In my latest eschatology book, The Second Part of the Tribulation, I argue that the Return of Jesus at the end of the tribulation is followed by a long reign of peace and holiness on earth, called the Millennium. Only subsequent to that time does Christ return again for the general Judgment and general Resurrection. Between the two Returns of Jesus Christ, He reigns from Heaven through the Church and the Sacraments. In that time of great holiness on earth, the whole world will be Catholic Christians, and the teachings of the Church will take precedence over all governments, societies, cultures, and families.
What will the Millennium be like?
The time period of the Millennium is intermediate; it occurs between the present sinful ages and the sinless age after the general Resurrection. During the Millennium, those of the First Resurrection are sinless, but the rest of humanity are still sinners; they are conceived with original sin, and need Baptism; they commit personal sins in their lives. There will still be sin, due to concupiscence, but there will not be sin due to the temptation of devils, since Satan and his own were bound at the start of the Millennium (Rev 20:2). And there will be little influence from the world, from other persons, toward sin. For the world will be very holy. Even the many elements of society, which today are entirely secular, will be imbued with the fear of God and the truths of the Catholic Faith on morality. There will be some influence toward sin from other sinners, but this influence will be thoroughly counteracted by the influence toward holiness that pervades all of society and every family. So the three principle influences on free will toward sin — concupiscence (your self as a fallen human person), the world (other persons), and the devils — are reduced by about half, so to speak, to concupiscence and some limited influence in the world.
For during that time period, the Christian Faith reigns over the whole world, despite the presence of sin in the world. So sinfulness does not reign, as is the case today. Neither does secularism reign. The governments of the world have only Catholic Christians in every office, and their policies, actions, and judgments are thoroughly based on the teachings of the Church. The Church, in the present time, has authority — in theory — over every government and every human person on earth. But in that future time, the Church on earth will be able to exercise that authority in practice. The Church will stand in judgment over every government and organization, guiding and correcting. Few will dare to oppose the Church in Her exercise of Wisdom and Her application of Faith to spiritual or temporal matters. And any government official who dares to oppose the Church will be forced to resign in shame. Such will be the worst scandals of that future time.
During the Millennium, the Church will continue to have much the same structure as in the present age. The Pope will reign over the Church as the Vicar of Christ. Each successive Pope will have the same role and authority as his predecessors, going all the way back to Peter. I don’t think that any former Popes, who are given the First Resurrection, will take the role of Pope during the Millennium. It is not their role after the First Resurrection, just as it will not be their role after the general Resurrection. The Church will have Cardinals and Bishops, priests and deacons and religious. The Church will have doctrines and disciplines. The structure of the Church on earth will be much the same, but the holiness of the Church will be immensely greater.
In the present age, Saints work miracles. Even a new convert or a long-time member of the faithful might obtain a miracle by prayer. But miracles today are relatively rare. In that future age, miracles will abound. Even small children will pray and obtain frequent miracles, and all this will seem ordinary to them. It will be difficult to explain to them how special a miracle is, since miracles will seem like common and ordinary occurrences in their lives. The people of the Church will have such faith, that they will be able to obtain whatever they ask, and they will ask for a world of peace and holiness. Thus, through prayer, the Millennium continues for well over a thousand years in that peace and holiness, despite the continued presence of sin, despite the fact that Christ does not reign visibly, in person, but invisibly through the Church and the Sacraments (especially the Blessed Sacrament).
Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian and Bible translator