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Spiritual Warfare Forum: Charismatic groups

by Catherine Frakas 01 Dec 2002

Charismatic groups QUESTION from Jack on October 21, 2002 I'm currently in a charismatic group whose teachings are in line with the Church. I've been doing some research, for the last few weeks, and I found out that earlier popes, such as, St. Pius X, have condemned charismatic groups either directly or indirectly. I'm also aware some people are also against it. Generally, they have a problem with it because these charismatic groups are ecumenical in nature, when Catholics aren't in most cases supposed to be in interfaith gatherings. Also, some have said certain things are extrasacramental in nature, such as baptizing someone in the Holy Spirit (when someone already receives Him via Confirmation). Then of course, comes the perception or allegation that charismatics are preoccupied with seeking signs.
I joined partly to get to know others, partly to start getting my spiritual life in order. And a majority of the members are Catholic, and even though they uphold Church teachings, they make non-Catholics comfortable. I wasn't so concerned about speaking in tongues or prophecies, I just wanted to be more open to how the Lord wanted to guide my life. Now, even though I struggle to get a set prayer time, I'm happy and grateful whenever I have time to say the Rosary (and now I'm looking into beginning the Rosary of the Seven Sorrows). I also spend time checking out Church history, and I recently went to a Tridentine Mass, and although I can't describe how I felt about it in words, it was truly different from what I normally see on Sundays, and I learned quite a bit from it.
The question though, is this. If the intentions are good, if some of the fruits of this are good, why do people condemn it and say it's a sin against faith? I'm afraid to ask any priest in the neighborhood since I will get a different answer, depending on their liberal or conservative bent. I just want to make sure I'm not walking on thin ice in what I'm doing. Thanks for your help.
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on October 29, 2002 Dear Jack:
Well, first the obvious. The road to hell is paved with good intentions AND Even Satan can appear as a angel of light.
I am not saying the Charismatic Renewal is going to hell or dubbed by Satan, just making the point that just because there are good intentions, and just because there are good fruits DOES NOT mean that everything is okay.
The criticisms of the Charismatic Renewal is NOT because it is the Charismatic Renewal, it is because of behavior and practices that are either in violation of Church teaching and discipline, or contrary to the sound and balanced spirituality of the Catholic worldview.
I would suggest that good intentions are NOT good intentions if one is violating Church liturgical law. Violating the law is not a good intention. I would suggest this is no different than telling the judge that you had good intentions in running the stop sign. The judge will say oooookay and find you guilty.
One of the PRIMARY aspects of being a Christian is to mortify our own opinions and desire in favor of the TRUTH and directives of God. The Church has been delegated by God to teach and to make rules. To violate the Church laws is to rebel against God. Rebellion is not a good intention nor is it a good fruit.
IF and I say IF the Catholic Charismatic Renewal stays close to the Church, avoids protestant ideas on the Charismatic issues, obeys all church laws and teachings, remember that Jesus said that it is an evil and adulterous generation that seeks after a sign, and make REASON a guide and ruler over FEELINGS and subjective behavior, THEN, and ONLY THEN can the Charistmatic Renewal as a whole be considered truly Catholic.
Within that context, the Charismatic groups can without a problem be welcoming to non-Catholic who wish to join their group. But they must not compromise to Protestant notions of the Charistmatic experience.
As for you personally, from how you describe yourself, it sounds like you are approaching this properly. I congratulate you.
But I also caution you to be sure not to be contaminated by the negative aspects of the Charismatic thinking.
Not all local groups are a problem, by the way. Personally I was never able to find a protestant charismatic group that had their head screwed on straight, BUT, as a Catholic I have found numerous groups and many people who are in the Charismatic Renewal (including all of the founding members of my Order, the Order of the Legion of St. Michael) that are doing just fine and understand the issues and are thoroughly Catholic in their charismatic experience.

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