Catholic Apologetics - The Apostles' Creed Catholic Apologetics 

The Work of God -  Catholic Apologetics    |    Contents


"He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief" (Is. 53, 3).

The great mission of Our Lord Jesus Christ was to redeem the world, to reconcile humanity to an offended God and restore us to His friendship. To achieve this, Our Lord had to satisfy the Divine Justice for our sins - He chose to suffer and die in our place.

As the Son of God every act of Our Lord was an act of a Divine Person. Therefore, every single act of suffering on Christ’s part, every drop of His Precious Blood spilt, was of infinite value and therefore sufficiently meritorious to redeem humanity. Yet, for love of us, Christ of His own free will chose to place no human limit on His suffering, pouring out His Blood to the very last drop. In the Book of Isaiah we find the mysterious oracles prophesying the suffering and death of the Messiah:

"Who has believed what we have heard? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form of comeliness that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed…He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth…" (Is. 53, 1 - 7).

From the Gospels we can list specifically the cruel sufferings endured by Christ that ended in His terrible and ignominious death:

(i) The agony in the Garden of Gethsemani when His sweat became as drops of blood as He submitted to the will of His Father;

(ii) His betrayal by Judas, and His abandonment by the other disciples who were His closest confidants during the last three years;

(iii) The denials of St. Peter, the head of the other Apostles and the one who had previously sworn publicly to defend Our Lord;

(iv) The false accusations before the High Priests, Herod and Pilate, as well as the mockery, scorn and derision poured upon Our Lord in the process;

(v) His condemnation to death on the basis of false evidence, as well as the cowardice and injustice of Pilate;

(vi) His rejection in favor of the murderer Barabbas by a mob bribed by Christ’s enemies, which drowned out the supporters of Christ;

(vii) His scourging at the pillar by two executioners each using a "cat-of-nine-tails" lined with hooks and carrying metals balls at the end of each lash;

(viii) The crown of thorns pressed over the whole of His head, and the derision He suffered as a mock king;

(ix) The heavy Cross placed upon and opening up a wound in His shoulder, and the painful journey to Calvary;

(x) His clothes being torn off Him brutally, re-opening the dried wounds caused by the scourging;

(xi) The nailing of His hands and feet to the Cross with nails believed to be more than six inches in length;

(xii) His bleeding and dying on the Cross for three hours, between two thieves, while enduring further mockery and derision;

(xiii) The mysterious sensation of being abandoned even by His Heavenly Father;

(xiv) The bitter taste of the sponge dipped in vinegar;

(xv) His death on the Cross;

(xvi) The piercing of His right side with a lance which penetrated into His heart, causing blood and water to gush forth.

This sacrifice of His life Christ offered on the altar of the Cross as Priest and Victim to His Father for the salvation of the world: "he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world" (1 John 2, 2); "For you were bought with a price" (1 Cor. 6, 20).

By His death on the Cross, Christ merited for us the adoption of sons and the right to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. However, not all will receive such an inheritance: "and having been made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him" (Heb. 5, 9). We are required to believe with sincerity, observe the Commandments, pray regularly and frequent the sacraments, practice good works, and repent of our actual sins.

The sufferings of Christ are the most striking proof of His great love for us. It is for this reason that the Church in all Her prayers and ceremonies makes such frequent use of the Sign of the Cross. Tertullian, at the end of the second century, testifies that it was the common practice of Christians to imprint the Sign of the Cross on their foreheads in all their everyday actions. It has always been the sign that distinguishes Christ’s followers, a sign of contradiction to the Devil and all his followers, a sign that speaks of victory over the enemies of our salvation: "In Hoc Signo Vinces" (In this sign you will conquer).

