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Background: A while back I had a very devout friend of mine explain to me that the life (or as I understood, the History) of the Catholic Church sort of paralleled the life of Jesus. That, like Jesus, the Gospel and the Church were accepted by many, and many believed. But then in the end the world would turn against the Church, and condemn it- just as Jesus was condemned. After this persecution, the Church would return, living in the same Resurrection that Christ received (And I presume, with Christ Himself).

My friend said he read this in a book while he was in Europe, but he couldn't remember its name or author.

My Question is this: Is this an idea that any theologians have had? Does the Catholic Church have any teachings out its History and Life that sound like this? I've googled it a handful of times but don't ever seem to find anything.

Edit & Clarification: I'm not insinuating that the Catholic Church never experienced corruption - and obviously, Jesus never sinned. What I am asking for is whether the Catholic Church has any teaching on its view of History and Salvation that sounds like the concept stated above.

  • I am aware that even in the beginning of Jesus ministry some opposed Him- I think one of His early sermons was the episode where His hometown folk tried to throw Him off a cliff.. So this could still be consistent with things like the Roman persecution of the Church. – shiningcartoonist Jul 24 '15 at 14:37
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    If your friend had a more in-depth knowledge of the Catholic Church, he would be unlikely to believe that it paralleled the life of Jesus. – Dick Harfield Jul 24 '15 at 21:12
  • @TylerLangan I'm not a mod, but I'd bet you're headed for a suspension. Not like you care, I bet. – fredsbend Jul 26 '15 at 21:18
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    I think this question was really misunderstood. I was never under the illusion that the Catholic Church never experienced corruption- I mean, take a look at the Late Middle Ages and Renaissance! My point is that the Church gives us Jesus uncorrupted message here on Earth; and it is that message which was once accepted but then is rejected and condemned. I am asking for whether the Catholic Church has any teaching that sounds like this idea. – shiningcartoonist Jul 27 '15 at 11:49
  • Late middle ages – You mean like when Thomas Acquinas and Francis of Assisi preached? No? What about Catherine of Sienna? Or perhaps you refer to the Renaissance writer Thomas Moore? The hierarchy had its failings, but saying the "Church was corrupt" is a generalization of the worst kind. – cwallenpoole Jul 27 '15 at 20:13
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So, the short answer is that the Church suffers as a participation in the redemptive suffering of Christ. As the Church is Christ's body, that means that she must suffer as he suffered. So if he meant that the Church suffers as Christ the answer is "yes, and many agree".


This provides us with some useful information, including the JPII quote:

For, whoever suffers in union with Christ— just as the Apostle Paul bears his “tribulations” in union with Christ— not only receives from Christ that strength already referred to but also “completes” by his suffering “what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions”

That combined with the fact that the sufferings of an individual are the sufferings of the corpus (If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it), we see confirmation of the summary above.

As to how the Church's sufferings will manifest over time, Revelation points out that the sufferings are not complete. However, a striking difference is that there is no point where the Church on earth can or will die. If the gates of hell cannot prevail, then there will most certainly never be a time when the Church is not present on the Earth until this Earth is no more.

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The Catechism of the catholic church states 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

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    Right, now that you have cut and pasted a bunch of stuff from the CCC, please format it, and summarize it so that you can show how it answers the question. Welcome to Christianity.SE. Please take the tour and visit the help center to see how Christianity.SE is neither a chat room nor a discussion forum. Wall of Text style answers do not meet the standards of this format. – KorvinStarmast Apr 2 at 12:18

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