Limbo no longer in limbo: Pope sends unbaptized children to heaven

•August 13, 2007 • Leave a Comment

Copyright © 2007 Ottawa Citizen

ROME

ROME – Limbo has been in limbo for quite some time, but is now on its way to extinction.

The Vatican’s International Theological Commission, which spent years examining the medieval concept, yesterday published a much-anticipated report concluding that unbaptized babies who die may go to heaven. The commission issued its findings — with the approval of Pope Benedict XVI — in a document published by the Catholic News Service, the news agency of the U.S. Bishops Conference.

The move reverses centuries of Roman Catholic traditional belief that the souls of unbaptized babies are condemned to eternity in limbo, a place that is neither heaven nor hell. Limbo is not unpleasant, but it is not a seat alongside God.

Limbo, the commission said, “reflects an unduly restrictive view of salvation.”

“Our conclusion,” the commission said in its 41-page report, is that there are “serious theological and liturgical grounds for hope that unbaptized infants who die will be saved and brought into eternal happiness.”

The commission added that while this is not “sure knowledge,” it comes in the context of a loving and just God who “wants all human beings to be saved.”

A church decision to abolish limbo has long been expected. Benedict and his predecessor, the late pope John Paul II, expressed misgivings about the concept. Benedict, when he was still Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger and the church’s top enforcer of dogma, said he viewed limbo as a mere “theological hypothesis.” Never part of formal doctrine because it does not appear in Scripture, limbo was removed from the Catholic Catechism 15 years ago.

From the Latin “limbus,” for hem or edge, limbo refers to a “state of natural happiness” outside heaven, a destination for the souls of babies who were not baptized and certain virtuous people, such as faithful Jews who lived before the time of Christ.

Catholic conservatives criticized any effort to relegate limbo to oblivion.

Removing the concept from church teaching would lessen the importance of baptism and discourage parents from christening their infants, said Kenneth J. Wolfe, a Washington-based columnist for the traditionalist Catholic newspaper The Remnant.

“It makes baptism a formality, a party, instead of a necessity,” Mr. Wolfe said. “There would be no reason for infant baptisms. It would put the Catholic Church on par with the Protestants.”

It would also deprive Catholic leaders of a tool in their fight against abortion, Mr. Wolfe said. Priests have long told women that their aborted fetuses cannot go to heaven, which in theory was another argument against ending pregnancy. Without limbo, those fetuses would presumably no longer be denied communion with God.

[…because a fetus would surely want to commune! I love this line.]

Map of Virgin’s shrine offers pilgrims sex ads

•May 12, 2007 • Leave a Comment

mary52.jpgPilgrims to a holy shrine in Portugal are being given free maps of the site that show the Virgin Mary on one side and adverts for sex aids and aphrodisiacs on the other.

The maps, thought up by an advertising company, have raised eyebrows among the Catholic faithful and ire from the authorities at the popular Sanctuary of Fatima.

Posted at 6:00 AM ET, 05/15/2007 the Washington Post

Tuesday Breakfast Bender

n what might be the oddest cross promotion since nuts & gum, a holy shrine in Portugal is offering pilgrims free maps featuring the Virgin Mary on one side and ads for sex services on the other. Officials at the Sanctuary of Fatima report “being saddened” by the marketing maneuver and vow to “carry out the necessary measures to end its distribution.”

Recognition as a holy place of worship is emphasised later in the article:

Thousands of pilgrims are expected to travel on foot to Fatima on Sunday to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the first appearance of the Virgin Mary to three shepherd children on a hillside near the town, 120 kilometres north of Lisbon.

About 3.5 million people flock to the shrine every year.

One of the children who reported to have seen visions of the Virgin Mary later became a nun and is said to have foretold the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II in 1981.

The pontiff later placed one of the bullets that nearly killed him in the crown of the statue of Fatima.

And also in the Washington Post:

It remains unclear how many of the estimated 3.5 million annual visitors have been distracted or tempted astray by the lure of the sex objects and aphrodisiacs being promoted on the backside of Mary’s image. – Washington Post

The coverage tends to focus on the disrespect to the catholic church in the begining and then goes into noting what the event is about, and the fact that the annaversary of the virgin mary was actually happening. I dont think it would have been such a global and prominent news story without the focus on the sex advertisements on the map.


