In the handy volume called Denziger-Schönmetzer (L 5 – pp. 924-5)) there is an appendix on the question of limbo: Here is the text, in Latin (I will add some few abbreviations for clarity):
Peccati originalis poena est carentia visionis Dei (DS 184; DS 219) DS 780; add. de sequelis D 3 bd [p. 871 – Peccatum qua originale]; non exstitit locus medius beatitudinis inter regnum Dei et damnationem, sensu Pelagiano intellectus (DS 184) DS 224 DS 2626; reprob.: [Animae infantium a parentibus christianis ortorum sine bpt. decedentium venient ad paradisum terrestre, animae infantium a parentibus non-chr. ortoroum ad locum parentum] 1008.
Animae decedentium cum solo peccato originali in infernum descendunt, poenis tamen aac locis disparibus puniendae DS 858 DS a926 DS 1306; puniuntur poena damni citra poenam ignis 2626; locus ubi degunt, passim vocatur limbus DS 2626; reprob.: [Parvulus decedens sine baptismo Deum odio habebit] DS 1949.
DS 2626 is cited a couple times: here it is. It is from A.D. 1794 during the reign of Pius VI of blessed memory concerning the wretched Synod of Pistoia:
De poena decedentium cum solo originali
26. Doctrina, quae velut fabulam Pelagianam explodit locum illum inferorum (quem limbi puerorum nomine fideles passim designant), in quo animae decedentium cum sola originali culpa poena damni citra peonam ignis puniantur [citing Augustine De bapt. §12]: perinde ac si hoc ipso, quod, qui poenam ignis removent, in ducerent locum illum et statum medium expertum culpae et poenae inter regnum Dei et damnationem aeternam, qualem fabulabantur Pelagiani: – falsa, temeraria, in scholas catholicas iniuriosa.
Sorry about the Latin only texts, folks. I wanted to get this out there rapidly while I was thinking of it.
So basically we have that those who die in original sin only go to hell (no suprise there, that si dogma) but to a different place and punishment than those who die with mortal sin. We get also that they are punished with the pain of the damned, but not that of fire. And also we get that it is wrong to call limbo a pelagian fable
So this shows what many “traditionalists” have been saying. To get rid of limbo will only mean that to get rid of natural bliss for those without original sin, or be to claim that absolutely no one dies in only original sin (which makes the Church’s dogmas on that point, and also her praxis, a bit superflous). Limbo merely teaches that a natural bliss is compatible with the poena damni, and in fact exists with those in only original sin. To reject it still leaves one with the dogma that those who die in original sin go to hell but “to a different place and punishment”. It just makes that dogma harsher it seems, or else superflous.
If I understand this correctly; it rejects the proposition whereby some medium state might exist between heaven and hell (statum medium inter regnum Dei et damnationem aeternam). Such a proposition is said to be “doctrina falsa, temeraria, injuriosa”.
This whole thing with the “who winds up where” is a difficult issue. On one hand we cannot slight the importance of baptism, on the other hand we have the “whoever receives one little child in my name receives me” and the “Magnus consilio, et incomprehensibilis cogitatu: cujus oculi aperti sunt super omnes vias filiorum Adam, ut reddas unicuique secundum vias suas, et secundum fructum adinventionum ejus (Jer: 32:19) and also “Far be it from thee to do this thing, and to slay the just with the wicked, and for the just to be in like case as the wicked, this is not beseeming thee: thou who judgest all the earth, wilt not make this judgment.” (Gen. 18:25)
Personally, I prefer to concern myself with trying to hang on and pray for the tremendous gift of final perseverance, and leave God’s judgments up to God. The Church’s praxis is clear: children should be baptized. What happens to others? The Creator of all who maintains all, who is in all, without whom nothing exists, whom nothing escapes, who alone can give the gift of faith, from whom and through whom salvation comes, without whom we would all be lost, he is our hope and the hope of the whole world. What else is there to say? Some things he has revealed to us, and some things he’s kept to Himself. No one can have the gift of faith unless it is given to him. But the “mysterium tremendum” is that man can reject salvation.
Yes, the Church has not held that limbo would some “middle state” between heaven and hell. Nor has the Church accepted the idea that there is some lesser part of heaven to which unbaptized innocents mght be admitted. Nor has the Church officially embraced that the unbaptized infant or mentally retarded would go into a state of a natural bliss, without the possibility of supernatural bliss that comes from the Beatific Vision. That is to say, they would have neither “pain of sense” nor “pain of loss”, and they would not even realize there was anything beyond. Nor has there been official approbation of the Augsutinian tradition that would place limbo on the “edge” (limbus) of hell, where there would “pain of sense”, though perhaps of the very least degree, as well “pain of loss” from exclusion from the Beatific Vision.
You can sure see why this is a thorny problem, requiring a lot of study and reflection and, above all, patience. It is an emotionally charged topic too. Surely it is the “third rail” for some who need to deal with questions in concrete terms. You can see why some of the very optimistic proposals have come forth.