What does the Catholic Church teach about death?

In our fallen world, death is inevitable. Yet, the Catholic Church shows us that although death is an enemy, we need not fear it.

Our culture views death as something to fear, hide away, ignore, or try to conquer. Scripture also sees death as an enemy but in a very different way. Instead of masking signs of aging or shunning the thought of death, the Church encourages prayerful reflection and preparation.

Through his own death, Christ came to destroy death and free us from the slavery of sin. Jesus took our mortal nature unto himself, suffered, died, and rose again to new, eternal life. God offers us this enduring, eternal life that cannot wither or decay: when we are part of Christ, we are part of his own divine life. Because of the Holy Spirit, we share in Christ’s victory over the grave.

“Death is not something we try to avoid thinking about. We can think about it because we don’t have to be afraid of it. Christ has conquered all evil.”

We can also understand death as a moment of relief and release from suffering. Jesus teaches us in Matthew 10 that the Father cares for each falling sparrow; moreover, in his goodness and providence, the Father knows the precise time we will pass from this world into eternity. We can trust that after the moment of our death—when we have “finished the race”, as St. Paul says—we will at last encounter God face to face (2 Timothy 4:7).