Holy Spirit only in the Catholic Church?

I have been reading a lot about visions of Jesus and Mary, among other things, and the one thing that I noticed is that they seem to all come from people who are Catholic. Why is this? Do Catholics just set themselves up for being more open to these things, or is all of this possible because the Catholic Church is the only church which the Holy Spirit resides and is able to do so? I could definently be wrong about Jesus/Mary only appearing to Catholics (please correct me if I am), but from everything I have read it has been only Catholics, I havnt even been able to find any Orthodox visions. Could someone explain to me the reasons behind his.

Yes, the whole subject of Christian mysticism seems to be almost exclusively a Catholic and maybe Orthodox phenomenon. The “gifts of the Spirit” as emphasized in some Protestant denominations such as Pentecostalism seems to be a completely different animal altogether.

Is mysticism a bad thing? Wouldn’t it open yourself up to bad stuff? I don’t really know a whole lot about it.

The usage of the term “mysticism” is an unfortunate one IMO. It’s simply the term used by the Church for centuries to describe the direct contacts some believers have had with God. It took me awhile to get used to it. :slight_smile:

Yes, I never noticed that but it is true. It says something…

im no expert but it just makes sense to me that the Holy Spirit would be only with the Holy Catholic Church

I’m pretty certain it is erroneous to contend that the Holy Spirit only works within the Catholic Church. For starters, who are we to put the Holy Spirit in a box? God can work in the lives of people in all faiths. Of course, we have the fullness of truth and the Holy Spirit guides us, but that does not mean the Holy Spirit only works within the Church.

If that is a teaching of the Church, I’d be happy to read where it says so, but I don’t believe it’s there, of course I fully admit I could be wrong, and will correct myself if that is the case. However, I once believed this to be so myself, until a conversation with a religious brother who told me otherwise. I suppose he could have been wrong, but I doubt our late, great Holy Father Blessed Pope John Paul II was wrong when he said on August 12, 1998 during a General Audience:

"The Council holds that the Holy Spirit’s action cannot be limited to the institutional dimension of the Church, where the Spirit also works in a unique and full manner, but should be recognized outside the visible frontiers of Christ’s Body as well (cf. Gaudium et spes, n. 22; Lumen gentium, n. 16)."

I don’t think it’s so much about contending that the HS only works in the CC. It’s just that the tradition -and recorded history- of these kinds of experiences seem to be in much greater quantity there.

Yes, I agree with that, and it would make sense that the Holy Spirit would fully and most effectively work within the Church. However, unless I am reading the comments here wrong, it certainly seemed to me that some were making the case that indeed the Holy Spirit only works in the Church and therefore cannot manifest itself or work at all in any other setting.

The Catholic Church teaches that the Holy Spirit may be at work in other Christian denominations:

818 "However, one cannot charge with the sin of the separation those who at present are born into these communities [that resulted from such separation] and in them are brought up in the faith of Christ, and the Catholic Church accepts them with respect and affection as brothers . . . . All who have been justified by faith in Baptism are incorporated into Christ; they therefore have a right to be called Christians, and with good reason are accepted as brothers in the Lord by the children of the Catholic Church."272

819 "Furthermore, many elements of sanctification and of truth"273 are found outside the visible confines of the Catholic Church: "the written Word of God; the life of grace; faith, hope, and charity, with the other interior gifts of the Holy Spirit, as well as visible elements."274 Christ’s Spirit uses these Churches and ecclesial communities as means of salvation, whose power derives from the fullness of grace and truth that Christ has entrusted to the Catholic Church. All these blessings come from Christ and lead to him,275 and are in themselves calls to "Catholic unity."276


In general, I think most Protestants look to the Holy Spirit to guide their interpretations of the Bible which is the sole source of revelation. Yet I sometimes hear of pastors claiming to have received guidance or instruction, so maybe the line is hard to draw. Pentecostal denominations, of course, are based upon the belief that the Holy Spirit is present and working wonders amongst their believers. Perhaps someone more knowledgeable about the various denominations can add some insight?

