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MERCY REIGNS

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MERCY REIGNS

Post  MRyan on Mon Apr 16, 2012 10:18 am

http://divine-innocence.org/Mercy%20Reigns.pdf

“MERCY REIGNS”


THE CAUSE OF THE NEW HOLY INNOCENTS.

Excerpts:

Introduction

"This book is part of my personal witness to a great grace being given to the Catholic Church for the whole world by way of a private revelation given to me by Jesus, his Blessed Mother Mary and his foster father St. Joseph - the Holy Family. Our Lord reveals that he wishes all peoples to have a deeper understanding of God’s Divine Innocence. According to God the Father’s Will and through the action of the Holy Spirit, the Divine Innocence of the most Holy Trinity was made manifest (made visible) in the person of Jesus Christ when Divine Innocence was born in Bethlehem. On the Cross Christ, Divine Innocence, was crucified and won for all humanity his victory over all sin and death. At the Resurrection Divine Innocence in the person of Jesus Christ triumphantly rose from the dead.

Our Lord showed in this inspiration that innocence is crucified everywhere through sin; by disobeying his Commandments and not following the teachings of the Catholic Church. A vast area of crucified innocence in our time is the killing of children before birth by abortion and embryo exploitation and associated with this the dishonouring of motherhood and fatherhood. In the message of Divine Innocence Our Lord wishes to show all mankind how their crucified innocence can be triumphant in his Divine Innocence through the Gospel and the teachings of the Catholic Church, so that everyone enjoys Christ’s victory in their lives by living in innocence. In the cause of the children killed before birth Our Lord has chosen these innocent children from every nation to publicly witness to his Divine Innocence Triumphant in them and to call all those involved in their deaths to the truth. The Catechism of the Catholic Church n. 2472 teaches that ‘[w]itness is an act of justice that establishes the truth or makes it known.’

The private revelation given to me covers many aspects of the Catholic Christian life. It is not only for Catholics but is for all men and women. Everyone is invited to become a member of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and St. Joseph within the Catholic Church. The spiritual instruction given speaks of the divine order of things in creation, in the Holy Family and in the Church established by Christ. In the inspiration Our Lord, Our Blessed Lady and St. Joseph speak of the complimentary roles of men and women, in what Our Lord calls the Novitiate of the Holy Family. This Novitiate is a training for perfection5 therefore it is by its nature life-long. It is to enable all men, women and families to learn to protect and nurture the life of Christ in themselves, in their vocations and in others just as Our Lady and St. Joseph did when they cared for Jesus and became his disciples.

... This presentation, shows that the Pope as successor of St. Peter, and with the authority of the Magisterium of the Catholic Church has a firm theological basis from which to exercise the authority given to the Church by Christ, to proclaim all children put to death before birth as martyrs, ‘companions of the first Holy Innocents’.

It should be clearly understood that in pointing us to so many scriptural, magisterial and liturgical references Our Lord and his Blessed Mother has given a startling body of reference material to support this cause, it presents a sure foundation for this presentation. Our Lord uses the same criteria the Church herself uses in the development of doctrine i.e. Sacred Scripture, Tradition and Magisterium. The inspiration shows that the children are martyrs to the truth of the right to life which God has given them. They witness to Christ who is ‘the Way, the Truth and the Life’.

The children are witnesses to the teachings of the Catholic Church, the only universal motherly body who has the power, doctrine and teaching to claim these children as her own. She it is who has always upheld the children’s right to life, considering the killing of these children as contrary to the divine, natural and moral law. She teaches that putting them to death is intrinsically evil. The martyr witness of these children is a prophetic witness to the nations that must not be silenced. It is the Catholic Church’s responsibility to facilitate and make visible to the whole world this vast new army of Holy Innocents. Their witness can, through the Church, proclaim God’s Justice, Mercy and Love to millions of people who are the cause of their deaths. These souls are the responsibility of the Church, they need this grace that God has given them.

... This charism [The charism of Divine Innocence] shows that there is a solid theological support for such a development in sacred Scripture and Tradition. Those theologians who have studied the inspirational material springing from this charism believe that the Church is being shown a way of salvation for the children killed before birth and with it a unique opening for on-going missionary outreach towards those directly involved in the children’s deaths and many other peoples. The claiming of these children by the Catholic Church would refute the evil of abortion and fundamentally undermine the attacks against the personhood of the child in the womb. A development of this nature effectively supplies a way to universally call all those involved in the children’s deaths to repent and believe in the Gospel of Life.

In presenting this theological development this book fully acknowledges the divine authorship. It is precisely because the initiative for raising the cause of the children in the Church has come directly from Our Lord via the charism of Divine Innocence that reference is given throughout the book to Our Lord’s own words. This source material which is in the form of inspired messages which Jesus and his Blessed Mother Mary have given to me (Patricia de Menezes) to give to the Church. In this charism Our Lord himself is offering the Church the solution to abortion and the killing of embryo children. References will be in the main text as well as in the footnotes (underlined). The full context of these references can be found in Appendix I at the back of the book.

The Church cannot proclaim the martyrdom of these children until she is sure that the doctrine and theology is sound. Along with other members of the community of the Family of Divine Innocence we have carefully studied and recorded this material over many years. We have always sought the advice and guidance of theologians who are in good standing in the Church. It was necessary for myself and others in the community to study theology and doctrine to degree standard in order to be equipped to present the cause of millions of children killed before birth to the Catholic Church. We respectfully present this material to the Church hoping that her authorities will seriously consider this cause and have compassion for the innocent victims and for those who have killed the children.

In studying this theological development, questions which may arise from such a formal proclamation by the Church will be considered and important doctrinal issues at the heart of this question will be addressed. A key issue that needs to be considered is the necessity of baptism and how the children are included in God’s plan of salvation, how they can be considered martyrs. According to Catholic theology, infants in the womb, who are killed in odium fidei or hatred of the faith, may be regarded as having undergone a baptism of blood. While this could be proved subjectively for some individual children, it could not be considered valid for the vast number of children put to death before birth. All of these children have died because of a widespread culture of death and the denial of objective truth.

The question therefore we wish to raise here is whether aborted children and those killed in scientific experiments, contrary to the Commandments and the teachings of the Catholic Church, can be shown to be ‘supernaturally included within the embrace of divine redemption, to the point that the Church, by a solemn act, could declare publicly their martyr status, and invite their intercession.’ The evidence put forward will demonstrate that a solemn liturgical act of claiming these children for Christ and His Church is in keeping with the Church’s understanding of the liturgy as an action of Christ the Priest and of His Body, which is the Church. I hope to show that by its very nature such an act would constitute an initial proclamation of the Gospel of Life and provide a powerful witness of the Christian message to every nation. A formal actof such magnitude would present the Church with an unprecedented opportunity for evangelization and catechesis of millions of people not only in the area of life issues but in many other areas of Catholic Christian doctrine, faith and morals. A public liturgical act of this nature would therefore have profound theological and missionary implications in the Church and for the whole world.

[…]

The charism of Divine Innocence began in 1984 in Surbiton, Surrey, England where the Nazareth foundation house is located. It is being received by a married woman, Patricia de Menezes whose own Christian back ground began in the Salvation Army. As a young girl she also attended the Baptist church, the Anglican Communion and finally entered the Catholic Church via marriage to a Catholic. The inspiration takes the form of interior locutions, visions and a dialogue between the members of the Holy Family, Jesus, Mary and St. Joseph and the recipient of the inspiration. It touches upon many different areas of the faith and crucified innocence in society, in particular the eternal fate of all children killed before birth and how they are part of the plan of salvation. As the urgent remedy to abortion and the breakdown of family life it also reveals a deeper knowledge of the theology of the Holy Family and its relevance for the lives of all men and women in what is called ‘The Novitiate of the Holy Family’. This shows how the Holy Family is the foundational Christian family from where we learn a deeper understanding of the roles of Catholic men and women to nurture and protect the life of Christ in ourselves, in others and in our particular vocation. We learn to make our lives and families Christ centred and strive to be Christ-like. It is from Christ, Our Lady and St. Joseph that we are to learn the divine order of our roles from within the Holy Family itself.

The inspiration by way of instruction from Our Lord and Our Lady explains the different aspects of the new theology and how it accords with Catholic teaching. In The Message of Fatima the then Cardinal Ratzinger points out that what is important in regard to judging private revelation is the ‘actualization of the definitive Revelation’ and its ‘orientation to Christ.’ The content of this charism clearly shows this ‘orientation to Christ’ and its associated theological development seeks the ‘actualization of the definitive Revelation.’

In 1998 the key themes and insights in the inspiration were sent to all the participants of a theological consultation arranged by the Divine Innocence foundation at Solesmes Abbey France in the late summer of 1999. The result was a book printed in 2001 titled, Abortion and Martyrdom (Edited by Aidan Nichols, O.P.) which contains a compilation of the individual papers of the theological opinions of theologians who submitted their work to the consultation. The publishing of Abortion and Martyrdom in 2001 encouraged theological debate on these issues, but since then Father Philippe Jobert OSB, professor of dogmatic theology and philosophy at Solesmes Abbey, who co-chaired the consultation, has further developed the theology springing from this charism. Father Jobert fully acknowledges the divine authorship of the messages and has worked closely with the Divine Innocence foundation in England for over 13 years to help clarify many theological points and to show how it is in accordance with Catholic doctrine.

The inspiration shows that the claiming would be a sign and a signal to the nations, a liturgical act that proclaims to the world that Christ has conquered all sin and death even with regard to these children. The Church would ratify for the peoples understanding, what Christ has already achieved in the children, that they are included in God’s saving plan via martyrdom and washed in the blood of Jesus and their own blood. As St. Augustine states in one of his sermons, ‘How could the martyrs conquer, unless Christ conquered in the martyrs?’ The children’s martyr-witness announced world-wide would proclaim to all those implicated in the deaths of these children the evangelizing invitation to ‘Repent and believe in the Gospel.’(Mk 1:15) In a message given on the 25th July 1992 Our Lord speaks of the nature of the children’s martyrdom:

Jesus. ‘St. John the Baptist leapt for joy in the womb at My Coming! These little ones have been martyred in the womb because the truths and teaching of the Church were disobeyed or not known. But I came for them also. These are the ones spoken of in the Gospel: “He that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than John” (Lk 7:28). These little martyrs, martyred in the womb, have witnessed with their blood to the truth and the great Commandment, ‘Thou shalt not kill’. I too was a victim of those who broke this Commandment! Will I forget these little companions of mine? I tell you again, they died in the Blood of My Crucifixion, their innocence crucified. Their death and martyrdom, when claimed by the Church as true martyrdom, will be a mighty force against the evil of abortion. ...” Once claimed by the Church the whole world will see that they are fully part of the Communion of saints and can ask for their intercession.’
Over the years both in the inspiration itself and in the accompanying theological work there has been an ongoing development and clarification of this request to the Church’s Magisterium to consider these children martyrs. The inspirational source material for this development is important when considering the theological and doctrinal questions arising from the Church claiming these children, particularly in relation to any objections which may be raised, for they have been answered by Our Lord himself.

Chapter Three. Theological questions and possible objections

First Objection
:

‘The Church teaches that man through the fall of his first parents has the stain of original sin. No sin can enter heaven. These children are not baptised by water baptism at the font. How then are they washed of original sin so that they can enter heaven?’

The Church professes three forms of baptism; by water, blood and desire. If it is not possible for an individual to receive baptism by the normal means i.e. by water, the same benefits can be supplied by “baptism of blood (whereby martyrdom is suffered for Christ, the Catholic Faith or for some virtue) or by “baptism of desire” (whereby a person has perfect contrition and at least the implicit intention of fulfilling God’s will for man’s salvation.) The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: ‘The Church has always held the firm conviction that those who suffer death for the sake of the faith without having received Baptism are baptized by their death for and with Christ.’ (CCC n. 1258) We see that this Baptism of blood, like the desire for Baptism, brings about the fruits of Baptism. The Catechism also teaches that ‘God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments.’ (CCC n. 1257)

... Jesus is the manifestation of God’s love that love is shown particularly in his passion and death where He died for love of all mankind. We must remember that this includes these children.[78]

[78] Taken from a message given on the 18th April 1999(i) Sunday. (See Appendix I page 155 for full message.)

Jesus. “You all drink from the same fountainhead and are washed in Baptism in My Precious Blood. Will you deny the millions of little ones access to this life giving water? It is not in your power to do so, I am not bound by My own Sacraments! (See CCC. 1257)”
Jesus speaks of his suffering as a baptism. Baptism for us is a share in the fruits of Christ’s passion, death and Resurrection. In the charism Our Lord repeats a number of times that the children are martyrs and are baptised in his Blood. For example, here is part of a message given on the 2nd January 1998 at St Malburgas Church, Strettan, Shropshire.

Patricia. “Lord, how are these children baptised in the one Spirit into the one body?”

Jesus. “They are baptised in the Blood of My Crucifixion! I AM the acceptable sacrifice for them also.”

Patricia. “Lord, the Church will say it must be by water and by blood.”

Jesus. “Precisely: Water and Blood from My side. There is the ordinary means but for the extraordinary situation, extraordinary grace is given. What is more extraordinary than parents killing their own children, governments encouraging them, legislators ruling against the little helpless babes who are unable to defend themselves, doctors with their hands dipped in innocent blood, executioners rather than protectors of life? Do you think Almighty God has no answer for man’s injustice to man? ‘I Am the Resurrection and the Life.’ Do the Church authorities say God is defeated in the holocaust of abortion and in the attacks on innocent life? Yet I offer Mercy in this iniquity – accept before it is too late! Churchmen, beware! When I shake the world to its foundations, you will be held responsible for your neglect of this issue! ‘Faith without works is dead!’ You stop millions worshipping Me ‘in Spirit and in truth’, the living God to whom the little children give their witness!”
The theologian, Father Philippe Jobert OSB, working from the content of the charism, shows the link between God’s love for these children and a Baptism of Blood with regard to the children. He states:

‘Above all, they receive the baptism of love through a Baptism of Blood, which unites them to Christ Crucified. They are killed for the divine Truth about life, which is printed in every human soul, and revealed in the Decalogue: “Thou shalt not kill”. They are martyrs [martyr means witness] to the Gospel of life; for human life is the necessary receptacle of the gratuitous gift of eternal life, according to the divine purpose of Love for mankind.’

The children’s baptism therefore is a ‘Baptism of Love through a baptism of blood.’ St. Paul says in Romans 6:3:4: “all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death. Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.” The children have been united with Christ in their death through suffering and baptised in Christ’s blood; ‘For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.’ (Rom 6:5) This baptism needs to be confirmed by the Church for all to see, the claiming does this.”

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MRyan

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Re: MERCY REIGNS

Post  MRyan on Mon Apr 16, 2012 10:49 am

MRyan wrote:http://divine-innocence.org/Mercy%20Reigns.pdf

“MERCY REIGNS”


THE CAUSE OF THE NEW HOLY INNOCENTS.

Excerpts:

In 1998 the key themes and insights in the inspiration were sent to all the participants of a theological consultation arranged by the Divine Innocence foundation at Solesmes Abbey France in the late summer of 1999. The result was a book printed in 2001 titled, Abortion and Martyrdom (Edited by Aidan Nichols, O.P.) which contains a compilation of the individual papers of the theological opinions of theologians who submitted their work to the consultation. The publishing of Abortion and Martyrdom in 2001 encouraged theological debate on these issues, but since then Father Philippe Jobert OSB, professor of dogmatic theology and philosophy at Solesmes Abbey, who co-chaired the consultation, has further developed the theology springing from this charism. Father Jobert fully acknowledges the divine authorship of the messages and has worked closely with the Divine Innocence foundation in England for over 13 years to help clarify many theological points and to show how it is in accordance with Catholic doctrine.
http://www.christendom-awake.org/pages/anichols/abortion&martyrdom1.htm

Extracts taken from Abortion and Martyrdom edited by Aidan Nichols, O.P.

Published by Gracewing, Herefordshire, England.

First published in 2002
UK ISBN 0 85244 543 1

Introduction
by Aidan Nichols, O.P.

"The objection of Catholic Christianity to the practice of abortion is well-known. Of the various evils that afflict human society in our time, the murder of defenceless children in the womb is the most gross. The arguments Catholics deploy in the effort to convince their opponents, or the undecided, of the intrinsic evil of abortion are drawn - quite properly - from rational ethics. By appeal to the moral reason, as it works on data generally accessible to any reflective person, it should be possible to show that the destruction of human lives guiltless of any offence save that of existing is an anti-humane act of peculiar, indeed unique, virulence - in a word, that abortion is wrong.

The matter does not, however, end there. The passion which Catholics and other 'pro-life' representatives, whether Christian or not, bring to this cause derives in part from the rational humanism they share - or so they hope - with their fellow citizens in civil society. That is the basis of the dialogue to which they are committed. But that passion can also derive from a biblical imperative: for the Judaeo-Christian Scriptures place especial emphasis on the divine favour toward the weakest and most vulnerable members of creation, and see in their defence and vindication (compare the ideas of salvation and redemption) a God-like duty or task.

The special status of aborted children as at one and the same time personal innocents and defenceless victims has to be theologically significant. Perhaps, unknown to the present writer, theologians here and there are already turning their minds to the question of the soteriological particularity of such children - the special niche they may inhabit in the divine plan of salvation for the world. Could Catholicism, which already venerates as bloodwitnesses to revelation the Jewish babes of Bethlehem, massacred in place of Christ, affirm of these children that they too died in silent testimony to a truth greater than themselves - in their case, the truth of the divine command, 'Thou shalt not kill': thou shalt not destroy innocent life?

In the late summer of 1999, Dom Philippe Dupont, the Abbot of Solesmes graciously hosted a modest 'Consultation' where the theological bases, and inconveniences, of this proposal might be addressed. It was not a condition of participation that speakers should take one side of this disputed question. Perusal of the papers now published in book form will soon show how diverse were the opinions presented - though all fall within the bounds of accepted theological discussion in the Catholic Church.

The Consultation, chaired by the editor of this study, consisted, it may be said, of maximalists and minimalists: those who wished theology, and the Church, to acknowledge the largest possible number of the aborted (perhaps all) as recipients of the 'Baptism of blood', and those who considered this thesis temerarious, and were willing to consider as candidates for such recognition only a tiny minority of cases. The Agreed Statement, in seeking to express a consensus position of those present, naturally tends to a more limited thesis on which moral unanimity was possible. (It was regretted by all present that Dom Philippe Jobert, professor of dogmatics at Solesmes and moving spirit of the Consultation, felt unable to sign the Statement for this reason.) It may be observed here that even this 'limited' thesis, fully in accord with classical theological positions as it is, will, however, surprise many, both inside and outside the Church. A more generous application of the key principles can be found in the 'supplementary theses' which participants were able to support as possibly (and so not certainly) true articulations of Catholic faith.

A particular - and unexpected - difficulty in our deliberations concerned the question of the moment of ensoulment, a topic on which, at least in the judgment of some present, the Church has not yet fully clarified her mind. (Others take a different view of the burden, and intentions, of the magisterial documents already in place.) That issue was unavoidable inasmuch as any attempt to secure the declaration of the martyr status of particular aborted infants will need to bear in mind the quantity of time that has passed since their conception. The problem of finding a suitable formulation on this point explains other absences from the list of signatories to the Statement whose names may be found, however, as sources for the supplementary theses.

On the feast of the Presentation, the last feast of the Christmas cycle, in the year 2000, both Statement and theses were sent to a variety of Bishops' Conferences around the world, as well to several dicasteries of the Holy See. The Cardinal President of the pontifical Council for the Family, Archbishop Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, in his reply, expressed the desire to see further theological discussion of these issues. This collection of essays, which I place under the patronage of the Babe of Bethlehem and the Holy Innocents, is intended to serve that end.

Blackfriars, Cambridge,
Memorial day of St Paulinus of York, 2001

Setting the question
by
Philippe Jobert, O.S.B., Abbey of Saint-Pierre de Solesmes
and
Aidan Nichols, O.P., Blackfriars, Cambridge

Can the Magisterium of the Church acknowledge children killed in abortion as 'companions of the Holy Innocents' (and therefore martyrs)?

