Monday, April 23, 2007

Reason Eleventy-Seven and a Half Why

Reason eleventy-seven and a half why I am a lapsed Catholic...

The Pope is apparently close to reversing centuries of traditional Roman Catholic hoo ha regarding the concept of "limbo." If you're not familiar, limbo refers to that terrifying time between death and going to heaven or hell. It involves purgatory - the enduring of punishment for your sins and all sorts of other fun stuff.

It is a Catholic belief that all children are born with original sin, meaning that those who die unbaptized are excluded from heaven. They will stay in an eternal state called limbo, whereby they might enjoy happiness but could not possibly be "in communion with God."

This means that Catholic women who miscarry or who have a baby die before he or she is baptized, are told their baby will always be in limbo and can never go to heaven. I really can't imagine anything more cruel.

But now, this new Pope is saying that there are "serious grounds" to "hope" that children who die without being baptized can go to heaven. Well hallelujah! Let's all rejoice and become Catholic now. That is so fantastic that there is "hope."

Not that I believe it will change how anything is actually taught in Catholic schools. The memories of various nasty old nuns hitting me with rulers are forever burned into my brain. I blame them for my current lapsed state. All they taught me was that God was a being of punishment and that I could not ever hope to be worthy enough of his love. It wasn't until I was in my 30s that I came to believe everything they had smacked and slapped into me wasn't true. I believe in a higher power and one that is benevolent and loving rather than angry and punishing.

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