The Fathers:

St. Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to the Smyrnaeans 1, 1 (C. 110 AD):

"…you are confirmed in love by the Blood of Christ, firmly believing in regard to our Lord that He is truly of the family of David according to the flesh, and God's Son by the will and power of God, truly born of a Virgin, baptized by John so that all justice might be fulfilled by Him, in the time of Pontius Pilate and Herod the Tetrarch truly nailed in the flesh on our behalf…"

Letter of Barnabas 7, 2 (C. 117-132 AD):

"If, then, the Son of God, being the Lord and destined to judge the living and the dead, suffered so that His being wounded might make us live, let us believe that the Son of God could not suffer, except for our sake."

Origen, Homilies on Numbers Hom. 24, 1 (Post 244 AD):

"If there had been no sin, there would have been no necessity for the Son of God to become a lamb; nor would it have been necessary for Him to take flesh and be slain. He would have remained that which He was from the beginning, the Word of all these sacrificial victims there was one lamb who was able to take away sin from the whole world. Therefore have other victims ceased to be, because this victim was such that, although one alone, he sufficed for the salvation of the whole world."

St. Hilary of Poitiers, Commentaries on the Psalms [Ps. 54 (53)] (C. 365 AD):

"We have declared repeatedly and without cease that it was the only-begotten Son of God who was crucified, and that He was condemned to death: He that is eternal by reason of the nature which is His by His birth from the eternal Father; and it must be understood that He underwent the passion not from any natural necessity, but for the sake of the mystery of man’s salvation; and that His submitting to the passion was not from His being compelled thereto, but of His own will...God suffered, therefore, because He voluntarily submitted Himself to the passion."

St. Gregory of Elvira, Homilies on the Books of Sacred Scripture 2 (C. 365-385 AD):

"The tree of the cross, clearly represents an image which to some seems as hard and rough as wood, because on it the Lord was hung so that our sins, which came to us from the tree of transgression, might be punished by being affixed - again, it is through the same Man - to the tree of the cross...To others it stands for shade and refreshment, because believers are protected from the heat and rigor of persecution, and there refreshed."

Catechism of the Council of Trent (1566):

Should anyone inquire why the Son of God underwent His most bitter Passion, he will find that besides the guilt inherited from our first parents the principal causes were the vices and crimes which have been perpetrated from the beginning of the world to the present day and those which will be committed to the end of time. In His Passion and death the Son of God, our Savior, intended to atone for and blot out the sins of all ages, to offer for them to His Father a full and abundant satisfaction.

Catechism of the Catholic Church (1992):

No. 599: Jesus’ violent death was not the result of chance in an unfortunate coincidence of circumstances, but is part of the mystery of God’s plan, as St. Peter explains to the Jews of Jerusalem in his first sermon on Pentecost: "This Jesus (was) delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God." This Biblical language does not mean that those who handed him over were mere passive players in a scenario written in advance by God.

No. 613: Christ’s death is both the Paschal sacrifice that accomplishes the definitive redemption of men, through "the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world," and the sacrifice of the New Covenant, which restores man to communion with God by reconciling him to God through the "blood of the covenant, which was poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins."

No. 617: The Council of Trent emphasizes the unique character of Christ’s sacrifice as "the source of eternal salvation" and teaches that "his most holy Passion on the wood of the cross merited justification for us." And the Church venerates his cross as it sings: "Hail, O Cross, our only hope."



"The Son of man is to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day" (St. Matt. 17, 22-23).

At the moment of Our Lord’s death His soul descended into that part of hell called otherwise known as the Limbo of the Patriarchs or Abraham's Bosom - the place where the souls of the Just who died before Christ were detained: "For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so for three days and three nights the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth" (St. Matt. 12, 40). Christ announced the glad tidings of Redemption to them, and their approaching admission into heaven with Him on Ascension Day: "he went and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison" (1 Pet. 3, 19). Our Lord’s very presence transformed Limbo into a delightful paradise, as we gather from His words to the Good Thief: "Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise" (St. Luke 23, 43).

It is also an expressed opinion that Christ visited purgatory, to console and comfort the souls suffering there: "I will penetrate to all the lower parts of the earth, and will behold all that sleep, and will enlighten all that hope in the Lord" (Sir. 24, 45).

