Here is a quote from St. Thomas Aquinas concerning St. John:
“Various things have been said about his burial. All agree, however, that he entered the sepulcher, which can still be seen. Some say that he entered living into the sepulcher and, by a divine grace, he left, being taken to the place where Enoch and Elias are, where he is reserved for the end of the world. Others, however, say that entering living into the sepulcher, which is in Ephesus, he lives sleeping in it until Jesus Christ will come. …
“This is not to be believed; since he died and was resurrected – in body as well. And the sign of this is that his body was not found and, thus, it is with the blessed with Christ” (2).
The famous Jesuit theologian Cornelius a Lapide says:
“As for the fact that St. John will return and will prophesize at the end of the world, there are serious Doctors from the past and even some in our time who are of this opinion” (3).
Cornelius a Lapide cites in particular St. Hippolyte, Ambrose Catarino, Salmeron and Barradio. According to these doctors, St. John, like Enoch and Elias, would not have died, but would have conserved his mortal body and will return to preach against the Antichrist, from whom he would suffer martyrdom.
And here is what St. Francis de Sales has to say concerning St. John:
“It is true that the Scripture teaches us in general terms that all men must die and that no one can be freed from death; but it does not say that all men are dead, nor that all those who lived have already died. And the contrary, it exempts some, like Elias, who, without dying was carried away by a chariot of fire, and Enoch, who was taken away by Our Lord before he suffered death, and even St. John the Evangelist, as I think to be most probable, according to the word of God (Jo.21:22)” (4).
There have been a number of studies on this matter throughout Church History, but I believe these few quotes shown above are sufficient to prove that prominent theologians of the Church believe St. John is alive.
St. John, the faithful witness of orthodoxy
The faithful are suffering greatly in the increasing chaos that has an official landmark in Vatican II. The changes in the teachings, Sacraments and ceremonies are causing such confusion that some are beginning to doubt that the Apostolic Succession of Bishops is still effective.
I believe the presence of St. John as “the bishop” in the Knock Apparition is a message of maternal consolation for our time. It is as if Our Lady were saying: “Your Mother is here, my children, do not be afraid. I well know the fallen condition of the Papacy and the shepherds charged by My Son to ’feed My sheep’ (Jn 21:21-25). Behold my son John at my side. A faithful Bishop remains. All things will be restored in Christ.”
Our Lady of Knock, pray for us.
Testimony of Mary McLoughlin, one of the 15 official witnesses