Thanks for all of the insight everyone!

Dale M, coming from the CoC, im not quite sure if I can tell you about other protestant denominations, but as for that one, i never really recall ever hearing that much about the Holy Spirit, thats definently not to say that HE was never talked about, I just didnt hear it. But my understanding is pretty much what you described, the only problem is…and I am in NOOO way speaking for the Holy Spirit…but if HE were to be guiding them in their interpretation of scripture then it would stand to reasion that there wouldnt be some 35k different denominations, this makes it seem as though HE is giving everyone a seperate interpretation, thats what I have come to appreciate about the Authority of the CC:D

But back to the mysticism, its actually one thing that interests me about the CC because I was never exposed to, or even thought about it. I recently bought the diary by St. Mary Faustina Kowalska, and it is very interesting and touching…I still find myself questioning on whether it is even real or not (aparitions & visions in general) because they were viewd as demonic in the church i grew up in.

Keep reading-read St Teresa of Avila. The truth will reveal itself.

Well, Pentecostals do seem to be more open to the miraculous spiritual gifts, visions and other forms of mysticism. However, they would probably see visions which focused on saints and Mary as suspect. Though for Pentecostals incidences of divine intervention usually wouldn’t take a mystical flavor, but one of more practical dimensions. For example, divine healing. A story my family tells is praying over my uncle’s stunted leg and having it grow to a normal length right before their eyes. Or it has to do with having necessities provided for. For example, my mother told of a time when her family didn’t have any food, and someone they didn’t know came out of no where and knocked on the door handing them a bag of food. My mother attributes this to divine intervention and while she never definitively said it had to be an angel who brought them food, she didn’t rule out the possibility that the man was an angel.

My mother, who is a life-long Pentecostal, told me about an experience that happened to her as a young woman. Me and my brother had seen a television show on stigmata or something and we were talking about it. She said she was home alone one night and she had some kind of experience where she experienced the pain of crucifixion. I’m not sure if that falls under mysticism or not.

Further statements from Domunius Iesus attesting to this:

(12) Furthermore, the salvific action of Jesus Christ, with and through his Spirit, extends beyond the visible boundaries of the Church to all humanity. Speaking of the paschal mystery, in which Christ even now associates the believer to himself in a living manner in the Spirit and gives him the hope of resurrection, the Council states: “All this holds true not only for Christians but also for all men of good will in whose hearts grace is active invisibly. For since Christ died for all, and since all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny, which is divine, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partners, in a way known to God, in the paschal mystery”.

(16) With the expression subsistit in, the Second Vatican Council sought to harmonize two doctrinal statements: on the one hand, that the Church of Christ, despite the divisions which exist among Christians, continues to exist fully only in the Catholic Church, and on the other hand, that “outside of her structure, many elements can be found of sanctification and truth”,55 that is, in those Churches and ecclesial communities which are not yet in full communion with the Catholic Church.56 But with respect to these, it needs to be stated that “they derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Catholic Church”.57

The Orthodox seem to be against visions and apparitions of Jesus and Mary, although I believe I’ve heard stories of saints appearing to people.

There are modern accounts of Mary appearing in Egypt which the Coptic Church has approved, and I think there are a couple of Anglican-approved apparitions.

This is just my opinion, but I believe the spiritual traditions, the practice of contemplative prayer, devotions, and the fact that the Catholic Church is the one true holy apostolic church which Jesus founded are the reasons why we have apparitions.

JP2 was very spiritual/mystical Pope. He understood HS, and was guided by HS, and so did the Council that he quotes above.

Doubt Obama, with good reason,:knight2: :slight_smile: … but never JP2 :thumbsup:

Well, the late Pope John Paul II came to me in a dream few days after his passing. He told me a message. I went to a priest and told him the message.

(Almost a year later) One week before Pope John Paul II’s first death anniversary, Pope Benedict read a part of JPII’s last homily. JPII failed to deliver the homily because he passed away. It was the message from my dream.

I went back to the priest and enthusiastically told him about this…it was a validation.

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