speaking in tongues confusion

does anyone know what the Catholic Church teaches on speaking in tongues?
from what i heard, in acts the apostles spoke languages, tongues, that they didn’t know so the people could understand what they were saying.
i know a lot of penticostals think this is the thing to do. but i always heard it was a sign of demon control.

When I was running around with a bunch of non-Catholics I heard a lot of speaking in tongues. What I heard was plain gibberish easy to figure out that it was all a fake.

Only one time did I hear speaking in tongues that I could say was the real thing. At a Catholic charsmatic gathering a person stood up and started speaking in tongues. It sounded like a real language to me but could not identify it. There was not repeating of words like I heard in the fake ones. Then another person stood up and interpreted it. Sounded like the real thing to me.

The Church has no problem with speaking in tongues except to warn that it could be faked and there are other gifts of the Holy Spirit, not just that one.

The Catholic Church accepts as valid the charism of speaking in tongues. Speaking in tongues may manifest itself as an individual prayer language. During Charismatic Prayer meetings several voices may join in prayer or an individual voice may be heard. When the individual voice is heard, there is often an interpretation of what was spoken.
The gift of tongues generally manifests itself for the first time through the laying of hands during which a person receives The Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Clarification is needed at this point because the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is not a new Sacrament. Rather it is a release or activation of the gifts each of us has already received through the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation.
The first time I visited a Pentecostal church there was a great deal of emphasis on speaking in tongues. Keep in mind that many of these churches grew out of revivals that took place during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. I do not discount the gifts received by my non-Catholic brothers and sisters. The mainline Protestant churches to which these early Pentecostals belonged rejected the authenticity of the gift and excommunicated individuals who prayed in tongues.
While the Catholic Church may accept the authenticity of the gift of tongues, it is not the only sign of a person’s holiness. Indeed, if you read St. Paul, you will see this gift referred to as the least of the gifts. We are called to strive for the greater gifts. The greatest of all gifts, of course is love. Without love, praying in tongues is nothing more than a noisy gong. A person enters heaven because he/she lived life in accordance with the will of the Father, whether or not he/she received or manifested any charisms while on earth.
Charisms such as speaking in tongues, prophecy, and healing are all gifts of the Holy Spirit. Praying in tongues allows the Holy Spirit to pray through the individual, and can even act as a powerful tool of discernment against which Satan has no power.

The charismatic gift of speaking in tongue is extremely rare. I saw this phenomenon only once during a Charismatic international conference. Even then one would never know for sure whether it is genuine or not. We can only say that there is such thing as speaking in tongue because the apostles did it.

Personally I would not dwell on this and feel that this kind of discussion takes away the focus from what’s more important – love, holiness and fidelity to the church.

Basically there are three known gifts of tongue that have been witnessed among Catholic Charismatics.

*]Praying in tongue, sometimes also called praying in the Spirit. This can be spoken or sung. Charismatics believe Rom 8:26 authentates this.

*]Speaking in tongue – one speaks and a person among the crowd understands it and interprets it for the others to hear. Others do not understand it except for that person thus the needs for interpretation. (Generally referred to in 1 Cor 12).

*]Speaking in tongue – one speaks and everybody understand it. This is the Pentecost experience as in Acts chapter 2.

Like I said the first one is more common while (2) and (3) are very rare and nearly non-existent in most Prayer Groups and Covenant Communities.

Did the Church teach speaking in tongue? I have not heard any per se except that she considers the Charismatic gifts of the Holy Spirit are available to those who are given them, the gifts being freely given to individuals whom the Holy Spirit chooses to. By virtue of the recognition of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal (CCR) by the Vatican we can safely says that the Church does recognize the existence of the Charismatic gifts among her people.

The CCR is relatively new though the Charismatic gifts are as old as the Church itself. That being the case there may be some misunderstandings regarding the CCR in the CC today among Catholics. In reality this kind of misunderstanding is no different than most misunderstandings between different spirituality in the Church before and now. One that comes to my mind was the famously disastrous differences between the Franciscans and the Dominicans at one time.

So what can we say? I suggest we should focus more and appreciate the fruits of the Holy Spirit that Catholics possess regardless of whatever spirituality we follow, if any, in the Church.

So what can we say? I suggest we should focus more and appreciate the fruits of the Holy Spirit that Catholics possess regardless of whatever spirituality we follow, if any, in the Church.

I am in full agreement. Too often these threads become counterproductive. Let us be thankful for the gifts God has given His people and how He directs their use.

so, is speaking in tongues- is it ramble or is it where people speak languages they normally not know to speak to people?

It is both. The ramble is common n charismatic circles depending upon the church it may be encouraged during praise and worship. The interpreting of a ramble is less common but widely used in some churches. The known language tongues tends to me only reported by missionaries.

This is more complex than us making a black and white statement. I hope you read my short explanation on the three types of tongue in the earlier posts.

I would say this is the language of the Holy Spirit. I am saying that because of the little in the scripture that says it is the gift of the Holy Spirit and He helps us to speak in words we cannot understand. This is a risky thing I am saying here because you can simply shoot it down by your disagreement, the reason in the first place I am not keen in discussing this topic with ‘non-Charismatic’.

