Early baptism

Early baptism

John Schmid

John Young drew attention to the importance of early baptism. Mark Moriarty in reply quoted the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Part of the quote is ‘allow us to hope there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism’. In other words, if the Church does not offer any certainty of salvation for unbaptised babies, neither does it declare they will not achieve salvation.

Here I understand salvation to mean the beatific vision, seeing God face to face in heaven.

The Catechism (1261) also states, ‘the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God’ and ‘God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but He Himself is not bound by His sacraments’.

Based on these teachings, I would question any suggestion that denies any hope of salvation for unbaptised babies. But the Catechism (1261) adds: ‘All the more urgent is the Church's call not to prevent little children coming to Christ through the gift of holy baptism’. Baptism, after all, gives the certainty of salvation to babies, should they die in infancy. Unbaptised, as noted, leaves hope but no certainty.

I think that this is the warning that John Young gave in his article. Cardinal Ratzinger (in The Ratzinger Report) wrote, ‘Limbo was never a defined truth of the faith. Personally - and here I am speaking as a theologian and not as Prefect of the Congregation - I would abandon it since it was only a theological hypothesis.’

Boronia, Vic

[Editor: The flood of letters prompted by John Young's article has continued. Again, it was not possible to publish all of them.]

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