Catechism of the Catholic Church
Divination and magic
2115 God can reveal the future to his prophets or to other saints. Still, a sound Christian attitude consists in putting oneself confidently into the hands of Providence for whatever concerns the future, and giving up all unhealthy curiosity about it. Improvidence, however, can constitute a lack of responsibility.
2116 All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to "unveil" the future.48 Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone.
2117 All practices of magic or sorcery, by which one attempts to tame occult powers, so as to place them at one's service and have a supernatural power over others - even if this were for the sake of restoring their health - are gravely contrary to the virtue of religion. These practices are even more to be condemned when accompanied by the intention of harming someone, or when they have recourse to the intervention of demons. Wearing charms is also reprehensible. Spiritism often implies divination or magical practices; the Church for her part warns the faithful against it. Recourse to so-called traditional cures does not justify either the invocation of evil powers or the exploitation of another's credulity.
2138 Superstition is a departure from the worship that we give to the true God. It is manifested in idolatry, as well as in various forms of divination and magic.
47:13 Thou art wearied in the multitude of thy counsels. Let now the astrologers, the stargazers, the monthly prognosticators, stand up, and save thee from these things that shall come upon thee. 47:14 Behold, they shall be as stubble; the fire shall burn them; they shall not deliver themselves from the power of the flame: there shall not be a coal to warm at, nor fire to sit before it. 47:15 Thus shall they be unto thee with whom thou hast laboured, even thy merchants, from thy youth: they shall wander every one to his quarter; none shall save thee.
2:27 Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, The secret which the king hath demanded cannot the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, the soothsayers, shew unto the king; 2:28 But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed, are these; 2:29 As for thee, O king, thy thoughts came into thy mind upon thy bed, what should come to pass hereafter: and he that revealeth secrets maketh known to thee what shall come to pass. 2:30 But as for me, this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any living, but for their sakes that shall make known the interpretation to the king, and that thou mightest know the thoughts of thy heart.
ARTICLE 7 - "FROM THENCE HE WILL COME AGAlN TO JUDGE THE LIVING AND THE DEAD"
I. HE WILL COME AGAIN IN GLORY
Christ already reigns through the Church. . .
668 "Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living."548 Christ's Ascension into heaven signifies his participation, in his humanity, in God's power and authority. Jesus Christ is Lord: he possesses all power in heaven and on earth. He is "far above all rule and authority and power and dominion", for the Father "has put all things under his feet."549 Christ is Lord of the cosmos and of history. In him human history and indeed all creation are "set forth" and transcendently fulfilled.550
669 As Lord, Christ is also head of the Church, which is his Body.551 Taken up to heaven and glorified after he had thus fully accomplished his mission, Christ dwells on earth in his Church. The redemption is the source of the authority that Christ, by virtue of the Holy Spirit, exercises over the Church. "The kingdom of Christ (is) already present in mystery", "on earth, the seed and the beginning of the kingdom".552
670 Since the Ascension God's plan has entered into its fulfilment. We are already at "the last hour".553 "Already the final age of the world is with us, and the renewal of the world is irrevocably under way; it is even now anticipated in a certain real way, for the Church on earth is endowed already with a sanctity that is real but imperfect."554 Christ's kingdom already manifests its presence through the miraculous signs that attend its proclamation by the Church.555
. . . until all things are subjected to him
671 Though already present in his Church, Christ's reign is nevertheless yet to be fulfilled "with power and great glory" by the King's return to earth.556 This reign is still under attack by the evil powers, even though they have been defeated definitively by Christ's Passover.557 Until everything is subject to him, "until there be realized new heavens and a new earth in which justice dwells, the pilgrim Church, in her sacraments and institutions, which belong to this present age, carries the mark of this world which will pass, and she herself takes her place among the creatures which groan and travail yet and await the revelation of the sons of God."558 That is why Christians pray, above all in the Eucharist, to hasten Christ's return by saying to him:559 Maranatha! "Our Lord, come!"560
672 Before his Ascension Christ affirmed that the hour had not yet come for the glorious establishment of the messianic kingdom awaited by Israel561 which, according to the prophets, was to bring all men the definitive order of justice, love and peace.562 According to the Lord, the present time is the time of the Spirit and of witness, but also a time still marked by "distress" and the trial of evil which does not spare the Church563 and ushers in the struggles of the last days. It is a time of waiting and watching.564
