That the Saints Enjoy the Beatific Vision
Before the Last Judgment



Acta Clementis PP. VI (1342-1352), vol. IX, Typis Polyglottis Vaticanis, 1960, pp. 10-13. H. Denzinger, Enchiridion symbolorum definitionum et declarationum de rebus fidei et morum, 43a ediz. bilingue, a c. di Peter Hünermann, Centro editoriale dehoniano, Bologna, 2012, pp. 520-523.





January 29, 1336

29 Ian. 1336

Pontifical dogmatic definition [clarifying that] the Saints enjoy the Beatific Vision before the [Last] Universal Judgment

Pontificia definitio dogmatis de visione beatifica Sanctorum ante iudicium universale in caelo fruentium

[From] the blessed bishop, servant of the servants of God: for perpetual memory concerning this  matter.

Benedictus episcopus, servus servorum Dei, ad perpetuam rei memoriam.

[1.]Blessed be God in His gifts and holy in all His works, Who has raised up, like a vineyard planted at His right hand, the most holy Catholic and Apostolic Church and as his head and the crown of the head, the Lord having said to Peter: “You are Peter, and upon this rock I will I will build my church “(Mt 16,18)

[1.] Benedictus Deus in donis suis et sanctus in omnibus operibus suis, qui sacrosanctam Romanam catholicam et apostolicam Ecclesiam, quam ut vineam plantavit dextra sua quamque ut praecipuam in ecclesiarum omnium caput erexit et verticem, dicente Domino ad Petrum: «Tu es Petrus et super hanc petram aedificabo ecclesiam meam» (Mt 16,18)—

The recent history of the controversy under John XXII is described. Pope John had preached (but never solemnly defined) that the saints do not enjoy the Beatific Vision until after the Last Judgment



[6.] By this Constitution which is to remain in force for ever, we, with apostolic authority, define the following:

[6.] hac imperpetuum valitura Constitutione, auctoritate apostolica diffinimus,

According to the general disposition of God, the souls of all the saints who departed from this world before the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ and also of the holy apostles, martyrs, confessors, virgins and other faithful who died after receiving the holy baptism of Christ- provided they were not in need of any purification when they died, or will not be in need of any when they die in the future, or else, if they then needed or will need some purification, after they have been purified after death-and again the souls of children who have been reborn by the same baptism of Christ or will be when baptism is conferred on them, if they die before attaining the use of free will: all these souls, immediately (mox) after death and, in the case of those in need of purification, after the purification mentioned above, since the ascension of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ into heaven, already before they take up their bodies again and before the general judgment, have been, are and will be with Christ in heaven, in the heavenly kingdom and paradise, joined to the company of the holy angels. Since the passion and death of the Lord Jesus Christ, these souls have seen and see the divine essence with an intuitive vision and even face to face, without the mediation of any creature by way of object of vision; rather the divine essence immediately manifests itself to them, plainly, clearly and openly, and in this vision they enjoy the divine essence . Moreover, by this vision and enjoyment the souls of those who have already died are truly blessed and have eternal life and rest. Also the souls of those who will die in the future will see the same divine essence and will enjoy it before the general judgment.

quod secundum communem Dei ordinationem animae sanctorum hominum qui de hoc mundo ante domini nostri Iesu Christi passionem decesserunt necnon sanctorum Apostolorum, Martyrum, Confessorum, Virginum et aliorum fldelium defunctorum, post sacrum ab eis Christi baptisma susceptum, in quibus nil purgabile fuit quando decesserunt, nec erit quando decedent etiam infuturum; vel si tunc fuit aut erit purgabile aliquid in eisdem, cum post mortem suam fuerint purgatae; ac quod animae puerorum eodem Christi baptismate renatorum et baptizandorum, cum fuerint baptizati ante usum liberi arbitrii decedentium, mox post mortem suam et purgationem praefatam in illis qui purgatione huiusmodi indigebant, etiam ante resumptionem suorum corporum et iudicium generale, post ascensionem Salvatoris nostri domini Iesu Christi in caelum, fuerunt sunt et erunt in caelo, caelorum regno et paradiso caelesti cum Christo, sanctorum Angelorum consortio aggregatae; ac post domini Iesu Christi passionem et mortem viderunt, vident et videbunt divinam essentiam visione intuitiva et etiam faciali, nulla mediante creatura in ratione obiecti visi se habente, sed divina essentia immediate se nude clare et aperte eis ostendente; quodque sic videntes eadem divina essentia perfruuntur nec non quod ex tali visione et fruitione eorum animae qui iam decesserunt sunt vere beatae et habent vitam et requiem aeternam et erunt illorum, qui postea decedent, cum eandem divinam videbunt essentiam ipsaque perfruentur ante iudicium generale;

[7.] Such a vision and enjoyment of the divine essence does away with the acts of faith and hope in these souls, inasmuch as faith and hope are properly theological virtues. And after such intuitive and face-to-face vision and enjoyment has or will have begun for these souls, the same vision and enjoyment has continued and will continue without any interruption and without end until the last Judgment and from then on forever.

