Christian Life Program gone wild?


#1

Hi,

Recently, my wife and I joined a Christian Life Program (CLP) in our area. This program is part of a group called Couples For Christ (CFC). They are a Catholic group that is very large around the world.

The last session we went to was rather shocking and I couldn’t believe what I experienced.

For this session they moved the talk up from the church basement to the main area of the Church. They sang a few Christian folk songs and talked about how they were going to ask for the Holy Spirit to come upon us individually. I became a bit concerned when the guest speaker was telling us to say ‘la la la la’ during the individual prayer. I wasn’t sure what he was talking about. He told us to ask for the gift of tongues.

Anyway, the plan was to have everyone go to the back of the Church, sit down on a chair that faced the corner, and have others pray over them and lay hands. In front, of the chair was a candle with a small bowl of holy water. They divided one side of the church for the men and the other for the women.

While I was sitting at the front waiting my turn, I suddenly heard a very strange sound coming from the back of the church. The women all started making crazy sounds you would hear during a scary movie or while going through a haunted house. They kept chanting, ‘la la la la la’ really fast and changing the pitch of their voice in odd ways.

It all sound crazy and I thought they were all nuts. I was thinking to myself, what in the heck l have I done to my poor wife? She is going there next! I was also thinking that these people are completely wrong.

Well it didn’t take long for my turn to arrive. I sat down and the men prayed over me while I prayed to myself. Then they started singing over me and then quickly changed their voice just like the women did. ‘la la la la’, they all chanted over and over again. One had to stop and tell me to say, "Hallelujah ". So I said it slow and calmly. After that one of them told me that I had to practice speaking in tongues. They also seemed rather disapointed that my wife and I didn’t experience any “magical possession” or something.

Needless to say my wife and I are just shocked about this entire experience. We are very concerned that these people are practicing things that Catholics should not be practicing and they are doing it right in front of the Altar.

First of all, there was no priest during the entire session. The entire time I was wondering if the pastor of the church would approve of this.

Second, a good Catholic priest that we know (who has permission from the bishop to perform exorcisms) told my wife that you should not lay hands upon people in that manner. You can’t simply start implementing the theatrics of witchcraft.

Thirdly, their understanding of tongues is very uneducated. You can’t simply start talking gibberish and hope that the Holy Spirit will fall upon you. You also can’t practice speaking in tongues.

What should I do about this? I’m afraid that by continuing to entertain this we may become guilty of a sin against the Holy Spirit. Also, what should I tell these people if they are wrong. Should I try to correct them? If so, what is the best way?


#2

This does not sound like the Couples for Christ movement that I’m familiar with. If you’re uncomfortable, don’t go back. If you’re still interested in Couples for Christ, which is an outstanding ministry, find out if there is another group in your area.

Fraternally,

JR :slight_smile:


#3

This is not the first time I’ve heard of teaching people to speak in tongues.

The first time was decades ago at Evangel Temple Assembly of God (home of the Happy Hunters) in Houston, Texas (where Mother Angelica spoke in the 80’s).

If you can teach people to speak in tongues, then it’s obviously not a gift, but a technique.


#4

:highprayer::signofcross:
I agree with you it sounds really wrong.Why dont you send an e-mail to your Bishop/Diocese telling them whats going on.I hope these people are "innocently"
doing something they think is right and are just misguided.Lets pray for them and good luck contacting the Diocese/Bishop if you take my advice
God Bless


#5

are you sure these innovations from the Charistmatic movement are part of the CLP or just personal aberrations of the local leadership? It does not sound anything like the Couples for Christ meetings I have attended here. It also sounds nothing like the orthodox Charismatic masses or prayer meetings I have attended, either. I have NEVER heard any leader, priest or lay, in a charismatic meetings suggest “faking” tongues
editor not working again, I would go and check the sign on the door at the next meeting, maybe you got the wrong room


#6

Hi JamesG,

I am a Couples For Christ member in the Philippines. I had somewhat the same uneasy thoughts as yours when my wife and I underwent the same CLP program 8 years ago.
To begin with, it is good for you to express your frank thoughts about the matter. As I understand it, a participant does not have to “speak in tongues” as a mandatory aspect of the formation program. I know of some regular members who have not gotten around to practising it, but these same members are active members anyway who have renewed their relationships with God and their families. For those of us who have practised “speaking in tongues” during prayer meetings and assemblies, as I understand, it is a way for them to pray and communicate directly with the Lord, and I have a firm understanding from experience and observation that it has complemented their growth as Christians and families “renewing the face of the earth”. I myself have gone into praying “halleluyah-lalala-la” as a form of prayer during our prayer assemblies (although others do not, but no problem there), it took a while, but there I go. Nobody in the community actually forced me into it, I just felt it in the course of events…I may not be able to express it very well for you but I guess it would be better if you seek clarification from the CFC leaders in your area. Let me say that you are on the right track - it is always best to inquire, clarify and possibly correct with a charitable disposition.

