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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Do the Limbo! (Vatican style)

Apparently the Vatican has an important group working on its position on the concept of limbo (heaven's waiting room, especially outfitted for un-unbaptised babies). It seems they may come out with a position that it doesn't exist and won't be part of the Catholic Church's theology.

Help me please! First, does this not strike you as a little weird - that limbo can be in place since it was invented in the Middle Ages and might not be there now? Either the souls in limbo get a free pass into paradise or they never stopped there to start with - am I wrong?

Help me again please! Is it strange to anyone else that millions of people believe that a man was born of a virgin, died and came to life again, wants you to believe that if you don't follow the Pope's rules, you will roast in hell (or relax in limbo or do time in purgatory).. oh yeah, and this man is going to 'come back' someday and straighten us all out. If it was only me that believed all of the above...if I was unwise enough to repeatedly tell people about it, I would undoubtedly end up with serious medical attention. If millions believe it, well it's just dandy (and gee, is there limbo or not?)

I do certainly believe in each person's right to believe what they want to (as long as it doesn't do harm to others). I have encountered good religious people (and thinkers) too. But do we need this kind of fantasy land to be good people? I suspect not.

If you're offended by this rant - apologies. Happy to hear your views.

UPDATE: Check out what the pope himself has to say (here).

A LITTLE weird?
Limbo was only ever a theory, so there's no question of it having been in place for 800 years and then being abolished.
The idea of Limbo “redeemed’ from original sin by baptism is a dogma which I suspect will soon gather dust in the archives of past thoughts and concepts. A caricature of original religious thoughts, having their reliance primarily on the concept of mysticism. A baptism to day I think is primarily seen as a sharing and welcoming of new life by its community.

I don’t think the idea that Jesus was born virgin is particularly important to me. I think if we were to find her was not born a virgin, which seems likely, that would enhance my faith, since it raises the status of our life and gives reverence to our life by birth through women.

The invention of a virgin birth or the creation of that concept I think may even detract from the wonder of new life, and the fact it happens at all, is sufficiently a miracle for me. I think it only a “fundamentalist” type belief that puts so much heavy emphasis on a virgin birth.

I don’t think any Catholics anywhere think you need to follow their faith like a rule Book and no one at all in general believes if you don’t follow the Popes ruling you won’t go to heaven.

The “Catholic Church” officially abandoned such ideas under Vatican 2, and now officially recognise all religions and the validity of the secular world as it expresses its good works, as salvation and eternal life are as a consequence of grace, available to all and are not based upon ones beliefs. That’s not to say some Bishops (particularly in Africa) feeling their religion should be a tad stronger in the face of fundamentalism “invent” new rules, and adapt to suit.

Most Priests don’t agree with everything but under the last Pope it was hard to become a Bishop if you didn’t follow the Curio’s pronouncements carefully, but I think that’s likely7 to change soon. Most Catholics and Bishops are critical of the Curio and our previous Pope, who, whilst a great ambassador did not pay attention to the views of the laity and Bishops. That’s universally accepted.

Of no less significance is the journey of those to new “enlightenment” through post modernism, to embrace “atheism” as the only true path to autonomy, eagerly embracing the “rationalism” of the human mind as the only true way forward for humanity.

But the philosophical basis for this new found enlightenment is surprisingly shallow and anaemic. Given that something exits and is agreed is possible, it’s illogical to say nothing exists and nothing is possible as in any in depth philosophical analysis it becomes self contradictory.

I think by implication, as matter of personal integrity, a respect of a moral law, or by way of religious conviction, of secular association that seeks to do good, of metaphysical argument, are an expression of our humanity that by moral necessity is our reality of the existence of god.

Our distinctively rational existence is beloved and made possible by our god or by a god of our religious experience and it’s a love of god of sorts, that’s our authentic realisation of our ultimate reality.

I think we are witnessing the rise and fall of atheism, replaced by a form of loose spirituality, that’s not keen on traditional Christianity. The challenge of theology is to indicate its relevance, but what most don’t realise is it’s mostly mysticism already.
it's a funny old world we make for ourselves for sure, Gary. Good post.

my views. well, i'm not of the persuasion and i must try to respect others with different beliefs. i only wish we would start listening to ourselves & each other as much as we listen to priests & gods. i do think the truth is within us, as a common thinking race, and not somewhere up there...

(and i'm not talking x-files here, though it might come across as that). :o)
Gary, are you sure you're not a closet liberal Catholic? You sure do sound like one!

Actually, I've pretty much given up on what the official church thinks, and it seems that most of the rest of the world has too. Their authority in most, if not all spheres, is shot. I worry alot more about the right-wing evangelicals in the States, because they have some actually power, and how they use it is a little frightening.

