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Author Topic: Why is "What do Catholics believe?" such a difficult question?  (Read 3792 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: February 01, 2012, 05:27:21 PM »

Why is "What do Catholics believe on such-and-such matter?" often a very difficult (and touchy) question? I have some thoughts on this which I'm not quite ready to present; but I figured I would go ahead and ask the question, and see what anyone else might say about it.
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« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2012, 05:39:21 PM »

Why is "What do Catholics believe on such-and-such matter?" often a very difficult (and touchy) question? I have some thoughts on this which I'm not quite ready to present; but I figured I would go ahead and ask the question, and see what anyone else might say about it.

Same reason why it is such a hard question for the Orthodox or the Lutherans: they are all communities made of people, not theological automata.
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« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2012, 05:47:33 PM »

Why is "What do Catholics believe on such-and-such matter?" often a very difficult (and touchy) question? I have some thoughts on this which I'm not quite ready to present; but I figured I would go ahead and ask the question, and see what anyone else might say about it.

Same reason why it is such a hard question for the Orthodox or the Lutherans: they are all communities made of people, not theological automata.


This is partly true, I think.  The other part of the answer that it is *not* difficult to answer, and here's what we believe:

I believe in one God, the Father almighty,

    maker of heaven and earth,

    of all things visible and invisible.

I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ,

        the Only Begotten Son of God,

        born of the Father before all ages.

    God from God, Light from Light,

        true God from true God,

    begotten, not made, consubstantial

       with the Father;

        Through him all things were made.

    For us men and for our salvation

        he came down from heaven,

        and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate

        of the Virgin Mary,

        and became man.

 

    For our sake he was crucified

      under Pontius Pilate,

        he suffered death and was buried,

        and rose again on the third day

        in accordance with the Scriptures.

    He ascended into heaven

        and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

    He will come again in glory

        to judge the living and the dead

        and his kingdom will have no end.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,

        the Lord, the giver of life,

    who proceeds from the Father and the Son,

    who with the Father and the Son

        is adored and glorified,

        who has spoken through the prophets.

I believe in one, holy, catholic,

     and apostolic Church.

    I confess one baptism for the forgiveness of sins

        and I look forward to the resurrection

        of the dead and the life of the world to come.

Amen.


But, you knew that  Wink.
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« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2012, 06:03:04 PM »

Why is "What do Catholics believe on such-and-such matter?" often a very difficult (and touchy) question? I have some thoughts on this which I'm not quite ready to present; but I figured I would go ahead and ask the question, and see what anyone else might say about it.
Well...the Church has teachings on many things, but there are areas that are not dogmatically defined where theologians may adopt varying opinions. An example of this would be the fate of unbaptized infants. The Church teaches that baptism is necessary for salvation, but original sin in and off itself does not send the soul to hell. Because of this, some theologians have said that infants go to limbo. Others say that it is possible that God saves them outside the Sacrament in a way known only to himself. God works through the Sacraments to bring people to salvation, but He is not bound by the Sacraments because He is God.
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« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2012, 07:31:20 PM »

Why is "What do Catholics believe on such-and-such matter?" often a very difficult (and touchy) question? I have some thoughts on this which I'm not quite ready to present; but I figured I would go ahead and ask the question, and see what anyone else might say about it.

Same reason why it is such a hard question for the Orthodox or the Lutherans: they are all communities made of people, not theological automata.

Neither the Orthodox nor Lutherans have a single visible head empowered to speak infallibly on matters of doctrine, 22 (?) Ecumenical Councils, and a unitary administration able to publish documents (like the Catechism of the Catholic Church) that officially speak for the entire church. While Roman Catholics are not theological automata, they do have a formal Magesterium which should make it relatively easy to answer 'what does the Roman Church teach about x' (including those cases where it's not covered in any of the above and so the RC position is that there is no official position and individuals may believe what they want).
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« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2012, 11:28:36 PM »

Why is "What do Catholics believe on such-and-such matter?" often a very difficult (and touchy) question? I have some thoughts on this which I'm not quite ready to present; but I figured I would go ahead and ask the question, and see what anyone else might say about it.

Same reason why it is such a hard question for the Orthodox or the Lutherans: they are all communities made of people, not theological automata.

Neither the Orthodox nor Lutherans have a single visible head empowered to speak infallibly on matters of doctrine, 22 (?) 21 Ecumenical Councils, and a unitary administration able to publish documents (like the Catechism of the Catholic Church) that officially speak for the entire church.

True, but a certain parallel could be drawn nevertheless: Just as a Catholic can say "That isn't our official teaching, because it has never been official declared" a Lutheran or other Protestant can say "That isn't our official teaching, because it isn't in the bible."
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« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2012, 11:38:49 PM »

Because at times there is a glaring contradiction between what the modern Catholic Church teaches and teachings contained in papal encyclicals and conciliar documents from Trent to Vatican II. It's a touchy subject because logic dictates that if that is true, then the Church was either wrong then, or it's wrong now. Not a comfortable position to be in. 
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« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2012, 12:59:18 AM »

Well...the Church has teachings on many things, but there are areas that are not dogmatically defined where theologians may adopt varying opinions. An example of this would be the fate of unbaptized infants.

Catholic theologians, now that Limbo has been discarded, do not know what happens with unbaptized children (those under the age of reason, usually placed at 7.)  The Catechism para 1261 says that Catholics may hope for their salvation. But one imagines that that still leaves open the possibility that they go to hell.

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« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2012, 12:04:38 PM »

Well...the Church has teachings on many things, but there are areas that are not dogmatically defined where theologians may adopt varying opinions. An example of this would be the fate of unbaptized infants.

Catholic theologians, now that Limbo has been discarded, do not know what happens with unbaptized children (those under the age of reason, usually placed at 7.)  The Catechism para 1261 says that Catholics may hope for their salvation. But one imagines that that still leaves open the possibility that they go to hell.



Here is the full paragraph:

 "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 desires that all men should be saved, and Jesus' tenderness toward children which caused him to say: "Let the children come to me, do not hinder them,"64 allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism. All the more urgent is the Church's call not to prevent little children coming to Christ through the gift of holy Baptism."

And here is what the Catechism says about hell:

1033 We cannot be united with God unless we freely choose to love him. But we cannot love God if we sin gravely against him, against our neighbor or against ourselves: "He who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him."612 Our Lord warns us that we shall be separated from him if we fail to meet the serious needs of the poor and the little ones who are his brethren.613 To die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God's merciful love means remaining separated from him for ever by our own free choice. This state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called "hell."

