Today, 1:59 am
Sloppy scholarship in a Catholic Answers tract - can anyone fill in the blanks?
Another thread asked a question about the Church's teaching regarding a point of eschatology.
There have been several similar threads. I have consistently replied that the Church has taught almost NOTHING about the "end-times" apart from what we can read in Scripture (but interpret at our own peril). I'm not talking about the usual death/judgement/heven/hell thing (which comprises Catholic doctrine, and is much simpler, and easily found in the Catechism), but about the "rapture" and the "reign of Jesus," around which much mythology has evolved.
I would have asserted that the Church teaches NOTHING about end-time theology, except that I had found a Catholic Answers Tract a long time ago, The Rapture. The author of this tract is not credited.
According to this tract,
Second, there is no such thing as "THE Holy Office," apart from the Pope himself. THE Holy Office of Peter belongs to the Pope alone. There are Vatican Offices which speak on behalf of the Holy See, but nobody except the Pope represents THE Holy Office. Other Offices are vicars only.
This tract asserts a teaching which is unfamiliar to me (and to Google, to the best of my ability to utilize it).
Can someone cite any "Holy Office" that taught this idea "in the 1940's" to fill in the blanks left by this tract?
In regard to the "1940's" statement, the Catholic Answers tract says:
What’s the Catholic Position?
As far as the millennium goes, we tend to agree with Augustine and, derivatively, with the amillennialists. The Catholic position has thus historically been "amillennial" (as has been the majority Christian position in general, including that of the Protestant Reformers), though Catholics do not typically use this term. The Church has rejected the premillennial position, sometimes called "millenarianism" (see the Catechism of the Catholic Church 676). In the 1940s the Holy Office judged that premillennialism "cannot safely be taught," though the Church has not dogmatically defined this issue.
With respect to the rapture, Catholics certainly believe that the event of our gathering together to be with Christ will take place, though they do not generally use the word "rapture" to refer to this event (somewhat ironically, since the term "rapture" is derived from the text of the Latin Vulgate of 1 Thess. 4:17—"we will be caught up," [Latin: rapiemur]).
The comment from the 1940's was probably some sort of reaction to dispensationalism. What I think is interesting is that in my sparse studies of eschatology, there appears to have been a time in which premillenialism was safely taught:
During the first three centuries of the Christian era, premillennialism appears to have been the dominant eschatological interpretation. Among its adherents were Papias, Iranaeus, Justin Martyr, Tertullian, Hippolytus, Methodius, Commodianus, and Lactantius" (Robert Clouse, The Meaning of the Millennium (Illinois: Intervarsity Press, 1977), p.9)So, if the defenders of Rome want to claim the early church, they should be premillennial.
A Catholic Answers participant states: "A quick wikiwalk leads me to p 212 of Acta Apostolica Sedis 1944, where the phrase in question (and in Latin) is: systema Millenarismi mitigati tuto doceri non posase The date is 21 July 1944."
The Wiki article states:
After Adolf Hitler's unsuccessful attempt to implement a thousand-year-reign, the Vatican issued an official statement that millennial claims could not be safely taught and that the related scriptures in Revelation (also called the Apocalypse) should be understood spiritually. Catholic author Bernard LeFrois wrote:
- Millenium [sic]: Since the Holy Office decreed (July 21, 1944) that it cannot safely be taught that Christ at His Second Coming will reign visibly with only some of His saints (risen from the dead) for a period of time before the final and universal judgment, a spiritual millennium is seen in Apoc. 20:4–6. St. John gives a spiritual recapitulation of the activity of Satan, and the spiritual reign of the saints with Christ in heaven and in His Church on earth.