It is a commonplace of Catholic theology that infants, even in the womb, who are killed from odium fidei, 'hatred of the faith', may be regarded as having undergone a 'Baptism of blood'. The question we wish to raise is whether it is possible and desirable to regard all aborted children, without exception, as supernaturally included within the embrace of divine redemption, to the point, indeed, that the Church, by a solemn act, could declare publicly their martyr status, and invite their intercession.

A 'culture of death' (John Paul II) is a pattern of assumptions and attitudes, found in both the sensibilities of individual persons and the structures of corporate institutions in civil society, the effect of which is to render parents, doctors and lawmakers insensitive to the sacred dignity of human life - especially unborn human life in its mother's womb. Such life, like all human life, already embodies, through the act of creation, the image of God, but it is a specifying feature of the unborn that they have not, as yet, sullied that image by any act of personal sin. True, the nature in which they are created no longer enjoys the communion with God which Adamic grace gave the proto-parents, and suffers that inner dislocation which is the consequence of this deprivation. Affected by original sin, their natural will is not directed to supernatural life. Yet though the divine creative act does not, simply as such, incorporate the newly conceived within the supernatural order of healing and elevation to share the vision of the Holy Trinity, it is nonetheless the design of the divine mercy to order all human beings to that wondrous end. It will be attained - in every case where human freedom meets grace and does not oppose it - by the application of the all-sufficient merits of the Word incarnate in his atoning Cross ('the Blood') through the gift of Baptism ('the water') whether in the sacramental waters or in the 'Baptism of desire' or 'of blood'.

The question of the 'Baptism of blood' arises in the case of aborted infants since their deaths give witness to the word of God, 'You shall not kill', a word written in the conscience of every human being (cf. Rom. 2, 15), so therefore in the murderer's soul. Their murders prevent God from giving justification through Baptism, the ordinary way of salvation in the Christian era. The personal sinlessness of the unborn and their ordering, in the divine intention, to grace and glory renders them, it may be thought, an object of predilection for the malice of the evil Angels whose activity assists the formation of a 'culture of death' operating with especial intensity in the practice of abortion. Hence odium fidei is at work not only in human intentions originated so as deliberately to express such hatred, but at the transcendent level of angelic causality ('the Dragon' of the Apocalypse).

In such a context, aborted infants are brought to their deaths by the same 'rulers of this age' (I Cor. 2:Eight), who crucified Jesus, and constitute, indeed, icons of his 'crucified Innocence'. In his divine justice, exercised towards all human beings, will not God give these children - whose death is not only a natural but also and above all a supernatural injustice - the supernatural justice he wills for all? Though aborted infants are distinguished from the Holy Innocents whom the Liturgy of the Church commemorates at Christmas in that they were not first aggregated to the people of God by an outward sign (circumcision) typifying Baptism, nor did they die in place of Jesus, nevertheless their combination of personal guiltlessness and the ordering of their humanity to share the Father's glory through Christ conforms them inchoately to the image of the Son, while their violent deaths at the behest (human or angelic) of those who despise the divine image in man, render them more specifically isomorphic with the Son in his crucified condition. Like all martyrs, the aborted point to Jesus in the mystery of his rejection and humiliation. 'Virgin martyrs' are evangelical signs of holiness.

These aborted infants may be held to stand in a special relation also to the Mother of God whose appointment to be Mother of the Church (John 19: 26-27) is inseparable from the compassion she showed at the cross when the 'sword' of Simeon's prophecy pierced her soul (Luke 2: 35). The spiritual ('hidden and mystical') wounds with which the Mother of Christ was afflicted on Calvary when she too 'died', inwardly, in the death of the Fruit of her womb, have power to succour - in proportion (if Mary's Motherhood of the Church be the measuring-rule of her active compassion) to the depth of human need. And of all the needy, those about to be aborted - already potential members of the Church - are the weakest and most abandoned. It is through her wounded Motherhood that Mary is united in a particular mode to these children.

But if aborted children enjoy a special place within the range of Mary's spiritual Motherhood, the Church, of which the compassionate Mother of God is the exemplar, must likewise have a special regard for these infants. Their recognition as martyrs by a possible future act of the College of bishops sub et cum Petro, 'under and with Peter', would testify in striking fashion to the universality of the Catholic Church's philanthropic outreach in the perspective of salvation, and constitute a flaming witness to her stand in defence of the human dignity and rights of the conceptus, the conceived person, everywhere (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2270). As with all those who, through glorification in Christ, have the capacity to sub-mediate the fruits of his redemption, we could expect such a 'claim' of such holy persons for the Church to be divinely answered by the bestowal of spiritual fruit.

Such fruit might take the form of their powerful intercession to convert others and bring to repentance - a John the Baptist role as forerunners of the final triumph of divine Innocence. This 'Baptistine' mission would consist in eliciting, among the Church's members generally (whether actual or potential) sorrow for sins against innocence, and among parents in particular, sorrow for abortions committed or colluded in.

The 'claiming' of such children must be related not only to renewed repentance in the Holy Spirit, but also to petition for the diffusion, through the Spirit's gift, of the ethos of the Holy Family, for the supernatural environment of the Holy Family, ('the school of Nazareth' - Paul VI) teaches how 'heaven wishes families to live'. Mary and Joseph provide, through their relation with Jesus, models of care and guardianship for biological parents, and indeed for the analogues of such parents that are celibate women and men in their roles as providers of motherly and fatherly nurturing. Wherever, through the grace of the Sacred Infancy, childlike innocence exists, Christians above all must defend it, for it is a sign of entry into the Kingdom (Matt. 19: 13-15, and parallels), and a presence of the life of Christ in the world. The Holy Family is not simply a moral exemplar but a mysterious presence of the Holy Trinity - through Joseph, 'shadow' of the Father. Jesus the Son, and Mary who is abidingly under the 'wing' of the Holy spirit. The Holy Family is a kind of sacrament of the Trinitarian communio, the divine Trinity, on earth.

Is it, then, by an implicit reference to the intercessory power of the martyrs that Pope John Paul II can speak, in Evangelium Vitae 99, of the mothers of aborted children being 'able to ask forgiveness' from their children, who are 'now living in the Lord'? If so, these will be martyr Companions of the Holy Innocents, delighting to restore, through the grace of Christ, the dignity of offended motherhood in families made to the image of the Blessed Trinity itself.

Editor's Note:

Readers should know that the version of Evangelium Vitae 99 published in the official journal of the Holy See, Acta Apostolicae Sedis, softens the sense of this passage, replacing the statement that 'nothing is definitively lost' and the encouragement to 'ask forgiveness from your child who is now living in the Lord' with the assurance that the child can be 'entrust[ed] with sure hope' to 'the Father and his mercy'. Both versions, however, enjoy validity and can be cited as authoritative in argument, even though the Latin text of the Acta is the more definitive. The original English vernacular text of Evangelium Vitae 99 is made use of by a number of the contributors to this volume."
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MRyan

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Re: MERCY REIGNS

Post  Jehanne on Mon Apr 16, 2012 12:33 pm

Mike,

Readers can judge for themselves:

http://www.seattlecatholic.com/a051207.html

After Pope John Paul II's retraction, in the final and definitive version of Evangelium Vitae #99 (cf. Acta Apostolicae Sedis, vol. 87 [1995] p. 515) of the initial version's statement that aborted babies "now live in the Lord" (i.e., are in Heaven), it appears that the only papal statement expressly mentioning the destiny of aborted infants is that of Pope Sixtus V, whose Constitution Effrænatam of 29 October 1588 not only abstains from raising any hopes that they may attain the beatific vision, but positively affirms that they do not attain it!

Search for "Circling the Square":

http://www.firstthings.com/article/2010/04/correspondence

St. Benedict Center -- Still River

http://www.saintbenedict.com/apostolates/mancipia-press/8-pointpamphlet/31-point-january-2001.html
http://www.saintbenedict.com/apostolates/mancipia-press/8-pointpamphlet/30-point-january-2006.html

St. Benedict Center -- Richmond

http://catholicism.org/ad-rem-no-141.html
http://catholicism.org/the-limbo-of-the-infants.html

My own contribution:

http://unamsanctamecclesiamcatholicam.blogspot.com/2011/04/infants-who-die-without-sacramental.html

This will be my final post for this thread, as I am done arguing about this issue. As I said, readers can decide for themselves.
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Jehanne

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Re: MERCY REIGNS

Post  MRyan on Mon Apr 16, 2012 1:08 pm

Continuing with "Extracts taken from Abortion and Martyrdom edited by Aidan Nichols, O.P.":

"Appendix: Sources in the Magisterium and St Thomas
John F. McCarthy

John. F. McCarthy is Capo Ufficio in the Roman Congregation for the Eastern Churches

In what follows, some further discussion is provided of Church pronouncements and (especially) of texts from the writings of St Thomas Aquinas, the classical theologian of the Latin Church.

[MRyan note: All color highlights and emphasis are in the original]

"From the teaching of the Magisterium

The rights of a human fetus

With regard to the claiming of aborted babies by the Church, factor is the increased awareness in the Church of our time of the fully human status of infants in the womb from the first moment conception, a fact that was not clearly recognized in earlier times The Catechism of the Catholic Church has this to say (no. 2270): 'Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the first moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person - among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.' Although the evil of abortion from the first moment of conception has always been condemned by the Church, based on the common realization that from the moment of fertilization this new living thing is dynamically ordered to becoming a human person, we are now certain that from the moment of fertilization this new living thing is a human person, whose human soul has been directly created by God (CCC, no. 366), and who thus is already endowed with a human intellect and a human will, even though he cannot use these (apart from preternatural assistance from God) until a sufficient organic base has been built up. This fact of pervasive human existence provides added motivation for the Church to extend her maternal care to infants in the womb. In spite of this awareness, worldly society has unfortunately moved toward 'legalizng' abortion and has found the means to make abortions even more convenient and available. This gives the Church added reason to be concerned about the fate of aborted children. We have, then, in the Church increased concern for all babies whose lives are threatened in the womb and increased awareness of the social responsibility resulting from the phenomenon of abortion.

The necessity of Baptism

The Church gives witness to the truth revealed by Jesus that 'unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God' (John 3:5). How does the Church interpret these words? The Catechism of the Catholic Church relates them to the words of Jesus in Mark 16:16, where he says: 'He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believes not shall be condemned' - and it declares: 'Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament', so that 'God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments' (CCC, no. 1257). Thus, the Church allows for the salvation of some apart from Baptism of water. 'The Church has always held the firm conviction that those who suffer death for the sake of the faith without having received Baptism are baptized by their death for and with Christ. This Baptism of blood, like the desire for Baptism, brings about the fruits of Baptism without being a sacrament' (CCC, no. 1258). Furthermore, 'Since Christ died for all, and since all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny, which is divine, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partakers, in a way known to God, of the Paschal mystery' (Gaudium et Spes, 22, §5). Hence, 'Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity' (CCC, no. 1260). Two facts about aborted babies are to be noted in the light of these quotations:

a) aborted babies have had no possibility whatsoever to know about the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but have sought the truth in the one way that was open to them, which was to grow physically in the womb;

b) they have suffered a violent death at the hands of persons~ acting contrary to the teaching of Christ and of the Church. ~,

Children who die without Baptism of water

As I pointed out in my article (vide supra, Chapter 2), the Limbo Children is not an official doctrine of the Church. 'The Church has never made any official pronouncement on the reality or nature of limbo; but it does teach that baptism in some form is required for salvation [1] The Catechism of the Catholic Church leans toward the salvation of such children, when it says (no. 1261): '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 wants all men to be saved" (1 Tim. 2:4), [2] and Jesus' tenderness toward children which caused him to say: "Let the children come to me, do not hinder them" (Mark 10:14), allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism', that is, without Baptism of water. The catechism is here reechoing the words of Lumen Gentium (no. 22):

Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or of his Church, but who, nevertheless, seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience - those too may achieve eternal salvation. Nor shall divine Providence deny the assistance necessary for salvation to those who, without any fault of theirs, have not yet arrived at an explicit knowledge of God, and who, not without grace, strive to lead a good life.
The opening prayer of the funeral Mass of a child who died before Baptism says rather cautiously: 'Lord, listen to the prayers of this family that has faith in you. In their sorrow at the death of this child, may they find hope in your infinite mercy.' There is here no mention of eternal beatitude in Heaven, but there is a mention of the Christian faith and Christian hope of others in relation to the deceased child. The point I am making here is that, if there may be a way of salvation for children in general who have died without Baptism, how much more may there be a way of salvation for children who have been killed before they could have made any act of the will that might hinder their call to Heaven. Through no fault of their own they had not yet arrived at an explicit knowledge of God, and they were striving in the only way open to them to lead a good life. The context of their violent death could be for them an instrument of grace, allowing the Church to be more explicit about their salvation, although it is the sole prerogative of the Magisterium of the Church to determine whether this be so.

In a fifth-century response to the heresy of Pelagianism, the Sixteenth Provincial Council of Carthage (418), guided by St Augustine, who was present as a member, in a canon which was not afterwards included among the articles of faith binding on the universal Church, [3] declared as follows:

It has likewise been decided that if anyone says that for this reason the Lord said, 'In my Father's house there are many mansions' (John 14:2), [namely] that it might be understood that in the kingdom of Heaven there will be some middle place or some place anywhere where the blessed infants live who have departed from this life without Baptism, in the absence of which they cannot enter into the kingdom of Heaven, which is life eternal, let him be anathema. For, when the Lord says: 'Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Spirit, he shall not enter into the kingdom of God' (John 3:5), what Catholic will doubt that whoever has not deserved to be a coheir of Christ will be a partner of the Devil? For whoever is missing on the right hand must without doubt be present on the left (DH 224).
Pope Pius VI, in the Apostolic Constitution Auctorem fidei (1794), promulgated in opposition to the Synod of Pistoia (1786), censured as

false, rash, and injurious to Catholic schools ... the doctrine which rejects as a Pelagian fable that place in the lower regions which the faithful generally designate by the name of the Limbo of Children, in which the souls of those dying with original sin alone are punished with the punishment of damnation but without the penalty of fire, as if by the very fact of removing the punishment of fire they were introducing that intermediate place and state free of guilt and penalty between the kingdom of God and eternal damnation about which Pelagians idly talk (DH 2626).
The Second Ecumenical Council of Lyons (1274) had already declared that 'the souls of those who die in actual mortal sin or only in original sin descend forthwith into the Inferno, but to undergo different punishments' (DH 858; cf. DH 1306). The Ecumenical Council of Florence (1442) decreed: But regarding children, on account of the often occurring danger of death: since they cannot be helped by another remedy except by the sacrament of Baptism, through which they are snatched from the power of the Devil and adopted as children of God, [the Holy Roman Church] advises that holy Baptism ought not to be deferred... ' (DH 1349). In view of this magisterial teaching on the necessity of Baptism for salvation, broaching the question of aborted babies in particular must mean considering whether they might be saved through a vicarious desire for the sacrament of Baptism (as I suggested in the body of my article under the theme of the prayer of the Church) or through Baptism of blood in association with the Passion and Death of Jesus (as I also suggested in a comparison with the Holy Innocents of Bethlehem). Thus, it is not my aim to question the existence of the Limbo of Children, or to deny that those who die only in original sin will be taken there, but rather to examine whether aborted children may be sanctified at the moment of their death and thus not die in the state of original sin.

In 1546 the Ecumenical Council of Trent pronounced that 'if anyone denies that infants newly born from their mothers' wombs are to be baptized..., or says ... that they derive nothing of original sin from Adam which must be expiated by the layer of regeneration, let him be anathema' (DH 1514). In 1547 the Council of Trent went on to declare that this transfer to the state of grace 'after the promulgation of the Gospel cannot be effected except through the layer of regeneration or through a desire for it (aut eius voto)' (DH 1524). These declarations affirm that infants incur original sin at their conception and that they cannot be transferred to the state of sanctifying grace without Baptism of water or of desire. In the present study we are examining whether aborted infants might be sanctified by something equivalent to Baptism of desire at the moment of their death. We are not so much questioning whether some deceased children go to the Limbo of Children as we are suggesting that aborted children do not go there.

Pope Pius XII touched on this matter when he wrote: 'Under the present economy there is no other way of giving this [supernatural] life to the child who is still without the use of reason ... In the case of a grown-up person, an act of love may suffice for obtaining sanctifying grace and making up for the lack of Baptism. To the child still unborn or the child just born this path is not open.' [4] Pope Pius XII is here proposing that, 'under the present economy' of the visible Church, infants are unable of themselves to supply for the lack of the sacrament of Baptism, but he is not denying that they could be sanctified in some way outside of this economy by a direct intervention of divine grace or through Baptism of blood.

St Alphonsus Liguori [5] defines Baptism of blood as 'the shedding of blood, or death undergone for the faith or for another Christian virtue', and he explains that it remits faults and punishment 'from a kind of privilege based upon an imitation of the Passion of Christ'. He goes on to say that 'martyrdom avails infants as well, seeing that the Church venerates the Holy Innocents as true martyrs.' He adds that 'in adults an acceptance, at least habitual, of martyrdom for a supernatural reason is required': not, therefore, in infants. Thus, if 'the Church knows no other way apart from Baptism [of water] of ensuring children's entry into eternal happiness', [6] this does not mean that the teaching of the Church excludes the salvation of children by any other way. Similarly, when the Roman Catechism teaches [7] that 'infant children have no other means of salvation except Baptism (of water)', it means that they have no other ordinary means by which the Church can ensure their salvation. Thus, there is every reason to insist on the Baptism of infants at the earliest reasonable moment after their birth.

The growth of devotion to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary has made ever more vivid our understanding of the merciful love of Jesus and the maternal love of Mary, the new Eve, for all children coming into this world. This development is embodied in the teaching of the Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican: 'By her maternal charity, she cares for the brethren of her Son who still journey on earth surrounded by dangers and difficulties, until they are led into their blessed home. Therefore, the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix' (Lumen Gentium, no. 62). 'The Son whom she brought forth is he whom God placed as the firstborn among many brethren (Rom. 8:29), that is, the faithful, in whose generation and formation she cooperates with a mother's love' (Lumen Gentium, no. 63). Infants in the womb about to be aborted are surrounded by dangers and difficulties of the greatest kind. Are we to suppose that Mary, in her superabundant mother's love for the faithful, in whose generation and formation she cooperates, is not concerned about the loss of Heaven threatening infants being aborted? Are we to assume that she is not an advocate, helper, benefactress, or mediatrix for them in their fundamental vocation to eternal life with Jesus in Heaven?

Victory over Satan

When the Catechism of the Catholic Church proclaims the inviolate right to life of every infant in the womb (no. 2270), it cites the words of the Lord to the prophet Jeremiah: 'Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you' (Jer 1:5). While there is no doubt that the sanctification of an infant living in the womb is in itself a rare and extraordinary grace, nevertheless, a special case can be made for infants facing the moment of their violent death in the womb, in the sense that the grace of sanctification might be expected as a common divine intervention given from the merits of Jesus Christ through the maternal intercession of Mary. The Catechism, in explaining the constant petition of the Church to God the Father to 'deliver us from evil' (Matt. 6:13), speaks as follows: 'In this petition, evil is not an abstraction, but refers to a person, Satan, the Evil One, the angel who opposes God' (CCC, no. 2851). 'Victory over the "prince of this world" (John 14:30) was won once for all at the Hour when Jesus freely gave himself up to death to give us his life. This is the Judgment of this world, and the prince of this world is "cast out" (John 12:31; Rev. 12:10). "He pursued the woman" (Rev. 12:13-16), but had no hold on her: the new Eve, "full of grace" of the Holy Spirit, is preserved from sin and the corruption of death (the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption of the Most Holy Mother of God, Mary, ever virgin). "Then the dragon was angry with the woman, and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring" (Rev. 12:17). Therefore the Spirit and the Church pray: "Come, Lord Jesus", since his coming will deliver us from the Evil One' (CCC, no. 2853). Since the Church prays to Jesus and believes that 'his coming will deliver us from the Evil One', is it not likely that Jesus does come to deliver these infants from the original sin by which they are bound to the power of Satan and to offer them the grace of Heaven?