1034 Jesus often speaks of "Gehenna" of "the unquenchable fire" reserved for those who to the end of their lives refuse to believe and be converted, where both soul and body can be lost.614 Jesus solemnly proclaims that he "will send his angels, and they will gather . . . all evil doers, and throw them into the furnace of fire,"615 and that he will pronounce the condemnation: "Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire!"616

1035 The teaching of the Church affirms the existence of hell and its eternity. Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, "eternal fire."617 The chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God, in whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs.

1036 The affirmations of Sacred Scripture and the teachings of the Church on the subject of hell are a call to the responsibility incumbent upon man to make use of his freedom in view of his eternal destiny. They are at the same time an urgent call to conversion: "Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few."618

    Since we know neither the day nor the hour, we should follow the advice of the Lord and watch constantly so that, when the single course of our earthly life is completed, we may merit to enter with him into the marriage feast and be numbered among the blessed, and not, like the wicked and slothful servants, be ordered to depart into the eternal fire, into the outer darkness where "men will weep and gnash their teeth."619

1037 God predestines no one to go to hell;620 for this, a willful turning away from God (a mortal sin) is necessary, and persistence in it until the end. In the Eucharistic liturgy and in the daily prayers of her faithful, the Church implores the mercy of God, who does not want "any to perish, but all to come to repentance":621

    Father, accept this offering
    from your whole family.
    Grant us your peace in this life,
    save us from final damnation,
    and count us among those you have chosen.622

While I would grant that there is a "possibility" that those unbaptized children might go to hell, unless they were culpable of "a willful turning away from God...", I would venture to say that that possibility is fairly remote.  It should be clear from reading what the Catechism says, that certain conditions must be met before any soul is condemned to hell.  As no one but God actually knows who is condemned to hell and who is not, to say that we do not know is not only truthful, but totally honest.  Or so I would think.

Does the Orthodox Church know definitively what happens to unbaptized infants who die?  In other words, is there a formal Orthodox teaching about it?
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« Reply #9 on: February 02, 2012, 05:05:38 PM »

I do not understand.  The Catechism says that Catholic may hope that unbaptized children go to heaven.

Is the Catechism wrong?

Is it not really a question of hoping at all?  Catholics in fact, contrary to the Catechism, know that unbaptized children go to heaven because they are incapable of self-exclusion.

But does self-exclusion apply to humans who have not reached the age of reason? 

And why does the Catechism speak, incorrectly it seems, only of hope if it is really a fact?

Well...the Church has teachings on many things, but there are areas that are not dogmatically defined where theologians may adopt varying opinions. An example of this would be the fate of unbaptized infants.

Catholic theologians, now that Limbo has been discarded, do not know what happens with unbaptized children (those under the age of reason, usually placed at 7.)  The Catechism para 1261 says that Catholics may hope for their salvation. But one imagines that that still leaves open the possibility that they go to hell.



Here is the full paragraph:

 "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 desires that all men should be saved, and Jesus' tenderness toward children which caused him to say: "Let the children come to me, do not hinder them,"64 allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism. All the more urgent is the Church's call not to prevent little children coming to Christ through the gift of holy Baptism."

And here is what the Catechism says about hell:

1033 We cannot be united with God unless we freely choose to love him. But we cannot love God if we sin gravely against him, against our neighbor or against ourselves: "He who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him."612 Our Lord warns us that we shall be separated from him if we fail to meet the serious needs of the poor and the little ones who are his brethren.613 To die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God's merciful love means remaining separated from him for ever by our own free choice. This state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called "hell."

1034 Jesus often speaks of "Gehenna" of "the unquenchable fire" reserved for those who to the end of their lives refuse to believe and be converted, where both soul and body can be lost.614 Jesus solemnly proclaims that he "will send his angels, and they will gather . . . all evil doers, and throw them into the furnace of fire,"615 and that he will pronounce the condemnation: "Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire!"616

1035 The teaching of the Church affirms the existence of hell and its eternity. Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, "eternal fire."617 The chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God, in whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs.

1036 The affirmations of Sacred Scripture and the teachings of the Church on the subject of hell are a call to the responsibility incumbent upon man to make use of his freedom in view of his eternal destiny. They are at the same time an urgent call to conversion: "Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few."618

    Since we know neither the day nor the hour, we should follow the advice of the Lord and watch constantly so that, when the single course of our earthly life is completed, we may merit to enter with him into the marriage feast and be numbered among the blessed, and not, like the wicked and slothful servants, be ordered to depart into the eternal fire, into the outer darkness where "men will weep and gnash their teeth."619

1037 God predestines no one to go to hell;620 for this, a willful turning away from God (a mortal sin) is necessary, and persistence in it until the end. In the Eucharistic liturgy and in the daily prayers of her faithful, the Church implores the mercy of God, who does not want "any to perish, but all to come to repentance":621

    Father, accept this offering
    from your whole family.
    Grant us your peace in this life,
    save us from final damnation,
    and count us among those you have chosen.622

While I would grant that there is a "possibility" that those unbaptized children might go to hell, unless they were culpable of "a willful turning away from God...", I would venture to say that that possibility is fairly remote.  It should be clear from reading what the Catechism says, that certain conditions must be met before any soul is condemned to hell.  As no one but God actually knows who is condemned to hell and who is not, to say that we do not know is not only truthful, but totally honest.  Or so I would think.

Does the Orthodox Church know definitively what happens to unbaptized infants who die?  In other words, is there a formal Orthodox teaching about it?
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« Reply #10 on: February 02, 2012, 05:09:29 PM »

Does the Orthodox Church know definitively what happens to unbaptized infants who die?  In other words, is there a formal Orthodox teaching about it?

There is not.  Much of our faith has never been "formalised."  We tend to live and believe by our tradition which will be formalised in Councils only when necessary, when heretics disturb the faith of the Church.
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« Reply #11 on: February 02, 2012, 05:17:55 PM »

Quote
Why is "What do Catholics believe?" such a difficult question?

In message 231
at
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,42694.new.html

Delphine has some great insights into the question asked in this thread


* * *

Also please see message 1044
at
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,13820.msg421044.html#msg421044

It has some insights into the current state of flux in some Catholic beliefs.
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« Reply #12 on: February 02, 2012, 05:18:35 PM »

As you know, I am neither a theologian nor a scholar nor an academic nor a catechist.  I can only answer in a very limited way based on my own understanding, which may, of course, be very flawed.  Perhaps someone more knowledgeable than I will be able to answer more completely.

1.  "Is the Catechism wrong?"--I doubt it.

