The Family of Divine Innocence

Return to Index


Answers to possible objections, which may be raised against the Catholic Church ‘claiming all children killed before birth (by abortion and embryo experiments) as Companion Martyrs of the first Holy Innocents.’



Taken from an MA thesis based on the inspiration of Divine Innocence, Surbiton, England and completed by Patricia de Menezes in 2005.  It is titled ‘Theological, Missionary and Catechetical Implications of the Catholic Church Proclaiming as Martyrs, Children put to death before birth by Abortion and Embryo Research.’


Includes references to a dossier by Father Philippe Jobert, OSB., Monk and Theologian of St. Peter’s Abbey, Solesmes, France titled ‘Theological Clarifications on the Message of Divine Innocence, Surbiton, Surrey, England.’ (This work was carried out between 1997 and 2005).



Objection. 1.


‘The Church teaches that man through the fall of his first parents has the stain of original sin. No sin can enter heaven. These children are not baptised by water baptism at the font. How then are they washed of original sin so that they can enter heaven?’


The Church professes three forms of baptism; by water, blood and by desire. If it is not possible for an individual to receive baptism by the normal means i.e. by water, the same benefits can be supplied by “baptism of blood (whereby martyrdom is suffered for Christ, the Catholic Faith or for some virtue) or by “baptism of desire” (whereby a person has perfect contrition and at least the implicit intention of fulfilling God’s will for man’s salvation.)[1] The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: ‘The Church has always held the firm conviction that those who suffer death for the sake of the faith without having received Baptism are baptized by their death for and with Christ.’ (CCC n. 1258) We see that this Baptism of blood, like the desire for Baptism, brings about the fruits of Baptism. ‘God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments.’ (CCC n. 1257)


The source of all forms of baptism flow from God’s love and the purpose of universal salvation. Jesus is the manifestation of God’s love[2] that love is shown particularly in his Passion and Death where He died for love of all mankind. Jesus speaks of his suffering as a baptism. Baptism for us is a share in fruits of Christ’s Passion, Death and Resurrection. Father Jobert OSB, working from the content of the charism, shows the link between God’s love and a baptism of blood with regard to the children:


Above all, they receive the baptism of love through a baptism of blood, which unites them to Christ Crucified. They are killed for the divine Truth about life, which is printed in every human soul, and revealed in the Decalogue: “Thou shalt not kill”. They are martyrs to the Gospel of life; for human life is the necessary receptacle of the gratuitous gift of eternal life, according to the divine purpose of Love for mankind.[3]


The children’s baptism therefore is a ‘Baptism of Love through a baptism of blood.’ St. Paul says in Romans 6:3:4: “all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death. Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.” The children have been united with Christ in their death through suffering[4]; ‘For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.’ (Rom 6:5) It will be considered in more detail later how the children are united to Christ in suffering like His and how they are conformed to Christ in their deaths.


St. Augustine says, “The Blessed Cyprian argues with considerable reason for the thief to whom, though not baptised, it was said: “Today thou shalt be with me in Paradise” that suffering can take the place of Baptism.  Having weighed this in my mind again and again, I perceive that not only suffering for the name of Christ supplies for what was lacking in Baptism, but even faith and conversion of heart, if perchance on account of the stress of the times the celebration of the mystery of Baptism is not practicable.” [5] We know that the thief, who died with Christ, did not willing give his life for Christ or the faith but he was in direct contact with Christ the Sacrament. The thief asked Jesus to remember him when he came into his Kingdom. It is also interesting to note that the good thief witnessed to the innocence of Jesus.  “…[T]his man has done nothing wrong." (Luke 23:41) One might suppose that Jesus who remembered a sinful thief and extended to him the promise of paradise, would remember the millions of innocent children who have not committed any actual sin?


John 1:33 reveals that Jesus is the one who is said to baptize with the Holy Spirit. “I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, 'He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.'  In the Acts of the Apostles Jesus tells the Apostles “you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now." (Acts 1:4-5) The New Testament does not tell us that the Apostles received water Baptism but Jesus does tell us that they were baptised by the Holy Spirit. In John’s Gospel Jesus refers to those born of the Holy Spirit saying  ‘The wind blows where it wills,’[6]  The aborted children while unable to receive water baptism, are not outside the Spirit’s reach; “For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, Jews or Greeks, slaves or free and we were all made to drink of one Spirit...” (1 Cor 12:13)


