Charism gifts building up the Church – Bro. Ignatius Mary


JULY 2013

Charism gifts building up the Church1

http://www.saint-mike.org/warfare/library/wp-content/docs/spiritualgifts.pdf

(Excerpt from the Rule of St. Michael) 2004, Order of the Legion of St. Michael, www.saint-mike.org

A detailed evaluation and review of the Charismatic Renewal

Bro. Ignatius Mary, OMSM(r), CCL, L. Th., DD, LNDC

 

The following is an excerpt from section VIII of the Articles of Observance of the Rule of the Order of the Legion of St. Michael, nos. 196-235. It contains a summary of thought about the “charismatic gifts” from the Church and from how we understand a Catholic Worldview. It also gives a list of thirty gifts listed or implied in Scripture. The research to write this section was conducted at the Seminary Library of Conception Abbey in Missouri, the Scriptorium Library of the Order of the Legion of St. Michael, documents from Catholic websites, materials from various sources of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, and field research.

SPECIAL NOTE: Although some endnotes contain bibliographic information, most of the endnotes convey important and extensive additional text and quotations that are necessary additions and further explanations to the main text. Please be sure to read the endnotes as you read along in this document.

 

196. Our love of God and our neighbor, our devotion and growth in spirituality and piety, the expression of our faith and love in good works is only the beginning. We must “…rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands; for God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power and love and self-control” (2 Tim 1:6-7)

197. We have a solemn obligation to not neglect the gifts that God has so graciously given us. We are not to be timid or commit the sin of timidity, but to accept and to utilize for the greater glory of God the gifts He has given us and to do so with a Spirit of Power, Love, and Self-discipline (2 Tim 1:7).

198. With His grace and His gifts, we may exercise our purpose to build-up the Church and the Faithful in order to bring the Gospel message to the world. In this, we exercise the Power of the Spirit, expressed in Love, and maintained through self-discipline. When we do this, we truly become Ambassadors for Christ.

 

199. Papal Encouragements

The expression of the charism gifts of the Holy Spirit, to whom we are imbued, sealed, and empowered when we receive the Sacrament of Confirmation, is the normal way of Christian life. The Charismatic Renewal has reminded us of the need to experience the fullness of the Spirit that we received in the Sacraments. In this renewal Pope John Paul II, of happy memory, remarked, “I am convinced that this movement is a very important component of the entire renewal of the Church.”2

200. Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, as Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, wrote in a Foreword to the book, Renewal and the Powers of Darkness, by Cardinal Suenens who was at the time the Papal delegate to the Charismatic Renewal: At the heart of a world imbued with a rationalistic skepticism, a new experience of the Holy Spirit suddenly bursts forth. And, since then, that experience has assumed a breadth of a worldwide Renewal movement. What the New Testament tells us about the charisms—which were seen as visible signs of the coming of the Spirit—is not just ancient history, over and done with, for it is once again becoming extremely topical.3

201. The Council Fathers of Vatican II also praised the movement of the Holy Spirit in the manifestation of charism gifts: Whether these charisms be very remarkable or more simple and widely diffused, they are to be received with thanksgiving and consolation since they are fitting and useful for the needs of the Church.4

202. The Church gives a beautiful commentary on the Holy Spirit and His gifts: The Council presents the Church as the New People of God, uniting within itself, in all the richness of their diversity, men and women from all nations, all cultures, endowed with manifold gifts of nature and grace, ministering to one another and recognizing that they are sent into the world for its salvation (Church, nn. 2 a 5 13). They accept the Word of God in faith, are baptized into Christ and confirmed in his Pentecostal Spirit, and together they celebrate the sacrament of his body and blood in the Eucharist:
5

It is the Holy Spirit, dwelling in those who believe and pervading and ruling over the entire Church, who brings about that wonderful communion of the faithful and joins them together so intimately in Christ that he is the principle of the Church’s unity. By distributing various kinds of spiritual gifts and ministries, he enriches the Church of Jesus Christ with different functions, “in order to equip the saints for the work of service, so as to build up the Body of Christ”.6

 

203. Episcopal Encouragements
7

The Charismatic Renewal has also received praise and blessing from many bishops.

Three examples include Archbishop Michael J. Sheehan, of Santa Fe:

 

 

 

I believe that the Renewal has been a great blessing for countless thousands of Catholics in our country. It has drawn people closer to their Catholic faith and devotion to the Holy Spirit and to prayer.

