Donut Age: America's Donut Magazine

How low can you go?

The International Theological Commission of the Catholic Church, in a document entitled ""The Hope of Salvation for Infants Who Die Without Being Baptised," has upended centuries of (noncanonical) tradition and banished Limbo from Catholic cosmology. For those who haven't read their Dante, Limbo is the spiritual home for infants who died without baptism, as well as for the "virtuous pagans." In the Inferno, Limbo is a reasonably pleasant place (especially compared to the other options) but is still considered part of Hell because those in it are forever denied the presence of God. Apparently, Church theologians did not feel the concept of Limbo was consistent with a just and merciful God, since it denies "eternal happiness" to those with "no personal sin."

I shouldn't really care about this because (a) I am not Catholic and (b) mortal speculation on the geography of the afterlife is presumptuous and futile. Nevertheless, I find myself mildly outraged by the decision. Even if it has never been an official part of Church doctrine, the concept of Limbo has been around more than a thousand years. What's more, the decision to reject the concept now seems to have as much to do with public opinion as theological truth. Kicking dead babies out of Heaven makes God look mean, so let's retcon our theology to be more customer friendly!

However, with or without Limbo, Christian theology (both Catholic and Protestant) is still built around the threat of eternal punishment for nonbelievers and those who don't follow the right set of rules. And that's the heart of the reason why I am not a Christian.