Gregory I, Pope from 590-605, predicted that the end of the world was imminent in a letter he wrote to Ethelbert, a European monarch. He advised "Further, we also wish your Majesty to know, as we have learned from the words of Almighty God in Holy Scriptures, that the end of the present world is already near and that the unending Kingdom of the Saints is approaching. As this same end of the world is drawing nigh, many unusual things will happen - climatic changes, terrors from heaven... All these things are not to come in our own days, but they will all follow upon our times." (Bernard McGinn, Visions of the End-Apocalyptic Traditions in the Middle Ages, Page 64, Published 1979)

Pope Innocent III (died 1216) predicted that the world would end 666 years after the rise of Islam in 618.

  • 2
    Looks a fairly accurate prophecy to me.'The end of the world' is always near, to each and every generation. 'Climate change', 'terrors from heaven' - I think we are living in the middle of both. Don't see anything incorrect in any of that, myself.
    – Nigel J
    Apr 2, 2020 at 22:00
  • @NigelJ Lol! That's Mt 24. Did Jesus say every generation would see this?
    – user47771
    Apr 2, 2020 at 22:02
  • @NigelJ I have added the Pope who said in 618 the end would come 666 years after the rise of Islam. Sounds like numerology to me.
    – user47771
    Apr 2, 2020 at 22:35
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    @itzsophia'svlogs I beg to differ. The Church does teach that the world will end. The Catholic Encyclopedia teaches that the world as we know it will come to an end.
    – Ken Graham
    Apr 3, 2020 at 12:17
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    @itzsophia'svlogs Can you link that statement to a Catholic theological work? Not just some Catholic blog, but a Catholic theologian’s work on the subject!
    – Ken Graham
    Apr 4, 2020 at 22:13

3 Answers 3


How do Roman Catholics explain their change in Eschatology?

The answer is quite simply that the Church has not changed her thoughts on eschatology.

Even within the church, the subject of the Antichrist and the end times is somewhat opinion based as well subject to speculation to say the least.

Two fundamental things that we take into consideration here. One is that no one knows when the end of the world will be. The other is that each (Catholic) generation (popes included) have given their *own personal interpretations and thoughts on this said issue. No pope can teach the he knows for a fact when the end of the world will come about.

Pope Gregory simply gave his personal views on it, when he wrote that he thought the end of the world would occur. (We must also recall that Pope Gregory the Great lived through the Roman Plague of 590). Other popes have done the same. The Church Fathers have expressed their views on it, as well as countless saints and Catholic theologians.

The Church can not determine when the eschatological events will occur because the Scriptures tell us it is impossible.

No One Knows That Day and Hour

36 “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son,[a] but the Father only. 37 For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, 39 and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. 42 Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. 43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. - Matthew 24:36-44

The Day of the Lord

5 Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers,[a] you have no need to have anything written to you. 2 For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. - 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3

10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies[a] will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. - 2 Peter 3:10

3 Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you. - Revelation 3:3

Nevertheless, some Pontiffs believed that certain event were (are) pertaining to the end times or the antichrist, but that in itself simply remains a personal reflection on the subject.

Even Pope St. John Paul II once stated that we are now nearing the final confrontation. But again, this is not an infallible statement, but rather his personal belief on the matter. Church teachings have not changed, just the personal opinions of various popes, theologians and saints!

“We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through. I do not think that wide circles of American society or wide circles of the Christian community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel versus the anti-Gospel.

“We must be prepared to undergo great trials in the not-too-distant future; trials that will require us to be ready to give up even our lives, and a total gift of self to Christ and for Christ. Through your prayers and mine, it is possible to alleviate this tribulation, but it is no longer possible to avert it. . . .How many times has the renewal of the Church been brought about in blood! It will not be different this time.” - The Final Confrontation

Prophecy is usually recognized as true while the thing prophesized have run their course. The anti-church and anti-gospel of Pope John Paul II should be seen as something the against the Church and against the Gospels and not as a counterfeit church or a counterfeit gospel, although the Antichrist will no doubt teach a false gospel of sorts.

For more information about this topic, one may pursue my following article:


The Bible says every generation should do a lot of other things Catholics do,

  • call Mary Blessed;

    All generations will call me blessed": "The Church's devotion to the Blessed Virgin is intrinsic to Christian worship." The Church rightly honors "the Blessed Virgin with special devotion. From the most ancient times the Blessed Virgin has been honored with the title of 'Mother of God,' to whose protection the faithful fly in all their dangers and needs.... This very special devotion ... differs essentially from the adoration which is given to the incarnate Word and equally to the Father and the Holy Spirit, and greatly fosters this adoration." The liturgical feasts dedicated to the Mother of God and Marian prayer, such as the rosary, an "epitome of the whole Gospel," express this devotion to the Virgin Mary.

