Which is the portal of the Faith thou holdest;
Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy: Inferno
Speaking of the next life, it would seem that every limbo boy and girl, all around the limbo world, gonna do the limbo rock now that they will no longer be in their own special handbasket hell, in the netherlands of heaven. In case you missed the Pope flexing his Papal infallibility muscle with his recent limbo declaration, click here.
In essence, the Pope has built a stairway to heaven for infants who die before baptism so that they may suffer no more in that liminal holding tank called limbo (a place incidentally, that bears not an iota of mention in the Bible).
As the Holy See's International Theological Commission admits, "it must be clearly acknowledged that the church does not have sure knowledge about the salvation of unbaptized infants who die." How does one aptly respond to such a statement except to smile and say, indeed?
Now, I'll admit, I relish a juicy soteriological conundrum such as this. And a conundrum this is, for what are we then to make of Augustine's dogma of original sin and indeed, other interrelated doctrinal issues such as the sacraments, Immaculate Conception and grace? Eradicating centuries-old supporting theology, while a liberating step for Roman Catholicism, is tricky business, because when you pick at the very pillars and foundations of theology such as that of Augustinian thought in Catholicism, then you run risk of crumbling an entire section which just so happens to be housed atop and near and dear to constructs such as limbo. This is not necessarily a bad thing, merely a bold one.
I'd be willing to bet the farm at the Divinity Poker Challenge (letting Jesus spin the wheel, of course) that the Pope has thought three to four chess moves ahead in removing this little complicated, sidestep move from the overall sacred dance (consider the not so coincidental fact that in the West Indies, limbo is thought to mean 'to bend backwards'), but the question remains, if limbo's a salvific improbability, what other theological babe(s) is he willing to throw out with the holy bathwater for the sake of strengthening missionary efforts and/or making a bigger splash in papal history? Purgatory, indulgences, mediatrix liturgy?
Surely if any of us had absolute and certain knowledge about salvation and our posthumous fate (and by certain knowledge I mean empirical), well gosh darn, gee willickers, might we not have saved ourselves many a Holy war and all that paving of endless paths to the Divine instead of just building one highway marked "Shortcut to Heaven?"
But since none of us has all the answers to give Virginia, (no, forgive me father, for I have sinned: not even the Pope) ~ except by taking a flying leap of faith and reason, an act which often involves closing our eyes wide shut, crossing our fingers and toes, and drinking a pitcher of bloody Marys for good measure ~ what else is there to do but to keep dancing in our own little hokey-pokey kinda way and hope we get picked in the ultimate Spot Dance?
How low can you go?
Chubby Checker, "Limbo Rock"