2.  "Catholics in fact, contrary to the Catechism, know that unbaptized children go to heaven because they are incapable of self-exclusion."--We *do*??  I thought only God knows who goes to heaven and who does not.  But, what do I know?

3.  "But does self-exclusion apply to humans who have not reached the age of reason?"---Don't know.

4.  "And why does the Catechism speak, incorrectly it seems, only of hope if it is really a fact?"---Don't know.  You are the one who claims it to be fact, and pronounces the Catechism to be incorrect. 


Does the Orthodox Church know definitively what happens to unbaptized infants who die?



I do not understand.  The Catechism says that Catholic may hope that unbaptized children go to heaven.

Is the Catechism wrong?

Is it not really a question of hoping at all?  Catholics in fact, contrary to the Catechism, know that unbaptized children go to heaven because they are incapable of self-exclusion.

But does self-exclusion apply to humans who have not reached the age of reason?  

And why does the Catechism speak, incorrectly it seems, only of hope if it is really a fact?

Well...the Church has teachings on many things, but there are areas that are not dogmatically defined where theologians may adopt varying opinions. An example of this would be the fate of unbaptized infants.

Catholic theologians, now that Limbo has been discarded, do not know what happens with unbaptized children (those under the age of reason, usually placed at 7.)  The Catechism para 1261 says that Catholics may hope for their salvation. But one imagines that that still leaves open the possibility that they go to hell.



Here is the full paragraph:

 "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 desires that all men should be saved, and Jesus' tenderness toward children which caused him to say: "Let the children come to me, do not hinder them,"64 allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism. All the more urgent is the Church's call not to prevent little children coming to Christ through the gift of holy Baptism."

And here is what the Catechism says about hell:

1033 We cannot be united with God unless we freely choose to love him. But we cannot love God if we sin gravely against him, against our neighbor or against ourselves: "He who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him."612 Our Lord warns us that we shall be separated from him if we fail to meet the serious needs of the poor and the little ones who are his brethren.613 To die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God's merciful love means remaining separated from him for ever by our own free choice. This state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called "hell."

1034 Jesus often speaks of "Gehenna" of "the unquenchable fire" reserved for those who to the end of their lives refuse to believe and be converted, where both soul and body can be lost.614 Jesus solemnly proclaims that he "will send his angels, and they will gather . . . all evil doers, and throw them into the furnace of fire,"615 and that he will pronounce the condemnation: "Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire!"616

1035 The teaching of the Church affirms the existence of hell and its eternity. Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, "eternal fire."617 The chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God, in whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs.

1036 The affirmations of Sacred Scripture and the teachings of the Church on the subject of hell are a call to the responsibility incumbent upon man to make use of his freedom in view of his eternal destiny. They are at the same time an urgent call to conversion: "Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few."618

    Since we know neither the day nor the hour, we should follow the advice of the Lord and watch constantly so that, when the single course of our earthly life is completed, we may merit to enter with him into the marriage feast and be numbered among the blessed, and not, like the wicked and slothful servants, be ordered to depart into the eternal fire, into the outer darkness where "men will weep and gnash their teeth."619

1037 God predestines no one to go to hell;620 for this, a willful turning away from God (a mortal sin) is necessary, and persistence in it until the end. In the Eucharistic liturgy and in the daily prayers of her faithful, the Church implores the mercy of God, who does not want "any to perish, but all to come to repentance":621

    Father, accept this offering
    from your whole family.
    Grant us your peace in this life,
    save us from final damnation,
    and count us among those you have chosen.622

While I would grant that there is a "possibility" that those unbaptized children might go to hell, unless they were culpable of "a willful turning away from God...", I would venture to say that that possibility is fairly remote.  It should be clear from reading what the Catechism says, that certain conditions must be met before any soul is condemned to hell.  As no one but God actually knows who is condemned to hell and who is not, to say that we do not know is not only truthful, but totally honest.  Or so I would think.

Does the Orthodox Church know definitively what happens to unbaptized infants who die?  In other words, is there a formal Orthodox teaching about it?
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« Reply #13 on: February 02, 2012, 05:38:12 PM »


Does the Orthodox Church know definitively what happens to unbaptized infants who die?

I have never encountered anything definitive. 
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« Reply #14 on: February 02, 2012, 05:40:17 PM »


Does the Orthodox Church know definitively what happens to unbaptized infants who die?

I have never encountered anything definitive. 

So, the Orthodox Church does not know what happens to unbaptized infants who die.  Correct?
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« Reply #15 on: February 02, 2012, 05:47:47 PM »


Does the Orthodox Church know definitively what happens to unbaptized infants who die?

I have never encountered anything definitive.  

So, the Orthodox Church does not know what happens to unbaptized infants who die.  Correct?

I have never met any of the faithful who did not believe they are saved and will enter heaven with all of us at the Last Judgement.
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« Reply #16 on: February 02, 2012, 06:02:26 PM »


Does the Orthodox Church know definitively what happens to unbaptized infants who die?

I have never encountered anything definitive.  

So, the Orthodox Church does not know what happens to unbaptized infants who die.  Correct?

I have never met any of the faithful who did not believe they are saved.and will enter heaven with all of us at the Last Judgement.


So...let me get this right---All the faithful whom you have met *believe* (same as *know*?) that unbaptized infants who die are saved and will enter heaven.  What threw me was that last clause, i.e. "with all of us at the Last Judgement".  We are *all* entering heaven?  No one is assigned to hell?  You know this how?  But there is nothing that one can point to that says something along the lines of "The Orthodox Church teaches (or knows) that all unbaptized infants who die will go to heaven" ?
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« Reply #17 on: February 02, 2012, 06:06:10 PM »


Does the Orthodox Church know definitively what happens to unbaptized infants who die?

I have never encountered anything definitive.  

So, the Orthodox Church does not know what happens to unbaptized infants who die.  Correct?

I have never met any of the faithful who did not believe they are saved.and will enter heaven with all of us at the Last Judgement.


So...let me get this right---All the faithful whom you have met *believe* (same as *know*?) that unbaptized infants who die are saved and will enter heaven.  What threw me was that last clause, i.e. "with all of us at the Last Judgement".  We are *all* entering heaven?  No one is assigned to hell?  You know this how?  But there is nothing that one can point to that says something along the lines of "The Orthodox Church teaches (or knows) that all unbaptized infants who die will go to heaven" ?


michael,

We are starting to derail this thread.  Let's look and see if this matter hass been talked about on the forum already.
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« Reply #18 on: February 02, 2012, 06:11:49 PM »


Does the Orthodox Church know definitively what happens to unbaptized infants who die?

