Question:

I would just simply like to thank you for the time and research you put into studying what the Catholics believe and using Scripture to refute it.  I didn't really know a lot about the Catholic religion until I attended an event where a Catholic man did some basketball tricks, talked about being a Navy S.E.A.L., and about how God wants you to be all you can be through the treasures of the Catholic church.  It just really made me think.  I am somewhat of an opinionated person, and have always said that I don't believe Catholics are going to heaven.  I never really had any Scripture to back this up, I just knew that Catholics didn't believe the same things Christians did.  In no way, shape, or form am I glad to now be certain that Catholics aren't going to heaven, but my heart aches for them.  This entertainer I saw really made me realize how lost some Catholic people are and how sad that is because they will only realize it after they are dead and it's too late, unless they become a Christian.  Well, I don't know if you heard, but the Catholic church (I'm guessing the hierarchy) voted that there is no longer a place called Limbo so infants don't have to be sprinkled anymore.  You could add that to your list of changing beliefs.


Answer:

The Roman Catholic church has been re-examining its stance on limbo for several years. Just a few days ago, on April 20, 2007, they published, with the approval of the Pope, a reversal on their long held tradition.

"A Vatican committee that spent years examining the medieval concept on Friday published a much-anticipated report reversing limbo's basic tenet that unbaptized babies who die may not go to heaven.

That could reverse centuries of Roman Catholic traditional belief that the souls of unbaptized babies are condemned to eternity in limbo, a place that is neither heaven nor hell, giving rise to the popular usage meaning "in between."

["Vatican abolishes the concept of limbo", Tracy Wilkinson, La Angeles Times, 4/21/2007]

The document doesn't actually remove the concept from Catholic doctrine, it just lowers its status from a required belief to a "theological hypothesis." In other words, the belief has fallen out of favor among the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church, so it has been moved to the side lines. If in future years they decide it is useful again, they can always bring it back and claim it was never really gone.

The Roman Catholic Church had been preparing for this alteration for a while. The doctrine started in the Middle Ages to soften Augustine's claim in the 400's that unbaptized infants when to hell. About 15 years ago, the doctrine was removed from the Catholic catechism in anticipation of the recent announcement.