Authentically Charismatic??? Catholic Christianity and Pentecost

Now that Easter and Divine Mercy Sunday have passed, we fly towards the 3rd pinnacle Feast of the Catholic Faith–Pentecost Sunday, where the power and gifts of the Holy Spirit became manifest and the Church was literally born according to Acts 2. Due to my background with the charismatic renewal, both positively and negatively, I have spent much time searching my own heart in order to know where I stand as a now-and-forever Catholic Christian on the topic of spiritual gifts. The following article and the links attached should give a broad view of this, and I pray they will help those of you who may have some of the same questions I have had since returning to the Church.  May we all experience, as Blessed John XXIII prayed, a “new Pentecost.”  And may it be a fully authentic one.

Icon of the Pentecost

Icon of the Pentecost (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A few years back I wrote an article called “Towards a Sacramental Charismatic Theology.”  I would in fact suggest reading that article first, in order to get my initial take on the topic, and as it is a sort of “part one” to this current post.  The link for that article is as follows:

http://catholicboyrichard.wordpress.com/2011/11/15/towards-a-sacramental-charismatic-theology/

What I hope to do today is expand upon that topic, and to share my own insights since then which have pushed me further from “charismatic” and closer, hopefully, to the Sacramental.  I would be clear at this point that I am against none of the genuine moves of the Holy Spirit which can and still do occur, both personally and in corporate worship. And many of those moves involve authentic charismatic gifts. What concerned me then and even more so now is the general attitude of those within what is called the “charismatic movement,” both Catholic and otherwise. I believe that we have begun to undermine the entire Church by not having clearer teaching on the topic, however.  I do not expect to remedy that today in one blog, but as someone who has participated since 1970, when this movement was but a raw fledgling of experimentation after Vatican II, and who ended up outside of the Church precisely as a result of it for the next 35 years, sharing then in 6 different Protestant faith communities during that time (not counting 2 or 3 nondenominational ones), and my share too of New Age and other more tangible spiritualities due to a hunger that was never quite met in that entire time, I think I have developed at least a sense of what is missing when we reduce that which is “charismatic” to a movement.

For that reason I no longer identify myself as a “charismatic Christian” these days. On the other hand I belong to the largest and most truly charismatic Church within all of Christianity. I believe in the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit as well as the 9 charisma listed in 1 Corinthians 12. I believe fully in apostolic authority and private revelations from the Lord Jesus Christ to chosen believers. On rare occasions I have even had a few moments where I felt that He has spoken to me quite directly in situations where guidance or help was so sorely needed.

Man I sound like a regular Joyce Meyers here, don’t I?  So how is it I have come to distance myself from a movement which obviously has done such good and highly influenced the Church overall in the last 50 to 100 years?

One thing I mentioned in some detail in the first article was the way most such meetings are conducted, whether Catholic or Protestant.  Here I wish to expand on that thought and share why I believe that to be sometimes detrimental to the greater move of the Spirit within the Church. I was always troubled by the lack of consistency on following the clear Scriptural guidelines on the charismatic gifts, specifically as delineated in 1 Corinthians chapters 12-14.  I think they are some of the most misused passages in the movement in fact, and I want to spend some time dissecting them.  Not all will agree with my thoughts here, but I believe, as with all Sacred Scripture, it needs to be read in its own light, as well as within the light of other Scripture passages and the ongoing Sacred Tradition of the Church, and not with the insatiable desire to “get the gifts” at all costs.

So here goes, and I would only implore you to read what I share with an open mind and heart, and not with a stubborn desire to stay within a “feel good” Christianity that bears less fruit and, in the long run, feels “less good” than simple tried-and-true Catholic Christianity.

