What is the Catholic view of the rapture? Does the Catholic church accept the idea that people will be caught up in the air to meet Christ? If not, how do they interpret 1 Thessalonians 4:17?
Catholicism is incompatible with the Rapture because the Church has taught for many centuries before people started envisioning folks disappearing mid-sentence that there would be a Final Judgement where everyone would see their sins and their effects.
I don't think 1 Thessalonians 4:17 speaks to the Final Judgement on account of the fact that St. Paul says "We who are still alive". If he's dead as his bones attest to then he ought to have said, "those who are still alive".
Now, Catholics don't have any problem with folks being carried off into heaven body and soul, so long as they're free from original sin (Mary and Jesus) or been given a special grace (Enoch and Elijah). The rapture, as it is envisioned in recent popular literature, would be prior to final judgement even if it came at the same hour and doesn't make a lot of sense in the light of Catholic teaching even though it fits the puzzle pieces left in the New Testament pretty well.
If there was a rapture, and the good were taken up, they would have been judged as good and the rest would be... waiting to see if they're good or not? Well a 7 year span of tribulation doesn't jibe with the Final Judgement as a Last Thing. The final judgement is Sheeps on this side, Goats on that side and everybody out of the pool. The dead will have a particular judgement, but at the end of time, as far as I understand the teaching. The final judgement is for the living and the dead.
I saw this little bit on the web: