Private Revelation

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PROLOGUE

I wrote this book, “The Holy Catholic Church and Private Revelation”, in 1983 to offer help in a particular situation at Necedah, Wisconsin where there was a cult based on a false apparition. Over 500 copies of the book were handed out by an old Roman Catholic Bishop, Francis DiBenedetto, on May 31, 1983 in the Shrine Men’s Home Chapel.  This work, in a way, represents our attempt to help others not to fall into the same trap or pit that I and so many others fell into (see: http://necedah-cult.blogspot.com).

 

Since then I have had the opportunity to study philosophy and theology in Rome and to understand better the gift of the Second Vatican Council.  Thus, if I wrote this book today I would certainly write it differently. Perhaps this written work lacks in regard to the true spirit of ecumenism and Christian charity; the mentality and attitudes expressed in this book are mostly pre Vatican II (see: http://trueevangelization.blogspot.com as well as http://schis-trad.blogspot.com).  But I feel there is a certain advantage and need to offer this work (with its references mostly written before the Second Vatican Council) as it was written in 1983, precisely because there are many people who have not had the opportunity to study and appreciate the documents of the recent ecumenical council.  Thus these people can perhaps better relate to such a book in its original form.  For this reason, as well as due to lack of time, I have not re-edited the book.

 

Joseph Dwight

 

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The Holy Catholic Church and Private Revelation

 

 

FOREWARD

 

What is private revelation? What is the meaning and purpose of private revelation? How does private revelation fit into the overall divine plan of glorifying God and saving souls? What is the significance and role of private revelation within the entire Mystical Body of Christ. the Church? What should be our prudent attitude toward private revelation? Before the Church has had time to investigate a particular apparition, how can we prudently determine whether an apparition is probably true or probable false? What is the prudent use of private revelation? What are the dangers of the imprudent use of private revelation? The purpose of this work is to shed light on these and other pertinate questions regarding private revelation.

 

The apparitions of Our Lady in modern times have awakened the interest of laymen as well as theologians in the direct intervention of heaven in the affairs of men. Revelations are striking and extraordinary manifestations of the divine will. Although they sometimes shock or frighten the faithful, they are a form of God’s pastoral activity, a way in which He continues to guide mankind.

 

But throughout history skeptics have been eager to deny the fact of God’s personal communications with men. Others have been overenthusiastic in giving credence to reports to visions. How has our infallible guide on earth, the Holy Catholic Church, approached the question of revelations. In this work we will trace and analyze the guideposts in the history of the Church’s attitude toward revelations.

 

Where the Apostles freely welcomed revelations, later Fathers were forced to exercise caution in confronting the extremist claims of the "new prophecy" of the ecstatic Montanists. Joachimism also provoked a reaction within the Church with its predictions of a new gospel.

 

But the dangers from pseudo-revelations did not – and should not – obscure the enrichment to be derived from true revelations. This work brings spiritual as well as psychological light to bear upon the question of discernment by showing how the findings of psychiatry supplement the wisdom of the clergy in distinguishing true from false revelations. We will draw upon the experiences of holy persons and the teachings of popes, saints and theologians.

 

But it cannot be emphasised enough that the greatest source of experience and wisdom as well as the supreme juridical authority on earth in regard to all spiritual matters, which includes private revelation, is our Holy Mother Church. We cannot go wrong if we humbly and confidently look to her and follow her counsels and judgments as given to us by her representatives on earth.

 

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Contents

 

INTRODUCTION

I.1: Creation

I.2: The Fall of Man

I.3: The Incarnation and Redemption

I.4: Christ’s Bride Sent to Be our Guide

I.5: The Church, Full of Grace and Truth

I.6: Admonishment From God Through the Church

I.7: Private Revelation – A Charism of the Church

 

Chapter I: WHAT IS PRIVATE REVELATION?

1.1: Definition

1.2: Holy Scriptures — Inspired by the Holy Spirit

1.3: Supernatural Revelation

1.4: "Apocryphal" Books

1.5: Private Revelations – One of the Charisms of the Church

 

Chapter II: BENEFITS OF PRIVATE REVELATION

2.1: An Edification

2.2: Enlightenment of the Mystical Body

2.3: Effects of Private Revelation On the Soul

2.4: Edifying Food for the Soul

2.5: Private Revelations Are Precious

 

Chapter III: EXAMPLES OF TRUE AND FALSE REVELATIONS

3.1: Why God Gives Private Revelation

3.2: Pseudo-Revelations

3.3: The Pouring Out of the Holy Spirit

3.4: Revelations To The Apostles

3.5: An Early Pseudo-Revelation

3.6: Revelations in the Age of the Fathers

3.7: The "New Prophecy"

