Theologians to Go Beyond Question of Limbo

Commission to Study Topic in Light of “God’s Universal Saving Will”

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 25, 2004 ( Natural law, the status of theology and the fate of children who die without baptism are among the topics the International Theological Commission will tackle over the next five years.

The secretary of the commission, Father Luis Ladaria, explained this to ZENIT after the panel’s recent plenary session, clarifying that “to concentrate only on the question of limbo” — as some of the media have emphasized — “would be to lose the focus of the problem.”

On the specific topic of limbo, Father Ladaria, a professor at the Gregorian University, stressed that it would be studied “in the light of God’s mercy.”

He affirmed that “limbo is not the problem; in fact, it was a historical attempt to proffer a solution in the face of the death of a child who has not been baptized.”

“What is interesting is to study this topic in the light of God’s universal saving will, the unique mediation of Jesus Christ, and the Church’s sacramentalism,” he said.

In addition to limbo, the theologians of this commission, which forms part of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, are studying natural law — moral norms that correspond to man’s nature and that can be known by the use of reason — and the status of theology and its methods.

Father Ladaria noted that these topics “will always be studied in ever greater depth.”

The commission comprises theologians of various schools and nations, distinguished for their knowledge and faithfulness to the Church’s magisterium. The members, whose number does not exceed 30, are appointed by the Pope for five years after being proposed by the prefect of the doctrinal congregation in consultation with the bishops’ conferences.

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