[7.] ac quod visio huiusmodi divinae essentiae eiusque fruitio, actus fidei et spei in eis evacuant, prout fides et spes proprie theologicae sunt virtutes; quodque postquam inchoata fuit vel erit talis intuitiva et facialis visio et fruitio in eisdem, eadem visio et fruitio sine aliqua intervisione seu evacuatione praedictae visionis et fruitionis continuata extitit et continuabitur usque ad finale iudicium et extunc usque in sempiternum.

(On hell and the general judgment)


[8.] Moreover we define that according to the general disposition of God, the souls of those who die in actual mortal sin go down into hell immediately (mox) after death and there suffer the pain of hell. Nevertheless, on the day of judgment all men will appear with their bodies “before the judgment seat of Christ” to give an account of their personal deeds, “so that each one may receive good or evil, according to what he has done in the body” (2 Cor. 5.10).

[8.] Diffinimus insuper, quod secundum communem Dei ordinationem animae decedentium in actuali mortali peccato mox post mortem suam ad Inferna descendunt, ubi poenis infernalibus cruciantur et quod nichilominus in die iudicii omnes nomine ante tribunal Christi cum suius corporibus comparebunt (II Cor 6,10), reddituri de factis propriis rationem, ut referat unusquisque propria corporis prout gessit sive bonum sive malum (II Cor 5,10), —

We establish that our definitions and determinations concerning the matters mentioned above are by this decree to be held by all the faithful. decernentes praedictas nostras diffinitiones seu determinationes et ipsarum singulas ab omnibus fidelibus esse tenendas.



[...] Dated from Avignon, February, the Fourth Kalend in the second year of Our pontificate [ i.e. January 29, 1336] [...] Datum Avinione, IV.kal. februarii, pont. nostri anno secundo.

MISSING TEXT (translation remains to be done]


[...] in his mercy, would not have left him, but, through Thy blessed apostles, disciples, and especially Peter and Paul on, and more particularly of the same of the Church the defenders, his gracious goodness, and continually in godliness, attend to it, in so far as, those same rulers guided, was, in itself, remain stable, was the foundation upon a strong rock, and all of the Christian faith, the worshipers, they obey what they are, to him, obey him, to him, which, under his teaching it confessedly live according to and, under his discipline and correction of the stand together, not even in them something taught as the improvident, it is grafted on without caution, in the faith, hazardous or to be thrown upon so as to turn aside the men from the evil, and do good, let them walk in the ways of the Lord (Jer. 31, 21), and for the better through holy desires to set trust just close rewarded with eternal life, afraid of bad hell endless tribulations are not removed because it is written, I am coming quickly, and my reward is with me, to give to each according to his work? (Rev. 3:11)

[2.] sua miseratione non deserit, sed per beatos apostolos suos, praecipue Petrum et Paulum, singularius eiusdem Ecclesiae defensores, pia benignitate et continua pietate custodit, quatenus, iisdem rectoribus gubernata, in se stabilis maneat, fundata supra firmam petram omnesque christianae fidei cultores illi oboediant, illi pareant, illi intendant, sub illius magisterio degant, sub eiusdem disciplina et correctione consistant, ne in illis aliquid dogmatizetur improvidum, inseratur incautum, in fide temerarium ingeratur sicque declinent homines a malo et faciant bonum, ambulent per vias rectas (Jerem. 31,21) et ad meliora per sancta desideria proficiscantur, sperent iustorum propinquas aeternae vitae retributiones, timeant malorum inferni perpetuas calamitates non remotas, nam scriptum est: Ecce venio cito et merces mea mecum est, reddere unicuique secundum opera sua? (Apoc. 3,11)

If it has been attempted by anyone, that soon his authority to additional penalties, as expedient, totally eradicated. For that, that in itself to stop others would restore the suffering of our Savior Jesus Christ, the Father of deflowering is reported to have said, Simon, Satan has asked for you to cribaret (yes!) As corn, I have prayed for thee, that thy faith , and you have turned again, strengthen your brothers’ (Lk. 22: 31-32).

[3.] Quodsi secus a quoquam fuerit attemptatum, id protinus sua auctoritate, poenis etiam adiectis, prout expedire viderit, prorsus evellat. Pro qua, ut in se ipsa subsisteret, alios reformaret, passionis suae tempore Salvator noster Iesus Christus Patrem exorasse perhibetur, dicens: Simon ecce sathanas expetivit vos, ut cribaret (sic!) sicuti triticum, ego autem pro te rogavi, ut non deficiat fides tua, et tu aliquando conversus, confirma fratres tuos (Lc. 22, 31-32).

