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Monday, May 08, 2006

Charismatic Renewal

I'm going to just say it: The Charismatic Renewal is both the Heart of the Renewal in the Church and one of many renewal movements of the Church. It is sanctioned by the Church-3 popes, several bishops, hundreds of priests and one preacher to the papal household. Once thought of as a fringe movement, it needs to be recognized that it is not antithetical to the teachings of the Church, to high and excellent Liturgy, to scripture, to legitimate forms of prayer...It is NORMATIVE and should be a part of every parish and diocesan life.

I'm so tired of traditional types misunderstanding it and calling it Protestant or out side the norms of liturgical worship. Frankly, if it's good enough for the Apostles, it's good enough for me.

Pardon my crankiness. That certainly is not a gift of the Holy Spirit. Likewise the obvious fruit I'm bearing. But hear me: It is good, normal, and a necessary part of the life of the Church.

More later...


Blogger Deep Furrows said...

I saw your comments at Open Book. Yes, the movements are at the heart of renewal in the Church; they are sanctioned; they propose many things that should be normative.

There's a tendency both within movements and outside of them to identify the movement with certain appearances: waving hands in the air, a preference for vigil Masses, a certain idiosyncratic vocabulary. I'm not saying that these things don't play a role in the renewal of the Church. But they are secondary to the love of Christ and the Church.

Belonging to a movement should mean that one's devotion to Christ through the Church is evident, that belonging intensifies one's Christian mission and is not a clique of those who "know better," etc.

I don't think that I'm disagreeing with you here. I'm just trying to offer a context for the distaste that sometimes comes up with regard to movements.

12:26 PM  
Blogger Muriel said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:59 AM  
Blogger Muriel said...

Charismatics say "But the church has endorsed the Charismatic movement, which means it is okay." John Paul II called it the "greatest movement in the history of the Church"

Unfortunate, isn’t it? But the truth is the Church has NOT given a de facto endorsement of the movement, as it can only be approved if it is faithful to the Magisterium.

It is worth mentioning that there has not been a single official declaration or papal pronouncement concerning the CCR. Aside from the pope reading out welcome messages to charismatic delegations, often written by the leaders of the very groups themselves, there has not been any OFFICIAL approval or disapproval. The pope receives all sorts of groups and individuals and has kind words for every visitor. The fact that there are charismatic parishes in the USA is quite inconsequential in the scheme of things; after all, they also have clown liturgies and cookie masses.

What Rome embraced has been clearly expressed in the Catechism, Canon Law, and by various encyclicals. Yet in forty years, no official directive has come out concerning the CCR. No matter how vocal the movement gets or how high its proponents happen to be on the ecclesiastical ladder or how many bishop councils endorse it, none of these are binding directives for the laity. Don't let them fool you, until the Catechism is actually revised to include charismatic theology or at the very least a papal encyclical comes out in support, Catholics are not expected to conform to CCR theology. And since Rome has NOT made CCR theology part of her mandate thus far, it is actually imprudent for the Catholic clergy and laity to promote it.

11:08 AM  
Blogger TCYM Lounge said...

The truth is the Church has made official statements about the Charismatic Renewal-by name.

As for "Charismatic theology" there is only Church theology to which the Charismatic Renewal follows. In the Catechism, see #768, 818, and 2003 for starters.

Rome does not mandate every single area of our life to say we must or must not-that is, Rome embraces Franciscans wholeheartedly but does not demand that we all have Franciscan Spiritualities. Rome also give a great deal of lee-way to the Bishops who can decide what is good for their sheep.

As for "clown liturgies" I'm going to guess that you've had bad experiences with the Renewal. IN every corner of the Church there are the weirdos and ridiculous members-but that does not invalidate the truth of the movement.

Please check back for further information. I'll be posting more information in the days ahead.

