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Saint Bonaventure

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  1. This article has much, much more on the topic, but this is a decent description of private revelation from a Catholic perspective: IV. Private Revelation 1. The formal concept. A negative definition is possible. Private revelation is genuine revelation which is not addressed (directly) to the Church but to an individual. It imposes no obligation of belief on all. It is not given to the Church to be preserved and preached. Such private revelation is possible at all times. But it is usually only the object of theological reflection when it occurs within the Church. To deny the fundamental possibility of private revelation, one would have to be prepared to maintain that all revelation is impossible—which would be equivalent to a denial of Christianity—or that no revelation is conceivable except in a community and for a community. But this would not do justice to the importance of the salvation of the individual as such, and would be a failure to recognize that even “public” (ecclesiastical) revelation must be given to definite individuals (prophets, apostles). Further, the tradition and practice of the Church (in devotions, prophetic figures in the Church, acknowledged mystics) presuppose the existence of genuine private revelation. Then again, the “closing” of (public) revelation (“since the death of the apostles”) must not be taken to mean that since then, in contrast to former times, the attitude of God to individual and collective history is silent and aloof. The “closing” of revelation indicates the absolute supremacy and permanent normative character of the Christ-event, which remains to produce new fruits of the Spirit in the Church. To accept in principle the possibility of private revelation is not to deny, but rather to affirm, that it always is a “child of its times”. It may appear today in a very different way, less spectacular and visionary, which may indeed be a criterion of its genuineness. For any given private revelation is always—as experience shows, in Scripture and in the Church—a synthesis in which the character of the recipient, as determined historically (theologically, culturally, etc.) and psychologically (or para-psychologically), is fused with the mystical or normal grace given to him in the depths of his existence. Hence one cannot exclude the possibility of illusions, misinterpretations and distortions even where there is genuine private revelation according to the ordinary criteria by which mystical phenomena are judged. In particular, the “visionary” element in private revelations has in fact very clearly a “contemporary style”. The “genuineness” of a private revelation is a very variable quantity. 2. The Church and private revelations. That a revelation is “private” need not mean that it can have absolutely no relevance to the Church. Many examples from Church history (e.g., Joan of Arc, Catharine of Sienna, Margaret Mary Alacoque, Lourdes, etc.) show that it can be of public importance. But where private revelation makes itself felt in the Church as a prophetic impulse, it must stay within the framework of the general revelation given to the Church, though this does not mean that the private revelation may not contain an imperative with a “new” direction. For private revelation, the magisterium of the Church is at least the negative norm (and often perhaps nothing more). Such revelations may be treated critically with regard to their human elements, even though they are fundamentally acceptable. Their relevance may be restricted to given places, times and groups in the Church. Indeed, one must reckon seriously with the fact that private revelations of ecclesiastical import—as prophetic directives and imperatives to the Church in a given situation—may be proclaimed in the Church—and be more important than others—without seeing themselves as private revelations, because less linked with visionary or parapsychological side-effects than other or earlier ones. (The theological and ecclesiastical nature of a private revelation can perhaps be rendered more purely in the figure of John XXIII or the Populorum Progressio of Paul VI than in the visions of a nun who proclaims a new devotion.) Theological reflection on the “contemporary style” of future private revelation is still lacking. A theology of private revelation would have to study it within the framework of the charismatic element in the Church. Norbert Schiffers, Karl Rahner, and Heinrich Fries, “Revelation,” ed. Adolf Darlap, Sacramentum Mundi: An Encyclopedia of Theology (New York; London: Burns & Oates; Herder and Herder, 1968–1970), 358–359.
  2. It's easy to say now, but Tim Ballard has been flying red flags for a long time. The grandiosity, the evidence of risk-taking behaviors, there's a lot there. The Church leader President Russell Ballard--not so much. He seems like someone who keeps his cards close to his vest, and this is common for people with authority and public responsibility. While he might have made a bad decision or two with regard to Tim Ballard, I am very skeptical that there is any kind of culpability for President Russell Ballard.
