Question 290:

Who is the “Comforter” mentioned in John’s gospel chapter 16, verse 7? Where it is written: “But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away.  Unless I go away, the Comfort [or: Advocate] will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.”



The Greek original uses the word parákletos  = in English: “advocate”, “helper” and “comforter”.  In John’s Gospel this word describes the Holy Spirit. The following references may aid understanding:

John 16:8 - the Paraclete, which is the Holy Spirit sent by Jesus glorified will unite his testimony with the testimony of Jesus, John 3:11 so that the Savour’s justice becomes clear to all believers. 

John 16:9  The sin of the world is its unbelief (John 8:21.24.46; 15:22). The Paraclete will bring this sin to light.

John 16:10 The Paraclete, that is the Holy Spirit, will reveal that Jesus was right to call himself the “Son of God”, cf. John 10:33. The proof will be his “going” to the Father (John 13:1). This will reveal his heavenly origin and his divinity (John 6:62).

John 16:11  The paraclete, that is the Holy Spirit, will reveal the purpose of Jesus’s death - the defeat and conviction of the Prince of the World (= Satan). 

John 16:13 “What is to come”: The new order which arises from the death and resurrection of Jesus.

John 16:15  The paraclete, that is the Holy Spirit, will glorify Jesus be revealing the fullness of his mystery. Jesus himself glorifies the Father (John 17:4). The revelation is complete. It has its origins in the Father, it is effected through the Son and it is completed in the Holy Spirit to the glory of the Son and the Father.  


Please also see questions and answers 45 and 69 on our website:

See also the Catechism of the Catholic Church, No 691 - 701 ( “Names, Titles and Symbols of the Holy Spirit”. 

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