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Faith/Spirituality Forum: Am I thinking Right about speaking in toungues?

by Catherine Frakas 13 Mar 2001

Am I thinking Right about speaking in toungues? QUESTION from Manicmike on January 19, 2003 Again and again I have 'friends' of the 'Neo-Christian' movement, such as community christian and calvalry church attendees and the like, that have attended prayer meetings and claimed to have spoken in toungues. Some of my Catholic friends have looked in awe and respect, but missed the point, in my eyes. When queried of the experience, namely, What was being said? the participants have always answered. I don't know, we were speaking in toungues. WHAT!!!!!!?
I always thought that toungues were a form of Holy Spirit fulfillment and that that language needs no interpretation. We are in a very serious and tricky business, and it is plain to see that the devil can Mock purity and blessings to a fine degree. These people always felt glowy, holy, warm and fuzzy all over.
While all this is well and good, what good is it if it is based in questionable thesis? I guess that Medjugorje may be such an example.
While this isn't really a question, I still would like to check in with you about it.
Faithful to the Catholic Church, as only a sinner could be,
Thank you and God Bless you and keep His light in your life as a sign to all.
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on January 26, 2003 Dear Manicmike:
Essentially, your thoughts about this are accurate. One point though, the tongues spoken from the Holy Spirit may not in themselves be a language we understand. That is why there is also the Gift of Interpretation to interpret the tongues.
The regulations St. Paul lists is that tongues should not be given unless there is someone to interpret and even then it should be only one or two people doing so.
The problem with the co-called Catholic Charismatic Renewal is that the Renewal borrows too much from the Pentecostal Theology which is inherently flawed. They also tend to make decisions and make judgments on subjective feelings rather than on reason. This is contrary to Church teaching. The Church teaches that while the subjective and emotional are great things, they must ALWAYS be tested against and guarded by REASON.
If the charistmatics follow some basic groundrules, the Renewal can be beneficial. These guidelines are:

Baptism of the Holy Spirit comes at water baptism and at confirmation. It is NOT an addition act of sanctifying grace or an additional sacrament and should not be treated as such even if one does not considered it as such intellectually. What is called Baptism of the Spirit is merely a FILLING of the Spirit in such a way that the person realizes for the first time the power of the Holy Spirit in their lives. This is frankly the experiential equivilent of the born again experience of evangelicals.

Speaking in tongues is NOT a sign of spirituality or spiritual maturity -- in fact the practice of tongues in some cases, like the Church of Corinth, can be sign of immaturity.

Not everyone will be given this gift of tongues or any other gift except as the Lord wills. The Bible is clear that people do not have ALL the gifts but that the Holy Spirit distributes the gifts to those He chooses.

Those in the Renewal need to stay CLOSE to the Church and not borrow from Protestant or Pentecostal theologies on the charismatic experience.

Those in the renewal need to be OBEDIENT to all liturgical laws, official teachings, and disciplines of the Church. Some charismatics openly speak in tongues during Mass, play folk music during Mass, or clap and sway to the music during Mass which are all things forbidden by the Church in the Latin Rite.

Those in the renewal need to NOT rely upon subjective experience and emotions when making spiritual decisions. REASON must always be the guardian of emotions and extraordinary experiences ALWAYS need to be vetted by a Spiritual Director who comes from a position of REASON.

The admonition of Jesus needs to be remembered: It is an evil and adulterous generation that seeks after a sign.

Those in the renewal must remember that the Gifts of the Spirit (charisms) are meant to buildup the CHURCH, not the individual. If a Gift is self-edifying and not edifying to the Church community, then it is not a Spiritual Gift of the Spirit, or it may be a Gift but is being abused.

These are the guidelines that come to mind at the moment. There might be others.
IF charismatics follow these sorts of guidelines and keep the proper reasonable perspective, THEN the experience can be a rewarding one that builds up the Church.
Here is what our Rule of St. Michael says about Spiritual Gifts: Gifts
P.S. okay.... I hear the deluge of letters already :)
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