Catholic Authorities Teach Theosis

Catholic authorities teach that humanity should become God. This is the doctrine of theosis, also known as divinization or deification. Overt examples are below. More examples of the doctrine of theosis are in The Bible, and in teachings of early Christian authorities.

Pope John Paul II (1920 to 2005 CE)

Pope John Paul II

"Father Gemelli sees in the Catholic University the privileged place in which it would be possible to throw a bridge between the past and the future, between the ancient classical culture and the new scientific culture, between the values of modern culture and the eternal message of the Gospel. From this fruitful synthesis there would be derived - he rightly trusted - a most effective impulse towards the implementation of a full humanism, dynamically open to the boundless horizons of divinization, to which historical man is called." (Pope John Paul II. "Catholic University of the Sacred Heart." The Holy See. The Holy See, 8 Dec. 1978. Web. 22 Aug. 2014.)

"Sacramental life finds in the Holy Eucharist its fulfillment and its summit, in such a way that it is through the Eucharist that the Church most profoundly realizes and reveals its nature. Through the Holy Eucharist the event of Christ's Pasch expands throughout the Church. Through Holy Baptism and Confirmation, indeed, the members of Christ are anointed by the Holy Spirit, grafted on to Christ; and through the Holy Eucharist the Church becomes what she is destined to be through Baptism and Confirmation. By communion with the body and blood of Christ the faithful grow in that mysterious divinization which by the Holy Spirit makes them dwell in the Son as children of the Father." (Pope John Paul II, and Mar Ignatius Zakka I Iwas. "Common Declaration of His Holiness John Paul II and His Holiness Mar Ignatius Zakka I Iwas." The Holy See. The Holy See, 23 June 1984. Web. 22 Aug. 2014.)

"If he has eternally willed to call man to share in the divine nature, it can be said that he has matched the 'divinization' of man to humanity's historical conditions, so that even after sin he is ready to restore at a great price the eternal plan of his love through the 'humanization' of his Son, who is of the same being as himself." (Pope John Paul II. "Redemptoris Mater." The Holy See. The Holy See, 25 Mar. 1987. Web. 22 Aug. 2014.)

"An essential aspect of your apostolic charge is to strengthen your brother priests in faith and to confirm them in their identity as 'other Christs', who offer their lives in union with Christ for the salvation of the world." (Pope John Paul II. "To the Bishops of Zambia on Their 'Ad Limina' Visit." The Holy See. The Holy See, 5 May 1988. Web. 29 Aug. 2014.)

"As Saint Augustine so strikingly phrased it, Christ 'wishes to create a place in which it is possible for all people to find true life'. This 'place' is his Body and his Spirit, in which the whole of human life, redeemed and forgiven, is renewed and made divine." (Pope John Paul II. "8th World Youth Day, Message of the Holy Father." The Holy See. The Holy See, 12 Aug. 1992. Web. 29 Aug. 2014.)

"In divinization and particularly in the sacraments, Eastern theology attributes a very special role to the Holy Spirit: through the power of the Spirit who dwells in man deification already begins on earth; the creature is transfigured and God's kingdom inaugurated. The teaching of the Cappadocian Fathers on divinization passed into the tradition of all the Eastern Churches and is part of their common heritage. This can be summarized in the thought already expressed by Saint Irenaeus at the end of the second century: God passed into man so that man might pass over to God. This theology of divinization remains one of the achievements particularly dear to Eastern Christian thought. On this path of divinization, those who have been made 'most Christ-like' by grace and by commitment to the way of goodness go before us: the martyrs and the saints. ... In the Eucharist, the Church's inner nature is revealed, a community of those summoned to the synaxis to celebrate the gift of the One who is offering and offered: participating in the Holy Mysteries, they become 'kinsmen' of Christ, anticipating the experience of divinization in the now inseparable bond linking divinity and humanity in Christ. ... In Christ, true God and true man, the fullness of the human vocation is revealed. In order for man to become God, the Word took on humanity. Man, who constantly experiences the bitter taste of his limitations and sin, does not then abandon himself to recrimination or to anguish, because he knows that within himself the power of divinity is at work. Humanity was assumed by Christ without separation from his divine nature and without confusion, and man is not left alone to attempt, in a thousand often frustrated ways, an impossible ascent to heaven. There is a tabernacle of glory, which is the most holy person of Jesus the Lord, where the divine and the human meet in an embrace that can never be separated. The Word became flesh, like us in everything except sin. He pours divinity into the sick heart of humanity, and imbuing it with the Father's Spirit enables it to become God through grace." (Pope John Paul II. "Orientale Lumen." The Holy See. The Holy See, 2 May 1995. Web. 22 Aug. 2014.)

