The Salvation of Aborted Babies who Die without Baptism

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If Baptism is necessary for salvation can an aborted baby who dies without Baptism be saved?

We will examine this theme with the light of the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. We will begin with the help of the Catechism of the Catholic Church in order to better understand what the sacrament of Baptism is. Paragraph 1213 of the CCC explains that Holy Baptism is the foundation of the whole Christian life. Through Baptism we are liberated from sin and we are regenerated as children of God. We become members of Christ and we are incorporated to His Church and we are made partakers with His Mission.  Through Baptism we enter into the Family of God as his adopted children and we are cleansed from original sin which is due to our first parents Adam and Eve. Paragraph 1213 states:

Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit (vitae spiritualis ianua), and the door which gives access to the other Sacraments. Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission: “Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration through water in the word.”

But how can God deny an aborted baby who has no fault of his own and who had no opportunity of being Baptized access to the Beatific Vision?

We will examine this theme and the theological opinions that have been very common. The common historical perspective has been that children who die without being Baptized go to Limbo. This theological opinion which has been elaborated and held by many theologians leading up to the Medieval Ages, has been understood as a state in which the souls of those unbaptized children who do not merit the gift of the Beatific Vision, due to the stains of original sin, but who neither merit the just punishments of Hell, as they have not committed actual sin go. The theological opinion of Limbo has never been solemnly defined by the Magisterium, although that same Magisterium has mentioned it in its common teachings, leading up to the Second Vatican Council. The following theological opinions regarding the baptism of infants should be taken into account:

  1. God counts the desire of the Church to Baptize these unbaptized infants as a legitimate desire of Baptism. An example of what a desire of baptism is, is found in paragraph 1259 of the CCC. It states in regards to the Catechumens who die before they are Sacramentally Baptized, that their explicit desire for Baptism united with their sorrow for their sins and united with Charity, that they can have a great assurance in their Salvation which would have been impossible without the Sacrament.
  2. God could in principle permit such child in a mysterious way to be moved to desire such Baptism in any specific way. He could in turn move such child to either an acceptance or rejection of Christ.

Is an aborted child a martyr?

In the case of the aborted babies it is possible to say that through their suffering they could obtain Baptism through what is known as Baptism of Blood. But this poses a problematic aspect. In paragraph 1258 of the Catechism it states that “The Church has always held the firm conviction that those who suffer death for the sake of the faith without having received Baptism are baptized by their death for and with Christ. This Baptism of blood, like the desire for Baptism, brings about the fruits of Baptism without being a sacrament.” Based on what the Church teaches regarding Baptism of Blood, the fact that an expectant mother has encountered an inconvenience with her unborn baby and decides to abort it; this does not signify that such baby has died for the Christian Faith or for Christ. In the end in regards to abortion, the baby is not necessarily accepting being martyred for Christ.


But what about the feast of the Holy Innocents?

In the case of the murder of the Holy Innocents there was a great attempt at killing Jesus Christ. We could then say that those children died as a result of dying for Christ, furthermore we could presumably argue that no such parents of the Holy Innocents were trying to abort their children. Rather these children were martyred against their will and their parents will as well. We then have a feast and liturgical ceremony for the Holy Innocents (December 28) and we are assured that they are in Heaven.

In the end we have various speculations and opinions in this theological area which he have just mentioned. Up to this moment the Church does not have a specific position regarding the state of the souls of the unbaptized infants, and furthermore on the state of aborted children in general. However we know that these babies are handed over to a just God who is at the same time merciful and we can hope for their salvation.



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6 replies »

  1. Can an aborted baby who dies without Baptism be saved? No. The Catholic Church has infallibly decreed that the souls those who die in original sin descend into hell. Dogmatic Councils Lyon II and Florence.

  2. I am sure you mean well, however this is Vatican II wishful thinking. If you don’t mind I will reprint here an except from Bishop George Hay, Bishop of Scotland in the 1700-1800s. He published an incredible 3 book set of Catholic doctrine in the late 1700s. You can find all three books online. The following selection is from his first book, The Sincere Christian printed in several volumes.

    “Q 21. What become of young children who die without baptism?

    A. If a young child were put to death for the sake of Christ, this would be to it the baptism of blood, and carry it to heaven; but, except in this case, as such infants are incapable of having the desire of baptism, with the other necessary dispositions, if they are not actually baptized with water, they cannot go to heaven, our Savior’s words being perfectly clear and express—‘Except a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God,’ John, iii. 5. As to what becomes of such unbaptized children, divines are divided in their opinions—some say one thing, some another; but as God Almighty has not been pleased to reveal it to His Church, we know nothing with certainty about it.”

    In other words. aborted babies absolutely DO NOT go to heaven. Were God to allow them entrance into heaven would make him a liar. This is the sad tragedy of abortion. These little souls are lost forever. We can hope for Limbo for them as an act of mercy, but we can never hope for their salvation. They are excluded from heaven.

    Vatican II with all its documents, catechisms, Popes, and theologians is a dangerous and treacherous pool of water. Hidden behind the “God of mercy” is a wickedness so deep that a great many well-meaning Catholics cannot grasp. In the Vatican II universe God can do whatever he wants, even contradict Himself, because, well, He is God. At the heart of this believe is the Devil who seeks only to keep souls from heaven.