We are told that ‘St Thomas Aquinas observes, importantly, that babies in their mothers’ wombs ‘can nevertheless be subjected to the action of God, in whose presence they are living, in such wise that they achieve sanctification by some privilege of grace, as is evident regarding those who have been sanctified in the womb.’[7] ‘The cases of Jeremiah (Jer: 1:5) and of St John the Baptist (Lk: 1:15) show that God can freely sanctify by grace a child in the womb of His mother. The similar case of Mary is a dogma of faith: viz. the Immaculate Conception.’[8]


To summarise, the Church teaches the necessity of baptism which supplies God’s grace so as to overcome original sin.   Baptism flows from God’s love for us, manifested in Jesus Christ principally through his passion, death and resurrection and is the work of the Holy Spirit.   Revelation testifies to God’s gift of gratuitous grace so that all men come to the knowledge of the truth and are saved, the will of unborn child presents no obstacle to this grace for its free will is not yet operative it is however ordered to natural good.[9]   They are deprived of the normal sacramental means of baptism yet the manner of their death is a baptism of blood.  For like the Holy Innocents they die as innocence victims for the truth, witnesses to Christ, the Truth[10]




Second Objection.


‘Children cannot be considered martyrs because they do not knowingly and willingly embraced death rather than deny Christ.’


The Church’s traditional understanding of martyrdom is that the martyr is conformed to Christ and witnesses to Him and the faith; ‘Martyrdom is the supreme witness given to the truth of the faith. The martyr…bears witness to the truth of the faith and of Christian doctrine.’[11]  This not only encompasses supernaturally revealed truth but truths of the natural moral law. This was the case with saints such as Maria Goretti and John the Baptist who are both martyrs: they were not killed in odium Christi, but as witnesses to moral principles.[12]  ‘The Church’s proclamation of aborted children as martyrs despite their incapacity to willingly offer their lives is of course, not without precedent. Is this not evident in claiming them as companions of the Holy Innocents of Bethlehem?[13] What is important here is that the martyrdom in the understanding of the Church has itself developed and we see that a precedent exists within the tradition. 


We find that the question concerning the children’s martyrdom centres on our understanding of subjectivity and objectivity in the theology of martyrdom;

We cannot use only the subjective likeness to Christ of these children as innocent persons as proof of martyrdom, to be objective we must also look for this proof elsewhere. St. Augustine wrote (PLS2, 425): “If Christ is Truth, whoever is condemned for truth suffers for Christ, and a crown is due to him.” These words concern St. John the Baptist, who was beheaded for the divine truth about marriage. More recently St. Maria Goretti and several other virgins were canonised as martyrs for chastity.’[14]

The children witness to the word of God, to the truth of the Commandments; ‘Thou shalt not kill’. Many of these children are conceived in adulterous situations; ‘Thou shalt not commit adultery.’  The fatherhood and motherhood of those involved in abortion has been dishonoured by themselves and by society (through legislation etc.); ‘Honour your father and mother,’ The lives of these children have been stolen from them by unjust laws and by others who have killed them; ‘Thou shalt not steal’. In all these areas the children are witnesses to the word of God that has been broken in their regard. Because of what the mystery of the Incarnation means for every member of humanity, the children witness to Christ the Word made flesh, to Christ the Sacrament: “What you do to the least of my brethren you do to me.”(Mt 25:40)


At a more fundamental level the active participation of the martyr is a grace from God acting in the martyr to conform them to Christ the proto martyr.  It is not only the martyrs choice for Christ but Christ’s choice of the martyr through His grace to witness to a particular truth.. This is shown in Jesus’ words in John Gospel, “You did not choose me I chose you.” (John 15:16) We know that God’s power is shown forth in human weakness. He chooses the weak and makes them strong in bearing witness to Him. (cf. 1Cor 1:27,28). These children could be considered the weakest members of society. Pope John Paul II in Evangelium Vitae n. 58 says: ‘No one more absolutely innocent could be imagined. […] He or she is weak, defenceless, even to the point of lacking that minimal form of defence consisting in the poignant power of a newborn baby’s cries and tears.’ 


In death these children are conformed to the death of Christ as witnesses to divine truth. Christ indeed gives testimony in them and

dies in them. ‘By their martyrs’ deaths they become members of the Mystical Body of the Christ who hallows them. They are sanctified not out side but within the Church. She is their Mother, not by the sacrament of Baptism, [of water] but by proclaiming that they are her glorious children through the Baptism of blood. She gives their blood a voice to proclaim the truth of God about life, the glory of the mercy of God and the power of the Blood of Christ.’ [15]


Those who end the life of the unborn break the divine law written in their hearts, and so objectively these unborn are rendered victims, although they do not have any opportunity of choosing to die for the truth about life. ‘This objectively confers on their death the formal notion (ratio formalis) of martyrdom.’[16]      The Holy Innocents were killed by Herod, who wanted to kill Christ: formally Christ was martyred in each of them. They were witnesses to Christ as Messiah by their blood, without any possibility of willing it. The new holy innocents ie. all children killed before birth, are martyr victims in the similar way.



