What is a charismatic catholic?


#1

I am a catholic and don't have any specific adjective describing what kind of catholic I am.

So when I read in a profile that someone is a Catholic and also say they are "charismatic" what does that mean?

Is a charismatic catholic different than a regular ordinary catholic? better or worse?

I just need some clarification as to what is meant by a charismatic catholic.

Does that mean the person speaks in tongues, goes to some sort of charismatic prayer meetings? Has some special gifts? Raise their hands like the priest when they pray the Our Father at Mass? Hold hands with others during the Our Father?

And I also have to ask why raise hands only during the Our Father and not the other prayers at Mass?

How do I know if I too might be a charismatic? And how do I find out?

Will that make me a better catholic? Closer to God? Is this a special kind of 'spirituality'.

Could someone knowledgable enlighten because I have heard and read so many different things I honestly don't know what to make of it all.

Thank you for any help.


#2

A charismatic Catholic is one who is in touch with the Holy Spirit. On the first Pentecost, Jesus sent his Spirit to his mother and his disciples and the disciples were filled with the gifts of the Spirit; they experienced peace, joy, and all the charisms or gifts so that they were able to tell the hostile world about Jesus with confidence and courage. A charismatic Catholic of today has a special devotion to the Holy Spirit and is the recipient of the same gifts which enable that person to share his/her knowledge and joy of a relationship with Jesus. Our Catholic faith of itself is a source of peace, wisdom and joy, and when Jesus' spirit is central, we are transformed, and especially enabled to share all that we have received. Usually, one transformed by the Spirit desires to be with others who share their experiences and charismatic prayer groups are formed--but you certainly can be a charismatic Catholic without being part of a prayer group. By the way, you mention speaking in tongues. It is believed that speaking in tongues is the threshold gift and the other gifts as prophesy, discernment, knowledge, etc., follow the reception of that gift. To become a charismatic Catholic is a faith filled and joyful journey.


#3

Good answer.
The questions below have nothing to do with charismatics.

Raise their hands like the priest when they pray the Our Father at Mass? In my diocese the bishop’s directive is to use the orans posture during the Our Father. But it should not look like the priest’s posture. The arms should be fairly low and the hands turned upward and this is only done during the Our Father, not the prayers following it. We aren’t supposed to be copying the priest’s gestures.

Hold hands with others during the Our Father? We are not supposed to hold hands at that time in the Mass, not charismatics or anyone else.


#4

Thanks to you both I learned some new things. But I honestly still can't get a straight answer from anyone that helps me to understand.

I thought we all had devotion and gifts from the Holy Spirit from the sacrament of confirmation. Is this different?

If I seem critical it is only because I truly do not yet grasp this all. What 'experiences' are shared with other charismatics? Singing and praying type of thing?

How do I know if I'm charismatic? It seems to me charismatics are very faithful to the church, do not miss mass etc. Is that a sign you are charismatic?

I didn't know there was a diocese where people are told to pray in the orans position. I assume this is the diocese of wilmington? Claire could you give me a link where I could find this. Most every other diocese I've lived in has said basically any way you want to hold your hands is fine, if they say anything at all. If I visited in the wilmington diocese how would I be expected to know this? Do the deacons and priest concelebrants also use the orans position there during the Our Father?

Is becoming a charismatic something that comes from God, like contemplative prayer or is it something one should seek out on one's own?

Are there any links I could read that answer some of these questions? I have had people ask me these kinds of things and I just don't know what to say. They ask for example if those that hold hands or pray in the orans position are charismatics? Beats me - I guess not in wilmington.

Thanks for any further help anyone can give.


#5

[quote="phyl161, post:2, topic:182067"]
A charismatic Catholic is one who is in touch with the Holy Spirit.

[/quote]

Aren't ALL baptized, confirmed Catholics in touch with the Holy Spirit?


#6

A borderline protestant.


#7

They are all huggy huggy and speaking gibberish. Frankly, after attending one Life in the Spirit session that put me off that group for good.


#8

Hi, Byers.

