1Co 14:5 Tongues and Prophesy


**1Co 14:5 **

Now I wish that you all spoke in tongues, but {even} more that you would prophesy; and greater is one who prophesies than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may receive edifying.

St. Paul wants us to speak in tongues? (say things that nobody understands instead of praying??? :eek:)

St. Paul wants us to prophesy? (divination??? :eek: )

What is St. Paul exactly telling us to do here? Is this in line with the Catechism? :shrug:




All St. Paul is saying is that he prefers to hear someone inspired by the Spirit to preach (“prophesy)” in a language that everyone can understandl instead of speaking in a foreign language. Both are manifestations of the Holy Spirit, but “prophecy” is more beneficial.



Using Sacred Scripture to answer your concerns means that we start with 1 Corinthians 12: 1-11. This is essential because it presents the classical list of nine Holy Spirit Gifts which are meant to build up the Church. These gifts are meant to be used when the faithful gather together. The “rules for order” in this type of meeting is given in 1 Corinthians 14: 26-36.

I am sure you noticed that the English uses the single word speak to refer to two, distinct, totally separate gifts of the Holy Spirit which employ the use of Tongues. The context of 1 Corinthians 14: 1-5 contrasts the common gift of praying to God in Tongues with the gift of Prophesy which relates God’s message to the assembly in the vernacular. Going back to 1 Corinthians 12: 1-11, we find the classical gift of the Holy Spirit which is speaking God’s message to the assembly in Tongues.

I just checked the dictionary for the meaning of the word “divination” and that does not have anything to do with the Holy Spirit giving a message of truth to the assembly via a human who has been gifted by the Holy Spirit to do so.

The common gift (common because it is available to all) of praying to God is what we do in English or Spanish or whatever our mother tongue is It is not a foreign tongue.

The Holy Spirit gift of praying in Tongues means that a person yields her or his speech mechanism to the Holy Spirit for the use of the Holy Spirit. Since this is considered a personal prayer to God, there is no reason why anyone should be eavesdropping.

My gut instinct is that you have been exposed to some misconceptions about praying in Tongues. If you wish, I will try to give you the correct information. Please note that my information is based on the Catholic Charismatic Renewal and not on any other faith.


Yes the Catechism says the charisms of the Holy Spirit are for building up the church and we need them.

See evidence of tongues in the lives of the saints;

Read about Linda Schubert, a catholic with a ministry on promoting and teaching people how to use tongues, she worked with Fr Robert de Grandis for a long while (who was instrumental in progressing the Charismatic Renewal, and himself wrote a book on tongues)


Ewtn founder Mother Angelica was prayed over by Fr Robert de Grandis (mentioned) and developed the gift of tongues. Tongues is an APPROVED charism of the Catholic Church.




What is described in this wonderful link is known as the Miracle of Hearing because it is the listeners who could hear in their own language. Praise God.

Acts 2: 1-11 contains two separate physical locations. The first location is the Upper Room. This is where the Apostles and others were gathered, They did not need the Miracle of Hearing because they spoke the same common language. Verse 4 describes proclaiming or praising as the Holy Spirit enabled them.

The second location is outside the Upper Room where there were devout Jews from every nation. When the Apostles , now brave, spoke to the crowd of the mighty works of God, they did not speak in a variety of languages at the same time. Instead, it is the variety of listeners who heard the words in their own languages.

I strongly recommend that readers read every bit of the above link about the lives of Saints.


The Popes, starting with Pope John Paul II have a mass each year for the International Catholic Charismatic Renewal members, where the Pope says mass and the world’s catholic charismatics are invited. Pope Francis was at such an international mass this year.
During one of the masses all the charismatics began praying in tongues aloud in the church as the Pope was walking up the church. And the Pope said in full support of this charism and the charismatic catholics: ‘This is the church.’ Meaning the charisms are part of the church.


I spotted this sentence of one of the above links. It is so true about the two gifts of the Holy Spirit which use the gift of Tongues.
“At the same time most Catholics do not know much about it and find it strange.”

Sometimes I think that the reason we find Tongues strange is that many of us are “control freaks” in some areas. It is hard to imagine giving up control of our speech mechanism. Especially those of us who like to have the last word.

My own position is that people should learn the truth about Tongues in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal and then make their own decision as to whether or not they seek the common gift of praying in Tongues. We are individuals.

