A journal of academic theology

The Development of Doctrine about Infants Who Die Unbaptized

The author traces the history of Catholic doctrine about the fate of infants who die unbaptized: (1) from Augustine’s teaching that they are condemned to hell where they suffer “the least of its pains“; (2) to the medieval doctrine of Limbo as the state in which those infants, although excluded from the vision of God, enjoy a natural happiness; (3) to the consoling words that John Paul II, in Evangelium vitae, addressed to a woman who had caused her child to be aborted, that when she had repented and was reconciled to God, she could ask forgiveness from her child who was now “living in the Lord.”

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