    CCC 971

  • Take her into our house as our mother

    Thus the Blessed Virgin advanced in her pilgrimage of faith, and faithfully persevered in her union with her Son unto the cross. There she stood, in keeping with the divine plan, enduring with her only begotten Son the intensity of his suffering, joining herself with his sacrifice in her mother's heart, and lovingly consenting to the immolation of this victim, born of her: to be given, by the same Christ Jesus dying on the cross, as a mother to his disciple, with these words: "Woman, behold your son."

    CCC 964

  • Eat Jesus Body and drink His Blood

    The command of Jesus to repeat his actions and words "until he comes" does not only ask us to remember Jesus and what he did. It is directed at the liturgical celebration, by the apostles and their successors, of the memorial of Christ, of his life, of his death, of his Resurrection, and of his intercession in the presence of the Father.

    From the beginning the Church has been faithful to the Lord's command. Of the Church of Jerusalem it is written:

    They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers... Day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they partook of food with glad and generous hearts.

    It was above all on "the first day of the week," Sunday, the day of Jesus' resurrection, that the Christians met "to break bread." From that time on down to our own day the celebration of the Eucharist has been continued so that today we encounter it everywhere in the Church with the same fundamental structure. It remains the center of the Church's life.

    Thus from celebration to celebration, as they proclaim the Paschal mystery of Jesus "until he comes," the pilgrim People of God advances, "following the narrow way of the cross," toward the heavenly banquet, when all the elect will be seated at the table of the kingdom.

    CCC 1341-1344

  • Not see the gates of Hell prevail against Peter.

    The meaning of this divine utterance is, that, notwithstanding the wiles and intrigues which they bring to bear against the Church, it can never be that the church committed to the care of Peter shall succumb or in any wise fail. "For the Church, as the edifice of Christ who has wisely built 'His house upon a rock,' cannot be conquered by the gates of Hell, which may prevail over any man who shall be off the rock and outside the Church, but shall be powerless against it"

    Pope Leo XIII - Satis Cognitum

So it should hardly be unexpected that any particular passage in scripture, such as one that remonstrates people to live as if the end of the world is nigh, should not be one that is continually reminded to people, especially people in authority - but also all of us.

This is why Jesus can say: "The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live" (Jn 5:25). The resurrection of the dead expected at the end of time already receives its first, decisive realization in spiritual resurrection, the primary objective of the work of salvation. It consists in the new life given by the risen Christ as the fruit of his redemptive work.

Christ's final coming

That's not to say we should try to tell people that it's going to happen or even if we know what triggers the end of the world (if anything could trigger it)

On the other hand, we know that the apocalyptic images of the eschatological discourse about the end of all things should be interpreted in the light of their intense symbolism. They express the precariousness of the world and the sovereign power of Christ, in whose hands has been placed the destiny of humanity. History advances towards its goal, but Christ has not specified any chronological date. Attempts to predict the end of the world are therefore deceptive and misleading. Christ has assured us only that the end will not come before his saving work has reached a universal dimension through the preaching of the Gospel: "This Gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, as a testimony to all nations; and then the end will come"


So I know I'm not addressing your question directly, I just don't think the Catholic Church has ever really changed her tune on this teaching, not in the least, after 2000 years. You should live each day like it's your last and always be ready for the end. Whether it's THE END or your end.

I think that is a spurious quote by Pope Innocent III, you'd be hard pressed to find it elsewhere. References "Comparative Religion For Dummies". Incidentally, the same author of Comparative Religion for Dummies neglected to mention it in this article he wrote where one would think it belongs.

He does say that St. Augustine (of Hippo) was adamant about NOT reading too much into the fall of Rome. And there was a Monk, apparently commissioned by a Pope after Pope Innocent III died who placed the end of the world at 1263, so if that Pope was going to go with 666 years after the rise of Islam AND the advice of that Monk, he had two worlds to predict the ends of. So within 50 years and before the end of the world, they were already working on revising the date. So, needless to say, the argument must not have held a lot of water with Pope Innocent III's successors, assuming he even held that position, which is doubtful.


How do Roman Catholics explain their change in Eschatology?


In the body of your question, you have not established nor stated what is the particular change that you are referring to, so there is no direct answer on this. The only way is to enlighten you what the Catholic eschatology means and what the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches on eschatology.

For example see the Catholic Encyclopedia (eschatology).

In this article there is no critical discussion of New Testament eschatology nor any attempt to trace the historical developments of Catholic teaching from Scriptural and traditional data; only a brief conspectus is given of the developed Catholic system. For critical and historical details and for the refutation of opposing views the reader is referred to the special articles dealing with the various doctrines.