I have never encountered anything definitive.  


So, the Orthodox Church does not know what happens to unbaptized infants who die.  Correct?

I have never met any of the faithful who did not believe they are saved.and will enter heaven with all of us at the Last Judgement.


So...let me get this right---All the faithful whom you have met *believe* (same as *know*?) that unbaptized infants who die are saved and will enter heaven.  What threw me was that last clause, i.e. "with all of us at the Last Judgement".  We are *all* entering heaven?  No one is assigned to hell?  You know this how?  But there is nothing that one can point to that says something along the lines of "The Orthodox Church teaches (or knows) that all unbaptized infants who die will go to heaven" ?


michael,

We are starting to derail this thread.  Let's look and see if this matter hass been talked about on the forum already.

No problem.  Be my guest  Wink.  I was just trying to get clarification about your statements which arose from my post in reply to your statements and questions, etc.  Should we (you) start a new thread?  That'd be fine by me Wink.

Or...maybe the mods could split the thread?
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« Reply #19 on: February 02, 2012, 06:13:51 PM »

Bringing this back to a focus on Catholic teaching.....

From a blog with which you may be familiar....

Development and Negation VII: Original Sin as Inherited "Guilt"

Thus, it has been suggested that even allowing for the possibility of salvation for infants who die unbaptized entails tacitly abandoning the Council of Trent's teaching that we inherit the "guilt" of original sin from our first parents. Said council did after all define: “If anyone denies, that, by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is conferred in baptism, the guilt of original sin is remitted … let him be anathema” (Decree on Original Sin,canon 5); such a definition would be idle without the assumption that there is such a thing as the guilt of original sin; and Trent clearly made such an assumption.

http://mliccione.blogspot.com/2007/04/development-and-negation-vii-original.html
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« Reply #20 on: February 02, 2012, 06:22:37 PM »

Addressing the OP’s difficulty in knowing Catholic belief in some areas...

We now hear very often  “But Limbo was never a de fide belief in the first place.” This is the oft used Catholic argument when theologians wish to discard what have been traditional beliefs for centuries among the Catholic faithful, held and taught by bishops and priests as matters of faith.

Fr. Brian W. Harrison conducted a survey of relevant historical Catholic magisterial statements and concluded:

"... that those who now talk about Limbo as only ever having been a mere 'hypothesis', rather than a doctrine, are giving a very misleading impression of the state of the question. They are implying by this that the pre-Vatican II Church traditionally held, or at least implicitly admitted, that an alternate 'hypothesis' for unbaptized infants was their attainment of eternal salvation — Heaven.

"Nothing could be further from the truth. Limbo for unbaptized infants was indeed a theological "hypothesis"; but the only approved alternate hypothesis was not Heaven, but very mild hellfire as well as exclusion from the beatific vision! In short, while Limbo as distinct from very mild hellfire was a 'hypothetical' destiny for unbaptized infants, their eternal exclusion from Heaven (with or without any 'pain of sense') — at least after the proclamation of the Gospel, and apart from the 'baptism of blood' of infants slaughtered out of hatred for Christ — this was traditional Catholic doctrine, not a mere hypothesis.

"No, it was never dogmatically defined. But the only question is whether the doctrine was infallible by virtue of the universal and ordinary magisterium, or merely "authentic".
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« Reply #21 on: February 02, 2012, 06:23:59 PM »

Bringing this back to a focus on Catholic teaching.....

From a blog with which you may be familiar....

Development and Negation VII: Original Sin as Inherited "Guilt"

Thus, it has been suggested that even allowing for the possibility of salvation for infants who die unbaptized entails tacitly abandoning the Council of Trent's teaching that we inherit the "guilt" of original sin from our first parents. Said council did after all define: “If anyone denies, that, by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is conferred in baptism, the guilt of original sin is remitted … let him be anathema” (Decree on Original Sin,canon 5); such a definition would be idle without the assumption that there is such a thing as the guilt of original sin; and Trent clearly made such an assumption.

http://mliccione.blogspot.com/2007/04/development-and-negation-vii-original.html


Nope, not familiar with it.  I don't have a problem re-focusing here on Catholic teaching (such as I know it), but I would like answers to my questions above.  Like I said, maybe the mods can split this thread??  I've got to log off now, or I might have started a new one.
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« Reply #22 on: February 02, 2012, 06:26:01 PM »


Does the Orthodox Church know definitively what happens to unbaptized infants who die?

I have never encountered anything definitive.  

So, the Orthodox Church does not know what happens to unbaptized infants who die.  Correct?

I have never met any of the faithful who did not believe they are saved and will enter heaven with all of us at the Last Judgement.

Father, I think J Michael asks a good question. When you say "with all of us", do you mean that literally?
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« Reply #23 on: February 02, 2012, 06:26:56 PM »

Quote
Why is "What do Catholics believe?" such a difficult question?

In message 231
at
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,42694.new.html

Delphine has some great insights into the question asked in this thread


* * *

Also please see message 1044
at
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,13820.msg421044.html#msg421044

It has some insights into the current state of flux in some Catholic beliefs.

Those are both great posts. The former I had read (and liked) before you mentioned it; the latter is new to me.
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« Reply #24 on: February 02, 2012, 06:31:18 PM »

Nope, not familiar with it.  I don't have a problem re-focusing here on Catholic teaching (such as I know it), but I would like answers to my questions above.  Like I said, maybe the mods can split this thread??  I've got to log off now, or I might have started a new one.

As I have said, there is, as far as I know - no definitive teaching from any Council.  But the faith of the Church is that unbaptized children will enter heaven at the Last Judgement.

You could start a new thread, but I suspect thast when it all boils down you will have had a long and wearying thread on the Orthodox concept of ancestral sin (also not definitively defined) and the final conclusion will be no more than I have said in the first paragraph. laugh

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« Reply #25 on: February 02, 2012, 06:34:16 PM »

Quote
I have never met any of the faithful who did not believe they are saved.and will enter heaven with all of us at the Last Judgement.

We are *all* entering heaven?  No one is assigned to hell?  You know this how?  

"all of us" means "all of us who are entering heaven."  I think I was a bit presumptuous in including myself among them.  God forgive me.
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« Reply #26 on: February 02, 2012, 06:50:33 PM »

Quote
I have never met any of the faithful who did not believe they are saved.and will enter heaven with all of us at the Last Judgement.

We are *all* entering heaven?  No one is assigned to hell?  You know this how?  

