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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Limbo in Limbo

So the Catholic Church has decided to do away with the concept of limbo. Even as a non-believer, this decision intrigues me. From what I know, limbo has been a pretty significant belief among Catholics. How do you all feel about this?

From my perspective, the fact that a governing body can decide what people should and shouldn't believe is rather strange.

Think about it.

Your religion tells you to believe in something so you believe in it. But then they tell you that they changed their minds and that you shouldn't believe in it anymore. Does that strike any of you as odd? Because I think it's really bizarre. Please note that I am not, in any way knocking Catholics. I have no problem with Catholics doing there thing (rock on, more power to you). But it just strikes me as weird that people are now going to adjust their value systems based on the word of a higher body. I mean, it's not like they ran a scientific investigation and discovered that limbo didn't exist. Plenty of non-Catholics could have already told them that. Second, it's not like God spoke to somebody and was like "Hey, here's a tip: there is no limbo."

I also wonder if any Catholics are afraid that if the policy on limbo shifts, it could open a flood gate to other changes as well. Is anyone concerned that the bedrock of their faith is about to be rocked harder than a 10 point Richter scale earthquake? Because I think I would be worried about that. But maybe that's because I worry too much.

Back when I was dating Sailor, he told me he was upset that his Lutheran baby mama refused to have their child baptized Catholic. When I asked him why, he said he didn't want young Ryder to go to limbo if he ever died.

I can tell you that as a religious skeptic, that conversation was a huge test of my sensitivity skills. I suppressed the urge to guffaw at him. I mean, he was worried about something that I didn't even think existed. But it's poor manners to mock other people's religions, so I kept quiet. And I could have been the one whose wrong. It wouldn't have been the first time.

Ultimately, I suppose it's a matter of freedom of choice. In this day and age, I doubt that anyone adheres to every dictum of their religion. I'm sure there's a wide range of degrees of Catholicness. But I am curious: Now that limbo may not exist, will you continue to believe in it?

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9 Comments:

Blogger CatholicLady said...

Funny that I should stumble upon your blog today of all days :)

The concept of limbo was never official Catholic church dogma.

It was a widely held belief for a lot of years, many years ago, but one was not obliged to believe it was true (you could still be in communion with the church and not agree with the idea of limbo). I guess it's fell into the category of "who are we to try to REALLLY say what God will or will not do or allow or not allow into heaven."

I will say that I very much appreciate the very thoughtful and respectful way you discussed this on your blog, Pretty. A lot of people who classify themselves as "non-belivers" would have read something like this story and ran very far in one direction with it. You didn't do that and I think that's awesome.

7:45 PM  
Blogger Frankly, Scarlett said...

Technically the concept of limbo didn't appear until about 500 years after Christ's death. Moreover, there is little if any evidence to support its existance in traditional Christian txts. Therefore, dear...no - never really believed in it nor will I miss the teaching going forward :)

8:33 PM  
Blogger Ally said...

What is limbo? I'm a Christian but not Catholic, so it's foreign to me.

8:34 PM  
Blogger Michael J. West said...

Limbo's always been pretty peripheral to Catholic tradition (and unofficial, as catholiclady said).

HP, As a Recovering Catholic (like an addiction, it never really leaves you) I have to say that the Church is a little more flexible than you might think on matters like this. Their taking an official position on Limbo is not equivalent to saying "If you believe in Limbo, you aren't Catholic." It's less emphatic than that - more like saying, "Belief in Limbo is not ESSENTIAL in order for you to be a Catholic."

In other words, less like banning a book from the schools, more like removing it from the Required Reading curriculum (which, in this case, it was never really on, anyway). Make sense?

9:06 PM  
Anonymous Another Catholic Lady said...

What everyone else said, plus:

Am I concerned that the bedrock of my faith is going to be rocked? Nah.

Throughout the history of the church a lot of teachings have changed, but not what I'd consider the "bedrock" of the faith. Earth and the center of the universe anyone?

12:59 AM  
Blogger Jason said...

As a "lapsed Catholic" this turnabout by the church makes me grin. It just confirm what a bullshit organization it is when a gaggle of theology scholars can get together and unilaterally decide to redefine the makeup of the universe and Eternity. It's the sort of baseless postualting on par with say...L. Ron Hubbard.

12:35 PM  
Blogger Starboard Tack said...

I agree with Scarlett. Even though I am Catholic, I never believed in Limbo, and I will not miss it (now that it is gone)...

2:36 AM  
Blogger Matt said...

This is why, this is why, this is why I'm secular.

I've come full circle now in my thinking. Raised Catholic, I would marry in the "Church" but only for "legacy" and heritage reasons, not because I seriously believe in the doctrine.

I would marry a woman of any religion or race--all that matters is that she's hot and likes oral sex. Is that in the Bible?

3:45 PM  
Blogger Lickety Split said...

Well if they can decide to decree that it was okay to break fast for St. Patrick's Day in 2006, then...well,...I guess it wasn't that important to them after all.

Just an observation.

3:49 AM  

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