Yes! There is Salvation for Unbaptized Infants

My theological position in brief:

1. The universal salvific will of God necessarily implies that God makes salvation concretely available to all, in a way which is accommodated to their spiritual and material situation, even for those persons brought up in other religious traditions.

2. Since God wills all persons to be saved, he does not permit anyone at all, who is not guilty of deliberate sin, to suffer eternal punishments.

3. Those who die in original sin alone are guilty of the actual mortal sin of omission of never having found sanctifying grace in their lives, despite ample opportunity. They and they alone are punished in the limbo of Hell, which is a place of eternal punishment, not happiness.

4. All those persons and only those persons who die unrepentant from actual mortal sin are sent to Hell to suffer eternal punishment. All other persons die in a state of grace, due to the universal salvific will and mercy of God, by one of the three forms of baptism, and will have eternal life in Heaven (perhaps after a temporary stay in Purgatory).

5. No unbaptized little children have had ample opportunity to find sanctifying grace by a baptism of water or desire, and so they are given a baptism of blood, sometime prior to death.

6. Formally baptized infants, who die at that young age, go directly to Heaven after death and the particular judgment. Unbaptized little children are sent to the limbo of Purgatory (which is the same as the limbo of the Fathers), before going to Heaven. So the ancient theological opinion and later non-infallible teaching that unbaptized little children go to Limbo is developed further to the position that they go to the limbo of Purgatory, then to Heaven.

7. Eternal happiness is not possible anywhere but in Heaven. There is no place of eternal but merely natural happiness for mankind. We can only have true happiness with God in Heaven.

Refuting Faulty Opinions

The opinion is false which claims that persons who die in a state of “original sin alone” are sent to a place of perfect natural happiness. Two Ecumenical Councils (Lyons II, Florence) infallibly taught that such persons are punished in Hell. The Magisterium teaches that those who die in original sin alone are punished.

Pope Innocent III: “The punishment of original sin is deprivation of the vision of God, but the punishment of actual sin is the torments of everlasting Hell….” (Denzinger, n. 410.)

Council of Florence: “But the souls of those who depart this life in actual mortal sin, or in original sin alone, go down straightaway to hell to be punished, but with unequal pains.”

Pope Pius VI: “that place of the lower regions (which the faithful generally designate by the name of the limbo of children) in which the souls of those departing with the sole guilt of original sin are punished with the punishment of the condemned, exclusive of the punishment of fire” (Auctorem Fidei)

Perfect natural happiness is not a punishment. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches:

“The chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God, in whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs.” (CCC, n. 1035).

No one can have perfect natural happiness while being eternally separated from God, since that separation is itself the chief punishment of Hell. There can be no third final resting place, other than Heaven and Hell, where those who die in original sin alone might go, since the Church teaches they are punished in Hell. Theologians distinguish a section of Hell called the limbo (or “fringe”) of Hell. But all souls in any part of Hell are punished.

The opinion that unbaptized babies both die in a state of original sin alone and go to a place of perfect natural happiness is no longer a tenable theological opinion. But as I’ve said already, I believe that all prenatals, infants, and young children, who die at that young age, die in a state of sanctifying grace, due to a baptism of blood given before death.

The teachings of the Councils of Lyons II and Florence never state anywhere that unbaptized babies die in a state of original sin. The faithful are free to hold that unbaptized babies die in a state of grace, due to a baptism of blood like that of the Holy Innocents.

It is a misconception to portray the baptism of the Holy Innocents as if it were earned by them by dying for Christ. The gift of salvation is unmerited by us; it was merited by Christ for us. In addition, the Holy Innocents were too young (2 years of age or younger) to understand and choose to die for anyone. So the situation of an unbaptized prenatal who dies from miscarriage or abortion is essentially, from a strict theological point of view, no different than that of the Holy Innocents.

Furthermore, it is contrary to the teaching of the ordinary and universal Magisterium on the universal salvific will of God to claim that prenatals — who absolutely cannot receive a baptism of water — also cannot receive a baptism of blood or desire. Do you really believe that a prenatal who dies from a miscarriage is excluded from Heaven for that reason? Can people who commit the grave sin of abortion thwart the universal salvific will of God? The number of prenatals killed by abortion and abortifacient contraception easily exceeds one billion little souls. Either those souls have a path to Heaven available to them, or the will of God does not desire salvation for all human persons. Since the Church teaches the universal salvific will of God, they must have a path to Heaven.

My past articles refuting false theological opinions on salvation theology:
The Faulty Salvation Theology of Dr. Taylor Marshall
All little children go to Heaven

Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian and
translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible.

Please take a look at this list of my books and booklets, and see if any topic interests you, especially my book: Forgiveness and Salvation for Everyone

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