"all of us" means "all of us who are entering heaven."

Aha. Grin

Truth is, when I first read your statement I didn't notice anything unusual about it. It was only upon reading subsequent posts that I realized that your statement was awfully bold -- if taken literally that is.

I think I was a bit presumptuous in including myself among them.  God forgive me.

Touche.
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« Reply #27 on: February 02, 2012, 07:18:36 PM »

Truth is, when I first read your statement I didn't notice anything unusual about it. It was only upon reading subsequent posts that I realized that your statement was awfully bold -- if taken literally that is.


I am going to side with a great Catholic Father Saint Maximus the Confessor who died in the 7th century.....

One should pray that Apokatastasis [universal salvation] is true, but one would be foolish to teach it as doctrine.
~St Maximus the Confessor

 Somewhere on the forum someone has provided a list of around 17 Church Fathers who taught universal salvation.

I think that one of the 'marks' of an Orthodox Christian psyche is an attraction to the temptation to believe in universal salvation (apokatastasis.)  While the West tends towards restrictive salvation which reaches its culmination in the horrific teaching of Calvin's double predestination,  the East has been tempted in the other direction - towards universal salvation.

The Orthodox have always been attracted to the idea of "universal salvation", that all will finally be recapitulated in Christ, both the earth-born and (possibly) the demons.  You will find this in the Early Church.  We know from Saint Augustine that it was a widely held teaching of what he calls the "fathers of the Church."  As you may imagine Saint Augustine was inclined to the opposite belief.  

It resurfaces in the writings of the 20th century Parisian school of Russian theology.  Russia's young theologian-bishop Hilarion Alfeyev is very sympathetic to the teaching and has delivered lectures on it and written on it, drawing on Saint Isaac the Syrian.

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« Reply #28 on: February 02, 2012, 07:29:41 PM »

I do not understand.  The Catechism says that Catholic may hope that unbaptized children go to heaven.

Is the Catechism wrong?

Is it not really a question of hoping at all?  Catholics in fact, contrary to the Catechism, know that unbaptized children go to heaven because they are incapable of self-exclusion.

But does self-exclusion apply to humans who have not reached the age of reason?  

And why does the Catechism speak, incorrectly it seems, only of hope if it is really a fact?
This is an area which I have struggled with as well, but the way I heard it explained is like this: the Church does not have the authority to say that they are definitely saved, but speaks of hope because ultimately only God can judge. However, there is nothing wrong with Catholics believing that God does save unbaptized infants. I believe that He does, and in a theological grey area like this I definitely favor that belief over the existence of limbo. However, the Church cannot twist God's arm so to speak and say what He definitely does or does not do, because that's His call. We can only say what we have received through Apostolic Tradition, and Tradition says that Baptism is the normal means of salvation. It does not say it is the only means, but when and how God grants salvation outside of Baptism is His prerogative.
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« Reply #29 on: February 02, 2012, 07:33:06 PM »

"Liberal" Catholics believe in evil nonsense, and this is why: The CCHD and Saul Alinsky.

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« Reply #30 on: February 02, 2012, 07:33:22 PM »

I do not understand.  The Catechism says that Catholic may hope that unbaptized children go to heaven.

Is the Catechism wrong?

Is it not really a question of hoping at all?  Catholics in fact, contrary to the Catechism, know that unbaptized children go to heaven because they are incapable of self-exclusion.

But does self-exclusion apply to humans who have not reached the age of reason?  

And why does the Catechism speak, incorrectly it seems, only of hope if it is really a fact?
This is an area which I have struggled with as well, but the way I heard it explained is like this: the Church does not have the authority to say that they are definitely saved, but speaks of hope because ultimately only God can judge. However, there is nothing wrong with Catholics believing that God does save unbaptized infants. I believe that He does, and in a theological grey area like this I definitely favor that belief over the existence of limbo. However, the Church cannot twist God's arm so to speak and say what He definitely does or does not do, because that's His call. We can only say what we have received through Apostolic Tradition, and Tradition says that Baptism is the normal means of salvation. It does not say it is the only means, but when and how God grants salvation outside of Baptism is His prerogative.

The way you phrased your thoughts, how are they different then an Orthodox approach? The problem of over-thinking these things caused medieval Roman Catholic thinkers much consternation which carried over into our times.
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« Reply #31 on: February 02, 2012, 07:35:13 PM »


Oh no, don't interject politics into this. Not all of us Orthodox drink the kool-aid of the far right so let it go.
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« Reply #32 on: February 02, 2012, 07:37:41 PM »

I do not understand.  The Catechism says that Catholic may hope that unbaptized children go to heaven.

Is the Catechism wrong?

Is it not really a question of hoping at all?  Catholics in fact, contrary to the Catechism, know that unbaptized children go to heaven because they are incapable of self-exclusion.

But does self-exclusion apply to humans who have not reached the age of reason?  

And why does the Catechism speak, incorrectly it seems, only of hope if it is really a fact?
This is an area which I have struggled with as well, but the way I heard it explained is like this: the Church does not have the authority to say that they are definitely saved, but speaks of hope because ultimately only God can judge. However, there is nothing wrong with Catholics believing that God does save unbaptized infants. I believe that He does, and in a theological grey area like this I definitely favor that belief over the existence of limbo. However, the Church cannot twist God's arm so to speak and say what He definitely does or does not do, because that's His call. We can only say what we have received through Apostolic Tradition, and Tradition says that Baptism is the normal means of salvation. It does not say it is the only means, but when and how God grants salvation outside of Baptism is His prerogative.

The way you phrased your thoughts, how are they different then an Orthodox approach? The problem of over-thinking these things caused medieval Roman Catholic thinkers much consternation which carried over into our times.
You have a point. I guess such thinking is very similar to the Orthodox approach. It is kind of funny how, even with the existence of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and many things being pretty clearly defined, there is still theological wiggle room.
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« Reply #33 on: February 02, 2012, 07:48:38 PM »

I do not understand.  The Catechism says that Catholic may hope that unbaptized children go to heaven.

Is the Catechism wrong?

Is it not really a question of hoping at all?  Catholics in fact, contrary to the Catechism, know that unbaptized children go to heaven because they are incapable of self-exclusion.

But does self-exclusion apply to humans who have not reached the age of reason?  