By the way, CFC has the imprimatur of the Vatican. It is recognized as an International Private Association of the faithful with approved Vatican statutes, just in case you were wondering along this line. That recognition stays to this date, and its theme for the year is “One with the Catholic Church”.

Yours in Christ,


#7

When you practice speaking in tongues do you have a priest around? Do you really think that a priest would approve of such actions? You should be aware that the priests are the ones with the authority not the lay people.

I’m sorry, but you can’t practice speaking in tongues. This is completely contradictory to what the Bible teaches and to what Catholics believe in.

I’m starting to think that the CLP I attended is basically an attempt create a protestant group inside the church, specifically a Pentecostal style assembly. I realize that it is recognized by the Church, but if that is the case then it should be subject to the churches authority. It is very clear to me that these teachings regarding speaking in tongues are not from the Church.


#8

I agree, James. Charismatics, more often than not, confuse their own immature emotionalism with the power of the Holy Spirit. When the Bible speaks of “speaking in tongues,” it means real languages, either human languages which one has never studied (which was a Spiritual gift that St. Padre Pio had), or mysterious “angelic languages” that different Spirit-filled people could understand together and interpret (1 Cor. 12:10). The Bible is not referring to senseless babbling (e.g.,“lalalala”) or uttering emotional nonsense, no matter how sincere the intentions of the “babbler” may be. To “babble” is a sign of the lack of the Holy Spirit (see Genesis 11:1-9), not the possession of the Spirit.


#9

Yes I agree and after further research on this matter I discovered a good website detailing your exact argument.

catholicintl.com/epologetics/articles/pastoral/speaking-tongues1.htm

At this point I’m strongly thinking about contacting the bishop as some people here have suggested.

What really upsets me is that I initially took my wife to the CLP because she was having a hard time dealing with her mother who left the Church for a Pentecostal Assembly. I was afraid that she was going to desire the sense of belonging and immature emotionalism that her mother was experiencing.

Sadly, this CLP is no different! I might as well of told her to just go with her mother to the Pentecostal service. The only good thing is that my wife also thinks that these people are wrong. The problem is that if I don’t prove it to her she may at some point begin to accept this craziness and it may end up being a precursor for her leaving the Church.


#10

James, I’m so sorry you and your wife have to deal with this present difficulty. If your wife saw the craziness for what it is then there is good reason, it seems to me, to think that she won’t be drawn into this “style” that her mother has embraced. Did this occur at your home parish or a neighboring one? Whether it was, the pastor should be notified about this. You are both in my prayers.


#11

JamesG,
In most of CFC assemblies we start out with a Mass, and when it is a major assembly like an anniversary, there is the local Bishop concelebrating the Mass. Yes, some of the priests do stay around for the program and even witness the “speaking in tongues” which we do mixed with community prayers at some point. To date, I have never heard of a priest admonishing us over the “speaking in tongues”. But yes, seek out the local parish priest or maybe the CFC spiritual director (there should be one designated in your area) for clarifications.

Maybe you are putting too much meaning in the CFC “speaking in tongues” when the meaning is not there and is no way intended. As I have said from my own observations as a member, it is mostly just a way of praying and is not expected as a mandatory manifestation. It is nothing like “speaking in tongues” like the Pentecostals’ approach to it. As I said, in the CFC milieu it is just like some prayer. Think of it this way: when a baby or toddler speaks to their parents, they make unintelligible sounds. Before God, all of us are just like babies, and when we sincerely pray intelligibly, unintelligibly (or even silently), God will understand us no matter what or what doesn’t come out of our mouths. I guess it would be rash to conclude that as “immature emotionalism” or “craziness” because when we do so, we claim to be able to read the inner workings in a fellow believer. Anyway, I suppose it should not be considered nor called “speaking in tongues” in the first place, because it brings much confusion when it is likened to the speaking in tongues that is referred to in Scriptures.

I guess it would be pretty hasty to judge the entire CFC community by this single isolated manifestation which is rather misinterpreted. Lumen Gentium says (sec 7) that in the building up of Christ’s body there is a flourishing variety of members and functions and that there is only one Spirit who distributes gifts for the welfare of the Church. CFC is involved in wholistic ministry which includes family and social ministries, work for the poor, Prolife ministry, among others. CFC seeks to do its part in building up Christ’s body** in full communion with the Catholic Church**.


#12

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