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Category: miscarriage book

Where Are My Babies? – Limbo

Many of you know, I’m in the process of completing my next book, “The Catholic’s Guide to Miscarriage,” and I have been researching many topics. The purpose of the book is not necessarily to bring comfort or closure to anyone’s loss. It’s a reference guide at best and may bring some comfort through knowledge of what to do and options a family has through pregnancy loss.

But I have a chapter entitled, “Where’s My Baby?” and I wanted to be sure I provided sound Catholic teaching because after all, this is a Catholic’s Guide. So where do miscarried babies go? Or rather, where do babies go who have not been baptized?

WARNING: This content may be disturbing to you. For further clarification, I recommend speaking with a Traditional Priest. You may also utilize the links below for assistance in understanding Limbo.

Five years ago I was assisting a Catholic client through her miscarriage. It was also about that time where I was undergoing a “reversion” in my Catholic faith. Although looking back at this, I wouldn’t call it a reversion per se; but more of a wanting to know my true Catholic faith. You have read about some of that reversion in my Traditional Latin Mass series and now I will go into more detail in this post.

While working with this client, I made the assumption she believed in what I believed, after all, she identified as Catholic. I realize this sounds odd but now I have full knowledge there are many heretical and Catholic hypocrites. The last few elections have certainly shown this but it’s important to note that she and her family were NOT one of them…I came to learn that I was. I wasn’t a democrat (Catholic’s cannot be democrats, FYI: This does not mean they are republican). She identified as a Traditional Catholic, something I would later identify as and it’s quite humbling.

While attempting to comfort her and her family through this pregnancy loss, I shared her baby was in Heaven. She graciously said her baby was in limbo. She did not “correct” or “admonish” me, she merely stated, “as Traditional Catholics, we hold to the long standing tradition of limbo. Not as a place of deprivation, but a place of complete and natural joy.”

Limbo? I had heard this term before from my mother. She described the miscarried baby she had as in limbo. I didn’t think much more of it because I had never heard teaching on limbo. Therefore, I surmised that limbo was one of the “old concepts” of the Church and just a theory. Time passed and nothing more was learned about limbo until about three years ago when I was learning about The Four Last Things. Limbo isn’t mentioned here but in my research about The Four Last Things, I learned about the four levels of hell.

Oh boy! What? There are levels of hell? I seemed to be on some sort of a quest. One topic lead to another, which lead to something even deeper and more difficult to understand or grasp. I began the Denver Catholic Biblical School in this time as well so I was on a fast track to learning the Bible and the Catholic faith.

Fast forward to now and the research for my book. I reached out to one of the traditional Catholic priests I know for help. I knew Taylor Marshall had information on limbo but he was by no means and “expert” on this topic but I did search for more information on limbo written by him1.

His paper was helpful but I needed more; which is when I reached out to Father Nix. With his background and history, I knew he would be a great resource. I was also already aware of what my parish priests would say, “your baby is in limbo,” so I didn’t necessarily need to reach out to them. (I have since reached out to one of my priests and I was corrected – see below).

Father Nix provided me with a talk by Father Wolfe, FSSP on limbo2. I found this talk to be very enlightening. The topic of limbo has been addressed for centuries and while it’s one of those “old concepts,” I thought about when my own mother discussed limbo for her baby, I now realize that the Catholic faith IS OLD. Seems silly to say that but the Catholic faith is unchanging. The Catholics who want the Church to “get with the times,” are not Catholics. There is a Protestant church down the street for you.

The list of popes and church documents discussing this was astonishing! Some use the word limbo. Most reaffirmed that infants who die without baptism cannot receive salvation. I was especially intrigued by Pope Sixtus V statements in 1588 with regards to abortionists who should be sentenced to death, not merely for killing an unborn child, but also for damning these unborn babies souls and denying them the Beatific Vision (See Taylor Marshalls paper referenced below).

The timing of such statements by popes, saints, and councils are not without question, after all, such statements are usually issued for specific reasons attributed by societal considerations. Meaning, were these statements issued because society was denying baptism was necessary for salvation? Were parents delaying baptism for illegitimate reasons? That is research I do not have the time for at the moment but I am certain I will revisit this topic.

So the final verdict? Babies, including the unborn, lack reason so they cannot have a “Baptism by Desire.” This is why parents must present their babies for baptism soon after birth. Deceased babies cannot be baptized, so therefore, unborn babies who die in the womb cannot be baptized.

If baptism is required for salvation; which is Catholic Doctrine and scriptural (See John 3:5), then we must surmise that miscarried and stillborn babies would not go to heaven.

The concept is not hard to accept if you believe that Baptism is required for salvation; which, EVERY Catholic SHOULD believe because it’s been revealed through Scripture. Not to believe it, is called Pelagianism and is heresy. It is also heresy to believe there is no such thing as original sin.

