Point-Counterpoint: The Doctrine of Limbo

In this month’s issue of the UK’s Catholic Herald, there’s a rather interesting point-counterpoint on a topic that is seldom discussed these days: limbo. In a pair of editorials, one author states that abandoning this longtime doctrine (as some theologians propose) would create a “serious gap in Church teaching”, while a second author responds reasoning why the current edition of the Catechism, by omitting reference to limbo, is accurate since we have no need for this doctrine.

Christ pulling Adam and Eve out of limbo on Holy Saturday – Chora Church, Istanbul

It could be an enriching read for anyone curious about this topic (which I am). After all, where do the souls of the unborn end up if they fall victim to the violence of abortion or agony of miscarriage? What about the children whose parents have just been lazy about getting them baptized? I’ve held that limbo makes sense (in my simple understanding of it). Furthermore, I don’t find the two views below to be at odds with one another (not that either author stated such). Cannot limbo exist while at the same time we pray in hope that those lost without being baptized (speaking of the “limbo of infants”) will find Heaven with the help of God’s mercy which is not bound by the gifts and limits He confers to us? Anyway, below are snippets of each:

POINT: Abandoning limbo would leave a serious gap in Church teaching

[N]ext month in Ramsgate, a theological colloquium, organised by the Dialogos Institute, will look again at the importance of limbo. A number of the distinguished speakers are likely to challenge the idea that limbo can be abandoned. Although the word “limbo” has only been used once in an authoritative document (in 1794), discarding it leaves a serious gap in Church teaching. Some would argue that limbo is, to all intents and purposes, a dogma.

The issue can be confused by differences of terminology. When we recite in the creed that Christ “descended into hell”, we are referring to what theologians have called “the limbo of the fathers”. In the Bible the place where the wicked are tormented after death is called Gehenna as distinct from Sheol or Hades a more general term for the place of the dead outside heaven. Confusingly, classic English translations of scripture translate both as “Hell”. […]

there is the limbo of the infants: the destination of babies who, though they cannot enter heaven because they have not been baptised, are guilty of no personal sin. As St Gregory Nazianzen put it, these infants “will neither be admitted by the just judge to the glory of Heaven nor condemned to suffer punishment.” That those who die in original sin only are confined to hell in this sense is not a theological opinion but a dogma of the Catholic Church solemnly defined by the seventeenth ecumenical council in 1438, which taught “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.” […]

But although those who die in actual sin suffer in hell, neither the limbo of the infants nor the limbo of the fathers is a place distinguished by suffering (see Luke 16:19–31). Even if one takes the gloomy view of St Gregory the Great and St Augustine, who taught that infants undergo “the mildest condemnation of all”, one must bear in mind that this would be a quasi-paradisal condition unimaginably happier than the world in which we now live.

COUNTERPOINT: The Catechism is right, we do not need limbo

[…] Thus the Church proposes that our knowledge of God’s love, mercy, and salvific power gives us sufficient reason to believe that children who die without Baptism can be saved. If there is any gap, it is only a lack of description of the exact method or mechanism by which God would do this, but surely “through His merciful, salvific love” is adequate to make the idea intelligible. […]

[R]emember the axiom of Peter Lombard, who wrote that God is the author of the sacraments, but He Himself is not bound by them. God doesn’t tie His own hands by His gift of the sacraments to us. […]

To add one more opinion to the debate, it seems more fitting that the God who in the person of His Son bade the children to come to Him would provide the means to bring the countless of children who, through no fault of their own, did not reach the baptismal font to enter into their Father’s house.

As regards children who have died without Baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, as she does in her funeral rites for them. Indeed, the great mercy of God who desires that all men should be saved, and Jesus’ tenderness toward children which caused him to say: ‘Let the children come to me, do not hinder them,’ allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism.
CCC 1261

It seems like the past couple years have been so preoccupied with debates over already established dogmas and doctrines from dissenting Catholics that we forgot how to have mutually stimulating debates over doctrines where difference of opinion doesn’t mean dissent but, rather, [real] discussion. ☩

Manchester: Why Were Some Victims Children?

Out of the 59 victims hospitalized by the recent ISIS attack, 12 were children under the age of 16. Many of the 22 who died were also children. Quoting from CBS:

People who saw Saffie Roussos at the concert Monday night say the 8-year-old was wearing an Ariana Grande T-shirt when she died.

Why were so many victims children? My question is not a musing over why ISIS would murder such innocent souls, we know the depth of their barbarism is bottomless. My question is for the West; mainly Europe. Doesn’t it strike most people (who have a basic idea of what most pop music is like) as kinda shocking such young people, children, would be at an Ariana Grande arena-sized concert, adorned in the respective swag? To be sure, no one could possibly expect attending such a concert might increase the chances of falling victim to such a crime against humanity. The blame is put squarely on the people following this subhuman ideology.

when you import immigrants at any real scale from jihadist regions, then you will import the cultural, religious, and political views that incubate jihad. Jihadist ideas flow not from soil but from people, and when you import people you import their ideas.