I would first of all start with the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), and the definition of what is commonly called the “baptism of the Holy Spirit” among Pentecostals and charismatics. In articles 1285-1289 of the CCC we read the following:

1285 Baptism, the Eucharist, and the sacrament of Confirmation together constitute the “sacraments of Christian initiation,” whose unity must be safeguarded. It must be explained to the faithful that the reception of the sacrament of Confirmation is necessary for the completion of baptismal grace.89 For “by the sacrament of Confirmation, [the baptized] are more perfectly bound to the Church and are enriched with a special strength of the Holy Spirit. Hence they are, as true witnesses of Christ, more strictly obliged to spread and defend the faith by word and deed.”90

I. CONFIRMATION IN THE ECONOMY OF SALVATION

1286 In the Old Testament the prophets announced that the Spirit of the Lord would rest on the hoped-for Messiah for his saving mission.91 The descent of the Holy Spirit on Jesus at his baptism by John was the sign that this was he who was to come, the Messiah, the Son of God.92 He was conceived of the Holy Spirit; his whole life and his whole mission are carried out in total communion with the Holy Spirit whom the Father gives him “without measure.”93

1287 This fullness of the Spirit was not to remain uniquely the Messiah’s, but was to be communicated to the whole messianic people.94 On several occasions Christ promised this outpouring of the Spirit,95 a promise which he fulfilled first on Easter Sunday and then more strikingly at Pentecost.96 Filled with the Holy Spirit the apostles began to proclaim “the mighty works of God,” and Peter declared this outpouring of the Spirit to be the sign of the messianic age.97 Those who believed in the apostolic preaching and were baptized received the gift of the Holy Spirit in their turn.98

1288 “From that time on the apostles, in fulfillment of Christ’s will, imparted to the newly baptized by the laying on of hands the gift of the Spirit that completes the grace of Baptism. For this reason in the Letter to the Hebrews the doctrine concerning Baptism and the laying on of hands is listed among the first elements of Christian instruction. The imposition of hands is rightly recognized by the Catholic tradition as the origin of the sacrament of Confirmation, which in a certain way perpetuates the grace of Pentecost in the Church.”99

1289 Very early, the better to signify the gift of the Holy Spirit, an anointing with perfumed oil (chrism) was added to the laying on of hands. This anointing highlights the name “Christian,” which means “anointed” and derives from that of Christ himself whom God “anointed with the Holy Spirit.”100 This rite of anointing has continued ever since, in both East and West. For this reason the Eastern Churches call this sacrament Chrismation, anointing with chrism, or myron which means “chrism.” In the West, the term Confirmation suggests that this sacrament both confirms and strengthens baptismal grace.

There is some significant stuff here for those who seem compelled to seek a separate “baptism in the Holy Spirit” after being initiated both into Christ through baptism and then Confirmation. The most substantial point is this, also alluded to in my other article—we do not need a separate “baptism in the Spirit” once we are validly confirmed. We do at times need to awaken the gifts given to us within these Sacraments, but that can be done in a wide variety of ways. We also need to spend more time honoring the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, which the Church teaches are with us at baptism to some extent but specifically embossed upon our hearts and souls at the moment of Confirmation—these are listed in the prophet Isaiah’s writings, and are the means by which Jesus performed His earthly ministry, as well with which we are to perform ours. In Isaiah 11:2 we find these listed—

 1 There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. 2 And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.[1] 3 And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord. [2]

Listed more concisely (Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety, and Fear of the Lord ) and per Church Tradition, we receive the fullness of these seven gifts during our own personal “Pentecost” of Confirmation, at the time when the bishop (or the priest administering the Sacrament under his authority) lays hands upon us and anoints us with chrism oil. We are also told that this is a one-time event which cannot be repeated, as it places an indelible or permanent mark upon our soul, as does baptism and Holy Orders. Only these three Sacraments do this. I wonder then how we can go to lay persons later on and then ask them to lay hands upon us all over again so we can finally get the “good stuff” (i.e. speaking in tongues generally), and if this is not an actual insult to the original gift at times?