"Do not forget that you, in a very special way, can and must say that you not only belong to Christ but that 'you have become Christ'!" (Pope John Paul II. "Vita Consecrata." The Holy See. The Holy See, 25 Mar. 1996. Web. 29 Aug. 2014.)

"All people and all societies have one absolute need: they need Christ, the Way, and the Truth, and the Life! With truly Catholic hearts, take him to others, and strive to live as 'other Christs' in every circumstance." (Pope John Paul II. "Angelus." The Holy See. The Holy See, 13 July 1997. Web. 29 Aug. 2014.)

"The Holy Spirit's presence truly and inwardly transforms man: it is sanctifying or deifying grace, which elevates our being and our acting, enabling us to live in relationship with the Holy Trinity. This takes place through the theological virtues of faith, hope and charity, 'which adapt man's faculties for participation in the divine nature'." (Pope John Paul II. "General Audience." The Holy See. The Holy See, 22 July 1998. Web. 26 Aug. 2014.)

"Dear friends, in fulfilment of the Petrine 'munus', I intend to strengthen your faith in the identity of Christ and in your own identity as 'other Christs'. Take holy pride in being 'called', and be especially humble before so great a dignity, in the awareness of your human weakness." (Pope John Paul II. "Fourth International Meeting of Priests." The Holy See. The Holy See, 19 June 1999. Web. 29 Aug. 2014.)

"In seeing you here today - as the chosen representatives of this local Church - I see my visit repaid: you have come to the tomb of the Prince of the Apostles in a spirit of prayer and penance to implore pardon and forgiveness, and to renew your dedicated commitment to that work of divinizing humanity which began 2,000 years ago with the birth of the God made man." (Pope John Paul II. "To the 'Cursillos de Cristiandad' Movement." The Holy See. The Holy See, 29 July 2000. Web. 26 Aug. 2014.)

"Jesus is 'the new man' who calls redeemed humanity to share in his divine life. The mystery of the Incarnation lays the foundations for an anthropology which, reaching beyond its own limitations and contradictions, moves towards God himself, indeed towards the goal of 'divinization'. This occurs through the grafting of the redeemed on to Christ and their admission into the intimacy of the Trinitarian life. The Fathers have laid great stress on this soteriological dimension of the mystery of the Incarnation: it is only because the Son of God truly became man that man, in him and through him, can truly become a child of God." (Pope John Paul II. "Novo Millennio Ineunte." The Holy See. The Holy See, 6 Jan. 2001. Web. 22 Aug. 2014.)

"Having been enabled to see the world through God's eyes, and become ever more configured to Christ, religious men and women move towards the ultimate end for which man was created: divinization, sharing in the life of the Trinity." (Pope John Paul II. "Pilgrimage to the Holy Monastery of Rila." The Holy See. The Holy See, 25 May 2002. Web. 22 Aug. 2014.)