  3. Here's a little from the Anchor Bible on this: 1:1. In the beginning. In the Hebrew Bible the first book (Genesis) is named by its opening words, “In the beginning”; therefore, the parallel between the Prologue and Genesis would be easily seen. The parallel continues into the next verses, where the themes of creation and light and darkness are recalled from Genesis. John’s translation of the opening phrase of Gen 1:1, which is the same as that of LXX, reflects an understanding of that verse evidently current in NT times; it does not necessarily give us the original meaning intended by the author of Genesis. E. A. Speiser (The Anchor Bible, vol. 1) translates: “When God set about to create heaven and earth …” beginning. This is not, as in Genesis, the beginning of creation, for creation comes in vs. 3. Rather the “beginning” refers to the period before creation and is a designation, more qualitative than temporal, of the sphere of God. Note how the Gospel of Mark opens: “The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ [the Son of God] …” was the Word. Since Chrysostom’s time, commentators have recognized that each of the three uses of “was” in vs. 1 has a different connotation: existence, relationship, and predication respectively. “The Word was” is akin to the “I am” statements of Jesus in the Gospel proper (see App. IV). There can be no speculation about how the Word came to be, for the Word simply was. in God’s presence. We attempt here and in vs. 2 a rendering that will capture the ambiguity of the Gr. pros ton theon. Two basic translations have been proposed: (a) “with God”=accompaniment. BDF, § 2391, points out that although pros with the accusative usually implies motion, it is sometimes used in the sense of accompaniment, according to the general weakening in Hellenistic Greek of the distinction between prepositions of motion and of localization, e.g., between eis and en. The idea of pre-creation accompaniment appears in John 17:5: “that glory which I had with you [para] before the world existed.” See the alternate reading of 7:29. (b) “towards God”=relationship. In an article in Bib 43 (1962), 366–87, De la Potterie has argued strongly that the dynamic sense of eis and pros is not lost in John’s Greek. He insists that when John uses pros and the accusative, it does not mean accompaniment. He points (pp. 380 ff.) to vs. 18, which forms an inclusion with vs. 1, and the expression found there eis ton kolpon (literally, “into the Father’s bosom,” or as we translate, “ever at the Father’s side”). The argument that he draws from vs. 18 for the dynamic interpretation of the pros in vs. 1, however, depends on the dynamic use of eis in vs. 18, and this is disputed. An argument is also drawn from 1 John 1:2, “… this eternal life such as it was in the Father’s presence [pros ton patera].” Yet, since the subject of this sentence is “life,” communion rather than relationship seems to be implied. Comparisons between John and I John on the basis of vocabulary present difficulty, for the same words appear in the two works with slightly different nuances. Our own view is that there is a nuance of relationship in John 1:1b, but without the precision of that relationship between the Word and God the Father that some would see, e.g., filiation. God’s presence. The article is used with theos here. When the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are involved, ho theos is frequently used for God the Father (2 Cor 13:13). Verse 18, the inclusion with vs. 1, speaks of the Father, as does the parallel just mentioned in 1 John 1:2. By emphasizing the relationship between the Word and God the Father, vs. 1b at the same time implicitly distinguishes them. was God. Vs. 1c has been the subject of prolonged discussion, for it is a crucial text pertaining to Jesus’ divinity. There is no article before theos as there was in 1b. Some explain this with the simple grammatical rule that predicate nouns are generally anarthrous (BDF, § 273). However, while theos is most probably the predicate, such a rule does not necessarily hold for a statement of identity as, for instance, in the “I am …” formulae (John 11:25, 14:6—with the article). To preserve in English the different nuance of theos with and without the article, some (Moffatt) would translate, “The Word was divine.” But this seems too weak; and, after all, there is in Greek an adjective for “divine” (theios) which the author did not choose to use. Haenchen, p. 31338, objects to this latter point because he thinks that such an adjective smacks of literary Greek not in the Johannine vocabulary. The NEB paraphrases the line: “What God was, the Word was”; and this is certainly better than “divine.” Yet for a modern Christian reader whose trinitarian background has accustomed him to thinking of “God” as a larger concept than “God the Father,” the translation “The Word was God” is quite correct. This reading is reinforced when one remembers that in the Gospel as it now stands, the affirmation of 1:1 is almost certainly meant to form an inclusion with 20:28, where at the end of the Gospel Thomas confesses Jesus as “My God” (ho theos mou). These statements represent the Johannine affirmative answer to the charge made against Jesus in the Gospel that he was wrongly making himself God (10:33, 5:18). Nevertheless, we should recognize that between the Prologue’s “The Word was God” and the later Church’s confession that Jesus Christ was “true God of true God” (Nicaea), there was marked development in terms of philosophical thought and a different problematic. Raymond E. Brown, The Gospel according to John (I–XII): Introduction, Translation, and Notes, vol. 29, Anchor Yale Bible (New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 2008), 4–5.
