I need some help. Can someone please clearly explain the current Church position/ Catholic view on Millennialism/ Millenarianism? Specifically, I’m talking about the idea that there will be some period of peace/ harmony on earth before the end of the world and/or at the end of the world. I am NOT talking about rapture theory or any sort of Protestant concept, and would prefer to just hear Catholic positions/ Catholic views on this as I’m already very confused by the stuff I have attempted to read so far.
I’ve ascertained that apparently St. Augustine believed that after 6000 years on earth, the world would end and the 1,000-year reign of Christ was just symbolically meant to refer to eternal life in heaven - not any sort of peaceful period on earth. At least I think that’s what he said, I might have that wrong, if so please correct me. I’m also seeing that apparently a lot of theologians think millennialism or millenarianism of this sort (basically believing in a peaceful period on earth before the end of the world) is bad/ wrong/ heretical, and that belief in this concept seems to have caused a large amount of societal unrest at different periods in history because people thought they could bring on the period of peace or whatever.
I also could swear that I read something in a Catholic book as a child that suggested there would be some period of peace before the end of the world, but considering my memory is faulty, it could have been a secular encyclopedia, and even if it was a Catholic book, we all know there were and are a lot of suspect “Catholic books” out there.
I don’t quite need “explain like I’m 5” but “explain like I’m an 18-year-old college freshman” might be good.
Reason why I’m asking is, I have become involved with a parish group who are all into the idea of bringing about God’s kingdom on earth, but the level of the discussion is similar to sitting on a beach with your teenage friends and somebody says, “Can you imagine how many grains of sand on this beach?” and everybody goes “Wow, mindblowing, life-changing” and goes home. Now, I myself am not to the level of having a Yale Divinity school discussion on the topic and I don’t expect other people to be, but I would also like to avoid veering into any kind of inadvertent heresy here, esp since Fr. Hardon is one of the critics of the topic we happen to be discussing. My peers in the group seem to be either at a very basic level, or else so “into the pudding” they would not welcome me bringing this up there. The group leader tends to say, “It’s supernatural, so you’re not going to understand” a lot.
Thank you in advance.