Take some time to check out the provided links


Thanks for your responses so far. I’m more traditional. Although young, I’m pulled to what is considered “old-school” I even pray in Latin etc. I don’t consider becoming “charismatic” because I’m not feeling that at all. Like I said, I’m more into traditional form of Catholic worship, but I can respect the charismatics.

Verbum in his response earlier said the “prophesy” part means to preach. That makes sense to me. Anyone else have any input on what they think?

About speaking in Tongues, it’s a gift I guess however it doesn’t seem that this is something for everyone. Most Catholics will never do it, and most won’t even know of it from what I understand (although I could be wrong). From what I understand, this gift was used to help spread the Word of God because not everyone spoke the same language and God wanted all to hear the Good Word, and therefore an interpreter should be present.


That is a good place to be.

Verbum in his response earlier said the “prophesy” part means to preach. That makes sense to me. Anyone else have any input on what they think?

The truth is that humans can preach without the Holy Spirit gift of “Prophesy”. The Holy Spirit gift of Prophesy occurs when a properly prepared person is giving God’s message to the assembly. You will notice in St. Paul’s list of nine gifts (1 Corinthians 12: 1-11), there is the gift of Discernment of Spirits. This is a necessary part of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal.

Here is the link to the book A Key to Charismatic Renewal in the Catholic Church. There are chapters explaining the various gifts of the Holy Spirit.


About speaking in Tongues, it’s a gift I guess however it doesn’t seem that this is something for everyone. Most Catholics will never do it, and most won’t even know of it from what I understand (although I could be wrong). From what I understand, this gift was used to help spread the Word of God because not everyone spoke the same language and God wanted all to hear the Good Word, and therefore an interpreter should be present.

Please read post 5 for information about the Miracle of Hearing. Because it is a miracle of a person hearing the Word of God in his own native tongue, there is no need for an interpreter. The person hearing already understands what is being said.


What about those of us who are converting from other Christian traditions and are carrying these charisms with us into the Catholic Church?


Friend, tongues are not new, they are traditional -the apostles spoke in tongues, the early church Christians, and our many of our saints had this gift. It just fell out of use, but before the Vatican Council II the Pope asked that everyone pray for a New Pentecost. The result- the Charismatic Renewal and the traditional charisms mentioned in the bible 2,000 years ago being poured out on the church again today.
St Paul wrote in the bible; ‘I wish you all spoke in tongues.’ ‘desire the spiritual gifts.’ ‘Lay not aside prophecy, and do not forbid the one who prophecies, for he who prophecies builds up the church, and he who prays in tongues edifices himself.’

I was at a novena mass in honour of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, a priest said that when he was in Medjugorje a girl needed an exorcism, and nothing worked, then one of the priests spoke in tongues and the evil spirit immediately left the girl. The bible says, ‘The Spirit asketh on our behalf.’
Tongues is biblical.


The Charismatic movement in the Church has been accepted as a genuine movement of the Spirit ,but if you research the history of it(the Dusquene weeked) you may notice that 2 different manifestations occurred.The two professors who had been encouraging their students to read specific books on the baptism of Spirit and the book of The Acts of the Apostles had hands laid on them at a Pentecostal prayer meeting and had a mystical experience. Patty Mansfield Gallager was a student who was praying before the Tabernacle at the retreat house chapel when she was suddenly prostrate on her face.She claimed she did not speak in tongues then but I think perhaps later she did. The one professor left the Church a few years later but by an act of grace died in communion with the Church.


Very good question. Thank you.

There are a number of Christian traditions which follow the basic tradition of St. Paul which is the basic foundation for the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. There are times when we gather together formally and informally. Prayer to God is prayer to God.

Obviously, you love the Holy Spirit and seek to do His bidding. That love brought you into the Catholic Church which has the fullness of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the Seven Sacraments.

Practically, I suggest that you contact the Diocesan Liaison for the Catholic Charismatic Renewal to find the locations of affiliated Catholic Charismatic prayer groups and/or activities. Hopefully, there is such a group in your parish. If not, your pastor may know of a group nearby or a general call to the Diocesan office will give you information and someone to contact if necessary.

The charism of praying in tongues remains with you wherever you are. In most places, there is no praying in tongues out loud during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Praying in tongues can be silent. I often suggest that praying in tongues is better than road rage.

Praying silently in tongues is important in any situation where your need the wisdom and guidance of the Holy Spirit. Praying silently in tongues often accompanies other charisms. In a similar fashion, praying out loud can be a companion to another charism.