Well, make that a lot frightening. I'm glad Canada doesn't identify so strongly with religion in politics.

So.... what's the next post about? Hindus? Moslems? (Grin.)
why do you think I quit my christian beliefs and became a buddhist??
too many unanswerable questions...
I am with Nerdine. I was born and raised Catholic but have found that Buddhist teachings have given me more comfort and enlightenment than Catholic/Christian doctrine ever did. There are too many unanswered questions, and when you ask a Catholic priest they always undoubtedly give you the run-around.
No Madcap, not a closet Catholic liberal! I did search for Christ in Israel years ago (even slept out on Mount Tabor); did study the Bahai faith (in university), did spend years with an Indian Guru, did debate with Muslim friends while living in Sudan and have read and practiced some Buddhist teachings.

Hmmmm, makes me sound like a flake! Actually, I have strong faith in the wisdom inherent in each of us and I have deep experience of transcendent or mystical moments - just not willing anymore to tie them to a person (living or dead) or a book.
Lindsey, thanks for your thoughful, articulate view of what I'd call the deeper faith. As a reader of Richard Dawkins, I'm probably one of those who, in rejecting religion (for good reasons), is finding the ins and outs and ups and downs of atheism/personal sprituality.

I do know that religious history and the beliefs stamped into each of us are cultural, mythical, artistic , scientific etc... I can't fully disengage from all that any easier than a citizen of Japan can from the line of Emperors in their blood. But I can think!
It is a positive thing that many people seek for the nuance in beliefs, religion and politics Gary.

It's the fundamentalists that cause so much trouble. The first holy Hebrew writings were translated with an agressive and personal touch to my opinion.

I personally don't think there will be Limbo. I believe there will be something we are not capable of of grasping anyway.

Not me, not yet

Warm Amsterdam regards,

PS. here's another example of - to my opinion - polarized religion:

http://1sdg.blogspot.com/ see antichrist part 2
Now that everybody's come and gone, I'll tell you what I really think. The truth is, who knows? Who knows what the truth is? (Ha, a new form of circular argument!). But I believe that the more elaborate the rules and dogma get, the more it starts to sound like something created to fill that "god-shaped hole" Sartre noted, like something humans dreamed up. We all have to decide for ourselves what the truth is. The problem arises when people think they have the monopoly on truth and need to shove their beliefs down your throat like a grapefruit (a growing concern in the United States; I've seriously considered blogging about it, but it will open a can of worms for sure).

I think the limbo revision is an example of the church trying to make itself relevant in the modern world, where many peops no longer feel bound by superstition (and believing your baby will be placed in limbo if not baptized is a form of superstition). So, again, a LITTLE weird?
Hey Julian Blue - you can't get the last word if we don't let you! I suspect all who posted here would agree with you about shoving beliefs down others throats (particularly when it starts to become political and purposeful).

As I recently said to a Christian friend, "No, I actually don't have to respect your beliefs ... or you mine. What I do respect is your right to have them."

God : Thou hast forsaken My Church!
Homer : Uh, kind-of ... b-but ...
God : But what
Homer : I'm not a bad guy! I work hard, and I love my kids. So why should I spend half my Sunday hearing about how I'm going to Hell?
God : [pause] Hmm ... You've got a point there.
Unless I am mistaken, which I could be, limbo was a politically motivated idea that originated during the corrupt middle ages with the Popes of the Rennaissance that were really just political puppets. It was a way to get people to pay for indulgences - not just for their sins but for the sins of their poor family members who might be sitting in limbo. Just pay some money to the church and you'd move those poor people in limbo on their way.

It's amazing it wasn't removed from Catholic theology sooner. Very scary, actually.

Have you seen the Ask the Pope's Blogspot on this? Limbo for Dummies!
Yep, fear-mongering to control the masses, apparently successful...That's why BushCo favors the technique, while having a ready-made fear-based population to bolster his insanity....

I'm a recovering Catholic...some days I'm in Limbo, some days in Hell, but most days in Purgatory....But I'll probably be in Paradise tonight while tipping the Merlot...

Oh, I wasn't trying to have the last word. I was trying to sneak back in and whisper my opinion. (Irony.)
Despite what most people believe, limbo was never an official doctine of the Catholic Church. It was merely a theory and was used to frighten people into baptizing thier babies.

I have never believe in the theory of limbo. God is just and compassionate.
With all respect domini sumus...if it wasn't official doctrine, why do priests and nuns still preach it and why is the Vatican working to decide how to get rid of it?

If God exists and is just and compassionate, I can't believe she even cares about men in tall pointy hats talking on her behalf.

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