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Spiritual Warfare Forum: The Catholic Charismatic Renewal

by Catherine Frakas 10 Dec 2002

The Catholic Charismatic Renewal QUESTION from Helena on September 29, 2002 Dear Brother,
I have read several entries on this site referring to the Charismatic movement and wanted to suggest an answer to one of them, namely your reply to the Obedience To The Church entry, on how charismatics have used prayer in deliverance ministry.
I don't think that they - or WE, as I am charismatic catholic- use the I rebuke you in Christ's name form of prayer rather than may God rebuke you because of pride. I think it is rather due to lack of training.
I went away from the RC church in my early 20s and returned in my early 30s, just a few years ago. It was during this time that I went to an 'evengelical style free church' and it was there that I first experienced excellent preaching on the Old Testament, and came into contact with the charismatic gifts, for example, praying in tongues. I was blessed there and through their ministry, God changed me beyond recognition, going from someone very shy and unable to share my faith, to someone who loved reading scripture and prayer, hungry to know more about God, and to give my life to Him. God blessed me with the gifts of tongues and interpretation at that time, and this form of prayer has been such a help and comfort to me, especially in my ongoing battle with clinical depression.
My point is, that I had no knowledge of these things whilst in the RC church. It was some time after my return to it that I even found out that the Catholic Charismatic Renewal existed, and then through a priest who was involved in it. He was a visitor to our parish. Our regular parish priest didn't know much about it but came with me to the monthly meetings and was also richly blessed there. Our new parish priest, by comparison, won't hear anything about the Charismatic movement. So you see, how much we learn about the movement can be very much down to the preferences of the individual priest. Ours has even forbidden me displaying posters advertising their meetings, or making their bi-monthly newsletters available, so he isn't giving people the opportunity to find out for themselves. I'm very hurt that people are being denied the opportunity of finding out about legitimate things that he isn't willing to tell them. My relationship with God has been richly blessed and has grown though sensitivity to the Holy Spirit that this movement introduced me to, and it pains me to see people struggling, and telling me that 'the Mass means nothing' to them as this was how I felt, but this movement made the difference. But anyway, I digress...
I don't know about the movement where you are, but in England, it definitely isn't emotion based. And as to expounding and explaining scripture, I still find the best tuition is in charismatic groups.
If anything, I find emotionalism very unnerving, and it makes me very uncomfortable, and so if this is how I found the charismatic meetings or Mass I wouldn't go.
Anyway, back to the prayers of deliverance. I think it is lack of training, rather than pride. Through this site I have learnt that the Pope said we're not to use this kind of 'direct' prayer in 1985- I had no idea. I'll adopt to the other way of praying, and I'll pass this information on to others. But given the general air of 'anti-ness' in the day-to-day church regarding gifts like tongues, interpretation, prophecy, and indeed, prayers against evil influences, it isn't completely incomprehendable that sometimes people look to the Evengelical traditions for some guidance, if all their parish priest does is mumble and walk off.
I've never come across emotionalism in the charismatic renewal here. What I have come across is uplifting prayer times and Mass in which people join in with the responses and hymns as though they mean it. If the words 'uplifting' and 'as though they mean it' indicate 'emotionalism' then I'm guilty! But I wouldn't condemn people for the ability, nay- the GIFT- of feeling and being able to express real joy when engaged in the Divine presence.
Of course you can't judge a person's sincerity- and mustn't try to- from their reactions in church or during prayer times, and so if they sit at the back like a statue that's up to them and perfectly fine by me, especially as I used to be sitting next to them. But the opposite is true as well, that if someone freely expresses joy over their relationship with the living Christ, that really oughtn't be judged too harshly either.
I consider myself to be Catholic in my beliefs and outlook and practice, albeit a Catholic that isn't backward in coming forward to ask questions (as you've seen from the questions I've asked you through this site!). But I've found teaching and training very sparse in this church. I've found that the CCR fills this gap and in doing so, has improved my life, and my spiritual life, immensely. Please don't judge us too harshly! We've only been around some 40-odd years and we're still learning. What we need is people like you to come and teach at some of our meetings, not to dismiss us out of hand!