Third Objection.


‘The children could exercise their free will against God and reject Him.’ 


The children are too young to have the use of their free will, since they have no way of exercising it, it is potential. They have not the use of this freewill anymore that they have the use of their lungs. In any case the Church teaches that children below the age of reason are not considered responsible. Christ said that he who is not against him is with him. (Mk 9:40) When a child is brought to the fount for Baptism in the ordinary way, there is no suggestion, that the child might be harbouring resistance toward Christ in its will and rejecting the sacrament. All children have been created by a loving God and are orientated to the good, their supreme good is God. God does not create evil or human persons with any evil intent; ‘Since God is perfectly good, He cannot be the direct cause of any evil.’ [17]  St. Thomas Aquinas in his Summa said that ‘Children before the use of reason do not have an inordinate act of the will, neither will they have one after death’[18]


The children are put to death through the sins of those who break the divine and natural law.  The very fact that the children cannot exercise their will shows that their martyrdom is unique.


[N]ot yet having the use of their freewill, they are under God’s direct motion in their natural will for happiness. Thus Christ takes them into His Crucifixion when they are killed. Living in them through grace, He offers them in His own offering to the Father and they share in His Sacrifice for all sinners. They are perfect instruments of Christ’s charity: this complete instrumentality is completely identified with Christ’s martyrdom and witness: this is the highest level of martyrdom because it is a glory only for Christ through them [the children] and with them as human persons.[19]



Fourth Objection.


‘By claiming these children, it could encourage abortions if people thought that their child would become a saint. It may be argued that it would be better to kill the child rather than bring it into the world where it might suffer such things as poverty and sickness.’


Catholic moral theology teaches that it is never lawful, even for the gravest reasons, to do evil that good may come of it. St. Paul clearly rejects this way of thinking and from his Letters it seems he had to refute this type of argument a number of times. In Romans 3:5-8 we read: ‘But if our wickedness serves to show the justice of God, what shall we say? That God is unjust to inflict wrath on us? (I speak in a human way.)  By no means! For then how could God judge the world? But if through my falsehood God's truthfulness abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner? And why not do evil that good may come? - as some people slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is just.’ Also in Romans 6:1-4 we read: ‘What shall we say then?  Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?’ This counter argument is again repeated in Romans 6:15-2.[20]


To kill an innocent child so as to make heaven available to that child or to save it from coming into this world where it might suffer, is an evil act regardless of any good motive.  Many reasons are given in society for the killing of the children and most are presented as having good motives. This does not change the fact that it is an intrinsically evil act. To say that claiming the children will encourage abortions seems unreasonable when one sees the sheer scale of abortions and methods of murdering the children, little encouragement seems to be needed. It will be seen later in the chapter on the positive case that on the contrary the claiming will produce very positive effects that will curb abortion.


In Veritatis Splendor n.80, Pope John Paul II states:

Reason attests that there are objects of the human act which are by their nature “incapable of being ordered” to God, because they radically contradict the good of the person made in his image. These are the acts which, in the Church’s moral tradition, have been termed “intrinsically evil” (intrinsece malum): they are always and per se, on account of their very object, and quite apart from the ulterior intentions of the one acting and the circumstances [. …] seriously wrong…[21]

The Second Vatican Council confirming the respect due to the human person, gives explicit examples of such acts: “Whatever is hostile to life itself, such as any kind of homicide, genocide, abortion, euthanasia and voluntary suicide;…” (GS n. 27)



Fifth Objection


‘There are too many children to claim. The Church could instead claim one child of whom it could be proved that it died in “odium fidei” to represent all the other children killed before birth. [An example of this would be that the baby was killed because it was a Catholic.]’