"It is told in the Book of Genesis: God created man and woman in a paradise, Eden, because he wanted them to be happy. Unfortunately, sin spoiled his initial plans. But God did not resign himself to this defeat. He sent his Son into the world in order to give back to us an even more beautiful idea of heaven. God became man - the Fathers of the Church tell us - so that men and women could become God. This is the decisive turning-point, brought about in human history by the Incarnation." (Pope John Paul II. "17th World Youth Day, Address at the Welcoming Ceremony." The Holy See. The Holy See, 25 July 2002. Web. 22 Aug. 2014.)

Catechism of the Catholic Church


"In that sin man preferred himself to God and by that very act scorned him. He chose himself over and against God, against the requirements of his creaturely status and therefore against his own good. Constituted in a state of holiness, man was destined to be fully 'divinized' by God in glory. Seduced by the devil, he wanted to 'be like God', but 'without God, before God, and not in accordance with God'." ("Catechism of the Catholic Church 1: 2: 1: 1: 7: 3: 398." The Holy See. The Holy See, n.d. Web. 26 Aug. 2014.)

"The Word became flesh to be our model of holiness: 'Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me.' 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.' On the mountain of the Transfiguration, the Father commands: 'Listen to him!' Jesus is the model for the Beatitudes and the norm of the new law: 'Love one another as I have loved you.' This love implies an effective offering of oneself, after his example. The Word became flesh to make us 'partakers of the divine nature': 'For this is why the Word became man, and the Son of God became the Son of man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God.' 'For the Son of God became man so that we might become God.' 'The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods.'" ("Catechism of the Catholic Church 1: 2: 2: 3: 1: 1: 459-460." The Holy See. The Holy See, n.d. Web. 22 Aug. 2014.)

"Christ and his Church thus together make up the 'whole Christ' (Christus totus). The Church is one with Christ. The saints are acutely aware of this unity: Let us rejoice then and give thanks that we have become not only Christians, but Christ himself. Do you understand and grasp, brethren, God's grace toward us? Marvel and rejoice: we have become Christ. For if he is the head, we are the members; he and we together are the whole man. ... The fullness of Christ then is the head and the members. But what does 'head and members' mean? Christ and the Church. 'Our redeemer has shown himself to be one person with the holy Church whom he has taken to himself.' 'Head and members form as it were one and the same mystical person.' A reply of St. Joan of Arc to her judges sums up the faith of the holy doctors and the good sense of the believer: 'About Jesus Christ and the Church, I simply know they're just one thing, and we shouldn't complicate the matter.'" ("Catechism of the Catholic Church 1: 2: 3: 9: 2: 2: 795." The Holy See. The Holy See, n.d. Web. 29 Aug. 2014.)

"Before the grandeur of the priestly grace and office, the holy doctors felt an urgent call to conversion in order to conform their whole lives to him whose sacrament had made them ministers. Thus St. Gregory of Nazianzus, as a very young priest, exclaimed: We must begin by purifying ourselves before purifying others; we must be instructed to be able to instruct, become light to illuminate, draw close to God to bring him close to others, be sanctified to sanctify, lead by the hand and counsel prudently. I know whose ministers we are, where we find ourselves and to where we strive. I know God's greatness and man's weakness, but also his potential. [Who then is the priest? He is] the defender of truth, who stands with angels, gives glory with archangels, causes sacrifices to rise to the altar on high, shares Christ's priesthood, refashions creation, restores it in God's image, recreates it for the world on high and, even greater, is divinized and divinizes. And the holy Cure of Ars: 'The priest continues the work of redemption on earth. ... If we really understood the priest on earth, we would die not of fright but of love. ... The Priesthood is the love of the heart of Jesus.'" ("Catechism of the Catholic Church 2: 2: 3: 6: 7: 1589." The Holy See. The Holy See, n.d. Web. 26 Aug. 2014.)