And I beg you to have a much more open mind. Being orthodox does not require you to stagnent or narrow. It requires us to embrace the fullness of Truth as revealed by yes, the Magesterium and the Holy Father. (btw the number of Popes who have, on their own, direcly made comments about the Charismatic Renewal: 3)

10:17 AM  
Blogger Muriel said...

#768, 818, and 2003? You got to be kidding! You ARE kidding.

I repeat; no OFFICIAL pronouncements or directives have been issued by the Vatican. Are you able to supply an ex cathedra pronouncement concerning charismatic spirituality? PLEASE DO! I would LOVE to see one. (BTW St Paul did not teach any of IT in his letters to the Corinthians either.)

1:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Not sure where you're coming from, but I'm curious: What, then, do you make of CCC #768, "So that she can fulfill her mission, the Holy Spirit bestows upon [the Church] varied hierarchic and charismatic gifts, and in this way directs her" ? Or that line from CCC #2003, "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." ?

Also, how do you understand I Cor 12:7&9, "To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some another faith by the same Spirit; to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit..." ?

As to "official" and "ex cathedra" -- there's a difference between those two, as I'm sure you know. "Ex cathedra" refers to those things a pope says in defining (or clarifying) Catholic faith and morals. When the Pope speaks "ex cathedra," the Holy Spirit is speaking through him to protect the Church from error. Thus, an "ex cathedra" statement would not be needed about the Catholic charismatic renewal, because the movement itself is not in error.

Now, that's not to say that a lot of people in the CCR (as you abbreviate it) don't make mistakes or don't perpetrate certain theological errors! I know from experience that a) they do, and b) many of them need a lot more training regarding their faith / catechism. BUT, as TCYM pointed out, it's no good throwing the baby out with the bathwater. The CCR movement itself is a renewal being perpetrated by the Holy Spirit Himself. If you don't believe me (which you don't have to), ask Him yourself. I know that sounds like a *really* cheeky claim, but I also know that if you hear Him answer, you will have been touched by God, and that's a good thing!

Because it might help answer some of your questions, I also wanted to share with you some words of our beloved John Paul II. Just before Pentecost, on May 30, 1998, he was speaking to a meeting of the ecclesial movements of the Church. He had called together all the renewal movements in the Church, and these words were not written for him by any of the people there -- these words came out of his heart:

"The institutional and charismatic aspects are co-essential as it were to the Church's constitution. They contribute, although differently, to the life, renewal and sanctification of God's People. It is from this providential rediscovery of the Church's charismatic dimension that, before and after the Council, a remarkable pattern of growth has been established for ecclesial movements and new communities.

Today the Church rejoices at the renewed confirmation of the prophet Joel's words which we have just heard: 'I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh' (Acts 2:17). You, present here, are the tangible proof of this 'outpouring' of the Spirit. Each movement is different from the others, but they are all united in the same communion and for the same mission. Some charisms given by the Spirit burst in like an impetuous wind, which seizes people and carries them to new ways of missionary commitment to the radical service of the Gospel, by ceaselessly proclaiming the truths of faith, accepting the living stream of tradition as a gift and instilling in each person an ardent desire for holiness.

Today, I would like to cry out to all of you gathered here in St. Peter's Square and to all Christians: Open yourselves docilely to the gifts of the Spirit! Accept gracefully and obediently the charisms which the Spirit never ceases to bestow on us! Do not forget that every charism is given for the common good, that is, for the benefit of the whole Church."

Does that help you see the goodness of the Charismatic Renewal better? A little bit, maybe? I'm very sorry if you had a rotten experience with some charismatics in the past. I've had some of those, too. But that doesn't mean the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in itself is a bad thing, or something dangerous that we need to run away from. The Holy Spirit wants to draw us deeper into God's heart, and to set us all on fire to tell the world that God loves us and wants us with Him forever! That's all that's essentially going on in the (healthy, well-ordered, "official" areas of the) CCRenewal.

(Ok, something goofy is going on with the posting machinery -- I'm going to try going "Anonymous", and hope it works. If this posts more than once, I'm sorry!)