And why does the Catechism speak, incorrectly it seems, only of hope if it is really a fact?
This is an area which I have struggled with as well, but the way I heard it explained is like this: the Church does not have the authority to say that they are definitely saved, but speaks of hope because ultimately only God can judge. However, there is nothing wrong with Catholics believing that God does save unbaptized infants. I believe that He does, and in a theological grey area like this I definitely favor that belief over the existence of limbo. However, the Church cannot twist God's arm so to speak and say what He definitely does or does not do, because that's His call. We can only say what we have received through Apostolic Tradition, and Tradition says that Baptism is the normal means of salvation. It does not say it is the only means, but when and how God grants salvation outside of Baptism is His prerogative.

Wyatt,

How would you and others answer Fr Brian Harrison's words in message 20 above?

"...unbaptized infants, their eternal exclusion from Heaven (with or without any 'pain of sense') — at least after the proclamation of the Gospel, and apart from the 'baptism of blood' of infants slaughtered out of hatred for Christ — this was traditional Catholic doctrine, not a mere hypothesis. "

It illustrates the very difficulty the OP wants discussed - doctrinal uncertainty in some areas.   Before Vatican II - unbaptized children excluded from heaven eternally.  After Vatican II, heaven was opened to them.



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« Reply #34 on: February 02, 2012, 07:49:07 PM »

Why is "What do Catholics believe on such-and-such matter?" often a very difficult (and touchy) question? I have some thoughts on this which I'm not quite ready to present; but I figured I would go ahead and ask the question, and see what anyone else might say about it.

Same reason why it is such a hard question for the Orthodox or the Lutherans: they are all communities made of people, not theological automata.

Not yet. That's on its way, especially if the Papists of the world have their way and they are.

Really, your answer should have been the end of this thread.
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« Reply #35 on: February 02, 2012, 07:52:55 PM »

I do not understand.  The Catechism says that Catholic may hope that unbaptized children go to heaven.

Is the Catechism wrong?

Is it not really a question of hoping at all?  Catholics in fact, contrary to the Catechism, know that unbaptized children go to heaven because they are incapable of self-exclusion.

But does self-exclusion apply to humans who have not reached the age of reason?  

And why does the Catechism speak, incorrectly it seems, only of hope if it is really a fact?
This is an area which I have struggled with as well, but the way I heard it explained is like this: the Church does not have the authority to say that they are definitely saved, but speaks of hope because ultimately only God can judge. However, there is nothing wrong with Catholics believing that God does save unbaptized infants. I believe that He does, and in a theological grey area like this I definitely favor that belief over the existence of limbo. However, the Church cannot twist God's arm so to speak and say what He definitely does or does not do, because that's His call. We can only say what we have received through Apostolic Tradition, and Tradition says that Baptism is the normal means of salvation. It does not say it is the only means, but when and how God grants salvation outside of Baptism is His prerogative.

Wyatt,

How would you and others answer Fr Brian Harrison's words in message 20 above?

"...unbaptized infants, their eternal exclusion from Heaven (with or without any 'pain of sense') — at least after the proclamation of the Gospel, and apart from the 'baptism of blood' of infants slaughtered out of hatred for Christ — this was traditional Catholic doctrine, not a mere hypothesis. "

It illustrates the very difficulty the OP wants discussed - doctrinal uncertainty in some areas.   Before Vatican II - unbaptized children excluded from heaven eternally.  After Vatican II, heaven was opened to them.
I would point him to the Catechism and ask him why he is at odds with what his Church teaches. I would also point out the thief on the cross who did not get a chance to be baptized, but was told by Christ Himself that he would be with Him in paradise. I would also appeal to common sense and ask him if he can actually say with a straight face that he believes that an all-merciful God, which is the Scriptures say is love, would actually condemn infants to hell.
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« Reply #36 on: February 02, 2012, 08:00:22 PM »

I do not understand.  The Catechism says that Catholic may hope that unbaptized children go to heaven.

Is the Catechism wrong?

Is it not really a question of hoping at all?  Catholics in fact, contrary to the Catechism, know that unbaptized children go to heaven because they are incapable of self-exclusion.

But does self-exclusion apply to humans who have not reached the age of reason?  

And why does the Catechism speak, incorrectly it seems, only of hope if it is really a fact?
This is an area which I have struggled with as well, but the way I heard it explained is like this: the Church does not have the authority to say that they are definitely saved, but speaks of hope because ultimately only God can judge. However, there is nothing wrong with Catholics believing that God does save unbaptized infants. I believe that He does, and in a theological grey area like this I definitely favor that belief over the existence of limbo. However, the Church cannot twist God's arm so to speak and say what He definitely does or does not do, because that's His call. We can only say what we have received through Apostolic Tradition, and Tradition says that Baptism is the normal means of salvation. It does not say it is the only means, but when and how God grants salvation outside of Baptism is His prerogative.

Wyatt,

How would you and others answer Fr Brian Harrison's words in message 20 above?

"...unbaptized infants, their eternal exclusion from Heaven (with or without any 'pain of sense') — at least after the proclamation of the Gospel, and apart from the 'baptism of blood' of infants slaughtered out of hatred for Christ — this was traditional Catholic doctrine, not a mere hypothesis. "

It illustrates the very difficulty the OP wants discussed - doctrinal uncertainty in some areas.   Before Vatican II - unbaptized children excluded from heaven eternally.  After Vatican II, heaven was opened to them.
I would point him to the Catechism and ask him why he is at odds with what his Church teaches. I would also point out the thief on the cross who did not get a chance to be baptized, but was told by Christ Himself that he would be with Him in paradise. I would also appeal to common sense and ask him if he can actually say with a straight face that he believes that an all-merciful God, which is the Scriptures say is love, would actually condemn infants to hell.


But he is not speaking of your current doctrines.  He is speaking of what was taught prior to Vatican II  - eternal exclusion from heaven -the very opposite of current teaching.
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« Reply #37 on: February 02, 2012, 08:01:30 PM »

I do not understand.  The Catechism says that Catholic may hope that unbaptized children go to heaven.

Is the Catechism wrong?

Is it not really a question of hoping at all?  Catholics in fact, contrary to the Catechism, know that unbaptized children go to heaven because they are incapable of self-exclusion.

But does self-exclusion apply to humans who have not reached the age of reason?  

And why does the Catechism speak, incorrectly it seems, only of hope if it is really a fact?
This is an area which I have struggled with as well, but the way I heard it explained is like this: the Church does not have the authority to say that they are definitely saved, but speaks of hope because ultimately only God can judge. However, there is nothing wrong with Catholics believing that God does save unbaptized infants. I believe that He does, and in a theological grey area like this I definitely favor that belief over the existence of limbo. However, the Church cannot twist God's arm so to speak and say what He definitely does or does not do, because that's His call. We can only say what we have received through Apostolic Tradition, and Tradition says that Baptism is the normal means of salvation. It does not say it is the only means, but when and how God grants salvation outside of Baptism is His prerogative.