Regarding the nine charisms listed by St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 12: 1-11, these generally require a mature spirituality, serious preparation, and discernment. My only suggestion is to seek information from one of the diocesan leaders in the Renewal. Often you will find a pastor who is part of the Renewal or there will be a Vicar for Spirituality.

As we all know, there are hundreds of Holy Spirit charisms. Ushers have a valuable charism for example. We simply do not pay enough attention to our own gifts/charisms which seem insignificant. We need to dig up our “talents” and use them. In the same manner, those who come into the Catholic Church should find out how the classical gifts are used in the immediate geographical area.

The above is pretty general. I will try to help with additional answers either in a post or by a Private Message.

No matter what. Your gifts from the Holy Spirit are welcomed. There is only one Holy Spirit.:smiley:


Prophecy also means to predict the future. A miraculous charism of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit can do that. Jesus Himself had the gift of prophecy: he predicted he would die at the hands of the chief scribes and elders, that Judas would betray him, be crucified, rise from the dead, and send te Holy Spirit etc…

The Prophets of the Old Testament were sent to prophecy the future, if Israel does not repent it’s ways such and such a punishment will happen, if Israel does repent such and such a punishment will not happen. :o

The early Christian communities prophecies over St Paul testifying that if he went to Jerusalem he would be bound and taken to Rome. This is mentioned in Acts in the bible.
The prophecy proved true.

Prophecy is also the Holy Spirit giving a Word of Knowledge or Word of Wisdom. (Knowledge that could only have been inspired by Gid). Eg: when Peter accused a man who sold his land and kept back part of the proceeds in the bible and Peter prophecied that the men present would carry that man’s body out to bury him. The prophecy proved true, the man’s earthly pilgrimage ended at the moment after lying to the Holy Spirit.

Remember Philip in Acts was near an ambassador of the King of Ethiopia and was told by the Holy Spirit to approach him, which led to a conversation that finished with Philip Baptizing the man.

St Paul when he was being taken prisoner prophecied; ‘I fear this journey will lead to loss of life.’ The ship was shipwrecked . But he also was given another prophecy later -an angel of The Lord appeared to him in a dream, after all the crew had fasted, telling them there would not be loss of life (God later must have heard their fasting and Paul’s prayers).

A priest over here in Ireland called Fr Rookie (who was with the Servites religious order in the north) had the gift of prophecy and a worldwide healing ministry. He prophecied over someone who The Lord was calling into the deliverance ministry, and everything he said happened.

The Holy Spirit can also give the charisms of discernment of spirits, word of wisdom, word of knowledge, miracles, faith, healing , teaching , … Sometimes these overlap.
Saint Paul in the bible mentions tongues of angels and of men, so a person praying in tongues can be praying in a language not of the earth, or they could be praying in a language that they do not know but is earthly. A priest told my granaunt that the charismatics using tongues in Africa were heard saying irish words (and they never learnt irish!).
A woman praying in tongues one time in church, a Japanese woman heard it all in Japanese as the words, ‘You’ve tried Buddha. Why not try Jesus?’ And the woman converted to catholicism. Stella Davis (a US catholic in the healing ministry) was once stuck for an interpreter at a talk. Someone started speaking in tongues as her interpreter -and miraculously the Holy Spirit translated through the tongues to the listening crowd.

See this link for quotes from the Catechism on the charisms of the Holy Spirit,
And a description of how the charisms can work



Yes. Very much so. I was raised Pentecostal Holiness and even though I converted Mormon I always stated: “You can take the boy outta the Pentecostal, but ya can’t take the Pentecostal outta the boy!” My wife always thought that phrase was sacrilegious. LOL!

Definitely plan to do that soon.

I have not felt any desire or movement to pray in tongues during Mass. And unless the timing was appropriate, I would refrain because the Holy Ghost would not lead to confusion. :wink:

Parable of the talents. :wink: And as soon as I am received into full communion I will seek out a spiritual director. No worries about that.

Look forward to connecting with you through PM. :slight_smile:


One of my earliest CAF friends was in a Pentecostal Church. Don’t remember which one. I was amazed at how close we were in following St. Paul’s rules of order and discernment. One difference was that there seemed to be an idea that praying in tongues should only be done in assembly. I did my best in sharing that we need to pray in our home also. Another more recent friend amazed me when he explained his Pentecostal faith – some of it sounded Catholic based. Keep the good that is part of Pentecostalism.

