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Theologians developed the concept of limbo to explain the destiny of those who die without Baptism yet who have not committed actual sin. This concept is applied primarily to infants and children (including the unborn) who die before they are baptized. St. Thomas Aquinas taught that limbo is a place of perfect natural happiness, but without the supernatural vision of God (the “beatific vision”), to which no creature has a natural right.

Limbo has never been a formally defined doctrine of the faith, but rather is a theological opinion used to harmonize (a) the necessity of Baptism; (b) God’s universal salvific will (cf. 1 Tim. 2:4); and (c) the fact that such children are without actual sin.

Those who struggle with the death of an unbaptized infant, or a miscarriage, or are seeking healing from the pain of an abortion should take comfort in the position of the Church. God is merciful, and Jesus desired all children to come unto Him (cf. Mt. 19:13-14). The Church entrusts such children to the mercy of God.

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