Praying in Tongues


:confused: :confused: Recently I attended a praise and worship celebration at a local Catholic College. It was a very rewarding experience save for one part. There was some talk about praying in tongues. What is with this? I felt very uncomfortable about the whole situation. What does the Church say about this? I have not had a chance to talk to our parish priest concerning this yet but thought that I might see what are the thoughts of the ‘forum’.:confused: :confused:


Well to start off, Tongues is one of the many gifts given by the Holy Spirit. It is freely given, not because our goodness, but because of God’s goodness. That is why it is called a GIFT.

It cannot be taught by anyone, nor can it be imposed on someone. Again, it is a GIFT, and only God has the power to give and take away the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

The Gift of tongues is not necessary for salvation. Paul makes it clear in his letters. He says that if someone has the gift of tongues, and doesn’t have love, than it is all pointless.

The most important thing is our relationship with the Holy Trinity, not that one has the gift of tongues. Relationship with God is first, everything else follows after that.

The Gift of tongues is a beautiful gift. We musn’t misuse it or see it as necessary for salvation. The greatest of all gifts is that which gave us salvation, which was also freely given. That should be our main focus.



Is that not just other languages?


In the charismatic renewal gift of tongues is something normal and common. It’s a gift to biuld up ourselves. On the Pentecost Mary, apostles and other disciples received the gift of tongues. It can be a modern language or a dead one, a language of people or of angels. Basically, it’s a prayer of the Holy Spirit, we may not know what the prayer means but God knows. You need a baptism in the Holy Spirit to receive this gift. It’s a very powerful prayer. I suggest joining the Catholic charismatic renewal, you’ll find more not only about the gift of toungues but also about prophesying, healing and other gifts. God bless.


Could you explain something for me, Angelusm? You write that the gift of tongues is:

Maybe you misspoke, but that is exactly one of the main reasons why I’m so uncomfortable about speaking in tongues. Most times I’ve witnessed it, the experience was exactly to build up the individual, and not to give glory to God. I’ve seen it as a conspicuous attention drawer, counterproductive to the cultivation of humility.

On the Pentecost Mary, apostles and other disciples received the gift of tongues. It can be a modern language or a dead one, a language of people or of angels.

The tongues given then were of living (at the time) languages that were used to help spread the Gospel. Not the sort of indecipherable sounds most often associated with speaking in tongues.

You also write that:

In the charismatic renewal gift of tongues is something normal and common.

Again, it is my understanding that this gift was something to occur only rarely, and then there should be an interpreter along with it.

Personally, the whole thing makes me uncomfortable, too, because it seems to me that it 1. brings attention to the individual more than God 2. is impossible to prove if God is truly being given glory since often the “language” is one unknown to humans (or at least the humans present) 3. is something that would be very, very easy for the enemy to mimic.

Plus, living down south, it is far too Pentecostal for this Catholic to embrace.


Hi fyokubeak,

I would like to share my testimony of this gift of the Holy Spirit with you and hopefully help you understand (lol no pun intended) the gift of tongues.

I had first heard about the CCR and tongues, and at first, I was neutral to it. I wasn’t sure. But in time, after looking into what the church was saying, I began to believe it was truly from God, and then had a strong desire to receive it from our Lord.

So after the aforesaid things happened to me, I happened to meet a woman just a few days after this desire for the gift of tongues came to me. We had always prayed together at mass but we did not know each other at all. We only prayed together. So this day, she starts to talk to me after the mass. And it turns out that I was going through a rough time then, I told her that and this kind woman said that if I was going to be at mass the next day, she would bring me a book to read to help me with my struggles.

She did the next day and as we talked a little bit, she looked at me and asked if I might be willing to go to a charismatic prayer night. Wow, how did she know that I was reading about this stuff?? Not a coincidence… Ane well, Of course I said yes I would go.