There are some deep differences between Pentecostalism and Catholicism, In our respect for other faiths, we need to be true to our Catholic Church. I am thinking that the Holy Spirit is working to bring us together. :slight_smile:

[FONT=Georgia]I have not felt any desire or movement to pray in tongues during Mass. And unless the timing was appropriate, I would refrain because the Holy Ghost would not lead to confusion. :wink:

That is a good way to handle tongues. Catholicism teaches that praying in tongues is always under the person’s control as to starting and stopping. At the same time, we are often inspired to pray in tongues.

[FONT=Georgia]Parable of the talents. :wink: And as soon as I am received into full communion I will seek out a spiritual director. No worries about that.


I wondered if you would catch my reference. Good job!
I always thought that the problem was not burying the sole talent. The true problem was not digging it up.

Look forward to connecting with you through PM. :slight_smile:

Same here.


Just a bit of information on how the Catholic Church teaches that private revelation and charisms are meant to be submitted to the church (a spiritual director),
because the saints have wrote of the danger of needing to authentically check whether something comes from the Holy Spirit:

in the lives of the saints when they obeyed their spiritual director over any apparition God rewarded them. Because God wanted to be authority over them through their superior firstly.

Eg: Sr Briege McKenna (a nun with a healing ministry, still alive) really wanted to speak at a certain event overseas. Her Mother Abbess nun forbade it.
The ship sank.
Obedience saved her life.

Also an irish Jesuit priest was a photographer who was to go on the Titanic. As he was about to board he got a message from his superior that under no circumstances was he to get on the ship. The ship sank. Obedience saved his life.

A holy spiritual director will fine point everything that comes from God and obedience to them will literally save a person from being led down the wrong road.

For example: St Faustina (a nun in Poland) was receiving apparitions of Jesus, her priest told her to record it in a diary. An ‘angel’ appeared and told her to burn the diary. She did . She went back to her priest who told her to re-write the diary again. Now her diary has sold thousands of copies world wide and brought people to God. It was Satan who had told her to burn it.
Jesus was definitely appearing to St Faustina, but Jesus told her, ‘It I give you a command. And your superior or spiritual director give you a different command. Obey your spiritual director or superior.’ Because Jesus was warning her that satan can pose as an angel of light.
A spiritual director is able to somehow guide us along the path God wants us to take.

St Therese of Avila was the same, so many people told her the devil was appearing to her - not Jesus. But they were wrong, Jesus was appearing to her. However St Therese would never trust any private revelation she received until he had submitted it to her spiritual director, some priests and theologians. (Although one spiritual director is enough).

Just a bit of Catholic Church teaching on private revelation (charisms) and obedience to a spiritual director.

Having said all that, St Therese and St Faustina were approved by their spiritual directors and guided by them, and they did have extraordinary lives and private revelations from God on an ongoing basis nearly.

The catechism does say that the little charisms are as important as the extraordinary ones, patience or generosity is as important as miracles/ tongues/ prophecy.
And as St Paul said in the bible after he spoke about desiring spiritual gifts, tongues, prophecy, etc… that love was the most important of everything,
Jesus even said there would be people who misused spiritual gifts that at their judgement would not be saved and would say, ‘Lord did we not heal the sick and cast out demons in your Name?’
‘As St Paul wrote: If I have not love I am but a sound.’

Jesus also said in the Bible: ‘These are the signs that shall accompany believers. They shall speak in tongues, the shall prophecy, they shall lay their hands on the sick and they shall get better.’
‘They shall do greater works than I because I go to my Father.’ (That Jesus being humble would like to do much of His work through the Holy Spirit in us.’


I have some books I can recommend about how people with charisms are using them in ministry in obedience to the Roman Catholic Church

Go to

Go to book downloads, download his books, his charism is the souls in purgatory , and Our Lady speaks to him through the Holy Spirit. He is involved in deliverance and the healing ministry .he has the books on the website for free download on his life experiences with his charisms God gave him . He also has a spiritual director priest who has charisms .

Go to amazon.com
Download the ebooks

‘spiritual warfare’ by Stella Davis. She is a woman with charisms being used by The Lord in ministries of healing and deliverance.

‘the miracle ship’ by Brian O’ Hare (stunning book about a Northern Ireland layperson called into the healing and deliverance ministry by God.)

‘Unbound’ by Neal Lozano. Called into the deliverance ministry by God.

‘miracles do happen’ by Sr Briege McKenna (healed by God and called into the healing ministry)

All these are catholics who were given charisms.

Some of the Best books I’ve read.

Yes, God used the apostles this way, used the saints this way, and there are people using these charisms today.


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