Archbishop Thomas C. Kelly, O.P., of Louisville observes: The strength of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal begins with the spirit of its people, many bringing a renewed passion and deep commitment to their faith. They are true evangelizers, reminding us of the power and presence of the Spirit in our lives. They challenge us to see the Pentecost event not merely as a one time happening, but as an ongoing phenomenon. They invite us to recognize that the Spirit-given charisms, both ordinary and extraordinary, are still at work in the Church.

And finally, Bishop Robert Hermann, of St. Louis, identifies a major strength of the Renewal: The strength of Catholic Charismatic Renewal is its ability to get Catholics more deeply involved with the Word of God, Jesus and his Scriptures. It enables people to enter more deeply into the spiritual life, so that they hunger to read the Word, hunger to reflect on the Word and hunger to live the Word. It opens the eyes of Catholics to a deeper understanding of the Sacraments, especially the Sacraments of Penance and Holy Eucharist. It helps Catholic enter more deeply into discernment about their lives. Finally, it also inspires Catholic to share their faith with others and to get more involved in working in the Church.

 

204. Cautions in the Midst of Encouragement

We agree with these strengths of the Renewal. Overall the Renewal is a blessing to the Church and her people, but we also recognize and agree with Bishop Josu Iriondo, of New York, the Bronx who warned: “The work of the Charismatic Renewal is immense and visible but it also has its great problems.”8

205. Colin B. Donovan, one of the “experts” of the Question and Answer Forum of the Eternal Word Television Network website, offers an important perspective to the Church’s encouragement of the Renewal: …the Church on the one hand recognizes that the Holy Spirit moves where He will, and so she does not want to oppose His working, and on the other, that the Church must discern the authenticity of each charism, lest it be a deception of the evil one. For this reason to say that the Charismatic Renewal is approved by the Church is not a blanket approval9 of every alleged charismatic gift or every charismatic group or individual within the Church. The discernment of the Holy Spirit’s action is an ongoing necessity within the Church and within the Charismatic Renewal.10

206. Another astute observation comes from Bishop Edward P. Cullen of Allentown: I don’t see any weaknesses intrinsic to the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. In its actual practice, however, (dys)function can and has arisen. I found that such dysfunctions flowed from some flaw in those who carry leadership responsibility in the movement.
11

207. These articles will explore some of those problems and dysfunctions within the overall context of encouraging our members to be involved in deepening their lives with the Holy Spirit and His gifts.

 

208. Charismatic Expressions in our Community

Indeed the Church has recognized that the Spirit of God has moved through His people historically in many ways, including through the exercise of Charism (“spiritual”) Gifts. These gifts, according to Scripture and the Church, are meant to be uplifting to the Church and to build-up its people. Our Community is open to the expression of such gifts when they are exercised in ways proper to the orderly conduct of the meeting and situation, as prescribed in Scripture, and in such a way as to be uplifting to the spiritual health and growth of the Community. The nature of such extraordinary gifts, however, must include precise catechesis.

209. Therefore, within our Community, such expressions shall adapt themselves to the directives and norms set by this section of our Articles of Observance, by the discernments of the Superior, Spiritual Advisor, and Spiritual Visitor of our Order, and norms set by the Magisterium of the Catholic Church.

 

Inventory of Spiritual Gifts

210. The Holy Spirit may bestow many gifts upon us to build-up His Church. Though not intended to be exclusive or exhaustive, the thirty major gifts listed here are all found in one form or another in Scripture.12 The gifts are arranged by Category and include a “brief” definition in parenthesis. Scripture references are listed in brackets:

1) Sacrificial and Consecrating Gifts (10):13

Charity …ability to express the love of God to the Church, to neighbor, and to the world in such a way that it becomes a model of perfection of the purity and fidelity of our Lord’s love, and which includes in its expression such selfless ways as to perform Heroic Acts of Charity14
,
and to sacrifice unto death for one’s neighbor [Jn 14:23; 1 Cor 13; Jn 15:13]
Virtue15ability to practice Heroic Virtue: the four cardinal virtues (prudence, justice, temperance, and fortitude) [Wisdom 8:7; 1 Pet 4:7; Lev 19:15; Col 4:1; Ps 118:14; Jn 16:33; Sir 5:2 (37:27-31); 18:30; Titus 2:12] and the three theological virtues (faith, hope, and charity) [2 Pet 1:4; 1 Cor 13:13; Rom 1:17; Gal 5:6; Heb 10:23; Titus 3:6-7; Jn 15:9-12; Mt 22:40; Rom 13:8-10; 1 Cor 13; Col 3:14] in a continuing extraordinary way out of just and worthy service to the People of God and the Church

