Here's a story about purgatory, dear dKos readers I submit this perhaps as a pleasant distraction from the daily craziness, and offer it to you to consider your beliefs and how they inform your life. In any case, I hope my simple article is not construed to be detrimental to the job at hand; I hope it provides a quirky, anecdotal sidebar to this intense debate! Story follows:
My mother is a devout Catholic who had six babies, no wait, seven, and that is what this story is about:
She had had Timothy right after me, but he wasn't breathing well, so she, being a devout Catholic, dutifully calls the Rectory for consultation.
Believe you me, my Mom was like a Soccer Mom for well, Saint Sylvester's (who I didn't even know was a saint, I always assumed that he was the patron saint of cats. Really.
The story continues:
My Mother (did I forget to capitalize her name ever? O M G ) er, my Mother was strict Baltimore Catechism, who was taught that babies who aren't baptized and who haven't sinned Cannot go to heaven. The question became one of "where do the innocent babies go, born unsinning, * but still with Eve's stain upon their soul*?
The answer to that question was pondered for many years; in fact, a tribunal was convened, er, a meeting occurred among the religious leaders after the fall of Rome. It took many years after the actual fall for people to figure out just what the hell to do in any case. The meeting of the greatest religious leaders of the time was convened in Constantinople. Holy shit, Moonbat is going to crucify me over this mangled history, but anyhoo.
There we were in Constantinpole, facing hordes of Huns. No, wait.
The meeting in Constantinpole circa 1200, was very important to bishops and religious clerics of the day. They basically had to decide the baseline for the Bible and the beliefs of Catholics, an ascendant force in Medieval Eur-Asia. This was when they decided how many angels could dance on the head of a pin, if you've heard that expression, this is perhaps where it might have originated, who the hell knows?
So there they are, these monks and pious and super-pious religious leaders all meeting at the very first conference ever conceived. What did they do?
They worked the details of the Catholic Faith: what the basic set of beliefs should be, why we believe what we believe, what the consequences of heresy should be. Think of a Bilderberg Conference with no central air.
One of the questions they were forced to ponder way back in 1200 was the question of a baby who was born - without sin - and yet, without being baptized, which as every good Catholic is fearfully aware of, is essential to getting past that frikkin gate at the end of the tunnel.
So, they pondered, and they pondered that question........
Finally, they came up with an answer to the question.
One of them probably stood up and said: "The question of babies born without having committed sin, and yet without having the exclusive benefit of the Holy Sacrament of Baptism shall be written into the margins of this Holy Bible we are annotating, and be considered at a more proper time."
I.E., just like at work when you decide as a team to table the discussion at hand, just to get the agenda pushed (Nancy Pelosi, I think you know what I'm talkin bout here).
So, my Mother, who was lying there having her fourth baby, calling priests because things weren't looking so well for Timothy, held hope.
My Mother called the priest and he told her that he could not make it out to the hospital in the snow, it being so bad. The snow piled higher, the night dragged on, Timothy died after two days, on February 4th, back when winters were cold.
So forever, the ghost of Timothy haunted her, because she could not be sure of his eternal disposition! Was he in Heaven (first choice, of course), Purgatory (OK, at least that gets you to Heaven), or Limbo (and what the hell is that)? She never had it resolved, in her mind.
One day, she was walking through a library, and she of course wandered into the religious section to find a book - she described it as fairly falling into her hand! - that laid plain the events of Constantinople that fateful day.
Limbo, the place where the Catholic Church put my Mother's dead son for twenty-five years, means margin in Latin.
They had written the question in the margin of the book, and forever after, because I am sure it was tabled at the meeting, it was called Limbo for my Mom and all the other Moms who lost kids at childbirth.
I wonder how many Moms think their kids are in limbo?