Serious Question: When Christ Returns, Will the Papacy Continue to Exist?

[If it helps, Mods, put this in an appropriate thread as needed]

For the record, let it be known that when I am asking this question, I am asking this with utmost austerity in my intentions. With that being said, allow me to get to the gist of my question.

When Christ does return back again, will the Papacy continue to exist, or will it dissolve completely as a result?


I should think that there wouldn’t be a need for it anymore, but I could be wrong.

The papacy is to preserve the unity of the Church while She awaits the Lord. When the Lord comes, He will be with us personally and we shall see Him eye to eye. So, the answer should be no.

There will be no need for the organizational Church when everybody is in the presence of our LORD.


The Pope is the visible Head of the Mystical Body of Christ (the Church). When Christ returns, we will no longer need a visible Head to represent Him.

When Christ returns, the Papacy will cease to exist.

Alright guys, thanks for the clarification. Much appreciated!

Question answered, I know, but I was just thinking I could write a funny skit or short play around the idea that Jesus returns and the pope doesn’t want to step down just yet… :hmmm:

Right. Think of the Pope as a “steward”. The King has left the popes in charge until He returns. When the King returns, the stewardship is ended, as it is no longer needed.

The man will remain. The office passes away. If a hypothetical Pope would not step down, there would be nothing to step down from.

Well, no chance of that with our present Pope. I get the impression he would quickly hand over the reins to the Rightful Owner followed by a huge sigh of relief.

But go ahead, write your story. I haven’t read a humorous papal story since Malachi Martin died.

The Church knows what it must do. Like J the B said, “I must decrease, he must increase.” Similarly, we would follow suit.

The real question, if you don’t mind me saying so, would be the fate of all the other Christian denominations. How would they handle the situation with no unified voice or central vested authority? Would they too follow the Catholic Church? I’m talking about the ones who haven’t already been raptured to Heaven, of course.

When Our Lord returns, He will rule as a king. Kings appoint deputies, representatives, diplomats and so forth to manage their kingdom. They don’t handle everything themselves.

Will Our Lord be an exception? Nobody can say… but human kingdoms certainly allow the probability of assistants in some form or another.

It would be interesting to believe that the same God who allows us to participate in His work and His sacraments to the vast extent that we can participate today would suddenly reverse course when all is consummated and rule as an absolute monarch. Don’t get me wrong, an absolute monarchy would be totally within His rights and His power but it doesn’t really fit the established patterns up to now in my opinion.

When Christ returns, there will be no need for a Pope.

Yes, this makes sense, and it will be the secular governments that are not going to like this…suddenly Jesus will be back and all the secular authorities will loose all their control over the people…I guess thats why bible verses point to many nations trying to make war with Christ and also the ones that say Christ will ‘fight’ with worldly nations upon his return.

It does make sense, I mean, anytime something threatens their authority now, they lash out and get it under control, Jesus returning would be the ultimate threat to their power and control.

You’re right, the story wouldn’t be plausible with Pope Francis. Maybe Pope Beryllos? Jesus would speak to one person, or another time to the crowd, and I would step forward and say “What Jesus meant to say was…” :wink:

Scripture does seem to indicate that the saints will in some sense rule with Christ, but I’m sure the function will be a lot different from the way it is now.

When Jesus returns, the Pope will hand him the keys saying, “These belong to you.”

and the Eucharist will also stop

but the Communion will continue forever.

Why? When Jesus appeared to the faithful on the road to Emmaus he “broke bread’” and I’ve always felt he was serving communion.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit