Not sure exactly why I thought of this while taking a shower this morning, but I was wondering if the Catholic Church has ever weighed in on whether the bodies of men will be resurrected circumcised or not.

I've read that a glorified body would be free from any imperfection, impairment. That if one had a received a scar in this life, it would be gone in the next. If you lost an arm in this life, that it would be present in the next. So if you lose some foreskin in this life, will it be present in the next?

I've also read St. Augustine used as his rationale for many of his ideas about the Resurrection the notion our bodies would conform to Christ (He had some caveats as to whether we would all be men or all have beards).

So, for the sake of deeper theological understanding, has the Catholic Church weighed in on this subject?

  • If there's a rock and mohel heaven, you know they've got a real steady hand parody of rock 'n roll heaven by the Righteous Brothers. Are you asking for comparisons about Paul's meditations on "circumcision/uncircumcision" and the decisions in Acts regarding which of the Mosaic laws were not obligatory for the Gentiles? Also, per your title, "circumcised in" seems to have a leftover word. Commented Jan 26, 2017 at 15:49
  • @korvin, I was going to say "In Heaven" but I opted at the last minute for the more general case. But I'm not talking the necessity of circumcision on this world, I'm asking if a glorified body is circumcised.
    – Peter Turner
    Commented Jan 26, 2017 at 16:19
  • How can this question be related to resurrection as CCC997 teaches that all bodies will decompose. How can God resurrect a body that already turn to dust? Resurrection of the body are only entitled to all the incorruptible bodies of the saints who used their bodies to glorified God but for us who failed, definitely God cannot resurrect our bodies but we will be given instead of a "spiritual body" CCC999. Commented Apr 28, 2019 at 14:47
  • How can God resurrect a body that already turn to dust? Looks like a separate question. But if you ask it, likely to get closed as opinion based, since it's hard to argue that God can't resurrect a body based on Catholic belief. And this question does refer to Catholic belief. Commented Apr 29, 2019 at 17:56
  • @KorvinStarmast God indeed can do anything, but Jesus promised only the resurrection to those who will follow Him,meaning we need to merit it.The Catholic Church teaches resurrection of the bodies because the Church teaches us to follow Jesus but unfortunately most of us failed to imitate the life of Jesus. So, St.Paul teaches some will fall asleep meaning incorrupt while all of us will be changed meaning transfigured. Only Jesus,Mary & the saints merited their bodies to be glorified. while us,God will give us a "spiritual body" not "glorified body" bcoz a mere dust does not merit the glory. Commented Apr 29, 2019 at 21:25

3 Answers 3


We won't know until the afterlife; the answer looks to be "no1"

The Fourth Lateran Council rules lean toward "no", as explained by Father Paul A Deffner, O.P.


Not only will our body be brought back to be reunited with the soul, but it will be the same body to which the soul was united before death. As St. Paul declared (I Cor. 15:33):

  • This corruptible body must put on incorruption, and this mortal body must put on immortality.

Speaking on this point, the Fourth Lateran Council (1215) declared:

  • All men appear before the judgment seat of Christ with their own bodies, to give an account of their deeds."

During this life, whatever one has done (good or bad), the whole man (body and soul) has shared. It is right, therefore, that both body and soul should share in the reward or punishment in the life to come.

... When we say that the risen body will be the same body we had in this life, we mean this in the same sense as the body I have now is the same body I had 20 years ago.

St Thomas Aquinas' on the glorified body

St Thomas Aquinas Summa presents that Christ's glorified body was his own body, glorified. (Thus, if we are to be "like Him" our own body (glorified) is what we'll have at that point.)

  • Christ's body fell by death; namely, inasmuch as the soul which was its formal perfection was separated from it. Hence, in order for it to be a true resurrection, it was necessary for the same body of Christ to be once more united with the same soul. And since the truth of the body's nature is from its form it follows that Christ's body after His Resurrection was a true body, and of the same nature as it was before. (Summa Theologiae III, 54, 1)
  • But Christ's body after the Resurrection was truly made up of elements, and had tangible qualities such as the nature of a human body requires, and therefore it could naturally be handled. (Summa Theologiae III, 54, 2 ad 2)

St. Thomas Aquinas at Summa Contra Gentiles, IV, 86 summarized, referring to the glorified body.

Thus also will his body be raised to the characteristics of heavenly bodies — it will be lightsome (clarity), incapable of suffering (impassible), without difficulty and labor in movement (agility), and most perfectly perfected by its form (subtlety). For this reason, the Apostle speaks of the bodies of the risen as heavenly, referring not to their nature, but to their glory.”

