According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
675 Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. (Cf. Lk 18:8; Mt 24:12) The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth (Cf. Lk 21:12; Jn 15:19-20) will unveil the “mystery of iniquity” in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh. (Cf. 2 Thess 2:4-12; 1 Thess 5:2-3; 2 Jn 7; 1 Jn 2:18,22)
So, it is clear that for Catholics the Antichrist does not refer to a certain person but a group of persons or a movement. Let us examine closely in the Scriptures if this is true according to the Letters of John.
The Five Characteristics of the Antichrist
- The Antichrist is not one person but many. “Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that the antichrist was coming, so now many antichrists have appeared. Thus we know this is the last hour.” (1 John 2:18) This verse proves that the Pope is not an Antichrist. And as per the catechism, the Antichrist refers to a movement (pseudo-messianism) and does not refer to a single person.
- They or their founders were once Catholics. “They went out from us, but they were not really of our number; if they had been, they would have remained with us. Their desertion shows that none of them was of our number.” (1 John 2:19) This verse proves that the Antichrist is not inside the Catholic Church.
- They will be teaching lies. “Who is the liar? Whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Whoever denies the Father and the Son, this is the antichrist. No one who denies the Son has the Father, but whoever confesses the Son has the Father as well.” (1 John 2:22-25)
- They do not acknowledge the person and mission of Christ. “Beloved, do not trust every spirit but test the spirits to see whether they belong to God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can know the Spirit of God: every spirit that acknowledges Jesus Christ come in the flesh be longs to God, and every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus does not belong to God. This is the spirit of the antichrist that, as you heard, is to come, but in fact is already in the world.” (1 John 4:1-3)
- They do not abide in the teaching of Christ. “Many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh; such is the deceitful one and the antichrist. Look to yourselves that you do not lose what we worked for but may receive a full recompense. Anyone who is so “progressive” as not to remain in the teaching of the Christ does not have God; whoever remains in the teaching has the Father and the Son.” (2 John 1:7-9)
In short, Antichrists are those who reject Christ’s teachings and left Catholicism behind and now teaching lies about a different Christ.
The Catholic Church, from 33 AD until now, has continue to exist because she keeps what she heard from the mouth of Jesus and the apostles. There is no way the Catholic Church or the Pope or any of her members could be the Antichrist as per the definitions we read in the Letter of John.
Catholics’ responsibilities as per New Testament Writers
Per Saint John, with God’s help we should conquer or overcome them. “You belong to God, children, and you have conquered them, for the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They belong to the world; accordingly, their teaching belongs to the world, and the world listens to them. We belong to God, and anyone who knows God listens to us, while anyone who does not belong to God refuses to hear us. This is how we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of deceit.” (1 John 4:4-6)
Per Saint John, we should not receive them in our houses. “If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him in your house or even greet him; for whoever greets him shares in his evil works.” (2 John 1:7-11)
Per Saint Paul, we should instruct them with pure love from the heart. “I repeat the request I made of you when I was on my way to Macedonia, that you stay in Ephesus to instruct certain people not to teach false doctrines or to concern themselves with myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the plan of God that is to be received by faith. The aim of this instruction is love from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith. The aim of this instruction is love from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith.” (1 Timothy 1:3-5)
Per Saint Jude, we should save others by snatching them out of the fire. “But you, beloved, remember the words spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, for they told you, “In (the) last time there will be scoffers who will live according to their own godless desires.” These are the ones who cause divisions; they live on the natural plane, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, build yourselves up in your most holy faith; pray in the holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in the love of God and wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. On those who waver, have mercy; save others by snatching them out of the fire; on others have mercy with fear, abhorring even the outer garment stained by the flesh.” (1 Jude 1:17-23)
Per Saint Peter, we should keep the commandments of the Lord. “I am trying to stir up your sincere disposition, to recall the words previously spoken by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and savior through your apostles. Know this first of all, that in the last days scoffers will come (to) scoff, living according to their own desires and saying, “Where is the promise of his coming?” (2 Peter 3:1-4)