25:34-40, IF - AND ONLY IF - objective conditions or invincible ignorance prevent a person from being baptized with water.

    This said, I have tremendous difficulty understanding the wisdom and prudence of rejecting limbo at this moment in the Church's life.

    With faith in God's plan, which is beyond my ability to understand,

  6. Perhaps it should have gone without saying, but the connection to infants (especially the unborn) who die without Baptism is the following. While such an infant cannot clothe the naked or visit the sick, his innocent death stands as witness against the injustice of sin, suffering and death in the world. This is especially the case of the holy innocents slaughtered under Herod and the victims of abortion, whose blood speaks with similar eloquence to that of Abel (see Hb 12:24).

    Given the obvious conditions which prevent the baptism of water in the case of a miscarriage or abortion, it seems quite possible that the witness of their lives might serve a similar function to feeding the hungry or visiting the imprisoned.

    Nevertheless, one is far better off believing that such children are consigned to a painless netherregion of hell than to believe Baptism is unnecessary for salvation. Limbo is certainly not a Pelagian myth.

  7. Abandoning the teaching of limbo doesn't reject those statements about the necessity of baptism. Limbo is a proposed solution to the dilemma.

    The Church is not talking about declaring universal salvation, only saying what we KNOW rather than speculating.

    262. Is it possible to be saved without Baptism?


    Since Christ died for the salvation of all, those can be saved without Baptism who die for the faith (Baptism of blood). Catechumens and all those who, even without knowing Christ and the Church, still (under the impulse of grace) sincerely seek God and strive to do his will can also be saved without Baptism (Baptism of desire). The Church in her liturgy entrusts children who die without Baptism to the mercy of God.

    Does anyone object to the idea that we entrust children who die without baptism to the mercy of God? Should we not have hope for every man to be saved? If not which ones should we stop hoping for?

  8. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  9. This move is far better understood in the light of a church in which the need for change has become a mania.

    Further, since these changes have not had the desired effect of promoting vocations, conversions and a general flowering in the church of belief which was promised would occur at the time in the 1960s, the dilemma of a declining church witnesses muslims clearly in the healthier position of appealing to the mothers of aborted, miscarried or unbaptised, living children than the Catholic Church in parts of the world such as Africa since theyw ill receive eternal happiness in islam. There is a political element to the decision. This aspect can hardly be lost on The Holy Father

    The decatholicisation of Europe and The Americas is so fundamental now that the church is at a loss to stem the flow. Indult Masses (which do not always fulfill what they seem to offer), ecumenical meanderings, interfaith grotesqueries and the issue of limbo reflect an institution which is completely unequal to its proper task of propagating the faith as Our Blessed Lord commanded the Apostles. The need to worship "in Spirit and in Truth" has been conveniently forgotten as has St Paul's admonitions in his Epistle 2 Thess 2 which was removed, significantly, from the old lectionary for Advent.

    While some consider recourse to Sacred Scripture to be a protestant pastime it is nowhere near as protestant as the direction taken by the church since the mid-1960s.

  10. This seems a bit much to infer from an updating of the Magisterial position on Limbo. It seems like you are trying to squeeze a more explanatory power out of this paradigm that it is willing to give.

    My understanding is that the International Theological Commission, like the modern Pontifical Biblical Commission, is only semi-Magisterial because it is not invested with the full authority of other curial agencies. This was my understanding of the current set up of the Vatican. One of you may have more or better information about whether an ITC document can be considered an authentic expression of the ordinary and universal Magisterium. I don't think it can.

    Let me know,

  11. I once performed an exorcism on an unbaptized three year old, who spoke in something that sounded like Hebrew or Arabic and told me his name was Beelzebub.

    There may well be a fine, traditional theology which envisions a more sound solution to the problem of those who are deprived of the possibility of water baptism, but this much is certain: To choose to not baptize your child is to wilfully endanger both your child's salvation and your own!

    If belief in limbo causes people to bring their infants to Baptism, my opinion both from intellect and experience is to let it be.

  12. Anonymous4:44 PM

    To the magisterial declarations that New Catholic has compiled for us, we can add this quote from the Second Council of Lyons in 1274:

    "The souls of those who die in mortal sin or with only original sin soon go down into hell, but there they receive different punishments."


Comment boxes are debate forums for readers and contributors of RORATE CÆLI.

Please, DO NOT assume that RORATE CÆLI contributors or moderators necessarily agree with or otherwise endorse any particular comment just because they let it stand.


(1) This is our living room, in a deeply Catholic house, and you are our guest. Please, behave accordingly. Any comment may be blocked or deleted, at any time, whenever we perceive anything that is not up to our standards, not conducive to a healthy conversation or a healthy Catholic environment, or simply not to our liking.

(2) By clicking on the "publish your comment" button, please remain aware that you are choosing to make your comment public - that is, the comment box is not to be used for private and confidential correspondence with contributors and moderators.

(3) Any name/ pseudonym/ denomination may be freely used simply by choosing the third option, "Name/URL" (the URL box may be left empty), when posting your comment - therefore, there is no reason whatsoever to simply post as "Anonymous", making debate unnecessarily harder to follow. Any comment signed simply as "Anonymous" will be blocked.

Thank you!