Life After Limbo

Closing it will send more souls to heaven, but will baptism lose its primacy?

Forget about the cute headlines proclaiming that limbo is in limbo. In fact, limbo, the incomplete afterlife postulated by the Roman Catholic Church for infants who die before being baptized, is on the skids. After a commission of top Catholic theologians wrapped up a December conference that examined the topic, the prognosis was apparently grim: the group's secretary-general told Vatican Radio that the church's teaching on limbo was "in crisis."

Beyond being headline news (how often does a major faith admit to retooling its take on the afterlife?), the shift, telegraphed in the 1994 Catechism, should strike most believers as a very good...

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