It seems this might be a “cut and dry” answer, but it’s not; because of Matthew 9 – Jesus Heals the Paralytic. What could this healing have to do with where unbaptized babies go? It could have everything do to with the answer. In discussing this with a friend, who has also lost a son to miscarriage, he shared that vicarious faith saves. A new term for me to research = Vicarious Faith. It’s not an easy search.

Matthew 9, “they brought to him (Jesus) a paralytic.” The place where Jesus was teaching was so full, no more people could enter the area, so they cut a hole in the roof and lowered the paralytic. “When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart my son, your sins are forgiven.” Jesus recognized the faith of those who brought the paralytic but did not recognize the faith of the paralytic.

This is vicarious faith. The paralytic was healed through the faith of those who brought him to Jesus. Is it then safe to surmise that a faithful parent would have brought their baby to be baptized and their faith in Jesus and the Sacrament of Baptism would be enough to save the baby from hell? I don’t know.

This is never-ending research. Research on one topic leads to rabbit-hole after rabbit-hole. All of which I want to research but lack the time. In researching vicarious faith, the following subjects also came up.

*Vicarious Faith
*Vicarious Suffering
*Vicarious Atonement
*Vicarious Intercession
*Vicarious Baptism

*I do not know what is Catholic teaching on these subjects so do not assume they are in-line with Catholic teaching. Some are Mormon, Wesleyan or Calvinist.

It is extremely difficult to believe that our ever-merciful God would damn an innocent child to hell because they lacked baptism. This is not a correct way of viewing this though. The nature of man did this. It’s a consequence of the fall of man. But why would an all-knowing God allow this to happen to unborn babies?

This is a mystery, likely not to be revealed until the end of time. Limbo is not a place of punishment but it is not a place where God is. I do not find comfort in this though, nor do I know anyone who would. I have found comfort knowing Jesus holds my children and learning that is likely not true is painful. But I entrust my children who died without baptism to the mercy of God.

Nothing I have found says that at the end of time, those in limbo would join God but nothing says they won’t. After all, those in purgatory will. At the end of time, all that is to exist is Heaven and Hell and if purgatory is a level of hell and all in purgatory will join those in Heaven at the end of the earth, why then wouldn’t those in limbo?

Limbo is tradition. Unbaptized babies going to heaven is liberal church teaching. It is a relatively “new concept” since the 1990’s. If unbaptized babies receive saving grace, what would the point of baptism be at all, other than initiation into the church?

UPDATE (11/23/2021): Then there is what my priest sent me. It was also very enlightening. He brings up a few points I have pondered yet failed to mention in this post. St. John the Baptist leaping in his mothers womb at the presence of Christ in HIS mother’s womb. This implies that Our Lord and Savior was recognized. Much can come from this revelation and I shall ponder it more. My thoughts will go into the book so I hope you’ll pick up a copy when it’s ready.

The answer remains to be found. If you know it, share it.

1 The Doctrine of Limbo in Catholic Tradition by Taylor Marshall
2 Contra Sedevacantism & the Recent Document on Limbo by Father Phil Wolfe

New book announcement

I have been contemplating for quite sometime, turning my bereavement ministry over to my faith. At last year’s October 15th Candlelight Vigil and Remembrance Event, I really felt a draw to make Dragonflies For Ruby a Catholic ministry. I have supported people of many different faiths and spirituality and I would never turn anyone away regardless of their faith but I have a desire to really focus on the Catholic side of supporting Catholic women and families through miscarriage, stillbirth, and child loss.

Catholics are pro-life. I am pro-life yet there is a problem in the Church. Women experiencing miscarriage and stillbirth are given very little support from their priests, pastors, and bishops as they navigate their loss. I was very fortunate to have a priest educate me on the importance of my baby’s life (no matter how short) and celebrating that life. His name is Father John Paul Leyba (formerly the parochial vicar at Our Lady of Loreto Catholic Parish and now Pastor at St. Frances Cabrini in Littleton).

I wrote about him in my book, All That is Seen and Unseen; A Journey Through a First Trimester Miscarriage, even placing my personal conversations and letter to him in the book. Father John Paul encouraged me to pray about the sex of my baby, name my baby, and celebrate. When we lost Gus, my Pastor, Monsignor Ed Buelt at Our Lady of Loreto, encouraged us to have a commendation ceremony. It was so beautiful and healing to have this and I want more Catholic’s to know about this option.