The glorious advent of Christ, the hope of Israel
673 Since the Ascension Christ's coming in glory has been imminent,565 even though "it is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has fixed by his own authority."566. This eschatological coming could be accomplished at any moment, even if both it and the final trial that will precede it are "delayed".567
674 The glorious Messiah's coming is suspended at every moment of history until his recognition by "all Israel", for "a hardening has come upon part of Israel" in their "unbelief" toward Jesus.568 St. Peter says to the Jews of Jerusalem after Pentecost: "Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for establishing all that God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old."569 St. Paul echoes him: "For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead?"570 The "full inclusion" of the Jews in the Messiah's salvation, in the wake of "the full number of the Gentiles",571 will enable the People of God to achieve "the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ", in which "God may be all in all".572
The Church's ultimate trial
675 Before Christ's second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers.573 The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth574 will unveil the "mystery of iniquity" in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh.575
676 The Antichrist's deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgement. The Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism,576 especially the "intrinsically perverse" political form of a secular messianism.577
677 The Church will enter the glory of the kingdom only through this final Passover, when she will follow her Lord in his death and Resurrection.578 The kingdom will be fulfilled, then, not by a historic triumph of the Church through a progressive ascendancy, but only by God's victory over the final unleashing of evil, which will cause his Bride to come down from heaven.579 God's triumph over the revolt of evil will take the form of the Last Judgement after the final cosmic upheaval of this passing world.580
II. TO JUDGE THE LIVING AND THE DEAD
678 Following in the steps of the prophets and John the Baptist, Jesus announced the judgement of the Last Day in his preaching.581 Then will the conduct of each one and the secrets of hearts be brought to light.582 Then will the culpable unbelief that counted the offer of God's grace as nothing be condemned.583 Our attitude to our neighbour will disclose acceptance or refusal of grace and divine love.584 On the Last Day Jesus will say: "Truly I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me."585
679 Christ is Lord of eternal life. Full right to pass definitive judgement on the works and hearts of men belongs to him as redeemer of the world. He "acquired" this right by his cross. The Father has given "all judgement to the Son".586 Yet the Son did not come to judge, but to save and to give the life he has in himself.587 By rejecting grace in this life, one already judges oneself, receives according to one's works, and can even condemn oneself for all eternity by rejecting the Spirit of love.588
680 Christ the Lord already reigns through the Church, but all the things of this world are not yet subjected to him. The triumph of Christ's kingdom will not come about without one last assault by the powers of evil.
681 On Judgement Day at the end of the world, Christ will come in glory to achieve the definitive triumph of good over evil which, like the wheat and the tares, have grown up together in the course of history.
682 When he comes at the end of time to judge the living and the dead, the glorious Christ will reveal the secret disposition of hearts and will render to each man according to his works, and according to his acceptance or refusal of grace.
548 Rom 14:9. 549 Eph 1:20-22. 550 Eph 1:10; cf. 4:10; 1 Cor 15:24, 27-28. 551 Cf. Eph 1:22. 552 LG 3; 5; cf. Eph 4:11-13. 553 I Jn 2:18; cf. I Pt 4:7. 554 LG 48 # 3; cf. I Cor 10:11. 555 Cf. Mk 16:17-18, 20. 556 Lk 21:27; cf. Mt 25:31. 557 Cf. 2 Th 2:7. 558 LG 48 # 3; cf. 2 Pt 3:13; Rom 8:19-22; I Cor 15:28. 559 Cf. I Cor 11:26; 2 Pt 3:11-12. 560 1 Cor 16:22; Rev 22:17,20. 561 Cf. Acts 1:6-7. 562 Cf. Is 11:1-9. 563 Cf. Acts 1:8; I Cor 7:26; Eph 5:16; I Pt 4:17. 564 Cf. Mt 25:1, 13; Mk 13:33-37; I Jn 2:18; 4:3; I Tim 4:1. 565 Cf. Rev 22:20. 566 Acts 1:7; Cf. Mk 13:32. 567 Cf. Mt 24:44; I Th 5:2; 2 Th 2:3-12. 568 Rom I 1:20-26; cf. Mt 23:39. 569 Acts 3:19-21. 570 Rom 11:15. 571 Rom 11:12, 25; cf. Lk 21:24. 572 Eph 4:13; I Cor 15:28. 573 Cf. Lk 18:8; Mt 24:12. 574 Cf. Lk 21:12; Jn 15:19-20. 575 Cf. 2 Th 2:4-12; I Th 5:2-3; 2 Jn 7; I Jn 2:1 8, 22. 576 Cf. DS 3839. 577 Pius XI, Divini Redemptoris, condemning the "false mysticism" of this "counterfeit of the redemption of the lowly"; cf. GS 20-21. 578 Cf. Rev 19:1-9. 579 Cf Rev 13:8; 20:7-10; 21:2-4. 580 Cf. Rev 20:12 2 Pt 3:12-13. 581 Cf. Dan 7:10; Joel 3-4; Mal 3: 19; Mt 3:7-12. 582 Cf Mk 12:38-40; Lk 12:1-3; Jn 3:20-21; Rom 2:16; I Cor 4:5. 583 Cf. Mt 11:20-24; 12:41-42. 584 Cf. Mt 5:22; 7:1-5. 585 Mt 25:40. 586 Jn 5:22; cf. 5:27; Mt 25:31; Acts 10:42; 17:31; 2 Tim 4:1. 587 Cf. Jn 3:17; 5:26. 588 Cf. Jn 3:18; 12:48; Mt 12:32; I Cor 3:12-15; Heb 6:4-6; 10:26-31.
