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Card. Ratzinger: Let the Idea of Limbo Drop

At a time when the press is filled with news reports predicting that Benedict XVI is preparing to "officially" abolish the centuries-old notion of Limbo from Catholic doctrine, it seems opportune to bring to our readers the document with the actual words of Card. Ratzinger on the topic.

The book-interview wherein the then-Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith made his decisive declaration on Limbo was conducted by Italian journalist Vittorio Messori. It was originally published in Italian under the title Rapporto sulla Fede (Report on the Faith) in 1985. Ignatius Press translated it to English under the title The Ratzinger Report. We photocopied this translation and present it below for our readers.

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Comparing both the Italian and English editions, however, the English translation reveals a small imprecision in the principal affirmation by Ratzinger on Limbo.

The original Italian words were: "Si lasci pure cadere il concetto di 'limbo' se è necessario."

Although the sense remains the same in the Ignatius Press translation, what the Cardinal actually said in Italian translates better to English as:

"Just let the concept of 'limbo' drop if need be,"

Rather than: "One should not hesitate to give up the idea of 'limbo,'" as shown below.

At right, a facsimile from the cover of The Ratzinger Report, from which we reproduce the excerpt on Limbo highlighted in yellow below.

(Joseph Ratzinger, The Ratzinger Report, San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1985, pp. 147-148)

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Posted on October 7, 2006

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