Pilgrimage –Walking to Heaven, St John on Bethnal Green.
Was an installation in the belfry of St Johns. Marked on Irish ordnance survey maps, along with all the Neolithic tombs and historic sites, are children’s’ burial grounds, cillín or cillínigh, as they are known.
Stillborn or un-baptised children were buried there, as burial within consecrated ground was forbidden by the church. This practice was happening as late as 1964 (J. Lyons). They are situated in remote areas such as a corner of a distant field or on the ledge of a cliff. They have almost disappeared but for a few unmarked stones that might indicate the spot if you are looking.
Theologians usually assume that there is a special place or state for children dying without baptism, which they call limbus puerorum (children’s Limbo). The Church claims Augustine and many of the Latin Fathers held that all un-baptized children must suffer after death because of the curse of original sin. Hence their exclusion from consecrated ground and the community.
On April 22, 2007, Pope Benedict XVI ordered the advisory body known as the International Theological Commission to release a document, stating that Limbo could rest in peace, effectively abolishing “Limbo”.
(video and images below)