6:59 PM  
Blogger Muriel said...


#768 and # 2003 has a different meaning for “charismatics” than for the rest of the Catholic Church, including the many men and women who lived and died in the faith prior to the sixties --- as what is contained in # 768 and 2003 respectively would NOT have just appeared magically in the most recent translation. All of these had to have been in the previous ones in some form already. I am certain, as I trust the Church for this to be true.

In # 768 “varied hierarchic” means simply that the church is organized into several layers of hierarchies with different sub-classes. And “varied charismatic gifts” are quite simply, different extraordinary graces given by God. Those were operating in the Church for two thousand years, thank you very much, and contrary to the charismatic belief do not come about as the result of “spirit baptism”.

In # 2003 notice the word “extraordinary”. By definition it means highly exceptional, beyond what is ordinary or usual or exceptional or remarkable. In other words, these are NOT normative gifts as charismatics would have us believe. Besides “extraordinary grace” is not something that can be thought or developed over time or could be called upon at any time by anybody who has been “baptized in the spirit” (re tongues, miracles and healings) Read more about the topic on my blog.

I disagree; the charismatic movement IS based on error; it is a heresy. Besides you are quite wrong, the Pope does not only speak ex cathedra to protect the Church from error. How could over 400 dogmas have seen the light of day if the Pope only spoke ex cathedra to correct error?

10:14 PM  
Blogger Muriel said...

Furthermore, it is a rather simplistic to ascertain that an ex charismatic had to have some type of "bad" or "rotten" experience with the movement or with individuals within it. This is typical response of course, since the charismatic identifies grace with “experience”, feelings and outward manifestations. (tongue speaking, holy rolling, emotionalism) For the Catholic, the sign of grace is the sacramental sign itself.

Visible signs of the Sacraments are fixed and completely objective. On the other hand, the charismatic practice is based on variable and subjective experiences. Clearly, the charismatic theory contradicts Catholic doctrine.

From the book “Illustrissimi”, His holiness John Paul I wrote:

“Charismatic experiences are not anyone's private reserve. They may be given to anyone: priests and laymen, men and women. It is one thing though, to be able to have visions, and quite another to actually have them. In your Libro de las fundaciones I find written: "a woman penitent told her confessor that the Madonna often came to see her and stayed talking for over an hour, revealing the future and many other things to her. And as something true occasionally emerged from all the nonsense, it all seemed to be true. I realized at once what it was all about ... but merely told the confessor to wait for the result of the prophesies, to find our for himself about the penitent's way of life and to look for further signs of sanctity in her. In the end ... it was seen that her visions were all fantasies."

Dear St. Theresa, if only you could come back today! The word "charisma" is squandered. All kinds of people are known as prophets, even the students who confront the-police in the streets, or the guerrillas of Latin America. People try to set up the Charismatics in opposition to the pastors. What would you say? You who obeyed your confessors, even when their advice turned out to be the opposite of that given to you by God in prayer?"

2:28 AM  
Anonymous Margo said...


Thanks for your response, and for relating your thoughts. If you don't mind me asking, what is your main concern in this area? i.e. Why did this topic spark you to write and to debate with me? Are you eager for something in particular to happen in this movement, or are you concerned that something in particular might happen that you think shouldn't? I'm curious! (if you don't mind telling....)

1:28 PM  
Anonymous Margo said...

And if you don't mind a further question (this is for Muriel): Do you believe that no one can be simultaneously charismatic and a faithful Catholic? I realize we haven't quite defined the word "charismatic," but -- according to your understanding of the word (which maybe you wouldn't mind explaining...)

1:32 PM  
Blogger Muriel said...


Re: “Why did this topic spark you to write and to debate with me?”

That’s a funny question Margo, because you addressed me first.

Re: “Are you eager for something in particular to happen in this movement, or are you concerned that something in particular might happen that you think shouldn't? I'm curious!”