Well when we got there, people were just going up one by one and introducing themselves and sharing a little about what the Lord had done in their lives. They asked me to do the same and I shared a testimony about how I first came to believe in God. They said “thank you brother, amen. The Lord is indeed with you.”

and then the meeting was over! !!! well as we were getting ready to leave, An older man and woman were talking with me. They were so delightful! Very nice people. And as my friend and I were just about to leave, the man (who it turns out was the prayer group leader) said to me “Hey wait a minute, did you want to receive the gift of tongues?” !!!

“Yeah I do” I replied. So he just calls out to everyone who were already literally going out the door “Hey hold on everyone, we are going to pray for our brother to receive the gift of tongues.” So they all came back in the church for me. wow

And what happened next I will never forget: I sat there and the man led me in a prayer to turn my life over to Jesus completely and to ask Him to fill me with His holy Spirit. All this while about 20 mature members of the charismatic renewal (most with probably 20 years under their belt) prayed with hands outstretched towards me in tongues. It was unbelievably awesome. I was being filled with the Spirit in a way I did not comprehend but afterwards my friend asked me how I felt. And my only answer was “I feel so good, I feel like I am a new person. I have never felt this way before.”

And indeed, I was changed that day, for the Glory of God.

I didn’t mention that during the time that the group was praying over me, and after the leader had led me in a prayer of renewing my relationship with Jesus, he also led me in a prayer to receive the gift of tongues.

Now this prayer was very different. Not different in that I asked the Lord to give me something (that is natural for us catholics, we really know about the prayer of petition) but the difference came in what happened in the next part of the prayer.

He asked me if I would just try to speak in tongues. The leader wanted me to simply repeat the sounds that he was making as he prayer in tongues, sitting there next to me. Well it is so incredible because although the sounds he made were as simple as “la la” and “abba”, and although I opened my mouth to copy him, my voice was someone nearly non-existant when I tried to copy him. It was remarkable I must say. He kept asking me to speak out the sounds but LOL I couldn’t just barely make an audible note. wow. but just wait till what happened later.

So That was it, the prayers were over and we went home. I told my friend that I felt like a brand new person, like anything like I had ever felt, I had all of this love inside of me, I must have been beaming at everyone. I was full of God!!! (who is love).

I told her honestly though that I wasn’t sure if I had received the gift of tongues as all I was doing was copying the sounds that he made. The leader did ask me to let the gift flow out of me, lol but I could barely speak, let alone flow.

So. five days later. I was at a prayer group that I normally went to, it was non-charismatic and was being led by nuns. We were in a chapel in the presence of the blessed sacrament. So, these are young nuns who preach. A really miraculous order called Verbum Dei. But as I mentioned, they do not exhibit any of the charismatic gifts listed in 1 Cor 12. They do preach wonderfully though. Why do I mention this? Because it was there as this holy nun preached about giving my life to the Lord completely, that as she spoke, I prayed in my heart “Yes Jesus, yes. I want to give myself to you completely” That all of a sudden:

This fire began burning in my chest. A fire fire FIRE! and it was like I could see these flames there in my heart just filling my heart up big time. And then, I can’t explain how I could see this, but I did spiritually I believe, this fire was burning from my heart into my throat and mouth. And I knew these words were in the fire. I could even see them somehow. wow I know this sounds like something else but it really happened. So these wrods just started to flow out of my mouth. Really flow. So much that I had to hold my mouth shut because we were in chapel and this nun was preaching.

I kept quiet and was able to hold back from making any noise, but inside: I was praying in tongues, I knew not what, as my heart burned with the love of saying yes to my Lord.


Most of the time you will see whole congregations of protestants doing this. Pentecostals are partial to this.

Most people you will see or hear about speaking in tongues is 100% put on and fake.

Go to some of these protestant services, see for yourself.

EDIT- Peter Popoff used to encourage this on his tv program. Until he was caught ripping people off and cheating them of course…lol.


Ha. I agree with IHF. I’ve never seen a case where tongues looked legit to me.

One of the weirdest of all was a Catholic retreat house where they “taught” you to speak in tongues and had people making all kinds of sounds. I was young then and still thought it was totally weird. I left and never went back.

Teaching people to talk in tongues. How weird.