There are as mentioned 9 charismatic gifts, and neither here nor anywhere else in the text of Sacred Scripture can we find indication that we are each to have the “gift of tongues” or any of the rest for that matter. In 1 Corinthians 12: 4-11 it demarcates these and clearly not all persons had the same gifts:

4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5 and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; 6 and there are varieties of working, but it is the same God who inspires them all in every one. 7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8 To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are inspired by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.[3]

One of the most serious misconceptions here is that we “all” should be speaking in tongues in the first place!  This idea comes from one isolated verse in 1 Corinthians 14 where St Paul tells us:

5 Now I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy. He who prophesies is greater than he who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be edified.[4]

 “I want you all speak in tongues…” that certainly sounds crystal clear and not to be missed (even though somehow the Church Universal inexplicably did so for 1900 years!).  Unless of course you go back and read the rest of the chapter of course, first and foremost being 1 Corinthians 14:1 (which is in reality a summary of all three chapters together):

1 Make love your aim, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy.[5]

What was St Paul actually saying here? Read in its fullness, and continuing on with the chapter, it could easily be inferred that St Paul, rather than encouraging “everyone” to speak in tongues, was rather suggesting strongly to the Corinthian diocese that they were totally missing the boat by having such an obsession. And we have this same obsession today. You cannot attend a charismatic meeting without tongues being present, and it is very nearly an absolute expectation that, if you unfortunately somehow have missed out on this gift up until now, you will not need to “leave for home without it!”  In other words get in the prayer line and do it now, do what is told you and tongues will then be yours. Period.

Another discrepancy I believe exists has to do with the uses of the gift of tongues. One school of thought is that it is primarily a “prayer language,” and I believe this can be a valid usage of the gift (1 Corinthians 14: 14-16).  However, if used in this way, there is a very specific stipulation that has been ignored by virtually every Pentecostal or charismatic prayer group in the world, or so it would seem at least, and that is the following:  do not, without an interpreter present, do this during public gatherings of believers!!! That would include the Holy Mass first and foremost, but also during gatherings of believers where worship often includes what could be thought of as (or sound like) the “buzzing of bees” to the outsider. This misuse, more than any other thing, is what gives charismatic meetings a bad name, and somewhat ironically St Paul apparently knew of this problem even during New Testament times. But they ignored him then, and we ignore him now.

When I first attended a Catholic charismatic meeting in the 1970s, a supposedly amazing new phenomenon was taking place called “singing in the Spirit.”  What happens is that one person starts singing in tongues, no interpretation, and almost instantly or on cue the entire group is going at it within a millisecond or two. I question this practice.  It is something that has been peculiar to Catholics more so than others in the renewal movement and I believe there is an obvious reason for this which I totally missed for many years because I was unaware of some of our own great Catholic Tradition. Catholics, from the least to the greatest, are used to singing at least some form of Gregorian chant if even on a small level—and even if it is simply the melodic version of the “Pater Noster (Our Father)” as sung at most Sunday Masses in our day. It is built into our Catholic DNA as it were. The “singing in the Spirit” mentioned above is amazingly similar to this. Protestants who do not know this type of singing do not tend to use it during even the most Pentecostal moments or at the height of their worship services. But Catholics do. Far from being “proof” that the Holy Spirit has sovereignly taken over the group like the cloud hovering over the Israelites of old, I believe rather it is chiefly a cultural peculiarity. If you were to go to the Middle East for example you might hear some Semitic sounds while “singing in the Spirit,” and in the Deep South of the United States some heavy-duty country-sounding “hooting and hollering” as well as the accompanying running up and down the aisles might take place instead.  Yet each claim theirs to be the “real” manifestation of the Spirit. I will just say buyer beware.  It is not wrong to sing in tongues—privately and at home.  But I would challenge anyone to show me where it happened in the New Testament or in the early Church as a group. I have not found it.  I do not think you will either.

Lastly I have seen Catholic charismatic renewal groups and literature take the two short passages of the CCC which even mention charismatic manifestations (specifically 696 and 2003), quoted in full below,

 696 Fire. While water signifies birth and the fruitfulness of life given in the Holy Spirit, fire symbolizes the transforming energy of the Holy Spirit’s actions. The prayer of the prophet Elijah, who “arose like fire” and whose “word burned like a torch,” brought down fire from heaven on the sacrifice on Mount Carmel. This event was a “figure” of the fire of the Holy Spirit, who transforms what he touches. John the Baptist, who goes “before [the Lord] in the spirit and power of Elijah,” proclaims Christ as the one who “will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” Jesus will say of the Spirit: “I came to cast fire upon the earth; and would that it were already kindled!” In the form of tongues “as of fire,” the Holy Spirit rests on the disciples on the morning of Pentecost and fills them with himself The spiritual tradition has retained this symbolism of fire as one of the most expressive images of the Holy Spirit’s actions. “Do not quench the Spirit.”

