Le paradis et non les limbes pour les bébés

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Manchette aujourd’hui de l’Agence France-Presse: Les théologiens du Vatican ont convenu, après des mois de travaux, que les limbes n’existent pas et que les enfants morts sans avoir été baptisés vont directement au paradis. Cette mise au point mettra fin à une tradition multiséculaire qui a tourmenté des générations de mères.

Le concept des limbes avait été ébauchée au Vième siècle, quand Saint Augustin avait tenté de résoudre la quadrature du cercle: puisque l’âme des petits enfants décédés sans baptême n’a pas été lavée du péché originel, ils ne peuvent accéder au paradis. Mais comme ils n’ont encore rien fait de mal, ils n’ont pas leur place en enfer.

Nous pouvons être réconfortés par cette belle évolution. Le malaise de penser qu’une foule de petits bébés étaient perdus dans les limbes vient de disparaître. Pour plus de détails sur cet épineux problème maintenant résolu, voir cet article plus fouillé dans le Boston Globe.

Although Catholics have long believed that children who die without being baptized are with original sin and thus excluded from heaven, the Church has no formal doctrine on the matter. Theologians have long taught that such children enjoy an eternal state of perfect natural happiness, a state commonly called limbo, but without being in communion with God.

“If there’s no limbo and we’re not going to revert to St. Augustine’s teaching that unbaptized infants go to hell, we’re left with only one option, namely, that everyone is born in the state of grace,” said the Rev. Richard McBrien, professor of theology at the University of Notre Dame.

J’ai aussi découvert qu’il y a, à part le site du Vatican, un blog sur les nouvelles du pape Benoît XVI, Pope Benedict XVI News (Pope Benedict XVI comments to the congregation)! On fait la lumière sur les limbes dans ce billet:

VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI has reversed centuries of traditional Roman Catholic teaching on limbo, approving a Vatican report that says there were “serious” grounds to hope that children who die without being baptized can go to heaven.

Voici ce qui est aussi rapporté sur le site de Catholic News Service:

Vatican commission: Limbo reflects ‘restrictive view of salvation’

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — After several years of study, the Vatican’s International Theological Commission said there are good reasons to hope that babies who die without being baptized go to heaven. In a new document, titled “The Hope of Salvation for Infants Who Die Without Being Baptized” and published April 20, the commission said the traditional concept of limbo — as a place where unbaptized infants spend eternity but without communion with God — seemed to reflect an “unduly restrictive view of salvation.” The church continues to teach that, because of original sin, baptism is the ordinary way of salvation for all people and urges parents to baptize infants, the document said. But there is greater theological awareness today that God is merciful and “wants all human beings to be saved,” it said. Grace has priority over sin, and the exclusion of innocent babies from heaven does not seem to reflect Christ’s special love for “the little ones,” it said. “Our conclusion is that the many factors that we have considered … give serious theological and liturgical grounds for hope that unbaptized infants who die will be saved and enjoy the beatific vision,” the document said.

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