Saturday, July 1, 2017


Your appointment did not please the traditionalist world. In Spain the theologian Don José María Iraburu accused your Theology of original sin and grace of not conforming to the doctrine of the Church, while the periodical Sì sì No no even wrote that your book Theological Anthropology “is completely outside the Catholic dogmatic tradition”. Are you concerned about these judgments? 
LADARIA FERRER: Everyone is free to criticize and make the judgments they want. If you ask me if I’m concerned I have to say that these opinions don’t concern me too much. Besides, if I was appointed to this office, I must presume that my works do not deserve these judgments. 
You gained a certain notoriety when the Theological Commission published the document on the salvation of children who died before baptism. In it Limbo was finally thrown out of the Magisterium? 
LADARIA FERRER: The International Theological Commission has no power to throw anything or anybody out. Although it is formed not by private theologians but ones appointed by the Pope, its conclusions do not have magisterial value. The document in question reiterates that the doctrine of Limbo, which for centuries was accepted by the majority and dominant in theological reflection, was never defined dogmatically and therefore was never a part of the infallible magisterium. And it does not mean that those who still want to continue to speak of Limbo are outside the Catholic Church because of it. That said, however, the Theological Commission, considering together the revealed data and the universal salvific will of God and the universal mediation of Christ, wrote that there are more appropriate ways to address the issue of the fate of children who die without having received baptism, for whom a hope of salvation cannot be ruled out. These conclusions are not new to tell the truth, they originated around the time of the Council, but bring together the fruits of a very broad theological consensus today.


Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

" In it Limbo was finally thrown out of the Magisterium?"

Limbo was never part of the Magisterium. The ITC is correct in saying, "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."

And, "The idea of Limbo, which the Church has used for many centuries to designate the destiny of infants who die without Baptism, has no clear foundation in revelation, even though it has long been used in traditional theological teaching."

As Ladaria notes, "there are more appropriate ways to address the issue of the fate of children who die without having received baptism, for whom a hope of salvation cannot be ruled out."


rcg said...

Why was the concept of Limbo established? What use was it put to?

Dialogue said...


It's not complicated. The Catholic Church is necessary for salvation, Baptism is one's entry into the Church, a good God would not send unbaptized babies to Hell, so, therefore, there must be some sort of painless place other than Heaven: Limbo. The argument can be successfully countered, but its logic remains intelligible.

rcg said...

It seems that Grace is available to everyone and all of the Sacraments are available to people based on the participation of a rational actor. The child is not able to act rationally so must be assisted and spoken for. In that case, the burden for rational action falls on another Catholic to act with an intent. It seems that the state of Limbo is also a 'threat' for the adults involved. Why would anyone delay a Baptism for a child knowing that the little person would enjoy the full Grace of God with very little extra effort.

Anonymous said...

Limbo is described as a place of "natural" happiness. (No beatific vision.)

But humans were created for, supernatural happiness, the beatific vision. (You have made us for yourself, O God, and our hearts are restless ever till they rest in you.)

A being created for supernatural happiness is not fulfilled with "mere" natural happiness. A "painless" place, while desirable, is not the fulfillment of the reason for our creation.

The Church is necessary for salvation, but membership in the Church can be accomplished without Baptism. It is the usual course for humans to follow, of course, but God is not limited by what is usual for humans. God can incorporate into Himself any He wishes, without regard to Baptism.

George said...

Our Merciful and Just God can always be counted on to bring all things to a just resolution. Were not the righteous people of the Old Old Covenant ,though unbaptized, saved through the merits of Christ's redemptive suffering and death? They of course lived and died prior to the New Dispensation,yet at the Resurrection, through the Mercy and Power of God, and the merits of Christs Suffering and Death, they were released from the Bosom of Abraham. The Good Lord does not impose obligations on those who through no fault of their own, are denied the means to
sanctifying grace. Our Merciful God is the One we can count on to bring everything to a proper, just, an fair resolution. Can we not allow that the Omnipotent God in His Divine Wisdom knows how to do that? Nothing that can't be resolved in a fair and just way stands before Him. All Virtue, Love, Mercy, Goodness,Wisdom and Justice is within the nature of God. We can wonder and speculate on the state of unbaptized infants, but their fate will be as God will determine it, and so it will be as He desires it to be, and therefore as it should be.

The Lord Jesus Christ, from 'The Revelations of St. Bridget of Sweden:

"Just as the sun shining into a house is not seen as it is in its beauty - only those who look into the sky see its rays - so too the souls of such children, though they do not see my face for lack of baptism, are nevertheless closer to my mercy than to punishment, but not in the same way as my elect...still they come close to mercy and joy in the sense that they do not experience horrible punishments, since they bear no effects of any evil deeds of their own doing. If any of them die before reaching the age of discretion, given that they cannot come to know me face to face, they go instead to a place that it is not permitted for you to know but where they will live without suffering. Those who have advanced from the one road, reach those two roads, that is, the age of discretion between good and evil. It is then in their power to choose what pleases them most. Their reward will follow the inclination of their will, since by that time they know how to read the sign written at the crossroads telling them that it is better to experience a little pain at the start and joy ready and waiting for them than experience joy at the start and pain at the end.'