Charismatic Movement?


I’d like to hear what people have to say about this. I’ve not had too much exposure to it yet, but I’m not sure what I think of it.

I’ll be attending Franciscan University of Steubenville in two weeks. I am very excited, but am worried about the charismatic movement there. I know they are pretty big on that there, but I can’t imagine myself being so. I really prefer much more, um…reverent Masses. Not that the people aren’t reverent, but I prefer Mass to be more of a solemn and reverential worship of God rather than…a party. Some of the things I’ve read frighten me. :eek:

Sorry if my opinion does not characterize this movement well. I only go by what I’ve read, especially about the conferences and such.

The one mass I went to there wasn’t bad, and wasn’t too different than what I’m used to, except that they used a guitar and the music was more contemporary. But I’m afraid after a while of that I might really miss the more traditional mass offered at the local parish where I live.

So two questions I guess. What do you think of this movement? And, are there other options out at Franciscan University? I know they have the EF most weekends, but I’ve not been to one of those either, though I’d love to. But I don’t know what the differences are or what is expected.


There will be a wide range of opinion on charismatics and lots of pretty strong feelings either way. If you don’t want to get caught up in the frenzy you don’t have to. Some people seem to like that kind of excitement. Others prefer calm. Surely you will be able to find a place for yourself where you are comfortable at the University. Charismatics are not terrorists. You have the opportunity to enjoy the university and grow in faith. That is wonderful.


I heard the university is great :slight_smile: and so are their conferences.

if you want a more traditional Mass, you could perhaps visit the EF (you mean the Latin Mass right? the TLM…), - very reverent and no comtemporary music; just read the prayers from the missal and pray along silently :slight_smile:

I’ve been to those and they’re beautiful.

As for the charismatic movement, I don’t think it’s bad, I’ve met people who are involved in it who are great Catholics. It’s really good at evangelism too.

like you, I’m more drawn to the ‘solemn’ quiet type of Masses.

But they have a lot more than Mass though… they might have speakers, Adoration, etc… or so I’ve heard…

God bless


Yeah, it really does sound like a great place there.

Sorry if I sounded harsh about the Charismatic Movement. I really don’t mind that much, though it makes me kind of uncomfortable, but it’s just not my style at all. I’m a quiet person myself, so I like more quiet Masses.

Monica4316, I really want to go to the TLM, but I’m blind and wouldn’t be able to read the missal, so I don’t know how much I’d get out of it.

I hear the Mass at 6:30 in the morning doesn’t have music, so maybe I’ll like that one more. Or maybe I’ll grow to like the other ones too.

Oh yes, that university has a lot. They have 24x7 Adoration, a chapple in all the dorms, groups praying the Rosary, lots of stuff that I’m excited about. I’m so excited to go there, but was concerned about the Charismatic aspect there.


I am more like you in preferring quiet woship. I’ve know quite a few charismatics and have been to some of their events. They make me uncomfortable also. I do believe in miracles. That isn’t my problem. It is just a matter of style. My personal opinion is they are silly. They are probably also pretty harmless excentrics and after awhile most will realize they make a lot of noise and not much else happens.


I like quiet Masses too :slight_smile:

Monica4316, I really want to go to the TLM, but I’m blind and wouldn’t be able to read the missal, so I don’t know how much I’d get out of it.

of course in that case an English Mass would be better (even with the missal, it’s still a little hard to follow along… I wish I knew Latin lol!). But if you get the chance, see if you’d like to visit the TLM. The first time I went I didn’t have the missal and had no clue what’s going on cause I didn’t know the structure of the Mass either. But I just listened to the chanting and it was beautiful and lifted my mind to God :slight_smile: it was very reverent, just from the music and the incense and the whole atmosphere there.

I hear the Mass at 6:30 in the morning doesn’t have music, so maybe I’ll like that one more. Or maybe I’ll grow to like the other ones too.

maybe! :slight_smile: I hope you’ll find a good Mass.