From the teaching of St Thomas Aquinas

The Limbo of Children

The Greek and Latin Fathers of the first four centuries saw in general no more severe penalty for infants who died without Baptism than exclusion from the beatific vision. But St Augustine and the other African Fathers, in opposition to the Pelagians who were holding that infants have no sin, maintained that infants who die in original sin only will still share in the positive misery of the damned, although with a penalty mild enough that they would want to continue in existence. This opinion remained dominant from the fifth to the thirteenth century; a few theologians differed, but St Thomas was the first great theologian to eliminate the pain of suffering from Limbo by reasoning that infants who die in original sin only will live in perfect natural happiness, having lost the blessing of the beatific vision, but with no awareness of having lost it, [8] and this is what the majority of Catholic theologians have continued to hold ever since then. [9] However, it is important to note that St Thomas, in presenting his argument for a Limbo of Children, does not speak about children who die without the sacrament of Baptism, but only of children who die 'in original sin', and it seems obvious that, to the extent that a child might die in the state of original sin, this is a benevolent and convincing solution. But the question before us is whether aborted infants do die in the state of original sin.

A way into this issue might take its starting point from a text where St Thomas teaches [10] that all human beings will rise again. 'The resurrection is necessary in order that those who rise again may receive punishment or reward according to their merits. Now either punishment or reward is due to all, either for their own merits, as to adults, or for others' merits, as to children. Therefore, all will rise again.' Daniel 12:2 declares: 'Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake.' Does this imply that not all will awake? St Thomas answers: 'Augustine [11] explains many as meaning all: in fact, this way of speaking is often met with in Holy Writ. Or else the restriction may refer to children condemned (to Limbo) (quantum ad pueros damnatos) , who, although they shall rise again, are not properly said to awake, since they will have no sense either of pain or of glory, and waking is the unchaining of the senses.' Yet it could be objected that babies who die in their mothers' wombs can never be born again, and so they will not rise again. St Thomas replies:

We are born again by the grace of Christ that is given to us, but we rise again by the grace of Christ whereby it came about that he took our nature, since it is by this that we are conformed to him in natural things. Hence, those who die in their mother's womb, although they are not born again by receiving grace, will nevertheless rise again on account of the conformity of their nature with him, which conformity they acquired by attaining to the perfection of the human species.
From these quotations we see that St Thomas does visualize little children, and even those who die in the womb, as condemned to the loss of Heaven, and he states that children who die in the womb 'are not born again by receiving grace'. The direction that St Thomas takes in these statements is significant. Whereas he begins with the principle that everyone should receive punishment or reward according to his merits, and children according to the merits of others, he reaches his conclusions on the punishment of little children from the demerits of Adam, rather than arguing to the reward of little children because of the merits of Christ. It was the strongly pessimistic theological tradition of St Thomas's time that seems to have disposed him to take for granted that aborted children die in original sin, but the outlook of today is far more positive and open to the hope of their salvation. And what St Thomas says in the citations that will be given below seems to provide a foundation for the belief that aborted babies are granted the grace of salvation.

The necessity of Baptism

St Thomas teaches that 'sacraments are necessary for human salvation' even though 'the Passion of Christ is a sufficient cause of [that] salvation', because '[sacraments] work in virtue of the Passion of Christ, and the Passion of Christ is in some way applied to men through sacraments, according to what the Apostle says in Rom. 6:3: ".... all we who have been baptized in Christ Jesus have been baptized in his death."[12] Now 'the power of Christ is linked to us through faith, but the power to remit sins pertains in a special way to his Passion, and so, men are freed from sins especially through faith in his Passion'.[13] Children too need the grace of Baptism: 'That children contract original sin from the sin of Adam is evident from the fact that they are subject to death ... And so all the more can children receive grace through Christ that they may reign in eternal life. But the Lord himself says in John 3:15: "Unless one has been born again of water and the Holy Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." Consequently, it became necessary to baptize children, in order that, just as through Adam they have incurred damnation in being born, so through Christ they may reach salvation in being reborn.' [14] In sum, 'Baptism of water takes effect from the Passion of Christ, to whom someone is configured through Baptism and, further, from the Holy Spirit, as from the first cause.'

Again: 'The Passion of Christ is shared for a remedy with every baptized person as if that person had suffered and died.' [15] And 'by the Passion of Christ, the door of the heavenly kingdom has been opened for us. [16] Now,

'although the effect depends upon the first cause, nevertheless the cause exceeds the effect and does not depend upon the effect. And, therefore, besides Baptism of water, one can attain to the effect of the sacrament from the Passion of Christ, inasmuch as one is conformed to him by suffering for Christ.... For the same reason also someone can receive the effect of Baptism by the power of the Holy Spirit, not only without Baptism of water, but also without Baptism of blood, insofar as one's heart is moved by the Holy Spirit to believing and loving God and to repenting of one's sins; whence this is also called Baptism of repentance' (cf. Is. 4:4).
Thus, there are three Baptisms, namely, 'of water, of blood, and of the Spirit (flaminis), that is, of the Holy Spirit'.[17] St Augustine is in agreement:

Whence Augustine says [18]: 'That suffering sometimes fills the place of Baptism, Blessed Cyprian not lightly cites the case of that unbaptized thief to whom it was said, Today you will be with me in Paradise. And considering this again and again, I find that not only suffering for the name of Christ can supply what was lacking to Baptism, but also faith and conversion of heart, if perchance, due to the lack of time, a celebration of the mystery of Baptism cannot be arranged.' [19]
With these three kinds of Baptism in mind, St Thomas affirms the necessity of Baptism for salvation: 'Baptism is given for this that someone, having been regenerated by it, may be incorporated into Christ and made a member of him: whence it is said in Galatians 3:27: "For as many of you as have been baptized in Christ have put on Christ." And from this it is manifest that all men are held to Baptism and that without it there cannot be salvation for men.' [20]

Baptism of blood and of desire

Baptism of blood is no contradiction in terms. 'From the side of Christ flowed water for washing and blood for redeeming. Therefore, blood fits the sacrament of the Eucharist, while water fits the sacrament of Baptism. But Baptism has its washing power from the power of the Blood of Christ.'[21] In fact, Baptism of blood is even more powerful than Baptism of water.

For the Passion of Christ works, indeed, in Baptism of water by a certain figurative representation; and in Baptism of the Spirit. or of repentance, by a certain affection; but in Baptism of blood by an imitation of the deed [of Christ on the Cross]. Similarly, the power of the Holy Spirit works in Baptism of water by a certain hidden power, and in Baptism of repentance by a movement of the heart, but in Baptism of blood by a very strong fervour of love and affection (cf. John 15:13) . [22]
But Baptism of desire is also possible.

The sacrament of Baptism can be lacking to someone in fact but not in desire, as when someone desires to be baptized, but perchance is taken by death before he can receive Baptism. Such a one can attain to salvation without actual Baptism on account of a desire for Baptism which proceeds from faith working through love (Gal. 5:6), through which God, whose power is not bound by visible sacraments, interiorly sanctifies the man. [23]
Now, according to John 3:5, 'unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.' To this St Thomas replies: 'He who desires to be regenerated through Baptism of water and the Holy Spirit is regenerated in heart, although not in body.' [24] Thus, 'The sacrament of Baptism is said to be necessary for salvation because there cannot be salvation for a man unless he has it at least in wish: which with God is considered as accomplished.' [25] And so, 'Just as the fathers of old were saved by faith in Christ to come, so also are we saved by faith in Christ already having been born and having suffered.' [26] By Baptism a person is incorporated into Christ as a member of him. [27] But do not adult converts have to be already believing in Christ before Baptism will be ministered to them? 'Adults who believe in Christ beforehand arc incorporated into him mentally, and afterwards, when they are baptized, they are somehow incorporated into him bodily, viz., through a visible sacrament, without the intention of which they could not have been incorporated even mentally.' [28]

It may seem to some that for little babies Baptism of blood does not take the place of Baptism of water, if Baptism of water takes effect ex opere operato, while Baptism of blood takes place only ex opere operantis, and, therefore, only with the exercise of charity (cf. 1 Cor. 13), something of which little babies are incapable because they do not have the use of free will. To this problem St Thomas responds as follows: 'Baptism of water takes effect from the Passion of Christ inasmuch as it represents it sacramentally, while Baptism of blood Conforms in reality to the Passion of Christ, not by sacramental representation . . . [Hence], as regards the res tantum [sanctifying grace], it totally takes the place of Baptism of water when a moment of need excludes the sacrament.' and so, 'Baptism of blood does not have its effect only ex opere operantis, ... but it has it from imitation of the Passion of Christ. So it is said in Apocalypse 7:14 regarding martyrs: "they have washed their garments in the Blood of the Lamb," and, therefore, children, although they do not have free will, if they are killed for Christ, are saved as baptized in his Blood.' [29]

Sacraments before the coming of Christ

St Thomas teaches that there were sacraments before the coming of Christ. 'It was fitting that before the coming of Christ there be certain visible signs by which a man could profess his faith concerning the future coming of the Saviour. And signs of this kind are called sacraments.' [30] The efficient cause, to be sure, cannot come afterwards in time, yet nevertheless,

the fathers of old were sanctified by faith in the Passion of Christ, as are we. But the sacraments of the Old Law were declarations of that faith inasmuch as they signified the Passion of Christ and its effects. It is thus evident that the sacraments of the Old Law did not have in themselves any operational power of conferring sanctifying grace, but they only signified the faith by which they [the fathers of old] were sanctified). [31]
Hence, 'circumcision conferred grace inasmuch as it was a sign of the future Passion of Christ.' [32]

Circumcision

According to St Thomas, since Abraham was noted for his faith and is called our father in faith, 'a sign (signaculum), or sacrament, of faith was fashioned for him, namely, circumcision.' [33] And St Thomas explains that circumcision had an express likeness to the taking away of original sin in four ways, of which the fourth way is 'with regard to the shedding of blood, in which is signified the Passion of Christ, through which satisfaction would be made for original sin, and, with regard to this benefit, circumcision is defined as the sign (signaculum) of healing from original sin.' [34] And so the circumcised were thereby disposed for eternal life, even though the gate of Heaven was not yet open. '... because the final positive effect of grace is to make one worthy of eternal life, which was done through circumcision, as is now done also through Baptism', although 'in Baptism greater grace is given'. [35] In fact, the benefit of circumcision was also more restricted than that of Baptism, 'because it had a determined people, a determined sex, and a determined time [the eighth day of birth], which does not occur in Baptism'. [36] Circumcision signified justification by faith in the coming Passion of Christ, 'in such wise that the man who was receiving circumcision was professing that he accepted this faith, either an adult for himself or another for little children'. [37] So circumcision was like the sacraments of the New Law in that it could wipe away sin by its very performance.

It is fitting that a sin contracted from another be taken away by another and, therefore, in every stage (statu) after the Fall there has been some remedy by which original sin could be taken away in virtue of the Passion of Christ. And, again, because a born baby, before he had the use of free will, was not able to prepare himself for grace, in order that he should not be left without any remedy at all, it was needful that some remedy be given which would wipe out sin by its very performance (ex opere operato), and this remedy was circumcision. Therefore, it is conceded by all that, as it signified a removal, it did take away sin, and in this it coincided in some way with the sacraments of the New Law, because it accomplished what it figured. [38]
The role of faith

St Thomas, therefore, points out that, 'before the coming of Christ, people were incorporated into Christ through faith in his future advent, the sign of whose faith was circumcision.' St Paul writes to the Romans:

'Blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not reckon his sin.' Is this blessing pronounced only upon the circumcised, or also upon the uncircumcised? We say that faith was reckoned to Abraham as righteousness. How then was it reckoned to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised. He received circumcision as a sign or seal of the righteousness which he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised and who thus have righteousness reckoned to them, and likewise the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but also follow the example of the faith which our father Abraham had before he was circumcised (Rom. 4:8-12 [RSV]).
And, opines St Thomas, before circumcision was instituted, as St Gregory confirms [39], people were incorporated into Christ by the offering of sacrifices, by which the ancient fathers professed their faith. 'Also after the coming of Christ, people are incorporated into Christ through faith, according to Ephesians 3:17: "that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith." ... Hence, although the sacrament itself of Baptism was not always necessary for salvation, nonetheless, faith, of which Baptism is the sacrament, was always necessary.' [40]

Justification of children through faith

Before the institution of circumcision, did faith alone suffice for the justification of children? St Thomas replies:

Just as before the institution of circumcision faith in [the] Christ to come justified both children and adults, so also [was that the case] when circumcision had been given.... But it is probable that believing parents said some prayers to God for their newborn infants, and especially for those in danger, or they performed some blessing upon them which was a kind of sign of faith (signaculum fidei) , just as adults offered prayers and sacrifices for themselves. [41]
However, we do not read in Sacred Scripture that the patriarch Isaac, for instance, offered sacrifice to God. To this St Thomas replies that, while St Gregory (again) maintains [42] that among the ancients original sin was remitted through the offering of sacrifices, nevertheless, 'Isaac signified Christ inasmuch as he was offered in sacrifice (Gen. 22:9-10), and so it was not needful that he should signify as offering sacrifice.' [43] Furthermore, 'it is also said of the children of the ancients that they were saved in the faith of their parents (in fide parentium) .' [44] But circumcision was prescribed in the Law for the eighth day after birth, not before, and those who were born during the forty years of wandering in the desert were uncircumcised (cf. Josh. 5:5-6). For St Thomas: 'If some died uncircumcised, they were in the same situation as those who died before the institution of circumcision. And this is also to be understood regarding boys who died before their eighth day in the time of the Law.' [45] Moreover, circumcision was incomplete in its extension only to males. St Thomas explains: 'Circumcision was instituted as a sign of the faith of Abraham, who believed that he would be the father of the Christ promised to him (Rom. 4:11 ff.), and, therefore, it suitably pertained only to males.' [46]

Faith in the mediator

St Thomas asks 'whether faith alone availed little children for the remission of original sin, seeing that Gregory says that for little children faith alone, for adults sacrifices and offerings, were effective [among the ancients].' [47] And St Thomas responds to his own question: 'Faith in the Mediator was always effective for healing from original sin: their own in those who had the use of free will; of another in the others, lest a divine remedy should be entirely lacking to them.' [48] It seems to St Thomas, following the teaching of St Gregory the Great,

for little children faith alone sufficed without any exterior sign [before the institution of Baptism]; not, however, the habit alone of faith, but an act of it regarding the salvation of this child, by force of an interior profession of faith, whosoever it might be who referred a profession of faith to this child; but this pertained more to his parents, who were obliged to take care of the child and through whom he had contracted original sin. [49]
How could faith alone suffice for the salvation of a child? 'In as much as at one time the faith of another together with some witnessing sufficed for the salvation of a child, this was so insofar as that witnessing had the sacramental power which Baptism of water has now.' [50]

Baptism of babies

In comparing the plight of babies before the institution of Baptism with that of babies in the New Testament, St Thomas treats the following problem:

'The age of childhood is more inclining towards pity than is mature age ... But children are not forgiven original sin simply in exchange for the faith and contrition of others, if Baptism of water be not administered to them. It seems, therefore, that original [sin] together with actual sin is not remitted to adults either without Baptism of water.' [51] And he answers thus: 'Since the salvation of a man regards the greatest values, it cannot be taken away from someone who wants it. But it is in the power of a man to impede another man from being baptized with water. Therefore, there can be salvation even without Baptism of water by faith and contrition alone[/color].' [52] St Thomas points out that Baptism of penance, that is, of desire, is not ordinarily sufficient for salvation, but it is sufficient 'when the moment of need excludes the sacrament from being received, for then, although the repentance is without Baptism in act, it is, nevertheless, with the desire and intention of Baptism, and the wish is considered as the accomplished fact for him who does not have time to perform it'. [53] And so, 'although the age of children is more pitiful, it is, nonetheless, needful, if they must be saved, that there be some reason for salvation in them. And because they cannot be saved by their own act of free will, it is needful that they be saved through the sacrament of Baptism.' [54] But as regards the infant children of non-believers, St Thomas is of the opinion that to baptize them against the will of their parents, even to rescue a child in danger of physical death from the danger of eternal death, would be 'contrary to natural justice' and an infringement upon the order of the natural law 'in virtue of which a child is under the care of his father'. [55]

Sanctification without the sacraments

St Thomas points out that 'it is Christ who principally baptizes' (cf. John 1:33) [56] And so: 'The man who baptizes exercises only an external ministry, while it is Christ who baptizes internally, and he can use all men for whatever he wants.' [57] The human person baptizing acts 'as a minister of Christ, who does not bind [i.e. limit] his power to baptized persons or to the sacraments'. [58] Thus Christ, without the sacrament of Penance, conferred the effect of the sacrament upon Magdalen (Luke 7:48). [59] And Christ conferred Baptism of blood upon the Good Thief on Calvary,even though he was not put to death for witnessing to the teaching of Christ:

Nor was that thief crucified for the name of Christ. On the contrary, as Jerome says, 'Christ turned a penalty for murder into a martyrdom (Christus homicidii poenam in illo latrone fecit esse martyrium)', and it is to be said that he had something of martyrdom, namely, a penalty and a righteous will, and he lacked something for martyrdom, namely a cause, just as in the [Holy] Innocents there was lacking a righteous will, but there was a penalty and a cause. [60]
But God can also administer the sacraments through Angels.

Just as God did not bind his power to the sacraments in such wise that he could not confer the effect of the sacraments without the sacraments, so also he did not bind his power to the ministers of the Church in such wise that he could not bestow even upon angels the power of ministering in sacramental matters. And, since the good angels are messengers of truth, if some sacramental ministry should be carried out by good angels, it must be considered valid (ratum), because it ought to be evident that this was done by divine will, as certain churches are said to have been consecrated by angelic ministry. [61]

However, 'what men do in a lower way, viz., through sensible sacraments, which are proportionate to their nature, angels do as higher ministers in a higher way, viz., by invisibly cleansing, illuminating, and perfecting.' [62]

The child in the womb

Regarding babies in the womb: 'Children in their mothers' wombs cannot be subjected to the actions of humans in such a way that through their ministry they may receive the sacraments of salvation. But they can be subject to the work of God, in whose presence they live, that by a privilege of grace they may obtain sanctification, as is evident from those who have been sanctified in the womb'. [63] According to St Thomas, 'Sanctification in the womb is Baptism of the Spirit (Baptismus flaminis) .' [64]

St Thomas mentions the Blessed Virgin Mary, John the Baptist, and the prophet Jeremiah as prime examples of persons who have been sanctified 'outside of the common law as though miraculously in their mothers' wombs'. [65] An act of the mind can extend equally to the born or to the preborn. If, therefore, faith ever were sufficient for wiping out original sin, why cannot those in the womb be cleansed from original sin through the faith of another? St Thomas replies:

A child living in the womb of his mother does not, as far as human knowledge can tell (quantum ad humanam cognitionem pertinet), have being that is separate (distinctum) from his mother, and, therefore, cannot be reached by an act of man, whether in these times to be cleansed from original sin through Baptism, or in those [ancient] times to be cleansed through the faith of his parents, but he can be divinely cleansed, as appears in the case of those who have been sanctified in the womb. [66]
Nevertheless, a child in his mother's womb is 'entirely another according to the rational soul which he has from without.' [67] Why, then, such as was the case at Sodom, does God punish little children for the sins of their parents? 'Little children are temporally punished together with their parents for two reasons: because they belong to their parents, and so their parents are punished in them; and because this turns to their good, lest, if they were spared, they might be imitators of their parents' malice and thus might merit heavier penalties.' [68]

Children and the divine mercy

St Thomas maintains that salvation is available in some way to everyone.

