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Christians should not fear final judgment, Pope tells audience

December 11, 2013

Christians should not fear their final judgment, because Jesus Christ will be their advocate, Pope Francis told his public audience on December 11.

In his final talk in a series of weekly reflections on the Apostle’s Creed, the Pope spoke about the belief in “life everlasting,” and specifically on the final judgment that every soul faces at the end of earthly life. The prospect of that judgment, he said, “almost instinctively arouses in us a sense of fear.” But the Pope gave three reasons why Christians should not be afraid of judgment.

First, the Pope recalled that the earliest Christian communities often used the exclamation “Maranatha”—“Come, Lord!”—in their prayers. The first Christians were anxious for Christ’s coming, seeing it as “the moment in which we will be judged as finally ready to be clothed in the glory of Christ.” Seen in that light, the final judgment is desirable, the Pope observed.

Next, the Pope said that we should realize that “at the moment of judgment, we are not left alone.” Jesus is our advocate before the Father, he said. Moreover, we have the support of the saints who already stand in God’s presence.

Finally, the Pope reminded his audience of the words from the Gospel of St. John: “For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” Our faith gives us confidence that Jesus has won salvation, the Holy Father said. However, that faith requires our response, he said: “If we are sinners, the Lord forgives us, but we must open ourselves to Jesus' love, which is greater than all things; and opening up means repenting.”


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  • Posted by: todway1041 - Dec. 12, 2013 9:18 PM ET USA

    The Pope seems to be glossing over the warnings of Jesus implicit in the Divine Mercy. Extra efforts are required to invoke Jesus's support at the time of Judgement. Heed the advice of the Virgin at La Salette. Also, the warnings of Tre Fontane in 1947 -- "You had already been damned," The "Virgin of Revelation" said to Bruno Carnicola, who planned to murder the Pope. "But going to the First Saturdays devotion last year has saved you."

  • Posted by: normnuke - Dec. 12, 2013 11:56 AM ET USA

    Fear of Hell is salutary. Always has been. What do saints know of Hell? Consult rather the opinions of those who have been too little fearful.

  • Posted by: dover beachcomber - Dec. 11, 2013 10:14 PM ET USA

    The Pope's words are comforting indeed, but I wonder whether they are the right ones for the times. The world, and even many Catholics, aren't exactly consumed with anxiety about "getting into heaven." Quite the opposite.