Limbo is not part of standard Christian doctrine, and in particular should not be confused with Purgatory. Purgatory is a place where souls undergo a finite period of purification before entering Heaven, under the certainty that they will eventually be saved. Limbo, by contrast, is a place where souls go for all eternity.
While Limbo is often associated with Roman Catholicism, it was never an official teaching. In 2007, Pope Benedict XVI officially stated that the belief was "an unduly restrictive view of salvation," taking a noncommittal stance on Limbo's existence.
Limbo does appear in Dante's Divine Comedy, where it is home to two main groups: virtuous people who were not Christian, and babies who died before they could be baptised. Technically it is the first circle of Hell, although no punishment is carried out: those there suffer only a lack of hope, as they must spend all eternity knowing that they can never progress to Heaven.
- ↑ Catholic News Service, April 20, 2007, http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0702216.htm