Just as there was no stage of the world at which the way of salvation was shut to the human race, so there is no age of the individual man in which the way of salvation is shut. And so, since original sin is in children, by which they are impeded from attaining to eternal salvation, it is needful that some remedy be used for them to remove the aforesaid impediment, and this is Baptism. Hence, whoever denies that Baptism can be afforded to little children is denying the divine mercy, on account of which it is heretical to say this. [69]

Yet, St Thomas holds that 'no one should be baptized before he is born from the womb', or, more strongly, 'in no way can those living in their mother's womb be baptized.' [70] But those in the womb have independent existence.
'A child living in the mother's womb pertains to her by a certain connection of distinct bodies.' [71] Babies in their mothers' wombs cannot be baptized 'because they cannot be subjected to the activity of the ministers of the Church, through whom such remedies are administered.' [72]

As Augustine says in his letter to Dardanus: [73] 'No one is reborn unless he is first born.' And, adds St Thomas, 'Baptism is a spiritual regeneration. Therefore, no one should be baptized before he is born from the womb.' [74] But, he adds, 'if a mother should die while a child is living in her womb, the womb should be opened and the child should be baptized.' [75] Furthermore, he notes, 'Those who are asleep are not to be baptized unless they are in immediate danger of death.' [76]
And babies cannot sin gravely either before death or after: 'Since children before the use of reason do not have an inordinate act of the will, neither will they have one after death.' [77]

The salvation of babies

How can babies be baptized, when they cannot intend to be baptized? St Thomas points out that

as children in their mothers' wombs do not receive nourishment by themselves, but are sustained by the nourishment of their mother, so also children not having the use of reason, being, as it were, in the womb of Mother Church, receive salvation by an act of the Church.... And, for the same reason, they can be said to be intending, not by an act of their own intention, since they sometimes resist and cry, but by the act of those by whom they are being offered. [78]

Can little babies have faith or a good conscience without having the use of reason?

A little child believes through others, not by himself, and so he is questioned, not himself [directly] but through others, and those questioned confess the faith of the Church in the person of the child, who is aggregated to this faith by the sacrament of faith. But the child acquires a good conscience even in himself, not, to be sure, in act, but in disposition (habitu) through sanctifying grace. [79]

In the Church of the Saviour, as Augustine says [80], 'Little children are presented to receive spiritual grace, not so much by those in whose hands they are carried, although also by them, if they too are good believers, as by the entire company of the saints and of the faithful.' And thus St Thomas is led to say in a passage rich with implications: 'the faith of one [person], indeed of the whole Church, benefits the little child through the working of the Holy Spirit, who unites the Church and communicates the good things of one [individual] to another.' [81] In fact, he avers, 'The prayers which are said in the administration of the sacraments are offered to God, not on the part of the individual person, but on the part of the entire Church.' [82] Consequently, 'Children believe, not by their own act, but by the faith of the Church, which is imparted to them. And, by dint of this faith, grace and the virtues are conferred upon them.' [83] Furthermore, 'since children are baptized, not in their own faith but in the faith of the Church, they are all equally disposed towards Baptism, and they all receive an equal effect in Baptism.' [84] Hence, it does not really matter what the intention is of those who are carrying them. [85]

[End of Extracts. See end “Notes”]

“Compilation and editorial material Copyright © Aidan Nichols OP 2002
Copyright for individual chapters resides with the authors.

Version 18th July 2009”


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Re: MERCY REIGNS

Post  MRyan on Mon Apr 16, 2012 1:24 pm

Continuing with "Extracts taken from Abortion and Martyrdom edited by Aidan Nichols, O.P.":

"Appendix: Sources in the Magisterium and St Thomas
John F. McCarthy

John. F. McCarthy is Capo Ufficio in the Roman Congregation for the Eastern Churches

In what follows, some further discussion is provided of Church pronouncements and (especially) of texts from the writings of St Thomas Aquinas, the classical theologian of the Latin Church.

[MRyan note: All color highlights and emphasis are in the original]

"From the teaching of St Thomas Aquinas [Con't]

Application to the question of aborted babies

Just as the teaching of the Church allows us 'to hope that there is a way of salvation' for little children who die without having received the sacrament of Baptism, so does the teaching of St Thomas leave the door of salvation open to them. St Thomas does not teach that aborted babies are saved, but what he says in scattered responses relating to this question seems to lay a solid theological foundation for hope of their salvation. Regarding these responses I note the following.

(a) When St Thomas recommends that the babies of non-believers not be baptized, even in danger of death, if their parents are unwilling, he must be speaking only about remote danger of death, because to grant a natural right to parents of excluding their children from Heaven is unthinkable. In fact, it is against the teaching and practice of the Church (cf. canon 868.2 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law). And we can confidently say that the natural right of parents to care for their child ends with their decision to murder their child and is then superseded by the right of the Church to sanctify that child (cf. Prov. 24:11).

(b) St Thomas says with reference to the Holy Innocents of Bethlehem, that they are considered to be martyrs, even though they did not have the conscious intention or desire to suffer for Christ, because they did suffer the penalty of death on account of him. Hence, if babies killed in the womb suffer the penalty of death in some way because of Christ, they may be eligible to become martyrs of Christ.

(c) St Thomas declares that little children intend and believe, not by themselves, but through others, namely, through their parents or their sponsors, but especially through the entire membership of the Church. Hence, to the extent that babies being aborted are sponsored in faith by members of the Church in Heaven or on earth, they may be said to have belief in the saving power of Christ and to have the intention of suffering in union with the Passion of Christ, which adds another element to their eligibility for the grace of martyrdom.

(d) St Thomas points out that Baptism of desire takes the place of Baptism of water only when circumstances exclude the receiving of the sacrament. Otherwise, the Lord Jesus has established the rule that Baptism of water is necessary for salvation. But babies being aborted are in a situation in which they are prevented from receiving the sacrament of Baptism.

(e) St Thomas avers that salvation is available in some way at every age in the life of every human individual. But living in the womb is an age in the life of every human individual, since human embryos and human fetuses are already human individuals endowed with a human soul and with the faculties of intelligence and free will. Therefore, salvation must in some way be available to them, especially if they are facing death in the womb. But Baptism of water is not available, and so, some other means of salvation must be at hand.

(f) St Thomas maintains that, since 'it is in the power of a man to impede another man from being baptized with water', therefore, 'there can be salvation even without Baptism of water by faith and contrition alone.' But babies being killed in the womb are being prevented by the power of man from ever receiving Baptism of water. And, as innocent children, they have no need of contrition, while their faith can be supplied from the faith of the Church. Therefore, sanctification should in some way be available to them.

(g) No one deserves sanctifying grace and no one merits the first grace, but the only great obstacle to the merciful love of Jesus is bad will, and St Thomas assures us that babies in the womb 'do not have an inordinate act of the will'. Hence, they are fully disposed for an infusion of sanctifying grace, either directly by Christ or indirectly through the ministry of others. St Thomas also teaches that, since original sin is in children, it is needful that some remedy be available to them, and he goes on to say that 'whoever denies that Baptism can be afforded to little children is denying the divine mercy'. Hence, one might equally argue that whoever denies that sanctification is in some way available to children being aborted from the womb is denying the divine mercy.

(h) St Thomas maintains that children in their mothers' wombs cannot be subjected to the physical or the mental acts of human beings in such wise as to be administered the sacraments of salvation, although they can, 'by a privilege of grace,' be sanctified by the work of God, 'outside of the common law', as though miraculously, 'as is evident from those who have been sanctified in the womb'. It seems that St Thomas is here referring to a general law laid down by Jesus and cited by St Augustine to the effect that children who are going to be born are not to be baptized until they are actually born. However, this law would not seem to apply to children who will never be born. And thus St Thomas can also say that 'if a mother should die while a child is living in her womb, the womb should be opened and the child should be baptized.' But not without hesitation does St Thomas venture to claim that a child in his mother's womb cannot be cleansed from original sin by any act of man, whether physical or mental, for he adds '[color=orange]as far as human knowledge can tell[/color '. In this he is relying partly upon the medical knowledge available in his time. Modern medicine can reach the child physically in the womb. [86]

(i) St Thomas explains that, when children are being baptized, 'it does not matter what the intention is of those who are carrying them', because children intend and believe through the faith of the Church. Hence, the murder of an infant in the womb can be received as a martyrdom.

(j) St Thomas notes with the Church (cf. CCC 1257) that it is Christ who principally baptizes, but the Lord did not limit his saving power to the sacraments. We know of the willingness of Jesus to let the little children come unto him (Mark 10:14). Now, St Thomas points out that circumcision was an efficacious sign of healing from original sin, not least in the shedding of the blood of an infant, 'in which is signified the Passion of Christ'. Why, then, would Jesus not see, in the putting to death of an infant in the womb, a sign of his own Passion, and so administer to the child, either directly or through others, his healing and saving grace?

(k) St Thomas recalls that the children of the ancients 'were saved in the faith of their parents' or of some other believing adult. St Thomas does not include children in the womb in this operation of faith, which, he says, 'had the sacramental power which Baptism of water has now'.
However, he was not adverting to the special case of infants being killed in the womb. Now, the virtue of Christian faith is not weaker after the coming of Christ that it was before. Why, therefore, can we not believe with grounded hope that Jesus will use the faith of his Church, and in particular the charity of Blessed Mary and of the saints along with the fervour of his faithful on earth, to sanctify these victimized babies? This would be an act of living faith, not having the sacramental power of Baptism, but having intercessory power with the Heart of Jesus.

(l) St Thomas allows that, as at Sodom, little children - even children in the womb - may be temporally punished for the sins of their parents, but he does not say that they may be eternally punished for their parents' sins. Yet to be deprived of Heaven because of the sin of one's First Parents would be an eternal penalty that St Thomas does not seem to envisage here. Nor does St Thomas anywhere visualize anyone being punished for sins that he would have committed in other circumstances, but never actually carried out.

(m) St Thomas gives reasons why, under the Old Law, circumcision was given to males as a remedy for original sin, but not to females, and he points out that male infants who were faced with death before their eighth day of birth could be saved eternally by an act of faith on the part of their parents. But he says nothing specifically about how female infants could be saved, and yet it is contrary to the tenor of his thought to assume that he visualized no ordinary means of salvation for females throughout the entire period of the Old Testament. Similarly, it is reasonable to assume that, while St Thomas does not speak specifically about a remedy for original sin in infants being murdered in the womb, his general principles would allow for some ordinary means of salvation for these infants, over and above a rare direct sanctification by Jesus alone.

Infants being aborted are a special object of divine mercy for at least two reasons: they are absolutely free of personal sin, even though they are stained with original sin, and they are being murdered by their own parents. Now, being murdered by one's own parents is a sin against the natural law that cries out to Heaven. Since Jesus, our Saviour, 'will have all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth' (1 Tim. 2:4), he also wants children undergoing deadly assault in the womb to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth, the truth that he is. The Blessed Virgin Mary, as the new Eve, the Mother of Jesus and the Mother of the Church, is also the Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix of babies being attacked in the womb. In fact, we might say, every time the knife of an abortionist pierces one of their hearts, a sword of sorrow pierces her heart (cf. Luke 2:35). Seeing them dying in the state of original sin, will she not say once again to her divine Son, 'they have no wine' (John 2:3). If Jesus willed to convert the heart of Saul, who 'persecuted the Church of God' (1 Cor. 15:9), into Paul the Apostle and martyr, if Jesus, looking with pity upon a dying thief on Calvary, 'turned a penalty for murder into a martyrdom', will he refuse to convert the tiny hearts of these innocent victims into confessors of his mercy? If Isaac signified Christ in that he was being offered in sacrifice to God, why would Jesus not see in the deliberate killing of a human fetus a representation of his own death on Calvary?

All children in the womb have guardian angels, since 'human life from its very beginning ("inde ab initio") until death is in their care and is surrounded by their intercession' (CCC, no. 336). But when do children need the care and intercession of their guardian angels more than at the moment in which they are being assaulted to the point of death itself in the womb? And Angels can sanctify (cf. Isa. 6:7), when commissioned by God to do so.

Of course, Lazarus was carried by Angels to Abraham's bosom (Luke 16:22), that is, to the Limbo of the Fathers, but this was only a temporary waiting place until Jesus should open the door to Heaven. Now that Jesus has opened the door to Heaven, are we to suppose the guardian angels drop off the souls of aborted children in the Limbo of Children as they themselves proceed on their way back to Heaven? It does not seem so. Jesus says: 'He that shall receive one such little child in my name receives me' (Matt. 18:5). Therefore, conversely, whoever kills one such little child in opposition to the will of Jesus (Mark 10:19) is killing Jesus. And Jesus also said: 'their angels in Heaven always see the face of my Father who is in Heaven' (Malt 18:10). Does there not seem to be a hint in these words that, if a little child is killed in the womb in contempt of his vocation to see forever the Face of God in Heaven, the angels will, nevertheless, carry the soul of that little child to Heaven, 'for the Son of Man is come to save that which is lost' (Matt. 18:11).

Conclusion

St Thomas, while he assumed that aborted children die in original sin unless they are sanctified in some way apart from Baptism of water, also enuntiated various facts and principles which support the hope that aborted babies are sanctified at the moment of their death. These elements include such things as the martyrdom of infants, the vicarious faith of the Church, the availability of sanctification at every age of the human individual, sanctification in the womb, and sanctification by Jesus directly or through the ministry of Angels.

The Church, in the growing awareness of the merciful love of Jesus and the maternal love of Mary, has tended more and more to manifest her hope for the salvation of unbaptized babies. In view of John 3:5, the Church cannot guarantee this, and she must insist that infants be baptized at the earliest reasonable moment after their birth. But aborted babies are a special case. And so, considering the special reasons pertaining to this case as reviewed in the present article, and relying on a wider interpretation of Matthew 2:18 and Jeremiah 31:16, together with Luke 23:43, Luke 2:35, Genesis 3:15, Apocalypse 12:17; Apocalypse 7:14, and a multitude of supporting Scriptural texts, I conclude, subject to the final judgment of the Church, that the Magisterium could proclaim all infants murdered in the womb to be companion martyrs of the Holy Innocents of Bethlehem, cleansed and sanctified at the moment of their death in the redemptive Blood of Christ.”

[End of Extracts. See end “Notes”]

“Compilation and editorial material Copyright © Aidan Nichols OP 2002
Copyright for individual chapters resides with the authors.

Version 18th July 2009”


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Re: MERCY REIGNS

Post  MRyan on Mon Apr 16, 2012 2:15 pm

Abortion and Martyrdom

Edited by Aiden Nichols, O.P. (2002, Gracewing)

This book brought together a collection of papers which were submitted by theologians from several different countries to a Consultation held at St. Peters Abbey, Solesmes, France in 1999. Participants were asked to consider; ‘Can the Magisterium of the Church acknowledge children killed in abortion as ‘companions of the Holy Innocents’ (and therefore martyrs)? The Consultation was initiated and arranged by the Divine Innocence movement, Surbiton, England and Fr. Philippe Jobert O.S.B. of St. Peters Abbey, Solesmes. It was co-chaired by Fr. Jobert and Fr. Aidan Nichols. All contributors were given a dossier of inspirational material from the charism. (“Mercy Reigns”)
Setting the question:

“Can the Magisterium of the Church acknowledge children killed in abortion as 'companions of the Holy Innocents' (and therefore martyrs)?”

If the reply is affirmative, it follows that these child victims are sharers in the divine glory in Heaven. The question of baptism must however be resolved in the case of these children. How could these children, who by definition have been unable to receive Baptism in the ordinary way, enter into the glory of which the grace received at Baptism is the necessary condition? (Holy Innocents in our times, Philippe Jobert, O.S.B., Abbe of St. Pierre de Solesmes, France)
Abortion and Martyrdom, Chapter 7. Aborted infants as martyrs: are there wider implications? by Brian Harrison, O.S. (pages 103-119) [Paper submitted to the Solesmes Consultation 1999]

Taken from: http://books.google.com/books?id=F3qFtB-Lq14C&pg=PA103&lpg=PA103&dq=Aborted+infants+as+martyrs:+are+there+wider+implications?+Harrison&source=bl&ots=M2RjwJc66k&sig=WCUipSP_pRaT_fiMoFuUAMRvUy0&hl=en&sa=X&ei=7c6KT6nUHonw0gHl1pjSCQ&ved=0CCkQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=Aborted%20infants%20as%20martyrs%3A%20are%20there%20wider%20implications%3F%20Harrison&f=false

On page 111, Fr. Harrison writes:

“[…] Hence, if aborted children are to be declared to have died in odium Christ (and thus, canonized as martyrs) because Satan—presumably—sees and hates Christ in them, it is not easy how we can avoid claiming martyr status, on the same or evern stronge grounds, for any holy Christian who heroically accepts an unjust death. St. Joan of Arc would be a case in point. But, as we have already noted, the Church decided against canonizing Saint Joan as a martyr.

"In short, introducing Satan into the argument for the martyr status of aborted children seems problematical for various reasons – one of the problems being that this would seem to be another case of opening a door which logically opens other hitherto closed doors. If aborted children are to be claimed as martyrs, it will have to be because the human beings responsible for their slaughter render them witnesses to Christ in some way.

"What other avenues can be explored? Approved Catholic theology – although never so far officially ratified by the Magisterium – has long held that an unborn infant who dies when its mother is killed for the faith receives the Baptism of blood, and can be considered a martyr along with the mother herself. As regards infants, says the author of the article ‘Martyre’ in [/]Dictionnaire de Theologie catholique, ‘… il suffit qu’ils soient morts pour le Christ et cela meme dans le sein materrnel’ (‘it is enough that they have died for Christ and that even in their mother’s womb’). [6] In such cases the odium of the killers is directed explicitly only at the Christian faith or behaviour of the mother, and so only in an indirect or implicit way can the unborn infant – of whose very existence the mother’s executioner may well be unaware – be said to die ‘for Christ’.

"But, if that indirect or implicit link to Christ is sufficient to claim these unborn victims of overtly anti-Christian persecution as martyrs along with the Holy Innocents, could not another kind of indirect link be discerned, and considered sufficient, in the case of aborted children? For they too are the victims of an anti-Christian mentality: disregard of, and even contempt for, the Fifth Commandment. It is true that those who destroy unborn infants are not always overtly or explicitly anti-Christian in the way persecutors of the faith are: some, indeed, are churchgoers who try to harmonize or rationalize their faith and their consciences with the practice of abortion. But this consideration would seem to be balanced in the scales by the fact that the victim status, as such, of aborted children is more overt and explicit than that of the unborn children of martyred women. In abortion the infant’s death is by …" [… end of page 111]

{Note: “Page 112 is not part of this book preview”. We resume on pg. 113 and Father Harrison’s comments on the parable of Matthew 25, and in particular 25:40 — “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”}

“Even though these words refer in their original context explicitly only to those who do good, not evil, to the poor and suffering, the same parable’s expressed judgement against those who merely neglect the plight of such needy persons (vv. 41-45) implies that, with still greater reason, those who do not just neglect, but positively attack and oppress, the poor and needy will find on the Day of Judgement that they were thereby attacking and oppressing Christ himself. It is therefore, exegetically speaking, perfectly reasonable to apply the words of v. 40 to evil as well as charitable actions. Also, there is no indication in the text that either circumcision or baptism is laid down as a prerequisite for being considered by our Lord as one of his ‘brethren’ in the sense which is relevant here. That is, one does not have to be fully incorporated into the People of God to enjoy unwittingly this kind of solidarity with the Son of Man; it is enough to be hungry, thirsty, naked, exiled, sick, or imprisoned (cf. vv. 35-40, 42-44). Hence, taking into account the personhood of the unborn, it would seem impossible, in any serious, rational, and authentically Catholic reading of the Gospel to exclude the victims of abortion from the class of the poor and downtrodden with whom Jesus identifies himself here. No brethren are ‘littler’, more naked, more defenceless, or more totally needy, than these! Even their home, the womb, is turned into a ‘prison’ of the worst kind — a death chamber — by the abortionist!

