Do Catholics believe in rapture?
Yes we do. However not the “Pre-Tribulation Rapture” as invented in the 19’th century by the newly invented doctrine of dispensationalism.
The “Rapture” at taught by the Church is the second coming of Christ to judge the living and dead- the general judgement.
let’s clarify, though, that the rapture in catholic theology is not only post tribulation but also bares little to no resemblance to the “rapture” posited by most protestants. Catholics have no recognition of the fairy tale about Jesus flying through the skies and calling people up to Him who just poof disappear. It’s a completely different theology behind the word.
Ok, in that aspect, yes we believe that Christ will come again and take us all to heaven, body and soul. That event will be overwhelming emotionally, which is the definition of rapture. I did make an assumption that the original question was referring to the dispensationalism view of the end of time, which is the popular use of the term. If this caused any confusion then I apologize.
“Rapture” is often known as an “Ecstasy” in Catholic discussion and refers to visions and such that some very holy saints have experienced. I think one example would be St. Padre Pio and another would be St. Francis of Assisi.
However, if you mean the second coming teaching that a great many (not all) n-Cs believe and the “Left Behind” series of books and movies propagates as fact…no we do not.
That whole teaching has only been around from around 1825 and was concocted by a Church of Ireland preacher named John Nelson Darby. It wasn’t even held by many n-Cs until it was included in the notes of C. I. Scofield’s reference Bible.
The Scofield Reference Bible is a widely circulated annotated study Bible edited and annotated by the American Bible student Cyrus I. Scofield. Published by Oxford University Press and containing the traditional King James Version text, it first appeared in 1909 and was revised by the author in 1917.
Prior to that the teaching was virtually unknown and the only supposedly Catholic to even talk about it was a known heretic from about the 3rd or 4th century (I think).
One of the very best Bible studies on this is offered on a FREE MP3 download from John Martignoni called The Rapture and the Bible and his study notes are here.
It is very much worth your time. If someone is trying to tell you you should believe this, then you might want to download that and then burn them a CD and give it to them. Be sure to listen to it yourself first of course…
Simple answer: No, Catholics do not believe in the rapture because (in spite of all the hype to the contrary) it is not actually taught in the Bible, and it was never believed by the early church…or the rest of the church during it’s 2,000 year history.
That would make it a new wind of doctrine and a teaching of men.
Neither is something that Christians are supposed to get into.
A few saints have levitated. Maybe the phenomenon will become more general at the end of time. However Catholics are not tied to a particular, detailed account of the end times.
When each of us dies, our souls are immediately taken to the presence of God and judged. This is called the Particular Judgment. At this point we begin our eternal destiny. If we are going to hell, our souls go directly there. If we are deemed worthy of heaven, our souls will go directly to heaven, or if we are going to heaven but are in need of purification, we may go to Purgatory first for a while (everyone in Purgatory will eventually go to heaven). Whatever our fate, our souls will stay there (heaven or hell) until the end of time, at which time the Second Coming will occur.
At the Second Coming at the end of time, those Christians still alive will be taken to heaven (what some Protestants think of as of the rapture). Then will occur the General Judgment. At that time the souls of the living and the dead will be reunited with their bodies and brought together in God’s presence and judged before all. Those who have already been judged in the Particular Judgment will be brought from wherever their souls were -heaven, hell or Purgatory-- and have their judgment confirmed before all, so that both the justice and mercy of God will be manifest to all.
After this, time and Purgatory will be no more and all will enter with their souls and bodies into their eternal destiny, either hell or heaven.
This is an extremely bare-bones sketch, so if you want to get the details, see the five articles I linked below:
In addition, you have to learn to recognize erroneous teachings about the End Times popularized by fundamentalists. In other words, toss out the “Left Behind” and “Late, Great Planet Earth” baloney. Here are some resources to help you develop some discernment in these areas:
Here’s a website with several articles from a Catholic perspective regarding this subject. The writer is Carl Olsen, the author of the best selling book “Will Catholics Be Left Behind?”
I’d also recommend going to the Catholic Answers home page and putting “Rapture” or “Left Behind” into the “Search” feature. You’ll find several good articles there from reliable writers. Here is one of their Special Reports on this:
If you’re looking for other good books on the subject by Catholics, look for the following:
The Rapture Trap, by Paul Thigpen
Rapture, by David Currie
If you prefer tapes or CDs, I’d recommend:
The Rapture Files, by Tim Staples
The Rapture Revealed, by David Currie
(both available from St. Joseph’s Communications)
Will You Be Left Behind?, by Carl Olsen
Catholics & The Rapture, by Patrick Madid
Introduction to Prophecy, by Steve Wood
Delusions of Rapture & Prophecy, by Steve Wood and Paul Thigpen
There are STUDY NOTES posted online for his lecutures?!?! Now I’m in rapture! swoon No more frantic scribblings on random bits of paper while listening! Thank you, CM!