Martyrdom …ability to willingly and joyfully sacrifice oneself for the cause of Christ in service to others and to the Church, in fidelity to His Truth, in the face of persecution, ridicule, loss of reputation or position, or other sufferings from the world, friends, or family — even unto death [1 Cor. 13:3]

Celibacy …ability to offer to God one’s chastity, with Christ as one’s exclusive Spouse16
,
and thereby renounce, for the greater glory of God and for His service, one’s right to marriage and family [1 Cor. 7:7; Mt 19:1-12; 1 Cor 7:32]

Poverty …ability to renounce and be unencumbered with the material riches and things of this world, which distract from the sacred things of God, in order to serve others and the Church that others might come to know the wealth of Christ [Mt 19:21; Eph 3:9ff; 2 Cor 8:9]

 

 

 

Obedience …ability to renounce the will and desires of the self to order and direct one’s life and thereby to submit to another’s authority, in the service of God and the Church, so that others might know the freedom of being co-heirs in God’s kingdom [Jn 8:29; 4:34; 14:15,21]

Substantial Silence …ability to be still and know that God is God17 in a manner that quiets the self and thereby reaches profound levels of meditation and contemplation in such a way that others may profoundly come to know the presence of the Lord [Ps 46:10; Zechariah 2:13]

Substantial Solitude …ability to be alone with God without need of the normal human interaction and social intercourse in such a way that others may come to a profound knowledge of the presence of the Divine Companion [Lk 5:15-16; Mk 1:35; Mt 6:6]

Prayer …ability to pray boldly, strongly, and unceasingly for others in such a way that they might experience the divine action of Jesus’ love in their lives [Mt 6:6; Pr 15:8, Phil 4:6; Jas 5:15; Eph 6:18]

Penance/Mortification …ability to live a life of penance and mortification in such a way that others may turn daily to a conversion to Christ and further to be inspired to the perfection that arouses the soul to God [2 Tim 2:4; Mt 5:39-48]18

 

2) Speaking Gifts (10):19

Apostleship …ability to minister, evangelize, and pastor in cross-cultural, missionary settings [1 Cor 12:28; Eph 4:11] Prophecy …ability to preach or proclaim the Truth of God with clarity and to apply it to a particular situation with a view to correction or edification. Prophecy may sometimes speak to future events, but is primary a supernatural gift of preaching [Rom 12:6; 1 Cor 12:10, 28; Eph 4:11]

Evangelism …ability to effectively communicate the Faith in such a way as to bring people to Christian conversion; and to effectively disciple others into the fullness of the Christ-life [Eph 4:11]

Pastoring/Shepherding …ability to provide spiritual leadership, counsel, food, guidance, and guardianship in group settings and to individuals [Eph 4:11]

Teaching …ability to explain effectively the Truth of God in such a way that those being taught not only understand the Truth in a profound way, but are profoundly inspired by the Truth [Rom 12:7; 1 Cor 12:28; Eph 4:11]

Exhorting …ability to counsel or to encourage those in spiritual, emotional, or physical need [Rom 12:8]

Word of Knowledge …ability to discover, know, and communicate deep spiritual Truths. In extremely rare instances, such as with St. Padre Pio, this gift may include the ability to “read souls” [1 Cor 12:8]

Word of Wisdom …ability to apply and communicate knowledge wisely [1 Cor 12:8]

Tongues20ability to speak in a language not previously learned for the purposes, when interpreted, of prophecy and edification of the Church. This is not a private prayer language
21) [1 Cor 12:10, 28]

Interpretation …ability to interpret a language not previously learned into one’s native language for the purposes of prophecy and edification of the Church [1 Cor 12:10]

 

3) Ministering Gifts (10):

Ministry/Helps …ability to lend a hand or to serve others in a supportive role in a joyful and productive way [Rom 12:7; 1 Cor 12:28] Hospitality …ability to provide open house and warm welcome to neighbor and for those in need, particularly travelers or others in need of shelter and assistance [1 Pet 4:9, 10; cf. Rom 12:13]

Giving …ability to give of one’s fiscal and personal resources to the Lord’s work with simplicity, generosity, liberality, and delight [Rom 12:8]

Government/Ruling …ability to administer, manage, and lead in God’s work [Rom 12:8; 1 Cor 12:28]

Showing Mercy …ability to be compassionate with strength, cheerfulness, and action to those who are in need as evidenced by Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy22
[Rom 12:8]

Faith …ability to see something that God wants done and to sustain unwavering confidence that God will do it regardless of obstacles [1 Cor 12:9]