GENERAL AUDIENCE Wednesday 31 January 2001
We look to new heavens and new earth
1. The Second Letter of Peter uses the characteristic symbols of the apocalyptic language current in Jewish literature to describe the new creation as though it were a flower blossoming from the ashes of history and the world (cf. 3: 11-13). It is an image that seals the Book of Revelation, when John proclaims: "Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more" (Rv 21: 1). In his Letter to the Romans, the Apostle Paul describes creation as groaning under the burden of evil, but destined to "be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God" (Rom 8: 21).
Thus Sacred Scripture weaves a golden thread, as it were, through the weaknesses, miseries, violence and injustices of human history and leads to a messianic goal of liberation and peace. On these sound biblical foundations, the
Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that "the visible universe, then, is itself destined to be transformed, "so that the world itself, restored to its original state, facing no further obstacles, should be at the service of the just', sharing their glorification in the risen Jesus Christ" (CCC, n. 1047; cf. St Irenaeus, Adv. Haer., 5, 32, 1). Then at last, in a world made peaceful, "the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea"
(Is 11: 9).
2. This new human and cosmic creation was inaugurated with the Resurrection of Christ, the first fruits of that transfiguration to which we are all destined. Paul says so in his First Letter to the Corinthians: "Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father.... The last enemy to be destroyed is death ... that God may be everything to every one" (1 Cor 15: 23-24, 26, 28).
Certainly, this is a faith perspective which can sometimes be tempted by doubt in those who live in history under the weight of evil, contradictions and death. The Second Letter of Peter mentioned above had already considered this, reflecting the objections of those who are suspicious or sceptical or even "scoffers", and who ask themselves: "Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things have continued as they were from the beginning of creation" (2 Pt 3: 3-4).
3. This is the disheartened attitude of those who renounce every effort regarding history and its transformation. They are convinced that nothing can change, that every effort is bound to be useless, that God is absent and in no way interested in this minuscule point in the universe which is the earth. In the Greek world, some thinkers had taught this viewpoint, and perhaps the Second Letter of Peter is also reacting to this fatalistic view with its obvious practical implications. If, in fact, nothing can change, what is the sense of hoping? One can only sit on the sidelines of life, letting the repetitive movement of human events complete its perennial cycle. With this attitude many men and women have already fallen on the fringes of history, without confidence, indifferent to everything, unable to struggle or hope. But the Christian vision is clearly explained by Jesus when, "asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, he answered them: "The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, "Lo, here it is!' or "There!' for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you!" (Lk 17: 20-21).
4. The temptation of those who imagine apocalyptic scenes of the in-breaking of God's kingdom and who close their eyes, weighed down with the sleep of indifference, is opposed by Christ with the quiet coming of the new heavens and the new earth. This coming is similar to the hidden but vigorous growth of the seed sprouting from the ground (cf. Mk 4: 26-29).
God therefore entered the world and human history and proceeds silently, waiting patiently for humanity with its delays and conditioning. He respects its freedom, supports it when it is gripped by desperation, leads it step by step and invites it to collaborate on the project of truth, justice and peace of the kingdom. Divine action and human effort must therefore be intertwined. "There is no question, then, of the Christian message inhibiting men from building up the world or making them disinterested in the good of their fellows: on the contrary it is an incentive to do these very things" (Gaudium et spes, n. 34).
5. Thus a theme of great importance, which has always engaged the Church's work and reflection, opens before us. Without falling into the opposite extremes of holy isolation or secularism, Christians must also express their hope within the structures of secular life. If the kingdom is divine and eternal, it is still sown in time and space: it is "in the midst of us", as Jesus says.
The Second Vatican Council forcefully stressed this close and deep connection: "The mission of the Church, consequently, is not only to bring men the message and grace of Christ but also to permeate and improve the whole range of the temporal order with the evangelical spirit" (Apostolicam actuositatem, n. 5). The spiritual and temporal orders "are distinct; they are nevertheless so closely linked that God's plan is, in Christ, to take the whole world up again and make of it a new creation, in an initial way here on earth, in full realization at the end of time" (ibid.).
Heartened by this certainty, Christians walk courageously on the world's highways, seeking to follow in God's footsteps and to cooperate with him in giving birth to a horizon in which "steadfast love and faithfulness will meet; righteousness and peace will kiss each other" (Ps 85 : 11).INDEX