All humanity was not too many for Christ to die for and save so why would the children be too many for the Church to claim if Christ has justified them?  If one child can be claimed surely all can be claimed. Claiming all the children preserves privacy, no individual mother, child, or family need be made known. Without excluding any children it also does not exclude anyone who has been involved in the deaths of these children. The claiming would therefore touch all those involved in this corporate sin with the light of truth because the Commandments are written upon the heart. The Church by claiming these children and raising them to the Altar, universally proclaims the truth that Jesus is Saviour of all mankind and the Church is the one place where the saving Sacraments are available for those involved in abortion and experiments on children can be completely reconciled


Jesus in the Gospel rebuked those who would stop little children coming to Him. “Suffer the little children to come unto me, forbid them not for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Mat 18:2). Jesus did not say “Suffer one child to come to me to represent all other children.” The one child approach is a subjective approach; it is on a lower theological level which fails to give the glory to God.

Martyrdom is exclusively a gratuitous gift of Christ, the giving of Himself as the King of martyrs, to continue His witness to divine Truth, in and through all unborn children.   There is no place for an exception, either on the part of Christ, or on the part of the children, who themselves are conformed to His likeness in death and bear witness to the truth about life.  This martyrdom is universal in itself, for it is a participation of all children in Christ’s martyrdom. This universality of salvation and martyrdom in the case of unborn children is so essential, that to look for an individual case of martyrdom in one child who is killed in abortion “in odium fidei”, would completely miss the point.  In such a singular case, the universal salvific Will of God and Christ’s martyrdom are not taken into account.  The charism of martyrdom is reduced to the human level and to the exceptional human conditions of the violent death of one person only: and the glory of martyrdom would be received by this person, not by God’s Mercy and Christ Crucified alone.[22]




Sixth Objection.


‘You are asking the Church to claim children who would be killed in the future.’


Scripture effectively answers this objection in Revelation 6:9-11:

‘When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne; they cried out with a loud voice, "O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before thou wilt judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell upon the earth?"   Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.’ [our emphasis.]


This passage speaks of those who have been slain for the word of God and of their witness to the word. It also speaks of those who would in the future be killed as they themselves had been. These children who can be said to wear the white robe of innocence have been washed in the blood of the Lamb and they witness to the word of God that has been broken in their regard.


When the children’s martyrdom is publicly proclaimed those who kill these children will come to realise that the children are martyred because of disobedience to the divine and natural law.  It will have the effect of discouraging further abortions because all will know without doubt that those who kill the unborn child create a martyr and that their actions (for which they are answerable before God) are the cause of this martyrdom. 


These children as a category of martyr do not require the same canonical process for there is no life to investigate so to speak, only the theological and doctrinal criteria for them to be numbered among the white robed army.   If we have ascertained the objective criteria for these children as a body to be considered within the embrace of salvation so as to be claimed for Christ and His Church as martyrs to the truth, what obstacle is there for future children in the same category to be considered as such?




Seventh Objection.


‘You cannot prove a child in the womb receives grace.’


The creation of these children is a grace from God. God does not create the child and then abandon it.[23] There is evidence in Scripture that grace can reach the child in the womb. The Prophet Jeremiah was consecrated in his mother’s womb. (Jer 1:4-5)  St. John the Baptist leapt for joy in the womb of his mother when she was filled with the Holy Spirit. (Cf. Luke 1:39-45; V.S. 61) Joy is a gift of the Holy Spirit and the action of the child proves the cause of the joy, God’s sanctifying Spirit. St. Paul tells us that even in his mother’s womb he was given his mission (Gal 1:15) which was a grace. Scripture also reveals that God has no favourites (Rom 2:11) so there is no reason why these children can not receive grace in the womb.  It may be asked, is it sufficient grace? St. Paul was told by the Lord “My grace is sufficient for you.” (2 Cor 12:9). God does not give insufficient grace for salvation.  It is also Church teaching for Gaudium et Spes, n. 22 states:

‘Since Christ died for all, and since all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny, which is divine, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partakers, in a way known to God, of the Paschal mystery.’ It seems that the Church is being shown how these children are partakers in that mystery.   




Eight Objection.


We do not know when the soul is present therefore the Church cannot claim all children killed before birth’.


The question of ensoulment is important because there are those who feel that if the soul is not present at conception it is acceptable to experiment on living human beings in the early stages of their development, although we see that children are killed at every stage of development. There are many who argue that the child in the womb is not a person but a cluster of cell tissue and therefore children before birth can be killed or used for scientific experiments, they deny the presence of the spiritual soul of the child.


