•Reminder to all those going to Rome to turn in the second and final payment by November 20.
•The next Moms’ Prayer Night will be on Sunday, November 26, at 7:00 PM. This one will meet at St. Michael’s, in the Perpetual Help classroom.
•***Please note that the classical music recital has been postponed to a future date TBA.***
•There will be a meeting for all who are going to Rome (sons and dads) on Sunday, November 26, at 7:00 PM, in the St. Norbert classroom.
•Students are dismissed for Thanksgiving break on November 21 (Tuesday), at 2:05 PM.
•The Fall Sports Awards Ceremony will be on Sunday, November 19, at 7:00 PM, in the Perpetual Help room.
•Soccer and basketball tryouts and practice begin this week.
+Our soccer coaches are: Mr. Dorel Purdea (a retired professional Romanian soccer player!) and Mr. William Warnisher;
+Our basketball coach is Fr. Alan Benander, who will be assisted by Frater Emanuel and a couple of alumni who wish to help out.
•We are looking for moms or dads to act as the Team Parent for the upcoming winter sports of soccer and basketball. Your role would be to assist the coach(es) to insure a successful season and coordinate with other St. Michael's families. Please contact Margaret Watkins for more details.
During this month of November Holy Mother Church asks us to consider with more attention than usual the afterlife. One aspect of the next world that is very often misunderstood is Limbo. So, a few words about Limbo.
Many people, even some theologians, will try to tell you that Limbo is not part of the Church’s official teaching; and so there is a consequent temptation to relegate limbo to a space in the Church’s patrimony equal to that of Friday Night Bingo—a sort of add-on, an extra which has no foundation whatsoever in revelation, and therefore can just be dumped. The problem is that this is completely opposed to reality; in other words, it’s false. The fact is, although the Church has not solemnly declared that all Catholics have to believe in a place called “limbo”, she definitely has declared other things from which one can easily deduce the existence of such a place.
So, what is Limbo and who goes there? First of all, Limbo was the term used for what is also sometimes called the “Bosom of Abraham”—that place where all those who were saved went before Christ came. Remember, ever since the Fall of Adam and Eve the gates of heaven were closed to all until Christ came and redeemed us. So, any good person who died during that time would not go to heaven or hell, but rather to Limbo. Once Christ rose from the dead, however, those souls were released from Limbo and joined Christ in heaven. Ever since then Limbo is reserved for unbaptized children.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that God’s mercy allows Catholics to hope that unbaptized children go to heaven, and that all we can do is entrust them to the mercy of God. In other words, the Catechism says simply that one is not forbidden to hope that they go to heaven. But it also very prudently adds in the very next sentence some words about the urgency to baptize children as soon as possible, since we cannot in any way be certain that the unbaptized go to heaven. We cannot be certain because there is absolutely nothing in Scripture or Tradition which says they do go to heaven.
Basing herself on the very words of our Lord, Unless a man be born again of water and the spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God, basing herself also on Tradition and the teaching of her Fathers and Doctors, the Church proclaimed in 1439, at the Council of Florence, that it is a matter of defined faith, that those who die with unremitted original sin are deprived of the vision of God. The actual language she uses is even stronger: the statement says that they go to "hell". But this definitely needs to be understood in the wide sense of the term--not the hell of the damned. That is, unbaptized children certainly do not suffer the pain of fire like the damned, since they are guilty of no personal sins, but they do lack the Beatific Vision—and in this way only are they similar to the souls in hell. In fact, the word “limbo” means “border”; and it’s the border of hell which is implied. But these souls also are similar to the souls in heaven in that they also enjoy a complete and perfect natural happiness, since, again, they’ve committed no personal sins. They too enjoy the fruits of Redemption: not heavenly bliss, it is true, but a resurrected body, eternal life, freedom from sin and the eternal death of hell, and a natural happiness far greater than what we here on earth enjoy. In addition, the souls in limbo can rejoice in the fact that they have never offended God, that they have never sinned even once. This is something that even the blessed in heaven cannot boast of (Our Lady, St. Joseph and St. John the Baptist excepted). And maybe God saw from all eternity that, if this or that one had been born, they would have ended up sinning gravely; and so He spared them of this. And so while the souls in limbo lack the vision of God, because they died with original sin, nevertheless they do not lack happiness, and they certainly are not punished with the fires of hell.
There have been other official statements made by the Church on these matters: the Council of Carthage, Council of Lyon (1274), Pope John XXII (1321), Pope Sixtus V (1567), Pope Pius VI (1794), have all stated similar things, all of which can be summed up in these two principal points: 1) No unbaptized person can share in the Beatific Vision; 2) Unbaptized babies do have an eternal share in a perfect natural happiness.
Now can’t an unbaptized infant receive a Baptism of desire through the desire of his parents? There is no support for this in the teachings of the Church, and it goes against all good theology. For, while the Church has always taught the possibility of a Baptism of desire for those who have reached the use of reason—as was stated at the Council of Trent among many other places—nevertheless, this desire must come from that same person and cannot somehow be transferred to another. Sacramental Baptism, Baptism of water, as well as martyrdom, Baptism of blood, work ex opere operato, that is by the very physical act itself. But Baptism of desire is, by its very nature, based on the will of the person in need of it. But can God somehow miraculously grant the unborn child the use of reason so he can desire Baptism before death? Of course, God can always work a miracle; and that is why the Church says one is not forbidden to hope. But once again, there is nothing found in divine revelation that says that this in fact happens.
But what about victims of abortion, can’t they be considered martyrs? If an unborn child is killed in odium fidei, that is out of hatred for the faith, then yes, they can like anyone else who dies for the faith, like the Holy Innocents, be ranked among the martyrs. But every case has to be taken individually. And while there most likely have been some killed in odium fide, it would be rash to think that every abortion is done out of hatred for the faith, however gravely immoral it is.
We see here both the horror of abortion and the loving mercy of God. We see that, in addition to taking the life of an innocent child, abortion robs that infant of the vision of God. At the same time we see that, despite the wickedness of man, God’s loving care and perfect mercy extends to even the smallest of His children: while respecting the sacramental order which He Himself established, He still grants these innocent ones a natural happiness for all eternity, and in this way they are still joined to Him.
The Church’s doctrine on limbo is not something that we should be embarrassed about, nor is it something we should try to deny or debunk. Rather, we should rejoice in this truth revealed to us, thank God for His loving mercy, and work and pray to end the horror of abortion, which seeks to snatch away from heaven God’s little ones.
Consider this beautiful exclamation of the holy Cardinal Charles Journet to the souls in limbo:
O little children who died without Baptism, reproved ones who have never done evil, you are not an accident in the divine economy, a peculiar case that busy, distracted theologians manage as best they can, an insignificant parenthesis. Your role is great, and your destiny well determined, highly significant. You are the first-fruits of natural felicity, of nature divinely restored.
Praise and thanksgiving to our Heavenly Father, Whose providential care never ceases! To Him alone, with the Son and Holy Spirit be all glory and honor. Amen.
•For all the benefactors of St. Michael’s Preparatory School, living and deceased.
•For all the students and families of St. Michael’s Preparatory School.
•For all faculty and staff of St. Michael’s Preparatory School.