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Chapter 8. The Saving Death and Resurrection of Christ • 93

Neither all Jews indiscriminately at that time, nor Jews today,

can be charged with the crimes committed during his Passion.

. . . [T]he Jews should not be spoken of as rejected or accursed

as if this followed from holy Scripture. (CCC, no. 597; cit-

ing Second Vatican Council,

Declaration on the Relation of

the Church to Non-Christian Religions


Nostra Aetate

; NA],

no. 4)

The Apostles’ Creed professes that after his death and burial, Jesus

descended into hell. In the language of the early Church, this meant that

Jesus went into the realm of the dead, from which he called out all the

just people who had lived before him to enter with him into the glory

of the Kingdom of Heaven. A popular icon of the Eastern Churches pic-

tures the risen Jesus with his hands reaching into the realm of the dead

to draw out Adam and Eve.

In his human soul united to his divine person, the dead Christ

went down into the realm of the dead. He opened Heaven’s

gates for the just who had gone before him. (CCC, no. 637)


Christ’s Resurrection is an object of faith in that it is

a transcendent intervention of God himself in creation

and history.

—CCC, no. 648

When we speak of the Paschal Mystery, we refer to Christ’s death and

Resurrection as one inseparable event. It is a mystery because it is a vis-

ible sign of an invisible act of God. It is paschal because it is Christ’s

passing through death into new life. For us it means that we can now

die to sin and its domination of our lives, and we pass over into divine

life already here on earth and more completely in heaven. Death is con-

quered in the sense that not only do our souls survive physical death, but

even our bodies will rise again at the end of time at the Last Judgment

and resurrection of the dead.