The Church teaches that human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception, that is from the first moment of his or her existence, and to be recognized as having the rights of a person, among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.[24] From the early centuries the Church has upheld the unity of man’s body and soul stating that ‘it is a human body precisely because it is animated by a spiritual soul’. (CCC n. 364) Because of this unity the soul does not pre-exist the body[25] and this is also true for the converse. Referring to living things with the power to grow and develop Aristotle speaks of two aspects; ‘matter’ and ‘form’, the latter being the animating principle.  Drawing upon this philosophy the Catechism in paragraph n. 365 states:  ‘The unity of soul and body is so profound that one has to consider the soul to be the ‘form’ of the body i.e. it is because of its spiritual soul that the body made of matter becomes a living human body: spirit and matter, in man, are not two natures united, but rather their unions forms a single nature.’


St. Thomas Aquinas understood that since matter and form are so complementary, it is not possible for the soul to be present in matter that was insufficiently organised i.e. in matter that is not already human. For this reason based on the scientific knowledge of his day, St. Thomas understood ensoulment to take place some time after conception.  However, with the contribution of modern science and the discovery of the human genetic code, we know now that that there is a perfect organisation of the zygote at the moment of conception and so St. Thomas who followed Aristotelian philosophy would also have maintained this view.


The Church may need to make a more definite pronouncement regarding the soul being present at conception. God’s relationship with the human person is a person to person relationship of love, a relationship with the whole person in a unity of body and soul.[26] It is the whole person, body and soul who is saved by Christ, according to the Will of the Father in the Unity of the Holy Spirit.  For this Trinitarian relationship of love with the human person made in God’s image, the soul must be present at conception?  In his Theological Clarifications Father Jobert sheds some light on this issue:

Modern science has shown that from the first moment of conception, from the union of both male and female elements, the program of development of the organs, and the beginnings of these organs are present.  Thus, at the same moment the perfection of the creating Cause, Divine Love, and the complete dispositions of the subject, shows that the spiritual soul is present as a formal cause of the body from the first moment of conception. The purpose of the efficient Cause, Divine Love, is the communication of its image, as spiritual, at the same level as this image is in the procreating cause of the person……


The doubt of Aristotle in this matter comes from his theory of the form springing from the potentiality of the matter.  In this way, it is not possible to reach in generation a form, which transcends the potentiality of the matter, i.e. a spiritual soul, with immaterial potentiality of intellectual and voluntary operations.  St. Thomas Aquinas follows [Aristotle] but the philosophical demonstration of a First Cause, a Prime Mover who is a Prime Lover dissipates the Aristotolean doubt: the Prime Mover can produce a spiritual soul at the moment of conception, and the Prime Lover will produce it as the proper effect of His Love: the communication of His likeness.[27]


If the Magisterium were to claim these children killed before birth, the wording of such a pronouncement would be important and overcome the above objection. It would have to identify as martyrs all those created by God, in His image and likeness and killed before birth.   If this was done it would not be necessary to define the exact moment of each individual conception.  It must also be remembered that these children would be raised to the altar as a body such as the Holy Innocents and the First Martyrs of the See of Rome where particular individuals were not known but their witness was still acknowledged. 



Ninth Objection.


‘What of children who die naturally such as children who die through miscarriages?’


In this study we are not dealing here with all children who have died before baptism. We are dealing specifically with a particular group of children deliberately put to death before birth. If the martyrdom of these children is accepted, as an authentic witnesses to the truth and the dignity of human life, a doctrinal way is then established to show that they enjoy the fruits of salvation through a ‘baptism of love’ and blood. It is the purpose of this work to demonstrate that these children can be considered martyrs and from this the pastoral issue of reaching those who have been responsible for the children’s deaths. This development however may in the future help to shed light on the theological question of miscarried children. While it is an important question for those who have been affected by miscarriage, it does not present the same pastoral urgency towards those involved in the serious sin of the killing of children.


Miscarried children have not died at the hands of others contrary to God’s law. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: ‘Indeed, the great mercy of God who desires that all men should be saved, and Jesus’ tenderness toward children which caused him to say: ‘Let the children come to me, do not hinder them’ (Mk 10:14; cf. 1 Tim 2:4), allows us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism. (CCC  n. 1261)  Perhaps these words will provide some consolation to those parents who have lost children through miscarriage who also need pastoral care from the Church. The Charism of Divine Innocence draws the distinction between the children put to death before birth who are called ‘virgin martyrs’ and[S de M1]  to children who die naturally as ‘virgin souls’.



Tenth Objection.


‘What about other innocent children who have been killed after birth such as street children in South America who have been murdered as a means of dealing with a social problem, can one differentiate?’