"Through the power of the Holy Spirit we take part in Christ's Passion by dying to sin, and in his Resurrection by being born to a new life; we are members of his Body which is the Church, branches grafted onto the vine which is himself: '[God] gave himself to us through his Spirit. By the participation of the Spirit, we become communicants in the divine nature. ... For this reason, those in whom the Spirit dwells are divinized.' ... The grace of Christ is the gratuitous gift that God makes to us of his own life, infused by the Holy Spirit into our soul to heal it of sin and to sanctify it. It is the sanctifying or deifying grace received in Baptism. It is in us the source of the work of sanctification: 'Therefore if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself.'" ("Catechism of the Catholic Church 3: 1: 3: 2: 1: 1988, 1999." The Holy See. The Holy See, n.d. Web. 26 Aug. 2014.)

"We can adore the Father because he has caused us to be reborn to his life by adopting us as his children in his only Son: by Baptism, he incorporates us into the Body of his Christ; through the anointing of his Spirit who flows from the head to the members, he makes us other 'Christs.' God, indeed, who has predestined us to adoption as his sons, has conformed us to the glorious Body of Christ. So then you who have become sharers in Christ are appropriately called 'Christs.' The new man, reborn and restored to his God by grace, says first of all, 'Father!' because he has now begun to be a son." ("Catechism of the Catholic Church 4: 2: 2: 2: 2782" The Holy See. The Holy See, n.d. Web. 29 Aug. 2014.)

Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI

"Only if God is great is humankind also great. With Mary, we must begin to understand that this is so. We must not drift away from God but make God present; we must ensure that he is great in our lives. Thus, we too will become divine; all the splendour of the divine dignity will then be ours. Let us apply this to our own lives." (Pope Benedict XVI. "Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary." The Holy See. The Holy See, 15 Aug. 2005. Web. 29 Aug. 2014.)

"The meaning of this final gesture of Jesus is twofold. In the first place, ascending on high, he clearly reveals his divinity: he returns to where he came from, that is, to God, after having fulfilled his mission on earth. Moreover, Christ ascends into heaven with the humanity he has assumed and which he has resurrected from the dead: that humanity is ours, transfigured, divinized, made eternal." (Pope Benedict XVI. "Regina Caeli." The Holy See. The Holy See, 21 May 2006. Web. 26 Aug. 2014.)

"In this way we begin to understand why the Lord chooses this piece of bread to represent him. Creation, with all of its gifts, aspires above and beyond itself to something even greater. Over and above the synthesis of its own forces, above and beyond the synthesis also of nature and of spirit that, in some way, we detect in the piece of bread, creation is projected towards divinization, toward the holy wedding feast, toward unification with the Creator himself." (Pope Benedict XVI. "Solemnity of Corpus Christi." The Holy See. The Holy See, 15 June 2006. Web. 22 Aug. 2014.)

"However, this treasure that is destined for the baptized, does not exhaust its radius of action in the context of the Church: the Eucharist is the Lord Jesus who gives himself 'for the life of the world' (Jn 6: 51). In every time and in every place, he wants to meet human beings and bring them the life of God. And this is not all. The Eucharist also has a cosmic property: the transformation of the bread and the wine into Christ's Body and Blood is in fact the principle of the divinization of creation itself." (Pope Benedict XVI. "Ecclesia in Medio Oriente." The Holy See. The Holy See, 18 June 2006. Web. 22 Aug. 2014.)

"Having become a man, Christ gave us the possibility of becoming, in turn, like him. Nazianzus exhorted people: 'Let us seek to be like Christ, because Christ also became like us: to become gods through him since he himself, through us, became a man. He took the worst upon himself to make us a gift of the best'." (Pope Benedict XVI. "General Audience." The Holy See. The Holy See, 22 Aug. 2007. Web. 22 Aug. 2014.)

"Christ is the epitome of all things, he takes everything upon himself and guides us to God. And thus he involves us in a movement of descent and ascent, inviting us to share in his humility, that is, in his love for neighbour, in order also to share in his glorification, becoming with him sons in the Son. Let us pray the Lord to help us conform to his humility, to his love, in order to be rendered participants in his divinization." (Pope Benedict XVI. "General Audience." The Holy See. The Holy See, 22 Oct. 2008. Web. 22 Aug. 2014.)