2003 Grace is first and foremost the gift of the Spirit who justifies and sanctifies us. But grace also includes the gifts that the Spirit grants us to associate us with his work, to enable us to collaborate in the salvation of others and in the growth of the Body of Christ, the Church. There are sacramental graces, gifts proper to the different sacraments. There are furthermore special graces, also called charisms after the Greek term used by St. Paul and meaning “favor,” “gratuitous gift,” “benefit.” Whatever their character – sometimes it is extraordinary, such as the gift of miracles or of tongues – charisms are oriented toward sanctifying grace and are intended for the common good of the Church. They are at the service of charity which builds up the Church.

and calmly turn them on their head in order to claim (somewhat dubiously in my opinion) everything from insisting that Blessed John Paul II had this gift to the stranger-than-truth claim that every single charismatic gift is for all of us, and just a matter of “stirring it up” from within. Accordingly to that view, it has been mysteriously lying dormant since the moment of our Confirmation, and we just need to grab hold of it. Somehow the Church apparently lost this entire concept, even though she managed to keep the Sacraments intact and administered correctly for over 2000 years, and it is thus up to the charismatic renewal to come to the rescue and bring it back! Stirring up the gifts within us in nothing new—St Paul again told St Timothy to do so in 1 Timothy 4: 13-15:

 13 Till I come, attend to the public reading of scripture, to preaching, to teaching. 14 Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophetic utterance when the council of elders laid their hands upon you. 15 Practice these duties, devote yourself to them, so that all may see your progress. [6]

But was he saying “Timmy—can I call you Timmy my son—could you PLEASE get cracking on that tongue-talking business or you will lose the Holy Spirit one of these days when you least expect it?”  Was he saying that?  I do not think so. Again context is everything, and I would point you above to the passage where Paul tells our beloved St Timothy to “stir (to in other words not neglect) the gifts.” Do you see tongues even on the list here?  It would appear that St Timothy, a bit more timid than his modern namesake Tim Tebow, was not taking the time or energy to use the gifts given to him at his ordination into the priesthood. And that was what St Paul was commanding and exhorting him to do here.

I could go on and on, but much has already been written by others such as the great Tim Staples—yes another Tim (a former Southern style rooting-tooting Assemblies of God/Pentecostal minister, as I in fact was) and other Catholic apologists to verify what I share here. Time does not permit sharing verse by verse, but I would encourage you first and foremost to get out your good Catholic Bibles, blow off the dust, and read 1 Corinthians 12-14. Slowly. Like me you may be surprised what is and is not there.

Here are some of the thoughts of a great man and my brother in the Church, Tim Staples: It is worth a watch.

No, I do not fully identify as a “charismatic Christian” anymore.  I do not need to. I am part of the “one, true, holy, Apostolic”  (and may I dare to add one phrase to the Creed, especially since John Piper and Wayne Grudem have no problems messing with it from time to time!), and yes, “charismatic Church.”  We are all charismatic as Catholic Christians.  But let us do it God’s way.  We surely should stir up our gifts and ask for more. But with that asking comes the responsibility of using them properly as well. Yours may indeed be tongues, mine perhaps prophecy (which incidentally was not necessarily foretelling the future but “forth-telling” and expounding on the already revealed Word of God more often than not). Prophecy incidentally is as such a gift that I am convinced is often used by priests who mysteriously bring those wonderful homilies where one sits and says “how did he know about my need to hear that word today.” Perhaps your gifts lie in those moments during silent Eucharistic Adoration where you kneel before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament full of confusion and eventually leave the Chapel or altar suddenly very clear on some personal issue you have been struggling with—all of these are valid gifts of the Holy Spirit who lives within you and each of these are ways they may be developed or revealed. I would as well not neglect to mention how often meditating on the Mysteries of the Rosary or simple but prayerful Scripture meditation are major ways in which God speaks deeply to our hearts, often in very unexpected ways. The Holy Spirit is flowing within us every moment if we allow Him to do so.