And scriptural references ...

Matthew 13:43: “The just shall shine as the sun in the kingdom of their Father,”
Wisdom 3:7: “The just shall shine, and shall run to and fro like sparks among the reeds.” (Here clarity refers not being “clear” but to being “bright.”)

The four qualities of the glorified body are taught as Impassability, Subtlety, Agility, Clarity. "Trimmed" and "not trimmed" didn't make the cut for that list.

About Subtlety

How does "most perfectly perfected by its form" address circumcision, if at all? Will scars be healed? Maybe, or maybe not. Depends on if a scar is a "trophy of victory" for a given person.

St Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Questoin 1, Objection 4, Response 1

On the contrary, Our Lord said to Thomas (John 20:27):

  • Put in thy finger hither, and see My hands; and bring hither thy hand, and put it into My side, and be not faithless but believing.

I answer that, It was fitting for Christ's soul at His Resurrection to resume the body with its scars. In the first place, for Christ's own glory. For Bede says on Luke 24:40

  • that He kept His scars not from inability to heal them, "but to wear them as an everlasting trophy of His victory."

1 If one was circumcised while alive, one's glorified body would likewise be ... but your question seems to be about a change due to becoming a glorified body as part of the glorification process

  • I'd think if you had a tattoo in this life, your glorified body wouldn't just as if you had a scar in this life, your glorified body wouldn't.
    – Peter Turner
    Commented Jan 26, 2017 at 17:11
  • You mind if I edit the question a bit?
    – Peter Turner
    Commented Jan 26, 2017 at 17:11
  • @PeterTurner Go ahead, hopefully I can adapt. In re tattoo, that's another "unknown" until arriving in the afterlife but I think your reasoning is sound Commented Jan 26, 2017 at 17:12
  • 1
    @jongricafort There is a link to the glorified body reference, and you can also look up that term on Catholic Encyclopedia. I don't feel like getting into a discussion/argument in comments today. Commented Apr 29, 2019 at 17:54
  • 1
    @jongricafort OK, so that comment probably needs to be under the question? (Your answer is very thorough) Commented Apr 29, 2019 at 19:13

Will men be circumcised after the Resurrection?

We truly do not know what the afterlife holds for us, but the answer seems to be "no". At least for Christians. In regards to those of the Hebrew race that lived and died before Christ and are in heaven, it may be more possible.

In heaven our earthly bodies will be restored to their former manner and then some. The wounds of the glorified Martyrs will shine in heaven for all to see, yet amputated limbs will also be restored. Yet at the same time we shall see on the bodies of the Martyrs the traces of the wounds which they bore for Christ’s name. This is the Catholic perspective we will see in our heavenly bodies.

It was fitting for Christ’s soul at His Resurrection to resume the body with its scars. In the first place, for Christ’s own glory. For Bede says on Luke 24:40 that He kept His scars not from inability to heal them, “but to wear them as an everlasting trophy of His victory.” Hence Augustine says (De Civ. Dei xxii): “Perhaps in that kingdom we shall see on the bodies of the Martyrs the traces of the wounds which they bore for Christ’s name: because it will not be a deformity, but a dignity in them; and a certain kind of beauty will shine in them, in the body, though not of the body.” - Why Jesus’ Resurrected Body Still Had Wounds

Thus our being circumcised will be negated in heaven and our male members will once again have their foreskin returned to its' proper place on the human body.

Whether this will be a universal matter in heaven may not be all that clear. Although Christians who make the Pearly Gates with their foreskin returned to its' natural spot. the possibility that those who are in heaven and belong to the Hebrew nation before the advent of Christ may in fact remain circumcised in heaven. However we may not know the answer to this until we get to Heaven to witness this reality one way or another.

Circumcision for the Jews was more than simply an external act of Hebrew devotion. The removal of one's foreskin made you part of the covenant with God and the descendants of Abraham. In other words, circumcision made the Jewish people part of God's chosen people.

