St. Edmund Campion Catechism Group - Series 4 Lesson 20 & Epilogue

Theology for Beginners: Chp 20. End of the World
Theology for Beginners: All chapters
Catechism: Q128-134 Life Everlasting
Bible: I Cor 15:43-44 (risen body); Apoc 21 (new heaven & earth)
Catholic Encyclopedia: General ResurrectionHeaven
Aquinas 101: The Last Things
Summa Theologica: Supplementum Q69-99, Q73 Signs preceeding the Last Judgement
Companion to the Summa: Vol IV Chp 19; 20
Liturgy: Athanasian Creed

The End of the World

  1. The soul without its body

    Man is body and soul, or body animated by soul. A human soul is made to animate a body and is perfected in animating a soul. Souls in heaven attain their final perfection when they animate a resurrected body at the end of the world. 

  2. The timing of the end of the world

    The world will end, not when God has had enough of the chaos and nonsense wrought by man, but when the Mystical Body of Christ has attained its final perfection. This moment has been known by God from all eternity.

  3. Signs of the end the end of the world

    Sacred Scripture gives us many signs: the Antichrist, false prophets (convincing enough to almost deceive the saints), persecutions, emnity within families, darkness, great suffering, the conversion of the Jews and more. Throughout Christian history men have been keen to see these things in contemperary events, but as "it is not for us to know the day or the hour" we should be ready for end of the world just as we should be ready for our own death.

  4. The Resurrection of the body

    At the end of the world, all souls will be united with their bodies - some unto eternal suffering in hell. Others unto eternal joy in heaven in which the body will be totally subject to the soul giving it extraordinary properties:

    - Impassibilitas - perfect order in the body that excludes all illness and pain- Impassibilitas

    Claritas - clarity, great beauty, the physical manifestation of glory

    - Agilitas - agility, enabling it to pass almost instantaneously from one place to another

    - Subtilitas - subtility, which is complete dominion of the soul over the body enabling it, for example, even to pass through solid matter.

  5. A new heaven and a new earth

    The old will pass away. Will our natural bodily faculties be perfect by their material objects or only by the Beatific Vision? Otherwise put, will our senses and passions be thrilled by beatiful sights and melodies, exquisite textures, tastes and perfumes? 

    In the Beatific Vision, ​​the material world is no longer necessary for the sustinance of the body, and no longer necessary to give us a knowledge of God (by reflecting his perfections), but "the carnal eye, .. will see the Godhead in Its corporeal effects, wherein manifest proofs of the Divine majesty will appear, especially in Christ's flesh, and secondarily in the bodies of the blessed, and afterwards in all other bodies." (Supp Q91a1)

    We will have an essential beatitude in the possession of God and accidental beatitude in:

    - the absence of pain or sadness

    - the company of Christ, the angels, and the saints, and in the reunion with so many who were dear to them on earth

    - the union of the soul with the glorified body will be a special source of joy for the blessed

    - the contemplation of all those things, both created and possible, which they see in God, at least indirectly as in the cause. And, in particular, after the last judgment the new heaven and the new earth will afford them manifold enjoyment

    - in sanctifying grace and the supernatural virtues that adorn their soul; and any sacramental character they may have also adds to their bliss.

    Very special joys are granted to the martyrs, doctors, and virgins, a special proof of victories won in time of trial (Revelation 7:11 sq.; Daniel 12:3; Revelation 14:3 sq.). Hence theologians speak of three particular crowns, aureolas, or glorioles, by which these three classes of blessed souls are accidentally honoured beyond the rest. Aureola is a diminutive of aurea, i.e. aurea corona (golden crown). (Cf. St. Thomas, Supp:96.).

  6. Epilogue: The Christian Soldier

     - The clergy are the officers, the laity are the privates.

    - Both officers and privates must fight against the enemies of the Church.

    - Unlike an earthly war, the goal is to win the enemy (men, not devils) over to Christ rather than to vanquish them. 

    - The principle weapon is truth - seeing reality for it is.

    - The vast majority of men are ignorant of the spiritual order, of the origin and finality of man, and of Christ by whom man is saved.

    - In this busy world, it is likely that the only voice of truth that can be heard is that of one's neighbour. It falls, therefore, to the laity as much as the clergy to instruct souls in the truth. For this reason, the laity must be instructed and be able to instruct in the principle truths of the faith. Catholics must know their faith, know how to communicate it, and know how to defend it.

    - This apostolic activity is a duty of all Christians; it is not enough to be exercise the corporal works of mercy (Q321), we have to exercise the spiritual works of mercy too (Q322)  which requires truth and love of the truth.

    - Our beatitude is in loving what we know. Knowing God precedes love of God.

    - Just like the clergy, the laity require not only the truth, but the supernatural nourishment of the sacraments. His life should be as a living, vibrant member of the Mystical Body of Christ.



