Sign up ×
Christianity Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for committed Christians, experts in Christianity and those interested in learning more. It's 100% free, no registration required.

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?

share|improve this question
Heh, my mom gave me The Rapture Trap after I read almost all the Left Behind series, I never read it. We've got a better-than-rapture rapture planned, and yes, the Blessed Virgin Mary will be there! –  Peter Turner Nov 30 '11 at 18:59

1 Answer 1

up vote 6 down vote accepted

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.

share|improve this answer
I don't see how the doctrines of the Rapture and the Final Judgement are incompatible. Could you expound upon that point? –  user23 Nov 30 '11 at 19:22
+1 for "everybody out of the pool" –  warren Nov 30 '11 at 19:47
Why would the judgement have to be the final judgement? Why can't it be similar to the particular judgement? –  user23 Dec 1 '11 at 5:12
@JustinY because Particular Judgement happens at the time of death and death doesn't jibe with 'not a hair on your head being touched' or the Rapture. I see what you're saying though, and I can't prove one way or another. It's just what I think the Church is saying about the matter. –  Peter Turner Dec 1 '11 at 14:13
"...we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord..." 1 Thess 4:15 (Amplified) - obviously Paul is talking about the end of times, and by "we" he means those in Christ. I doubt he meant that he would still be alive at "the coming of the Lord" –  Nick Rolando Jan 5 '12 at 17:35

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.