As a newer Catholic (we converts tend to study an *awful *lot because we’re really excited to be Catholic), let me give you my two cents and what I could find out about the Church’s position on it.

The charismatic movement kicked in around the 1960s in Protestantism. It is a belief that suggests that the abilities and manifestations of the Holy Spirit that appeared in the Twelve Apostles (see Acts 2) are also available to Christ’s followers today.

Some people in the Catholic Church apparently got taken in with the Charismatic movement and started not long after, around 1967.

The Church is generally, albeit cautiously supportive of the movement, but, as with any practice, warns clergy and laity not to go outside of the GIRM requirements of the liturgy.

My take on it:

The Holy Spirit can and does give us gifts. I believe, however, that “showboating” your gift (public displays of being affected by the Spirit) isn’t good. There is enthusiasm, and there is acting. Christ specifically directed us not to make public displays of our worship of him (Ash Wednesday is a specific exception). The Apostles’s gift was purposely done as part of the revelation of the Lord’s new Church.

That’s not to say I am judging others and their validity of faith. But charismatics are living a form of private revelation, so I don’t have to necessarily believe that what they are experiencing is genuine or not.

At least, however, by participating in such movements, they are practicing their faith, and that can’t be a bad thing.


#9

Thank you for the poignant, funny and helpful answers. I feel in the past I may have been too harsh in my thinking of charismatics because of things i've seen, heard and read......and yet I realize that are IN the church rather than having left it as so many others did.. But I am still trying to figure out what it all means.

I just always thought we all had 'gifts' and that means charismatic. If I belong to the Holy Name Society I don't say I'm a 'Holy Name Society Catholic'. At least I've never heard anyone talk like that. Somehow I missed the boat on the whole 'movement'. Plenty of Catholics are very enthusiastic but are not necessarily charismatic. And I guess I'll never be one at this rate because I can't be what I don't understand and I'm not sure it's that important.

By the way I went to the site of the Wilmington diocese, which has a new bishop, but I find no directions on the orans or any other posture during the Our Father. Is there anyone from DE that can enlighten me or direct me as to where the bishop has given this direction? Thanks again.


#10

The GIRM states what postures and movements are to be made during Mass. It does not say the laity may use the orans posture or hold hands during the Our Father so by default it means you cannot use them. The other side of the argument is that because the GIRM does not specifically ban them they are allowed. I held to the latter over the years but have come round to accepting the former.


#11

Yes, they are. A better way of saying it would be–A Catholic Charismatic is one who has a special interest and devotion to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the forgotten member of the Trinity. We do receive the Spirit in a special way at Baptism and Confirmation, but only through growth in holiness and awareness of his power are we able to make use of his many gifts. Think about the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, and what a difference this made in the Apostles. Before they received the Spirit, they lacked courage–they ran away at the Crucifixion. After the Spirit came, they were able to preach and teach , and most died for their faith. The Spirit is the source of courage, fortitutude, boldness among many other gifts. Check out the scripture about Pentecost to appre:thumbsup:ciate the power of the Spirit. When someone says they are Charismatic, they are inferring that they realize the power of the Holy Spirit, and that the Spirit is making a difference in their lives.


#12

I’ve been to three Charismatic masses over the years. The first was about 25 years ago. I just happened to be at the church dropping something off in the basement, I think. The mass was going on upstairs. I witnessed the speaking in tongues and resting in the spirit. I was too scared to particpate. It was like coming that close to God would be an experience so deep and profound and make me face all my sinful ways it would be too much for me to handle. Plus I didn’t really understand the concept of pentacost and laying on of hands at that time. Somehow I always new I’d attend one again someday.

Fast forward 25 years. For some reason I was thinking about that experience somewhat often since I saw one of the masses mentioned in our bulletin. I considered going for months. They have them about every month or so at one of the RC churches close to the one I attend regularly. One of our bulletins was laying in a pile in my office for a month and I never looked at it. I was doing some cleaning up and went to throw it out but I briefly read parts of it. A mass was scheduled for that night. Coincidence??? I knew I was supposed to attend. I did. As I waited in line for the laying on of hands I kept repeating “Lord I am not worth to receive you but only say the word and I shall be healed” about a thousand times a second.