For three days Christ’s soul was separated from His body, yet His divinity was never for a moment separated from either. On the third day, Christ, by His own divine power, reunited His soul to His body and rose again immortal and impassable: "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up" (St. John 2, 19); "I lay down my life in order to take it up again" (St. John 10, 17).

After His Resurrection, Christ retained in His body the marks of His sufferings: "Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe" (St. John 20, 27). These marks will ever remain to show that He rose again in the same body, and as tokens of His victory over sin and death.

Moreover, having risen with the same but glorified body Christ is no longer subject to death, as were those He miraculously raised to life. Further, He is the principle and cause of the future General Resurrection of all the dead: "for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ" (1 Cor. 15, 22).

On the fact of the Resurrection rests our belief in Christianity: "and if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation has been in vain and your faith has been in vain..." (1 Cor. 15, 14). There are ten accounts given in Sacred Scripture of Christ's appearances after His Resurrection:

(i) To St. Mary Magdalen near the Sepulcher while she was looking for Christ's body (St. John 20, 16);

(ii) To the holy women returning from the Sepulcher after being shown the empty tomb by the angel (St. Matt. 28, 9);

(iii) To Simon Peter alone as Head of the Apostles (St. Luke 24, 34);

(iv) To the two disciples on the road to Emmaus to whom Christ expounded all the Scriptures concerning himself from Moses and the Prophets (St. Luke 24, 25);

(v) To the Apostles assembled behind locked doors, excepting St. Thomas, on the first Easter Sunday (St. John 20, 21);

(vi) A week later to all of the Apostles behind the same locked doors, including St. Thomas (St. John 20, 28);

(vii) To St. Peter and six other Apostles while fishing fruitlessly upon the Sea of Galilee (St. John 21, 7);

(viii) To the eleven Apostles in Galilee upon a mountain where Jesus had bidden them meet him (St. Matt. 28, 16);

(ix) To St. James the Less as recounted by St. Paul (1 Cor. 15, 7);

(x) On the day of His Ascension from Mount Olivet in front of as many as five hundred people (Acts 1, 9).

The Apostles were to go on and preach Christ’s Resurrection before the very Jewish leaders who put Him to death. They preached this truth to an incredulous world, filled with the unction of the Holy Spirit, braving persecution, imprisonment and death: "And we bring you the good news that what God promised to our ancestors he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising Jesus" (Acts 13, 32-33).

The Fathers:

St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies 5, 31, 2 (C. 180 AD):

"For since the Lord went away into the midst of the shadow of death where the souls of the dead were, and afterwards arose in the body, and after the resurrection was taken up, it is clear that the souls also of His disciples, on account of which the Lord underwent these things, will go away into the place allotted them by God."

St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures 4, 11 (C. 350 AD):

"(Christ) descended into the subterranean regions so that He might ransom from there the just...David was there, and Samuel, and all the Prophets; and John, the same who, through his messengers, said: ‘Are You the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?’ Would you not want Him to go down to free such men as these?"

St. Gregory of Nyssa, The Great Catechism 1 (Post 383 AD):

"God (the Son) did not impede death from separating His soul from His body according to the necessary order of nature, but has reunited them to one another in the resurrection, so that He Himself might be, in His person, the meeting point for death and life, by arresting in Himself the decomposition of nature produced by death and so becoming the source of reunion for the separated parts."

St. Augustine of Hippo (+430 AD), Commentary on Psalm 120 4:

"It is no great thing to believe that Christ died. This the pagans, Jews, and all the wicked believe; in a word, all believe that Christ died. But that He rose from the dead is the belief of Christians. To believe that He rose again, this we deem of great moment."

Catechism of the Council of Trent (1566):

Finally, the Resurrection of our Lord, as the pastor should inculcate, was necessary to complete the mystery of our salvation and redemption. By His death Christ liberated us from sin; by His Resurrection, He restored to us the most important of those privileges which we had forfeited by sin. Hence these words of the Apostle: He was delivered up for our sins, and rose again for our justification. That nothing, therefore, may be wanting to the work of our salvation, it was necessary that as He died, He should also rise again.