Generally speaking, a person who speaks in tongue may know the gist of what he is rambling or he may not, but another person must understand what he’s saying or at least senses what he is saying otherwise it is not tongue.

Since we are at this, and since this thread is still young and before it degenerates into useless squabble, I just touch on your OP.

On the contrary tongue is more a sign of the Holy Spirit than demon. Why? Because demon is smarter than we should give credit to him. There is simply no sense for the Devil to utter language that humans cannot understand.

I give you examples. ‘Manifestations’ nearly always happen among participants especially in Inner Healing services or Baptism of the Holy Spirit where he/she speaks with voice that’s not from him/her. Quite scary, eh? We know they are from the Devil and though the participant is not possessed the alien personality and voice that comes from his mouth is definitely not his. And it is not rambling or gibberish. It is human language that we can understand except that there’s certain evil and deceit about it.

Why it happens? Because before a person accept the Holy Spirit he must renounce sins and Satan; not much different than in actual Baptism. The problem would be if the person has had deep involvement in sins especially in the occult, there will be conflict in his inner mind when he decides to renounce them. That’s when the evil spirit in him can manifest and refuses to leave. This is just in a nutshell and more explanation can be said of it.

This may sound unreal and I am not asking you to believe but only to say that tongue is more a sign of the Holy Spirit than it is from the Devil.

It is a language that the person praying does not know. Since the person praying or speaking does not know the language, no he/she does not use it to speak to another person.
When you read the story of Pentecost, the Apostles were accused of being drunk. The listeners came from different parts of the world and were astounded when they recognized their own language being spoken by Galileans.
The best way to observe what it is like is to come to a Charismatic Prayer meeting. These prayer meetings include many songs of praise. There may be some instruction. The focus of the one I attend is intercessory prayer. There may be a lull or pause (for lack of better terms) between songs in which one voice will begin to speak or sing in the person’s prayer language. Other voices join until all with the gift are singing or praying. Just as the voices join one another and crescendo, they gradually diminish until there is silence. Within this silence, one person may speak a word of prophecy. Understand that prophecy is not a prediction of the future. Prophecy means that the Lord speaks through that person, generally a word of encouragement. Prophecies are all subject to discernment. Discernment is another of the charisms.
Sometimes the prophecy is spoken, or sung in the unknown language. When this happens, a person with the gift of interpretation will translate what the person said in English (if it is an English speaking prayer group).

The above description is how the gift of tongues may be manifested in a prayer group. During private prayer, the individual may simply allow the Holy Spirit to pray through him/her especially when unsure how to pray about a particular situation. The person with the gift remains in control. In other words, the person may be singing while walking. Upon seeing a person come near, that person praying may choose to stop, be quiet and greet the new person normally.

Skeptics will say it all sounds like gibberish. Then again, what does a language you do not understand sound like? If it were not real, the person praying in tongues would not be able to continue to keep up the facade for months and years. It is a very real gift.

This point is very important part of the explanation. It’s not like the person with the gift is in a trance. This makes it less likely to happen for the demon to be in control. If in our mind and our purpose that we want to praise and worship the Lord surely what comes out from our mouth even if we don’t understand it must be something that’s for the glory of God.

Sometimes on television, you might see a preacher begin to pray in tongues and then continue preaching. This is not something I have seen in Catholic circles.
The first time I saw the manifestation of tongues, it was at a Pentecostal Holiness church. As Catholics it is quite acceptable to attend services with our non-Catholic brothers and sisters. Certain criteria must be met. First, the Catholic must attend Mass. Second the Catholic may not partake of any communion service. Partaking of communion is a statement of unity and acceptance of the other denomination’s authority. In other words, were I to receive communion in a Presbyterian church, I state my agreement with Calvin; with the Episcopalians then with the Bishop of Canterbury.
While on duty at Ft. Sheridan, one of the women in my barracks invited me to her Chicago church. Men and women separated into prayer closets where they began to pray in tongues. Afterward, they listened to the preacher. When a young boy began to pray in tongues, he was immediately baptized. What I did not see was any discernment concerning what was being taught. Where was the reasoned consent for the baptism? As I observed this service, my thoughts strayed to the Jim Jones tragedy in Ghana. The woman who had invited me could not understand how I could simply observe the service without participating.
We are called to use our reason, as Pope Benedict XVI reminded Catholics shortly after his elevation to pope.
Having observed the Holiness service, prayed with members of the Assembly of God, and seen evangelistic programs on television, I will say there is a different quality when Catholics gather to pray. This gift of the Holy Spirit is seen as the tool that it is. The purpose of any charism is to give glory and praise to God, to help with building the Body of Christ. Receipt of the gift of tongues, or any other charism,t does not mean that a person is holier or otherwise more worthy than another person. More important than the outward manifestation of the gift is the inward transformation of the person. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is only the beginning of the transforming power of Jesus Christ in the life of the believer. Scripture and the Sacraments take deeper meaning than ever before. The priest, by virtue of the Sacrament of Holy Orders, preaches with increased zeal.
To summarize, there is more to being a Catholic than manifesting the charisms. Ours is a communal faith that calls us to use our gifts for the good of others. We are strengthened through our Sacramental life and the transforming power of prayer. The person who enters the kingdom of heaven is the one who does the will of the Father.

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