I didn’t fall back and rest, but the spirit came upon me in a big way. I didn’t ask for any specific healing but the lord lifted an inner torment off of me for good. I won’t get into it. It’s personal. That was about two years ago. That day was a pivitol point in my spiritual life. I went from truly believing to truly knowing what we believe is the truth, the way and the life.

I went to another one and I was healed of an addiction to nicotene. But through my own stupidity I fell back into temptation. The Lord and I are working on it. What kind of jerk receives a gift from the Holy Spirit and screws it up? Me.

So, do I consider myself a “Charismatic Catholic?” I don’t know. I don’t really think of myself as such but just a Catholic who truly believes that gifts of the Holy Spirit are available to us if we ask with a open heart.

I’m looking forward to the next one in March.


#13

[quote="byers, post:9, topic:182067"]
Thank you for the poignant, funny and helpful answers. I feel in the past I may have been too harsh in my thinking of charismatics because of things i've seen, heard and read......and yet I realize that are IN the church rather than having left it as so many others did.. But I am still trying to figure out what it all means.

I just always thought we all had 'gifts' and that means charismatic. If I belong to the Holy Name Society I don't say I'm a 'Holy Name Society Catholic'. At least I've never heard anyone talk like that. Somehow I missed the boat on the whole 'movement'. Plenty of Catholics are very enthusiastic but are not necessarily charismatic. And I guess I'll never be one at this rate because I can't be what I don't understand and I'm not sure it's that important.

By the way I went to the site of the Wilmington diocese, which has a new bishop, but I find no directions on the orans or any other posture during the Our Father. Is there anyone from DE that can enlighten me or direct me as to where the bishop has given this direction? Thanks again.

[/quote]


#14

The diocese of Wilmington has been blessed with good bishops. Several years ago we were told by our pastor at mass that Bishop Salterelli had requested that we use that position. Perhaps the Bishop wanted to put an end to the practice of some people of holding hands at the Our Father and have more unity of posture. We have deacons in our diocese and they use this position too but it is distinct from the way the priest lifts his hands. Also, they fold their hands at the end of the prayer while the priest continues on with his hands raised.

I think it was around the same time that he requested (not an order) that we stand for communion (unless we were receiving at an altar rail) and that we show our reverence by a bow.

We have no liturgy police. Nothing happens to those who genuflect before receiving communion. If someone reaches for me at the Our Father I don’t slap his hand. I don’t even know if there is anything in writing except probably a letter sent to pastors. I wouldn’t expect to see this posted on our website.

I’m not sure the term ‘charismatic Catholic’ is a good one. At a parish near me there are two prayer groups that meet on Wednesday nights. One is a charismatic group and the other is the Alliance of the Two Hearts of Jesus and Mary. Both are completely Catholic. In fact, some of those from the charismatic group attend the First Friday/First Saturday Vigil of the Two Hearts. Neither form of prayer is intrinsically better. That parish also has a group of people who have made a Cursillo I think.

Most people who attend a charismatic prayer group have been through a 6 or 8 week Life in the Spirit Seminar. I’m sure some of the seminar leaders are excellent and some are just so so. Usually a different member of the group presents each week. However the format is to lead the participants to have a deepening conversion experience, to consciously make Christ the center of their lives, to invite the Holy Spirit to stir up His gifts in them, and to make them aware of and willing to use the gifts they have been given.

His gifts include wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. These are given to all of us to some extent because they flow from the very presence in us of the Holy Spirit who we receive in Baptism and Confirmation. The bible names other gifts such as discernment, preaching, healing, intercession, teaching, speaking in tongues(very rare today), interpreting tongues, prophecy (which is speaking God’s truth to others, not predicting the future). The gift of praying in tongues is fairly common if the person asks for it. The other gifts are for the building up of the parish or community and to serve others.