This movement and its alien spirit should never have been infused into the lifeblood of the Church. But like every previous heresy that managed to get its foot in the door, this too will be flushed out. Here is hoping it will be sooner than later.

Re: If I believe that no one can be simultaneously charismatic and a faithful Catholic?

Are we talking appearances here? Then I would have to say yes. The charismatic indeed appears to be a faithful Catholic. But you and I both know that it is not possible to serve two masters. We know this from logic and we know this, because Jesus said so.

Now we can take it to a different level and look at it from the frameworks of vincible and invincible ignorance. I bank on God’s mercy, so I don’t believe God will turn away the so called “charismatic”, who has been mislead by this movement and died believing that he devoted himself to a movement of the Holy Spirit and that the Church actually sanctioned it. (And by the way, THIS is where I came in) At the same time I venture a bet that priests and religious who were supposed to be the gatekeepers of the faith will have a much harder time explaining themselves to God than say Rita or Charlie from the prayer group.

Re: “I realize we haven't quite defined the word "charismatic," but -- according to your understanding of the word”

I have been referring to charismatic, charismatics, charismatism in the same context you have; in the context of the CCR. No, St Teresa of Avila was not one of them; she was for real! Charismatics are individuals, who submit to the Pentecostal type of spirit baptism and as the result of this “anointing” they experience and manifest counterfeit charisms. There is no such thing as instant holiness Margo. It may come after a life of sacrifice, or is followed by one. (Check the lives of the saints) But you cannot get to holiness and to bona fide charism simply by a group of holly rollers praying over you.


8:31 PM  
Blogger Muriel said...


If the Pope said he was fallible, could he be right?

Of course. He's only human, isn't he?
This is a joke.

The truth is the Church has made official statements about the Charismatic Renewal-by name.

--There is a huge difference between an official statement or an official making a statement. An official statement could be true or not true notwithstanding the sincerity of the individual who delivers it. Catholics are familiar with popes making errors in their ordinary Magisterium.

But we are not dealing with official statements when the Pope welcomes a particular group or converses with individuals. What he says contain private statements as well; none of which can be construed as “official statements”. Besides there is a whole slew of quotes and events attributed to every Pope that never transpired, or was taken out of context and then perpetuated as truth. Even if John Paul II had fondness for the CCR, well, what of it? He also liked Polish sausage. Does it mean that we are to eat Polish sausage henceforth? No it doesn’t. When a Pope makes an official statement, he makes it clear that it will be perceived as such. Official statements are meant for the whole Church. There are no such statements in existence concerning the CCR and for good reason. The CCR contradicts the Magisterium.

Rome does not mandate every single area of our life to say we must or must not-that is, Rome embraces Franciscans wholeheartedly but does not demand that we all have Franciscan Spiritualities.

--Wrong example. Individual Franciscans may contradict the Magisterium, but the Franciscan spirituality does not.

Rome also give a great deal of lee-way to the Bishops who can decide what is good for their sheep.

--Much of which has been taken out of context, since “grave reasons” and “original directives not withstanding” seem to have become incomprehensible to many bishops.

btw the number of Popes who have, on their own, direcly made comments about the Charismatic Renewal

--Well good for you, finally a true statement “popes who have made statements on their own” – so there you are, NOT OFFICIALLY. Therefore, the faithful is not required to follow private comments, not even from popes, certainly not in contradiction to Sacred Tradition or Sacred Scripture.

2:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, come on Muriel -- *you* talked first, and when I asked questions, you were unstinting in your response. ;-) Mox nix.

Will you agree to separate the Catholic Charismatic Renewal itself from the exaggerations of the CCR? Because what I'd really like to discuss with you is the CCR itself, not those who have given it a bad name by their lack of catechesis, wisdom, prudence, etc.

(I'm assuming your answer is 'yes', in what follows.)

