It seems the only thing needed to complete Scott P. Richert’s 12th-century piece (“One Moment in Time,” Rockford Files, September), in which he states that, “Deprived of Baptism, the souls of these children may never find true rest,” would be “unless you give an indulgence.”  Can Mr. Richert please give a scriptural reference to back up the notion that our God would be so merciless toward the innocent unborn?

If God will take to task those who fail to speak out for the innocent, and His Word is full of outrage against the taking of innocent blood, it simply does not follow that hundreds of millions of unborn children, whose aborted lives are the shedding of innocent blood, “may never find true rest” because they have been “[d]eprived of Baptism.”

The very idea that an innocent, tortured and murdered before birth, will not find God’s rest is a throwback to the days when God was the cruel and vindictive retribution-taking Entity only to be feared—and that seems almost as horrible as the taking of innocent life itself.

Mr. Richert’s take on a God Who, after “the death and destruction of the body,” fails to bring “true rest” to the innocents, in effect, makes the Devil look good!

        —Bill Scaduto
Lancaster, PA

Mr. Richert Replies:

I did provide a scriptural reference in my article: “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me” (Psalm 51:5).  There are others, of course, especially Romans 5:12-21, where Saint Paul explains how Christ’s sacrifice reverses the effect of Adam’s sin in those who believe (cf. Romans 5:19: “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous”).

From Mr. Scaduto’s sarcastic characterization of my article as “12th-century,” however, I suspect that I could quote Scripture until the cows come home without convincing him.  It’s odd that he chose to single out the 12th century; does he believe that there was some theological innovation then that constitutes a break with the previous 1,100 years of Christian doctrine?  I suspect, rather, that he subscribes to theological innovations that arose much later than the 12th century—indeed, within the past two or three—and thus rejects the concept of inherited guilt shared by Catholics, Orthodox, and all of the major Reformers:

All mankind fell in Adam’s fall,

One common sin infects them all;

From sire to son the bane descends,

And over all the curse impends. . . .

As by one man all mankind fell

And, born in sin, was doomed to hell,

So by one Man, who took our place,

We all received the gift of grace.

Plainly put, Mr. Scaduto’s argument is with the very concept of Original Sin.  He refers seven times to unborn children as innocent—and, indeed, they are innocent of personal sin.  It is precisely that which makes their destruction in the womb, uncleansed by Baptism of the guilt of Original Sin, so horrifying, because “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5).

Of course, God in His mercy might make a special dispensation for those murdered in the womb (or for those who die from miscarriage), but, contra the implication of Mr. Scaduto’s rebuke, we don’t know that from Scripture.  Which makes his anti-Catholicism (“unless you give an indulgence”) all the more odd, since the Catholic Church has traditionally held out the hope that, even though such children may not find true rest (the Beatific Vision), they may, at least, find some peace in the limbus infantium, the children’s limbo—an admittedly unscriptural but nevertheless comforting thought.