The Jews were proud of their descent from Abraham, but did not always "do the works of Abraham" (John 8:39). They attached so much importance to the external act, that while attending to the letter they neglected the spirit of the law. Jeremias (iv, 4; ix, 25, 26) calls their attention to the necessity of circumcision of the heart, as all important. Even in Deuteronomy 10:16 and 30:6, this spiritual circumcision is set forth in no uncertain language. As uncircumcision means profane, unclean, imperfect, "I am of uncircumcised lips" (Exodus 6:12), "their ears are uncircumcised" (Jeremiah 6:10), and was applied to inanimate things also, as in Lev., xix, 23, "the fruit that cometh forth shall be unclean [Hebrew uncircumcised] to you", so to circumcise the heart (Romans 2:29) means to reform the inner man, by cutting off the vices and correcting the disorders that make him displeasing in the sight of God. To leave the synagogue was to give up that which more than anything else characterized it (see Galatians 2:7-8). Yet St. Paul, while showing his freedom from the legalities of the Old Dispensation by not circumcising Titus (Galatians 2:3), wished to bury the synagogue with honour by subjecting Timothy to the law of circumcision (Acts 16:3). Even though Christ Himself, as a true son of Abraham, submitted to the law, His followers were to be children of Abraham by faith, and were to "adore the Father in spirit and in truth" (John 4:23). The Council of Jerusalem decided against the necessity of the rite, and St. Paul, in his Epistle to the Galatians, condemns the teachers that wished to make the Church of Christ only a continuation of the synagogue: "Behold, I Paul tell you, that if you be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing" (v, 2). Here he refers to the supposed efficacy and necessity of circumcision, rather than to the mere ceremony; for he did not consider it wrong to circumcise Timothy. It was wrong, however, for the Galatians, having been baptized, and having taken upon themselves the obligations of the law of Christ with all its privileges, to be circumcised as a necessary means of salvation, since, by going for salvation from the Church to the Synagogue, they virtually denied the sufficiency of the merits of Christ (cf. Piconio, "Trip. Exp. in Gal.", v, 2). The Apostle gives the essence of Christianity when he says: "In Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision: but faith that worketh by charity" (Galatians 5:6). In Romans 4, he shows that Abraham was justified by faith, before circumcision was given as a sign of the covenant; so that the uncircumcision of the New Law is the continuation of the first ages of faith upon the earth. The gentile church of uncircumcision, according to St. Gregory the Great, is composed of men from the time of Abel the Just to the end of ages (Hom. xix in Evan.). St. Justin also says that as Henoch and the just of old received the spiritual circumcision, so do we receive it in the Sacrament of Baptism (Dialogue with Trypho 43). - Circumcision (Catholic Encyclopedia)

St. Thomas Aquinas goes much more profoundly on the illusion that circumcision for the Jews was a figure of Christian baptism.

St. Thomas holds that circumcision was a figure of baptism: this retrenches and restrains the animal man as that removed a part of his body — which physical act indicated the spiritual effect of the sacrament (De Sac., Summa, III, Q. lxx, a. 1). He gives three reasons why the organ of generation rather than any other was to be circumcised:

•Abraham was to be blessed in his seed;

•The rite was to take away original sin, which comes by generation;

•It was to restrain concupiscence, which is found especially in the generative organs (III, Q. lxx, a. 3).

According to his teaching, as baptism remits original sin and actual sins committed before its reception, so circumcision remitted both, but ex opere operantis, i.e. by the faith of the recipient, or, in the case of infants, by the faith of the parents. Infants that died before being circumcised could be saved, as were those who lived prior to the institution of circumcision, and as females were even after its institution, by some sign — the parents' prayer, for instance — expressive of faith. Adults did not receive the remission of all the temporal punishment due to sin as in baptism: — "Adulti, quando circumcidebantur, consequebantur remissionem, non solum originalis peccati, sed etiam actualium peccatorum; non tamen ita quod liberarentur ab omni reatu p næ, Sicut in baptismo, in quo confertur copiosior gratia" (III, Q. lxx, a. 4). The main points of the teaching of the Angelic Doctor were commonly held in the Church, even before the days of St. Augustine, who with other Fathers maintained that circumcision was not a mere ceremony, but a sacramental rite. (Cf. City of God XVI.27) - Circumcision (Catholic Encyclopedia)

Baptism puts on an indelible spiritual mark (character) of his belonging to Christ. No sin can erase this mark, even if sin prevents Baptism from bearing the fruits of salvation. It just may be possible that the glorified bodies of Christ's ancestor may remain circumcised in eternity.

Whether or not those Hebrew saints that lived before Christ and are in heaven will remain circumcised as a sign that they belonged to God's first covenant and part of thus his chosen people remains to be seen. For the rest of us, our bodies will be restored to its' perfect natural body,while at the same time they will be endowed with special gifts of the resurrected bodies.

We will find out in eternity!

  • "Thus our being circumcised will be negated in heaven and our male members will once again have their foreskin returned to its' proper place on the human body."Can you support this conclusion? How can a foreskin be returned to us when our bodies already turn to dust. Do you think that the male members is essential in glorfying God in Heaven? Jesus clearly said we will be like angels, and angels don't have male members.. Commented Apr 28, 2019 at 14:52

Will men be circumcised after the Resurrection?

