The concept of ‘katechon,’ which Carl Schmitt talks about especially in his book The Nomos of the Earth, is taken from a passage in Paul’s Letter to the Thessalonians. What Paul means by this enigmatic expression is a historical or spiritual power that holds back the arrival of the Antichrist, thereby delaying it. But in doing so, the katechon also delays the Second Coming of Christ (parousia) and the final triumph of Good over Evil. By containing within itself the evil that it opposes, the katechon is a classic figure of political theology. It is difficult to identify the historical subject of the katechon: it may refer to the Roman Empire but also to the Church. In our current state of globalization, the katechon can be recognized in a unification of the world based on its division between a wealthy, dominant part and a poor, subordinate part.
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