But limbo has long been a problem for the Church. Unease has remained over reconciling a Loving God with one who sent babies to limbo and the Church has faced much criticism.
So – there’s unease about a loving god who sends babies to limbo, but what about a loving god who gives babies diseases, or one who lets babies get scalded, or raped (it happens), or beaten, or crushed (slowly) after earthquakes? What about a loving god who hands babies and children over to parents who neglect them or tell them they’re ugly and stupid or sell them into slavery or yank them out of school and force them to marry strangers? What about a loving god who allows all the suffering that sentient beings undergo on this particular planet? I’m curious about that. I’m permanently curious about it. Curious and also worried: because I think the resolution or repression of the problem has some unpleasant consequences – a justification or minimization of suffering that is not morally healthy. I don’t think we ought to reconcile a loving god with the way things are for sentient beings; I don’t think it can be done, and I think the attempt is corrupting.
But, that’s a separate issue, so never mind that for now.
But there are those who argue that it is not simply a “hypothesis” that can just be swept aside; that the notion that unbaptised children do not go to heaven has been a fundamental part of Church teaching for hundreds of years. Then, of course, there is the argument that if this can be abolished, what else is disposable?
My point exactly. If it’s been a fundamental part of Church teaching for hundreds of years then members of the church were expected to take it seriously; they were expected to believe it and take it as true, not just think it was an interesting notion of the church hierarchy that they could take or leave. And given that, it is surely bound to give believers pause to have the hierarchy suddenly say ‘Oh, wait, we’ve changed our minds.’ It just is. They’re bound to wonder why, if the idea has turned out to be as revisable as all that, they were told it was true for so long. And as the BBC shrewdly points out, if they wonder that, they’ll also wonder what else is disposable. Why would they not?