Unbaptized dead infants, limbo, and the question of punishment or salvation for innocents. These are all topics i’m dealing with forone of my current research projects this fourth year of University, and man has it having me pull my hair around. Finding sources has proven challenging, my super sleuth skills tested to their utmost capacity.
What has really peaked my interest, however, about this Catholically saturated subject, is the fluidity of doctrine or teaching. In the 3rd century it was decided that infants who die before being baptized would unfortunately be denied God’s presence due to the taint of original sin.(a.k.a. Adam and Eve’s story) Hence, limbo was created in the 13th century to spare these infants the horrors of hell. They just couldn’t wrap their heads around the cruelty of sending babies to hell. Which is completely understandable, thats a terrible theory. I wouldn’t be able (and still can’t) wrap my head around it either.
So the theologians changed things, or created a loophole.
In the 60s, things changed again, and a funeral mass was developed. In the 80s, during Vatican II there was discussion about abolishing limbo altogether and letting babies go to heaven because the previous theology just didn’t make sense with the idea of God’s love and salvific wishes. Finally in 2007, a commission was released to change things again, and get rid of limbo. SOme agree, some theologians don’t. It discounts baptism, it rids one of the main reasons not to abort…they say.
The bottom theme here is though, that even doctrine, which is supposed to be considered a final statement of belief, is contested dogma. Nothing is subject to change.
This leads me to wonder about the structure of religion itself and its social construction. We shape our understanding of the cosmos to suit our own needs. Even before 1983 and 2007, there were those who developed their own versions of answers to the unbaptized baby question that they could accept. We choose our own beliefs. SO can we really adhere to the apparently universal idea of the “One Great Truth?”
I’m not entirely sure…
In other news, among my research I also came across this awesome looking indie game called Limbo! The trailer (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=irBwfZ8iAYU) and is both eerie and beautiful and I can’t wait to play it! …during the day of course…