Query about Millenialism or Millenarianism and Catholicism

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. :roll_eyes:

Thank you in advance.

I’ve only time for a quick comment, but the general view of the Church is that the present age we’re in between the Ascension of Christ and his return is the Millennium. The Church is his kingdom on Earth, though not fully unveiled until the bridegroom’s parousia. This view is typically called amillennialism, as opposed to pre-millennialism and post-millennialism.

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St. Augustine changed his opinion to no millenium.

Catechism

676 … The Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism,577 especially the “intrinsically perverse” political form of a secular messianism.578
577 Cf. DS 3839.
578 Pius XI, Divini Redemptoris , condemning the “false mysticism” of this “counterfeit of the redemption of the lowly”; cf. GS 20-21.

I found this article on First Things which does a pretty good job of laying out the different views at a college freshman level. :slight_smile:

Note, this article is written by an Evangelical and is intended to lay out the various Evangelical views, but these are the same general categories that any theologians would use in talking about this. I would agree with Wesrock that the Catholic view tends to be that of amillennialism. I don’t know if I could say that this is the official Catholic position or not, though. There are definitely aspects of the other views (especially dispensational premillennialism) that are nor consistent with Catholic escatology. But could a Catholic believe in that in some way? Perhaps. I’d have to do a little more research.

Thanks. I’m getting lost in all the different names for stuff. I get millennialism, and amillenialism, but all the terminology after that like pre-millennialism, dispensational pre-millennialism, etc.) is getting very hard to follow.

Have you seen the Catholic Answers article?

The pre and post stuff is in “The Rapture” section!

Interesting article in Wikipedia…if you scroll down there is a quote by (then) Cardinal Ratzinger who says millennialism is strongly condemned by the Catholic church.

I’ve read that before. It helped a little, but it’s focusing on the Rapture. There is no rapture coming into play here, no one is getting taken away or left. It’s just an issue of “bringing about God’s kingdom on earth” by praying in a certain manner. The prayers themselves are okay. I’m just trying to understand why people like Fr. Hardon would object to the underlying concept.

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There’s a book by Dr. Paul Thigpen called “The Rapture Trap”…that deals with the rapture and millennialism…both of these subjects are tied together in some Protestant teachings…I do know as a former Pentecostal that we did pray continually for both the rapture and the millennial reign of Christ…so it just seems strange that Catholics would be praying for something that is tied to the rapture…by the way we do pray in the OUR FATHER…“thy kingdom come”.

Maybe that’s what Fr. Hardon thought…

I frankly interpreted “bringing about God’s kingdom” as meaning God would bring the Second Coming, not that we were all going to sit around living in earthly Eden for years. But then I remembered this business I read as a child about a period of peace before end of the world.

Right. That’s generally the post-millennial position, isn’t it? Their claim is that we (humans) help bring about and usher in a period of utopia here on earth. (That view kinda tucked its tail and slunk away after the experiences of the 20th century – wars, genocides, etc, etc.)

The Catholic position differs in that we say that the realization of ‘utopia’ is really the eschaton, and not something that we humans do here on earth.

Most life long Catholics probably don’t realize that many Pentecostal/Evangelical Protestants actually believe these events are unfolding now and the end times are near…one of the most telling beliefs is the restoring of Israel as a nation which happened in 1948…here is an article that gives a pretty good idea what many believe…and personally I can’t help wondering if President Trumps prayer team who are made up of these same Evangelical Pastors are using the President to bring about these same end times beliefs…pretty scary if that is the case

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For many of us who were born significantly after WWII, we’ve been hearing “the end times are near” for our entire life. And since then we had the Cold War and Y2K and all the fuss about both of them. So it’s just another day at the office for me really.

I thought the belief that Israel would be restored before end of the world was generally held by Christians including Catholics, as well as by the Jewish people. Am I wrong on that? I never associated that belief particularly with Evangelical Protestantism.

Tis_Bearself

13m

For many of us who were born significantly after WWII, we’ve been hearing “the end times are near” for our entire life. And since then we had the Cold War and Y2K and all the fuss about both of them. So it’s just another day at the office for me really.

I thought the belief that Israel would be restored before end of the world was generally held by Christians including Catholics, as well as by the Jewish people. Am I wrong on that? I never associated that belief particularly with Evangelical Protestantism.

I
m not to sure about that…but so do many believe that “God will bless those who bless Israel”…especially here in the US…here is an article from a Catholic site that says that in fact the (Catholic) church is the new Israel…that puts a whole new perspective on it

Good grief. I’ll think if I didn’t take the Evangelical end-times stuff with a grain of salt I would be very confused. I mean, ISIS is also trying to bring about the end-times, except, I don’t believe Israel being a sovereign state is part of their utopian vision. But would I take those particular motivations of ISIS fighters with a grain of salt though.

I can’t imagine that Trump is surrounded by folks who are having an end-times ideological pissing contest with radical Islamists. That sounds too awful to be true.

In City of God, St Augustine clearly rejects the idea of end of the world after 6000 years. And he was living when this period was not yet complete. He says nobody knows the day and hour. He was an amillenialist for sure.

That’s the same concern that some suggested, back when Reagan was president.

:rofl: :+1: :+1:

That depends on what you mean by “the restoration of Israel”, doesn’t it? IIRC, Catholics would say that “Israel” is reconstituted by virtue of Jesus and His Church! That is to say, the Lost Tribes – assimilated into the nations – are now reconstituted into the family of God by virtue of Christ’s New Covenant and His Church in which they are members.

If, on the other hand, you mean a restoration of temple worship and sacrifices for Israel, then no – that’s the dispensationalists’ belief system.

This one I suggest for converts.

This one for lifelong Catholics

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Sorry if my question is off-topic, but I can’t find a specific thread relating to my question. Maybe someone here can give a philosophical answer. My question is, if God created us in his image with a free will to do right or wrong, isn’t ending humanity the ultimate punishment? More specifically, why would God feel the need to end the world, ever? Why is there a beginning and ending for humanity?

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