Catholic Bible 101

21st Century Catholic Apologetics for Mary's Spiritual Warriors

Charismatic Catholics

Acts 2:17: And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.

So what is this  charismatic movement anyway?  Is it approved of by the Catholic Church, or is it just some crazy crossover protestant evangelical thing?   The Catholic Charismatic movement is indeed approved of by the Catholic Church, and it is not just "speaking in tongues", which Paul mentions in 1 Corinthians 12-14.  That can happen, of course, but there is much more to it than that.  People who attend a Catholic "Life in the Spirit Seminar" and receive the Baptism of the Spirit at the end of it come away with a renewed sense of purpose in their Catholic lives, almost like when the scales fell from Saul's (St. Paul) eyes after he was blinded on the way to Damascus.  The person  who receives the Baptism of the Spirit always leaves praising God more than ever, and that is very biblical (Tobit 12:17).  Pope John Paul II  met many times with people from this holy movement, and endorsed it on many occasions. 


But wait a minute - Didn't we all receive the Holy Spirit at Baptism and at Confirmation?  Why do we need to receive the Holy Spirit again at a Life in the Spirit Seminar?  Because of serious sin, that's why.  Peter received the Holy Spirit when he was baptized, and again when Jesus gave him the power to forgive sins in His name.  Peter, however, still denied Christ three times later on. It wasn't until Peter received the full power of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost that he became saintly (he had finally internalized the full message of  The Word).  The Holy Spirit's power in us is directly proportional to the state of our soul, just like the strength of the Eucharist is directly proportional to the purity of our soul.  Just like you can receive Jesus over and over in the Eucharist, you can receive the Holy Spirit over and over again, just like Peter did.  When we commit a mortal sin, we drive the spirit away.  Confession and a firm purpose of amendment to never commit the sin again invites the Holy Spirit back into our life. However, one can go beyond that and personally invite the Holy Spirit back into their life (Luke 11:13). The Life in the Spirit Seminar involves the laying on of hands by Charismatics, just like at Confirmation. It is not a "sacrament", but it is a personal invitation by you to ask the Holy Spirit to take over your life, again (When we repeat our baptismal promises during Easter at Mass, we are not being baptized again. Married people who renew their marriage vows after 25 years are not getting "remarried").

Click here to read what the Papal Preacher, Father Cantalamessa has to say about the Baptism of the Spirit.  In summary, Father Cantalamessa says that "Baptism in the Spirit is not a human invention; it is a divine invention. It is a renewal of baptism and of the whole of Christian life, of all the sacraments."

So why isn't this wonderful gift of the Catholic Church ever preached from the pulpit on Sundays?  Why didn't Sister Mary Ignatius ever teach us this in Catechism when we were kids?  Ignorance.  A lot of people in the Church are totally ignorant of this great gift that is available today to us all that transforms every day sacramental Catholics into spiritual powerhouses, like the apostles after Pentecost. Graces flow abundantly upon the recipient of the Holy Spirit, and that is a great thing!  Here is Pope Leo XIII's  1897 Encyclical on the Holy Spirit .

The Holy Spirit has many strengths - He can by with you, or in you, or filled in you. 

John 14:17 says:  "even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him; you know him, for he dwells with you, and will be in you."

Acts 2:4 says: And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

So, are you filled with the Holy Spirit?  Do you boldly proclaim Jesus Christ to your family and friends like the Apostles did after Pentecost?  Do you have some of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, like Wisdom, Understanding, Knowledge, Counsel, Piety, Fortitude, Fear (of offending) the Lord?  These seven gifts from Isaiah 11 build up the individual who has the gifts, and help to make him or her holy, and are most frequently manifested in an individual after receiving the Baptism of the Spirit. On the other hand, the charismatic gifts, which sometimes manifest (the exception, not the rule) themselves in individuals, do not necessarily make the individual who has them holy, but can be a sign to unbelievers (prophecy being the one exception that is for believers). These  charismatic biblical gifts are mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:7-10:

"To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues."
The Bible is very explicit about encouraging us all to receive these Charismatic gifts of the Holy Spirit.  For instance, in 1 Corinthians 14:1 below, Paul exhorts us to pray for the gift of prophecy (not necessarily telling the future, but letting everyone know what God wants of them):
"Make love your aim, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy."
In 1 Corinthians 14:5, Paul says that he want us ALL to speak in tongues, but even more importantly, to prophecy, for the good of The Church:
"Now I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy. He who prophesies is greater than he who speaks in tongues, unless some one interprets, so that the church may be edified."
And why should we speak in tongues anyway?  Paul says in 1 Corinthians 14:22 that it is a sign for unbelievers.  At Pentecost, Peter converted 3000 in one day by speaking in tongues.
"Thus, tongues are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers, while prophecy is not for unbelievers but for believers"
In 1 Corinthians 14:39, Paul says to not forbid anyone from speaking in tongues, although earlier in 1 Corinthians 14:28, Paul says that there should be an interpreter present if someone speaks in an unintelligible tongue (this is a different kind of "tongues" from Pentecost, where the tongues spoken by the apostles were understood by the foreigners present).
 "So, my brethren, earnestly desire to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues;"

