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In the order of creation, angels are above man because they are pure spirit and immortal. Animals are below man because they are pure flesh, and fully mortal. Man is a hybrid creature, with both a mortal incarnate body and an immortal spiritual soul.
The human soul is made for life in heaven. When our body dies, if God has said to us, Mt 25:34 “Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world,” our soul will enter heaven. It will be our very same self, complete with experiences, memories, and particularly the love for God and neighbor that we were taught in earthly life. The soul in heaven is as happy as it can be, yet it is oriented toward a body and eagerly awaits our own glorified body, which we will receive in heaven at the time of the Second Coming.
From the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2nd ed. p. 900 The spiritual principle of human beings. The soul is the subject of human consciousness and freedom; soul and body together form one unique human nature. Each human soul is individual and immortal, immediately created by God. The soul does not die with the body, from which it is separated by death, and with which it will be reunited in the final resurrection (363, 366; cf. 1703).
From Father Hardon’s Modern Catholic Dictionary, p. 514 The spiritual immortal part in a human being that animates his body. Though a substance in itself, the soul is naturally ordained toward a body. Separated, it is an incomplete substance. The soul has no parts, it is therefore simple, but it is not without accidents. The faculties are its proper accidents. Every experience adds to its accidental form. It is individually created for each person by God and infused into the body at the time of human insemination. It is moreover created in respect to the body it will inform, so that the substance of bodily features and of mental characteristics insofar as they depend on organic functions is safeguarded. As a simple and spiritual substance the soul cannot die. Yet it is not the total human nature, since a human person is composed of body animated by the soul. In philosophy, animals and plants are also said to have souls, which operate as sensitive and vegetative principles of life. Unlike the human spirit, these souls are perishable. The rational soul contains all the powers of the two other souls and is the origin of the sensitive and vegetative functions in the human being.
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