"Indeed, the Church’s Magisterium now guarantees the authenticity of such an exegesis of the Gospel passage under discussion. The 1995 Encyclical Evangelium Vitae expressly includes ‘the unborn child’[7] among the vulnerable, poor and marginalized with whom our Lord identifies himself in Matthew 25:40, and, citing that very text in the title of the entire concluding section of this document on the sacredness of human life,[8] John Paul II goes on to apply it precisely to the killing of the innocent. After observing (in article 104) that the newborn child of Apocalypse 12:4; object of the dragon’s murderous hatred, is in certain way a figure of every child, not only of the Christ-child, the Pope affirms the following as an implication of the Incarnation:

It is precisely in the "flesh" of every person that Christ continues to reveal himself and to enter into fellowship with us, so that the rejection of human life, in whatever form that rejection takes, is really a rejection of Christ. This is the fascinating but also demanding truth which Christ reveals to us and which his Church continues untiringly to proclaim: "Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me" (Mt 18:5); "Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me" (Mt 25:40).[9]
"I would venture to conclude, then, that it is theologically certain, because ascertainable by the application of reason to truths revealed in Scripture, that even though aborted children are not necessarily slain consciously and explicitly in odium Christ from the implicit viewpoint of their killers, who, by slaying them, manifest their a Willful and total rejection of an innocent human life as such, and hence for its Author — who is also the Author of the Fifth Commandment. Perhaps most importantly of all, their odium has Christ as its object from the conscious and explicit viewpoint of Christ himself, as will be manifested at the Judgement. Therefore, it will be a legitimate development of doctrine for the Magisterium to recognize their Baptism of blood and their status as martyrs by a formal act. Such a development would not appear to be a greater ‘innovation’ that that previous development by which the Holy Innocents themselves wee recognized as martyrs, several centuries after public revelation ceased. Like that development, the claiming of aborted children as martyrs may imply a certain broadening of the concept of martyrdom, but precedents for this already exist: as well as the recognition of the Holy Innocents themselves, the canonization of Maximilian Kolbe as a martyr entailed a certain novelty, insofar as he was killed by the Nazis as a voluntary substitute for another prisoner who was to have been executed for reasons quite independent of any explicit odium fidei. And he Church at least since the medieval era has recognized the Blessed Virgin as a martyr of an extraordinary kind — indeed, as ‘Queen of Martyrs’ — by virtue of the mystical ‘sword’ which was to pierce her soul (Luke 2:35) even though she did not die a violnet death of any sort.[10]

"It needs to be asked, however, in accordance with the general methodology pursued in this essay, whether the argument from Matthew 25 will, assuming it is valid, imply martyr status for other groups as well as aborted children. Would the argument also imply similar recognition as martyrs for all Christians in the state of grace who voluntarily accept an unjustly inflicted death, even when such oppression is motivated by some ‘secular’ passion rather than enmity against the true religion? One thinks again of the execution of Saint Joan of Arc as a kind of test case. Certainly, on the basis of Matthew 25, we will have to acknowledge that our Lord is surely in firm solidarity with such persons in their hour of innocent …” [End of page 114 ... “Page 115 is not part of this book preview”].

Page 116:

Appendix: Magisterial statements on the eternal destiny of Aborted Infants

"After having completed the above essay arguing for the martyr status of aborted infants, this writer became aware of two pertinent interventions of the Church’s Magisterium which will need to be taken into account in evaluating that conclusion.

"Many Catholics familiar with Pope John Paul II’s 1995 Encyclical Evangelium Vitae are still unaware of the fact that in the definitive version of this document, published in Acta Apostolicae Sedis, the Pontiff withdrew a statement found in the initially published version of article 99 to the effect that women who have had abortions can ‘ask pardon’ of the child in question, ‘who now lives in the Lord’. That sentence has now been replaced by the following advice to such mothers: ‘You can entrust your infant with hope to the same Father and to his mercy.’[12] This aligns the position of the Encyclical with that of The Catechism of the Catholic Church (nos. 1257, 1261 and 1283), and the Church’s funeral Liturgy for unbaptized infants: a position of reserve and uncertainty regarding the destiny of such infants.

"As a result of this revision of the recent Encyclical, there is now no statement of the Church’s Magisterium which either states or implies that aborted infant definitively attain eternal salvation. Prompted by his discovery of this change in the text of Evangelium Vitae, this writer made further efforts to research what other successors of Peter may have said on the subject. It appears that the only other papal statement dealing expressly with the destiny of aborted infants is that of Pope Sixtus V, whose Constitution Effraenatam of 29 October 1588 not only abstains from raising any hopes that they may attain the beatific vision, but positively affirms that they do not attain it.

"The main purpose of this document is to reinforce civil and canonical sanctions against those who carry out abortions and sterilizations: it goes so far as to prescribe the death penalty for these offences. The Pope begins by affirming the need for sterner measures to be taken against ‘the barbarity … of those who do not shrink from the most cruel slaughter of fetuses still coming to maturity in the shelter of their mother’s wombs.’[13] He then continues, by way of explanation:

For who would not detest a crime as execrable as this — a crime whose consequence is that not just bodies, but — still worse! — even souls, are, as it were, cast away? The soul of the …”
[MRyan: This is the end of the page viewing; however, Fr. Harrison provides the same citation and makes what I assume are the same arguments in his 2005 Remnant article “Can Limbo Be 'Abolished'? We pick up with the citation from that article (http://www.remnantnewspaper.com/Archives/archive-2005-1215-limbo.htm):]

For who would not detest a crime as execrable as this — a crime whose consequence is that not just bodies, but — still worse! — even souls, are, as it were, cast away? The soul of the unborn infant bears the imprint of God’s image! It is a soul for whose redemption Christ our Lord shed His precious blood, a soul capable of eternal blessedness and destined for the company of angels! Who, therefore, would not condemn and punish with the utmost severity the desecration committed by one who has excluded such a soul from the blessed vision of God? Such a one has done all he or she could possibly have done to prevent this soul from reaching the place prepared for it in heaven, and has deprived God of the service of this His own creature."
Fr. Harrison continues:

“Thus, three times in the one paragraph, in different ways, the Pope affirms that aborted babies are excluded from the beatific vision. It is obvious he is taking for granted the broader thesis that those infants in general who die unbaptized suffer the same deprivation. It would also be gratuitous, in view of the force of the Pope’s language and his use of the word “eternal” (line 5 above), as well as the whole of the previous tradition of the Church, to postulate that perhaps Sixtus V only meant to affirm here that the “exclusion” of such infants from Heaven is at least temporary, i.e., that he wasn’t rejecting here the possibility that Limbo is really only a kind of Purgatory for infants. The original text of the above paragraph is as follows: “Quis enim non detestetur, tam execrandum facinus, per quod nedum corporum, sed quod gravius est, etiam animarum certa iactura sequitur? Quis non gravissimis suppliciis damnet illius impietatem, qui animam Dei imagine insignitam, pro qua redimenda Christus Dominus noster preciosum Sanguinem fudit, aeternae capacem Beatitudinis, et ad consortium Angelorum destinatam, a beata Dei visione exclusit, reparationem coelestium sedium quantum in ipso fuit, impedivit, Deo servitium suae creaturae ademit?” (ibid.). The Latin text of this Constitution can be found in P. Gasparri (ed.), Codex Iuris Canonici Fontes, vol. I, p. 308.

"These expressions certainly do not constitute an ex cathedra definition, and indeed, the Constitution itself is primarily a legislative act — an exercise of the Pope’s governing authority rather than his teaching authority. Nevertheless, in view of the clarity and force of the Pontiff’s teaching, in this preamble to the legislative norms which form the main body of the document, it would seem that the doctrinal proposition in question — namely, that the souls of infants who die without baptism are eternally excluded from the beatific vision — should be seen as belonging at least to the authentic teaching of the magisterium.

"This conclusion is reinforced when we consider other magisterial teachings on unbaptized infants. As early as 385, Pope St. Siricius, writing to Bishop Himerius, showed that he felt gravely bound in conscience, for the sake of his own salvation, to warn the latter to insist on the baptism of infants as well as adults in his diocese, “ . . . lest Our own soul be in danger if, as a result of being denied the saving font, . . . each one of them, on leaving the world, loses both [eternal] life and the kingdom” (“. . . ne ad nostrarum perniciem tendat animarum, si negato . . . fonte salutari exiens unusquisque de saeculo et regnum perdat et vitam”) (DS 184, my translation, not found in earlier editions of Denzinger).

"Would not any subsequent pope be wise – in the interests of his own salvation! – to follow St. Siricius’ vigilant example in this, if there is any doubt whatsoever that unbaptized infants reach Heaven. The teaching of the Ecumenical Council of Florence (the Bull Cantate Domino of February 4, 1442) is more emphatic. It says (my emphasis):

Regarding children, indeed, because of danger of death, which can often take place, since no help can be brought to them by another remedy than through the sacrament of baptism, through which they are snatched from the domination of the devil and adopted among the sons of God, [the sacrosanct Roman Church] advises that holy baptism ought not to be deferred for forty or eighty days, . . . but it should be conferred as soon as it can be done conveniently (. . . ). (Denzinger 712 = DS 1349.)
"The Latin original of the words emphasized above is: “. . . cum ipsis non possit alio remedio subveniri, nisi per sacramentum baptismi, per quod eripiuntur a diaboli dominatu et in Dei filios adoptantur”. (I have followed Roy Deferrari’s English Denzinger version here except for the first word, cum, which is translated there as “when” instead of “since”. “When” is misleading here, because if, as it seems to insinuate, there can be circumstances where some “remedy” other than baptism exists and can be “brought to” infants in original sin, then the document would surely have to tell us what this other mysterious “remedy” is. But neither this nor any other magisterial document in history has ever suggested what other “remedy” could be applied by Christians to such infants.)

[End of my citation]
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Re: MERCY REIGNS

Post  MRyan on Mon Apr 16, 2012 3:47 pm

Jehanne wrote:
Mike,

Readers can judge for themselves:

http://www.seattlecatholic.com/a051207.html

After Pope John Paul II's retraction, in the final and definitive version of Evangelium Vitae #99 (cf. Acta Apostolicae Sedis, vol. 87 [1995] p. 515) of the initial version's statement that aborted babies "now live in the Lord" (i.e., are in Heaven), it appears that the only papal statement expressly mentioning the destiny of aborted infants is that of Pope Sixtus V, whose Constitution Effrænatam of 29 October 1588 not only abstains from raising any hopes that they may attain the beatific vision, but positively affirms that they do not attain it!
Indeed, readers can judge for themselves, and there is a lot to digest.

I hope they will also consider Fr. Harrison’s initial position, especially in light of the additional theological work presented herein, before he seemed to distance himself from his position based on his discovery of a papal disciplinary Bull (Effrænatam) that clearly reveals the pope’s mind with respect to his belief in Limbo and the non-salvific fate of aborted infants. But, Fr. Harrison, even though he admits the Bull is not definitive, may be reading too much into the pope’s words, who did not affirm that the question of hope was definitively closed, but clearly stated the common opinion and the fact that the Church does not know of any means other than baptism that can assure them of salvation.

Fr. Harrison’s “magisterial” arguments also pose a dilemma with respect to magisterial authority. Though he rashly and incorrectly states that CCC #1261 has no magisterial weight whatsoever, he cannot say the same for “the final and definitive version of Evangelium Vitae #99”. As was already posted, the final version is the more definitive version, but even this version provides for the “sure hope” in God’s mercy for the salvation of aborted infants:

http://www.christendom-awake.org/pages/anichols/abortion&martyrdom1.htm

Editor's Note:

Readers should know that the version of Evangelium Vitae 99 published in the official journal of the Holy See, Acta Apostolicae Sedis, softens the sense of this passage, replacing the statement that 'nothing is definitively lost' and the encouragement to 'ask forgiveness from your child who is now living in the Lord' with the assurance that the child can be 'entrust[ed] with sure hope' to 'the Father and his mercy'. Both versions, however, enjoy validity and can be cited as authoritative in argument, even though the Latin text of the Acta is the more definitive. The original English vernacular text of Evangelium Vitae 99 is made use of by a number of the contributors to this volume.
Here is the “”more definitive” version of Evangelium Vitae 99:

I would now like to say a special word to women who have had an abortion. The Church is aware of the many factors which may have influenced your decision, and she does not doubt that in many cases it was a painful and even shattering decision. The wound in your heart may not yet have healed. Certainly what happened was and remains terribly wrong. But do not give in to discouragement and do not lose hope. Try rather to understand what happened and face it honestly. If you have not already done so, give yourselves over with humility and trust to repentance. The Father of mercies is ready to give you his forgiveness and his peace in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. To the same Father and his mercy you can with sure hope entrust your child. With the friendly and expert help and advice of other people, and as a result of your own painful experience, you can be among the most eloquent defenders of everyone's right to life. Through your commitment to life, whether by accepting the birth of other children or by welcoming and caring for those most in need of someone to be close to them, you will become promoters of a new way of looking at human life.
Fr. Harrison is correct to say that the more definitive version is more in line with the CCC, 1261 -- but how then can he dismiss #1261 without dismissing the major Encyclical of Pope John Paul II, Evangelium vitae, “on the Value and Inviolability of Human Life”, which teaches the same doctrine?

In point of fact, “the original statement that 'nothing is definitively lost' still holds true if the hope of salvation is not denied to aborted infants (or to unbaptized infants in general).

I will have more to say on the other (more recent) comments of Fr. Harrison, and the reasons for my disagreement.

Jehanne wrote:
This will be my final post for this thread, as I am done arguing about this issue. As I said, readers can decide for themselves.
No need to be too hasty. I would prefer that you carefully digest what has been posted, and perhaps amend some of your more extreme statements against the fate of aborted infants. No one is saying that you have to change your mind, but such “definitive” extremes are just that, and uncalled for, IMHO.
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Re: MERCY REIGNS

Post  columba on Mon Apr 16, 2012 4:08 pm

I'm with Jehanne on this one.
A private revelation being called upon as witness in support of the overturning of constant Church teaching with regard to the necessity of Baptism for infants and Our Lord Himself being called as chief witness to this through these same private revelations, if this is not a sin against the second commandment then I don't know what is.

It's strange that the only source used in support of this message is the ambiguious CCC, a book that should itself be on the banned books shelf (if they still had such a shelf).

I have read two books of supposed private revelation in the past two years. One of which is by an Irish woman Olive Dawson (the revelations are by her brother though she does the promotion of them) and the other by one who calls herself "Ann the Lay Apostle." From the few extracts included from this new revelation in Mike's post, they read very much like many other such false revelatons with similar type tone and content.

Father Jobert fully acknowledges the divine authorship of the messages

I don't see how anyone could fully acknowledge the divine authorship of any such message before the Church has a chance to decide the matter. The best he could say would be that it doesn't contain any error, and judging by the content even that wouldn't be a prudent thing to assert.

Their death and martyrdom, when claimed by the Church as true martyrdom, will be a mighty force against the evil of abortion.

This -to me- doesn't sound like Our Lord.

Churchmen, beware! When I shake the world to its foundations, you will be held responsible for your neglect of this issue!

And these threats certainly don't sound like they proceed from the mouth of God. In fact if anything, the Church has spoken out much against the crime of abortion to the neglect of a host of many other sins that contribute to the sin of abortion and its proliferation. If our Lord wished to threaten Churchmen I would think He would start by reminding them of their neglect of His blessed mother's words at Fatima when she asked for the consecration of Russia.

No... I don't buy this at all, but I think that when it is proven false it could have the good effect of returning the Church to belief again in her true teachings.


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Re: MERCY REIGNS

Post  George Brenner on Mon Apr 16, 2012 7:08 pm

The quote below is from the link Jehanne provide from the Seattle Catholic as written by Father Brian Harrison:

" For who would not detest a crime as execrable as this — a crime whose consequence is that not just bodies, but — still worse! — even souls, are, as it were, cast away? The soul of the unborn infant bears the imprint of God's image! It is a soul for whose redemption Christ our Lord shed His precious blood, a soul capable of eternal blessedness and destined for the company of angels! Who, therefore, would not condemn and punish with the utmost severity the desecration committed by one who has excluded such a soul from the blessed vision of God? Such a one has done all he or she could possibly have done to prevent this soul from reaching the place prepared for it in heaven, and has deprived God of the service of this His own creature."


In particular the last few words that say " and has deprived God of the service of this His own creature. " is presumptuous and at the very minimum is challenging or concluding the outcome of one's soul rather than leaving judgement always and completely and without reservation to God Almighty.

After reading much of what Mike has posted, I share is his prayer and hope as discussed by many through the centuries for the eternal outcome for aborted babies. I am at complete peace personally on this issue as I completely trust in God and everything He wills. He is Perfect Perfection. Do we all realize that the answer to this discussion and issue has already been answered. Even as I write this, there are many aborted souls whose bodies but not their souls have JUST been murdered are now before God and I fear not for them. I love God with all my heart and soul.
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Re: MERCY REIGNS

Post  MRyan on Mon Apr 16, 2012 8:04 pm

LIMBO: A THEOLOGICAL EVALUATION
GEORGE J. DYER

St. Mary of the Lake Seminary, Mundelein, Illinois


Theological Studies, 1958

http://www.ts.mu.edu/content/19/19.1/19.1.2.pdf

"THE DEATH of an unbaptized infant presents Catholic theologians with a poignant problem. The dawn star of Christian culture had hardly risen when men first raised the question, and it has continued to echo through the centuries. There are reasons enough for the persistent reappearance of the difficulty. The fate of an unbaptized child is closely tied to several highly volatile questions: original sin, the necessity of baptism, the salvific will of God. Each of these issues is a vital nerve in the body of Catholic doctrine, and each can be studied with clinical precision in the person of an unbaptized child. The question, then, is not pure pedantry; and if it seems a discouraging one, we have the admonition of St. Gregory of Nyssa: "I venture to assert that it is not right to omit the examination which is within the range of our ability, or to leave the question here raised without making any inquiries or having any ideas about it."(1)

The problem we have set ourselves is only a fraction of Gregory's much larger difficulty. Ours is a question of evaluation: where does the limbus puerorum stand on the scale of theological values? Is it merely an opinion of theologians or is it something more? In recent years we have seen a denial of limbo used as a springboard for speculation about the possible salvation of children.(2) On the other hand, limbo has been declared a "Catholic doctrine which cannot be denied without temerity."(3) Which of these views is the more accurate appraisal of the limbus puerorum? A preliminary remark or two may help to illuminate both the question and a possible approach to it.

(1) De infantibus qui praemature abripiuntur (PG 46, 178).
(2) G. Fangauer, "Fate of Unbaptized Infants," Homiletic and Pastoral Review 47 (1946) 11; E. Boudes, "Reflexion sur la solidarity des hommes avec le Christ," Nouvelle revue Mologique 71 (1949) 589.
(3) Cf. W. A. Van Roo, "Infants Dying without Baptism," Gregorianum 35 (1954) 408.

As the Scholastics envision it, limbo embraces two ideas: the exclusion of infants from heaven and their exemption from the pains of hell.(4) Both of these elements are essential to the notion of limbo; of the two, however, the second is more important to limbo as such, the first being common both to infants and to those who die in a state of personal sin. It would seem, then, that any theological evaluation of limbo must be keyed to the second of the elements, exemption from the pain of sense. This at once suggests a solution and presents a problem. A survey of the past fifty years indicates that only one theologian in eight has gone as far as "common and certain" in evaluating the immunity of infants from the pain of sense. Kerygmatically the picture is much the same; only one catechetical writing in six has used the word "limbo." Two-thirds of them are completely silent on the question of the pain of sense for infants. A glance at the preceding century shows an even greater hesitation before the problem.(5) This somewhat anomalous situation seems to find its explanation in an earlier age, centuries during which a denial of limbo was protected by decrees of the Holy See. In this article we will try to trace the question of the pain of sense through the past four centuries. The information we gather may help towards a more accurate evaluation of limbo.

(4) A. Gaudel, "Limbes," Dictionnaire de thiologie catholique 9, 760; W. Stockums, Das Los der ohne die Taufe sterbenden Kinder (Freiburg, 1923) p. 135.
(5) This survey is summarized at the conclusion of this article.

The whiplash of Augustine's genius carved a channel through Western thought, and the bitter stream of his views on the fate of infants swept up to the shores of the twelfth century. The Schoolmen analyzed and distilled his thought and passed on to the centuries the idea of a limbo that was free of the pain of sense. This conception of the fate of infants coursed nearly unimpeded through the next four centuries. It was not until the sixteenth century that a serious attempt was made to turn the current of thought back into its ancient channel. Prominent in this new movement were Petau, Jansenius, Bossuet, Noris, Berti, and Tamburini. Their motives, methods, and—more important—their reception by the Church are all curiously linked in the tangled history of the time. What was this relationship?

THE RETURN TO AUGUSTINE! PETAU AND JANSENIUS

The intellectual topography of Europe was profoundly altered when the Reformation tore loose from Rome a great segment of the body Catholic. The Reformers passed over the Middle Ages in their "return to the Gospel" and buttressed their doctrines with the authority of St. Augustine. Their ideas of necessary grace and moribund liberty cracked the foundations of Catholic theology. Catholic theologians hastened to fill the breach, and the great theories of grace were born.