"This union of reason and charity, of faith and charity, must be brought into being within us and thus, transformed into charity to become, as the Greek Fathers said, divinized. I would say that in the development of the world we have this uphill road, leading from the first created realities to the creature, man. But the ascent has not yet been completed. Man must be divinized and thus fulfilled. The unity of the creature and of the Creator: this is the true development, arriving with God's grace at this openness. Our essence is transformed by charity. If we speak of this development, we always think of the final goal, where God wants to arrive with us." (Pope Benedict XVI. "Reflection of His Holiness Benedict XVI during the First General Congregation of the Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops." The Holy See. The Holy See, 5 Oct. 2009. Web. 26 Aug. 2014.)

"... in this act 'not my will but your will' Jesus recapitulates the whole process of his life, of leading, that is, natural human life to divine life and thereby transforming the human being. It is the divinization of the human being, hence the redemption of the human being, because God's will is not a tyrannical will, is not a will outside our being but is the creative will itself; it is the very place where we find our true identity. God created us and we are ourselves if we conform with his will; only in this way do we enter into the truth of our being and are not alienated. On the contrary, alienation occurs precisely by disregarding God's will, for in this way we stray from the plan for our existence; we are no longer ourselves and we fall into the void. Indeed, obedience, namely, conformity to God, the truth of our being, is true freedom, because it is divinization." (Pope Benedict XVI. "Lectio Divina." The Holy See. The Holy See, 24 Feb. 2010. Web. 22 Aug. 2014.)

"The Gospel of the Transfiguration of the Lord puts before our eyes the glory of Christ, which anticipates the resurrection and announces the divinization of man." (Pope Benedict XVI. "For Lent 2011." The Holy See. The Holy See, 4 Nov. 2010. Web. 22 Aug. 2014.)

"Thus Jesus tells us that it is only by conforming our own will to the divine one that human beings attain their true height, that they become 'divine'; only by coming out of ourselves, only in the 'yes' to God, is Adam's desire - and the desire of us all - to be completely free." (Pope Benedict XVI. "General Audience." The Holy See. The Holy See, 1 Feb. 2012. Web. 29 Aug. 2014.)

"In the context of the Christian faith, 'communion is the very life of God which is communicated in the Holy Spirit, through Jesus Christ'. It is a gift of God which brings our freedom into play and calls for our response. It is precisely because it is divine in origin that communion has a universal extension. While it clearly engages Christians by virtue of their shared apostolic faith, it remains no less open to our Jewish and Muslim brothers and sisters, and to all those ordered in various ways to the People of God. The Catholic Church in the Middle East is aware that she will not be able fully to manifest this communion at the ecumenical and interreligious level unless she has first revived it in herself, within each of her Churches and among all her members: Patriarchs, Bishops, priests, religious, consecrated persons and lay persons. Growth by individuals in the life of faith and spiritual renewal within the Catholic Church will lead to the fullness of the life of grace and theosis (divinization). In this way, the Church's witness will become all the more convincing." (Pope Benedict XVI. "Angelus." The Holy See. The Holy See, 14 Sept. 2012. Web. 22 Aug. 2014.)

"The Second Vatican Ecumenical Council says in the Dogmatic Constitution Dei Verbum: 'It pleased God, in his goodness and wisdom, to reveal himself [not only something of himself but himself] and to make known the mystery of his will. His will was that men should have access to the Father, through Christ, the Word made flesh, in the Holy Spirit, and thus become sharers in the divine nature.' God does not only say something, but communicates himself, draws us into his divine nature so that we may be integrated into it or divinized." (Pope Benedict XVI. "General Audience." The Holy See. The Holy See, 5 Dec. 2012. Web. 26 Aug. 2014.)