The Pope in a nutshell: The good news is that your babies won't be going to hell if they are unbaptized. The bad news is that YOU'LL probably still go to hell... unless of course you have declared that Jesus Christ is the only way to god and too bad if one lives in some remote area and practice a pagan religion.
It makes for good fear-based religous PR. There is religion and there is theology. Theology is a study of god, of existence, of a reason to exist. Religion should be an initiation into theology and deeper reflection, but often it's not. There are fundies who prefer to reflect on the creator's vengeance for those who don't share their beliefs exactly. Sometimes rabid atheists can be compared to fundies in their zeal. Some folks insist that they couldn't possibly behave properly on earth without religon. There are agnostics like me who conscientiously consider that anything is possible, who don't discount any reasonable explanation for our existence. There is a religion to suit just about everyone on earth.
Existential angst has been my muse since I became aware and it probably is true for many of you out there- at least at some point in your life. Limbo was never a Catholic doctrine and I never liked it anyway. I gave the nuns a hard time all the way in second grade when we were taught the concept. It didn't fit with my once religious view of Jesus as a loving and forgiving representative of God on earth. Faith is hope. That's the best that I can come up with. If people are hopeful, you would think that they would be kinder to one another, but that's not always the case. If there is indeed a heaven and a hell, I hope that heaven is where I will land after I die. I have a Jesus-based philosophy on how to live, but still, I can only hope that it's the right way to live. Jesus' philosophy makes sense to me- love one another, look out for each other, forgive each other. It certainly makes for a nicer world even if our existence turns out to be a huge cosmic accident. Jesus' parable of the good Samaritan sums it all up.
The Pope's renouncing of limbo, is at the very least, a step in the right direction for Catholics. It will hopefully open up people's minds for further reflection. It's proof that the many, many Catholic theologians who are this close to being brought up on heresy charges are making inroads. In Catholicism, you must understand that it takes decades or centuries to make inroads. You'd be surprised how many Catholic scholars and theologians make perfect sense. My favorite theologians assert that god lives inside us, not outside of us. It's just that you won't be hearing their views from the pulpit or the Vatican. Contributions would drop and one thing we all know about religion and politics is that money talks.
The above is my humble opinion and I could very well be wrong and that God really is a mean dude living in heaven and wants to punish the very creatures he made.
"All you need is love, love. Love is all you need."
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