3.8: Reaction in the Church To Montanism

3.9: In the African Church of the Third Century

3.10: Joachimism – Twelfth Century

3.11: Reaction Against Joachimism

3.12: The Revelations of St. Bridget

3.13: Among Theologians

3.14: Apparitions of Recent Centuries

 

Chapter IV: CRITERIA OF DISCERNMENT

4.1: Difficulty of True Discernment

4.2: The Manner In Which Revelations Are Made

4.3: Criteria For the Subject of Revelations

4.4: Criteria For the Content of Revelation

4.5: Criteria For the Effects of Revelation

4.6: Miracles As Criteria of Revelation

4.7: Psycho-Physiological Phenomena

4.8: The Authority of the Church as Criteria of Discernment

4.9: Discerning the True from the False Within Revelations Themselves (Illusions)

4.10: Hallucinations and Revelation

4.11: Difference Between Supernatural Phenomena & Psycho-neurosis

4.12: The Power of the Devil

4.13: Diabolical Phenomena

 

Chapter V: PROPHESY

5.1: What Is Prophesy

5.2: The Object of Prophesy

5.3: From God or From the Prophet or …?

5.4: Kinds of Prophesy

5.5: Rules To Distinguish True From False Prophets

 

Chapter VI: SPIRITUAL DIRECTION

6.1: Moral Necessity of Spiritual Direction

6.2: Duties of the Spiritual Director

6.3: Duties of Penitents

6.4: Rules of Conduct Regarding Revelations

 

Chapter VII: THE ARC GUIDED BY THE DOVE

7.1: The Ark and the Dove

7.2: Christ Established a Church

7.3: The Authority of the Church

7.4: Why This Authority?

7.5: Why Church Laws?

7.6: Infallibility of the Church

7.7: The Necessity and the Fact of Infallibility

7.8: When Infallibility Is and Is Not Exercised

7.9: What Modernism Is and Is Not

7.10: The Greatest and Grandest Institution

7.11: The Four Marks of Our Greatest Treasure

7.12: Our Glorious Heritage

7.13: "The Gates of Hell Shall Not Prevail" – Indefectibility

7.14: Unconditional Surrender

7.15: Indefectibility

7.16: The Communion of Saints

 

Chapter VIII: THE LINK BETWEEN PRIVATE REVELATION AND THE CHURCH

8.1: Normal Tensions Between the Prophetic Function and the Hierarchical Church

8.2: Private Revelation – Direction In a Specific Way

8.3: The Attitude of the Church Toward Revelation Before the Nineteenth Century

8.4: Attitude of the Church Toward Certain Apparitions of the Last Two Centuries

8.5: Pastoral Ministry

8.6: Private Revelation Cannot Commit the Church

8.7: Church Recognition of Apparitions After Mature Reflection

 

Chapter IX: OBEDIENCE TO LAWFUL SUPERIORS

9.1: In All That Is Not Sin

9.2: Humility – the True Visionary

9.3: Obedience To the Church

9.4: Different Realms of Authority

9.5: The Pit of Cynical Self-Deception

9.6: Destructive Propaganda

9.7: Prudent Action of a Son

9.8: Fundamental Imprudence Within a Family

9.9: Authority Destroying Authority

9.10: St. Thomas and Fraternal Correction

9.11: Danger of (Extreme) Traditional Groups

9.12: False Notions of Modernism

9.13: Cause of Disunity

9.14: "Holier-Than-Thou" Movements

9.15: Earth – A Battle Ground

9.16: Prudently Separate the Office From the Man

9.17: Protestantism

9.18: Protestant Clergy

9.19: Protestant Son

9.20: Proper Procedures

9.21: "New Things and Old"

9.22: Disobedience – Our Great Moral Disease

 

Chapter X: PRUDENT AND IMPRUDENT ATTITUDE TOWARD PRIVATE REVELATION

10.1: Catholic Faith vs Human Faith

10.2: The Abuse of Revelations

10.3: The Pit of Self-Deception

10.4: Few Respond To the Whisperings of the Holy Spirit

10.5: Great Saints or Mediocre Sinners?

10.6: Revelations: A Problem of the Present Time

10.7: The Right Not To Make Use of Revelations

10.8: The Usefulness of Belief in Revelations

10.9: The Fruitful Use of Revelations

 

Chapter XI: THE DYNAMICS OF COMMUNITY

11.1: Social Structures

11.2: Constructive Community Life

11.3: Destructive Community Life

11.4: Discernment of Good or Bad Community Life

11.5: Natural Tendency Toward Cults and Mind Control

11.6: Partial Reason For Increase In Cultism

11.7: Totalistic Environment

11.8: The Deception of Destructive Cults

11.9: God Offers True Freedom

 

CONCLUSION

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY (referenced by number & page; i.e. #p#)

 

 

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To view the entire document, go to: http://priv-rev.blogspot.com.

 

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