Discernment …ability to perceive good and evil spirits; and also to perceive the spirit of truth from the spirit of error in a profound and sublime manner [1 Cor 12:10]

Exorcism …ability to help people, in the face of intimidation from the Enemy, with spiritual afflictions (harassments, bondage, oppression, possession) caused by demonic attachments and forces; to discern the issues and needs required to facilitate healing and freedom for the afflicted through spiritual counseling and if necessary through “simple” or “solemn” rites. [Note: “Solemn” Rites of Exorcism are reserved to a priest designated by a local Ordinary and are conducted only upon the Ordinary’s permission] [Mk 1:25-26; 3:15; 6:7, 13; 16:17]

Miracles …ability to facilitate an event of supernatural power that is palpable to the senses and is accomplished as a sign of divine commission [1 Cor 12:10, 28]

Healing …ability to intervene in a supernatural way as an instrument for the curing of illness and the restoration of health as a sign of divine compassion [1 Cor 12:9, 28]

 

Proper Understanding of the Gifts

211. It is the responsibility of the Superior and the Vice-Regent for Formation to ensure that all members receive the proper teaching and catechesis concerning charism (“spiritual”) gifts. This is especially important because of the mandate of St. Paul for the People of God to “fan into flame” the gifts of the Spirit given to them for the benefit of the Church and her people. Proper instruction is also important because of the frequent misunderstandings and misdirected teachings concerning the “charismatic” experience.

212. The first understanding of the “gifts” is to ensure that we, as Catholics, define our “charismatic” experience with Catholic theology, doctrine, and praxiology (orthodoxy & orthopraxy).

 

 

The second understanding of the “gifts” is to ensure that we, as Catholics, approach that foundation of Catholic orthodoxy, as “Catholics” with the fullness and excellence of the all that Catholic principles and philosophy can teach us. It is not enough to be orthodox. Orthodoxy is only the springboard of our lives as Catholics. To be fully Catholic in fact, in practice, in demeanor, in spirit, in thinking, and in passion must order our lives and our activities to fulfill the principles and philosophies that compose the “Catholic Worldview.” It is an analysis of the Catholic Worldview that offers us profound insight into the differences between the Pentecostal charismatic experience, for example, and that of the Catholic experience. We must be more than orthodox charismatics; we must be truly and fully Catholic charismatics.

Pope Benedict XVI, then Cardinal Ratzinger, refers to one of the central principles of the Catholic Worldview in his “Foreword” to Cardinal Suenens book: 23
First he (Cardinal Suenens) raises the basic question which is decisive for the fruitful growth of the Renewal. What is the relation between personal experience and the common faith of the Church? Both factors are important: a dogmatic faith unsupported by personal experience remains empty; mere personal experience unrelated to the faith of the Church remains blind. The isolation of experience constitutes a serious threat to true Christianity —a threat extending far beyond the Renewal movement. Even if this isolation has a “pneumatic” [spiritual] origin, it is the price that has to be paid for [it is the result that comes from] the empiricism [the notion that experience and the senses are the only, or the primary, source of knowledge] that dominates our time Such an isolation of experience is closely linked with the Fundamentalism that separates the Bible from the whole of salvation history and reduces it to an experience of self with no mediation whatsoever. It does justice neither to historical reality, nor to the breadth of the mystery of God. Here, too, the true answer lies in a comprehension of the Bible, in union with the whole Church, and not merely in an isolated historicist reading. All this shows once again that charism and institution overlap, and that what matters is not the “we” of the group but the great “we” of the Church of all times , which alone can provide the adequate and necessary framework, enabling us both to “hold on to what is good” and to “discern spirits.”

213. The two principles of Catholic Worldview described here are 1) that reason must always lead the way and guide experience, feelings, and emotions; and 2) our experiences must be integrated in the whole Body of the Church and not isolated into individual groups or movements.

214. Colin B. Donovan summarizes the Church’s position on the Renewal: The Church clearly wishes to follow a middle course, between a rationalistic skepticism and a blind credulity in alleged working of the Holy Spirit. In the past the Church had condemned what it called Pentecostalism, understood as the total dependence, even theologically, on the presence and manifestation of the charisms. Such a dependence is blind, for it fails to allow itself to be guided by the full content of the faith and the judgement of the Church’s teaching authority. It is total when such “gifts” displace the means of grace in the life of the Christian, such as the sacraments. On the other hand, the Church cannot condemn charisms, since they are part of the patrimony of our apostolic faith. What we have seen in our time is the appearance of the Charismatic Renewal, an apparent outpouring of the extraordinary charisms. This doesn’t mean that one has to be charismatic, that charismatics are better Catholics, or that every alleged charism is authentic. Yet, as the Council noted, the Church must respect the workings of God, discerning the authentic from the inauthentic.24

215. Taking the advice of our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI (in the comments he made when he was Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith) and the general guidance of the Council Fathers, we must take the time to carefully evaluate the “charismatic” experience.

