by Dante Alighieri
Paradiso Fate and Free Will Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Canto.Line). We used Allen Mandelbaum's translation.
And know that there, below, the transverse row
that cuts across the two divisions, sit
souls who are there for merits not their own,
but – with certain conditions – others' merits:
for all of these are souls who left their bodies
before they had the power of true choice. (Par. XXXII, 40-45)
These "souls who are there [in Heaven] for merits not their own" are children. The message is that if one dies as a child, before he can properly use his free will, God does not hold that person's lack of will against her and automatically saves her. This expression of his mercy is conditional. Children who die unbaptized after Christ's coming are not saved, but are sent to Limbo, the first circle of Hell.