 Being a faithful Catholic Christian, if we are true to our Faith, should and does cause us to stir up whatever gifts we may have.  So yes that command is to us as well. But to assume it must be “tongues” is a fallacy.  And the charismatic movement is, in fact, made up of the entire body of Christ (again 1 Corinthians 12; 12-31 brings this out beautifully—look it up). The Catholic walk in Christ indeed has it all.

As a “last of the last words,” at least for this post, I would refer you as well to a great and in-depth post by a friend of mine, Jared Dale Combista, from his great blog Verum Nocet:  He is a young man from the Philippines who has done a great deal of study on the topic and his information well worth considering.   Here is his link:

http://verum-nocet.blogspot.com/2011/09/speaking-and-praying-in-tongues-affair.html

ALL SCRIPTURE REFERENCES:  Catholic Biblical Association (Great Britain). (1997). The Holy Bible : Revised Standard Version, Catholic edition, translated from the original tongues, being the version set forth A.D. 1611, Old and New Testament revised A.D. 1881-1885 and A.D. 1901 (Apocrypha revised A.D. 1894), compared with the most ancient authorities and revised A.D. 1952 (Apocrypha revised A.D. 1957) New York: National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA.


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17 thoughts on “Authentically Charismatic??? Catholic Christianity and Pentecost

  1. Richard, I read both the articles, and thank you for your insights on this topic. I found them very enlightening. I have little experience with it but I think I share similar sentiments. The charismatic movement is something that has always intrigued me but I do not feel that I have been called by the Lord to engage in it further as of yet. I did go to a healing mass once and a group of healers prayed over me, but I was not “slain in the Spirit” or anything like that. I believe there are people with genuine spiritual gifts, such as speaking in tongues, and I hope they use those gifts for the good of the Church and building her up, but I do not feel called to actively engage in groups like that right now. I do believe, and I think you also expressed this in your article, that if those charismatic groups were to be faithful to the Catholic Church in every way, not judge those who choose not to participate in those groups, and offer their gifts to the Body of Christ for building it up, I really think that ministry would boom and would bring about even greater fruit for the Church than they have already. Having little experience with this I found it ironic/almost funny/disappointing that some charismatic groups break out into tongues during mass and in large groups, which is, like you said, DIRECTLY against what St.Paul explicitly taught. Great stuff. Keep it coming. Peace.

    • David you are absolutely such a support and I appreciate it! It is funny about the “slain in the Spirit” stuff too…Do you know how often that occurred in the Bible? I think possibly 5 total. And it was always on fairly major occasions such as the Resurrection when the soldiers fell back as the stone was rolled away, things like that. Now its fashionable and they even have people ready to “catch” you in case you fall–that does not ring true to me. I once had an experience (not in a Mass or Catholic setting) where I was in front of maybe 400 people and they got ready to “slay me.” I didn’t go over and I was told, in front of the whole group, that I was “resisting the Spirit.” Well the newsflash is this–if God knocks you over, you would not be able to resist! Too much of that stuff goes on. But you are right the authentic gifts need to be more and more incorporated into the rest of the Church. In that way it is not some separate “movement” as such but simply our Catholic Christian faith going forth. I pray for that day and I think we are headed in that direction. God bless!

      • Wow, thats pretty crazy. So they just expected everyone to be slain? The one healing mass I went to I was warned that I might be slain and not to worry if it did happen. I went with a friend (a few, actually) who as a FOCUS Missionary (you familiar with them?) and he was cautious/almost skeptical/wanted to investigate the charismatic movement more. Well when he was prayed over I saw him, from a distance, fall backwards and get caught by the people standing behind. Afterwards I asked him about it, because I thought it was interesting that he was somewhat skeptical and fell backwards, and he said that the guy praying over him put his hand on his forehead and actually pushed him backwards. Really weird.