216. The central imperative to any evaluation, we believe therefore, begins with the admonition that we cannot approach this personal charismatic experience from the isolated historicist, doctrinally inaccurate, and subjectively empirical approach of Pentecostalism. We must, rather, evaluate the “charismatic” experience with solid Biblical exegesis, listening closely to the teachings of the Saints and Doctors of the Church and with Sacred Tradition on this subject, using reason, deliberation, and discernment in union with the whole Church. We must be guided by that reasoned evaluation and not by the senses apart from reason or by mere personal experiences and ideas that are more vulnerable to misguidance or even to self-delusion. Clarity, from a Catholic point-of-view, is our goal.

217. We have outlined various Charism Gifts in the previous paragraphs, but more is needed to fully understand the true nature of the Gifts. We first offer information to help clarify the differences between genuine “charismatic” gifts and other kinds of gifts. We then offer an analysis of what to avoid in our Catholic expression of the Gifts by detailing the errors and problems of Pentecostalism, many of which have unfortunately bled into the Catholic expression of the charisms.

 

218. What Charism Gifts are Not

There is often confusion about the nature of genuine charism gifts. Charism gifts are not the Seven Gifts of the Spirit mentioned in Isaiah (Baptismal Gifts) given to all persons during the Sacrament of Baptism and strengthen in the Sacrament of Confirmation. Charism gifts are not the special grace of the perfection of prayer given to those in mystical union (Mystical Gifts). Charism gifts are not for personal benefit and edification (Private Gifts), but are for public service. Charism gifts are neither natural talents or gifts (Natural Gifts) nor para-sensory/preternatural abilities (Extraordinary Natural Gifts). Charism gifts are neither ordinary grace (Situational Gifts) nor are they spontaneous inspirations or knowledge (Impromptu Gifts). Charism Gifts are also not ministerial offices.

 

219. Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit (Baptismal Gifts

St. Justin Martyr identifies the seven gifts in Isaiah 11:2 as Gifts of the Holy Spirit which were bestowed on Christ in their fullness and which are again given “by Him, from the place of His Spirit’s powers, to all His believers according to their merits.”25
As believers, through Baptism and Confirmation, we are recipients of the gift of the Holy Spirit, and are thus recipients of His sevenfold gifts: 1) wisdom 2) understanding 3) counsel 4) fortitude 5) knowledge 6) piety 7) fear of the Lord (reverence).

220. The fullness of these gifts in our lives is determined by our merits, but without these gifts in some measure, we would not be able to live the Christian life at all. These gifts make the Christian life possible.

 

 

Without them (without Christ), we “can do nothing.”26
The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit “complete and perfect the virtues of those who receive them. They make the faithful docile in readily obeying divine inspirations.”
27

221. Since it is important to know the definitions of these Seven Gifts of the Spirit, we have duplicated in toto in the endnotes the definitions given in the Apostolate’s Family Catechism. 28 We advise all members to study and to know these definitions since all baptized believers are given each gift to help them in their Christian life.

222. Although some of these gifts appear to be the same as the “charismatic” gifts, they are not. All seven of these gifts are given to all believers in one measure or another so that it will be possible for them to live the Christ-life. The various “charismatic” gifts, on the other hand, are given to this person or to that person as God so pleases29 as an additional supernatural and particular gift to enable the person not only to live the Christian life, but to perform ministry and service to build-up the Church and the People of God for the greater glory of God.

