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Augustine ever taught that original sin of itself involved any severer penalty after death than exclusion from the beatific vision, and this, by the Greek Fathers at least, was always regarded as being strictly supernatural. [Orat., xl, 23] Thus, according to Gregory, for children dying without baptism, and excluded for want of the "seal" from the "honor" or gratuitous favor of seeing God face to face, an intermediate or neutral state is admissible, which, unlike that of the personally wicked, is free from positive punishment. Augustine himself agrees with the common tradition.
Explicit references to the subject are rare, but for the Greek Fathers generally the statement of St. that those last mentioned [infants dying without baptism ] will neither be admitted by the just judge to the glory of Heaven nor condemned to suffer punishment, since, though unsealed [by baptism ], they are not wicked. And, for the West, Tertullian opposes infant baptism on the ground that infants are innocent, while St. Thus in De libero arbitrio III, written several years before the Pelagian controversy, discussing the fate of unbaptized infants after death, he writes: "It is superfluous to inquire about the merits of one who has not any merits.
Peter Lombard, the Master of the Sentences, popularized it ( Sent. No reason can be given -- so argued the Angelic Doctor -- for exempting unbaptized children from the material torments of Hell ( poena sensus ) that does not hold good, even a fortiori, for exempting them also from internal spiritual suffering ( poena damni in the subjective sense), since the latter in reality is the more grievous penalty, and is more opposed to the mitissima poena which St. decedentium ), added certain details to the current teaching -- for example that the souls of unbaptized children will be united to glorious bodies at the Resurrection, and that the renovated earth of which St.Augustine as a heresy (see e.g., De anima et ejus orig., II, 17) consisted in claiming supernatural, as opposed to natural, happiness for those dying in original sin (see Bellarmine, De amiss. Moreover, there was the teaching of the Council of Florence , that "the souls of those dying in actual mortal sin or in original sin alone go down at once ( mox ) into Hell, to be punished, however, with widely different penalties." It is clear that Bellarmine found the situation embarrassing, being unwilling, as he was, to admit that St.Augustine concedes is that their punishment is the mildest of all, so mild indeed that one may not say that for them non-existence would be preferable to existence in such a state ( De peccat. Augustine's teaching on original sin was first successfully challenged by St. 1109), who maintained that it was not concupiscence, but the privation of original justice, that constituted the essence of the inherited sin ( De conceptu virginali ). Thomas held this absence of subjective suffering to be compatible with a consciousness of objective loss or privation, the resignation of such souls to the ways of God's providence being so perfect that a knowledge of what they had lost through no fault of their own does not interfere with the full enjoyment of the natural goods they possess. Thomas' view the limbus infantium is not a mere negative state of immunity from suffering and sorrow, but a state of positive happiness in which the soul is united to God by a knowledge and love of him proportionate to nature's capacity. Thomas was received in the schools, almost without opposition, down to the Reformation period.On the special question, however, of the punishment of original sin after death, St. Augustine in holding that unbaptized children share in the positive sufferings of the damned ; and Abelard was the first to rebel against the severity of the Augustinian tradition on this point. It should be noted, however, that this poena damni incurred for original sin implied, with Abelard and most of the early Scholastics, a certain degree of spiritual torment, and that St. Afterwards, however, he adopted the much simpler psychological explanation which denies that these souls have any knowledge of the supernatural destiny they have missed, this knowledge being itself supernatural, and as such not included in what is naturally due to the separated soul ( De Malo loc. The very few theologians who, with Gregory of Rimini, stood out for the severe Augustinian view, were commonly designated by the opprobrious name of tortores infantium .
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But, by insisting on the absolute necessity of being " born again of water and the Holy Ghost " ( John 3:5 ) for entry into the kingdom of Heaven (see BAPTISM, subtitle Necessity of Baptism ), Christ clearly enough implies that men are born into this world in a state of sin, and St.