Oh yes, that university has a lot. They have 24x7 Adoration, a chapple in all the dorms, groups praying the Rosary, lots of stuff that I’m excited about. I’m so excited to go there, but was concerned about the Charismatic aspect there.

wow I wish I went there! my university is so atheistic :frowning:

God bless


the charismatics I know do really value reverence and respect for the Blessed Sacrament :slight_smile: I think maybe what you’re all referring to is the music? that I kind of understand… I really like praise and worship music but I like traditional hymns and chanting for Mass. But see what you think when you’re there :slight_smile: I don’t think the Masses would be really ‘hectic’ - from lack of a better word… perhaps just more contemporary, but still reverent with no liturgical abuse.


I think you’re right. The Mass I attended there when I went on the campus tour wasn’t all that crazy, but just used a guitar and more contemporary music. But I didn’t mind that much.

But recently I read someone’s experience at one of those charismatic conferences, and it sounded really over the top.


I met one man who’s in seminary, and he’s not a charismatic, but he helped at one of their services and received an enormous windfall of the Spirit that drastically changed his life for the better. So I do believe they have real graces from the Lord at work amongst them and these can have an enormously positive influence in people’s lives.

That said, I’m also coming out of an environment that’s close to charismatic. I used to focus on the gifts of the Spirit and the Lord did perform a few marvels through me and among people around me. But the problem is that I wasted a lot of time focusing on how to develop deeper union with God’s consolations or marvels rather than on seeking surrender of my whole self to the God responsible for them. I didn’t learn that much about humility, submission or virtue during that period. I didn’t focus on love or self-surrender. People interested in the charismatic movement around me had a somewhat similar attitude.

I definitely won’t judge and say all charismatics are like that. I think lots of charismatics are great people with deep relationships with God. However, my concern is that there can be a great emphasis on the gifts of the Spirit, miracles and such, at the expense of the fruits of the Spirit, which is by far the more important.

I feel like I’ve been the recipient of the Bible story where Jesus spits on the ground, makes mud of the spit and earth, and rubs it on a blind man’s eyes. Then he tells the blind man to go to the pool of Saloam and bathe. The blind man does and is healed.

When my life was completely without God, I was the blind man. When I was in a relationship with God but was wasting my time glamorized by the supernatural marvels and such, I was the blind man with Jesus’ spit in my eyes mixed with mud. The Lord was giving me what I could receive at that time- His spit mixed with mud in my eyes. Then when I washed, receiving last Lent a focus on how to develop that inward communion with God through submission, obedience, suffering, generosity, patience, etc., that was when I washed in the pool of Saloam and was enabled to see.

I can really, really understand why the saints spoke about how one should not seek after supernatural marvels. It’s not like the marvels are wrong. However, they can dazzle the eyes and turn the soul on what is much less valuable. Also, they can be a source of pride. The handful of marvels the Lord used to work through me were a source of pride to me for quite a while in my life. They can easily be unhealthy. It’s so easy to be extremely involved in supernatural gifts as they’re so exciting, all the while ignoring basics like going to help the poor or spending time with the sick. How many of the people that pray for the gift to supernaturally heal people give lots of money to Red Cross or charities that will heal? Do we want the person to be healed or do we want to feed our own egos?

What the soul really needs is humility, the development of love, the growth of virtue, the creation of true union with God. Then, as the soul does not seek the supernatural, the Lord gives the soul exactly what He pleases (both in virtues and, much later, possibly gifts), exactly when He pleases.

I know the Charismatic movement can truly develop deeper relationships with God for many people. I have both seen that in others and experienced it in my own life. I also have concerns about it, though. I think that what is really, really valuable is to read the writings of the saints and the Gospels which teach about becoming closer to God, and then abandon the self, abandon one’s own desires and throw oneself at God’s feet, surrendering all ideas of what would make oneself more powerful or popular or would give oneself the most thrills. One should abandon all that, all one’s own vanities and ambitions, and pray to become less in one’s own eyes and in the eyes of God, seeking out one’s sins and seeking purification, developing virtue in secret. God can give us whatever He wants, when He wants. St. Teresa of Avila wrote about the supernatural experiences of God and said they shouldn’t be sought, we shouldn’t try meditating our way into them or pulling them into ourselves, and St. John of the Cross and St. Faustina and others insisted they should not be sought. But St. Teresa of Avila said God can give them to people whenever He likes. When we seek Him and surrender ourselves to Him, He can give us whatever He pleases, whenever He pleases. It is often a greater grace to be allowed trials rather than consolations or marvels.

Anyway . . . just my thoughts. And I do want to reaffirm how I strongly believe God is working among many Charismatics, leading them and blessing their ministries. I don’t think the Charismatic Movement is wrong. God transforms many people’s lives through it. He did mine through that kind of experience, definitely for the better. But I don’t believe it’s at all a good idea to focus on the supernatural marvels.


Lief Erikson,

Thanks a lot for your post. I don’t have a problem with the gifts and miracles; I think they are great, but have no interest in those sorts of things myself. I just don’t like the atmosphere. It’s good to know though that God’s grace has affected people through it though.

What I do long for is the sort of relationship with God that the saints such as St. Teresa of Avila and St. Faustina had. I marvel at their closeness to Jesus, and how they surrendered themselves to Him, and how He guided them so clearly. I try to surrender myself to God every day, but God knows I do very poorly at it.

But He has given me so many graces to develop in virtue, and I am so thankful for that. I pray that God would continue to draw me ever closer to Himself. I feel strongly it is His will that I go to Franciscan University, for so many reasons, so I am sure He will help me find a place there where I fit in and can grow in my faith and my relationship with Him.

I guess I just need to trust in Him more.


Lief, wow I’ve had a very similar journey in that regard :slight_smile:

It took me a while to see that we shouldn’t ask for extraordinary favours or consolations.

I think that we can really imitate our Blessed Mother in this way. She’s the Queen of Heaven but on earth she lived such a simple, humble life. St Therese puts it so well:

“Virgin full of grace, I know that at Nazareth you lived modestly, without requesting anything more. Neither ecstasies, nor miracles, nor other extra ordinary deeds enhanced your life, O Queen of the elect. The number of the lowly, “the little ones,” is very great on earth. They can raise their eyes to your without any fear. You are the incomparable Mother who walks with them along the common way to guide them to heaven. Beloved Mother, in this harsh exile, I want to live always with you and follow you every day. I am enraptured by the contemplation of you and I discover the depths of the love of your heart. All my fears vanish under your motherly gaze, which teaches me to weep and to rejoice! Amen.”
(St Therese of Lisieux)


:slight_smile: it’s always a good idea to trust Him. I agree with you about St Teresa of Avila and St Faustina. All they sought to do is to follow God’s will and to love Him. They also had so much humility. I wish I was more like them too.

God bless


just a suggestion, why not attend your conference at FUS with an open mind and judge the university, or at least their summer conferences, by your experience there, wihtout a preconceived notion about the worship or any other aspects of the program, especially those conditioned by the fact that coincidentally some folks there are drawn to the charismatic movement.

If you would like to get more information about the charismatic movement itself, particularly come to your own judgement about a charismatic conference, why not attend one, and/or a life in the spirit seminar. Then you can make your judgement based on actual experience, and the answers to your questions which you can ask of people who actually embrace this approved spirituality within the Church, rather than 2nd, 3rd or 28th hand reports.



I am sorry if I have offended you. Others here are much more knowledgeable than I, and I fear coming to faulty conclusions. I hear though that the charismatic movement is quite prevalent at Franciscan, which is why I am asking.

The report I read was of a person who had attended one of the conferences, I believe in 2006. The description made me quite uneasy.

Again I’m sorry if I’ve offended you. However, if you have experience with the movement, I’d appreciate your opinions or conclusions.


I went to a Steubenville conference this summer, and to be honest, it was probably one of the best things that happened to me. The conferences of years past I know nothing about, but this year(my first), it seemed really Catholic. There was Mass everyday, just with guitars(personally I like the contemporary music, but maybe that’s because I’m younger :wink: ). They had a time of worship on Saturday night with an Eucharistic Procession. That was probably the most intense part of the conference IMO, just to see teens all around you, kneeling as the Eucharist came around their row, with their arms outstretched. As Jesus came up to my row, I felt this burning desire, it was like something deep in me said “I want that. I need that.” Since the conference, I’ve just given my life to God more and more. So that was my experience at a Steubenville Conference.:slight_smile:

I go to a Charismatic Catholic church, I have been for about 3,4 years now. At first, I was really uncomfortable about people praying in tongues and such. It is a really different feel, but a lot of the charismatics I know, the really truly charismatics, are just so in love with God. They really brought me closer to Christ and His Church, through the passion they have for Him. They are also some of the most hardcore, traditional Catholics I know, they just happen to also pray in tongues/have the charisms of the Spirit.

There are people out there though, that seem to be more focused on getting “slain in the spirit” or praying in tongues or, that “feel good” buzz, but that’s not what the Charismatic movement is about. It’s about falling in love with God, and being closer with Him. It’s about making Christ the center, to seek the Giver not the gift. The gift is just a, well gift!

A book I recommend on the Charismatic Movement is Sober Intoxication of the Spirit by Raniero Cantalamessa. I’m reading it now, and it’s amazing. It really hits what the true Charismatic Movement is about, and it’s really focused on Christ. The first chapter is titled, “Humility” which is key in our relationships with Christ.

So that’s my two cents, I have friends who go to Franciscan who absolutely love it! I hope you do too! :smiley:



Thank you very much for relating your experiences! That is very encouraging.

I agree, the Mass there was good. And the chapel was packed.

OK, here’s the article I had read that concerned me. I hadn’t bookmarked it so had to find it again.

Charismatic Weekend at Steubenville

It brings up bad memories of the Pentecostal church I attended for a while when I was younger. I tried to like it, but ended up avoiding it because I disliked it so much. Kept making up excuses every Sunday for why I couldn’t go. :stuck_out_tongue:

I am sure I will love Franciscan University though. The sequence of events that got me there is nothing short of miraculous, and I’m convinced it’s where I need to be.


I read the article. It’s interesting, and I understand the author’s concern. I too would be really uncomfortable, had I not gone to a conference myself. While the conferences now are still charismatic, they aren’t like what was portrayed in the article anymore. Like I said, I don’t know much about conferences past, but from what I’ve gathered, there was a lot of misleading with the charismatic movement and still has some.

In response to the music, which the author seemed to have a big issue with, the truth is, teens like me often get bored by Gregorian Chant, organ music, etc. I like Gregorian Chant actually, but also Contemporary Christian music. I’m into pop/alternative music. So rather than listen to lyrics that are in-moral and offensive, I’d rather sing to the Lord. A friend of mine once said, if I’m going to be listening to music, why don’t I listen to something that praises God? The reason most of it is Protestant, is that there aren’t too many Catholic artists out there. I know of Matt Maher, and a local group (actually from my parish) but that’s about it. :slight_smile: Some of the Protestant groups are a bit iffy with the lyrics being sound with Catholic doctrine, but if you sift through, you can find lots of lyrics that are very much with the Catholic doctrine. St. Augustine once said, “to sing is to pray twice.”

Ok, I’m done with my music rant :wink: I think the author made a point, the conferences may seem like Catholic doctrine plus a Protestant “pep rally”. But think about how many young people flock to Protestant denominations, why? Because they appeal to teens who are young and want something that isn’t a dry stuffy church with organ music. Now take this teen appeal, and apply Catholic teachings. The result is teens, actually interested in Catholicism. Many Protestant groups do go overboard and put more emphasis on the lightshow and pyrotechnics, but I think Steubenville still keeps it’s focus on the important thing; God.



Thanks. As long as it is faithful to the Church, I don’t have a problem with it. It does seem like a very conservative school from what I saw there.


you’re welcome. Sorry if I seemed rant-y, I get really into discussions… :wink:

But yes, Franciscan is a great school :smiley:


Not at all. I appreciate the information. :slight_smile:

I’m counting down the days until I start. :smiley: Twelve days to go.

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