Friends, Limbo: In or Out? An exclusive interview with a member of the Pontifical Theological Commission on the controversial topic of original sin, baptism, salvation, and the doctrine of limbo
I invite all interested to read this Inside the Vatican
interview with one of two women appointed to the International Theological Commission by John Paul II in 2004, Sr. Sara Butler about the much talked about document on Limbo and the alleged "reversal" of doctrine. Sr. Butler confirms what Abp. Forte has laready said prior to the works of the commission and the release of the documents.
What we have here is a first-hand account from withn the ITC that can help those who are unlikely to read the document but were confused by the contradictory and obviously wrong press reports and headlines.
I also invite you to read this interview in the light of this thread. What Sr. Butler confirms here are the three main points - following a general premise - we discussed above sseking a better understanding of how the Church thinks
The general premise was that loyal Catholics
should be confident that no matter what the media - or even certain theologian say or wish to make you believe - the Church is truly
the Bride of Christ, is truly inddefectible and his truly guided infallibly by Peter in the Holy Spirit. Therefore, she is right when she says that truth cannot contradict turht and that truth doesn't change. Hence, if baptism is necessary, that means that it is necessary and will be necessary till end of times. However, given this special relationship with the Holy Spirit and the uncommon and constant use of reason she had done and encouraged for 2000 years, she is generally right
, even on specific problems of matters pertaining salvation that have not received a definitive status.
What I mean is that when you hear that "The Church" or "the Pope" have "reversed" what seemed to be a dogma or a definitive teaching you can bet your farm on one of the following three possibilities:
1) Nothing was "reversed", because there is nothing to reverse
2) It was neither a dogma nor a definitve teaching
3) Both 1) and 2) and all the fuss depends on the desire of less than competent/honest journalists and theologians/ideologues to see fundamental doctrines they hate denied (and they hate them for very secular reasons, but I digress: we're all sinners, and after we all can change for the better, if our heart is clean). A couple of excerpts:
An early supporter of women's ordination, Sr. Butler says she came to the conclusion, after much theological research, that she could support the Church’s teaching. She recently published The Catholic Priesthood and Women: A Guide to the Teaching of the Church, (Hillenbrand Books, 2007), a strong defense of Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, the document in which Pope John Paul II set forth the reasons for the Church’s teaching that only males may be priests. Here is the transcript of the interview.
Inside the Vatican: Sister Butler, your commission’s latest document about limbo has sparked a lot of controversy. In essence, what is the International Theological Commission trying to say in its document about the fate of unbaptized infants?
Sister Sara Butler: The commission is trying to say what the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC 1260, 1261, 1283) has already said: that we have a right to hope that God will find a way to offer the grace of Christ to infants who have no opportunity for making a personal choice with regard to their salvation.
ITV: The document says that Catholic belief in Limbo actually did not start to be challenged until the middle of the 20th century (ie no. 26). Do you envisage this doctrine surviving? The document still says that Limbo is a legitimate option to uphold in balancing the tension between the necessity of sacramental baptism and the infinite mercy of God...
Sister Butler: The report concludes that Limbo remains a "possible theological opinion." Anyone who wants to defend it is free to do so. This document, however, tries to give a theological rationale for hoping that unbaptized infants may be saved.
If somebody like Fr. Richard McBrien supposes that the ITC document rejects the doctrine of original sin, this is of course a mistake. The fact that one might jump to this conclusion, however, is precisely why a careful theological study was needed. There are several doctrines involved. We have set out the theological principles in a new order. From our review we conclude that the common teaching which has been in our possession does not belong to the faith of the Church. We take the doctrine of God’s universal saving will of God as a starting point. By contrast, St. Augustine took the necessity of Baptism as a starting point, and incorporated the doctrine of God’s universal saving will in a very qualified way.
ITV: Following the attacks made by McBrien et alia, does the Church say now that baptism is not necessary for salvation?
Sister Butler: Those who suppose this document denies the doctrine of original sin are wrong, but so are those who presume it teaches that all unbaptized infants who die are saved, as if this were a truth of revelation. It says there are good grounds for the hope that God offers them a way of salvation. This is an important distinction: we don’t know, for there has been no revelation about this. We are only trying to assess what we don’t know from what we do know. From what has been revealed, we judge it reasonable to hope that God will bring unbaptized infants to heaven.
As to your question regarding baptism, "Does the Church now say that baptism is not necessary for children?" the answer is "no." In the Catechism, paragraph no. 1257 says: "We do not know of any means other than baptism into eternal beatitude." But God is not bound to the sacraments, and therefore, just as we understand there are other possible ways for adults who are in invincible ignorance of the Gospel to achieve salvation, so we presume there are other ways, known to God, open to infants who unfortunately die without baptism
FabrizioParty like it's 1773
No one can be at the same time a good Catholic and a true socialist (Pius XI)