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Limbo Rock


By 2007, Limbo – that little piece of not quite heaven, not quite hell – may vanish. Pope Benedict plans to zap it from Catholic cosmography and theologians are laboring over snappy phrases in Latin to do just that.

Sitting around after Sunday lunch, a weekly Italian ritual that coagulates 94% of the penisola, I tried to make some sense of this. Limbo was where children who died before baptism went. That much I remembered. Now where would they go, heaven or hell?

A friend, perhaps laboring less under the influence of tortellini with cream and mushrooms we’d eaten, added that in recent times, Limbo for the Church became depository for aborted fetuses and unused embryos for in-vitro fertilization. Yeah, said a third, taking a final sip of a walnut liqueur called nocino, but what about purgatory?

Oh wait. That complicated things. You could work off your sins in purgatory. Would the innocents go there? Or to some kind of hell-lite? Then we drifted off into vague recollections of Dantean circles and any hope of accurately mapping the netherworld and heavens was lost in favor of a much-needed nap.

No matter he’s tried to “correct” his inflammatory lecture on faith and reason, auto freshener popularity seems increasingly remote for the pope. His two most recent moves – this wiping out Limbo business and bringing back Latin mass — seem to indicate that Il Papa, as he’s called in Italian, isn’t exactly in touch with the little people.

It’s a question of focus, really. Limbo, just like chastity in priests, is not doctrine. Why take on Limbo and not married priests?

Basically, it’s a convert drive: the number of unbaptized babies is on the rise and the Church wants to stamp out dangerous “cultural relativism and religious pluralism,” according to an AP report. The idea that these babies might enjoy an eternal state of happiness without God was a “crisis.”

Certain issues just won’t go away, though. Today’s news brings us the story of an 81-year-old man of the cloth arrested for apparently exchanging sex for help with immigration papers.

Share  Posted by Nicole Martinelli at 6:38 PM | Permalink

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