Of course, a long time predecessor, John Pope, 22, our predecessor, including some, even in theological facilitate teachers to the vision of the souls of the just man after his death, in which nothing was purgation in this time period, or if it had been cleaned, it was with or divine essence before their being reunited, and the general judgment, and some others a matter of debate, some of them being negative, some positive, others, according to their imagination on the vision of the divine essence of the lives of such diverse and different ways to show all tried so far the writings of their own, and from what is known to some people. Over the rest of the truth of their own conflicts which it is here for the sake of brevity, I omit it, because they are below of us, with the determinations of will appear, between that they had also been at odds. And when our predecessor, to which one of the aforesaid determination of the business, on to the decision of concertationum the like to prepare himself and in his own Consistory and the public, as well his brethren with him, and of the holy Roman Church, to the Cardinals, of which number I at that time we were, which he has forbidden the prelates and masters in Theology, who are many happened to be there at that time in this life, and making the the strictest of all, and the command, to those to be set on the aforesaid matter of what the vision meant, when it would be required from him, deliberately, she said, that each one should be aware of, however, cut off by death, as to the Lord pleased, that did not succeed to accomplish.

[4.] Sane, dudum, tempore felicis recordationis Johannis papae XXII, praedecessoris nostri, inter nonnullos, etiam in theologica facilitate magistros, super visione animarum iustorum hominum post mortem suam, in quibus nichil erat purgabile cum de hoc saeculo decesserunt, vel si fuerat, iam purgatum erat ex toto, an divinam essentiam videant ante suorum corporum resumptionem, et iudicium generale, et super nonnullis aliis orta materia quaestionis, ipsorum aliqui negativam, aliqui affirmativam, alii vero secundum suas imaginationes de visione divinae essentiae ab animabus huiusmodi diversa et diversimode ostendere nitebantur, prout ex dictis et scriptis ipsorum noscitur apparere. Super reliquis vero suis concertationibus, quas hic brevitatis causa omittimus, quia infra ex Nostris determinationibus apparebunt, inter se etiam dissidebant. Cumque idem praedecessor, ad quem praedictorum determinatio pertinebat, ad decisionem concertationum huiusmodi se pararet in suo Consistorio publico, tam Fratribus suis, sacrosanctae Romanae Ecclesiae Cardinalibus, de quorum numero tunc eramus, quam Praelatis et magistris in Theologia, qui multi aderant tunc praesentes, iniungendo districtius et mandando, ut super materia de visione praedicta, quando requirerentur ab eo, deliberate unusquisque diceret quod sentiret, tamen morte praeventus, sicut Domino placuit, perficere id nequivit.

After the death of the predecessor of the above-mentioned, and to the divine condescension that raised up to the peak of the Supreme in the apostolate of the last assumption more carefully, paying attention to how many things from the foregoing and their disputations have not been paid of the souls under threat as much joy as from that time he could that offend, a gesture, so that by their truth is not to be open, and of the truth, being so solid, will be unknown, people is necessary before in the premises careful examination and a careful the cardinals of the holy Roman Church, with the deliberation of our Friars were called, of the Friars themselves of the advice of our,

[5.] Defuncto itaque praedecessore praefato, Nos divina dignatione ad apicem Summi Apostolatus assumpti, diligentius attendentes quanta ex praemissis et eorum concertationibus non solutis animarum imminerent pericula quantaque exinde possent scandala suboriri, ut ipsorum veritas pateat et veritatis soliditas innotescat, habita prius super praedictis sollicita examinatione et diligenti deliberatione cum Fratribus nostris dictae sacrosanctae Romanae Ecclesiae Cardinalibus, de ipsorum Fratrum nostrorum consilio,



And whoever shall be forward of the aforesaid, or of the determinations of our of definition is contrary to the values of both knowing it and obstinately to hold or individually, to assert, to preach, to teach, or to defend it by word or in writing and presumed to do so, the proceedings against him, as against the heretic in the accustomed way. -nulli permitted to infringe this page of our decision and regulation or boldly oppose.

[9.] Quicunque autem deinceps praedictarum nostrarum diffinitionum seu determinationum aut singularam ipsarum contrarium scienter et pertinaciter tenere, asserere, praedicare, docere aut defendere verbo vel scripto praesumpserit, contra eum sicut contra haereticum modo debito procedatur. -Nulli ergo omnino hominum liceat hanc paginam nostrae diffinitionis et Constitutionis infringere vel ei ausu temerario contraire.

But if anyone should presume to attempt this, he will incur anew the wrath of Almighty God and of His blessed Apostles Peter and Paul. Siquis autem hoc attemptare praesumpserit, indignationem Omnipotentis Dei et beatorum Petri et Pauli Apostolorum eius se noverit incursurum.


Datum Avinione, IV.kal. februarii, pont. nostri anno secundo.



— De Curia. A. Fabri



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