The answer is NO!

In fact, that particular part of our body has a mind of it's own and is not subject to our control and it leads us to many sins of the flesh; and if we follow the Gospel what did Jesus say?

If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to depart into hell. (Matthew5:29-30)

So, for the sake of deeper theological understanding, has the Church (probably not) or the saints weighed in on this subject?

The answer again is NO, the Church mission is salvation of souls and issues like this on foreskin, beards or even tattooes is a useless subject and the Church time & effort will be more fruitful on other endeavor as inspired by the Holy Spirit.


Only the incorruptible saints had merited the "resurrection of the body", all of us by natural law our bodies will decompose and definitely will return to dust(CCC997). So, how can God resurrect what becomes dust?

997 What is "rising"? In death, the separation of the soul from the body, the human body decays and the soul goes to meet God, while awaiting its reunion with its glorified body. God, in his almighty power, will definitively grant incorruptible life to our bodies by reuniting them with our souls, through the power of Jesus' Resurrection.

The Catholic Church teaches "resurrection of the body" as written in our Creed but as we can see only the saints who have incorruptible bodies here on earth have merited that privelge. Our "resurrection of the body" pertain to God giving us a "spiritual body to be united to our soul". Why is this so? The souls of the Saints are already "glorified in Heaven" and when it is allowed to unite to it's incorruptible bodies it will become a "glorified body possessing a glorified soul". While most of us, particularly those blessed souls who gone purification of the soul when they return to earth can they find their bodies "incorupt"? No!...So, our Loving & Merciful God will give all souls whose body were corrupted due to fallen nature a "spiritual body" for them to face the "parousia". What the Catholic Church teaches is that all of us will be given a "spiritual body" to be united to our souls in the coming parousia. CCC998

CCC998 Who will rise? All the dead will rise. "those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgement."

CCC999 ....but Christ will change our lowly body to be like "His glorious body", into "spiritual body".

Take note, the Catechism stated "glorious body of Christ" and not the "resurrected body of Christ". This two are different, when Jesus Christ possessed a "resurrected body" any person can look at it even the woman had mistaken Jesus resurrected body as one of the gardener;

..Who is it are you looking for; ? thinking he was the gardener...John20:15

And even the Road to Emmaus is also a good account that Jesus resurrected body can be look upon like normal human being....but Jesus "transfigured bodies" cannot be look upon as it pertains to a "glorified body" like Moses & Elijah possessed.

Let's look upon the appearance of a transfigured bodies;

"There he was transfigured before them,His face shone like the sun and his clothe became as white as the light....(Matthew17:2)

So, the scriptures differentiate the appearance of a "resurrected body" from a "transfigured body" of Jesus Christ.

And take note, tattoos are biodegradable it will decompose and even if it's not biodegradable our skin will decompose naturally and certainly it will not left its mark on our bodies as only bones & skull will remains.

We have to make a distinction on the following resurrected body, glorified body and transfigured body.;

Resurrected body only pertains to Christ and Mary as evidence in scripture & Tradition that their bodies was resurrected because sins has no hold of them and they are incorruptible. The resurrected bodies of Jesus Mary can be enter into heaven because it is "spotless" as God made a Holy Decree on scriptures;

"nothing defiled shall enter the Kingdom of God."(Book of Revelation)

The incorruptible bodies of the saints as prophecy in scriptures will be reunited to their "glorified souls" in the New Paradise and will lived among the Apostles of the Last Times for a certain time called millennium. This is the Eucharistic Era as Catholic Church understood it.

Now, how about the "transfigured bodies"? the Catholic Church teaches that those who partake the body,blood,soul divinity of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist will experience a foretaste of "Christ transfigured bodies" (CCC1000) as seen in the Gospel of Transfiguration. It's different from Christ "resurrected body" who is not cloth with a "dazzling or glorified light" that Peter, John & James was not able to stare. The "resurrected body" of Jesus Christ still have the mark of his wounds because it has not been glorified as it was not yet ascended into Heaven.

1000 This "how" exceeds our imagination and understanding; it is accessible only to faith. Yet our participation in the Eucharist already gives us a foretaste of Christ's transfiguration of our bodies:

Just as bread that comes from the earth, after God's blessing has been invoked upon it, is no longer ordinary bread, but Eucharist, formed of two things, the one earthly and the other heavenly: so too our bodies, which partake of the Eucharist, are no longer corruptible, but possess the hope of resurrection.556

Did Jesus glorified body in Heaven have still have a mark of his wounds? That would be another question...to be continued..

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