One of the by-products of this struggle with heresy was the centering of attention on Augustine. A new reverence for the great doctor began to spread through the Catholic universities of Europe. Men began to turn to his anti-Pelagian writings for inspiration in their wrestling with new problems. These works were read and reread by the theologians of the day; studded as they are with references to unbaptized infants, they began to exert a growing influence. Here and there men began to adopt Augustine's views on the fate of infants. No less than eighteen theologians had done so before the rise of Jansenism, and of these Denis Petau is the most prominent.(6) It remained, however, for the troublesome Bishop of Ypres to spark a real controversy.

(6) For lack of space, only their names will be listed: Mainardus, Musaeus, Driedo, Baius, Conrius, Fabricius, Paludanus, Mercerus, Bayus, Wiggers, Rampen, another Paludanus, Estius, Sylvius, Petrus, Pollet, Colvenerius.

The Augustinus is a eulogy of Augustine; consequently it was no surprise when Jansenius adopted the Saint's views on unbaptized children.(7) Unfortunately the book was more than a eulogy; it was a raking broadside that swept across the theology of some of the most prominent Jesuit theologians. Stung into a reply, the Jesuit College at Louvain published a defense of the "doctrine of the theologians of the Society of Jesus," consisting of a series of theses in which the ideas of Jansenius were confronted with the doctrines of the great Jesuit theologians. Two of the points scored by the Jesuits are of particular interest. They denied a pain of sense for infants and they tried to bring Augustine's authority back into focus.(-8-)

These theses are of great interest because they mark both the objections to Jansenius and the method of attack that the Jesuits were to employ during the remainder of the controversy.(9) Through them the problem of unbaptized infants and the question of Augustine's authority gained a definite place in the Jansenist debates. The more important question of the two was, of course, that of Augustine's authority; it was basic to the entire controversy. At times, however, the two ideas were juxtaposed, and men employed the very severity of Augustine's views on unbaptized infants to restrict his authority. Isaac Habert, an early polemist, saw here an ideal fulcrum with which to tumble Augustine from the pedestal on which the Jansenists had placed him. If theologians could abandon Augustine in this case, he asked, why not in others?(10) The argument was an excellent one, but dangerous. Theologians who tried to temper the prestige of Augustine found themselves sailing a narrow channel between Scylla and Charybdis. It took a skilful hand to temper the exaggerated reverence for Augustine preached by Jansenius without at the same time offending the orders or universities. Polemics, unfortunately, do not breed discretion, and a number of well-intentioned authors sailed into trouble.

(-8-) Theses theologicae de gratia, libero arbitrio, praedestinatione (Antwerp, 1641) pp. 19, 120.
(9) A. de Meyer, Les premieres controverses jansenistes en France (Louvain, 1917) p. 120.
(10) Defense de la joy de VSglise et de Vancienne doctrine de Sorbonne, touchant les princi-paux points de la grdce (Paris, 1644) p. 61.

BOSSUET, NORIS, AND BERTI

Portalie places Richard Simon among the handful of Catholics who believed that Augustine should be abandoned to the Jansenists.(11) One reason for which Simon would have jettisoned Augustine was the Saint's disquieting views on unbaptized infants. Simon championed the opinion of a certain Hilary, who said that hell was reserved for personal sin. This, he said, was quite consonant with the belief of the Fathers, who had unanimously proclaimed that our salvation or damnation depended entirely upon our own free will.(12)

(11) "Augustinisme," Dktionnaire de theologie catholique 1, 2516
(12) Cf. J. Bossuet, Defense de la tradition, in Oeuvres 2 (Paris, 1887) 580.

Simon's outspoken criticism of Augustine provoked the Defense de la tradition of Jacques Bossuet. Bossuet denounced Simon's theory as manifest Pelagianism. Both the Council of Lyons and that of Florence, he said, had taught that original sin would be punished in hell. He rejected the idea of an "upper hell" where infants might dwell. Lyons and Florence had made no such distinction, he said, but had consigned to hell those who died in either personal or original sin, marking only the inequality of their sufferings.(13 Ibid)

The limbo debate received further momentum from the writings of three Jesuit theologians: Adam, Annat, and Moraines. In their attempts to silence the Jansenists, they accused Augustine of being obscure, contradictory, excessive; among the excesses which they reproved was Augustine's opinion on the fate of unbaptized infants.(14) Their arguments did more than embarrass the Jansenfsts; they embittered the Augustinians. One of the most astute of the Augustinian students was chosen to defend the honor of Augustine and of the order; he was Henry Noris, then twenty-seven years of age.

Noris was no ordinary polemist; Pastor places him side by side with Mabillon as the most important scholar of the seventeenth century.(15) Noris replied to the critics of Augustine with vast erudition and not a little irony, claiming that Augustine's views on children were those of his age and had, moreover, been adopted by succeeding centuries. If the Schoolmen had been aware of the history of the Pelagian controversy, he said, they would not have abandoned Augustine so readily. Noris did not pretend that Augustine's opinion was the only possible one, nor did he claim that Augustine's arguments were beyond question. His purpose, he said, was to free the Saint of the accusations leveled against him, to demonstrate that his views deserved consideration. Indeed, he said, the evidence was such that it made Augustine's opinion the more probable one.(16)

Noris' Historia pelagiana sparked an explosion that reverberated throughout Europe for seventy-five years. Certain theologians, indignant at an attack from this quarter while they fought the enemies of the Church, made serious efforts to have the book condemned. We will see more of this, however, when we review the Church's attitude toward the limbo question.

The man largely responsible for developing Noris' ideas and carrying them through the eighteenth century was John Berti. Sciaffinati, the Augustinian General, had asked Berti to write a book that would set forth the whole of Augustine's thought. When the work was completed, it was to serve as a text for the students of the order. The result of Berti's labors was the massive Opus de theologicis disciplines.(17) The semi-official character of the book was one of Berti's lines of defense when he was denounced to the Holy See. His doctrine, he said, was that of Augustine and of the Augustinians.(18)

(14) Cf. H. Noris, Vindiciae augustinianae (Padua, 1677) p. 14; C. Werner, Franz Suarez und die Scholastik der letzten Jahrhunderte 1 (Regensburg, 1889) 295
(15) L. F. von Pastor, The History of the Popes 35 (St. Louis, 1938) 363.
(16) Noris, op. cit., p. 45; cf. also pp. 39, 33, 46, 104.
(17) H. Hurter, Nomenclator literarius 5 (Innsbruck, 1911) 2.
(18) Opus de theologicis disciplines 5 (Rome, 1765) 63, 73, 75, 7

Berti made his own Noris' defense of Augustine. According to Berti, Augustine's mind on the future life of unbaptized children was beyond question. The children would go into eternal fire; they would be afflicted by it; they would burn in it. Augustine, he said, had rejected not only the Pelagian compromise of vita aeterna, but any middle ground at all between the happiness of the kingdom and the torment of hell. This was the opinion which Berti too felt that he must embrace.(19 Ibid. 2, 22)

PIETRO TAMBURINI AND THE SYNOD OF PISTOIA

With the introduction of Jansenism into Italy, the limbo controversy entered upon its final development. Pavia was the center of Peninsular Jansenism in its definitive phase, and it was here that the great lines of the movement were drawn. The leader of the Pavian group was Pietro Tamburini, "perhaps the most prominent and interesting figure of Italian Jansenism."(20) More to the point, Tamburini was the promoter of the Synod of Pistoia, the man "who put together this variety of errors, from the schemata of the decrees read in the congregations up to the definitive redaction made public in 1788."(21) Many of the synodal decrees, it has been shown, were taken almost literally from the writings of Tamburini.(22) Particularly his are the decrees on predestination, grace, free will, and the sacraments. The last is of peculiar interest because here we find Pistoia's statement on the fate of unbaptized infants.(23)

Tamburini's interest in the limbo question seems to have been mainly forensic. He found the subject useful as a weapon against the Molinists and as a breastwork for his own brand of Jansenism.(24)

Limbo, said Tamburini, pointed up the parallel that existed between Pelagianism and Molinism. By drawing near to the Pelagian idea of grace, he said, the Molinists had also come quite close to the Pelagian conception of original sin and its consequences.(25) To protect their system of grace, the Molinists had eviscerated the doctrine of original sin, reducing it to a mere privation of grace. It was now possible, said Tamburini, to see the fatal logic of their views on the consequences of original sin. Having denied, in effect, that original sin was truly and properly a sin, the Molinists also denied that there was any punishment for it. Consequently, said Tamburini, they placed infants in a sort of middle place where there was neither suffering nor glory.(26)

(20) G. Mantese, Pietro Tamburini e il Giansenismo bresciano (Brescia, 1942) p. vii.
(21) B. Matteucci, Scipione de' Ricci (Florence, 1941) p. 178.
(22) G. A. Rasier, Analisi del concilio diocesano di Pistoja (Assisi, 1790) p. 38.
(23) Rasier, op. cit., p. 17; Mantese, op. cit., p. 144; Matteucci, op. cit., p. 179.
(24) Nowhere does Tamburini devote a treatise to the fate of infants. His views are found in his writings on grace, the nature of the Church, and the development of dogma.
(25) Petri Tamburini de summa catholicae de gratia Christi doctrinae praestantia dissertation (Pavia, 1790) p. 113.
(26) Ibid., pp. 117-18.

Tamburini found the limbo question useful in his apologia for Jansenism. Innovators, he said, considered the doctrine of the majority to be the truth. Tamburini sought the tessera of truth in antiquity, holding that the oldest doctrine was the truest one.(27) The true doctrine could be traced back to the apostles, he said. If the link were broken, if at some time some doctrine had not been taught or the contrary had been taught, then it was clear that this doctrine was not an apostolic one. A good example of this, said Tamburini, was the limbo "fable." Limbo was some five or six centuries old, but in apostolic times the contrary had been taught. The age of the limbo "fable" and the conspiracy of the Schools in defending it served only to show, he said, that a revealed doctrine could exist in the Church in almost complete oblivion.(28)

When we recall Tamburini's influence at Pistoia, it comes as no surprise to see the Synod denouncing the limbo "fable": ". . . cosi rigettiamo come un favola Pelagiana un luogo di terzo per collocarvi i Bambini, che muojona colla sola colpa d'origine."(29) Children, decreed the Synod, must suffer the torment of fire together with the devil and his angels.

(27) Analisi del libro delle Prescrizioni di Tertulliano (Pavia, 1781) p. 160.
(28) Ibid., p. 172
(29) Atti e decreti del concilio diocesano di Pistoja (Florence, 1786) p. 110.

In Pietro Tamburini and in Pistoia the Jansenist denial of limbo received its final expression. It bore a marked similarity to the Augustinian position, but it was no less disparate. As we have seen, both the Jansenists and the Augustinians rejected the limbo of the Scholastics and designated the pain of sense as the punishment of original sin. Neither group, moreover, dealt gently with its adversaries. Noris and Berti, however, had the good sense of scholarship; and although they were caustic, they did not censure. The Jansenists, unfortunately, showed no such restraint. Tamburini ridiculed the limbo of the Schoolmen as a Pelagian fable. The Molinist views on the future lot of infants were for him an instance par excellence of Molinist and Pelagian affinity. Both the Molinists and the Pelagians, he charged, had drawn their ideas on the subject from the same tainted source—a faulty conception of grace which led to a distortion of the doctrine of original sin.

The Church's intervention in the controversy finds its explanation in the chemistry of the times. The Jansenists detested the Molinists, the Molinists scored the Jansenists, and the Augustinians took issue with them both. The air was charged with suspicion and not a little slander. Molinists were accused of Pelagianism; Augustinians of Jansenism; and Jansenists, rightly enough, of heresy. This was the situation when the Church intervened. Limbo, of course, was not a major issue in her investigation; imbedded as the limbo question had become in the Jansenist controversy, however, it received its share of attention.

THE CHURCH AND THE AUGUSTINIANS

In 1758 the Augustinian General, Vasquez, submitted a petition to Clement XIII asking that the Augustinian School be protected against the "calumnies" of its enemies.(30) This petition contained what might be termed a manifesto of Augustinian theology, for it embraced twenty-three propositions which Vasquez termed the "principal points of the doctrine" peculiar to the Augustinians. The sixth proposition read as follows: "Parvulos in originali peccato sine baptismo morientes non modo Dei visione carere, et angi, sed et poena ignis licet mitissima in Infernis cruciari, ex Sacris Literis cum S. Augustino censemus." The Augustinians, said Vasquez, had ever felt free to teach these doctrines, since they had been declared sound and orthodox in nearly all their parts by the Apostolic Letters of Pope Paul III and by the three congregations which had examined Noris' writings under various popes.

(30) Accademiadei Lincei: Biblioteca Corsiniana, Rome, N. 1485, ff. 183-209; cf. Dammig, 77 movimento giansenista a Roma nella seconda metd del secolo XVIII (Vatican City, 1945).

Clement submitted the matter to the cardinals of the Holy Office. Their examination went through several sessions before a decree was finally drawn up and approved by Clement.(31) The decree refers to the decisions of Paul III and to the case of Noris and Berti and states that with these the Augustinian School is sufficiently secure and need fear nothing. The decree also mentions nine other papal letters, briefs, or bulls. For the most part these consist in general approbations or prohibitions. More to our point are the letters of Paul III and the case of Noris and Berti.

Augustine Mainardi of Asti in Italy had been accused to Clement VII of preaching and defending ideas that were erroneous and not Catholic. Clement, on the complaint of the Bishop of Asti, told him to correct Mainardi or to silence him. Mainardi appealed his case to Rome, submitting ten propositions for examination. If the propositions were indeed Catholic and not erroneous, the Augustinian asked that the sentence passed upon him be revoked. The eighth proposition read as follows: "Pueri decedentes cum solo originali peccato damnan-tur ad aeternos cruciatus ignis inferni."(32) Paul III submitted the propositions to Thomas Badia, the Master of the Sacred Palace. Badia replied that the propositions were, as Mainardi claimed, "Catholic and not erroneous." The Pope thereupon forbade the Bishop of Asti or any other of Mainardi's superiors to molest him because of his ten propositions. Referring to the eighth proposition on the fate of infants, Paul declared that it, was Saint Augustine's and could be found in many of his writings.(33)

This same Pope gave a nearly identical decision in the case of Musaeus Tarvisinus, another Augustinian. Here again the Pope imposed silence on the accusers and freed the accused of whatever strictures had been imposed upon him.(34)

Noris' book got a frigid reception when it was first submitted to the Inquisition in 1672. Rumors had reached Rome that the author had attempted to cloak condemned doctrines with the authority of St. Augustine.(35) At first somewhat hostile, Cardinal Casanata ended by approving the book enthusiastically. Noris was shortly afterwards appointed a qualificator of the Roman Inquisition.(36)

(31) Biblioteca Corsiniana, op. cit., f. 183
(32) This letter of Paul III is reprinted in Berti's Opus de theologicis disciplinis 7, 36.
(33) Ibid.
(34) This was the second letter of Paul III to which Vasquez referred in his petition to Clement XIII; text in Berti, op. cit. 1, 167.
(35) H. Zazzarius, "Vita Norisii," in Noris' Opera omnia 1 (Venice, 1769) xiii.
(36) F. H. Reusch, Der Index der verbotenen Biicher 2 (Bonn, 1885) 672.

After several turbulent years Noris' book was denounced to the Inquisition for renewing the errors of Baius and Jansenius. The examination dragged on for months with Cardinal degli Albizzi fighting for the complete condemnation of the book. Fortunately, Noris found a champion in Cardinal Colonna, "die e terribile e vehe-mente ... e parlo piu alto dell'altro."(37) When the decision was finally given, the verdict was favorable to Noris. His writings were returned "indemnes, nullaque nota perstricti."(38)

(37) Clarorum Venetorum ad Ant. Magliabechium nonnullosque alios epistulae (Florence, 1765) pp. 83, 86.
(38) Noris, Opera omnia 3, vii; Bonnard, "Noris," Dictionnaire de thSologie catholique 11, 801; Gutierrez, "Noris," Enciclopedia cattolica 8 (Vatican City, 1952) 1935-36.

Fifteen years later Noris was appointed Prefect of the Vatican Library. When the appointment became known, all the old accusations were renewed, and the Pope hesitated to confirm the appointment. Cardinal Casanata, however, told the Pope that Noris had replied to the charges fifteen years earlier; the matter was settled—for the moment.(39) In December of 1693 new accusations were brought against his book. Pope Innocent appointed a special board of theologians to examine the book, and once again the decision was favorable.(40) Noris' opponents were still not satisfied, however, and demanded further investigation. Apparently trying to silence the critics, Innocent made Noris a Consultor to the Inquisition.(41) Hopes for peace were dashed when an anonymous author addressed several books of "scruples" to the censors of Noris' writings, questioning the wisdom of their decision.(42) Innocent ordered Noris to reply to these attacks. He did so, and in the words of a later Pope, "was enrolled as a victor in the College of Cardinals to universal applause."(43)

The attacks upon Noris' writings continued even after his death. The long controversy entered its final stage when the Spanish Index banned Noris' two works: the Historia pelagiana and the Dissertatio de Synodo V oecumenico.(44) When Benedict XIV discovered what had happened in Spain, he wrote the Grand Inquisitor, Perez de Prado, demanding that Noris' books be removed from the Spanish Index. He reviewed the history of Rome's various investigations and reminded the Inquisitor that nothing bad or opposed to sound doctrine had been found. In view of these facts, he concluded, it was not the business of the Spanish Inquisition to reexamine Noris' works and still less to condemn them.(45) Benedict was thoroughly annoyed that books which had been approved after so many discussions in the Roman Inquisition had been condemned by the Spaniards.(46) In spite of his obvious concern, it was ten years before Benedict won his point; in 1757 the Spanish King approved a decree removing Noris' name from the Spanish Index.(47)

(39) Clarorum Venetorum ad Ant. Magliabechium nonnullosque alios epistulae, p. 151; M. F. Miguelez, Jansenismo y regalismo en Espana (Valladolid, 1895) p. 64, note 1.
(40) Miguelez, op. cit., p. 66, note 1.
(41) Ibid., p. 67, note 1.
(42) Cf. Bonnard, loc. Cit. (supra n. 38).
(43) Acta Benedicti XIV ... cur a Raphaelis de Martinis 1 (Naples, 1894) 554.
(44) Report of Spanish Inquisitor to Ferdinand VI; text in Miguelez, op. cit., p. 272.
(45) Acta Benedicti XIV 1, 554.
(46) Letter of October 9, 1748; text in Miguelez, op. cit., p. 395.
(47) Text of the decree in Miguelez, op. cit., p. 248.

Berti, like Noris before him, spent much of his theological career defending himself. John d'Yse de Saleon, the Bishop of Rodez, accused Berti of reviving the errors of Baius and Jansenius. He submitted his indictment to the Holy See. Benedict XIV in turn referred the matter to his theologians. When their investigation had been completed, the Pope replied that nothing had been found in Berti's work that was contrary to the decisions of the Church. Though the examining theologians, he said, disagreed with Berti's opinions, none the less they judged them to be sound.(48)

Archbishop Languet of Sens joined de Saleons in the attack on Berti. On April 25, 1750, he sent a letter to Benedict presenting his criticism of Berti and asking for papal confirmation. The Pope again replied that nothing had been found in Berti's writings which was contrary to the decisions of the Church.(49)

We have now seen the Roman decisions that formed the backbone of Clement XIII's decree of 1758. With these the Augustinians had been declared to be sufficiently secure in their doctrine. What approval, if any, was given the Augustinian doctrine by these decisions?

From what we have seen of Paul III it seems clear that he did not endorse in any way the Augustinian propositions. He did give Mainardi freedom of expression while at the same time protecting him against reprisal. Pope Benedict himself gives us the result of the many investigations of Noris' works: "Nothing bad or opposed to sound doctrine ... nothing worthy of condemnation or any other censure was found in his works."(50) He speaks of a book "approved after so many discussions in the Roman Inquisition."(51) What was the nature of the "approval" of which Benedict spoke? The Pope shows us his mind in the matter in an illuminating letter to Cardinal Tencin. Strictly speaking, he said, one should say that Noris' writings had not been disapproved by Rome, though broadly speaking one might say that they had been approved.(52) We must conclude, then, that the "approval" given Noris' work meant simply that it contained nothing that merited disapproval; as Benedict said: "...nihil anathemate vel alia censura dignum in operibus fuerit inventum."(53) This interpretation finds corroboration in the Pope's judgment of Berti. Nothing, he said, was found contrary to the decisions of the Church; Berti's doctrine was sound.

