Pop Culture Gadabout
Thursday, January 19, 2006
      ( 1/19/2006 01:10:00 PM ) Bill S.  

HOW LOW CAN YOU GO? – Who sez that The Daily Show isn't a good source for news? I was clueless about the Catholic Church's proposed plans to abolish limbo 'til I caught this week's offering of "This Week in God" with Rob Corddry. Doing away with limbo? How can that be? Were all those hours I spent in Sunday school for naught?

Per current interpretation, the Catholic conception of limbo was an attempt at answering one of the central problems created by the doctrine of Original Sin: if the sacrament of baptism is God's way of squeegee-ing off the sin of Adam & Eve, what happens when an unbaptized baby dies before it has the chance to receive that most blessed sacrament? As an altar boy in the early sixties, I can tell ya, we used to agonize about that question a lot, crafting all sorts of difficult scenarios and theological dilemmas for our Sunday school teachers. "Why only unbaptized babies?" we asked. What about people who grow into adulthood without ever having the chance to be baptized? Pagans who lived and died before the Son of God made his big appearance on Earth? Or natives in Africa who live in such a remote corner of the jungle that no missionary can get to 'em? What about the African native who lives in a village that has just been discovered by Catholic missionaries – but gets eaten by a lion before he's had a chance to hear the teachings of Jesus Christ? Aren't those poor souls eligible for limbo?

Far as we could tell, limbo wasn't that awful a place. It was clearly no hell; the only Big Debit was the fact that you weren't allowed to be in the presence of Our Lord. Kind of like the Afterlife Waiting Room in Beetlejuice, I suppose. As long as the magazines aren't too out-of-date, it couldn't be that bad, could it?

But, now, that they're most likely abolishing limbo, the former Catholic/presentday heathen in me can't help wondering: what about the current denizens of limbo? Me, I'm picturing a band of seraphim in coveralls hauling in a fresh sign – kinda like when your local bank changes its name again – and putting it up where the old 'un used to be. "Hey,you pagans and unbaptized infants, you're in heaven now! Just don't go asking to be in the presence of our Lord 'coz he's really backed up these days! . . ."
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Pop cultural criticism - plus the occasional egocentric socio/political commentary by Bill Sherman (popculturegadabout AT yahoo.com).

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