 

223. Perfection of Prayer (Mystical Gifts)

The charism gifts are not mystical gifts and cannot aspire to the perfection of prayer that God grants to those in mystical union with Him. The Letter to Bishops on Some Aspects of Christian Meditation states that, “it should be remembered that charisms are not the same things as extraordinary (‘mystical’) gifts (cf. Rom 12:3-21)” (n. 25).
30

The Mystical Gifts are given to founders of Institutes and other saints by a special grace not available to everyone. The Christian Meditation document instructs (n.24): There are certain “mystical graces,” conferred on the founders of ecclesial institutes to benefit their foundation, and on other saints, too, which characterize their personal experience of prayer and which cannot, as such, be the object of imitation and aspiration for other members of the faithful, even those who belong to the same institutes and those who seek an ever more perfect way of prayer.(1)

(1) No one who prays, unless he receives a special grace, covets an overall vision of the revelations of God, such as St. Gregory recognized in St. Benedict. or that mystical impulse with which St. Francis of Assisi would contemplate God in all his creatures, or an equally global vision, such as that given to St. Ignatius at the River Cardoner and of which he said that for him it could have taken the place of Sacred Scripture. The “dark night” described by St. John of the Cross is part of his personal charism of prayer. Not every member of his order needs to experience it in the same way so as to reach that perfection of prayer to which God has called him.

224. All the Faithful are called to the ordinary level of mystical experience that is the “living experience of God” through the gifts of the Spirit, but the extraordinary mystical gifts are given by God only to those called to mystical union and thus they are not to be sought after: The Christian’s call to “mystical” experiences can include both what St. Thomas classified as a living experience of God via the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the inimitable forms (and for that reason forms to which one ought not to aspire) of the granting of grace.(Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, Ia, IIae, 1 c, as well as a. 5, ad 1)31

 

225. Private Benefit and Edification (Private Gifts)


St. Paul is very clear on this point—for a gift to qualify as a “charism” gift it must serve the Church and her people in ministry, encouragement, and building-up the faith (Eph 4:11-12; 1 Pet 4:10-11; 1Cor 12:7; 14:3). If a “gift” does not do this, then no matter how wonderful the gift or how much fruit the gift produces in the life of the person with the gift, it is not a “charism” gift.

 

226. Natural Talents and Gifts (Natural Gifts)

In addition, it is important to note that while there may be corollaries and similarities to natural talents and gifts, “charismatic” gifts exercise a “supernatural” ability and grace that is not dependent upon any natural talent or upon any disposition or ability that may naturally develop with human effort, maturity, or intelligence. The faculties of human intuition and “hyper-sensitivity” are also “natural” gifts—that are often mistaken for supernatural gifts in a religious sense or extrasensory perception in a secular sense.32

 

227. Para-sensory Sensitives and Preternatural Abilities (Extraordinary Natural Gifts)

Charism gifts are not para-sensory or preternatural abilities (commonly thought of as ESP-type abilities), although there can be similarities with certain charism gifts. Para-sensory and preternatural abilities most likely originate from the extraordinary spiritual abilities that were available to mankind before the Fall when man was both physically and spiritually perfect and whole. Access to those spiritual abilities was generally lost to man after the Fall and will not be restored to him until the next life. The theory is that in some instances remnants of these pre-Fall (preternatural) abilities appear in certain spontaneous situations. It is not uncommon for a mother, as an example, to simply “know” that her child has been in an accident even though that child is 1000 miles away. Such bonds of love often appear to be a common denominator in the spontaneous expression of these preternatural abilities.

228. In other cases, in vary rare occasions, some people may seem to have an on-going ability or “sensitivity” to know things that cannot otherwise be known by normal means—such as the nature of a person’s illness, that a long lost brother will knock on the door on Thursday, or where a lost child is located.

229. Father Amorth, the exorcist for the Diocese of Rome, discusses the possibilities of legitimate “sensitives” in his books, “An Exorcist Tells His Story and An Exorcist: More Stories.”33
Father Amorth warns, however, that it is “very difficult to find true seers or sensitives. On the other hand, there are a multitude of people who believe they have and are reputed to have these gifts. We need to be very careful.”
34 In addition, Father La Grua, speaking about non-charismatic healing, warns in his book, La preghiera di quarigione there “may be the danger of evil infiltration” and thus the need for “extreme prudence.”35

 

 

 

 

230. Given that natural abilities can so easily be misinterpreted as para-sensory and preternatural abilities, and that such abilities can be fraudulent, or in some cases even be demonic, extreme caution and prudence is an understatement. Even remote consideration of the validity of such abilities should be under extreme scrutiny and discernment using strict criteria by those qualified to render a judgment.

231. There is rarely, if ever, a need for on-going preternatural abilities. We certainly are not to seek them or try to develop any such abilities that we believe we have.
36

It is usually advisable to ask God to remove from us such abilities unless it is His will for us to have them. If God wants us to have them, then He will also call us to practice such abilities for a specific purpose. This is a rare thing. God’s graces, in His normal economy of ordinary and extraordinary graces (such as through natural talents, spontaneous inspirations, and charism gifts), are the common and usual way He gives us His gifts. The reason for this is obvious due to the dangers the practice of preternatural abilities present to our souls.

