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Friend is interested in Catholicism, but his great love in life is weird pet theories (something I'm sure many of you can sympathize with).

One of his weird pet theories is that the end times plays out like this:

1)Tribulation of believers
2)Rapture of all but a couple believers who are strategically left behind
3)Tribulation of unbelievers (and those couple left behind believers)
4)Everybody either dies in the crazy world, or becomes a true believer (or both).
5) Jesus comes down to our now radically transformed and perfected Earth, (an Earth visibly and dramatically different from before) to dwell with us as God, for 1000 years.
6) The Eschaton gets even better after that, in the New Heavens and New Earth.

Now, this is obviously peculiar. But when he's married a theory, he will never divorce. It is easier to list conspiracy theories in which he does not  believe, than those in which he does. (He is extremely brilliant, but I don't know if he's psychologically capable of leaving theories behind).

CCC 676 says that the Church rejects millenarianism, and its citation just says that it "cannot safely be taught," but the citation does not seem to declare the position heretical. Even the CCC in that passage seems to condemn the thesis when it would involve "realiz[ing] the messianic hope within history," and it would seem to me that steps 5 and 6 of my friend's pet theory are beyond history.

Can he be Catholic and keep the odd end-times theory?
Your friend is interested in Catholicism; great!

I wouldn't worry too much about this pet theory, and instead get him to focus on fully embracing Catholicism with an open mind. Once he discovers the beauty in the Truth that is the Faith, he may just drop this goofy chiliast views.

I joined RCIA with the mindset that "Luther was still a saint", well it wasn't long til I went from that to "Eh, he got it wrong." to "He got a lot wrong and was bad." to "The man was possessed by demons and was an arch-heretic!"

If the Truth is your goal, you will find that what you find to be true isn't so and is easier to reject it. Get him to go full in the faith and learn to start praying the Rosary daily.
I agree with AB. The best thing to do when people have attachments (and we all do, whether it's a pet theory on the intellectual level or a personal sin on the affective level, etc.) is to just get them to take a step in the right direction, a foot in the door, and let God's grace work as much as possible. Everyone probably has a dozen or more beliefs or opinions that are at odds with systematic theology, and the old joke is that a priest preaching on Trinity Sunday will unintentionally but inevitably say at least three heretical things about the Trinity.

But to answer your actual question, beats me, but I think God is big enough to dance with any of our pet theories. ;)
(01-31-2020, 01:20 PM)austenbosten Wrote: [ -> ]Your friend is interested in Catholicism; great!

I wouldn't worry too much about this pet theory, and instead get him to focus on fully embracing Catholicism with an open mind.  Once he discovers the beauty in the Truth that is the Faith, he may just drop this goofy chiliast views.

I joined RCIA with the mindset that "Luther was still a saint", well it wasn't long til I went from that to "Eh, he got it wrong." to "He got a lot wrong and was bad." to "The man was possessed by demons and was an arch-heretic!"

If the Truth is your goal, you will find that what you find to be true isn't so and is easier to reject it.  Get him to go full in the faith and learn to start praying the Rosary daily.

Not bad advice.

But you know, if you thought "Luther was still [kinda] a saint," and couldn't let it go (because you had real psychological issues) you could still be Catholic. You'd defs be wrong, but you'd be a good Catholic with a weird opinion.

Partially out of intellectual curiosity, partially cuz I think he just can't let it go, is his extremely improbable theory utterly incompatible with Catholicism?
(01-31-2020, 01:45 PM)19405 Wrote: [ -> ]Not bad advice.

But you know, if you thought "Luther was still [kinda] a saint," and couldn't let it go (because you had real psychological issues) you could still be Catholic. You'd defs be wrong, but you'd be a good Catholic with a weird opinion.

Partially out of intellectual curiosity, partially cuz I think he just can't let it go, is his extremely improbable theory utterly incompatible with Catholicism?

Well yes, but that was not my point. My point was if he is open, God will correct his erroneous beliefs.

I do not know if the Church ever explicitly condemned what I presume to be dispensationalist chiliasm, but given these theories come from Protestants who already have dubious and disordered views and approaches to exegesis, I wouldn't say that you would be a "bad" Catholic, but you would be a misinformed one most likely.
"...if he is open, God will correct his erroneous beliefs."

I would like to think so, but he is not right in his mind in many ways. 

He is really great, and extremely intelligent, but he is a little bit crazy.

Anyway, thank you, and if you would pray for him, I would greatly appreciate it.
(01-31-2020, 03:17 PM)19405 Wrote: [ -> ]"...if he is open, God will correct his erroneous beliefs."

I would like to think so, but he is not right in his mind in many ways. 

He is really great, and extremely intelligent, but he is a little bit crazy.

Anyway, thank you, and if you would pray for him, I would greatly appreciate it.

I understand, but you don't want to risk turning him away from the Faith just on account that he is strongly attached to Hal Lindsey chiliasm.

All people have their attachments and if they find themselves so strongly attached to their personal idols, they will leave on their own accord (for example many people with attachments to Lust will leave the Faith for a brand of Anglican heresy), but at least you didn't do anything to dissuade them to enter the narrow gate because they weren't perfect Catholics before entering into the Body of Christ.