Wyatt,

How would you and others answer Fr Brian Harrison's words in message 20 above?

"...unbaptized infants, their eternal exclusion from Heaven (with or without any 'pain of sense') — at least after the proclamation of the Gospel, and apart from the 'baptism of blood' of infants slaughtered out of hatred for Christ — this was traditional Catholic doctrine, not a mere hypothesis. "

It illustrates the very difficulty the OP wants discussed - doctrinal uncertainty in some areas.   Before Vatican II - unbaptized children excluded from heaven eternally.  After Vatican II, heaven was opened to them.
I would point him to the Catechism and ask him why he is at odds with what his Church teaches. I would also point out the thief on the cross who did not get a chance to be baptized, but was told by Christ Himself that he would be with Him in paradise. I would also appeal to common sense and ask him if he can actually say with a straight face that he believes that an all-merciful God, which is the Scriptures say is love, would actually condemn infants to hell.


But he is not speaking of your current doctrines.  He is speaking of what was taught prior to Vatican II  - eternal exclusion from heaven -the very opposite of current teaching.
I would disagree that it was ever doctrine rather than popular theological opinion of the time and would ask him to prove otherwise.
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« Reply #38 on: February 02, 2012, 08:06:23 PM »

Does the Orthodox Church know definitively what happens to unbaptized infants who die?  In other words, is there a formal Orthodox teaching about it?

There is not.  Much of our faith has never been "formalised."  We tend to live and believe by our tradition which will be formalised in Councils only when necessary, when heretics disturb the faith of the Church.

I believe this answers the question for another thread:

Why is "What do Orthodox believe?" such a difficult question?
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« Reply #39 on: February 02, 2012, 08:09:24 PM »

I do not understand.  The Catechism says that Catholic may hope that unbaptized children go to heaven.

Is the Catechism wrong?

Is it not really a question of hoping at all?  Catholics in fact, contrary to the Catechism, know that unbaptized children go to heaven because they are incapable of self-exclusion.

But does self-exclusion apply to humans who have not reached the age of reason?  

And why does the Catechism speak, incorrectly it seems, only of hope if it is really a fact?
This is an area which I have struggled with as well, but the way I heard it explained is like this: the Church does not have the authority to say that they are definitely saved, but speaks of hope because ultimately only God can judge. However, there is nothing wrong with Catholics believing that God does save unbaptized infants. I believe that He does, and in a theological grey area like this I definitely favor that belief over the existence of limbo. However, the Church cannot twist God's arm so to speak and say what He definitely does or does not do, because that's His call. We can only say what we have received through Apostolic Tradition, and Tradition says that Baptism is the normal means of salvation. It does not say it is the only means, but when and how God grants salvation outside of Baptism is His prerogative.

Wyatt,

How would you and others answer Fr Brian Harrison's words in message 20 above?

"...unbaptized infants, their eternal exclusion from Heaven (with or without any 'pain of sense') — at least after the proclamation of the Gospel, and apart from the 'baptism of blood' of infants slaughtered out of hatred for Christ — this was traditional Catholic doctrine, not a mere hypothesis. "

It illustrates the very difficulty the OP wants discussed - doctrinal uncertainty in some areas.   Before Vatican II - unbaptized children excluded from heaven eternally.  After Vatican II, heaven was opened to them.
I would point him to the Catechism and ask him why he is at odds with what his Church teaches. I would also point out the thief on the cross who did not get a chance to be baptized, but was told by Christ Himself that he would be with Him in paradise. I would also appeal to common sense and ask him if he can actually say with a straight face that he believes that an all-merciful God, which is the Scriptures say is love, would actually condemn infants to hell.


But he is not speaking of your current doctrines.  He is speaking of what was taught prior to Vatican II  - eternal exclusion from heaven -the very opposite of current teaching.
I would disagree that it was ever doctrine rather than popular theological opinion of the time and would ask him to prove otherwise.

And your present doctrines on the topic?  Are they any more stable and certain?   Will they change again with new Popes and new opinions?  

So when Catholics say, "Yes, our people believed in Limbo for a 1000 years.  It was taught by the Popes and the Magisterium and the bishops and the priests and the nuns.   But all of that can be ignored because, although it was a part of our Tradition, it was never dogmatized."  Well, that makes very little sense to the Orthodox who live by a much more wholistic approach to the holy Tradition.



« Last Edit: February 02, 2012, 08:12:46 PM by Irish Hermit » Logged
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« Reply #40 on: February 02, 2012, 08:13:41 PM »

I do not understand.  The Catechism says that Catholic may hope that unbaptized children go to heaven.

Is the Catechism wrong?

Is it not really a question of hoping at all?  Catholics in fact, contrary to the Catechism, know that unbaptized children go to heaven because they are incapable of self-exclusion.

But does self-exclusion apply to humans who have not reached the age of reason?  

And why does the Catechism speak, incorrectly it seems, only of hope if it is really a fact?
This is an area which I have struggled with as well, but the way I heard it explained is like this: the Church does not have the authority to say that they are definitely saved, but speaks of hope because ultimately only God can judge. However, there is nothing wrong with Catholics believing that God does save unbaptized infants. I believe that He does, and in a theological grey area like this I definitely favor that belief over the existence of limbo. However, the Church cannot twist God's arm so to speak and say what He definitely does or does not do, because that's His call. We can only say what we have received through Apostolic Tradition, and Tradition says that Baptism is the normal means of salvation. It does not say it is the only means, but when and how God grants salvation outside of Baptism is His prerogative.

Wyatt,

How would you and others answer Fr Brian Harrison's words in message 20 above?

"...unbaptized infants, their eternal exclusion from Heaven (with or without any 'pain of sense') — at least after the proclamation of the Gospel, and apart from the 'baptism of blood' of infants slaughtered out of hatred for Christ — this was traditional Catholic doctrine, not a mere hypothesis. "

It illustrates the very difficulty the OP wants discussed - doctrinal uncertainty in some areas.   Before Vatican II - unbaptized children excluded from heaven eternally.  After Vatican II, heaven was opened to them.
I would point him to the Catechism and ask him why he is at odds with what his Church teaches. I would also point out the thief on the cross who did not get a chance to be baptized, but was told by Christ Himself that he would be with Him in paradise. I would also appeal to common sense and ask him if he can actually say with a straight face that he believes that an all-merciful God, which is the Scriptures say is love, would actually condemn infants to hell.


