Sacramentum Mundi Online

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1. Notion. Limbo (Latin: hem, edge, etc.) is a technical theological term for the place and state of the dead who are neither in heaven nor in hell nor in purgatory. A distinction is drawn between the limbus patrum, i.e., the place and state of the pre- Christian just, who could not enter into eternal happiness before Christ’s descent into hell and his ascension, and the limbus infantium, i.e., of the human beings who on earth never attained the use of reason, and to whom the sacrament of baptism was never administered, although the gospel was sufficiently proc…

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Peter Gumpel, “Limbo”, in: Sacramentum Mundi Online, General Editor Karl Rahner, SJ. Consulted online on 03 December 2023 <>
First published online: 2016

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