A Catholic charismatic prayer meeting begins with songs of praise and worship usually interspersed with spontaneous prayers of praise and thanksgiving in English and in tongues. There is often a short teaching. There’s one or more periods of silence. Members may share a bible passage or an insight or some words that God has given them. The meeting usually ends with prayers of intercession for needs and people in the parish and community. Sometimes a person asks for prayers for healing or some other need and members of the group may lay their hands on the person and pray for a while. I have known people who were physically healed by God in response to this type of prayer.

Although the prayer meeting has structure it should be flexible and open to the leading of the Holy Spirit. I’ve been to a few where the readings the members felt that God had asked them to bring to the meeting or the insights they had received were all about the same thing although none of them had planned it that way.

At the charismatic conferences I’ve attended the masses have been reverently celebrated according to the rubrics. No more holding hands at the Our Father which was sometimes done in the past. Except for a brief burst of prayer in tongues at the elevation of the Host and Chalice, it’s your regular mass. Except everybody sings like they really enjoy being there.


#15

Thank you again Claire for all your trouble and your very thorough answers. Thanks also for finding the information on the orans position in the diocese of Wilmington.

It looks like you really need to attend a ‘life in the spirit’ seminar to become a charismatic?

There are just a couple things that give me concern. Is the regular ‘prayer meeting’ of charismatics led by a priest? This concerns me as lay leaders can often mislead a group. Is the short teaching giving also by a lay person? I also would not feel comfortable with a lay leader rather than a priest.

Secondly you say there is sometimes speaking in tongues at the elevation of the host and chalice. I would be very uncomfortable with this as there is no way to determine what those speaking in tongues are saying - they could be praising or blaspheming for all I know. I would also find it very distracting to hear ‘tongues’ while trying to pray and commune with God at the consecration. I can see it is not for me, but I do appreciate your filling me in a little more. I can see I would really have to be a ‘charismatic’ to ‘get it’.

Thank you again.


#16

[quote="byers, post:15, topic:182067"]
thank you again claire for all your trouble and your very thorough answers. Thanks also for finding the information on the orans position in the diocese of wilmington.

It looks like you really need to attend a 'life in the spirit' seminar to become a charismatic? no, you can just begin attending the prayer group and/or our diocesan conference in the fall (fantastic speakers there!) in rehobeth beach, de. But the seminar is helpful. i attended the seminar after i had been going to prayer meetings for several months. When i was prayed over on the last night of the seminar i experienced no change, not surprising since i wasn't serious about giving up a sinful situation in my life. Several years later, at our annual conference, i was prayed over by a priest and had a powerful experience of the presence of god which lasted about four months. This is a period during which one should establish good habits of prayer to carry over into one's life when god gently withdraws this consolation. Another totally unexpected and amazing gift i received was the removal of the almost paralyzing fear of confession that i had always had up to that time. God is so very good!

you speak about 'charismatics', which is a handy shorthand. But i consider myself just a catholic. I think this is a good kind of prayer for me, as is the rosary. But above all is the mass and eucharistic adoration. I think all the charismatics i personally know would characterize their spirituality as eucharistic and marian as well as charismatic.

there are just a couple things that give me concern. Is the regular 'prayer meeting' of charismatics led by a priest? This concerns me as lay leaders can often mislead a group. Is the short teaching giving also by a lay person? I also would not feel comfortable with a lay leader rather than a priest.
In the parish in smyrna the group is led by the pastor. In dover it isn't. However, the pastor there is charismatic and aware of what is going on.

There's usually a team of leaders. Yes, when there is a teaching it's given by a team member, not necessarily a priest. But someone who is trustworthy. In the unlikely event that something were to be presented that was not in accordance with catholic teaching, other members of the group would speak up. I think the holy spirit would make sure of it.