Escahatology as explain in the Catechism of the Catholic Church



1020 The Christian who unites his own death to that of Jesus views it as a step towards him and an entrance into everlasting life. When the Church for the last time speaks Christ's words of pardon and absolution over the dying Christian, seals him for the last time with a strengthening anointing, and gives him Christ in viaticum as nourishment for the journey, she speaks with gentle assurance:


1021 Death puts an end to human life as the time open to either accepting or rejecting the divine grace manifested in Christ.592 The New Testament speaks of judgment primarily in its aspect of the final encounter with Christ in his second coming, but also repeatedly affirms that each will be rewarded immediately after death in accordance with his works and faith. The parable of the poor man Lazarus and the words of Christ on the cross to the good thief, as well as other New Testament texts speak of a final destiny of the soul--a destiny which can be different for some and for others.593


1023 Those who die in God's grace and friendship and are perfectly purified live for ever with Christ. They are like God for ever, for they "see him as he is," face to face:598


1030 All who die in God's grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.


1033 We cannot be united with God unless we freely choose to love him. But we cannot love God if we sin gravely against him, against our neighbor or against ourselves: "He who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him."612 Our Lord warns us that we shall be separated from him if we fail to meet the serious needs of the poor and the little ones who are his brethren.613 To die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God's merciful love means remaining separated from him for ever by our own free choice. This state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called "hell."


1038 The resurrection of all the dead, "of both the just and the unjust,"623 will precede the Last Judgment. This will be "the hour when all who are in the tombs will hear [the Son of man's] voice and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment."624 Then Christ will come "in his glory, and all the angels with him. . . . Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left. . . . And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."625


1042 At the end of time, the Kingdom of God will come in its fullness. After the universal judgment, the righteous will reign for ever with Christ, glorified in body and soul. The universe itself will be renewed:

The Church . . . will receive her perfection only in the glory of heaven, when will come the time of the renewal of all things. At that time, together with the human race, the universe itself, which is so closely related to man and which attains its destiny through him, will be perfectly re-established in Christ.631


  1. You had cited "Gregory I, Pope from 590-605, predicted that the end of the world was imminent in a letter he wrote to Ethelbert..."

The Catholic Church does not teaches "the end of the world" but uses the phrase "the end of time or the end of Satan reign on earth" and the entrance to the New Heaven as cited in the above Catechism.

  1. You also cited; "Pope Innocent III (died 1216) predicted that the world would end 666 years after the rise of Islam in 618."

This prediction is proven false, as the world continues after the year 666.

If you are looking for a credible prediction on the "end of the world or the end of Satan reign" that will leads to the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart, the article link below would be a great help for you to understand it from a Catholic perpective.

The Triumph, The Second Coming and The Eucharistic Reign by Fr. Stefano Gobbi June 24, 1996

Also, *Fr. Joseph Iannuzzi, O.S.J., S.T.D. In his book, “The Triumph of God’s Kingdom in the Millennium and End Times”, ia good source for you to understand eschatology based on his excellent credentials.

The Coming of Jesus and The Millennium The subject matter in question being too complicated for me to venture into without the expertise of the masters in this field of theology, I have availed myself of the excellent research done by Fr. Joseph Iannuzzi, O.S.J., S.T.D. In his book, “The Triumph of God’s Kingdom in the Millennium and End Times”, which we have found to be the foremost authoritative work on the study of the Millennium, Fr. Iannuzzi gives a comprehensive treatise on this subject as contained in the public revelation of the Church: Sacred Scripture and Tradition (the Fathers and Doctors of the Church); and the Magisterium. It is important to note that he does not make reference in any way to private revelation to support his claims.

For more information see this link:

  • In "Others 1" you say the Catholic Church does not teach the end of the world. But Gregory I spoke of "the end of the present world." That sounds like a change to me.
    – user47771
    Apr 3, 2020 at 4:46
  • @ThomasPearne I've said the phrase the "end of the world" were not used rather the Cathecism stated "at the end of time", and this phrase means for Catholic esp. in Our Lady of Fatima as the "end of Satan reign" and refers to the Triumph of Immaculate Heart. The end of time is a victory for the Church because it is the end of satan reign. Apr 3, 2020 at 7:08
  • @Ken Graham Your article is written by Mary Beth Kremski a third-order Carmelite vs. Fr.Stefano Gobbi, Rev. Albert G. Roux, and Fr. Joseph Iannuzzi, O.S.J., S.T.D. If I used the gift of PRUDENCE who will I believe? The article is easily refuted by this mmp-usa.net/… Apr 4, 2020 at 3:30

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