Chapter 1: Why study theology?

- Theology is wisdom which is the knowledge of all things in relation to their highest cause.

- Theology is the greatest of all sciences by the sublimity of its object: God; and by the certitude of its conclusions: the certitude of faith.

- Theology teaches us our finality: the finality of man is the supernatural perfection of all his faculties - the greatest among these are his intellect and will.

- Theology helps us attain our finality in respect of ourselves by the perfect love of God.

- Theology helps us attain our finality in respect of our neighbour: if we love God, then we love everything He loves.

Chapter 2: Spirit

- A spirit is an immaterial intelligent living being (types: God, the angels and the souls of men)

- A soul is defined as the first principle of life of those material things which live (plants, animals and men). Plants, animals and men have souls, but only the souls of men are spirits.

- Properties: a spirit does not change in its being, does not corrupt, does not die (and is therefore eternal), has no mass, no shape, and no place e say that spirits are subsistent, which means that they have all they need to exist - they do not need a body to exist (like a plant or animal soul).

Acts: to know and love. No material organ is required for these activities.

Chapter 3: The Infinite Spirit

God is the Infinite Spirit. 

- God is all knowing, all loving, all powerful

- God is His own existence

- God was not created, He does not change, He has no past and future, God perpeturally in the present.

- God is naturally everywhere: by His essence (per essentiam), by His power (per potentiam), by His knowing (per scientiam)

God is Actus Purus, He cannot ever be in potency to doing anything; He is His action.  St. Thomas says that He is Actus Purus – one , simple, infinite and perfect action which is always in the present.

Chapter 4: The Blessed Trinity

The Blessed Trinity is the term used to express the central doctrine on the Christian religion: the truth that in the unity of the Godhead there are Three Persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, these Three Persons being truly distinct from one another. There is one being, with one nature and there are Three Persons. The Blessed Trinity is known only by revelation, but can subsequently be explored by reason.

Chapter 5: The Three Persons

In an attempt to understand as much as possible about the Blessed Trinity using revelation and our knowledge of the intellect and being (by the science of metaphysics), St. Thomas, building on theologians before him, makes a best attempt to reconcile the unity of God and the distinction of the Three Persons in God. God has one nature by which the Three Persons operate. The distinction of the Three Persons is discerned in the mutually opposed relations resulting from the act of God knowing Himself and loving Himself. The Persons, are distinguished as the subsistant relations or Paternity, Filiation and Passive Spiration.

Most of us, however, do not have a sufficient grasp of metaphysics to understand this complex theory and so a simpler one is proposed: In the act of knowing Himself, God generates a mental Word which is identical to the Generator. In the generator we discern the Father, in the generated, we discern the Son. These are Persons Who will naturally love each other, this love being personified in the Holy Ghost

Chapter 6Making the doctrine of the Trinity a living and loved reality

For most people something like that happens when they embrace a mystery of the faith revealed to them by the Church:

 - first there is an intellectual response as they grasp the theological exposition of the mystery

 - then a vital response as the wonder and beauty of the mystery draws the observer in

 - then a loving response as the mystery becomes a light and a power in our lives.

Chapter 7: Creation

God created all things from nothing and sustains all things in existence from moment to moment - all for His glory. 

Chapter 8: The nature of man

Man is made in the image and likeness of God, possessing an intellect and a will. He is different from the animals because he loves the things he knows whereas animals are attracted to the thing they sense; and he can choose what to love whereas animals are attracted to things by nature. Man is capable of moral good or evil, whereas animals always act according to their nature. The ultimate purpose of man is to know and love God. The ultimate purpose of non-intelligent creatures is to adorn creation for the glory of God.

Chapter 9: The Supernatural Life

Man is made for the Beatific Vision (that perfect possesion of God in heaven) but with his fallen nature he is radically incapable both of attaining this end and remaining in this state of perfect happiness. By sanctifying grace, man begins a supernatural life here below. He is transformed by grace and receives supernatural virtues and the Gift of the Holy Ghost with grace. He begins to live and act with the life and actions of God. He enters on to the path to heaven and progresses towards it. If he die in a state of grace, then the supernatural life within him is perfected to the point of perfect bliss in union with God.

Chapter 10: The Fall

Despite sanctifying grace, supernatural virtues, Gifts of the Holy Ghost, and the praternatural gifts, Adam fell for the temptation to become like God. This was the sin of pride. He was left bereft of everything supernatural and praeternatural, and therefore incapble of attaining that for which he was made: the Beatific Vision. The act against the injunction of God is called Original Sin, the consequence of this act (the deprivation of grace and gifts) is also called Original Sin. The Divine Will ordained that the Original Sin (consequence) be suffered by all the offspring of Adam. 