But he is not speaking of your current doctrines.  He is speaking of what was taught prior to Vatican II  - eternal exclusion from heaven -the very opposite of current teaching.
I would disagree that it was ever doctrine rather than popular theological opinion of the time and would ask him to prove otherwise.

And your present doctrines on the topic?  Are they any more stable and certain?   Will thery change again with new Popes and new opinions?
I think they are much more stable because they are less specific than theologians were trying to be back in the day. Rather than saying "unbaptized infants go to limbo" we now say "we don't know with certainty how God deals with unbaptized infants, but we have every reason to hope He is merciful to them." One teaching presumes to know exactly how God deals with them, whereas the other simply says that we trust in God's mercy and leave it up to Him.


So when Catholics say, "Yes, our people believed in Limbo for a 1000 years.  It was taught by the Popes and the Magisterium and the bishops and the priests and the nuns.   But all of that can be ignored because, although it was a part of our Tradition, it was never dogmatized."  Well, that makes very little sense to the Orthodox who live by a much more wholistic approach to the holy Tradition.
I would argue that Limbo was never a part of capital "t" Tradition (meaning Apostolic Tradition), but was rather seen, for a time, as a reasonable theological solution to a perceived problem, which was the fate of unbaptized infants.
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« Reply #41 on: February 02, 2012, 08:21:10 PM »

I do not understand.  The Catechism says that Catholic may hope that unbaptized children go to heaven.

Is the Catechism wrong?

Is it not really a question of hoping at all?  Catholics in fact, contrary to the Catechism, know that unbaptized children go to heaven because they are incapable of self-exclusion.

But does self-exclusion apply to humans who have not reached the age of reason?  

And why does the Catechism speak, incorrectly it seems, only of hope if it is really a fact?
This is an area which I have struggled with as well, but the way I heard it explained is like this: the Church does not have the authority to say that they are definitely saved, but speaks of hope because ultimately only God can judge. However, there is nothing wrong with Catholics believing that God does save unbaptized infants. I believe that He does, and in a theological grey area like this I definitely favor that belief over the existence of limbo. However, the Church cannot twist God's arm so to speak and say what He definitely does or does not do, because that's His call. We can only say what we have received through Apostolic Tradition, and Tradition says that Baptism is the normal means of salvation. It does not say it is the only means, but when and how God grants salvation outside of Baptism is His prerogative.

Wyatt,

How would you and others answer Fr Brian Harrison's words in message 20 above?

"...unbaptized infants, their eternal exclusion from Heaven (with or without any 'pain of sense') — at least after the proclamation of the Gospel, and apart from the 'baptism of blood' of infants slaughtered out of hatred for Christ — this was traditional Catholic doctrine, not a mere hypothesis. "

It illustrates the very difficulty the OP wants discussed - doctrinal uncertainty in some areas.   Before Vatican II - unbaptized children excluded from heaven eternally.  After Vatican II, heaven was opened to them.
I would point him to the Catechism and ask him why he is at odds with what his Church teaches. I would also point out the thief on the cross who did not get a chance to be baptized, but was told by Christ Himself that he would be with Him in paradise. I would also appeal to common sense and ask him if he can actually say with a straight face that he believes that an all-merciful God, which is the Scriptures say is love, would actually condemn infants to hell.


But he is not speaking of your current doctrines.  He is speaking of what was taught prior to Vatican II  - eternal exclusion from heaven -the very opposite of current teaching.
I would disagree that it was ever doctrine rather than popular theological opinion of the time and would ask him to prove otherwise.

And your present doctrines on the topic?  Are they any more stable and certain?   Will thery change again with new Popes and new opinions?
I think they are much more stable because they are less specific than theologians were trying to be back in the day. Rather than saying "unbaptized infants go to limbo" we now say "we don't know with certainty how God deals with unbaptized infants, but we have every reason to hope He is merciful to them." One teaching presumes to know exactly how God deals with them, whereas the other simply says that we trust in God's mercy and leave it up to Him.


So when Catholics say, "Yes, our people believed in Limbo for a 1000 years.  It was taught by the Popes and the Magisterium and the bishops and the priests and the nuns.   But all of that can be ignored because, although it was a part of our Tradition, it was never dogmatized."  Well, that makes very little sense to the Orthodox who live by a much more wholistic approach to the holy Tradition.
I would argue that Limbo was never a part of capital "t" Tradition (meaning Apostolic Tradition), but was rather seen, for a time, as a reasonable theological solution to a perceived problem, which was the fate of unbaptized infants.

Your Popes and Magisterum were teaching error for nigh on a thousand years - the eternal exclusion of unbaptized children from heaven. 

Is there any convincing reason to think they've got it right now?  (apart from the belief of every generation that thery know more and see more clearly than previous ones.)
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« Reply #42 on: February 02, 2012, 08:24:19 PM »

Is there any convincing reason to think they've got it right now?  (apart from the belief of every generation that thery know more and see more clearly than previous ones.)

And you wonder why the RCs are hesitant to admit error . . . They just can't live it down when they do.

Sheesh.
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« Reply #43 on: February 02, 2012, 08:29:11 PM »

Your Popes and Magisterum were teaching error for nigh on a thousand years - the eternal exclusion of unbaptized children from heaven.
Were they...or were they just regurgitating the popular theological opinion of the time? According to you, Aquinas thought violence towards heretics was acceptable. That may be true...doesn't really matter, because it has never been Church teaching.

Is there any convincing reason to think they've got it right now?  (apart from the belief of every generation that thery know more and see more clearly than previous ones.)
Yeah...saying "we trust them to God's mercy" is leaving it up to God, rather than trying to define precisely what God does with unbaptized infants. In the absence of any official Church teaching on what exactly and with certainty happens to unbaptized infants, people are free to still believe in limbo if they wish and some Catholics still do. I do not, and I am not at odds with my Church for not believing in limbo because it's never been doctrine or dogma. Sometimes things become such a popular theological opinion that they may seem like doctrine or dogma, but they still are not. How do we know what is doctrine or dogma? We look to the Church to answer that.
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« Reply #44 on: February 02, 2012, 08:40:13 PM »

Your Popes and Magisterum were teaching error for nigh on a thousand years - the eternal exclusion of unbaptized children from heaven.
Were they...or were they just regurgitating the popular theological opinion of the time?

The same as they are still doing today?

But I think something which was universally taught and believed for many centuries deserves more respect and credibility than the latest opinion of a mere 40 years.
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