I agree we have to be careful and pray for the gifts of discernment and wisdom. Praying in tongues does edify us. Catholics do pray in tongues too. It does say in corinthians that when you are prophesying in tongues that should only be done with a translator. But it does say that praying in tongues out loud does not help the church unless there is someone to translate, because people who don’t know the Lord will think we’re all madmen!!!:stuck_out_tongue:

Not everyone gets the gift of tongues. I went to a charismatic church where they shouted in tongues but that doesn’t add anything just confuses and frightens people. The Holy Spirit is amazing and incredible:thumbsup:


Flame of Christ!

No way I would disbelieve you nor my other brothers and sisters who has the great privilege of speking in tongues … being edified and talking secrets with God as is written in the Word… Many times I have prayed with people who had the gifts of tongues and heard words of prophesy and I have felt the anointing and power of the Holy Spirit there. Only very few have I doubted for obvious reasons… tongues cannot very well be faked, no matter if some very smart people believe so.

Why would I make a joke of the Holy Spirit and His gifts just because so many lack faith and live their faith-life in the flesh…?
And why would I be a woman of little faith just because I havent had the privilege my self of speaking in tongues (yet)…

Everyone need edification in order to edify the congregation… that is what the Bible teaches about tongues. Now who will be so proud as to say “I dont need that”. Surely there its no surprise that the Church is so sick today when there is so much arrogance and even people who think themselves pious mock the gifts of God.
The Church indeed needs all these gifts at this time.

I wish everyone was as on fire as you brother FoC… then we could soon get this Catholic Church up and going in every good way :slight_smile:
God bless ya!
Love, your little sister K :thumbsup:


My experience differs considerably from yours. Or maybe my ears and eyes hear and see with belief and love whereas you are full of suspicion.
I think I have been more together with tongue speaking congregations and individuals than you have…
and let me say… I do not appreciate the way you speak about our brothers and sisters as a bunch of fakes.
Let me remind you too that anyone who mocks the Holy Spirit has a harsh judgement waiting… harder than if he had mocked Christ. You know your Bible and I dont have to quote to you…

As for me personally… Those Catholic priests who have had the baptism in the Holy Spirit and use the gift of tongues… its my experience that they are the most humble, energetic, loving, and powerful preachers I have met in the Catholic Church since I came. They are also working most sincerely for unity with our evangelical brethren… Love being the sign of the Spirit in them.

I know a nun who knelt humbly on the floor in her living room and prayed simply in faith: “Lord… I have heard about the Baptism in the Holy Spirit… please give me what you wish to give me”… since that day she speaks in tongues, testifies and prophesies into peoples lives and make hearts burn wherever she talks…

If I was to name one person… she is the one that helped Jesus make me into a Catholic… she did that in half an hour through the Holy Spirit.


Remember there is a difference between ‘speaking in tongues’ and ‘praying in tongues’. If you would like more information this is a good site
which is **The Catholic Charismatic Center on the World Wide Web

You have given some wonderful testimonies. Thanks!


The guidelines for this gift are spelled out clearly in I Cor 14.;&version=46;

Basically, reasearch is showing that what is being passed off as tongues is fake, generated by the person. For example, if you hear of someone who claims to have the gift of interpretation, simply take a tape of a foreign language, where you know the correct interpretation, play it for him, not leting him know the contents of the tape and ask him the interpretation. You will see that not one person today who does not already know that language will get the correct interpretation and when you point out that their interpretation is wrong. That will not bother them, they will respond with something like, “oh well, that is the message God wanted me to give you”. In fact, if you know a foreign language, go to a pentecostal service and read off your shopping list like you are chanting or singing. You will see that no one will have the gift of discernment to say something to you. And, you will see that no one will give the correct interpretation.



I’ve seen what appear to be fakes and what appear to be the real deal. We’ve been told to test the fruits so one thing I like to use as a test is if the praying in tongues that is occurring is giving glory to God or just drawing attention to the “piety” of the person praying.