The point is that Western culture seems to be unraveling…quickly. There are many signs of this. The explosive speed of the moral decadence paired with the widespread self-sterilization (declining population) of Millennials makes European countries ripe for what what is happening to them. On top of that, the stranglehold politically correct language has over society prevents any serious ideas on how to stop the plague of jihad from being honestly discussed, much less implemented.

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Crippled by political correctness: this is an actual response by local police following the slaughter of children.

Most young adults in Europe are not becoming parents, this isn’t news (unfortunately), but those who are have little interest in actually parenting it seems. Take a look at the lyrics to one of Ariana Grande’s featured songs on her current Dangerous Woman tour and ponder what kind of parent pays money to allow their pre-teen daughter to idolize such an artist. The song is “Side-to-Side” and is about, according to the Nickelodeon alum herself, about having so much sex that she can’t walk straight anymore. The rest of this post is NSFW:

I’ve been here all night (Ariana)
I’ve been here all day (Nicki Minaj)
And boy, got me walkin’ side to side
(Let them hoes know)

I’m talkin’ to ya
See you standing over there with your body
Feeling like I wanna rock with your body
And we don’t gotta think ’bout nothin’ (‘Bout nothin’)
I’m comin’ at ya
‘Cause I know you got a bad reputation
Doesn’t matter, ’cause you give me temptation
And we don’t gotta think ’bout nothin’ (‘Bout nothin’)

These friends keep talkin’ way too much
Say I should give you up
Can’t hear them no, ’cause I

I’ve been here all night
I’ve been here all day
And boy, got me walkin’ side to side
I’ve been here all night
I’ve been here all day
And boy, got me walkin’ side to side (Side to side)

Been tryna hide it
Baby what’s it gonna hurt if they don’t know?
Makin’ everybody think that we solo
Just as long as you know you got me (You got me)
And boy I got ya
‘Cause tonight I’m making deals with the devil
And I know it’s gonna get me in trouble
Just as long as you know you got me

These friends keep talkin’ way too much
Say I should give you up
Can’t hear them no, ’cause

I’ve been here all night
I’ve been here all day
And boy, got me walkin’ side to side (Side to side)
I’ve been here all night
(Been here all night, baby)
I’ve been here all day
(Been here all day, baby)
And boy, got me walkin’ side to side (Side to side)

This the new style with the fresh type of flow
Wrist icicle, ride dick bicycle
Come true yo, get you this type of blow
If you wanna menage I got a tricycle

All these bitches, flows is my mini-me
Body smoking, so they call me young Nicki chimney
Rappers in they feelings cause they feelin’ me
Uh, I-I give zero fucks and I got zero chill in me
Kissing me, copped the blue box that say Tiffany
Curry with the shot, just tell ’em to call me Stephanie
Gun pop and I make my gum pop
I’m the queen of rap, young Ariana run pop

These friends keep talkin’ way too much
Say I should give him up
Can’t hear them no, ’cause I

I’ve been here all night
I’ve been here all day
And boy, got me walkin’ side to side (Side to side)
I’ve been here all night
(Been here all night baby)
I’ve been here all day
(Been here all day baby)
Boy, got me walkin’ side to side (Side to side)

This the new style with the fresh type of flow
Wrist icicle, ride dick bicycle
Come true yo, get you this type of blow
If you wanna menage I got a tricycle

The West’s current weakness isn’t only rooted in the decay of moral pillars it too is simply weak in numbers; both of these compromised foundations is closely associated with the destruction of authentic Catholicism which much of Europe is, architecturally, philosophically, and culturally, built on. Quoting parts from George Weigel’s recent piece, Catholic Lite and Europe’s Demographic Suicide:

(1) Europe is committing demographic suicide, systematically depopulating itself in what British historian Niall Ferguson has called “the greatest sustained reduction in European population since the Black Death in the fourteenth century.

(2) This unwillingness to create the future in the most elemental sense, by creating new generations, is at the root of many of Europe’s problems, including its difficulties assimilating immigrants and its fiscal distress.

(3) When an entire continent—healthier, wealthier, and more secure than ever before—deliberately chooses sterility, the most basic cause for that must lie in the realm of the human spirit, in a certain souring about the very mystery of being. 

The members of the American commentariat most attuned to this plague of Euro-childlessness tend to discuss its impacts in terms of the rapidly growing Muslim population in Europe…But for a Catholic, Europe’s demographic winter bespeaks, first and foremost, a colossal evangelical failure. Acknowledging that also sheds light on the contemporary Catholic situation in Europe.