Why do you think the CCR movement is "based on error," "heresy," and has "an alien spirit" ? I'm not seeing how a movement of the Holy Spirit could be characterized with these words. Didn't the early church, the disciples, receive the Holy Spirit and speak in tongues (i.e. receive the gifts God was giving them and manifest these gifts visibly)? I'm not seeing how you go from that (I'm assuming you accept the validity of the first Pentecost) to calling the current CCR movement a heresy. Help me out (and I'm not being facetious -- I really don't see what you're seeing), here.

It sounds like you are saying that a baptized person can be filled with the Holy Spirit and open to witnessing to the Gospel however the Spirit leads him (i.e. charismatic) yet for this very reason, *not* be a good Catholic. Are you saying that good Catholics refuse to be open to the movement of the Holy Spirit? Are you saying that we are not at liberty to do anything that the Magisterium has not given us specific instruction on, that Catholics have not the freedom to participate in their own unique relationship with Christ (and I'm not talking about acting or being Protestant in any way here)?

I do agree with you on this: that being anointed by the Holy Spirit doesn't give you instant holiness. No charismatic Catholic grounded in their faith would (can!) believe or teach that. I think our definitions of what 'Catholic charismatic' means or what 'a Catholic charismatic' is are different. When I speak of charismatics, I do not refer to people who are manifesting counterfeit charisms, but to those who have allowed the Holy Spirit they received at baptism and Confirmation to be stirred up in them and manifested for the good of either the Body of Christ or those who have yet to become part of the Body of Christ.

I think you and I also agree that continued conversion / holiness is a gift from God which we receive best by obeying whatever He calls us to do -- i.e., by denying ourselves, picking up our crosses, and following Him. No amount of being prayed over by anyone is a substitute for one's own response to God's grace!

Charisms are given not for our own upbuilding or direct growth in holiness, but for the edification of others. The growth in holiness experienced by Catholic charismatics is a result of the fact that their eyes have been opened to see that God is interested in a personal relationship with them. The Holy Spirit is behind it all -- He's the One giving the gifts for witnessing, and He's also the One Who makes real to the believer that personal relationship with God. "For the love of God has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit whom He has given us."

Now -- you don't have to be Charismatic, (belong to the CCR movement) to experience a personal relationship with the Lord, or an influx of the Holy Spirit being poured into your heart. On the other hand, getting closer to God entails receiving the Holy Spirit. How could it not? The HS is the One who gives us the power to believe all that Jesus said, do what He asked us to do, etc.

This is where I'm coming from, and why I'm having trouble seeing your distinction between a good Catholic and a Catholic who's also charismatic. or Charismatic (part of the CCR movement, not its exaggerations). It doesn't make sense to me that a person must be either/or, because I see no problem in someone being both/and, i.e both Catholic and Charismatic (open to being used by the Holy Spirit).

Enough about me not catching what you're saying. Would you mind helping me see what you see re: these things?

2:56 PM  
Blogger Muriel said...


If you are sincerely interested in what I think, check out my blog. You will find answers to every one of your questions there. After that if you wanted to discuss the topic further, send me an e mail.

As far as "sparking a debate with you" that is entirely your perception, unless of course you are the owner of this blog. In that case the reason for my coming on the scene here was well expressed with my first post. But I didn't pick on you per se; I only addressed what was directed to me.

6:05 PM  
Blogger TCYM Lounge said...

I am not kidding. And your tone makes me think that you haven't even read them.

I'm not going to argue with you here. If you can't accept the Catechism of the Catholic Church as an authority on such issues, then we don't have much to talk about.