At the annual conference, if a person feels he has a scripture reading or a word from the lord for the group, it is always written down and given to a committee that is appointed to discern if it should be read to the group.

secondly you say there is sometimes speaking in tongues at the elevation of the host and chalice. I would be very uncomfortable with this as there is no way to determine what those speaking in tongues are saying - they could be praising or blaspheming for all i know. I would also find it very distracting to hear 'tongues' while trying to pray and commune with god at the consecration. I can see it is not for me, but i do appreciate your filling me in a little more. I can see i would really have to be a 'charismatic' to 'get it'.
when i attend a local spanish mass, everyone says 'mi senor y mi dios' (my lord and my god) at the elevations. I don't find it distracting there.
The short interval of praising jesus in tongues during the elevations at the yearly conference doesn't distract me either. It's brief and reverent. However, you may react differently.
when i first heard people praying in tongues i thought it was bizarre but they seemed to be sincere so i guessed god would overlook this weirdness. At that time, years ago, that was the only catholic group in the area where people got together to talk about god and to pray. There was no other kind of prayer group, no catholic bible study, rosary prayer group or anything. I was desperate for some kind of catholic fellowship and prayer in addition to sunday mass. God led me to what i needed at that time.

thank you again.

[/quote]

I don't know why this posted with such strange capitalization. Maybe the computer is speaking in tongues tonight?


#17

Generally these meetings are not led by a priest and that is one of the problems.
At the meeting I attended the lay leader stood there and said speaking in tongues is the only way to communicate with the Holy Spirit and also that exorcisms can only be done in tongues. Even I knew that was rubbish but I still reported it to my priest the following day and he confirmed that such incorrect things should not be taught by anyone.
Frankly, many Charismatics cause more problems and confusion than benefit.


#18

It isn’t for everyone. In the church we are free to choose our own spirituality from among many–Franciscan, Carmelite, Charismatic, Dominican, or Divine Mercy, etc.,
and of course there are others approved by the church. And Charismatic spirituality is definitely approved by the Church. Pope John Paul II had many good things to say about Charismatic spirituality, and spoke often of the new Pentecost which he predicted was coming. And that is important to keep in mind. Charismatic spirituality is of all spiritualities the most scriptural. Check out the Acts of the Apostles and the writings of Paul. Getting back to Pope John Paul II, his spiritual advisor and retreat master was charismatic. This is not some crazy, fringe group.

Someone said they didn’t approve of “showboating.” I don’t think anyone is impressed by those using their spirituality to call attention to themselves. This is the problem of the individual rather than the spirituality they have chosen. Also, I belong to a prayer group and my spirituality is charismatic; However, I don’t know anyone who would refer to themselves as a “Charismatic Catholic.” I consider myself Catholic. My spirituality is Charismatic, but also Carmelite. God has blessed me incredibly through my charismatic and carmelite spirituality.

Also, lay people are often holier than some priests and can be very knowledgeable. Many that I know have advanced degrees in theology and church ministry and are contributing mightily to the church. So don’t be so quick to dismiss those who may have more theological education than your bishop. Things are not always as they seem.


#19

[quote="thistle, post:17, topic:182067"]
Generally these meetings are not led by a priest and that is one of the problems.
At the meeting I attended the lay leader stood there and said speaking in tongues is the only way to communicate with the Holy Spirit and also that exorcisms can only be done in tongues. Even I knew that was rubbish but I still reported it to my priest the following day and he confirmed that such incorrect things should not be taught by anyone. I hope he took this up with the lay leader mentioned.

Frankly, many Charismatics cause more problems and confusion than benefit.This can certainly happen with any church group. Being under the authority of the bishop and pastor is some protection against this.

[/quote]

Something this outrageous should be reported to the pastor or to the priest or deacon appointed by the bishop to supervise the prayer groups in the diocese. This person is in touch with the leaders of all the prayer groups.

The statement the leader made is just stupid. God understands all languages. In any case, the laity don't do exorcisms and don't need to be pontificating about them. Those who may be on a prayer team that prays for deliverance need to be striving for personal holiness under the guidance of a spiritual director. This kind of prayer shouldn't be done without a priest involved.


#20

I agree.
However, as that was the only Life in the Spirit group in the country I was living in at the time I never went back so I don’t know if things were put right or not. What was worse is that all RCIA groups had to attend a Life in the Spirit meeting (same people).


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