(48) Acta Benedicti XIV 2, 74.
(49) Ibid. 2, 397.
(50) Ibid. 1, 554; letter of July 31, 1748.
(51) Ibid.; letter of October 9, 1748.
(52) Correspondance de Benott XIV, ed. E. de Heeckeren (Paris, 1912); letter of June 25, 1749, Vol. 1, p. 496.
(53) Acta Benedicti XIV 1, 554; letter of July 31, 1748.

Returning to the decree approved by Clement XIII, we can now weigh its force more accurately. The Augustinians had been told that they could rest secure in the decisions given by Rome. From what we have seen we may say that these decisions had both a dogmatic and a disciplinary effect. Dogmatically they meant that there was nothing in the Augustinian doctrine which merited disapproval. The disciplinary force of these decisions we have seen in the writings of Benedict XIV, who severely rebuked those who disapproved what Rome had not disapproved. Since the pain of sense for unbaptized infants was part of the Augustinian doctrine, we may conclude that it was an opinion which in no way merited the disapproval of Rome and could therefore be freely taught. A difficulty, however, arises immediately. Did this situation perdure, or was it changed by the bull Auctorem fidei? The answer seems to lie in the Church's attitude toward the Jansenists.

THE CHURCH AND THE JANSENISTS

On August 28, 1794, Auctorem fidei condemned Article 3 of the decrees of the Synod of Pistoia:

Doctrina, quae velut fabulam Pelagianam explodit locum ilium inferorum (quern limbi puerorum nomine fideles passim designant), in quo animae decedentium cum sola originali culpa poena damni citra poenam ignis puniantur; perinde ac si hoc ipso, quod, qui poenam ignis removent, inducerent locum ilium et statum medium expertem culpae et poenae inter regnum Dei et damnationem aeternam, qualem fabulabantur Pelagiani—falsa, temeraria, in scholas catholicas iniuriosa.(54)
The interpretations of this condemnation vary widely. Some say that it constitutes a papal endorsement of limbo. Others deny that it lends any dogmatic value to limbo at all; it is, they say, directed solely against a calumny on Catholic Schools.(55) The second interpretation seems to have the stronger case.

(54) J. D. Mansi, Sacrorum conciliorum nova et amplissima collection 38 (Florence, 1769) 1268.
(55) Cf. W. A, Van Roo, art. Cit. (supra n. 3) p. 457.,

Is the mere denial of limbo or the manner of denial under censure in Auctorem fidei? The answer, we believe, lies in the phrase: "velut fabulam Pelagianam." The bull declares false not the doctrine which denies limbo but the doctrine which rejects it as a Pelagian fable. The entire emphasis of the article seems to be upon the manner of the denial, for the explanatory clause is devoted to it: "perinde ac si hoc ipso. ..."

There were two distinct ideas in the decree of Pistoia. One declared that there were but two places for men in eternity, the kingdom of heaven and the hell of fire. The second rejected as a Pelagian fable a third place for those infants who died in a state of original sin. The Bull Auctorem fidei reaches back twelve centuries to state definitively the exact nature of the Pelagian fable. The Pelagians, it said, had imagined a state and a place in which there was neither guilt nor punishment, midway between the kingdom of God and eternal damnation. Those who do away with fire as a punishment for original sin do not thereby reintroduce the Pelagian fable; and the doctrine which asserts that they do is false, temerarious, and injurious to Catholic Schools. It seems, then, that Auctorem fidei was concerned not with the denial of limbo but with the manned of the denial.

Recent investigations have declared Cardinal Gerdil to be the sole redactor of the bull Auctorem fidei.(56) His manuscript is still in existence in the Barnabite Library in Rome with the marginal notations still legible; one of these notations is of particular interest. Fastened to the margin of Article 26 is a small piece of paper; on it in Gerdil’s handwriting are the following remarks:

Concil. Carthag. an 418. Item placuit ut si quis dicit ideo dixisse Dominum in domo Patris mansiones multae sunt, ut intelligatur, quia in regno coelorum erit aliquis medius aut ullus alicubi locus, ubi beati vivant parvuli qui sine baptismo.

S. Aug. 1. 2. de orig. animae. c. 12. Novellos haereticos pelagianos justissime Conciliorum Catholicorum, et Sedis Apostolicae damnavit auctoritas, eo quod ausi fuerint non baptizatis dare quietis ac salutis locum etiam praeter regnum coelorum.(57)
(56) Matteucci, op. cit. (supra n. 21) p. 218, note 2; Mantese, op. cit. (supra n. 20) p. 86.
(57) Manuscripts of Cardinal Gerdil, Vol. 16, pp. 103-42.

These marginal notes appear to confirm what seems clear from the Bull itself: Auctorem fidei was concerned with the libel of the "Pelagian fable," and it was against this slander that it would defend the Schools. It does not seem, then, that the Bull did anything to enhance the dogmatic value of limbo. We may conclude, therefore, that the Church's earlier decisions on limbo retained their force.

With the close of the eighteenth century we find the limbo debate at an impasse. Rome's decisions indicate that she considered limbo an open question. These decisions had, however, still another effect. By defending first one position and then the other against its detractors, Rome drained the question of its forensic value. The limbo question is obviously a highly speculative one; it takes on an added dimension, however, when it is coupled to a more volatile issue. This was the case during the period which we have examined. Jansenius' vicious attack on Molinism first propelled the question of unbaptized infants into the Jansenist controversy; charges of "Jansenist" and "Pelagian" helped to keep it there. When the Holy See drew the sting from the debate, the controversy began to die.

During the nineteenth century the limbo question retreated to the comparative obscurity of a theological scholion. For all practical purposes the controversy was dead; nevertheless, it seems to have left its mark on theological thought. In an attempt to appraise the "mind of the Church" as we find it in that century, the present author conducted a survey of the literature of the period. It is by no means exhaustive, yet it did produce some interesting results.

Of forty-two theological manuals: two teach the pain of sense (denial of limbo); forty teach no pain of sense (limbo). Thus the nineteenth-century theologians favor limbo overwhelmingly; yet they fail to display any unanimity at all when they come to evaluate their position. Of those who hold no pain of sense, we find the following qualifications: eleven consider it communis; for six, controvertitur; five give no theological qualification at all; four qualify it as communissima; four, probabilior; two, communis et certa; two say that it is not dangerous to the faith; two, that it is not of faith; two, that it may be held; for one, ecclesia favet; for another, nobis verior.(58)

(58) For lack of space only the names of the authors will be listed: Abelly, Bonal, Dens, Einig, Gousset, Tanquerey, Dobmayr, Minges, Novana, Rolfus, Schouppe, Bautz, de Baets, Berthier, Klee, Sardagna, Bouvier, Casajoana, Salmanticenses, Egger, Heinrich, Kenrick, Mendive, Perrone, Schmid, Tepe, Palmieri, Lazzari, de Liguori, Claramontenses, Wirceburgenses, Friedhoff, Miller, Oswald, de Smet, Guillois, Knoll, Simar, Polmano, Marcelli, Pedrini, Jungmann. If an earlier text were reedited during the nineteenth century, it was included in this list.

We might ask how deeply the notion of limbo had taken root in the minds of the faithful during this same century. An apodictic answer is impossible, of course; but perhaps the catechetical writings of the period may give us some hint. Of forty-one catechetical writings, seven have nothing to say about the fate of infants.(59) Of the thirty-four who deny them the beatific vision, thirteen add nothing else; of these, ten remain silent, three are unwilling to comment further. The remaining twenty-one further clarify the fate of these infants: two teach limbo by name; six say that the punishment is not like that of mortal sin; eleven, that there is no pain of sense; two, that they are not in hell.(60) Somewhat surprisingly we find that only half of the catechists present the limbo of children to the faithful and only two of these mention it by name.

(59) The silence of catechetical writings on a given point is obviously of some significance: "And how are they to hear, if no one preaches?" (Rom 10:15).
(60) These catechetical writings embrace: standard exhaustive catechisms; commentaries on catechisms for priests, teachers, and catechists; catechetical sermons; textbooks for grammar school, high school, and college students; and adult catechisms. The authors are: de la Salle, Schmid, Weninger, Hirscher, Martinet, Dieringer, Byrne, Deharbe (large and small editions), Schmitt, Fander-Deharbe, Lynch-Deharbe, Fox-Deharbe, Gaume, Hay, Bressanvido, Keenan, Meynell, O'Rafferty, Power, Wilmers, Gibson, Mey, Overberg, Battaglia, Schouppe*, Wenham, Konig, Martin, Danes, Perry, Faerber, Luche, Ranieri, Wermelskirchen, Zollner. Although these authors wrote only in German, French, Italian, and English, their writings were in some instances translated into other languages, e.g., Polish, Bohemian.

Limbo, as we find it in the nineteenth century, seems to have been theological opinion, although one held almost unanimously by the writers that we surveyed. The hesitation these men manifest in placing a stronger theological note on limbo may reflect the controversy of the previous centuries. If the catechetical writings we have observed are any indication of the mind of the faithful, we cannot conclude that limbo was very deeply rooted in their thinking. What theological value can we assign to limbo at the close of the nineteenth century? Sententia communis seems to be the fairest estimate.

The over-all picture of limbo in the twentieth century does not differ markedly from that of the preceding period. A survey of forty-six twentieth-century theological manuals shows unanimity on the fact that there is no pain of sense; there is wide divergence, however, on the qualification involved. For eighteen it is communis; six give no theological qualification; six have it [u]communis et certa[/i]; three, communissima; two, probabilior; for two the pain of sense is not of faith; for two, ecclesia favet; for one, controvertitur; for one, probabilis; one says that it may be held; another, that it must be held; one affirms that it is almost certain; one, that it should be defended; one, that the pain of sense should not be admitted.61

(61) The authors are: Hermann, Hunter, Pohle-Gummersbach, Pohle-Gierens, Sanda, Schanz, Schmaus, Baisi, Dalmau, Herve^ Otten, Pohle, Arbazuza, Coghlan, Hurter, Van Noort, Connell, Diekamp, Esser, Goupil, Garretti, Hove, Huarte, Lahitton, Lepicier, Miller, Ott, Pignataro, Parente, Premm, Sasia, del Val, Piolanti, Denis, Janssens, Pohle-Preuss, d'Ales, Jacobs, Wilhelm, Hugon, Petroccia, Lottini, Manners, Beraza, Boyer, Lercher.

To some extent the catechetical writings mirror the uneven picture which we find among the theologians. Of sixty-six catechetical writings, nineteen have nothing to say about the fate of infants. The remaining forty-seven deny them the beatific vision; of these twenty-three add nothing else, twenty-four further specify. The specifications are: ten mention limbo; for seven there is no pain of sense; for four, they are not in hell; two say that the punishment is not like that for mortal sin; one, that they are in a place of rest.(62) Limbo is presented in substance by about one-third of the catechetical writings; fewer than one in six mention it by name.

(62) The authors are: Faerber, Fink, Griinder, MacEachen, Richter, Brownson, Bandas, Nolle, Smith, Schmitt, Drinkwater, Rosenberger, Russell, Coppens, Broussole, Baltimore Catechism (nos. 1, 2, 3), Kinkead, Urban, Christian Brohters, Collot, Hay, McGovern, O'Brien, Schorsch, Annunziata, Bolton, Burbach, Eaton, Greenstock, Fitzpatrick, Kirsch, Philipps, Sheehan, Spirago, Pichler, Cassilly, Chrysostom, Gerard, Polidori, Cooper, Hart, Michel, Morrison, Hublet, de Zulueta, Marshall, Noll, Frederic, Lanslots, Schumacher, Ranieri, Gasparri, Morrow, Fox-Deharbe, Gibson, Cogan, Deharbe (small American edition), Katholischer Katechismus der Bistumer Deutschlands.

There is a clear tendency among twentieth-century theologians to give greater theological weight to the limbo of children. Six of them declare it to be communis et certa, and three others seem inclined to agree. The over-all picture, however, favors a more conservative view, with the simple sententia communis being most in evidence. The catechetical writings of the period once again fail to evince a common persuasion among the faithful.

CONCLUSION

Where does the limbus puerorum stand on the scale of theological values? Is it merely an opinion of theologians, or is it something more? These are the questions with which we began our study. As a premise for a possible solution we sketched the theological history of limbo through the past four centuries—its reception by the magisterium, the theologians, and the faithful. From the sixteenth to the nineteenth century limbo was, as we saw, an open question—debatable and debated. In the nineteenth century the controversy died, and limbo won a common, although uncertain, acceptance among theologians. In our own century we found that theologians were at once unanimous in accepting limbo and at variance in evaluating it. A survey of the catechetical literature of the past 150 years failed to evince a persuasion among the faithful that would permit a solid argument ex sensu fidelium.

The common acceptance of an idea among theologians would seem to create a presumption in its favor. May we conclude from this that limbo is a sententia certa. In view of the tortured history of the question—the decisions of the magisterium, the varied opinions of theologians, the lack of a clear persuasion among the faithful — sententia certa appears to be too strong a qualification. It seems that we would reflect its theological position more accurately if we said that limbo was a safe and commonly accepted explanation of a difficult question."


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Re: MERCY REIGNS

Post  MRyan on Mon Apr 16, 2012 9:24 pm

http://www.hprweb.com/2012/01/letters-from-our-readers/

January 2012

Responding to articles on issue of salvation for unbaptized infants by Pugh and Hildebrand


Fr. Harrison wrote:

In a letter to the editor, there is insufficient space to demonstrate this by further citations of relevant Church documents (at least five of which—astonishingly—are ignored altogether in the International Theological Commission’s optimistic 2007 document on this subject). Interested readers can find such citations in my revision of the entry for “Limbo” in the 2010 supplementary volume of the New Catholic Encyclopedia. I would also recommend a recent essay by Norbertine theologian Fr. Hugh Barbour, who claims that those in Limbo will indeed be eternally associated with the Paschal Mystery of Christ—something which Vatican II says is offered to all human beings (cf. GS 22). But in their case, argues Barbour, this association will not consist in attaining the beatific vision, but in sharing in the final bodily resurrection which Christ won for all of us. The essay is in Aidan Nichols, O.P. (ed.), Abortion and Martyrdom (Gracewing, 2002), pp. 79-102.
My response:

Gaudium et Spes (Ecclesiastical Latin: [ˈɡawdium et ˈspɛs], Joy and Hope), the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World:

22. … The Christian man, conformed to the likeness of that Son Who is the firstborn of many brothers,(27) received "the first-fruits of the Spirit" (Rom. 8:23) by which he becomes capable of discharging the new law of love. Through this Spirit, who is "the pledge of our inheritance" (Eph. 1:14), the whole man is renewed from within, even to the achievement of " of "the redemption of the body" (Rom. 8:23): "If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the death dwells in you, then he who raised Jesus Christ from the dead will also bring to life your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who dwells in you" (Rom. 8:11).(29) Pressing upon the Christian to be sure, are the need and the duty to battle against evil through manifold tribulations and even to suffer death. But, linked with the paschal mystery and patterned on the dying Christ, he will hasten forward to resurrection in the strength which comes from hope.(30)
If “those in Limbo will indeed be eternally associated with the Paschal Mystery of Christ”, it will not be an eternal association with the Pascal Mystery in the life of the Spirit and the salvific sense of GS 22.

I’m afraid Fr. Harrison has missed or glossed over the obvious stated context of GS 22, which is not talking about “bodily resurrection” in a non-supernatural sense (even those condemned to hell will experience a "sharing in the final bodily resurrection which Christ won for all of us" - which can only intensify their eternal torments); but it speaks of “the redemption of the body” and that “life” of the Holy Ghost who “dwells in you” and who “will also bring to life your mortal bodies.” “[Y]our” obviously refers to “The Christian man” – the whole man renewed from within”.

The Holy Ghost does not dwell in the souls of those deprived of the beatific vision.

Fr. Hugh Barbour's thesis has merit in that the souls in Limbo will benefit from the Pascal Mystery through the resurrection of their bodies (and a "natural happiness"), but this is not the primary focus or context of GS 22.

In the cited “Extracts taken from Abortion and Martyrdom edited by Aidan Nichols, O.P.", John F. McCarthy, in the “Appendix: Sources in the Magisterium and St Thomas, also references GS 22 -- in its obvious context:

The necessity of Baptism

The Church gives witness to the truth revealed by Jesus that 'unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God' (John 3:5). How does the Church interpret these words? The Catechism of the Catholic Church relates them to the words of Jesus in Mark 16:16, where he says: 'He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believes not shall be condemned' - and it declares: 'Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament', so that 'God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments' (CCC, no. 1257). Thus, the Church allows for the salvation of some apart from Baptism of water. 'The Church has always held the firm conviction that those who suffer death for the sake of the faith without having received Baptism are baptized by their death for and with Christ. This Baptism of blood, like the desire for Baptism, brings about the fruits of Baptism without being a sacrament' (CCC, no. 1258). Furthermore, 'Since Christ died for all, and since all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny, which is divine, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partakers, in a way known to God, of the Paschal mystery' (Gaudium et Spes, 22, §5). Hence, 'Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity' (CCC, no. 1260). Two facts about aborted babies are to be noted in the light of these quotations:

a) aborted babies have had no possibility whatsoever to know about the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but have sought the truth in the one way that was open to them, which was to grow physically in the womb;

b) they have suffered a violent death at the hands of persons~ acting contrary to the teaching of Christ and of the Church. ~,
It was the stated intention of those responsible for Abortion and Martyrdom to provide a forum for various theological opinions. Readers can judge for themselves which thesis has the greater merit.
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Re: MERCY REIGNS

Post  columba on Tue Apr 17, 2012 9:45 am

a) aborted babies have had no possibility whatsoever to know about the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but have sought the truth in the one way that was open to them, which was to grow physically in the womb;

The problem with this is that the default position from conception (due to the presence of original sin) is not to seek the truth but to turn away from the truth. The explanation above ignores also the fact that the very reason for the lack of hope expressed by the Church throghout the ages for non-baptized infants is that they are incapable of acting or desiring. The above explanation puts them in the default position of actually being conceived with the reverse inclination of actively seeking truth. If it weren't for the reality of original sin and its effects we could certainly hold this view, but being already conceived as enemies of God, "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me."(Psalm 51:5) is the very reason for the Churches teaching concerning the fate of the non-unbaptized infant.

We also know that God provides all human souls with sufficient grace (and efficient grace if sufficient grace be respond to) for salvation. It would seem on the surface (as Tornpage has often said) that such souls as these are denied sufficient grace, but this only holds true if we believe that this sufficient grace must come directly from the hand of God without any intermediate channel being used. My view -and the Church's view- is that the intermediate channel (in our day) is the Church, and the way she "claims souls for herself" is by providing entry into this same Church for all through the waters of Baptism. There are other mediators in this process i.e, parents, prayers of the faithful for the salvtion of non-believers and proclamatuion of the gospel in general.

In light of this channel (the Church) which God has chosen to supply His grace to all, I would have more trust in the method offered by another supposed private revelatiion conerning the Baptism of aborted babies. As far as I know the recipient of this message remains anonymous. Some of the details can be found here: http://theorderofstmichael.com/baptism.htm

This revelation (to me) seems more plausible in that it doesn't deny the necessity of Baptism but prays rather that the waters of Baptism may miraculously be pemitted to touch these infants rendering them sinless before God and worrthy of eternal life with Him.

Baptism of the Unborn Prayer

"But the counsel of the LORD STANDETH FOREVER: the thoughts of His Heart to all generations. To deliver their souls from death and feed them in famine (PS 32,11,19).

Recite the APOSTLES CREED.