    In our human understanding it seems so unjust to prohibit the poor little aborted babies from heaven based on some horrific act their parents committed. But God’s ways are not our ways. God can never be unjust. The injustice would lie in allowing everyone to enter the Kingdom of God without condition or merit.

      • I read this document Tony and it wonderfully illustrates your point and gives so much hope that I got tears in my eyes. Thank you so much for giving this link. I especially love the first examples such as..”The Gospel of Mark actually describes an occasion when the faith of some was effective for the salvation of another (cf. Mk 2:5). So, while knowing that the normal way to achieve salvation in Christ is by Baptism in re, the Church hopes that there may be other ways to achieve the same end. Because, by his Incarnation, the Son of God “in a certain way united himself” with every human being, and because Christ died for all and all are in fact “called to one and the same destiny, which is divine”, the Church believes that “the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partners, in a way known to God, in the paschal mystery” (GS 22).[9] Thank you so kindly, and may God reward you abundantly for instilling hope into those who grieve terribly because of this tragedy.

  3. There are some other points to consider about the aborted babies:

    The Church recognizes that God does not condemn those who are innocently ignorant of the truth about his offer of salvation. Regarding the doctrine in question, the Catechism of the Catholic Church (quoting Vatican II document Lumen Gentium, 16) states:

    “This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his church: Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience—those too may achieve eternal salvation.” (CCC 847)

    This teaching is consistent with Jesus’ own teaching about those who innocently reject him: “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin” (JN 15:22). So the babies have no sin because they never heard the word of God. They never had a chance to reject him, so if this is true for adults the same holds weight for the babies.

    Furthermore, “The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation. He also commands his disciples to proclaim the Gospel to all nations and to baptize them. Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament. The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude; this is why she takes care not to neglect the mission she has received from the Lord to see that all who can be baptized are ‘reborn of water and the Spirit.’ God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, BUT HE HIMSELF IS NOT BOUND BY THE SACRAMENTS.” (CCC 1257)

    In saying this, I am not implying that we should let such statements make us question or deny the ecclesiological and soteriological foundations of our faith. I am just pointing out an obvious factor to consider in this matter of atrocity that is happening in this country that has legalized abortion, and this is definitely a real factor to consider indeed. So it would be a sin for an adult who is fully aware of the saving power of the Sacraments and neglect them through presumption of God’s mercy and boundless Omnipotence, but it is not presumptive to consider this in light of the saving power of Christ and his boundless extension of spiritual treasures to save defenseless babies in the womb who have not yet met nor heard of Him. The core of this is that one must first have heard the Gospel in order for the Sacrament of Baptism to be imperative for salvation. This excludes children in the womb who never had the opportunity to hear the Gospel.

    Moreover, I would like to point out, if they were to go to “Limbo” then they can be released from there in the same manner that all the just who were in Limbo awaiting the coming of Christ were released. The idea of Limbo is a theological speculation, not a defined doctrine of the Catholic Church; therefore, not much detail about it is clear, but we do know that the Fathers who were there before were, in fact, released from there, so it is not a permanent state of existence. Moreover, Ss. Adam and Eve had neither circumcision nor baptism were considered to be once in Limbo and now they are in heaven, so this is good to keep in mind when understanding that God is not bound by his Sacraments and does work in mysterious ways. Ss. Adam and Eve were on the old Roman calendar, with their feast on Dec. 24th.

    The Catechism asserts, “The Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, as she does in her funeral rites for them. Indeed, the great mercy of God, who desires that all men should be saved, and Jesus’ tenderness toward children which caused Him to say, ‘LET THE CHILDREN COME TO ME, DO NOT HINDER THEM,’ allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism” (CCC 1261).

    I want to point out that this does not make Jesus a liar, nor does he contradict himself; it is only in the limited, and often times rigid view of human intelligence, were it to seem that way. For Jesus is God, and God is Omnipotent, meaning that he is not bound by anything not even the Sacraments or natural law, as indicated in Christ’s life here on earth and His miracles, when he showed that he was not bound by the old laws that He Himself had given to them, and he is capable of instituting new laws as he himself demonstrated in his life here on earth. So he is not bound by these laws; it is called the “Omnipotence Paradox”. “Could an Omnipotent being create a stone so heavy that even He could not lift it?” This is saying, can God be limited by his own creation i.e. the Sacrament of Baptism? The answer is NO.

    This is not wishful thinking; this is fact taken from the Catechism, Canon Law, and the Bible itself. “For God sent not his Son into the world, to judge the world, but that the world may be saved by him.” John 3:17. He said that no one comes to the Father except through Him, yet does this mean that upon being presented with a tiny infant that has never spoken nor breathed a breath of fresh air that he would not usher it to the Father, knowing that the child never had a chance to hear about him and is therefore ignorant of the Gospel? Do you really think that the same person who said, “Let the children come to me,” would then reject that child? I think not. I think that we have a very just God and His justice is that the children should inherit the Kingdom. If prostitutes and tax collectors can enter how much more so can they?

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