In recent years, the Catholic Lite Brigade has reasserted itself in western Europe and in the counsels of the world Church. It is time to ask whether Catholic Lite—as displayed in Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, and elsewhere—does not have something to do with Europe’s demographic meltdown. It is time to ask whether Catholic Lite is not at least partially responsible, not only for Europe’s self-chosen sterility, but for Europe’s rapidly accelerating embrace of euthanasia. It is time to ask why Catholic Lite has been such an abysmal failure in forming public moral cultures in which self-gift, not self-aggrandizement, is the touchstone of human aspiration.

…the continued embrace of Catholic Lite by too many western European Catholic leaders and intellectuals bodes ill for a European Catholicism that can inspire Europe to reject demographic suicide and rediscover the joy of creating the future through having children. 

Catholics, parents, citizens of good will, step up to the plate and live lives which seek beauty, goodness, and truth. Live counter-culturally because the culture of death wants to destroy your culture, family, and community. I’ll leave it at that. ☩


Our Lady of Fatima, please console the families of these victims by drawing them closer to the hearts of you and Jesus.

St. John Bosco, intercede for all the western nations facing the terror of ISIS.

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us and on the souls of the departed, that they may find peace in eternal life.

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. . .

Jesuit Superior General Praises Castro–What has Happened to the Order?

Image result for st ignatiusSt. Ignatious of Loyola was a Spanish soldier. But you wouldn’t believe it by the way his image has been softened by many modern-day Jesuits (see: Fr. James Martin, SJ) into a sort of Catholic community organizer. His Spiritual Exercises? Merely a therapeutic self-help book.

Started in 1540, the Jesuits were considered the Pope’s missionary soldiers. They endured tremendous, often violent, hardships across the globe as they spread the Gospel and converted entire countries. They heroically defended the Catholic Church from the perils of the Reformation. They set up some of the greatest universities on the planet. Their history is amazing.  What happened?

It’s no secret that the Jesuits, as a whole, are extremely leftist in their politics and progressive in their theology and have been since before V2. However, their views are now so extreme, they are flirting with straight up heresy. It has reached such high levels of the order that the scandal they are providing is truly devastating. In almost every statement by Jesuit officials, Catholics and non-Catholics rightfully wonder if they even like the Church and what it stands for.

Now we have a new Superior General of the order, Fr. Arturo Sosa, who recently came under fire for suggesting that the teachings of Christ are relative, exposed for having signed a letter praising Fidel Castro. That’s right, the Fidel Castro who all but eradicated Christianity from what was then extremely Catholic Cuba. The man who destroyed churches, took over Catholic schools, and murdered priests in order for atheistic Communism to better strangle his island citizens.

From the Catholic Herald:

Jesuit superior general Fr Arturo Sosa allegedly signed a letter praising Cuban dictator Fidel Castro in 1989.

Infovaticana says that ahead of the communist leader’s visit to Venezuela that year, nearly 1,000 “intellectuals and artists” sent him a “manifesto” welcoming him to their country.

The 810th name on the list of signatories is “Arturo Sosa, S.J.,” of the Centro Gumilla, of which he was director at the time.

The letter begins: “We… wish to publicly express our respect for what you, as the main leader of the Cuban Revolution, have achieved for the dignity of your people and therefore for all Latin America.”

It goes on to say that “only ideological blindness can deny the place the process you represent occupies in the history of the liberation of our peoples.”

The letter also describes Castro’s overthrow of the Batista government as an “exemplary victory over tyranny, corruption and servitude”

Does anyone take the Jesuits seriously anymore? Apparently not because, even while embarrassing themselves trying to be popular, their numbers are plummeting. Almost no serious Catholic men who are considering the priesthood are considering becoming a Jesuit. ☩

 

 

Pop Culture #FakeNews: Avoid Cancer with The Pill and Increase Life Quality by Postponing Kids

It’s no secret that mainstream popular culture has been administering an full court press of ideology in a (successful) effort to lead those with malleable opinions to assume contraception and waiting as long as possible to start a family are good things. Good Morning America reminded us of this today when the entire panel was excited to hear the breaking, “must hear” news that The Pill may slightly reduce some forms of cancer. At the end of the segment they of course mentioned that The Pill is also is known for increasing the odds of other types of cancer such as breast and cervical along with an increased risk of forming a blood clot. They didn’t mention the widespread medical knowledge of the mental health side effects such as depression.

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This is what every millennial couple waiting to have kids looks like.

