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A modern dictionary of Catholic terms, both common and obscure. Find accurate definitions of words and phrases.

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THREE WITNESSES

The text in St. John which in the Vulgate reads: "There are three witnesses in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Spirit, and these three are one; there are three witnesses on earth: the Spirit, the water, and the blood" (1 John 5:7-8). These words are not found in the early Greek manuscripts of the New Testament, nor in the best manuscripts of the Vulgate. They are probably a mystical interpretation that found its way as a gloss on the original text. Called the Johannine Comma, the text has more than once been the subject of the Church's interpretation. The Holy Office declared that scholars may further investigate the authenticity of the passage but accept the Church's judgment on their findings (June 2, 1927).

All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

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