232. We agree with Father Amorth that we must always be on guard and vigilant against the temptation to go “outside the common sacred means to obtain grace” and thus risk “unwittingly falling into the trap of magic.”37

 

233. Ordinary Grace (Situational Gifts)

Charism gifts are extraordinary graces given by God to His people according to His purposes. God may also bestow ordinary grace to his children. For example, God will give us sufficient graces to handle all situations that arise in our lives, both good and bad. He has promised this in Romans 8:28: “We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose.” Our Father also gives us the ordinary graces we need to perform ministry in our Christian life. In the ordinary course of our service and good works in Christ, our Father gives us whatever grace is needed to perform that service or good work in accord with our responsibilities, calling, and state-in-life. This grace comes to us ordinarily and may or may not be accompanied, as God wills, by a “charism” gift. For example, we may not all have the “charism” gift of evangelism, yet we all have a responsibility to share our faith with others (1 Pet 3:15). We may not all have the “charism” gift of exhortation, yet we are all called to encourage and build-up each other (1 Thess 5:11). In this way, we see ordinary graces working alongside the charism gifts. Similar direct corollaries can be made with each of the “charism” gifts (except for the “signifying” gifts of tongues, interpretation, miracles, and miraculous healing). Thus, while we may not possess a particular charism gift, we remain with the responsibility to participate to the level of our abilities, talents, and ordinary grace given to us in the service or ministry that gift represents.

 

234. Spontaneous Inspirations and Knowledge (Impromptu Gifts)

Another kind of ordinary grace from God involves spontaneous inspirations or knowledge granted to us to help us with a particular situation or moment. Jesus Himself reveals that this kind of grace is available to us with His words in Luke 12:11b-12: “…do not worry about how or what your defense will be or about what you are to say. For the holy Spirit will teach you at that moment what you should say.” This spontaneous (at the moment) grace is not a “charism” gift, but an ordinary gift that a Father gives to His children when they need it. Another example is that God may choose, on rare occasions, to reveal to a person some private personal information about another person. This does not automatically constitute the charism gift of “word of Knowledge,” or any other charism gift, as many may suppose. It most often is merely another kind of spontaneous (at the moment) grace given by the Spirit according to the needs of the moment to uplift or to assist another person.

 

235. Offices

In addition, one should not confuse gifts with offices. A person may have the gift of pastoring, for example, without being in the office of pastor. Conversely, one may hold the office of pastor without having the charism gift of pastoring. It is a great grace when one has received the charism gift that corresponds to the needs of one’s office, but often that is not the case.

 

236. Purpose of the Gifts:
38
It is especially important to emphasize that God gives these gifts
39 as He wills for the edification, uplifting, and building-up of the Church and of the Faithful (1 Cor 12:7; Eph 4:11-13). Thus for the health of the Body, God gives every Christian at least one gift, and some may have several gifts (1 Pet 4:10), so that within the community all the gifts that are needed will be present and available (1 Cor 12:12-31; 13:13). That is, He will ensure the presence and availability, but we who have been given those gifts must accept the responsibility and stewardship to develop, offer, and implement our gifts for the good of the Church, and not to neglect them (1 Tim 4:12, 14). We are, in fact, to fan into flame the gifts God has graciously given to us (2 Tim 1:6) so that the Church will be healthy and able to live out its mission to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ.

 

237. Misdirected and False Teachings

There is much misdirected and even false teaching found in the Pentecostal and Protestant “charismatic movements”, and even sometimes among the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. As pointed out above, Catholics ought to take care to ensure their beliefs and practices with the charismatic experience are not only fully obedient with Catholic teaching, but also consistent with the praxiology, philosophy, and worldview of Catholicism. Catholics in the Renewal need to take care that they do not seek to create a Pentecostalism within the Church. We need to always avoid “seeking the gifts of the Giver and not the Giver of the gifts.” Indeed, in respect to the Catholic worldview they ought to divorce themselves altogether from the following problematic or erroneous Pentecostalisms:
40

(a) On Baptism in the Holy Spirit and Sacramental Grace

The concept of “baptism in the Spirit” must not be confused with “another act of sacramental grace” as is taught in many Pentecostal charismatic circles.