Catechism of the Catholic Church (1992):

No. 632: The frequent New Testament affirmations that Jesus was "raised from the dead" presuppose that the crucified one sojourned in the realm of the dead prior to his resurrection. This was the first meaning given in the apostolic preaching to Christ’s descent into hell: that Jesus, like all men, experienced death and in his soul joined the others in the realm of the dead. But he descended there as Savior, proclaiming the Good News to the spirits imprisoned there.

No. 639: The mystery of Christ’s resurrection is a real event, with manifestations that were historically verified, as the New Testament bears witness. In about AD 56, St. Paul could already write to the Corinthians: "I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve..." The Apostle speaks here of the living tradition of the Resurrection which he had learned after his conversion at the gates of Damascus.

No. 655: Finally, Christ’s Resurrection - and the risen Christ himself - is the principle and source of our future resurrection: "Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep...For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive..."



"So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God"(St. Mark 16, 19).

After His Resurrection, Christ returned to His Apostles and "presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God" (Acts 1, 3). During these forty days, Christ laid the foundations for the Church He was to leave behind by bestowing on His Apostles all that was necessary for them to continue His work of salvation in the world:

(i) "...he opened their minds to understand the scriptures" (St. Luke 24, 45), that is, He illuminated the Apostles as to how He fulfilled the over three hundred prophesies in the Old Testament which foretold His coming;

(ii) He gave them the power to forgive sins: "If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained" (St. John 20, 23). This power was in addition to the power of binding and loosing already given to St. Peter specifically in St. Matthew 16 and to the other Apostles collectively in St. Matthew 18;

(iii) He confirmed St. Peter as the visible Head of His Church on earth: "Feed my lambs...tend my sheep" (St. John 21, 15-16). Here, the promise made by Our Lord in St. Matthew 16, 18ff to make St. Peter the rock-foundation of the Church was fulfilled;

(iv) He commissioned the Apostles to carry His Gospel to the very ends of the earth and bring all peoples into the one flock under one shepherd: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age" (St. Matt. 28, 19-20).

On the fortieth day after His Resurrection, Christ led His Apostles to Bethany and the Mountain of Olives. After imparting the above blessing, He raised Himself up, and as He ascended He took with Him all the Souls of the Just who had been waiting in the Bosom of Abraham: "And when he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight" (Acts 1, 9).

Many have surmised whether it would have been more opportune if Christ had remained visibly on earth after His resurrection to continue the work of salvation Himself. However, it was necessary for Our Lord to ascend into heaven for the following reasons:

(i) To take possession of that glory due to Him as man: "he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name" (Phil. 2, 8-9);

(ii) To be our Mediator with God the Father: "Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us" (Rom. 8, 34); "if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous" (1 John 2, 1);

(iii) To prepare a place for us: "In my Father's house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also" (St. John 14, 2-3);

(iv) To send the Holy Spirit: "it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you" (St. John 16, 7).

When Sacred Scripture speaks of Christ sitting "at the right hand of God" the words are used in a figurative sense, meaning that Christ, as God, is equal in all things to the Father and, as man, holds an exalted position above all the Angels and Saints: "he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come" (Eph. 1, 20-21).

The Fathers:

St. Irenaeus of Lyons, Against Heresies 5, 31, 2 (C. 180 AD):

"For since the Lord went away into the midst of the shadow of death where the souls of the dead were, and afterwards arose in the body, and after the resurrection was taken up, it is clear that the souls also of His disciples, on account of which the Lord underwent these things, will go away into the place allotted them by God."

Tertullian, The Demurrer Against the Heretics 13, 1 (C. 200 AD):

"Thenceforth He preached a new law and a new promise of the Kingdom of heaven; worked miracles; was crucified, rose again on the third day; and having ascended into heaven, sat at the right of the Father; and sent the Holy Spirit with vicarious power to lead those who believe."

