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What is the official opinion of the Catholic Church on works of Emanuel Swedenborg, especially Heaven and Hell?

I'm interested in the opinion of the Catholic Church, but any others will be also appreciated.

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More info from Catholic Encyclopedia –  Peter Turner Sep 20 '11 at 14:47

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

I'm not aware of anything the Catholic Church has said specifically about Emanuel Swedenborg, but from my quick read of the two linked wikipedia articles, it seems many of his teachings are direct contradictions of Catholic teachings.

For example, Swedenborg claims that there is marriage in heaven; a view not supported by Catholic teaching and contradictory to scripture.

Matthew 22:30
At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.

God cannot contradict himself. The Bible is the word of God. Thus, God cannot have revealed to Swedenborg that there is marriage in heaven since to do so would contradict the Bible. This leaves us with the conclusion that Swedenborg's revelations were not from God.

Now, just because is revelations aren't from God doesn't mean there's not some truth in them. For example, "According to Swedenborg, God is love itself. and intends everyone to go to heaven." aligns perfectly with Catholic teaching.

In conclusion, while there is some truth in the works of Swedenborg, the Catholic Church would most likely condemn them as heresy.

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Thank you, your argument about marriage is serious. But "marry" or "be given in marriage" is not the same as already "be in marriage". Also he wrote "married pair in heaven are not called two, but one angel". But in the same time he wrote that "angels therefore are of both sexes" and that is really strange. I'm not sure about a source, but I have read that angels have a spiritual nature, thus they are asexual. –  Max Gontar Sep 21 '11 at 11:26
@Max As far as I'm aware, all wedding vows contain the phrase "till death do us part". This illustrates the Catholic teaching that the marriage bond is dissolved upon the death of one of the spouses. Thus, no human enters heaven already "in marriage". –  karategeek6 Sep 21 '11 at 14:42
@Max Angels, according to the Catholic Church, are not of both sexes, but rather have no gender. First, it is important to note that "'Angel' is the name of their office, not their nature". The name of their nature is spirit. As pure spirits angels have no bodies and hence cannot have genders. We will retain genders in heaven because we will retain our bodies. We will not be pure spirits. –  karategeek6 Sep 21 '11 at 14:42
Jesus was speaking of the marriage of faith and charity and how this marriage must happen on earth and not after death. He spoke in parables, and this description of the afterlife is parabolic just like all his other stories. –  user809 Oct 2 '11 at 15:35
@Travis: Welcome to Christianity.SE! Your response appears to be intended as a response to Karategeek6's answer, and not to the question, so I've converted it to a comment. –  Mason Wheeler Oct 2 '11 at 17:02

Heavenly Matrimony

Among the many doctrines of the Christian faith, one of the most important for Swedenborg concerns the meaning of holy marriage. Men and women are inclined for "conjunction into one" as part of God's plan for creation. However, there are two kinds of marriage:.the natural or biological kind and the spiritual. Swedenborg stresses the significance of the higher type. Man was created by God to understand truth, whereas woman was created to be an affection of good. Thus spiritual marriage refers to the masculine understanding of truth united with feminine goodness. The male represents the wisdom of love and the female symbolises the love of wisdom. The holiness of marriage is derived from their union.

As man is born intellectual and woman is created affectional, when male and female become one, their union signifies man in his fullness. To use Swedenborg's language, when earthly marriages come from love of goodness and truth, the kingdom of the Lord on earth corresponds to His kingdom in heaven. Marriage originates with God, fills humans with heavenly love and makes them in the image of the Lord.

When God's goodness and truth flow down to the human level, the minds of men and women become united. As these divine energies reach the physical level, marriages take place. Sexual love belongs to the natural man and conjugal love to the spiritual man. Higher than the biological desires is conjugal love, which cements internal relationships and provides spiritual satisfactions.

So far Swedenborg has not gone far from the usual Christian doctrine of marriage. However, he does just this when he argues for the continuance of the married estate to the afterlife, in contrast to the usual interpretation of Jesus' words that heaven is free of sexuality, Swedenborg points out that even angels are sexual. Thus, there are marriages in heaven corresponding to those on earth. Heavenly marriage refers to the happy union of male understanding and female will. In heaven a married couple become so interrelated that they are called one angel rather than two. Spiritual nuptials take place on earth and are continued in the afterlife. However, the union of husband and wife in heaven does not produce more offspring but rather procreation of more love and truth.

When a husband and wife die they meet in heaven and live together for a time. If their reunion is one of sympathy and concord, they remain together. However, if not, they discontinue their conjugal life. Separations occur because many earthly marriages are entered into for purely external reasons. Hence in heaven there is an opportunity to unite with truly suitable partners. Men and women in heaven therefore become young again so that they can fully enjoy the delights of a marriage for the love of good and truth with each other.

According to Swedenborg, conjugal love is the highest kind of relationship because it expands the innermost things of both mind and body. In heaven there is no domination of one partner by the other. Husband and wife experience the joy of mutual sharing, and delights exceed all others. Thus, genuine conjugal love is an image of heaven.

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It would be better if you specify which denomination's opinion you are giving or is it your personal opinion. //As man is born intellectual and woman is created affectional// is not a Catholic view, I guess. –  Jayarathina Madharasan Aug 25 '13 at 8:39

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