A court deals with each case individually, the Church likewise does not mix up causes going forward for beatification, each having their own individual context and circumstances.    Each case needs to be looked at on its own merits.  In regard to the children killed before birth, there are certainties in their regard, they cannot receive sacramental baptism, they are innocent of actual sin but have the stain of original sin.   This cannot be said with certainty of children who have been killed after birth.   The freewill of the children killed before birth is only potential and having no merit of their own, in their helplessness they are utterly dependent on Christ’s merits, on His saving Blood to cleanse them from original sin and to sanctify them by His Spirit. With other cases differing circumstances have to be considered, such as determining the age of reason, innocence and the subjective cause of death.[28]   It may be so that many of these children are candidates for beatification but this is for the Church to decide separately from this cause.


On this issue and included in her paper in Abortion and Martyrdom, Michele M. Schumacher states:

[T]he Church’s intervention would, it must be admitted open the same possibility to other truly innocent victims of violent crimes – children who have not reached the age of reason and the mentally handicapped, for instance – victims whose blood, when offered by the Church with that of Christ, might truly ‘speak more graciously than the blood of Abel’ (cf. Heb. 12:24) to convict the consciences of those responsible for the violent taking of their lives thereby allowing for the penetration of the graces of conversion for all those involved in the horrendous crime of abortion. On the other hand, given the magnitude of the crime of abortion and the obscuring of public’ conscience in its regard, there is, it seems to me, a certain urgency which would advocate their cause at this moment in history even before that of other truly innocent victims.’[29]



Eleventh Objection.


‘The children go to Limbo therefore there is no need for the Church to claim them, they enjoy a natural happiness.’


Although it was never defined as a dogma of faith the existence of limbo was posed as a possible answer by some theologians wrestling with the question of children who die without Baptism.[30] The fate of children who die without baptism has been looked at within the Church by many theologians over the centuries, some of whom put forward the theory of ‘Limbo of the infants.’  ‘Limbo was suggested as an intermediary place between heaven and hell, which spared the innocent who died without baptism from the punishments of hell.’[31]  The theory states that the children who die without baptism do not enjoy the beatific vision of God but only a natural happiness.


Christ came to bring us supernatural happiness and show us the way to the Father. ‘The Church [has] treated the doctrine of limbo and the denial of limbo simply as “opinions” of theologians; she has been content with her decision to the present day.’ [32] Also, it seems significant that the New Catechism of the Catholic Church does not mention the existence of Limbo.  Instead it tells us that, ‘Jesus’ tenderness toward children which caused him to say: ‘Let the little children come to me, do not hinder them’, allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism.’ (CCC n. 1261).   


If we are to accept the theory of Limbo, this invariably means, that those who have killed the children, if they repented and were reconciled to God and his Church, would have the opportunity to reach heaven and enjoy the Beatific Vision of God, while their victims, the innocent children, are denied the beatific vision for all eternity. This does not seem to be compatible with God’s justice, mercy and love.


When the children die and come before God for their particular judgement, they have no actual sin to expiate so Purgatory is not applicable for them. They have not committed any sin and do not reject God, so they cannot be sent to Hell.  If we accept that limbo would not be a just solution the Church teaches definitively only one other destination, heaven.


This theory is theologically inadequate to answer the fate of unbaptised infants within the context of the Father’s saving Will:  ‘The theory of limbo ‘limps’ because it relies upon divine Justice only, and not upon Justice and Mercy together. God is at the same time Justice and Mercy: so there is never divine Justice without Mercy’ (Ps 88:15) [S de M2] [33] Fr. Jobert believes that for children who are killed in abortion, there is a previous action of Christ’s Mercy for them:  ‘He united them to His own Martyrdom, as witnesses for the Gospel of Life. They are martyrs in Him and are consequently glorified in Him.’[34]  ‘The children killed before birth are martyrs in Christ, because Christ exercises his own martyrdom in them, out of his Mercy and Justice, all objections are destroyed; because they are formulated as though Christ is not living any more, as through his sacrifice is not eternalised by his Divine Act of Being and present to the children, as though his Mercy forgets these children and is not powerful enough to save them.’ [35]  


Father Jobert makes an important point regarding the Covenant and Limbo: ‘God is the Prime Lover in the Covenant, the first effect of the Covenant is prevenient grace: In our first parents, [i]n the Immaculate Conception [and] [i]n the martyrdom of unborn children. ‘The theory of limbo forgets and neglects the Covenant.  Through abortion the devil tries to undermine the Covenant.’[36] 


In this section we have looked at various objections which may be raised against this development and put forward answers to them. This already begins to build a positive case for the Catholic Church to claim the children put to death before birth and to raise them to the Altar as companion martyrs of the first Holy Innocents. It was John Henry Newman who pointed out the importance of the ‘antecedent argument’ in the process of the development of doctrine[37] and we can see how each of these doctrinal points like strands of a rope helps to build a case for the claiming. We will now look in more detail at the positive case in favour of claiming the children, and at other implications and effects that will lead us on to the missionary and catechetical role of the Church in relation to the claiming.



