Tuesday, November 29, 2005


CHATTER's chief typist is a lapsed Catholic convert, so the concept of limbo isn't unfamiliar. We had a monsignor tell us limbo was where the souls of unbaptized babies go when they die. Another priest, this one a little more hip, told us to think of limbo as the bus station in Des Moines; you're simply waiting to complete the journey from Point A to Point B.

Alas, limbo may be no more. Italy's ANSA reports:
Limbo has been part of Catholic teaching since the 13th century and is depicted in paintings by artists such as Giotto and in important works of literature such as Dante's Divine Comedy.

But an international commission of Catholic theologians is meeting in the Vatican this week to draw up a new report for Pope Benedict XVI on the question. The report is widely expected to advise dropping it from Catholic teaching.

The pope made known his doubts about limbo in an interview published in 1984, when he was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, head of the Vatican's doctrinal department.

"Limbo has never been a defined truth of faith," he said. "Personally, speaking as a theologian and not as head of the Congregation, I would drop something that has always been only a theological hypothesis."

According to Italian Vatican watchers, the reluctance of theologians to even use the word limbo was clear in the way the Vatican referred in its official statement to the question up for discussion.
When it comes to limbo, how low can you go?

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