In my understanding, the Saints are part of the Church Triumphant and in the Catholic Church's understanding of the Communion of Saints they help the Faithful on earth (Church Militant) to intercede for us (Catechism 954-959).

When reading Fr. Armoth's book An Exorcist Explains the Demonic I came across this quote from Chapter 1 "The Victory of Christ over Sin and Death" under "The Consequences of Christ's Victory" (emphasis mine):


Here lies the victory over the second condemnation: man is made of soul and body and cannot live with the soul detached form the body. Body and soul are destined to reunite at the end of time, that is, at the moment of the Last Judgment. St. Thomas Aquinas -- in my view, the greatest Christian theologian -- affirms that, if in faith we believe in this unity between the soul and the body, even from a rational point of view (using only the power of reason), it is impossible to conceive them separated. If we think of the saints -- who already enjoy paradise but whose bodies are still not united to their souls, since that will happen only at the end of time -- we can be certain that they already live the beatified state without the body and that they will reach their highest level of blessedness when body and soul are rejoined. And through the mercy of God, the same can be said of us when we reach paradise. Only when time is completed, when the soul and the body are rejoined, will there be a true fullness of life. To say it in simple terms: for the moment, the saints have so much happiness that they can be content with only their souls. The same can be said inversely for the damned.


Does it mean when the Catholic faithful pray to the Saints for their intercession, they are conscious but have not received their resurrected bodies? If so, why do the Church said (Catechism paragraph 956-957) that the Saints are in heaven?

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    The salvation of the soul (1 Peter 1:1-12) and the redemption of the body (Romans 8:18-25) are not concurrent events. Mar 30, 2020 at 11:57
  • Turns out there is already a similar question with a good highly voted answer Mar 30, 2020 at 19:51
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    I cannot answer re. Catholic reasons for their view but noted the various scriptures appealed to here and in the answers to the similar Q you highlighted. I was surprised that nobody quoted Rev. 6:9-11 where the souls of the martyred saints are beneath Heaven's altar, crying out 'How long' till God deals with those who murdered them. They're given white robes to wear and told to rest until the full number of the martyrs has been reached. Surely this has a bearing on the Q even though they are not said to be given resurrection bodies then, nor do I add this in support of any Catholic doctrine.
    – Anne
    Apr 4, 2020 at 9:06

2 Answers 2


Souls separated from their bodies understand not from their bodily senses but spiritually.


Do these souls know what is happening on earth? St. Thomas replies:

In the natural order they do not know, because they are separated from the society of those who are still on the road to eternity. Nevertheless, if we restrict the question to the souls of the blessed, it is more probable to say that they, like the angels, do know what happens on earth, particularly what happens to those who are dear to them. This is a part of their accidental beatitude.*
[ibid. a. 8 "Whether separated souls know that takes place on earth?"]
Those in purgatory too can have love of us, even though they do not know our actual state, just as we pray for them, although we do not know their actual state, their nearness, for example, to deliverance.

*See Life Everlasting ch. 31 "Accidental Beatitude"


Why Catholic Saints are said to be in heaven but not yet given their resurrected bodies?

The saints resurrected bodies will be reunited to their glorified souls only in the last day, with the exception of Blessed Virgin Mary and St.Joseph who are in Heaven with their glorified souls reunited with their resurrected sinless bodies.

994 But there is more. Jesus links faith in the resurrection to his own person: "I am the Resurrection and the life."544 It is Jesus himself who on the last day will raise up those who have believed in him, who have eaten his body and drunk his blood.545 Already now in this present life he gives a sign and pledge of this by restoring some of the dead to life,546 announcing thereby his own Resurrection, though it was to be of another order. He speaks of this unique event as the "sign of Jonah,"547 the sign of the temple: he announces that he will be put to death but rise thereafter on the third day.548

545 Cf. Jn 5:24-25; 6:40,54.

How do the dead rise?

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.

Does it mean when the Catholic faithful pray to the Saints for their intercession, they are conscious but have not received their resurrected bodies? If so, why do the Church said (Catechism paragraph 956-957) that the Saints are in heaven?

The Saints in Heaven intercedes for us in "spirit and truth" just like all the glorified souls must worship God in "spirit & truth" and not by means of the senses of flesh.

But a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for the Father is seeking such as these to worship Him. 24God is Spirit, and His worshipers must worship Him in spirit and in truth.”(John4:23-24)

If the Saints in Heaven can already worship God in spirit & truth and intercedes for us having a beatific vision, then why is the need for the Saints glorified souls to be reunited in their resurrected bodies at the last day?

The Saints who live up a pious life on this earth like Jesus, and had used their bodies to glorify God, are the only bodies worthy to be resurrected at the last day.

999 How? Christ is raised with his own body: "See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself";553 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":554

The rest of the baptized believers will be given a "spiritual body" because how can God resurrect bodies that already decay into dust?

1016 By death the soul is separated from the body, but in the resurrection God will give incorruptible life to our body, transformed by reunion with our soul. Just as Christ is risen and lives for ever, so all of us will rise at the last day.

1017 "We believe in the true resurrection of this flesh that we now possess" (Council of Lyons II: DS 854). We sow a corruptible body in the tomb, but he raises up an incorruptible body, a "spiritual body" (cf. 1 Cor 15:42-44).

The degree of glory of all the Saints in Heaven who are reunited with their resurrected bodies esp. the incorruptible bodies of the Saints shines more brightly than the glorified souls whose mortal flesh are turn into dust and were only given a "spiritual body".

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    You seem to be saying that the resurrected body of Saints are different in nature (not merely in degrees) than the resurrected body of us Faithful who need to pass through Purgatory? Where is the support for that teaching? Mar 30, 2020 at 15:00
  • @GratefulDisciple Yes. CCC999 stated, Jesus body did not decay, and it is the same body that was resurrected. Same with the incorruptible saints since their bodies like Jesus did not decay, it will be raise on the last day. How about us, our bodies will decay and will surely return to dust. It will be a different resurrected body for us. That's why the degree of glory of incorruptible saints shines brightly like Jesus in Heaven. Mar 30, 2020 at 23:38

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