PART 2: ON THE DOCTRINE LIMBO (Are you aware of this?)

(Are you aware of this?)
The concept of limbo in the Catholic Church has left
many in an opaque state ranging from the simple Catholics to great theologians
due to the fact that it is a theological hypothesis. The term “Limbo”
does not appear in the Bible, however, it affirms that admittance to Heaven is
only possible through the intervention of Jesus Christ. Hence, for a better
understanding of this concept, it is pertinent to trace it to its etymological

The word “Limbo” is from the Latin word “limbus”, meaning:
edge or boundary, as in the edge of a cloth etc… Hence, in the theology of
the Catholic Church, it refers to the “edge” of Hell. Put
differently, it is a speculative idea about the afterlife condition of those
who die in “original sin” without being assigned to the Hell of the
Damned. Referring to the edge of hell does not imply the popular idea of hell
fire which many of us are bound to conceive in mind. For a conceptual
clarification, let us take a proper understanding on the concept of the word
Medieval theologians of western Europe described the
underworld (“hell”) as divided into four distinct parts:
1. Hell of the Damned (also known as Gehenna), this is where the souls of
sinners are eternally punished after death… This is commonly known as hell
2. Purgatory: this is simply an
intermediary state where the souls of the baptized who are not able to achieve
heaven due to their venial sins are detained for the final
purification/cleansing. Venial sins are simply the sins that do not lead to death
as clearly explained in 1John 5:17. This kind of death is the eternal death in
the hell of the damned (popularly known as hell fire) Hence, some sins do not
lead to this hell, and they do not lead to heaven either…and the scripture
makes us to understand that a final cleansing would be needed… (I’ve written
a post already on purgatory yesterday, and explained it better)
3. Limbo of the Fathers or Patriarchs
4. Limbo of the infants
This is known as a temporary place where the souls of
the just who died in the friendship of Christ were detained before Christ but
could not enter Heaven until redemption by Jesus Christ made it possible.
Remember, Christ said: no one has gone to heaven, only the Son of man who came
down from heaven (John 3:13). This Limbo of the Patriarchs can be seen in the
scriptures as implicit in some references. For example, Luke 16:22 speaks of
the “bosom of Abraham”, which both the Roman Catholic Church and the
Eastern Orthodox Church, following early Christian writers, understand as a
temporary state of souls awaiting entrance into Heaven. This bossom of Abraham
was the temporary place of rest for the just, as seen in the story told by
Christ about the rich man and Lazarus. Christ did not say that Lazarus went
straigh to heaven, No, he said he went to the bossom of Abraham. 
Also, the Catechism of the Catholic Church describes Christ’s descent into hell
as meaning primarily that “the crucified one went in the realm of the dead
prior (before) to his resurrection; even in the Apostle’s Creed, we say
“He descended into hell” This part of hell that he descended is
called “Limbo” (That is, Limbo of the Patriarchs). This is evident
with the gospel passage that tells of the scene immediately after the death of
Christ on the cross… cf. Matt. 27: 51-53: “And behold, the veil of the
temple was torn from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the
rocks rent, and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which
‘SLEPT’ arose…” I want us to take note of the word “slept” or
“rest” as it may appear in some versions… That rest is what we come
to understand as resting in Limbo.
Limbo of the Infants is not an official doctrine of
the Catholic Church. The Limbo of Infants (Latin, limbus infantium or limbus
puerorum) is a hypothesis about the permanent status of the unbaptized who die
in infancy, too young to have committed personal sins, but NOT freed from
original sin. While the Catholic Church has a defined doctrine on original sin,
it has none on the eternal fate of unbaptized infants… However, the chjrch
recommends these unbaptized departed infants to the loving mercy of God who is
slow to anger and rich in mercy.

Leave a Reply