Full Question

Do miscarried fetuses have souls? If so, what happens to them?


All living things have souls, and all human beings have spiritual, rational souls made in the image and likeness of God. If a human being is conceived then that person has a spiritual, rational soul. So, yes, miscarried children do indeed have human souls. As for their eternal destiny, they share the same hope for heaven that the Church believes is possible for all unbaptized children (cf. CCC 1261).


  • Kim Long says:

    If a child is lost to miscarriage, many times the child cannot be baptized. Why would this child not deserve heavenly rewards?

  • Justine says:

    wait, all living things have souls? I thought only humans had souls? That’s kinda what we were taught.

  • Adam Bajac says:

    Jstine, indeed, all living things have souls. The soul is the principle of life.
    There are three types of souls in the material world; vegetative, animal and human.
    Vegetative souls have the power of growth and reproduction; animals have all these plus the senses and limited consciousness that comes with being an animal; and humans have all this, plus the intellect and consciousness that comes with being human.
    If you get the chance, read Aristotle’s “De Anima”. It’s a great philosophical read albeit a little tough, and highly enlightening on this subject.

  • Guy says:

    This is completely wrong, not to mention Heritical. Humans receive a rational soul at the moment of conception, however The Church has made definitions on the eternal destiny of infants who die without baptism.
    All those who die without baptism will not be saved. The Council of Trent states:
     861 [DS 1618] Can. 5. If anyone shall say that baptism is optional, that is, not necessary for salvation: let him be anathema [cf. n. 796].
    St. Augustine taught at Carthage:
    “It has been decided likewise that if anyone says that for this reason the Lord said: “In my house there are many mansions”: that it might be understood that in the kingdom of heaven there will be some middle place or some place anywhere where happy infants live who departed from this life without baptism, without which they cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven, which is life eternal, let him be anathema. For when the Lord says: “Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he shall not enter into the kingdom of God” [John 3:5], what Catholic will doubt that he will be a partner of the devil who has not deserved to be a coheir of Christ? For he who lacks the right part will without doubt run into the left [cf. Matt. 25:41,46].”
    We must understand that all souls are conceived with original sin, except for Our mother Mary. Baptism cleans us of original sin, and makes us members of the Church.
     The Council of Lyons II (1274) and that of Florence both defined that those who die with original sin only, such as unbaptized infants, are punished in hell for the guilt of original sin. The councils wrote as follows.
    “The souls of those who die in mortal sin or with original sin only, however, immediately descend to hell, to be punished however with disparate punishments.”
    The damned have “disparate punishments” [disparibus, unequal] in that each will receive according to his guilt. As St. Augustine taught, infants who die unbaptized have the pain of sense but to a milder extent than do those other damned who have added further sins to the guilt of original sin.

    • offdroad says:

      Guy you are not correct. Trent did not say “All unbaptized shall be condemned to Hell.” You said it, not Trent.

    • Priest says:

      The Magisterium of today (rather than any individual) has the authority to interpret and apply the Magisterial teachings of the past. The Magisterium has done so in para 1261:
      “As regards children who have died without Baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, as she does in her funeral rites for them. 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,” allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism. All the more urgent is the Church’s call not to prevent little children coming to Christ through the gift of holy Baptism.”
      Therefore to contradict the present teaching of the Magisterium is in fact completely wrong, and heretical.

      • Nancy says:

        And what about Baptism by desire? Just because someone dies without baptism, isn’t it true that their soul can still be baptized if it was the desire of someone, such as parents, grandparents, other family members, etc.?

    • Martin brenden says:

      Guy your ‘answer’ is off. I hope that anyone who read your post dismisses it as the baloney it is. God greatest attribute is his mercy.

  • Antony says:

    Do non christians go to heaven without receiving baptism

  • Psa 139:13 For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.

  • Yvonne says:

    All the comments are great. As for my own experience we lost our first son when we were 19 years old. We baptized our lifeless 20 week old baby and are so grateful we did.

  • Ria says:

    We were taught before that babies, fetuses, infants who have not been baptized who die are sent to Limbo.

  • Margarett says:

    Limbo has never been a defined doctrine of the Church.

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