Who or what is the Katechon referred to (with both masculine and neuter pronouns) in Paul’s Second Letter to the Thessalonians? The verse is 2 Thessalonians 2:6–7.
Saint Paul explains that the advent of Antichrist is conditional upon the removal of “something/someone that restrains him” and prevents him being fully manifested.
The verse appears to indicate both a person and a more impersonal authority, perhaps the power wielded by the former over the latter. Interpreters have sought to identify a candidate for which both genders - male, therefore a person and neuter, therefore impersonal - are appropriate.
The Church Fathers were consistent in their belief that the what of the “Katechon” was the Roman Empire while the who was the Roman Emperor - the existence of which prevented civilization from lapsing into “lawlessness”. Note that Paul refers to an eschatological figure considered by most to be synonymous with the Antichrist as the “man of lawlessness” - but later commentators have suggested alternative theories.
…there are passages in Scriptures that seem completely dense–as though they are made from the mind of one who fully understand the topic of conversation as he communicates to the mind of someone that is fully aware of his topic… much like people who know each other very well (through living together as a husband and wife or very close siblings/friends where they basically communicate through a specialized body language leaving the world almost completely oblivious to the meaning of their exchange…
…this said… the breakdown:
The Apostle is speaking from both his present time frame and an immediate expectation of Christ’s Parousia
Jesus’ warnings reflecting the prophecy of Daniel is rebounded (Daniel 9:27; 11:31; 12:11; St. Matthew 13:14)
The expectation of St. Matthew 24 (destruction of the Temple, persecution of the Church, the Parousia) coupled with Jesus’ death and resurrection and the belief that some who will share this experience will still be alive at His imminent Parousia (St. Luke 9:21-27)
However, as they Holy Spirit Unfolds Christ’s Revelations they begin to understand that the anti-Christ is not just Satan but both Satan and his minions and the hold Satan has on the world:
[FONT=“Garamond”][size=]18 Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that Antichrist cometh, even now there are become many Antichrists: whereby we know that it is the last hour.
(1 St. John 2:18)
22 Who is a liar, but he who denieth that Jesus is the Christ? This is Antichrist, who denieth the Father, and the Son. (1 St. John 2:22)
3 And every spirit that dissolveth Jesus, is not of God: and this is Antichrist, of whom you have heard that he cometh, and he is now already in the world. (1 St. John 4:3)
For many seducers are gone out into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh: this is a seducer and an antichrist. (2 St. John 1:7)
…passages such as you’ve cited can be interpreted in a myriad of ways… the heavy take from the anti-Catholic arena is that it speaks of Rome (Vatican) and that the agent/anti-Christ is the Pope (there are several variations on this credo; they cover the spectrum from a specific Pope, to the garments, to all Popes–it depends upon the spin-doctor’s bias).