So check out a Life in the Spirit Seminar in your area.  You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.  It's ALL very biblical, and it is endorsed by Pope John Paul II, so don't let any priest or nun tell you that it is not a good thing to do.  They are NOT more Catholic than the Pope.  The seminar will stir up the Holy Spirit in you that may have been dormant all of these years.  If you can't stop overeating, if you can't stop looking at pornography, if you have a quick temper, if your spouse can't stand you, if you want to evangelize,  then the Life in the Spirit seminar is for you.  Why?  Because the Holy Spirit will kick the devil out of you!  You will learn to praise God, and you will leave with a renewed sense of purpose in your Catholic life.  In Galatians 5:22-23, Paul outlines the fruits of the Holy Spirit-  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, & self-control.  Who wouldn't want these fruits, which, by the way, are sorely lacking in today's world. To be on fire with the Spirit is to be like a red hot poker in a fire - The red hot poker provides no heat of its own, but rather picks up heat from the heat source.  We need to be aflame with the Spirit of God.  
Here is what Pope John Paul II had to say about the Catholic Charismatic movement:


"I am convinced that this movement is a sign of His action (of the Spirit). The world is much in need of this action of the Holy Spirit, and it needs many instruments for this action.  Now I see this movement, this activity everywhere."

Private audience of Pope John Paul II with the ICCRO Council, Rome, 11 December 1979 

"This morning I have the joy of meeting this assembly of yours, in which I see young people, adults, old people, men and women, united in the profession of the same faith, sustained by longing for the same hope, bound together by bonds of that charity which "has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us" (Rm. 5:5). To this effusion of the Spirit we know we owe a deeper and deeper experience of the presence of Christ, thanks to which we can grow daily in loving knowledge of the Father. Rightly, therefore, your movement pays particular attention to the action, mysterious but real, that the third person of the Holy Trinity plays in the Christian's life."

First audience of Pope John Paul II with the Italian Renewal, Rome, 23 November 1980 

"I ask you, and all the members of the Charismatic Renewal, to continue to cry aloud to the world with me: "Open the doors to the Redeemer"   The church's mission is to proclaim Christ to the world. You share effectively in this mission insofar as your groups and communities are rooted in the local churches, in your dioceses and parishes."

Address of Pope John Paul II at the Fifth International Leaders' Conference, Rome, 30 April 1984   

"This year marks the twentieth anniversary of the Charismatic Renewal in the Catholic Church. The vigour and fruitfulness of the Renewal certainly attest to the powerful presence of the Holy Spirit at work in the Church in these years after the Second Vatican Council. Of course, the Spirit has guided the Church in every age, producing a great variety of gifts among the faithful. Because of the Spirit, the church preserves a continual youthful vitality, and the Charismatic Renewal is an eloquent manifestation of this vitality today, a bold statement of what "the Spirit is saying to the churches" (Rev. 2:7) as we approach the close of the second millennium."

Address of Pope John Paul II at the Sixth International Leaders' conference, Rome, 15 May 1987 

"The Holy Spirit is at work in groups such as yours, drawing you to prayer and filling you with joy in adoring and praising the Lord. As I wrote for the whole Church in my Encyclical Dominum et Vivificantem: "Recent years have been seeing a growth in the number of people who, in ever more widespread movements and groups, are giving first place to prayer and seeking in prayer a renewal of their spiritual life". In the same Spirit who send you forth to bear witness. How can anyone who has tasted the goodness of Christ remain silent and inactive? How can one lock away the good that has been so fully received?"

Address of Pope John Paul II to the Catholic Fraternity of Charismatic Covenant Communities and Fellowships, Rome, 7 December 1991 

"As you celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the beginning of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, I willingly join you in giving praise to God  for the many fruits which it has borne in the life of the Church. The emergence of the Renewal following the Second Vatican Council was a particular gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church.  At this moment in the Church's history, the Charismatic Renewal can play a significant role in promoting the much-needed defence of Christian life in societies where secularism and materialism have weakened many people's ability to respond to the Spirit and to discern God's loving call."