(Sprinkle in all directions with Holy Water) All you who were born dead during the night and during the day and who will still be born dead, all you who were killed in the womb of your mother and will still be killed in order that you will reach eternal life through Jesus Christ, (Mary, Joseph, John...saints of the day), I BAPTIZE YOU IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER AND OF THE SON AND OF THE HOLY GHOST. OUR FATHER ...HAIL MARY...GLORY BE, ETC.
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Re: MERCY REIGNS

Post  MRyan on Tue Apr 17, 2012 3:39 pm

columba wrote:
a) aborted babies have had no possibility whatsoever to know about the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but have sought the truth in the one way that was open to them, which was to grow physically in the womb;

The problem with this is that the default position from conception (due to the presence of original sin) is not to seek the truth but to turn away from the truth. The explanation above ignores also the fact that the very reason for the lack of hope expressed by the Church throghout the ages for non-baptized infants is that they are incapable of acting or desiring. The above explanation puts them in the default position of actually being conceived with the reverse inclination of actively seeking truth.
By virtue of the Incarnation and Redemption, a child in the womb and all infants are created to worship God and to be joined with Him for all eternity. The same infant is loved by God and was created to love God in return. The stain of original sin that prevents this unity in charity can only be removed by the grace of baptism or the desire for it. The Church teaches that we are allowed to hope that God provides the grace of baptism by an extraordinary means that, in the present economy, as Pope Pius XII said, is not known to be available to the infant. But the door to this salvific grace is not closed.

Despite the stain of original sin, the child is disposed to Baptism and to unity with Christ. As St. Thomas Aquinas taught:

children not having the use of reason, being, as it were, in the womb of Mother Church, receive salvation by an act of the Church.... And, for the same reason, they can be said to be intending, not by an act of their own intention, since they sometimes resist and cry, but by the act of those by whom they are being offered.
The infant cannot seek the truth except vicariously through the desire of the Church and the desire of the Communion of Saints. So your objection has little merit since not even the infant about to be Baptized can seek the truth. If the faith and desire of the infant is supplied by the Church in the latter case, why not in the former?

Your objection that would say the infant cannot, in “the present economy” desire baptism by an act of the will has merit, but that does not mean that the mercy of God and the prayers of the Church cannot provide for the grace of Baptism.

As the Church seems to suggest, the reward of little children from the merits of Christ has greater power than the punishment of little children from the demerits of Adam; which is why we are allowed to hope for their salvation.


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Re: MERCY REIGNS

Post  MRyan on Tue Apr 17, 2012 3:50 pm

Council of Orange (529 AD):

CANON 25. Concerning the love with which we love God. It is wholly a gift of God to love God. He who loves, even though he is not loved, allowed himself to be loved. We are loved, even when we displease him, so that we might have means to please him. For the Spirit, whom we love with the Father and the Son, has poured into our hearts the love of the Father and the Son (Rom. 5:5).

CONCLUSION. And thus according to the passages of holy scripture quoted above or the interpretations of the ancient Fathers we must, under the blessing of God, preach and believe as follows. The sin of the first man has so impaired and weakened free will that no one thereafter can either love God as he ought or believe in God or do good for God's sake, unless the grace of divine mercy has preceded him. We therefore believe that the glorious faith which was given to Abel the righteous, and Noah, and Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and to all the saints of old, and which the Apostle Paul commends in extolling them (Heb. 11), was not given through natural goodness as it was before to Adam, but was bestowed by the grace of God. And we know and also believe that even after the coming of our Lord this grace is not to be found in the free will of all who desire to be baptized, but is bestowed by the kindness of Christ, as has already been frequently stated and as the Apostle Paul declares, "For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake" (Phil. 1:29). And again, "He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ" (Phil. 1:6). And again, "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and it is not your own doing, it is the gift of God" (Eph. 2:Eight). And as the Apostle says of himself, "I have obtained mercy to be faithful" (1 Cor. 7:25, cf. 1 Tim. 1:13). He did not say, "because I was faithful," but "to be faithful." And again, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7). And again, "Every good endowment and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights" (Jas. 1:17). And again, "No one can receive anything except what is given him from heaven" (John 3:27). There are innumerable passages of holy scripture which can be quoted to prove the case for grace, but they have been omitted for the sake of brevity, because further examples will not really be of use where few are deemed sufficient.
...
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Re: MERCY REIGNS

Post  columba on Tue Apr 17, 2012 7:35 pm

MRyan wrote:
By virtue of the Incarnation and Redemption, a child in the womb and all infants are created to worship God and to be joined with Him for all eternity. The same infant is loved by God and was created to love God in return. The stain of original sin that prevents this unity in charity can only be removed by the grace of baptism or the desire for it. The Church teaches that we are allowed to hope that God provides the grace of baptism by an extraordinary means that, in the present economy, as Pope Pius XII said, is not known to be available to the infant. But the door to this salvific grace is not closed.

Didn't God create every sentient being to know, love and serve Him, yet many are lost?
We are also (are we not?) allowed to hope that God provides actual Baptism even by an extraordinary means for all who will be saved Anno Domini. This way the door of salvic grace would not be closed to the infant while still keeping intact the integrity of Christ's words concerning the necessity of water for salvation.

Despite the stain of original sin, the child is disposed to Baptism and to unity with Christ. As St. Thomas Aquinas taught:

children not having the use of reason, being, as it were, in the womb of Mother Church, receive salvation by an act of the Church.... And, for the same reason, they can be said to be intending, not by an act of their own intention, since they sometimes resist and cry, but by the act of those by whom they are being offered.

Hmm... But St Thomas here is referring to the actual administration of the sacrament and not of an absence of the sacrament.

The infant cannot seek the truth except vicariously through the desire of the Church and the desire of the Communion of Saints. So your objection has little merit since not even the infant about to be Baptized can seek the truth. If the faith and desire of the infant is supplied by the Church in the latter case, why not in the former?

Because in the former case Baptism is not received. It is the Church's desire that all receive this sacrament but not all do. if the Church's desire for all to be Baptized sufficed for the salvation of all then Baptism itself would be superfluous.
If it sufficed for a certain few (say infants) then why not for all infants and if for all why the rush to have the little ones Baptized? Answer: Because there is no certainty in this at all but merely hopeful speculation that could yet be proved unfounded and one could argue has already been taught as unfounded.

Your objection that would say the infant cannot, in “the present economy” desire baptism by an act of the will has merit, but that does not mean that the mercy of God and the prayers of the Church cannot provide for the grace of Baptism.

By the same token, the mercy of God and the prayers of the Church could provide for the grace of actual Baptism even miraculously without having to speculate outside the sacrament in the realms of the unknown (and probably unknowable).

As the Church seems to suggest, the reward of little children from the merits of Christ has greater power than the punishment of little children from the demerits of Adam; which is why we are allowed to hope for their salvation.

I of course do hope for their salvation and keep this hope within the bounds of consistant Church teaching on the matter. My hope consists in the miraculous intervention of God to provide the waters of Baptism to all such infants including my own who died in the womb of my wife while barely 2 months old. Al the more hope when prayer is offered for this. It's not as if any of us are detached emotionally from this issue as almost everyone has a family member or infants of close friends who have died in the womb.

It would seem to me that some would have it that if God does not provide salvation apart from the sacrament of Baptism then all hope is lost concerning aborted and miscarried babies. I don't agree. God can provide actual Baptism as easily as He can provide anay substitute.

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Re: MERCY REIGNS

Post  MRyan on Wed Apr 18, 2012 11:43 am

columba wrote:
MRyan wrote:
By virtue of the Incarnation and Redemption, a child in the womb and all infants are created to worship God and to be joined with Him for all eternity. The same infant is loved by God and was created to love God in return. The stain of original sin that prevents this unity in charity can only be removed by the grace of baptism or the desire for it. The Church teaches that we are allowed to hope that God provides the grace of baptism by an extraordinary means that, in the present economy, as Pope Pius XII said, is not known to be available to the infant. But the door to this salvific grace is not closed.
Didn't God create every sentient being to know, love and serve Him, yet many are lost?
Of course, and by their own free will.

columba wrote:We are also (are we not?) allowed to hope that God provides actual Baptism even by an extraordinary means for all who will be saved Anno Domini. This way the door of salvic grace would not be closed to the infant while still keeping intact the integrity of Christ's words concerning the necessity of water for salvation.
Of course, but we are not “allowed” to deny the authority of the Church and her authentic doctrine on the Baptisms of blood and desire, or to accuse the Church of being in opposition to her own dogmas.

columba wrote:
MRyan wrote:
Despite the stain of original sin, the child is disposed to Baptism and to unity with Christ. As St. Thomas Aquinas taught:

children not having the use of reason, being, as it were, in the womb of Mother Church, receive salvation by an act of the Church.... And, for the same reason, they can be said to be intending, not by an act of their own intention, since they sometimes resist and cry, but by the act of those by whom they are being offered.
Hmm... But St Thomas here is referring to the actual administration of the sacrament and not of an absence of the sacrament.
Yes, he is, but as the author points out, this does not negate the soundness of the theology behind the proposition, or the Church’s right to develop the doctrine.

columba wrote:
MRyan wrote:
The infant cannot seek the truth except vicariously through the desire of the Church and the desire of the Communion of Saints. So your objection has little merit since not even the infant about to be Baptized can seek the truth. If the faith and desire of the infant is supplied by the Church in the latter case, why not in the former?

Because in the former case Baptism is not received. It is the Church's desire that all receive this sacrament but not all do. if the Church's desire for all to be Baptized sufficed for the salvation of all then Baptism itself would be superfluous.
We are speaking only of unbaptized infants who cannot desire the sacrament of their own free will, so your comment about the Church’s desire that all men receive Baptism is irrelevant; as irrelevant and as preposterous as your statement that exploring the possibility of a vicarious baptism of desire through the Church would render the sacrament of Baptism “superfluous”. The grace of Baptism is never "superfluous", no one is saved without it.

columba wrote:If it sufficed for a certain few (say infants) then why not for all infants and if for all why the rush to have the little ones Baptized? Answer: Because there is no certainty in this at all but merely hopeful speculation that could yet be proved unfounded and one could argue has already been taught as unfounded.
You answered your own question, and for once got it largely correct, though your belief that this development will prove “unfounded” and the Church will one turn away from such “speculation” has about as much merit as your belief that the Church will one day return to the “true” doctrine that rejects the Baptisms of blood and desire.

What will happen when the Church infallibly and definitively declares that aborted infants are saved by the grace of Baptism, just as she holds the Holy Innocents as true martyrs? You will once again be on the outside looking in. The Holy See has asked for further theological reflection on this issue, so the possibility is quite real.

columba wrote:
MRyan wrote:
Your objection that would say the infant cannot, in “the present economy” desire baptism by an act of the will has merit, but that does not mean that the mercy of God and the prayers of the Church cannot provide for the grace of Baptism.
By the same token, the mercy of God and the prayers of the Church could provide for the grace of actual Baptism even miraculously re saved through the grace of martyrdom? without having to speculate outside the sacrament in the realms of the unknown (and probably unknowable).
No, it is not the same token for the Church recognizes that God allows obstacles to frustrate and make “impossible” the reception of actual water ablution, and that, by the same token, God is not bound by His own Sacraments to effect the same end; an end He may effect through the Spirit of Sanctification through the prayers and desires of His Mystical Body, and the Communion of Saints.

columba wrote:
MRyan wrote:
As the Church seems to suggest, the reward of little children from the merits of Christ has greater power than the punishment of little children from the demerits of Adam; which is why we are allowed to hope for their salvation.
I of course do hope for their salvation and keep this hope within the bounds of consistant Church teaching on the matter. My hope consists in the miraculous intervention of God to provide the waters of Baptism to all such infants including my own who died in the womb of my wife while barely 2 months old. Al the more hope when prayer is offered for this. It's not as if any of us are detached emotionally from this issue as almost everyone has a family member or infants of close friends who have died in the womb.

It would seem to me that some would have it that if God does not provide salvation apart from the sacrament of Baptism then all hope is lost concerning aborted and miscarried babies. I don't agree. God can provide actual Baptism as easily as He can provide anay substitute.
Yes, He can, but that is NOT the question before the Church and her theologians, who approach this topic under the purview of magisterial teaching, tradition and the authentic (organic) development of doctrine; none of which says that God is bound to His sacraments to effect the same end.

God has no need to perform "miracles" in the natural order to effect the end He desires.
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Re: MERCY REIGNS

Post  George Brenner on Wed Apr 18, 2012 7:22 pm

Mike said:


God has no need to perform "miracles" in the natural order to effect the end He desires.


This truly says it all. We are bound to live and teach our Catholic faith exclusively in the DeFacto hard and fast teachings of the Church as professed throughout the ages. We must hold firmly without compromise, watering down or giving false hope to any and all that our lives touch, that there are any other channels of Salvation other than the Catholic Church. Invincible Ignorance, Baptism of Blood and Baptism of Desire are possibilities in the loving hands of God. If the Church actually knew that someone was saved and known to us by lets say for example Invincible Ignorance, then it would follow that the Church would proclaim that person a known Saint, along with the miracles performed in their name and the Church investigation to determine such Sainthood. This is not the case. If it were, then would not we all want to pray to such a Saint?

If and not when, the Catholic Church would profess for all to believe that aborted babies are saved that would change their Sainthood to DeFacto. This is not currently the case. For now all we can do is pray and hope for their Salvation, especially because of their tragic defenseless murders. To question, limit or bind God on any and all subjects is dangerous and may be very sinful. Our puny brains can not even begin to comprehend or scratch the surface of the Blessed Trinity and eternity.

If God says to the aborted Child, This day and for all eternity, you will be with me in Paradise, then it is so. We need no explanation and none is necessary. Would we not cry with tears of Joy?
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Re: MERCY REIGNS

Post  MRyan on Wed Apr 25, 2012 12:42 pm

Abortion And Limbo

By JAMES LIKOUDIS

http://credo.stormloader.com/Doctrine/abolimbo.htm

“At the Tenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops last year [2001], Archbishop George Pell of Sydney, Australia, noted:

"the considerable silence and some confusion [regarding] Christian hope especially as it touches the Last Things, death and judgment, Heaven and Hell. Limbo seems to have disappeared, Purgatory slipped into Limbo, Hell is left unmentioned, except for terrorists and infamous criminals, while Heaven is the final and universal human right; or perhaps just a consoling myth" (L'Osservatore Romano, English edition, November 7, 2001)
Has Limbo really disappeared? Has the Catholic Church now definitively rejected the theological opinion held for centuries by an imposing array of eminent theologians (including St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Bonaventure, and St. Alphonsus Liguori) that there is a "Limbus puerorum"? They held that the "Limbo of infants" is the state or "place" where unbaptized babies and those who die in original sin are deprived of the Beatific Vision of God but share a perfect state of natural happiness. It is true that the existence of Limbo has never been a definitively defined doctrine of the Church and taught by the Magisterium of the Church as certain doctrine.

Nevertheless, in recent centuries the teaching on Limbo was included in local catechisms (e.g., the 1949 Revised Edition of the Baltimore Catechism, n. 3).

A survey of literature reveals that various theologians continue to hold it as a certain theological conclusion and as the most reasonable explanation about the fate of unbaptized children that can be offered in the context of the Church's teaching on original sin. That Limbo does not appear in the recent Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) is not a compelling argument against the existence of Limbo. Limbo did not appear in the famous Roman Catechism, commonly called The Catechism of the Council of Trent. It is significant that Bishop Alessandro Maggiolini, who was on the original commission editing the 1992 Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), was reported to have refused to rule out the existence of Limbo. The most recent official treatment of the issue of unbaptized infants, The Catechism of the Catholic Church, leaves the question unresolved. On the one hand, CCC n. 1261 and n. 1283 allow the faithful to hope that in the mercy of God such infants may be admitted to the Beatific Vision, while n. 1257 recalls that we do not know that they are so saved, stating that "the Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude." CCC n. 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."

Debate over the existence of Limbo and concern for the fate of unbaptized children has dramatically accelerated with the massive murder of unborn children by abortion in our country and throughout the world. The opinion has now become widespread among Catholics (as we see in Catholic newspapers and periodicals) that the innocence of unbaptized children guarantees their right to Heaven and that it would be unjust for God to exclude unbaptized children from the Kingdom of Heaven because of original sin. The Church since Vatican II is alleged to have revised its traditional understanding of original sin as well as abandoned the theological concept of Limbo.

In the words of Fr. John Catoir, former head of the Christophers:

"It always bothered me that innocent babies were in some way ineligible to receive the fullness of God's love. Now I know better. Catholics today do not have to believe in Limbo. There is one place of eternal rest and that is Heaven" (column, St. Louis Review, February 7, 1997)
It should be particularly noted that n. 99 in the 1995 encyclical "Evangelium Vitae" of Pope John Paul II has become widely quoted in pro-life literature to afford a measure of consolation to mothers who have aborted their children but need not fear that their unborn have been deprived of the supernatural happiness of Heaven. In the English translation of Evangelium Vitae that continues to circulate, one reads that the Pope gives "a special word to women who have had an abortion," adding:

"Certainly, what happened was and remains terribly wrong. But do not give in to discouragement and do not lose hope. Try rather to understand what happened and face it honestly. If you have not already done so, give yourself over with humility and trust in repentance. The Father of mercies is ready to give you His peace in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. You will come to understand that nothing is definitively lost, and you will be able to ask forgiveness from your child, who is now living in the Lord."
Unfortunately, for those eager to rely on the above words of the Pope as further proof that unbaptized children are assured of Heaven in the Church's present teaching, the above last sentence is absent from the official Latin text of the encyclical. In place of the last sentence quoted above is read: "You can entrust your infant to the same Father and to His mercy" ("Infantem autem vestrum potestis Eidem Patri Eiusque misericordiae cum spe committere") – with footnotes referring to CCC nn. 1257, 1261, 1287, and to the funeral liturgy for unbaptized children).

Doubtless, debate considering the existence of Limbo will continue, but it is foolish for some priests and laity to appear to know more than the Magisterium of the Church in pronouncing with certainty that in fact no discarded embryo or unbaptized infant goes to Limbo. The truth is that theologians and the faithful retain the same liberty that St. Thomas Aquinas and so many others have had in defending Limbo as a theological conclusion that conforms to Divine Revelation. As to those who cannot wait to "let Limbo go," the remark of the renowned Thomist philosopher Jacques Maritain can be recalled: "Limbo is scorned by so many of today's theologians who don't know what they are doing."

The Catholic Church teaches that "God has bound salvation to the Sacrament of Baptism, but He Himself is not bound by His sacraments" (CCC n. 1257). God can make whatever exceptions He wishes as regards unbaptized infants. Perhaps those unborn children killed by abortion in odium fidei (in real hatred of Christ and His teachings) may have the status of martyrs (like the Holy Innocents). It is true that Limbo cannot be taught as certain Catholic doctrine proposed by the Magisterium, but it has not been definitively rejected by the Magisterium either. It can be held by the faithful as a theological conclusion shared by great doctors and saints of the Church. It is significant that the classic work Apologetics and Catholic Doctrine by Archbishop Michael Sheehan has been splendidly revised by Fr. Peter M. Joseph (with the 2001 Imprimatur of Most Rev. William Brennan, bishop of Waga Waga, Australia, St. Austin Press, 296, Brockley Rd., London SEA 2RA, England), and specifically endorses the existence of Limbo.

Commenting on the theory proposed by various theologians that unbaptized infants "may receive an enlightenment before or upon death, enabling them to make a choice," this superb volume observes: "This theory is totally inadmissible, since it means they could be saved or damned. None such theories may be taught as a certainty, and no one may refuse or delay Baptism on the grounds of any such theory. The Roman Catechism cautions the celebrant at the funeral of an unbaptized baby, 'In catechesis, care must be taken that the doctrine about the necessity of Baptism not be obscured in the minds of the faithful.' The Catechism of the Catholic Church says only that we are permitted to hope that there be a way of salvation for such infants; it gives no assurances."

As regards the happiness of Limbo, the following is added:

"In that state, [souls in Limbo] are as fully happy on the natural level as human nature can be, a state akin to the happiness of Adam and Eve in Paradise. The souls in Limbo are not in an infantile state; they are fully mature, and immortal, as their bodies will be at the General Resurrection."
Thus, a Limbo for the unbaptized unborn and born infants continues to be held as worthy of belief in the Church, but in the mercy of God perhaps not all unbaptized infants go there.”

[End]

Reprinted from "The Wanderer", issue of 6/20/2002
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