      • Yes and I think that is commonly done unfortunately (the pushing over thing).The rest of my story, as a scared 20 year old, is that when they told me I was resisting I did exactly the same thing–I let them push me over–and then everyone clapped as though God did this great thing. I remain skeptical of the slaying in the Spirit thing–I think most of the time it is slaying in the flesh lol.

        Yes I am familiar with FOCUS and have met a few very wonderful people from that group. They seem to be very strong in the Faith and I admire them a lot. Something like you…

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  3. We tend to forget that the Church per se is both charismatic and traditional. With regards to what people call “charismatic Masses,” I don’t believe they exist, for the reason above.

    Also, I’ve never seen a Liturgy as “charismatic” as that of our Eastern Catholic/Orthodox brethren. You’ve gotta love their patrimony!

    • I would totally agree. There are HEALING Masses, and it is certainly fine to pray for people after Mass as some do, but the Mass itself is already as charismatic as Jesus is…because it IS Jesus in His fullness already.

      It was never the reaction of the Apostles to “pray in tongues” when Jesus was physically present–only when He was not–yet we do the opposite when we do this stuff. And that includes during exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. I know some will disagree and I respect that, but I believe I am correct on this.

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  5. I think the Charismatic movement (which clearly orginated within Pentecostal protestantism) has flourished partly as a result of the Catholic teaching on the practice of the spiritual life being neglected or dismissed. Seeking or paying a lot of attention to “extraordinary phenomena” is not consistent with the teachings of many great Catholic Saints, for really good reason. Particularly important is the Mystical Doctor, John of the Cross. He warns very clearly, firmly and at length against similar kinds of practices and is very clear on the dangers and potential for deception and spiritual harm. In particular he talks about this in “The Ascent of Mount Carmel” but also in his other books. There are “hermeneutic of continuity” problems with the Charismatic movement as it exists now, that need to be taken seriously.

    • I think that is the danger here…and by the way welcome Elizabeth!!! There is truth in it, but truth always has a balance. Most of the people I knew of who were in the movement back in the day have either returned to liturgical congregations of one kind or another, or left the Catholic Church as I did for what I thought was “greener pastures.” The movement can give us a valid dimension to our experiences as Catholic Christians, but only so much as we allow it to brings us closer to, not farther from, the Sacraments.

      The great Ralph Martin, an early leader in the Catholic charismatic circles, recognized this and has written on it. So do many. My articles are surely not to badger the ones who are doing a good job, and many do.

      But I do believe we need to realize “charismatic” is not smaller, but rather BIGGER, than Pentecostalism. It is centered around the Eucharist and the 7 Sacraments, and leads us to the truth of Rome, not away from it. And all confirmed Catholic Christians are “charismatic.” We do not need to join a movement we are already a part of.

    • And I would add, not to seek for “experiences.” Seek for God, and the experiences will come “as He wills.” St John of the Cross knew this well. Good point.

  6. I went to a Catholic Charismatic Revival a few years ago in Louisiana, not knowing what I was getting myself into, and frankly I was shocked by what I saw there. Not least of which was the requirement that we all “practice” speaking in tongues together. We were told to turn to the neighbor next to us and simply start babbling. It was a shame, because the guest speakers for the even were very good and obviously filled with the Holy Spirit, but the rest of it was so off-putting that I could never return to a CCR event. We were told to leave any comments we had, and all of us who came to the event as a group, about 20 of us, left the same comments about theie insistence on all of us speaking in tongues (and we quoted Paul chapter and verse), but it was to no avail. When my friends went back the next year, they were still doing it. Is there no one who can stop them from promoting this practice?