Audience of Pope John Paul II with the ICCRO Council, Rome 14 March 1992 

"You have just completed a spiritual retreat in Assisi, the city of St. Francis and also of St. Clare These great figures of holiness in the Church made their own the words of St. Paul: "It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me (Gal 2:20)". Is this not the ideal and goal which permeates the Charismatic Renewal? Is it not the programme of life which your prayer groups and your communities have set themselves under the guidance of the Holy Spirit? May the example and intercession of the great Saints of Assisi strengthen your resolve to grow continually in evangelical love and service "to the measure and the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Eph 4:13)."

Address of Pope John Paul II to Catholic Charismatic Renewal Leaders after ICCRS' Assisi Retreat, Castelgandolfo, 18 September 1993   

"The Catholic charismatic movement is one of the many fruits of the Second Vatican Council, which, like a new Pentecost, led to an extraordinary flourishing in the Church's life of groups and movements particularly sensitive to the action of the Spirit. How can we not give thanks for the precious spirituals fruits that the Renewal has produced in the life of the Church and in the lives of so many people? How many lay faithful - men, women, young people, adults and elderly - have been able to experience in their own lives the amazing power of the Spirit and his gifts! How many people have rediscovered faith, the joy of prayer, the power and beauty of the Word of God, translating all this into generous service in the Church's mission! How many lives have been profoundly changed! For all this today, together with you, I wish to praise and thank the Holy Spirit." 

Audience of Pope John Paul II with the National Service Committee of the Italian "Renewal in the Spirit", Rome, 4 April 1998    

"Certainly, your own charism leads you to direct your life towards a special "intimacy" with the Holy Spirit. And a survey of the thirty years of the history of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal shows that you have helped many people to rediscover the presence and power of the Holy Spirit in their lives, in the life of the Church and in the life of the world.  From the very beginning of my ministry as the Successor of Peter, I have considered the movements as a great spiritual resource for the Church and for humanity, a gift of the Holy Spirit for our time, a sign of hope for all people."

Address of Pope John Paul II to participant at the Eight meeting of the CFCCCF, Rome, 1 June 1998.

"The Catholic Charismatic Renewal has helped many Christians to rediscover the presence and power of the Holy Spirit in their lives, in the life of the Church and in the world, and this rediscovery has awakened in them a faith in Christ filled with joy, a great love of the Church and a generous dedication to her evangelising mission. In this year of the Holy Spirit, I join you in praise of God for the precious fruits which he has wished to bring to maturity in your communities and, through them, in the particular Churches."

Audience of Pope John Paul II with the participants at the Ninth  Leaders' Conference, Fiuggi, 30 October 1998.  

"Your meeting is taking place under the patronage of an organisation. the International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services (ICCRS), whose task is to coordinate and promote exchange of experiences and reflections among Catholic Charismatic Communities throughout the world. Thanks to this, the wealth present in each community is for the benefit of everybody and all the communities can more easily perceive the bond of communion which binds them to each other and to whole Church.  I noticed that there was now a new stage also for the movements, "the one of ecclesial maturity". Also charismatic communities are called today to make this step and I am certain that, for ecclesial awareness to mature in the different charismatic communities throughout the world, ICCRS can have an important role."

Address of Pope John Paul II to the participants in the National Congress of the Italian "Renewal in the Spirit", Rimini, 24 April 2000.

"The Church and the world need saints! And all the baptized without exception are called to be saints!  Let your communities, therefore, be more and more "genuine schools of prayer, where the meeting with Christ is expressed not just in imploring help but also in thanksgiving, praise, adoration, contemplation, listening and ardent devotion, until the heart truly "falls in love". For this is what the saints are: people who have fallen in love with Christ. And this is why the Charismatic Renewal has been such a gift to the Church: it has led a host of men and women, young and old, into this experience of the love which is stronger than death."

Message of Pope John Paul II to participants to the Seventh International meeting of the CFCCCF, Rome, 22 June 2001.

"Yes! The Renewal in the Spirit can be considered a special gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church in our time. Born in the Church and for the Church, your movement is one in which, following the light of the Gospel, the members experience the living encounter with Jesus, fidelity to God in personal and community prayer, confident listening to his Word and a vital rediscovery of the Sacraments, not to mention courage in trials and hope in hardship. Love for the Church and submission to her Magisterium, in the process of maturing in the Church supported by a solid permanent formation are relevant signs of your intention to avoid the risk of favouring, unwittingly, a purely emotional experience of the divine, an excessive pursuit of the "extraordinary" and a private withdrawal that may shrink from apostolic outreach."

Address of Pope John Paul II to the participants in the National Congress of the Italian "Renewal in the Spirit", Rimini, 14 March 2002.



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