Twelfth Objection.


‘God’s Love and Mercy seems to be so abundant and free for the children in this development that the proclamation of so many saints in one action could be considered akin to the error of universalism.’


Universalism is a liberal Protestant belief in the final salvation of all souls.  It believes that Holy Scripture of Old and New Testaments contain a revelation of the character of God and of the duty, interest, and final destination of mankind.  It believes that there is one God whose nature is Love, revealed in one Lord, Jesus Christ, by one Holy Spirit of grace, who will finally restore the whole family of mankind to holiness and happiness.[38] While this erroneous belief accepts Divine Mercy it denies Divine Justice in regard to man. 

The claiming of the children killed in abortion is the just solution for victim and perpetrator alike by pointing to the Saviour and the Church’s sacramental system.  Through Christ’s perfect Sacrifice on Calvary and perpetuated in the Mass, God’s Love is shown for both victim and perpetrator, justice is met for the children and mercy is offered to those responsible for their deaths. The claiming acknowledges God’s Justice, Love and Mercy.  In this liturgical action the Church proclaims the universal plan of salvation as given in revelation and taught by the Church.  This is the only universal aspect in the claiming of these children – a proclamation of universal truth!  Those who have killed the children have the invitation and opportunity through the Church to be reconciled to God, but they also have the free will to reject it.  There is no suggestion with the claiming that those who have harmed the children are automatically saved in the universal love of God; repentance and reparation is required for this spilling of innocent blood and through free will we can choose between justice and mercy.  



Thirteenth Objection.

When someone suggested that the accusation of idealism could be raised against the claiming of the children killed before birth, “that it is too good to be true”, Our Lord said to Patricia in the inspiration:

Jesus.  It is so good that it is true! Goodness and right go together – the right of the children to salvation, the right of the parents to hear of this merciful message, the right of the Church to proclaim it and defend it, and in God, right is might not as your saying goes “might is right!” My mighty hand goes out to these children and rescues them and My mighty Love flows forth for the salvation of all. Claim and proclaim!  Right, truth and Love reigns supreme in this answer!





[1] Our Sunday’s Visitor Encyclopedia. Section titled Baptism pages 45-48.

[2] C.f. 1 John 4: 9-10: ‘God's love was revealed among us in this way: ‘God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.’

[3]  See  Theological Clarifications on the Inspiration of Divine Innocence by Father Philippe Jobert, O.S.B.; Paper titled: ‘Theological arguments for the martyrdom of children killed before birth.’.

[4]C.f. Excerpt taken from message from the inspiration dated 5th June 1995.  Jesus refers to part of St. Augustine’s Sermon no. 329 of the Divine Office, Office of Readings, Common of One Martyr, ‘Precious is the death of the martyr bought with the price of the death of Christ’:  Reading.  ‘What is that cup? It is the cup of suffering, bitter, and yet bringing salvation, the cup that a sick man would fear to touch if his physician did not drink it first.  This is that cup.  We recognise that cup on the lips of Christ when he says, 'My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me.’ Jesus.   “What more bitter cup could these little ones have drunk than to be killed in the womb by their own parents and unfeeling and evil people?  Yet if the Church would only claim them, their salvation is there for all to see.  Let the elders of the Church recognise the cup of salvation on the lips of these children and babes!”

[5] De Unico Baptismo Parvulorum, iv. 

[6]John 3:8: “The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know whence it comes or whither it goes; so it is with every one who is born of the Spirit."

[7] Aquinas, S. Th., III. Q 68, art. 11, ad 2;  Quoted in a paper titled  “On whether aborted children should be claimed as members of the Church?” McCarthy F. John. Congregation for the Eastern Churches, Rome. Paper submitted to the Solesmes Consultation 1999 and included in Abortion and Martyrdom, page 8 ff.

[8] See Jobert, Philippe Fr. Theological Clarifications on the Inspiration of Divine Innocence. Paper titled, ‘Holy Innocents in our times’. 

[9] Cf. A child seeking its mothers milk, responding to love,

[10] John 14:6: Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.”

[11] CCC n. 2473.

[12] Harrison Brian, O.S Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico.  “Aborted infants as martyrs: are there wider implications?” Paper submitted to the Solesmes Consultation 1999 and included in Abortion and Martyrdom, page 103.