But even more so, I would like to share these resources with many Catholic women and help them navigate their miscarriage, knowing the teachings of the Church so I have started a fourth book! It is tentatively titled, The Catholic’s Guide to Miscarriage. The book will contain scripture verses and information from the Catechism as well information that’s out there on how to handle miscarriage according to the Catholic faith. Of course it will have the medical aspects of miscarriage in it but it’s a guide and hopefully will serve as a wonderful resource for Catholics and clergy.

So stay tuned! I am hoping to release the book before the end of the year but I will be seeking endorsement from the Archbishop of Denver so it may take longer. Prayers that the book comes along easily and receives Catholic endorsement and prayers for Dragonflies For Ruby as we make the transition to a Catholic faith-based organization!

All That is Seen and Unseen In the News

REPUBLISHED FROM : http://www.examiner.com:80/infertility-miscarriage-in-denver/i-always-wanted-to-write-a-book-i-just-never-thought-it-would-be-this-book

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All That is Seen and Unseen; A Journey Through a First Trimester Miscarriage“I always wanted to write a book, I just never thought I would write THIS book,” acknowledged new author, Elizabeth Petrucelli, at her recent book launch.  Over the past several years, Elizabeth began, but never finished, two other books; one on being a police SWAT wife, and another about her journey through infertility.   Her book, All That is Seen and Unseen, was the one that she did finish.  It was released on February 22, 2012.  The topic: first trimester miscarriage.  Why did Elizabeth never think she would write THIS book?  She never imagined being personally affected by miscarriage.  But in April of 2010, Elizabeth lost her daughter, Ruby Josephine, to a first trimester miscarriage.

All That is Seen and Unseen is a memoir from her personal journal entries surrounding her own pregnancy and miscarriage with Ruby.  Elizabeth was inspired to publish her book after searching endlessly for a book specifically about miscarriages in the first trimester. “There was no book I could turn to and I felt lost,” Elizabeth shared on her blog entry from March 23, 2012, “One in five women will experience a miscarriage so it was strange there was nothing on the market. Later, I knew I needed to write this book so that ALL women had a place to turn.”

Elizabeth lives in Parker, Colorado with her husband, Jason, and 8 year old son, Joey.  Raised in Oklahoma, she went on to join the Marines.  After Elizabeth met her husband, they moved to Colorado in 1999.  They faced issues with infertility and with several years of trying, Joey was conceived.

After becoming a doula and running her own business for a few years, Elizabeth decided to pursue her dream of becoming a police officer.  During that journey she discovered she was unexpectedly pregnant.  Due to the timing of her pregnancy, Elizabeth was distressed and unhappy.  Though she quickly had a change of heart and grew to love the new life growing inside of her.  However, like many other moms who endure pregnancy losses, she had a feeling she would lose her baby.  Sadly, at 8 weeks and 3 days into her pregnancy, Elizabeth learned that her feeling had become a reality.

Through her book, Elizabeth bravely shares with us her intimate feelings surrounding the loss of her pregnancy.  Many of these feelings are secretly shared by other women who have had first trimester losses.  But due to the often taboo subject of pregnancy loss in our society, many women are afraid to share their feelings surrounding their own loss.  Many grieving moms feel like society is telling them to “move on”, or to “just get over it.” So many of these moms are forced to grieve alone, or don’t allow themselves to grieve at all. Through its transparency, All That is Seen and Unseen, has the power to help women find meaning in their loss, and to know that they are not alone in their vast array of emotions that come through this type of grief.

Elizabeth chose Shadia Duske, MA, NCC, to edit her book.  Shadia is a psychotherapist in the Denver area whose primary focus is reproductive issues, including perinatal loss.  Shadia recognizes the importance of acknowledging pregnancy loss at any stage of pregnancy.  Whether a pregnancy is lost shortly after conception, or at 8 weeks, or 28 weeks, or 38 weeks, it was still a loss.  “It is important to raise awareness about the impact of pregnancy loss at ANY gestational period.  Elizabeth was brave to come forward and say that her grief was valid enough to write a book about it.  Her baby mattered!”  Shadia recently shared.

Lori Adams, an RN at the Parker Adventist Hospital Birthplace, works with bereaved parents.  She had nothing but praise for this book, “As I read All that is Seen and Unseen, I was struck by Elizabeth’s honesty and her exceptionally clear recollection of all of the events.  I admire how Elizabeth speaks so openly from her heart; you can’t help but feel every emotion encompassed in her grief.”

Elizabeth PetrucelliElizabeth hosted her first book launch and signing on March 22, 2012 at the Summit in Aurora, Colorado.  She announced on March 29, 2012 that her next book signing will be at Sweet Beginnings in Littleton, CO, on April 28th from 1pm to 3pm.  All That is Seen and Unseen can be purchased through Amazon.com.  A Kindle edition will soon be available as well.  You can connect with Elizabeth via  facebook.

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