If you can't accept direct quotes from 3 Popes on THE MOVEMENT ITSELF, quotes that support the work and mission of the Charismatic Renewal: "Certain common notes appear in this renewal: the taste for deep prayer, personal and in groupds, a return to contemplation and an emphasis on praise of all that, we can recognize the mysterious and discreet work of the Spirit who is the soul of the Church" (Paul VI to the First International Leaders' Conference 1973), or "I am convinced that this movement is a sign of the Spirit's action...a very important component in the total renewal of the Church" (Pope John Paul II speaking to Charismatic Leaders 1978) or "Thanks to the Charismatic Movement, may have rediscovered Pentecost as a living and present reality in their daily life. I desire that the spirituality of Pentecost be spread ni the Church as a renewed thirst of prayer, holiness, communion and proclamation...Receive with gratitude and obdience the charisms that the Spirit does not cease to offer!" (John Paul II, Pentecost Vigil. 2004)...

11:06 AM  
Blogger TCYM Lounge said...

or "With Fatherly love, His Holiness wishes to continue this service, so that the gifts of the Lord is imparting to His CHurch might be fully enhanced and directed in the best way to the building up of Christ's Body, the Church" (Pope Benedict XVI in a message to Italian Charismatics, just after becoming Pope)

There is so much more that has been said, but this space makes it awkward to keep posting it.

From Bishops: "The Catholic Charismatic Renewal is a genuince gift of the Lord to his recognized as a valid movement within the an authentic response to the vision of teh Second Vatican Council as an ongoing sign that the Lord remains faithful to his Church" (Francis Cardinal George, Archbishop of Chicago, Sept 15, 2005)...there are so many many many more Bishops who speak of it's legitimacy and place within the fullness of the work of the Church.

If you cannot acceptt the authority of those I have presented here, I'm not sure we have much to talk about.

Hopefully this will answer your mistaken insistance that no official pronouncements have been made. There have been several. Popes need not speak ex cathredra on everything that comes from their office for it to be a legitamate work in the Church.

It also means that you do not have to join the work! If he pronounced it ex cathedra, you would be bound to practice it, but this is not so. One of the beauties of the Church is it's diversity in worship and paths to God: contemplative, Franciscan, etc, etc, etc.

11:18 AM  
Blogger TCYM Lounge said...

You also talk about the people in the renewal using the gifts privately. You are correct. While the Sacremantal gifts come down to us from the hierarchy and are gifts of graceto make us more holy, the charismatic gifts are giving to us to make others holy-to build up the Body of Christ.

11:21 AM  
Blogger Muriel said...

Yes I read them.
The difference is I don't read into them.
I also consider it when, where and to whom those words were spoken to.
But apparently that makes no difference to you.

As I said, it isn’t in the Catechism, it really isn't there, and the #s you quoted have NOTHING to do with the Charismatic Renewal, or with "baptism in the spirit" or with "getting slain in the spirit" or with "praying in tongues” as a form of prayer or praise. There is nothing about the Charismatic Renewal or any of its hokie practices in the Canons or any of the Papal Encyclicals either.

Those quotes you keep repeating have no weight to alter the Catholic faith or its practices. Any deviation from the established norms would require much more than a papal address to some interest group. Any deviation or addition to the faith and to its practices would have to be PROCLAIMED and universally. Comments such as “I am convinced” – are private opinions and are not UNIVERSAL TRUTHS.

Go back to the Catechism to see if there is anything about praying in tongues or a private prayer language in there. What you will find instead is the Our Father. There is no “Catholic Charismatic Renewal” or any of its practices in the Catechism PERIOD.

Everything can be given a spin to manipulate truth. Governments do it all the time. Business does it and interest groups do it. The Catholic Charismatic Renewal is no different.

I will leave you in charismatic lala-land. If you can’t think, well, you can’t think. Peace.

11:54 AM  
Blogger TCYM Lounge said...

And people who make personal attacks rather than intellection conversation shouldn't bother entering the discussion.

1:49 PM  
Blogger Doulos said...

Great discussion! The vatican II documents actually say that the Chuch REDISOVERED its charismatic dimension.
John Paul II said that the Church was institutional AND charismatic.

He also spoke may times that a NEW evangelization is needed in the whole Church.

I have a blog at

See what you think.

11:44 AM  

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