St. Leo I, Sermons 73, 4 (Ante 461 AD):

"There was great and indescribable cause for rejoicing when, in the sight of the holy multitude, above the dignity of all heavenly creatures, the nature of the human race went up, to surpass the ranks of Angels and to rise beyond the heights of the Archangels, to have its being uplifted limited by no sublimity until, received to sit with the eternal Father, it was associated on the throne of His glory, to whose nature it was joined in the Son."

St. John Damascene, The Source of Knowledge 4, 2 (743 AD):

"By ‘the Father’s right hand’ we understand the glory and honor of divinity, where he who exists as Son of God before all ages, indeed as God, of one being with the Father, is seated bodily after he became incarnate and his flesh was glorified."

Catechism of the Council of Trent (1566):

He also ascended into heaven in order to teach us to follow Him thither in mind and heart. For as by His death and Resurrection He bequeathed to us an example of dying and rising again in spirit, so by His Ascension He teaches and instructs us that though dwelling on earth, we should raise ourselves in desire to heaven, confessing that we are pilgrims and strangers on the earth, seeking a country and that we are fellow-citizens with the saints, and the domestics of God, for, says the same Apostle, our conversation is in heaven.

Catechism of the Catholic Church (1992):

No. 659: "So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God." Christ’s body was glorified at the moment of his Resurrection, as proved by the new and supernatural properties it subsequently and permanently enjoys. But during the forty days when he eats and drinks familiarly with his disciples and teaches them about the kingdom, his glory remains veiled under the appearance of ordinary humanity. Jesus’ final apparition ends with the irreversible entry of his humanity into divine glory, symbolized by the cloud and by heaven, where he is seated from that time forward at God’s right hand. Only in a wholly exceptional and unique way would Jesus show himself to Paul "as to one untimely born," in a last apparition that established him as an apostle.

No. 664: Being seated at the Father’s right hand signifies the inauguration of the Messiah’s kingdom, the fulfillment of the prophet Daniel’s vision concerning the Son of man: "To him was given dominion and glory and kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed." After this event the apostles became witnesses of the "kingdom (that) will have no end."



"This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven" (Acts 1, 11).

At the last day Jesus Christ shall come again with great power and glory to judge all mankind: "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate them one from another...And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life" (St. Matt. 25, 31- 46).

As to when the Day of Judgment will be we do not know. Many have attempted to specify a date, even the precise hour. Such people pour over the Scriptures looking for clues or hidden codes, especially the Book of Daniel and St. John's Revelation. However, Sacred Scripture itself makes it clear that "about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father" (St. Matt. 24, 36). Nevertheless, there will be many signs preceding this momentous event:

(i) Wars and chastisements plaguing the nations to a degree unheralded in recorded history: "For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places" (St. Matt. 24, 7);

(ii) The Church, formally the mustard seed, has by this time spread out its limbs throughout the world enabling all the birds the opportunity to nest in its branches (St. Matt. 13, 31): "And this good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the world, as a testimony to all the nations; and then the end will come" (St. Matt. 24, 14);

(iii) Heresy, schism and apostasy will be rampant in a world which has heard the Gospel but prefers the seductions of other sirens: "For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and produce great signs and omens, to lead astray, if possible, even the elect" (St. Matt. 24, 24);

(iv) As a punishment for its apostasy, the world will be allowed to be seduced by the greatest of all deceivers, the Antichrist: "Let no one deceive you in any way; for that day will not come unless the rebellion comes first and the lawless one is revealed, the one destined for destruction" (2 Thes. 2, 3);

(v) Confusion, fear and a sense of doom will grip the nations: "And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and upon the earth distress of nations in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, men fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory" (St. Luke 21, 25-27).

When the Day of Judgment comes the Lord "will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart" (1 Cor. 4, 5); "I tell you, on the day of judgment you will have to give an account for every careless word you utter" (St. Matt. 12, 36); "and all were judged according to what they had done" (Rev. 20, 13). St. Paul exhorts all Christians to be on guard, leading just lives for the coming of this great day: "establish your hearts unblamable in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints" (1 Thes. 3, 13).

