Charismatic Heresy

I am starting RCIA this weekend. I was very excited until I came across this website:

Charismatic Heresy

I was horrified, disgusted, and now feel absolutely dejected. The church were I plan to do RCIA propogates many of the abuses listed on this website. Should I still go? What can I do? That church is my parish church. If things are so bad…am I making the right decision?


Go with the love of God, and be armed with knowledge of the Church’s laws. Tell a priest about the abuses. If he dosen’t listen, tell the pastor. If he dosen’t listen, write to the bishop. If the bishop dose nothing, write to the Vatican.

Rely on God. His Omnipotence will support you.


While I have problems with the Charismatic movement, this particular site you linked to seems to have its own agenda and is expressing nothing more than its own opinion.

In any case, the Catholic Charismatic Renewal UNDER THE PASTORAL OVERSIGHT of the diocesan bishop, is allowed in the church.

So long as its members remain under the spiritual care of the Bishop, they won’t wanter too far astray.

Can you give some examples? Then we can help you see if they really are abuses.

I looked some more on this site.

The writer seems to use “liturgical abuse” to mean no more than “I don’t like this!”, even about practices permitted by the Church.

I started a thread about this matter a few months ago. You might want to read it.

Charismatics are not all heretics. To assume such is incorrect. The charisms of the Holy Spirit are Biblical (read Acts). If you read the Bible, you will see that the power of the Holy Spirit was evident when someone was given that gift. They were visibly changed - people noticed. People are blessed with the Holy Spirit in both Catholic and Protestant churches. To say that something that started (recently) in the Protestant churches must be heretical is not a logical statement. The gifts of the Holy Spirit (charisms) are from the time of Christ. The Catholic Church has been actively supporting Holy Spirit retreats and “baptisms in the Spirit” in recent days at least since the 70’s. Did this start with the Pentecostals? I can’t say. If it did, that’s not to say that it is heretical. Baptism didn’t start with John the Baptist. It began with the pagans. So, following the logic of the blogger, should we stop baptizing because it originated before the time of Christ? Certainly not. Same with Charismatics. I am part of a Charismatic Prayer Group in my parish. We are fully supported and aligned with our (very orthodox) priest/pastor. We are beginning to offer a Life in the Spirit seminar to help others in the parish experience the power of the Holy Spirit in a visible way. Don’t worry about this blog. Be excited that your parish has charismatic prayer. It is so powerful. You will experience the Holy Spirit like you never thought possible. Explore other Catholic charismatic sites and let this one go.

I agree.

There may indeed be problems in the OP’s parish. But I don’t think the referenced article should be considered an authoritative measure of whether or not something is problem, let alone an out and out abuse.

A few of the abuses I have noticed are:

  1. orans posture of the faithful (I started doing it myself)
  2. holding hands during the our father
  3. covering up the baptismal font during easter

That’s all I can think of right now.

Most people will tell you you are being “uncharitable”. They think because you don’t just turn your blind eye on dangerous movements that you are being un-holy. However, I agree. It is completely un-orthodox and un-Catholic, and I hope that some day the Church will regain its pride(not vanity) to tell people things they don’t want to hear.

Considering this is the prescribed posture for the Our Father in some Eastern Catholic Churches, it can hardly be considered heresy. I personally don’t care much what prayer posture others use, so long as it isn’t especially ostentatious. There are some who argue that because the orans is prescribed for the priest, the congregation may use any prayer posture but that. It’s also suggested by some that since traditionally the deacon said the prayer in place of the congregation, and his posture is to have hands joined, that the congregation should likewise. The simple fact is that a posture for the congregation is not explicitly prescribed, so there is legitimate debate on this at present.

Your second point is a prohibited topic at the moment.

As for your last point, I have heard of the practice of covering or emptying the holy water fonts - this has been prohibited except during the triduum. Even so, it doesn’t constitute heresy, just a misguided practice. Regarding baptismal fonts specifically, since baptisms during Lent are sometimes less frequent and delayed until the Easter Vigil, it may be legitimate to cover the baptismal font alone, if it’s not being used.

The holy water font is covered for the entire season of Lent with a wooden cover with several giant metal nails placed around the perimeter to symbolize I assume the nails used to crucify Christ. I have seen this for two Easters now. It’s closed on purpose. Most people when passing by since they cannot dip their fingers usually tap the cover I assume out of reverence.

But, then I have another question. Forgive me, because I am not Catholic yet, but merely going off of what I have been studying. When is something to be considered misguided and when should it be consider heretical or reportable or breaking the rules?

You might like to bookmark this great searchable copy of the Catechism :slight_smile:

From the Catechism we can define heresy:

"*Heresy *is the obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and catholic faith, or it is likewise an obstinate doubt concerning the same; *apostasy *is the total repudiation of the Christian faith;

None of these are heresies. Who told you that?

The first two are not even abuses although some consider them unwelcome innovations.

Maybe heresy is not the correct word but I got this from the EWTN website:

Here is a Pagans two cents. You’ll find lots of abuses everywhere, why not work to be an agent of change to orthodoxy (As in Orthodox Catholic not Eastern Orthodox in your parish church?

To say that the site you got directed to has an agenda is a gross understatement. Almost every link I went to from the page had major errors in it.

As another poster noted, the site is really nothing more than a list of things the author doesn’t like. Your own parish may or may not have legitimate abuses but none of the things you listed are abuses, though some people don’t like some of them. And the Charismatic Renewal is most assuredly not heretical, though there are individuals who more than likely get sucked into some questionable practices.

There are many mainline and credible Catholic sites with valuable information to offer. There are many with agendas of different ilks. And quite frankly, for the most part I would avoid the bloggers until you have a much deeper understanding of what the Church teaches as they are far too often nothing more than rants of the author. Not all by any means, but enough that one without a pretty good foundation can easily be swayed in directions that are either incorrect or just plain frightening.

Peace to you in your journey!

The things on that site range from outright blasphemous to simply inappropriate and in bad taste. Some things on there are not really even really all that bad (i.e., the banners - I came across a picture of my parish Church from 1917, which showed banners hanging in the Church). However, of course, that site is not authoritative - always check Church documents if in doubt.

Hear, hear!

There are some people who are never so happy as when they are miserable, talking about gloom, doom, and rumors of boom–or gleefully pointing out all the horrible things others are doing.

Seems Jesus said somthing about this habit!

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit