What are your thoughts on Charismatic Renewal? Does it betray our Catholic identity and heritage? Is it irreverent? Or do you see it as a good way to revive the relevance of Catholicism and bring more people into the Church? What are your personal thoughts?
My personal thoughts: many aspects of this movement entail reasons I left Protestantism. I went to Bible Camp as a child with the hand holding, altar calls, praying over people, shouting out during the service, arm waving and other behaviors that to me seem more attention seeking than anything else. I love the tradition and dignity of the Catholic Mass.I don’t want praise music and rock bands. That is just my personal opinion, I come to Mass for what I cannot get at the “New Life” Megachurch down the street with their movie screens, rock concerts, stadium seating and coffee bar. I go for Jesus. I don’t think the Church should try to compete with Charismatic Protestantism. We aren’t going to Mass to be entertained. But if other Catholics get real spiritual benefit from this form of worship, they are free to do so. Just not my preference. If my background were different, I may not have such a viseral reaction to such things.
Funny you should mention this. I was just watching a program this morning by Food For Life about the Holy Spirit. It seems that Popes, Paul VI, John Paul II, and Benedict have all praised the charismatic renewal movement for it’s possibility of bringing new life to the Church.
It’s not my personal kind of thing, however I do feel it has it’s place within the Church and should be welcomed.
Your description sounds more like a LifeTeen mass than a charismatic mass. I try attend a charismatic mass held by the Fraternity of Priests in my Diocese about once a month. They are nothing like your description. I wouldn’t want every mass to be like the ones I attend, but I’m thankful that our Catholic Church is diverse enough that there is room for such masses.
You will find that the movement’s most vocal critics are those who do not have direct experience with it. I firmly believe that it is fear which causes many to reject it. Although my experience with it is not extensive, what I have seen is 100% Catholic, is obedient to and supportive of the Church and her mission. Are there problems with it? Well, if we have problems with the priesthood, we will have problems everywhere. The movement itself is tested and approved by the Church, but also submits itself to the Church, as all spirits must be tested. Many Priests and some Bishops are involved in it.
What I can tell you is that it is not for everyone. The more spiritual you are, the more you desire to live out your spirituality, the more drawn you are to the working of the Holy Spirit and the manifestations of the supernatural, the more you will appreciate what it does. Yet, what we experience is not for our own edification, but that of the Church.
At our baptism and confirmation, each of us receives a charism, or gift, from the Holy Spirit. That gift is given to us for the purpose of the building up of the Church. Read Matthew 25:14-30 - the parable of the talents. This applies directly to the charisms that we receive form the Holy Spirit. We are expected to use them, not to hide them. On our day of judgment, we will be called to account regarding what we have done with our gifts.
Fear? Yes, fear rules our beings. The Holy Spirit casts out fear. How many of us are afraid to speak of our faith? Of Christ or His Church? That was me until I submitted to the Holy Spirit and asked Him to reveal to me what my charism was. This occurred at the hands of a charismatic Priest who laid hands on me and prayed. What happened next was one of the most intensely spiritual occurrences that I have ever experienced.
My charism was made apparent to me. I began talking about my faith. I began evangelizing. I was drawn to Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, the Rosary and now the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. Supernatural things began to occur during prayer before our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. Things that amaze.
But, you have to actually trust God, and make yourself docile to the Holy Spirit - not caring what you look like to those around you. It remains one of the the best-kept secrets in the faith.
Thank you for your post. I actually have no idea what my charism is (if I have one). But, I will now thanks to you, spend time in prayer for discernment. This was something that had never occurred to me before.
By the way, Blessed John Paul II, prayed for the charism of tongues (according to the program I watched today) and his prayer was answered. He said to a question of why he would want that considering the fact that he could speak many languages was that, (paraphrase alert!) “he wanted to be able to pray in the voice of the angels”.
I come from a Protestant Charismatic background also and it just isn’t my cup of tea. I came to Catholicism to get away from rock bands, theater-style seating, huge screens blaring the words to these “praise” songs at me, listening to loud mouth preachers screaming “Praise Him” Praise Him" Glory to JEEEEZUS!" and a coffee shop in the Narthex! In fact my favorite mass takes place at 6:30 AM and has NO MUSIC at all! Today I went to a Good Friday liturgy that was very well attended but was reverent and quiet and it was WONDERFUL! The liturgy was partially sung but no rock band or flashing strobe lights or huge screens. Bottom line: I LOVE the Catholic Mass and can’t get enough of it! I also love the fact that my Bible has 7 additional books that I’d never heard of before. My two favorite websites on the 'Net are this one and Real Catholic TV. I am learning about all kind of saints and angels and others I hope to meet in heaven one day.
LIke I said though, the charismatic mass I attend, doesn’t have a rock band, doesn’t have “praise” songs during the mass, doesn’t have theater-style seating, huge screens, etc, etc. There is very little that is different from the mass we all attend on any given Sunday. Its reverant and prayerful. There are praise songs, but not until the mass is complete. And then its usually the piano or organ, NO rock bands.
The couple of LifeTeen masses though that we attended, pretty much what you described. Some parishes seem to love them, not my cup of tea.
As with devotions to approved private revelations, personal devotions to the Rosary or Divine Mercy Chaplet, or many of the other practices of the faith, the charismatic movement is meant to add flavor to our faith. Not everyone likes that flavor, but each of us is called to know what our charism is and to use it. The charismatic movement is simply one way that we can come to both know and use our charism. Once aware of our charism, we can employ it at home, at work, with friends, during prayer - in short, everywhere that we are called to live our faith.
Absolutely true. People have different charism, and for some people a certain charism isn’t their cup of tea. It doesn’t mean it’s “less Catholic” to do one over another either.
As for being charismatic, there’s nothing un-Catholic about it. Companions of the Cross (CotC) in Ottawa (mainly I believe) are a fairly charismatic group. Catholic Christian Outreach (CCO) is a ministry mostly of university students, and their spirituality is fairly charismatic (their major Christmas conference, Rise Up, has ample Praise and Worship time).
The CotC are a Society of Apostolic Life, and CCO got a letter from Bl. John Paul praising their work. So it’s not like these are groups of outliers or dissidents or anything.
The Holy Spirit is fairly commonly called the “forgotten member of the Trinity.” If everyone knew and used their charism, this would not be the case. As it is, what the Spirit does is often invisible. Yet, everything good done on the face of this earth is by the Holy Spirit. Everything.
Everyone has at least ONE of these charisms, if not multiple, given at baptism and confirmation. IMO, I wouldn’t get hung up on that one don’t have the speaking in tongues or being able to interpret tongues gifts. People get so twisted up in just those two gifts, forsaking the rest. All the gifts are important, no gift is better than the others.
Ask to know it and it will be revealed to you. Some charisms are obvious, while others seem almost hidden. Some arrive with a fanfare, while others are quiet. Some quickly and others in God’s own time. The process of coming to know your charism may be similar to discerning a vocation, requiring prayer and meditation. You may already be using it. However, if we do not know what our charism is, we cannot use it, which runs counter to God’s will for us.
I think that you could even go farther and say there are many people who are afraid of the Holy Spirit working in and through their lives. We’re afraid where He may take us in our lives. He is with us to help us to pray and to teach us wisdom, and we shouldn’t be afraid of Him.
People seem to get really, really over-obsessed with Tongues, and that is even though it is called the least of the Gifts of the Spirit. Fr. Allan MacDonald of the Companions of the Cross gave a good explanation on Charisms of the Holy Spirit at Rise Up this past year (the audio has some issues and there’s some buzzing, but the talk is good).
Like Fr. MacDonald says, you don’t order coffee in Tongues unless the barista happens to have the gift of interpreting Tongues.