The dealings of God with each individual shall also be made manifest and be acknowledged by all men; all souls in heaven, purgatory and hell will be united with their glorious or darkened bodies; the complete reward or punishment of each individual will be revealed to all others: "The heavens declare his righteousness, for God himself is judge" (Ps. 50 [49], 6).

All those who have lived and died on earth from the creation of Adam to the Day of Judgment shall attend the Judgment. Christ shall sit as Judge in the Valley of Jehoshaphat: "I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat, and I will enter into judgment with them there" (Joel 3, 2); "And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other" (St. Matt. 24, 31). He, who on earth was despised, calumnied, rejected and given a criminal’s execution on a cross, shall be glorified before humanity as the Lord of all.

The Fathers:

The So-Called Second Letter of Clement of Rome to the Corinthians 1, 1 (C. 150 AD):

"Brethren, we think of Jesus Christ as God and as the Judge of the living and the dead."

St. Justin Martyr, First Apology 53 (Inter 148-155 AD):

"Why should we believe a crucified man, that He is the Firstborn of the unbegotten God, and that He will pass judgment on the whole human race, if we had not found testimonies published about Him before He came and was made Man, and if we had not seen these predictions fulfilled?"

St. Hippolytus of Rome, Against the Greeks 3 (Ante 225 AD):

"Standing before (Christ’s) judgment, all of them, men, angels, and demons, crying out in one voice, shall say: ‘Just is your judgment!’ And the justice of that cry will be apparent in the recompense made to each. To those who have done well, everlasting enjoyment shall be given; while to the lovers of evil shall be given eternal punishment."

St. Cyprian of Carthage, The Lapsed 17 (251 AD):

"The Lord alone is able to have mercy. He alone, who bore our sins, who grieved for us, and whom God delivered up for our sins, is able to grant pardon for the sins which have been committed against Him...Certainly we believe that the merits of the martyrs and the works of the just will be of great avail with the Judge - but that will be when the day of judgment comes, when, after the end of this age and of the world, His people shall stand before the tribunal of Christ."

St. Cyril of Alexandria, Against the Anthropomorphites 16 (Post 441 AD):

"The Divine Scripture says that the judgment is to take place after the resurrection of the dead. But the resurrection is not to take place until Christ returns to us from heaven in the glory of the Father with the holy angels...Since, therefore, Christ the Savior of all has not yet come down from heaven, neither has the resurrection taken place, nor has compensatory action been visited upon that those who possess the wealth of this world might know that if they do not wish to be liberal and generous and social, and choose to come to assist the needs of the poor, they will be overtaken by a terrible and inevitable punishment."

Catechism of the Council of Trent (1566):

Besides, it was right that the just should be encouraged by the hope, the wicked appalled by the terror, of a future judgment; so that knowing the justice of God the former should not be disheartened, while the latter through fear and expectation of eternal punishment might be recalled from the paths of vice. Hence, speaking of the last day, our Lord and Savior declares that a general judgment will one day take place, and He describes the signs of its approach, that seeing them, we may know that the end of the world is at hand. At His Ascension also, to console His Apostles, overwhelmed with grief at His departure, He sent angels, who said to them: This Jesus who is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come, as you have seen him going into heaven.

Catechism of the Catholic Church (1992):

No. 673: Since the Ascension Christ’s coming in glory has been imminent, even though "it is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has fixed by his own authority." This eschatological coming could be accomplished at any moment, even if both it and the final trial that will precede it are "delayed."

No. 675: Before Christ's second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth 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.

No. 678: Following in the steps of the prophets and John the Baptist, Jesus announced the judgment of the Last day in his preaching. Then will the conduct of each one and the secrets of hearts be brought to light. Then will the culpable unbelief that counted the offer of God’s grace as nothing be condemned. Our attitude about our neighbor will disclose acceptance or refusal of grace and divine love. 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."

Contents     |    Next

Catholic Apologetics - The Work of God

 The Work of God - index

Catholic Apologetics - The Apostles' Creed