You likely weren’t involved with the pro-life movement for very long before you were faced with this question: where do the souls aborted babies go?
The truth is not widely known, and even much less accepted.
However, popularity does not define truth. For, if it had, the Christian faith would have died out millennia ago.
What I intend to do with this post is lay out a succinct answer to the question as to where do the souls of aborted babies go.
I intend to follow up with several more posts this week, in defense of the answer. So, stay tuned for those.
And hey, don’t shoot the messenger.
SO, WHERE TO THE SOULS OF ABORTED BABIES GO?
The truth is, the souls of aborted babies go to the limbo of the children, a section of hell.
‘Limbo’ comes from the Latin word, ‘limbus,’ meaning ‘edge’ or ‘border.’
Hell itself is divided into four sections:
1. Gehenna (where those guilty of mortal sin go to burn for eternity).
2. Purgatory (where those who die in venial sin are purified from their attachment to sin and pay back any temporal punishment due to their sin).
3. Limbo of the Fathers (the location the Old Testament saints went to as they awaited the Messiah)
4. Limbo of the Children (the location those who die guilty of original sin only end up. St. Thomas Aquinas taught it was a state of perfect, natural happiness).
WAIT, WHY WOULD BABIES GO TO HELL?
The teaching of original sin remains a dogma of the Catholic faith. Those who deny the limbo of the children often come very close to denying the dogma of original sin. If you deny original sin, then you no longer can claim to be in union with the Church.
The Council of Trent (in Session 6, Part 4, January 13, 1547) defined as dogma the transmission of original sin to all descendants of Adam (ie, the entire human race).
“For if by one man’s offence death reigned through one… Therefore, as by the offence of one, unto all men to condemnation… For as by the disobedience of one man, many were made sinners…,” reads the Bible (Romans 5:17-19, Dhouay Rheims).
“For by a man came death… And as in Adam all die,” reiterates Scripture elsewhere (1 Corinthians 15:21-22, Dhouay Rheims).
The Bible also describes us all as “children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:3) and “dead in sin” (Ephesians 2:5).
Thus, we are all born into the enemy camp of Satan by virtue of the original sin we inherit from our First Father, Adam.
The remedy to original sin, of course, is baptism, which removes the guilt of original sin. This dogma too was defined by the Council of Trent (Session 6, Part 4). This has been the Tradition of the Church for as long as it has been in existence.
Yet, any aborted baby will not be baptized. Therefore, he or she does not receive forgiveness for original sin. Therefore, he or she is not worthy to go to Heaven, sadly.
That said, still any aborted baby—or really any unbaptized child before the age of reason—has not willfully sinned against God. Thus, this child does not deserve to roast in the flames of Gehenna.
So what is the answer? Where do the souls of aborted babies go? To the edge of hell, called limbo.
Here, they enjoy a state of perfect natural happiness, deprived of the beatific vision. The flames of hell do not affect them there.
THE LIMBO OF THE CHILDREN IS AN INFALLIBLE DOCTRINE OF THE CHURCH**
I realize this teaching seems harsh, especially to modern ears.
Those who deny this hard teaching often point to God’s mercy and say He wouldn’t send innocent children to hell. And while He is not a cruel God, we must remember he owes Heaven to no one.
Out of His mercy, He permits the children who die before the age of reason still guilty of original sin to go to limbo.
What many do not realize is that this teaching remains a dogma of the Catholic Church. As in, it has already been formally defined and promulgated. Sadly, it just does not get taught anymore. Or if it is, it is often denied.
DON’T JUST TAKE MY WORD FOR IT
What follows are three formal teachings of the existence of the limbo of the children. Each of these can be found in Sources of Catholic Dogma by Denzinger, available to be read online for free.
I will give you the three most succinct quotes from Denzinger and then do a brief commentary afterward.
Pope Gregory X’s declaration at the Second Council of Lyon, Profession of Faith for Michael Paleologus (1274):
“The souls of those who die in mortal sin or with original sin only… immediately descend into Hell, yet to be punished with different punishments” (Denzinger 464).
Pope Eugene IV at the Ecumenical Council of Florence (Laetentur Caeli [Decree for the Greeks], July 6, 1439):
“Moreover, the souls of those who depart in actual mortal sin or in original sin only, descend immediately into hell but to undergo punishments of different kinds” (Denzinger 693).
Pope John XXII (Nequaquam sine dolore [Letter to the Armenians], November 21, 1321):
“The Roman Church teaches… that souls of those who depart in mortal sin or with only original sin descend immediately to hell, nevertheless to be punished with different punishments and in disparate locations” (Denzinger 493a).
So, there you have it. The first two quotes come from Ecumenical Councils, where the Church infallibly defined that those who die in original sin only are sent to hell, but do not receive the same punishment as those guilty of actual sin against God.
The fact that the Church has infallibly defined this leaves the existence of limbo indisputable. What can be and continues to be debated is what type of punishment, if any, the souls experience while there. That part has never been defined by the Church.**
These three popes spelled out what happens to those who die in original sin only. These would be the souls lost to abortion, abortifacient birth control, miscarriage, or any children who die before the age of reason (generally seven years of age).
They say they are sent to hell. However, such children do not receive the same punishment as those guilty of mortal sin.
Those in Gehenna burn for eternity. Those in limbo do not suffer physically, but are deprived the beatific vision.
Like I said, don’t shoot the messenger.
MORE TO COME
In subsequent posts, I will explore this doctrine of the limbo of the children more in depth. I intend to add a post adding more support for this dogma, showing it has been held to for centuries by many saints, including doctors of the Church like St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine.
I will also add a post to answer common objections to the doctrine of the limbo of the children. It is true St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine disagreed over whether the souls in limbo suffer. One common misunderstanding is that this proves the doctrine of the existence of limbo has never been formally defined.
The Church has defined souls do go to the limbo of the children. That part is indisputable, although many take exception to it, as we will see.
(**) UPDATE: I have edit this post, due to mistakenly claiming the
of the children has been defined. As I explain in my May 23, 2016 post, I had that part wrong, and I apologize. Mea culpa.
So now you can answer, where do the souls of aborted babies go.
I imagine quite a few comments will come in on this one.
But before you do, please reserve from calling me names. I don’t like this teaching, I am just relaying to you the truth.
After all, this affects me too. My wife and I have lost five babies to miscarriage, as I have described.
Okay, add your comments below.