  4. I love this! These Norbertines have been receiving a little media attention of late. The whole, flee the corruption of the cities and find God in the desert has parallels with Moses, Elijah, Jesus, and the desert fathers of the 3rd century. More acute to today's culture, though, is there might be a revival of men in religious orders afoot, in part due to the ridiculous state of the culture when it comes to men and women.
  5. I will do this. I'm on the run today, but I'll choose a few passages and respond when I can catch my breath. My digital library has all of the main English versions.
  6. I do not enjoy the KJV's translation of Paul's letters. I think that the KJV is a major source of confusion around Paul.
  7. Whoa. A Monty Python reference!
  8. I read your take; very interesting. Do you believe that the references to Reformed Egyptian, and to the professor supposedly authenticating the Book of Mormon characters, contribute to the word-for-word tendency that some have as they consider the Book of Mormon?
  9. Appoint someone to be an inquisitor. It will take care of itself from there.
  10. Thanks for responding; I'll try to clarify. I think you're right that your LDS background is coming through, so to speak. And this is an important area of belief. Specifically, I think there are fundamental differences between Latter-day Saints and Catholics in their understandings of God. This is why I keep asking questions on the board about God having a body, etc., because for Catholics, God is Creator, and is beyond space and time. This is fundamental to Catholic understandings of the Creation and the Incarnation, to name just two vital areas of belief. When I say that God is beyond space and time, I'm implying that God is a category of one ("A" or "Creator" if you will), and that everything else is in another category ("Non-A" or "Creation"). This is a way of saying that God can do all things that can be done, and that God is not beholden to any rules or laws. When Latter-day Saints discuss the possibility of God being beholden to some laws, I want to point to those laws and say something like, "those laws that you're referring to suggest that God isn't the ultimate authority in your framework. If you move toward those laws, you're moving in the direction of God being all powerful in a sense that Catholics can discuss with you." I believe the old question about "Can God create a rock too heavy for God to lift?" is a logical fallacy. Specifically, I believe it presumes incompatible categories. Support for the idea that the Creator is beyond Creation is often found in Colossians 1:15-17: In Romans 9: In Isaiah 64: And is also embedded in the idea of Creation ex nihilo. I'm not giving an exhaustive treatment here. I value the skeptical approach, and have some very dear skeptics in my life. I'm also not someone who wants to reinforce the "believer vs. skeptic" polarization that happens so frequently, and very angrily, in social media, on message boards, on the street corner, etc. I'd enjoy discussing the issues you mention with you.
  11. I read the links Calm posted and have a few thoughts that might help folks who struggle with Paul: I think a case can be made that 1 Cor. 14:33-35 and 1 Tim 2:12 only indicate that women should not be homilists in the liturgical assembly. Paul is repeated and effusive in his appreciation of women--of Phoebe, Lydia, and Priscilla. He is not opposed to women praying and prophesying in the liturgical assembly (1 Cor. 11), or to older women teaching younger women (Titus 2). Perhaps some difficulty with Paul for Latter-day Saints arises from a gendered division of labor that is specific to the LDS context. I don't know of any evidence that in the early Christian Church all males held priesthood offices. There is evidence of Bishops, Priests/Elders, and Deacons, and some flexibility with such as the churches gradually take shape (some early churches were led by a Bishop, others are referenced as having Elders--presbyteros, from which the word priest is derived), but I am unaware of any authoritative source that indicates that all males were to be bishops, priests, or deacons. To the contrary, there is evidence of certain men being ordained to such, and there is evidence of a liturgical framework that supports this practice of selective ordination. There is also evidence of the Royal Priesthood held by all Church members, male and female, without ordination but with the sacrament of baptism (1 Peter 2). The selective ordination model makes sense in terms of having a male homilist in the liturgical assembly. It also doesn't create a liturgical assembly where the men do all the holy, sacramental work and the women are forbidden to do such. A few men are doing the sacramental work, but all the other men participate just as the women do. The men vs women, team "p" versus team "v" thing isn't all that acute. Some have no doubt already done this, but if you haven't gone to a modern translation to understand Paul you should. I think it's a must. The classic translations, like the King James and the Douay-Rheims, have a beautiful dignity, but they are a serious barrier to understanding Paul. When it comes to Paul, the RSV, ESV, and NRSV are all much clearer than are the classic translations. I have many commentaries on Paul and can share. Here is a quote from the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible regarding 1 Cor. 14:33-35. It substantiates my assertion that Paul's prescription may only apply to the circumstance of homilist:
  12. I don't speak for Trent or for any other person you may be referring to, but for a Catholic it is not controversial to believe that God is sovereign over all creation. If I may, respectfully, ask a couple of questions: Do you believe that God cannot "intervene and do things in different ways such as reversing entropy"? Do you not believe in God?
