Wonderfully odd question

I love these kinds of questions when brought up by my class. In discussion of holy orders today I had the kind of “what if” only 7th and 8th graders come up with. Let’s say there was a totally improbable plot and at the stroke of midnight every Catholic priest, bishop, cardinal, and the pope were murdered at the same time. Would the church cease to exist as there would be no “legit” clergy and no one in the line of apostolic succession to ordain others?

Not my area as it’s one I’ll be putting in the hands of others after today as all I feel I can do is provide the basic intro.

I tend to avoid all hypothetical questions, as they seem ultimately to lead to the question of “What if there is no God?” We neither want nor need to expose our faith to the assaults of the evil one by entertaining such doubts.

In the mind of a Catholic, this question would accuse Jesus of the impossible: deception. Our Lord said that the gates of hades would not prevail, and so they shall not.

Peace be with you.

according to the parameters of your question, there would still be Deacons :wink:

I guess the power would fall to them.

I think they were trying to basically include all clergy.

You’d have to include all the Orthodox and schismatic (but validly-ordained) clergy in that list.

I would say that if that ever did actually happen, we could expect to see our Blessed Lord coming on the clouds of Heaven shortly thereafter.

I think that is, indeed, the most likely answer.

Must agree with japhy. That would be the most logical result of such a calamity.:highprayer:

But, I also like po18guy’s answer.:knight2::knight1:

the Church would not cease to exist.


If the Rock and all other clergy of the Church were all killed, the entire Church Militant will be receiving judgment, and, hopefully, most will join them in the Church Triumphant. In any case, the Church will persist, not cease to exist.

“What if there were no hypothetical questions?”



Life would be dull - maybe!?! To quote Art Linkletter, “Kids say the darnedest things!” Life would certainly be dull without kids!! Gotta love 'em!! :slight_smile:

Anyone who has been around that age of kid knows they love to take some nugget of info and debate it or take it to the extreme. It’s just what they do. I also want to make it clear that when I call it wonderful, I mean only wonderful in that they’re thinking.

I taught jr. high/ middle school. It was great to see how their minds worked, and that they did!!! Spent time in the high school. They seemed to think they already had all the answers!!! Middle school age kids are cool! Enjoy!! It’s also fun to pose such questions **to **them! They can also be creative problem solvers - less inhibited about thinking outside the box.

No of course not, Since the Church exists not only here on earth but also in Heaven and Purgatory. People would still be able to be Baptized.

In one sense, according to the saying “Where the Bishop is, there is the Church” the Church Militant would cease to exist.

But…I don’t think whoever first said that was considering your scenario. So, if there are no priests or bishops, we would no longer be able to go to Mass, receive the Eucharist, receive Reconciliation (in the normative way, as distinguished from making an Act of Perfect Contrition), no more Confirmation, or Holy Orders, or Anointing of the Sick. We would, in fact, be left with Marriage (since I assume the canon requiring a Catholic clergyman [for Catholics; and assuming that all the deacons were also on the hitlist] be present for validity would cease to have force), and Baptism. Just enough for one last evangelical push to prepare for Christ’s coming next week.

Jesus said 'Heaven and Earth will pass away but my word will never pass away."

It all started with Jesus, "Go forth and make disciples of all the nations.
Questions like this confuse me.
“All Powerfull and everliving God”
His word would still prevail with or without the help of man.

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