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St. Thomas Aquinas
Catechetical Instructions

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  • THE SEVENTH ARTICLE: "From thence He shall come to judge the living and the
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All are to be judged - those who are, who were, and who will be: "We must

all be manifested before the judgment seat of Christ, that every one may

receive the proper things of the body, according as he hath done, whether

it be good or evil."7 There are, says St. Gregory, four different classes

of people to be judged. The chief difference is between the good and the



Of the wicked, some will be condemned but not judged. They are the infidels

whose works are not to be discussed because, as St. John says: "He that

doth not believe is already judged."8 Others will be both condemned and

judged. They are those possessing the faith who departed this life in

mortal sin: "For the wages of sin is death."9 They shall not be excluded

from the judgment because of the faith which they possessed.


Of the good also, some will be saved and shall not be judged. they are the

poor in spirit for God's sake who rather shall judge others: "Amen, I say

to you that you, who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of

man shall sit on the seat of His majesty, you also shall sit on twelve

seats judging the twelve tribes of Israel."10 Now, this is not to be

understood only of the disciples, but of all those who are poor in spirit;

for otherwise Paul, who labored more than others, would not be among this

number. These words, therefore, must refer also to all the followers of the

apostles and to all apostolic men: "Know you not that we shall judge

Angels?11 "The Lord will enter into judgment with the ancients of His

people and its princes."12


Others shall both be saved and judged, that is, they who die in a state of

righteousness. For although they departed this life in justice,

nevertheless they fell somewhat amiss in the business of temporal matters,

and hence shall be judged but saved. The judgment will be upon all their

deeds good and bad: "Walk in the ways of thy heart, . . . and know that for

all these God will bring thee into judgment."13 "And all things that are

done, God will bring into judgment for every error, whether it be good or

evil."14 Even idle words shall be judged: "But I say to you that every idle

word hat men shall speak, they shall render an account for it in the day of

judgment."15 And thoughts also: "For inquisition shall be made into the

thought of the ungodly."16 Thus, the form of the judgment is clear.


7. II Cor., v. 10.


8. John, iii. 18.


9. Rom., vi. 23.


10. Matt., xix. 28.


11. I Cor., vi. 3.


12. Isa., iii. 14.


13. Eccles., xi. 9.


14. "Ibid.," xii. 14.


15. Matt., xii. 36.


16. Wis., i. 9.


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