In His Love,
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on October 2, 2002 Dear Helena:
Thank you for your question.
In terms of the current legislation concerning Deliverance Prayers, I do not fault anyone, including those in the Charistmatic Renewal, for what they do not know.
In fact, I used imprecatory commands myself in 1994 because I was inaware of the 1985 legislation.
But, early in 1995 I discovered the restrictions that the Church applied a decade earlier and IMMEDIATELY stopped using imprecatory commands and such.
The problem that I have personally experienced, and the problem that I was relating to in my previous answers on this subject, is that many people in the Charismatic Renewal REFUSE to obey the Church's legislation after they find out about it.
I have been personally attacked, called names, slandered, and harassed for daring to inform some charismatics of the information about the Church legislation that places restrictions upon deliverance prayers.
In my personal experience, which includes extensive contact with those in the charismatic renewal, I have found a general tendency for people in the Renewal to evaluate and make observations and conclusions about issues from an emotional point-of-view and from an otherwise subjective point-of-view rather than from reason.
If the charistmatics in England are level-headed and make decisions, evaluation, and conclusion from reason rather than mere emotion, then I applaud them. Praise God.
Here in the United States, the reputation of Charismatics for over-emotionalism and subjectivism is well-known and wide-spread.
I will say that Catholic Charismatics are more level-headed than Protestant Charismatics. As a Protestant, I did not find even one church or person that approached the charistmatic experience appropriately in my view. As a Catholic I have found many people who approach the charismatic experience with the proper attitude and manner. But, there are still a significant number of Catholic Charismatics in the United States who are off-balance -- primarily because they borrow their theology from the Pentecostal Charismatics who are seriously flawed in their theology.
There is even a very famous priest who use to be with the Assemblies of God that seems to not have left the erroneous ideas of the Assemblies of God behind him. I have heard tapes from this priest who teaches things that run directly counter to the clear teaching of St. Paul on this issue.
I do not believe I have judged the phenomena of the Charismatic Renewal too harshly. I think I have been right-on accurate with their problems. BTW, I use to be in the Charismatic Renewal myself as a Protestant.
But the bottom line is that ALL baptized persons are charismatic. We all have at least one of the charismatic gifts. Some people may not have realized the power of the Holy Spirit in their lives until a particular moment in history, but in actuality He was always there, and so were the charisms from the time of our baptism and confirmation.
I would recommend you read a portion of the Legion of St. Michael Rule that deals with this subject. You can find that excerpt at:
Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Spiritual Gifts
This document includes information from the Church in how the Church sees this issue and also includes suggestions of various gifts one might have, and the definition of those gifts.
I do not mean to dismiss the Renewal at all. I think that for some people the Renewal is a major blessing from God. Anything that will fan into flame the gift that is within you as St. Paul says, is a fine thing.
BTW, I teach a workshop on how to discover your spiritual gifts.
I am not anti-charismatic at all. But it is my duty as a fellow Christian to point out the problems and the dangers. And, when I do that, I do not leave people wondering. I also express the solution.
The solution?
*Avoid Pentecostal or other Protestant theologies and praxiologies
*Avoid teachers who fail to avoid Protestant theologies and praxiologies
*Remain close to the Church and Her teaching on this issue and on all things.
*Obey liturgcal laws (speaking in tongues during mass, swaying or clapping with the music, the use of non-sacred music, laying on of hands, etc. have NO place in the Mass).
*Remember that the OFFICIAL teaching of the Church is that feelings and emotions are fine frosting on the cake, but it ain't the cake. ALL feelings and emotions MUST be under the guidance of reason. One should make a decision about something not because they feel it is the right thing to do, but because reason leads one to see that it is the right thing to do.
Finally, ALL of my remarks are based upon personal experience in the Renewal, personal observations, and the writings of Charismatic leaders ALL within the United States. I have no knowledge of how the Renewal conducts itself in any other country.
God Bless you for your devotion and enthusiasm for our Lord.
Bro. Ignatius

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