Young Muslims unfairly treated by media: report

•May 12, 2007 • Leave a Comment

A report released on the 13th May by an organization for Islamic youth highlights religious and racial discrimination by the media as one of the biggest challenges facing young Muslim Australians.

The report is the result of several conferences by the Independent Centre of Research Australia (ICRA).

The organisation says media internships for Muslims should be funded by the Government to break down cultural stereotypes.

ICRA chairman Fadi Abdul Rahman says young Muslims feel angry and marginalized about negative press.

 

“They have already been labeled as, you know, the majority are perhaps criminals or the majority are perhaps no good and I guess this misperception about young people is really turning young people into these marginalized, alienated group of young people within their own society,” he said

Binge-drinking a ticking time bomb

•May 5, 2007 • Leave a Comment

rachmaninoff_vodka.jpg May 5, 2007 – 6:44AM

Australia’s binge-drinking culture is a “ticking time bomb” which could overload the public health system in future years, health experts have warned.

An increase in dangerous drinking for all age groups, class boundaries and cultural lines has prompted calls for action, Fairfax newspapers says.

Researchers say Australia will cop an increase in chronic diseases such as cirrhosis of the liver, cancers and brain disorders over 20 years.

Addiction doctors say there is a growing trend of drinkers as young as 18 suffering tremors, sweats and seizures.

And many people are drinking a bottle of spirits a day.

Experts are predicting a rise in brain-damage cases.

They say governments have been complacent about tackling the crisis systematically because they are influenced by generous political donations from the alcohol industry and huge tax revenues from alcohol sales.

State religion ‘like suicide’

•May 5, 2007 • Leave a Comment

I’m so incredibly lucky to live in Australia. Articles like this reinforce my appreciation of our country.

137 words

5 May 2007

The Nation (Thailand)

English

(c) 2007 Nation Multimedia Group Public Co., Ltd

Making Buddhism the national religion in Thailand’s new constitution would be like “committing a double suicide”, well-known Indonesian journalist Goenawan Mohamed said in Bangkok yesterday.

“The state will become a machine for faith cleansing. Religion will become profane, a crime against the state will become a crime against God, and the state and God will become one,” said Mohamed, founder and editor in chief of the famous Tempo news magazine in Jakarta.

Mohamed was in town for a conference marking the 10th anniversary of the International Council on Human Rights Policy at Thammasat University.

Mohamed, who calls himself “a Buddhist of Muslim variation”, said having a national religion would have an impact on neighbouring countries such as Indonesia, where state and religion were separate despite a growing trend of religious fundamentalism.

Book said to open eyes.

•May 5, 2007 • 1 Comment

age-of-evolution.jpg

 

To locate the edge of evolution, we have to examine life’s foundation.

TIME 100; Scientist & Thinkers

Richard Dawkins.

BEHE, MICHAEL

258 words

14 May 2007

Time

108

Volume 169; Issue 20; ISSN: 0040781X

English

© 2007 Time Incorporated. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All Rights Reserved.

The biologist is passionate about his atheism.

Of Richard Dawkin’s nine books, none caused as much controversy or sold as well as last year’s The God Delusion. The central idea–popular among readers and deeply disturbing to proponents of intelligent design like myself–is that religion is a so-called virus of the mind, a simple artifact of cultural evolution, no more or less meaningful than eye color or height.

It is a measure of the artful way Dawkins, 66, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Oxford, tells a tale and the rigor he brings to his thinking that even those of us who profoundly disagree with what he has to say can tip our hats to the way he has invigorated the larger debate.

Dawkins had a mild Anglican youth but at 16 discovered Charles Darwin and believed he’d found a pearl of great price. I believe his new book follows much less from his data than from his premises, and yet I admire his determination. Concerning the big questions, the Bible advises us to be hot or cold but not lukewarm. Whatever the merit of his ideas, Richard Dawkins is not lukewarm.

Behe is the author of the upcoming The Edge of Evolution

Translation of the Bible

•May 5, 2007 • Leave a Comment

Now Indigenous Australians will be able to make up their own mind about Christianity… now, so many years after it was compulsory for Aborigines to learn in concentration camps. Finally they are able to read it in their own native language. It would be interesting to find out exactly which of the hundereds of languages it has taken 30 years for the Bible to be translated into… and why so long? 

http://www.abc.net.au/rn/religionreport/stories/2007/1911894.htm