Father Cantalamessa preaches against limbo and in favor of universal salvation

Source: FSSPX News



 Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa is the preacher of the Pontifical Household, and on this account, he preaches to the pope and the cardinals. On Sunday, June 24, on the feast of St. John the Baptist, he spoke of limbo in the following terms: “The Church has judged that John the Baptist had already been sanctified in his mother’s womb, by the presence of Christ: for this reason it celebrates his birthday. This gives us the occasion to touch upon a delicate question, which today has taken on a particular importance because of the millions of children who, especially because of the appalling proliferation of abortion, die without having received baptism. What can we say about these children? Are they also in a certain manner sanctified in their mothers’ wombs? Is there a salvation for them?

Without any hesitation, I answer: Of course, salvation exists also for them. The Risen Christ also said about them: “Suffer the little children to come to me.” The idea according to which unbaptized children were destined to limbo, an intermediary place, in which they did not suffer, but neither did they enjoy the vision of God, became widespread  from the beginning of the Middle Ages. Yet, this is an idea which was never defined as a truth of the faith of the Church. It was an hypothesis of the theologians, which we can no longer maintain in the light of the development of the Christian conscience and of the understanding of Scriptures.”

Thus for Fr. Cantalamessa, the question of limbo is definitely settled. The traditional doctrine, expressed among others by the Catechism of Saint Pius X, was only an hypothesis which has today been swept away by the document of the International Theological Commission: “The discussion is now closed, because recently the International Theological Commission, which works for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, published a document which states precisely that.”

Here, Fr. Cantalamessa omits to specify that the text is the fruit of a consultative body, deprived of any magisterial authority, and that Cardinal Levada approved its publication, as president of the ITC, and not as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Besides, the “oral approbation”, given for its publication by Benedict XVI during the private audience of January 19, 2007, does not engage the papal authority, and does not oblige the consciences of the faithful. (Cf. The study published in Le Courrier de Rome, n° 302, July-August 2007, Limbo to…Limbo – so far only available in French).

“It seems to me useful to reconsider this theme in the light of this important document to explain some of the reasons which led the Church to draw this conclusion. Jesus instituted the sacraments as ordinary means of salvation. Hence they are necessary, and anyone who, when he may receive them, rejects them against his conscience, or neglects them, seriously compromises his eternal salvation. But God is not tied down by these means. He can also save through extraordinary ways, when the person, through no fault of his own, is deprived of baptism. He did this, for instance, for the Holy Innocents, who also died without baptism. The Church always admitted the possibility of a baptism of desire and of a baptism of blood. And so many of these children have truly known a baptism of blood, even if it is of a different nature.” The preacher of the Pontifical Household mingles the traditional doctrine on the baptism of blood – that of the martyrs killed out of hatred for the Catholic faith – and the new hypothesis of a “baptism” for the victims of abortion, which he erroneously identifies with the martyrs of the faith.

“I do not think that the clarification given by the Church encourages abortion; if such were the case, it would be truly a tragedy, and we would have to be seriously concerned, not for the salvation of the unbaptized children, but of their baptized parents. It would be mocking God. This declaration will rather afford some consolation to the faithful who, like everyone, are asking themselves the question, horrified by the atrocious fate of so many children in the world today.”

In fact the real question is the following: does a “question”, even a “horrified” one, authorize the pure and simple rejection of the traditional doctrine and practice of the Church? For, as the study mentioned above (in Le Courrier de Rome) very rightly recalls, “the denial of limbo is of colossal gravity, since the principles from which it flows forth are colossally wrong (naturalism, pantheism, “Cosmic Christ”, nature’s right to grace), all errors which have already been refuted and condemned, yet re-proposed today by the International Theological Commission. What is more, even the simple faithful were utterly confused, because, as a rule, only theologians are able to detect the other more subtle errors. And it was obvious for all (and not only for the learned), that with limbo, the tranquil possession of a sure doctrine, studied by all the faithful, even by children and taught by the Roman Catechism (Part 2,ch.2, n° 32)  had been violated. The “passive scandal” (undergone by the faithful) supposes an “active scandal” on the part of the pastors. (…) Now, this scandal given publicly, must be publicly rectified. We firmly request this.”

But the Capuchin preacher of the Pontifical Household is no novice in the trade. Already on Good Friday 2002, preaching before Pope John Paul II and Cardinal Ratzinger, then Prefect of the Congregation for the doctrine of the Faith, on the theme of the universal salvation brought by Christ and by the non-Christian religions (sic), he had asked himself: “Can we admit that there is still another way by which Christ draws all men to Himself? That is to say: through what is true and valid in the other religions? The Council (Vatican II, Ed.) and the magisterium (post-conciliar, Ed.) did not exclude this possibility which is now actively investigated by theology.”

“At present the preoccupation is to recognize not only a de facto existence in the divine plan of salvation, but also an existence by right to the other religions, in order to remember that they are not only tolerated, but also positively willed by God as the expression of the unfathomable riches of His grace and of His will that all men be saved.”

And a little further: “Religious pluralism does not consist in the fact of considering all religions as equally true: that would be relativism for all, but in the fact that we recognize the right for every man to hold his own religion as true, and to propagate it by peaceful means worthy of a religion. Peter recommends to the Christians to act “with mildness and respect.” And we can add: “in the spirit of the Assisi meeting” of last January 24.”

Thus, the followers of non-Christian religions will be able to find some consolation: if they are objectively damned, they were nevertheless subjectively saved in a religion of which they had “the right to hold true”. Fr. Cantalmessa is mocking God and souls! “Let your yes be yes, and your no, no!”

Further reading: “Limbo – Victim of the New Theology of Universal Salvation” by Fr. Patrick de La Rocque in Christendom n° 11.