Hours later the following story pops up online from Woman’s Day magazine:

New Study Reveals the Surprising Benefits of Having a Child Later in Life

Here’s some evidence to counter all that chatter about your “biological clock:” Children born to older mothers thrive better in life…

…women who had kids later than the average age of 31 were less likely to scold or physically discipline their kids. Overall, their more mature and less emotional approach to parenting created children that were better behaved, well-socialized, and emotionally healthier in their pre-teen years.

Why do older moms have healthier and more educated kids? The researchers point to an overall improvement in society over the years, with better access to healthcare and education in the Western world. So the longer you wait to have a baby, the higher the chances life will be better for your little tot…

…the benefits of waiting to have children are either equal to or maybe even outweigh the potential negative effects, like an increased risk for Down Syndromeand a potentially higher risk for diseases like diabetes, hypertension, and Alzheimer’s later in life. Of course it’s harder for moms to get pregnant at all as they age

What a stupid article. What poor reasoning. First off, of course parents, on average, will take a more mature approach to parenting when they are…more mature. Parents in their 20s, though, have been raising children for millennia with fine, even better, results than modern middle-aged parents. Maybe the problem is the current culture forming young people to take marriage and parenting with such frivolity. Also, the idea of waiting 10 more years to have a kid because society might be fractionally better (according only to calculated economic reasoning and microscopic statistical health differences) is hilarious. As if a 40-year old has a worse life is any noticeable way compared to a 30-year old–what an excuse for an anti-family mindset.

It’s amusing how they bury the downside of having children later in life at the bottom of the article, especially the fact that you’re less likely to have children later in life–a fact regularly covered up by the progressive forces of pop culture and a point Charles Krauthammer eloquently points out in his essay Missed Motherhood. Did Woman’s Day ever consider that some women might want their children to have siblings and this is much less likely when you have your first child in your late 30’s. Did they take into account that some women want to be active grandmothers one day and this opportunity is highly diminished by generations having children later and later. Do they take fun, joy, love, happiness, and general family culture into account when calculating the quality of the life of the children born to older parents vs younger parents? No. The same news sources which report on levels of happiness among countries (recently reported that America has fallen to 14th) seem to not take happiness into account when discussing their wise family planning techniques (read: family suppressing).

I have a feeling the married couple joyfully welcoming eight children into their home, even if they might not have as much disposable cash to spend on fun devices or trips, has a much richer and joyful family life than the spouses who purposely squeeze out one child after 40 after spending most of their relationship focusing on everything other than family. Our culture needs a radical restructuring of priorities. Enter: Catholic Renaissance 2.0™. ☩

Televangelist Jimmy Swaggart Debates Catholicism on 1984’s ‘Crossfire’

Earlier this week I flipped on the TV without caring the station and flopped onto the bed. Up popped four gentlemen passionately discussing a religious topic. I didn’t give it much thought since there’s often protestant programs popping up on obscure channels–especially for those who don’t care to have cable like myself. Too lazy to move and caring too little to change it, I watched the men discuss how faith alone attains salvation (sola fide) and good works are worthless. It wasn’t a surprising topic to expect from four southern televangelists.

Image result for jimmy swaggart meme
SBN is Swaggart’s TV Network

I watched a few minutes more until the discussion took a break for an infomercial-like advertisement featuring one of the men on the discussion panel, “Buy Jimmy Swaggart’s Commentary on the Book of Romans before supplies run out!” The televangelist and salesman went on, “and if you buy now, I’ll throw in the Q&A book Ask Jimmy for the low price of $30!”.

Who was this guy and who cares about his commentary on Romans, lets hear his thoughts on James I thought. Knowing the name Swaggart sounded familiar to me, I did some quick research (Google) and learned a lot in mere minutes. I realized how well-known and popular he was through the 80’s and 90’s as a protestant preacher, singer, and TV personality. The best takeaway was a clip I came across of him on a 1984 episode of CNN’s Crossfire debating Pat Buchanan and Tom Braden about Catholicism. It’s interesting because both Pat and Tom defend Catholicism despite representing politically conservative and liberal positions (a cable news liberal defending the Church, what?!). Mr. Swaggart, though, correctly jabs the liberal Tom Braden when he tells him he has no clue about what he is talking about when it comes to Christianity.

As a millennial born in the same year as this broadcast, the early form of this show is new to me. Also new to me is the fact that Pat Buchanan is a Catholic (perhaps I knew that he was at least culturally when he ran for president, those are different). Mr. Buchanan does a pretty good job defending the Faith and employs the classic argument against the protestant belief of sola scriptura by asking Jim what determines his interpretation of scripture is accurate but not someone else’s, specifically the pope’s along with a magisterium of bishops in agreement. Braden came off as a sentimentalist and shot himself in the foot a few times, which set Swaggart up for some (mostly accurate) body shots. ☩