How is the resurrection of the body supposed to work in Catholicism? For example, if I die at 90, will I resurrect with the body of an old man? What about babies—will they simply resurrect as very young people or will they have a chance to grow into adults?

If there is a definite answer, how was it determined?

2 Answers 2


St. Augustine said in City of God that we'd all be about 33 (same age as Christ) at that time it was thought that unbaptized babies might go to limbo.

Then, again, these words, “Predestinate to be conformed to the image of the Son of God,” may be understood of the inner man. So in another place He says to us, “Be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed in the renewing of your mind.” In so far, then, as we are transformed so as not to be conformed to the world, we are conformed to the Son of God. It may also be understood thus, that as He was conformed to us by assuming mortality, we shall be conformed to Him by immortality; and this indeed is connected with the resurrection of the body. But if we are also taught in these words what form our bodies shall rise in, as the measure we spoke of before, so also this conformity is to be understood not of size, but of age. Accordingly all shall rise in the stature they either had attained or would have attained had they lived to their prime, although it will be no great disadvantage even if the form of the body be infantine or aged, while no infirmity shall remain in the mind nor in the body itself. So that even if any one contends that every person will rise again in the same bodily form in which he died, we need not spend much labor in disputing with him.

The answer is though, we don't know for sure since no public revelation details heaven.

  • 1
    Great point on "no public revelation details heaven".
    – Caleb
    Commented Sep 1, 2011 at 18:14
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    Can you give us a paragraph or two of your own words here?
    – wax eagle
    Commented Sep 4, 2011 at 1:18
  • I deeply admire Augustine, but this is not very definite - and he himself is more agnostic than your first line hints. Anyway, this is more a curiosity than an useful answer to the original question.
    – leonbloy
    Commented Sep 4, 2011 at 2:34
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    @wax eagle, in my opinion that's not necessary here. as leonbloy says, it's not a very convincing answer (just evidence of a tradition) - it's just evidence. The last sentence is the answer which bears nearly no relation to the evidence.
    – Peter Turner
    Commented Sep 6, 2011 at 13:21

The term "flesh" refers to man in his state of weakness and mortality. The "resurrection of the flesh" (the literal formulation of the Apostles' Creed) means not only that the immortal soul will live on after death, but that even our "mortal body" will come to life again. [...]

How [do the dead rise]? Christ is raised with his own body: "See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself"; but he did not return to an earthly life. So, in him, "all of them will rise again with their own bodies which they now bear," but Christ "will change our lowly body to be like his glorious body," into a "spiritual body"

But someone will ask, "How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?" You foolish man! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. And what you sow is not the body which is to be, but a bare kernel. . . . What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable... The dead will be raised imperishable...For this perishable nature must put on the imperishable, and this mortal nature must put on immortality.

This "how" exceeds our imagination and understanding; it is accessible only to faith.

From the Cathecism of the Catholic Church.

This audience from late pope John Paul II can also be of interest.

  • 1
    Hi Leon, This answer is a great start. However, we really need some of your own words here. Quotes are a great start to a good answer, however a good answer here will include some of your commentary interpreting how the quote relates to the question.
    – wax eagle
    Commented Sep 4, 2011 at 1:17
  • @wax: I understand your concern. I also dislike copy-paste answers. But in this case, the precise question is precisely anwered (IMO) by my emphasis. I don't think I could add anymore (perhaps trim it).
    – leonbloy
    Commented Sep 4, 2011 at 2:31

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