  13. Thanks for sharing your interesting thoughts, and particularly as regarding the "as far as it is translated correctly" phrase. I'll continue our conversation in pieces so that others can jump in too, and so that my own comments are less of a jumble. We may not need a technical discussion of 'translation,' although this seems to be an area where Latter-day Saints share the word 'translation' with others and then have their own dictionary--or dictionaries--for its meaning. I'm not suggesting that you conform your use of the word to my expectation; I only request that you continue to clarify so that we can better understand one another. What you've described as Joseph Smith Jr's intent, and your citation in the Book of Mormon as evidence of his intent, has several thoughts percolating for me: When you describe Joseph Smith Jr's notion of translation as being by "the gift and power of God," you seem to be asserting that for Joseph Smith 'translation' goes beyond the words of a text to an intention that transcends the text (and whether that text were words were on the Golden Plates, on the Book of Abraham Scrolls, or in a version of the Bible, etc.). If I'm following you, what you're describing is similar to translation by dynamic equivalence--idea to idea more than word to word--with a significant difference being that Joseph Smith Jr. was not limited by the words of the text which he was translating. Instead, he could work from the truths that were intended, truths that transcended the words either in the original texts or lost in compromised copies over the centuries, and then he would put those transcendent truths into words. I believe that one important area of disagreement is in the area of Sacred Scripture. I take you to be indicating that the Bible was in need of translation by Joseph Smith Jr., and specifically that the transcendent truths that were obscured by the Bible's words, or by corrupt priests who tampered with the Bible's texts, needed Joseph Smith Jr's translation in order to be present or clearly manifest. I'm drawing an implication that, for you, the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith Jr's other revelations are superior to the Bible because they were translated in the manner you've described, but the Bible was not so translated. I'm drawing an implication that Joseph Smith Jr's translation of the Bible was intended to introduce truths Joseph knew to be intended based on the Book of Mormon and his own revelations, but that there is some dispute about Joseph Smith's Jr's translation being completed. I've heard so many different understandings of translation from LDS folks that I won't assume that your understanding is general. Some LDS folks seem to be thinking of 'transmission' more than 'translation.' I think I'm understanding you. To no one's shock I'm not keen on Martin Luther's version. I'm interpreting your comments as indicating that the ASV contributed to a changing notion of "as far as it is translated correctly." Specifically, I believe you are indicating that there has been slippage from the definition of translation that you've described to something that found the ASV wanting in comparison with the KJV. Again, thanks for the conversation. I'll address your other points as I have time to do so.
  14. I may be misunderstanding, but for LDS is there a direct connection between "dressing modestly" and "dressing so as not to be alluring"? I mean "alluring" in a romantic sense. I'm trying to keep this description site appropriate. I say this because I don't think that the Bible verses often deployed in the name of modesty--Isaiah 3, 1 Tim. 2, etc.--are primarily about being alluring. I think "alluring" can be there in some sense, but these passages seem to me to be more about not dressing and adorning in a way that exalts the self, that is flamboyant, that is drawing excessive attention, that is exhibiting wealth etc. In that sense, a man wearing a $4k suit and tie may not be dressing modestly. I'll add that the white shirt and tie thing feels very Protestant to me. I say this knowing that there have been Catholic church meetings that have had courtly church dress and so on, but the white shirt and tie thing? It seems very Victorian and more generally European, and a thing that emerged over the last few centuries and that was reinforced by the business class in the 20th century. When you offer Mass every day, there's a certain acceptance of people coming dressed as they are. In my parish we try to dress respectfully because our dress is not about drawing attention to ourselves in an alluring or any other aggrandizing manner. Nevertheless, the sacredness is reinforced more by the silence in the church--little or no conversation in the church proper before or after Mass--and by leaving distractions outside of the church. I don't know the last time I saw a cell phone in the church, let alone heard one go off during Mass.
  15. Agreed. My intuition is that Ehrman is still hung up on sola scriptura, it's just that now he's on the shadow side of it.
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