Scripture tells us that the Spirit will help us to pray in unspeakable groanings (Rm 8:26) and one of the greatest saints (in my opinion) Teresa of Avila describes the prayer of tongues in her book “Interior Mansions” saying:

Our Lord sometimes gives the soul feelings of jubilation and a strange prayer it doesn’t understand. I am writing about this favor so that if he grants it to you, you may give him such praise and know what is taking place . . . . It seems like gibberish, and certainly the experience is like that, for it is a joy so excessive that the soul wouldn’t want to enjoy it alone but wants to tell everyone about it so that they might help this soul to praise our Lord.

So I have no doubt that such prayer is a valid charism of the Holy Spirit. But again, the gift is not used to glorify or to draw attention to ourselves. If one is “praying in tongues” in such a way to draw attention to themselves then I would say it is not authentic. All the shrieking, crying and hysterical laughter I’ve seen in some “charismatic” services are, in my opinion, probably fake. I have no doubt that there are fakers in the CCR as well. One measuring of the fruit of someone in CCR is if they are abiding 100% to the magesterial teaching of the Church. Especially important to me is if they are violating the GIRM by praying in tongues during Mass when they are not supposed to be. The Holy Spirit would never lead someone to violate the authority of the Church.

As other posters have stated before, praying in tongues is different than speaking in tongues. Speaking in tongues is for a group setting and there must be an interpretation. There is no interpretation of the unspeakable groanings which are called “praying in tongues”.


GraceDK : I’m not denying that you have been around these people more than me, you probably have. I don’t have a problem with tongues in general because it is scripture and could accept it if one or two were speaking but a whole church or most of it?

Gimme a break. So the holy spirit filed the whole congregation with the “gift” of speaking in tongues but the church next door gets left out…I see…hrmmm…


IHF… come on… dont be like that.
No… I dont think that God gave the gift of tongues to one church and not to the next down the road… besides… the gifts are not bestowed on congregations nor on people with clergical titles… charismatic gifts and hierarchal gifts are not the same… God gives gifts to individuals that must in turn use them to edify the Church. The problem arises as far as I can see, if individuals are not encouraged to ask for the gifts nor to accept them or are even hostile to them… This poverty of setting limits to the Holy Spirit when it comes to these charismatic gifts is a weakness found in more Catholic parishes and other traditional churches than it is in most pentecostal assemblies… that is just a fact.
I have for a few years attended a Pentecostal Church along side my Catholic Church-life. I would say that half the people at most there have the gift of tongues… it does not mean they look down on the other half or make a show of talking loudest in the assembly .I find that this particular church has a very good balance… they use the praying in tongues also when they gather… but they do it because they are happy about the blessings… and they also use prophetic gift to edify those who come into the congregation from the outside and they bring them to repentance thereby… just as is written in the Bible. Being in a group of young people… we are 12 people… 4 speak in tongues. The rest of us are in no way feeling embarrassed but only grateful on behalf of those sisters and brothers who speak in tongues with joy. We don’t feel any pressure either for we know God will give us whatever He wants to give in His time… there is much humility among these people.
I have met quite many Catholics that speak in tongues wonderfully too… Paul certainly in His epistles say that it is good to strive for the charismatic gifts for obvious reasons… he said also that he was very happy with his own gift of tongues… So why be afraid?

I don’t understand the obvious scepticism and fear in many people … I can only say: I was once scared too and thought it was weird when people spoke in tongues… I can only encourage people to read their Scripture more and also read and hear testimonies by people who have these wonderful gifts… face to face if possible.
Let go of the need to control everything… get on your knees… maybe God wants to give you the gift of healing, prophesy or tongues or somethinge else today… you gotta be open and let the Holy Spirit decide… His actions might be odd in the eyes of flesh… but His movements, choices and actions are not off this world.

God bless you and peace on you and your house.
Grace <><


I think you hit the nail on the head right here. It is about control. I received the gift, I believe, in confirmation, but did not learn to release it until I attended the National Catholic Charismatic Conference at Notre Dame University. What a blessing to hear a whole stadium of Catholics praising God spontaneously in this manner! Most of us had been reared in very formal environments where worship is liturgical only. It took me many years to learn to pray conversationally.


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