From a comparative philological and literary view, the contention that Brentano "fabricated almost all" the Emmerich material is exaggerated and false. Editorial work there certainly was, but Brentano's accounts agree with the basic picture of Emmerich found in the firsthand written accounts of Dr. Moreover, as the internationally renowned and critically reserved Germanist Dr.
Anton Brieger states, the Emmerich visions recorded by Brentano have all the marks of a woman's psychology and a feminine attention to detail. Additionally, Fr.
Joseph Adam, the author of Emmerich's new official positio accepted by the Roman authorities, has demonstrated that the former charges made by Fr. Winfried Humpfner whose activities led to the reponatur , namely that Brentano was guilty of wholesale fabrication, were "rabid attacks" against a pious Catholic, and were furthermore "hard and pre-emptory. Since only Scripture is inspired, it commonly happens that even approved visions will contain certain historical errors as well as elements from the seer's human fantasy. Current theology on mysticism, according to the conferences, does not see these as obstacles to authentic private revelation.
The claim that Emmerich teaches that Mary had no earthly father is patently fallacious.
Emmerich always calls Mary the daughter of Joachim. The problem is that Emmerich's symbolic images and statements, no different than with the Bible, are subject to misunderstanding. In the later 19th-century German editions of Brentano's Emmerich works, extensive theological introductions and explanations were added for precisely this reason. These, unfortunately, were not included in the works when they were translated into English. If one has not read these older German comments, as well as all the recent scientific literature officially related to the Emmerich beautification case, then one is simply not competent to make serious charges against someone whom the Church has declared to have lived a life of heroic virtue, and one upon whom the Church has officially bestowed the title servant of God.
As for the charge that Emmerich says Mary was ensouled not simultaneously at but after her physical conception, this is not heresy. The general opinion among theologians today is that ensoulment occurs at the instant of physical conception. But for over 1, years the general opinion was that of delayed or "mediate" animation. This was taught by St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Hildegard von Bingen, and countless others of their rank.
If one criticizes Emmerich for teaching mediate animation, then countless Catholic saints, theologians, and philosophers stretching over a majority of Church history would also have to be criticized. It is furthermore erroneous that immediate animation is a "defined dogma. Since this is an undefined area, as St. Augustine wrote, charity should rule the discussion, not charges of heresy. As the episcopal Emmerich conferences have stressed, Emmerich does not contradict the Holy Father's teachings on the culture of life. Indeed Emmerich is an eminent model for us today when suffering is seen as purely negative; those who suffer are often seen as disposable, as a burden.
Emmerich can teach us that this is a shortsighted perspective -- in Christ suffering becomes meaningful, even redemptive. Especially the handicapped and invalids can find an inspiring model in Emmerich.
To refer to "the pernicious notion that to be an unschooled, bedridden seer is the highest manifestation of sanctity," is in my opinion at least potentially offensive to the handicapped, as well as incautious when used in the context of one whom the Church in her judgment has declared a servant of God. Sometimes God does apparently raise up the ignorant and weak to confound the strong and wise; He has in all ages. Indeed, the highest degree of sanctity can be seen in a man who was considered unschooled by His contemporaries see John , and who achieved the redemption of the world by being strapped to a cross.
The bedridden Emmerich, like all those who find themselves imprisoned by their physical or spiritual pains, can be a beautiful example of the Suffering Christ, who was "bedridden" if you will, on the holy cross on Good Friday. Those acquainted with the recent Emmerich conferences know that Fr.
Herbert Thurston's criticisms of Emmerich in his Surprising Mystics are now outdated. I devote an entire chapter to these criticisms in a manuscript I hope to have published in the near future.
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He specifically charges Emmerich with spiritual pride and other sins. The relevant Church authorities have ruled against his position in declaring Emmerich a servant of God. Thurston's views should not be further promoted by theologians or lay people. We are confident that if he were still alive, he too would withdraw his criticisms and accept the judgment of Holy Mother the Church's authorities.
They have spoken; let us respect their judgment, especially in these days when there is so much dissent in the Church. Here we should remark that Emmerich also speaks to the crisis of dissent we are in today. This crisis distresses not only traditionalists but also conservatives, even our Holy Father himself. Why an Catholic should be concerned about Emmerich's prophecies concerning apostasy or schism is puzzling, since the same prophecies hold out hope for a renewal. Conservatives would also no doubt rejoice that Emmerich's visions also prove that the New Mass is valid contrary to the position of some extremist traditionalists.
I explore this and other traditionalist misinterpretations of Emmerich in my manuscript. Poetry and Religion". Contrary to the impression some give in the American press, the question of Brentano's writings has not been ignored by those involved officially in the Emmerich beatification case. Brentano is dealt with scientifically, critically, and not polemically, at all the Emmerich conferences. Neither was Paul VI unaware of the popular approbation, at least in the minds of the public, which Brentano's writings would receive if Emmerich were to be beatified. This is why he called for research and conferences to examine the writings.
And this has been addressed at the conferences, despite the fact that there is no technical need for it anymore in relation to the beatification itself. At the conferences there is no "Brentano bashing. But the two extremes of charges of wholesale fabrication and claims of word for word exactness in the transcription of Emmerich's dictations never surface in the official conferences, since both claims are patently false.
A widespread opinion is that despite Brentano's editorial activity, his writings and he himself, if not relevant technically to the beatification case itself, nevertheless are important factors in Emmerich's life and cult. Some conference participants actually view Brentano's editorial activity in a positive light. In the 19th century, the Brentano Emmerich writings outsold even Goethe and Schiller, and quickly established themselves as Catholic devotional classics.
John Neumann, a number of Catholics whose own beatification cases are now underway, countless holy members of the hierarchy in the past and present have recommended reading the Brentano Emmerich writings. That numerous respected and holy Catholics have recommended a seer's writings has also been traditionally considered as a sign of the possible authenticity of private revelations. Moreover, Blessed Pope Pius DC was not unaware of Brentano's writings when he called the holy nun the "highly blessed virgin Emmerich" in the context of urging a priest to work for her beatification. John Neumann, a number of servants of God and blesseds -- their collective judgment, in my opinion, can be safely followed.
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