    • In emails with Tim Staples I found he had that same experience too, and so have I. THAT is my objection to the over-emphasis on “tongues” as the sign of being filled with the Holy Spirit. Aside from it not being Catholic teaching, it also is very often done in such a manner that there is no “gift” involved. Ironically the great Ella Fitzgerald had a song “It Don’t Mean a Thing” and did what was called “scat singing” in it. According to those folks she must have been “singing in the Spirit.” All she did, and she was an expert at it, was to make up nonsense syllables as she sang…and it DIDN’T mean a thing. There is a point where we open our mouths and God can fill them, but it has to be in God’s way and time. Not ours. And not all receive the same gifts, plain and simple.

      What you witnessed was “Mass hysteria…” and it was, ironically, at a charismatic Mass or gathering hehe. And they, often, are kiling legitimate interest in the Holy Spirit by misusing His works. Patrick Madrid too has spoken extensively on this and received much flack over it, but I believe he is right. I think what needs to happen is the Bishop in each Diocese needs to monitor (not stop) the charismatics in his diocese. I am sure some do. So my thought would be, if you feel it is truly out of line to report it to the Diocese where you live and give specifcs to them. Then it is in their hands to follow up as they see fit.

  7. If you are in the Twin cities area, I would encourage you to check out what I believe to be an authentically Catholic Charismatic Community. It goes by the name of the Emmanuel Community http://en.emmanuel.info/ and they are present in Church of St. Stephen in Minneapolis: http://www.ss-mpls.org/
    The Emmanuel Community seeks to live upon the pilars of Adoration (of the most Blessed Sacrament), Compassion (that we receive from our Lord’s most Sacred Heart) and Evangelization, that which all baptized Christians are called to do in their every day lives. The “charismatic” aspect of the community would be that it indeed did come from the Charismatic renewal that took place in the 1970’s here in the States but even more specifically that they seek to live out what was received through Baptism and Confirmation; to live out these charisms (gifts) given to us by the Holy Spirit.
    The Emmanuel Community is 100% faithful to the Magisterium, to Mary and all the Traditions of the Church and seeks only to serve her by “proclaiming Jesus to all” but first and foremost being firmly rooted in prayer and the Sacraments. The community life only strengthens all of this. In fact, the community was recently erected as an “International Public Association of the Faithful” by the Holy See and now acts in the name of the Church: http://en.emmanuel.info/rubrics/who-we-are/in-the-catholic-church/international-public-association-of-the-faithful/international-public-association-of-the-faithful
    I too have had all the same experiences as all of you have had in meeting a lot of Charismatic movements and prayer groups that drifted away from the Magisterium and the Sacraments. As a member of the Emmanuel Community I would say that I am finally able to live the calling of the Church in a more intimate way by receiving the Eucharist daily, attending confession as often as I can, adoration etc. and in addition to that sharing in our weekly “households” meetings and monthly community days. It is a close knit community of brothers and sisters all walking towards the same goal: HOLINESS. This is something I could not find at the Parish level. Some people do find this in their parish and that is wonderful and for others, like me, we just need a bit more of the community aspect. But I would agree 100% that the Catholic Church as a whole is Charismatic!

    • Actually I live just a few blocks from St Stephen’s and am very impressed with Father Williiams and also several of the members there, having visited a few times in the past.

      I am sure my article may seem to paint with a broad brush and I do not mean it to. Many a person has gone through a “Life in the Spirit” seminar and came out with exactly that, a new revitalized life. I am certainly not against that.

      I think what sometimes happens though is we begin to divide into the “haves and the have-nots,” or, as when I was Protestant, the “saved” and the “I think he/she is saved.” We need to be careful of that kind of thinking as it often puts more stock on the “sinner’s prayer,” which is essentially a renewal of our baptism, (just look at the Easter liturgy and the renewal we make to serve and believe in Christ and reject satan) than on the gift or Sacrament of baptism itself. Sometimes charismatic Christians do the same thing with their confirmation vows too.

      Renewing them can be valuable–and needed. But always through Holy Mother Church, and not on our own as such. I have read some on your community and as stated am impressed in many ways, not the least being your deep connection to the Sacramental life. Jesus saves with or without the Sacraments if the person wants to serve Him—He turns no one away. But we should not bypass what we already have, and it happens far too often.

      Thanks for writing, and share anytime! God bless.

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