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Catechism of the Catholic Church

The Church's ultimate trial

675 Before Christ's second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. 573 The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth 574 will unveil the "mystery of iniquity" in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh. 575

676 The Antichrist's deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgement. The Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism, 576 especially the "intrinsically perverse" political form of a secular messianism. 577

677 The Church will enter the glory of the kingdom only through this final Passover, when she will follow her Lord in his death and Resurrection. 578 The kingdom will be fulfilled, then, not by a historic triumph of the Church through a progressive ascendancy, but only by God's victory over the final unleashing of evil, which will cause his Bride to come down from heaven. 579 God's triumph over the revolt of evil will take the form of the Last Judgement after the final cosmic upheaval of this passing world. 580

Notes:

573 Cf. Lk 18:8; Mt 24:12.

574 Cf. Lk 21:12; Jn 15:19-20.

575 Cf. 2 Thess 2:4-12; I Thess 5:2-3; 2 Jn 7; I Jn 2:1 8, 22.

576 Cf. DS 3839.

577 Pius XI, Divini Redemptoris, condemning the "false mysticism" of this "counterfeit of the redemption of the lowly"; cf. GS 20-21.

578 Cf. Rev 19:1-9.

579 Cf. Rev 13:8; 20:7-10; 21:2-4.

580 Cf. Rev 20:12; 2 Pt 3:12-13.

English Translation of the Cathechism of the Catholic Church for the United States of America © 1997, United States Catholic Conference, Inc.

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