[13] Michele M. Schumacher, University of Fribourg, Switzerland. “The martyr status of the aborted child: a share in Christ’s witness to the Father of mercies.” Paper submitted to the Solesmes Consultation 1999 and included in Abortion and Martyrdom, page 63.

[14] See Jobert, Philippe Fr. Theological Clarifications on the Inspiration of Divine Innocence. Paper titled ‘Holy Innocents in our times’.

[15] Ibid.

[16] Ibid.

[17] Stravinskas Peter M.J, (ed). Our Sunday Visitor’s Catholic Encyclopaedia.  Huntington, Indiana, USA: Our Sunday Visitor Inc. 1991. Article titled ‘Evil’, pages 377-378.

[18] Aquinas, De Malo, q. 5 art. 3 corp.

[19] See Theological Clarifications on the Inspiration of Divine Innocence. Paper titled “Certainties regarding the fate of children killed in the womb.”

[20] Hebrews 10:26 is even more explicit in condemning this error: ‘For if we sin deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful prospect of judgement, and a fury of fire which will consume the adversaries.’

[21] Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Reconciliatio et Paenitentia (2 Dec. 1984), 17: AAS 77 (1985), 221; cf. Paul VI, Address to the Members of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, (September 1967): AAS 59 (1967), 962: “Far be it from Christians to be led to embrace another opinion, as if the Council taught that nowadays some things are permitted which the Church had previously declared intrinsically evil. Who does not see in this the rise of a depraved moral relativism one that clearly endangers the Church’s entire doctrinal heritage?”

[22] Fr. Philippe Jobert O.S.B.  ‘Post scriptum; Can the Magisterium of the Church acknowledge children killed in abortion as companions of the Holy Innocents and therefore as martyrs?’ Paper included in Abortion and Martyrdom.

[23] The heresy of Deism.

[24] CCC. n. 2270; Cf. CDF, Donum vitae I, 1. 

[25] Pre-existentianism was rejected by a Synod at Constantinople (543) against the Origenists, and by a Synod at Braga (561) against the Priscillianists. Denz. 203,236.

[26] GS n. 14: ‘Man though made of body and soul, is a unity’: Also Pope John Paul II: ‘Man is ‘an incarnate spirit… a soul which expresses itself in a body and a body informed by an immortal spirit’ a ‘unified totality’; Encyclical Letter, Familiaris Consortio n. 11.

[27] See Jobert, Philippe Fr. Theological Clarifications on the Inspiration of Divine Innocence. Paper titled: ‘The Philosophy of Divine Love.’

[28] ‘Those who bring to an end the lives of children before their births voluntary transgress this divine law so aborted children are made into victims in all objectivity,’ Fr Jobert, Abortion and Martydom, page 123.

[29] Schumacher Michele M., “The martyr status of the aborted child: a share in Christ’s witness to the Father of mercies.” Included in Abortion and Martyrdom, page 63.

[30] [T]heologians have established this notion, not from Revelation, but from reasoning; which was based on the necessity of baptism, and on the freedom of assent to faith, exclusively. Having no use of freewill, no possibility of being baptised, the children who die in the womb of their mother cannot receive grace and go to heaven. Having not committed any actual sin and being deprived of grace only by original sin, they are not condemned to hell. Limbo is neither heaven nor hell; only a negative concept, not a reality. See Fr Jobert, Theological Clarifications on the Inspiration of Divine Innocence.  Paper titled: “Objections to the claiming of children killed before birth as martyrs”.

[31] John Paul II’s request to Catholic theologians to study the question of the fate of children who die without baptism. Zenit News Agency – The World Seen From Rome, Code: ZE4100703. Oct 7th 2004.

[32] Dyer, J. George. ‘Limbo, unsettled Question.’  USA: Sheed and Ward, Inc, 1964, page 89.  

[33] See Fr Jobert, Theolgical Clarifications on the Inspiration of Divine Innocence.  Paper titled: “Limbo, No”.

[34] Ibid.

[35] Ibid. Paper titled, “Objections to the claiming of children killed before birth as martyrs”, page 147.

[36] Ibid. Paper titled, “Covenant’, page 118.

[37] Newman, John Henry.  An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine. USA: Notre Dame Books, 1989. Chapter 2, page 55 ff.

[38] The Catholic Encyclopaedia. (Caxton Publishing Company, London, 1910) page 181, article titled ‘Universalists’.

 [S de M1]Where is the rest

 [S de M2]Dvid please check ibid