Several places in the Bible there is a reference to “The Apostle Jesus Loved”. I have heard several explanations of who it was. What is the view of the Catholic Church about who was the Apostle Jesus Loved.
No, it says disciple. It is the disciple whom Jesus loved, not Apostle. The phrase “disciple whom Jesus loved” is only in John’s Gospel.
The word Apostle appears only 8 times in the four Gospels. John does not use the word Apostle at all.
The disciple whom Jesus loved is John himself. It is also you and I. You are the disciple whom Jesus loves.
**Professor James Tabor has developed some interesting theories as to the identities of Gospel persons.
Be forewarned, however, that Prof. Tabor thinks that our Lord’s body was removed from His tomb by His disciples and is buried somewhere in Jerusalem. **
Sacred Tradition holds that it was JOHN the author of the Gospel
He was the youngest, lived to be the oldest and is the “Disciple” that Jesus gave His Mother too, on OUR behalf:thumbsup:
 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, his mother, and his mother’ s sister, Mary of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalen. When Jesus therefore had seen his mother and the disciple standing whom he loved, he saith to his mother: Woman, behold thy son.  After that, he saith to the disciple: Behold thy mother. And from that hour, the disciple took her to his own.
Not sacred tradition but historical basis.
From Hagan: “Fires of Rome” Chapter 6 Mysteries of the Passover
John the Evangelist
Early church historian Eusebius agrees that the author of the
Book of John was one of Jesus’ disciples and an eyewitness to
many of the events described in his book. Eusebius relies on the
historical record provided by earlier church historians (Clement,
Irenaeus and Hegesippus) who also identified John as the
disciple whom Jesus “loved.” What we know of John the
Evangelist comes from these three early Church historians. Each
source, unfortunately, is of dubious reliability.
John supposedly left Jerusalem and Judea after Jesus’
crucifixion, eventually settling in the liberal seacoast Syrian city
of Ephesus. There, he became a leader in the Christian Church
that Paul the Apostle had helped found.
But this… changed when Vespasian’s
youngest son Domitian came to power in A.D. 81. Emperor Titus,
Flavius Josephus’ old friend and patron, had died of a fever after
less than two years in power. Domitian then ruled the empire for
the next 15 years until his murder in A.D. 96. In late A.D. 85,
Emperor Domitian appointed himself Censor Perpetuus (Censor
for Life) with special authority over conduct and morals for the
peoples of the empire. Bad news for the Christians! At that time,
Domitian apparently exiled John the Evangelist, although no
independent record specifically supports that date. Eusebius
does tell us that in the 15th and last year of Domitian’s reign,
many Christians of no mean importance were exiled to Pontia.
Executions of Christians were also ordered.
Some sources hold that John was exiled shortly after finishing
his Gospel. In truth, John might have hastily written his Gospel
after learning of his banishment to Patmos, thinking that once
there he would face a quick execution. But a death on the exile
island was not to be his fate. During his years on Patmos, John
also wrote the Book of Revelation, although that was a disputed
work even in Eusebius’ time (Eusebius History 3:19).
Fortunately for John the Evangelist and the other exiled
Christians, all of Domitian’s banishments were lifted by the
Roman Senate shortly after Domitian’s murder in A.D. 96
(Eusebius History III:18). John the Evangelist then returned to
Ephesus where he lived a long life and died sometime
during the reign of Trajan, A.D. 98-117. (Eusebius History III:20)
Then, again, the Church in Ephesus, founded by Paul and having John
remaining among them permanently until the times of Trajan, is a true
witness of the tradition of the apostles. (Irenaeus Book III-II:4)
Eusebius states that John decided to produce his own Gospel
in order to fill a void that then existed. The three Synoptic
Gospels concentrated only on the last year of Jesus’ Ministry–
from the death of John the Baptist to Jesus’ own crucifixion in
Jerusalem. In his work, John attempted to fill in earlier events in
Jesus’ Ministry as best he could from his own memories.
This postulated history of John the Evangelist answers many
questions. Being a “renegade” member of the Jerusalem
priesthood as a secret disciple of Jesus, the much-younger John
used a pseudonym when he became a disciple for the Nazarene.
Even decades later, when writing his Gospel about those times
John still did not reveal his true name, referring to himself as the
disciple who knew the High Priest or the disciple whom Jesus
That John the Evangelist was a former Jewish priest is
suggested in an ancient letter of Polycrates, who was the Bishop
of Ephesus circa A.D. 190. He writes the missive to the Church of
Rome and in it John the Evangelist is mentioned.
"And there is John, who leant back on the Lord’s breast and who became
a priest wearing the mitre… "(Eusebius History 5:24)
A mitre is a ceremonial flat-topped headdress worn by members
of the Jewish High Priesthood.
Apparently, though a Christian, John continued in his duties as
a Temple priest for some time after the crucifixion. James, the
brother of Jesus, as a leader of the Christian Church in Jerusalem,
also followed Judaic law and ritual as much as possible. Both
men probably irritated the “true” priests of the Temple for their
pretensions. James was eventually executed by the Sanhedrin.
For this reason, John eventually left the Temple priesthood
entirely. It is easy to see John following the other disciples as
they retreated to Galilee years afterward–he had few other
options. As a part of his rough, new life, John perhaps even
learned to cast the nets with his Galilean friends. Later, how
many other places did John wander in and preach before settling
permanently in Ephesus to work within the Church? Assuming
that John was perhaps 18 years of age during Jesus’ last Passover
in A.D. 36, John lived well into his nineties, as Eusebius tells us
that John died during the reign of Trajan.
Taking a step back, however, are too many roles given to John
the Evangelist in pursuit of a neat solution to all the mystery
figures found in the New Testament? One major problem
remains: why, at the end of the Book of John, is the disciple
whom Jesus loved is considered deserving of death? This is even
more curious if one considers that the Book of John might have
been written by that very disciple. However, unless there is a
discovery of the first magnitude in early Christians manuscripts,
that mystery will remain unsolved.
How are Irenaeus, Hegessepius, and Ignatius dubious? Both Ignatius and Irenaeus were followers of John and are more closer to the actual timeframe than Hagan.
Do some Christians use this passage to say that Jesus was gay? I can see how it can be misinterpreted easily.