Chapter 11: The Redeemer

Jesus Christ is the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity Who operates through a divine nature as God, and through a human nature as man. The two natures are hypostatically united in the Person which allow him to act as a man but with acts of infinite value because His Person is divine. By taking to himself his human nature at the Incarnation, Jesus Christ was able to redeem mankind.

Chapter 12: The Redemption

The Redemption is the (a) freeing of man from the debt (in justice to God) of sin, and (b) the restoration of man's supernatural union with God. Our Lord Jesus Christ objectively redeemed all mankind by His Incarnation, Life, Passion & Death, Resurrection and Ascension into heaven. It is for man to participate in this act of redemption by living a life of faith, hope and charity through the means that the Church provides (teaching, laws and liturgy). Such a life constitutes mans subjective redemption.

Chapter 13: The Visible Church

The visible Church is a hierarchy of baptised souls united under one head (Jesus Christ) who adhere to the teaching of the Church, submit to the authority of the Church, and worship God with the liturgy of the Church. Members of the visible Church may be living members (when they are in a state of sanctifying grace) or dead members (when they are in mortal sin).

Chapter 14: The Mystical Body of Christ

The Church binds chosen men and angels together into one body, but unlike any other union in the universe, the reason of unity is above the order of nature, and immeasurably more intimate - it is the unity of living the same Life. Every living member of the Church lives by participating in the Divine Life (by sanctifying grace). Inevitable with this unity of Life, there is a unity of love and obedience and intention, but these are consequences rather than causes of unity. The unity by grace is called the Mystical Body of Christ.

Chapter 15: The Mother of God

Mary is called the Mother of God because she is the mother of Jesus Christ according to His human nature. Jesus Christ is God, therefore, Mary is the Mother of God. For this reason she was preserved from Original Sin at her conception, preserved from corruption at the end of her earthly life, and assumed body and soul into heaven. She is given the title of Co-Redemptorix on account of the closeness of her participation in the act of Redemption; she is called Mediatrix of all grace on account of her divine motherhood and her uniquely privilged role as intercessor with her Son.

Chapter 16.1 Grace, virtues and gifts

To share in God's perfection, to be inclined towards God, and to know & love God, we must become co-natural with God so that we share in His being, powers, and actions. We share in His being by sanctifying grace; we share in his power by supernaturalised faculties; and we share in His actions by acts of supernatural virtue or acts impelled by the Gifts of the Holy Ghost.

Chapter 16.2 How Grace is lost.

The supernatural life of grace is lost by Original Sin and Mortal Sin. Sin is an offence against God by any thought, word, deed, or omission against the law of God. Sin may be Original Sin or Actual Sin. Original Sin as an act was committed by Adam, but in its effects (absence of grace & praeternatural gifts, wounded human nature) it affects every man at the moment of conception (except the Blessed Virgin Mary). Actual sin is an act committed by any man. Actual sin may be Mortal Sin of Venial Sin. A Mortal Sin is an act of total rebellion against God (like declaring war against a state). A Venial Sin is breaking a law of God without breaking allegiance to God (like breaking the speed limit of a state).

Chapter 16.3 Conscience

Conscience is the intellect’s determination of how to act in light of its knowledge of general moral principles, whether applied consciously or just as a matter of habit. It is not an emotion. Neither is it a perception or a special faculty. It is just an act of the intellect. We should always follow a true conscience and an invincibly ignorant erroneous conscience. We should not follow an otherwise erroneous conscience (vincibly ignorant, scrupulous, perplex, lax or pharasaical).

Chapter 17  The Sacraments

Definition: Q249. A sacrament is an outward sign of inward grace ordained by Jesus Christ, by which grace is given to our souls. Overview. Detail 

Chapter 18 Mass & the Eucharist

The Mass is the perfect of prayer: A sacrifice in which God offers God to God. It is a commemoration and a re-presentation of the bloody sacrifice of Calvary; it is also a means by which its merits can be applied to souls by permitting faithful to a participate in the same Sacrifice and by their receiving the Eucharist. The Eucharist is the Body. Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ. It is the greatest sacrament to which all the others are ordered.

Chapter 19: The Next Life

When a man dies, his soul ceases to animate his body. The body, lacking a principle of unity, falls into deacay. The soul, being, immaterial and spiritual, does not fall out of existence, but "goes to its proper place": heaven (sometimes via purgatory), or hell. The soul, at the moment of death faces the particular judgement. If  there is no sin, and no punishement due to sin, it goes to heaven to enjoy the Beatific Vision. If there is no mortal sin, but unforgiven venial sins or remaining punishement due to sin, it goes to purgatory where it suffers pain of the damned (pain of loss) and pain of the senses, until it is pure enough for heaven. If there is mortal sin, the soul voluntary seperates itself from God and suffers an eternal pain of the damnsed and pain of the senses.