It seems to me that the topic gained traction in recent years due to the publishing of the non-dogmatic (obviously) Vatican document “THE HOPE OF SALVATION FOR INFANTS WHO DIE WITHOUT BEING BAPTIZED”. As I’ve mentioned before, there has never been a dogmatic statement confirming absolutely the state of the infants. If there hasn’t been in the 2000+ year history of the church there never will be. There is no such thing as new dogma. Anything that claims to be is mere human innovation.
But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. – Galatians 1:8
This document is no different. While it made some good points, it goes off the rails near the end into some sort of “feel-good” rhetoric that implies that they all might be saved. Just like the question of universal salvation, such a von Balthasarian approach is dangerous and should be avoided. The alternative reactionary approach, which seeks to defend Limbus Infantium as irrefutable dogma (it isn’t), is just as dangerous for it leads to the same conclusion: that we throw up our hands and abandon souls that might still be able to be saved and might be helped by our prayers.
Now, in the individual cases of Catholic mothers who miscarried there is certainly reason for hope. Trent itself states that the desire for salvation can avail the unbaptized (statements by Pius IX and Pius X also support this) and what Catholic parent would not wish for the salvation of their child? Would God not hear and have compassion on the anguish of a suffering mother, given how exalted His own mother is? Indeed, God is not an impotent legalistic bureaucrat. He will do what is both merciful and just, whatever that may be.
To serve up a saccharine “don’t worry, we can hope they are all saved” or to condemn children to the darkness (because an eternal “natural happiness” is contradictory and laughable nonsense) as if we – ourselves – are the Judge are two equally atrocious acts. God desires the salvation of all and will give every soul an opportunity and nothing man does (even the heinous act of infanticide) can prevent that. God is not mocked. To pray for the unbaptized so that they be given the enlightenment or the grace or God’s mercy to enter the kingdom of heaven would be a monumental act of love that God would never ignore.
Prayer and selfless desire to save as many souls as possible are the key. There is certainly reason to hope that many unbaptized infants are saved, but with that hope also comes a realization that many could very well be damned. All souls are saved or damned. There is no middle ground.
Now, let’s move on to something else…