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Infant Baptism

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 Contents - Dec 2006AD2000 December 2006 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: The first Christmas - Peter Westmore
Benedict XVI challenges 'de-Christianisation' of society - Michael Gilchrist
News: The Church Around the World
Sydney RCIA conference for 2007 on authentic formation of new Catholics - Paula Flynn
'Lost!' controversy: Archbishop Bathersby's reply - AD2000 Report
Catechesis of the Good Shepherd: the Montessori method for RE - Anne Delsorte
A 'best practice' guide to priestly vocations
Modest dress: Suitable attire for Mass: the moral dimension - Bishop John W. Yanta
Religious Life: Tyburn Sisters' communities spread around the world - Tess Livingstone
2006 National Church Life Survey: important questions overlooked - Michael Gilchrist
Shrines: Marian Valley: Queensland's centre of pilgrimage - Peter Westmore
Letters: Vatican guidelines on Holy Communion for politicians - Vincent Bemowski
Letters: A must read for faithful Catholics - Frank Bellet
Letters: Liberal Catholicism - Paula Gartland
Letters: News from India - Fr Francis Pinto CSsR
Letters: Church teaching - Mark Moriarty
Letters: Infant Baptism
Letters: Community? - Peter Gilet
Letters: Christian differences - Alan Barron
Letters: True Church - E. Makaus
Letters: Linguistics - Matt Bruekers
Letters: Liturgical language - Ted Hayhoe
Letters: Why apologise? - Concerned Catholic
Books: The Shroud Story, by Brendan Whiting - Peter Westmore (reviewer)
Books: COME, LORD JESUS:Reflections on the Advent and Christmas Seasons, James Tolhurst - Michael Gilchrist
Events: Advent and Christmas Ceremonies - Priestly Fraternity of St Peter
Books: SACRED PLACES, PILGRIM WAYS: Catholic Pilgrimages in France and Belgium - Michael Gilchrist (reviewer)
Books: New Titles from AD Books
Reflection: Jesus' law of love and the Ten Commandments - Fr Dennis Byrnes

A striking feature of critical responses to my article on infant baptism (August AD2000) is the way the critics ignored the Church documents I cited. The best Norm Yodgee comes up with is the bland assertion that I was 'repeating doctrines and catechism extracts in their barest formulations' (November AD2000).

He also thinks (why I don't know) that I was talking about unbaptised adults as well as children!

The key problem people have is that they can't see how God could allow children to miss heaven through no personal fault. We can get light on this by realising that heaven is a free gift which God need never have offered the human race. The denial of that doctrine is commonplace, but it is Catholic doctrine, and its denial was condemned by Pope Pius XII in the encyclical Humani Generis (n. 26). Indeed, God need not have created anything - he chose to do so, but could have chosen not to. That is de fide.

Since heaven is a free gift which God might have chosen not to give the human race, he can impose conditions. He chose to make the automatic transmission of grace conditional on Adam remaining faithful, but Adam sinned.

If this seems wrong to us, we should remember God's reminder that 'as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts' (Isaiah 55:9).

Had the human race not been raised to the supernatural order, with heaven as our destiny, our end would have been to know and love God for all eternity by our natural powers. And it is in this way that limbo is to be understood. The unbaptised child knows and loves God to its full natural capacity, and will enjoy forever a degree of happiness surpassing the joys we experience in the present life.

Think of the most joyful hour you have ever experienced, and imagine it lasting forever. That is but a shadow of the joy experienced by the souls in limbo.

Melbourne, Vic

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 19 No 11 (December 2006 - January 2007), p. 15

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