A Question from a Neophyte Catholic on the "Charismatic Renewal"


I wasn’t sure where else to put this…so…

I was thinking about the Holy Spirit the other day and I noticed something. In the Catholic Church it is only the Roman Rite that has “charismatic” renewals. I am very skeptical of these charismatic renewals because they are just TOO PROTESTANT!!! But it appears that Holy Mother Church has generally approved of these “renewals” and see them as possible outpourings of the Holy Spirit. However in the Eastern Catholic Churches, there has never been a “charismatic” renewal. They have experienced the Holy Spirit in the same way as the Church has experienced Him for centuries: through prayer, meditation, and silent monasticism. The crying, jumping around, singing, etc. that you see in the Charismatic Renewal has never been a part of the East’s understanding of the Holy Spirit and it wasn’t a part of the West’s understanding either until after the Second Vatican Council.

I hope you can see why I felt a blow to my faith in Vatican II and in the Roman Church with these questions. All this seems to support the Orthodox and Traditionalist Catholic arguments that Rome has allowed the Western Church to become “protestantized” and that Rome is tolerating practices that have never been a part of Orthodox Catholic Christianity until modern times.

Now, the best argument I can come up with to refute my doubts is that the Holy Spirit moves as He wishes and furthermore that He moves WHERE He wishes.

He has and continues to move as He wants and where He wants in the Eastern Catholic Churches and they experience Him as they have experienced Him since ancient times. However since the Roman Rite is on the “frontlines” fighting against modernism and Western evils, the Holy Spirit has moved in newer and different ways then He has moved before in order to bring a renewing change to the worship of the Western Churches. Thus He has chosen to move in the Roman/Western Church in new ways so that He can bring more Protestants Home to the Church of Christ…

Still my argument seems a little weak considering just how faithful the Eastern Catholic Churches and the Orthodox have been in preserving the Ancient Christian ways of worship even to the modern era…


I’m glad you asked this question. In my journey toward Rome (from a mixed Protestant background that includes Pentecostalism) the acceptace of “Charismatic” phenomena by the Church today was a BIG stumbling block for me.


Welcome to the forum ‘almostcatholic’.

You might find this interesting:

On Oct 31, '8, Pope Benedict 16th met with two groups. One group was made up of Bishops who are “interested in” the **CCR **and the other group was made up of members from the ***Fraternity of Covenant Communities.

*** “They [ie., ecclesial movements and/or *the charisms] should be welcomed with trust and valued in their various contributions,” he stated.

The charisms, the Pontiff continued, arise “as visible signs of the coming of the Holy Spirit.” They are not, “a historical event of the past,” but an “always living reality.”

“The Spirit himself, soul of the Church, acts in her in every age, and his interventions, mysterious and efficacious, manifest themselves in our times in a providential way,” Benedict XVI said. "The movements and new communities are like an inrush of the Holy Spirit in the Church and in contemporary society.

“One of the positive elements and aspects of the communities of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal is precisely the importance given by them to the charisms and gifts of the Holy Spirit and their merit lies in having reminded the Church of the actuality [of these gifts].”

Citing the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Pope emphasized “the value and the importance of the new charisms in the Church, whose authenticity is guaranteed by the willingness to submit themselves to discernment from ecclesiastical authorities.”

“Precisely because of the fact that we are witnesses of a promising flourishing of movements and ecclesial communities, it is important that pastors carry out with the [movements] a prudent, wise and benevolent discernment,” he added.

In this context, the Holy Father said he deeply hopes that “dialogue between pastors and ecclesial movements intensifies at all levels: in parishes, dioceses, and with the Apostolic See.” He concluded by noting that in their discernment, pastors should take into account that many of these associations have already received or are in the process of receiving pontifical recognition.

The Zenit, English source for the above text is at zenit.org/article-24123?l=english The English version of the Vatican press release about this same topic is located at

For clarity, the reports uses the term “ecclesial movements” which is a term for groups that were either started by Catholic charismatic groups or those groups that were started by Catholics who embraced the charisms and the charismatic renewal. *Ecclesial movements *are not the same as “ecclesial communities” (i.e., denominations not in complete union with the Roman Catholic Church).


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