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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

The main issue the Catholic Church will probably have with Emanuel Swedenborg is that the doctrines revealed to him does not describe the Trinity as three distinct persons, but rather as different aspects of the Divine in the one person Jesus Christ. According to the revelations, the Trinity of three distinct persons was not known in the early church, and the apostles would have been surprised to see how Christianity developed in the way that it did. According to Swedenborg, the Trinity of three distinct persons was an invention of men to counter Arianism (that Jesus was a created being), but in so fighting against the Arian heresy they put something just as bad in its place.

As for the above comments on marriage, that is in fact a minor point, as Jesus was probably talking against the belief of an actual physical resurrection in a regular human body. Moreeover, at death many couples do separate, in the afterlife many find their true "soul mate."

Other than that, the Catholic Church may attempt to remain "neutral" on Swedenborg, as the revelations given to him speak out strongly against the "faith alone" doctrine of the Protestants. His theological writings show in detail that the Protestant reformers not only misinterpreted the writings of the apostle Paul, but this doctrine was made central by the Protestants to help ensure that their churches would remain separate from the Catholic Church. Swedenborg does speak favorably, however, on their making scripture the source of spiritual truth.

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