 

 

 

Fortunately, few Catholics mistake that the “baptism of the Holy Spirit,” as understood by the charismatic movement, is an act of sacramental grace. The pastors of the Church have, on this point, published its proper definition: that “baptism in the Holy Spirit” is not another act of sacramental grace but rather the “personally experienced actualization of grace already sacramentally received, principally in baptism and confirmation.”
41

(b) On “Baptism” in the Holy Spirit as a Historical Event: A corollary to sub-para. (a) above is the idea of a specific date when we were “baptized” in the Holy Spirit. The Pentecostals are correct in the idea of a specific date. That date is the day we are received in the Sacrament of Baptism and Confirmation.

There are no other dates by which we are “baptized” in the Holy Spirit. We can, however, speak of a “historical re-awakening or release of the Spirit” in the sense that in a particular moment in our past we came to realize (re-awaken) for the first time the power and gift of the Holy Spirit in our lives and may have specifically asked God to bring that actualization upon us. From then on, because we now know of the possibility of the intimate filling and power of the Spirit, we can continue to experience and actualize the “filling” of the Holy Spirit, to greater or lesser degrees, as God gives us the grace to do so and as we live out the Christ-life of holiness in our own daily lives. Most people, however, may experience this intimate and personal relationship with the Holy Spirit without ever having an emotional or historical event take place (other than the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation).

(c) On Using the term “baptism”: Although the Church has instructed the Renewal on the proper definition of the “baptism” of the Spirit, the use of the term, “baptism” in the Holy Spirit, is nevertheless misleading and is a “Pentecostalism.” A more accurate term would be a “re-awakening or filling with the Holy Spirit”42 since existentially and ontologically that is the phenomenon actually taking place.43 The term “baptism in the Holy Spirit” in the context of the charismatic experience was born in theological error. Pentecostals do not believe in the Sacrament of Confirmation. Thus when they read the passages in the book of Acts about laying on of hands to receive the Holy Spirit, they misinterpreted it to be some additional post-conversion act that must be performed. That is not true. The gift of the Spirit may not be separated in any way from conversion…44 There are no instances in the New Testament of the “laying on of hands to receive the Holy Spirit” outside of the Sacraments.

(d) On the Laying on of Hands and Anointing with Oil: The practice of anointing with oil and laying on of hands to “receive the Holy Spirit” was adopted by Pentecostals, as explained above, because they did not understand the doctrine of the Sacrament of Confirmation. Given this theological bias, it is not surprising that they misinterpreted the passages in the Book of Acts 45. As such, it appeared to them that this “laying on of hands to receive the Holy Spirit” was a separate act and experience from that of conversion, rather than as an act of the Sacrament of Confirmation. As Catholics we know that there is no need for us to “receive the Holy Spirit” in some extra-Sacramental way. As the Catechism instructs us, Confirmation gives us “the full outpouring of the Holy Spirit as once granted to the apostles on the day of Pentecost” (CCC 1302) We already have the fullness of the Holy Spirit.

Thus, there is no need for any additional forms of quasi-liturgical ceremonies or actions to “receive” the Holy Spirit and His gifts. In addition, the Magisterium has repeatedly warned the Faithful against performing rites and prayers that too closely resemble the Sacraments or the actions and prayers reserved to priests. The Instruction on Prayers for Healing, 46

Confusion between such free non-liturgical prayer meetings and liturgical celebrations properly so-called is to be carefully avoided. for example, makes this point: Another example is found in the Collaboration of the Non-Ordained Faithful in the Sacred Ministry of Priest: In using sacramentals, the non-ordained faithful should ensure that these are in no way regarded as sacraments whose administration is proper and exclusive to the Bishop and to the priest. Since they are not priests, in no instance may the non-ordained perform anointings either with the Oil of the Sick or any other oil.47
Pope John Paul II reminds us that: …the particular gift of each of the Church’s members must be wisely and carefully acknowledged, safeguarded, promoted, discerned and coordinated, without confusing roles functions or theological and canonical status.
48 Also in the Collaboration Instruction: Every effort must be made to avoid even the appearance of confusion … To avoid any confusion between sacramental liturgical acts presided over by a priest or deacon, and other acts which the non-ordained faithful may lead, it is always necessary to use clearly distinct ceremonials, especially for the latter. 49

Finally, in a letter sent to us from the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Monsignor Mario Marini, Undersecretary, writes:

 

Prot. N. 1116/00/L Rome,

24 June 2000

This Congregation for Divine Worship has received your letter dated 4 May 2000, in which you ask whether the Instruction Ecclesiae de mysterio on Lay Collaboration in the Ministry of the Priest, article 9, should be interpreted as prohibiting the use by laypersons of blessed oil as a sacramental. While a certain degree of prudent reserve in this matter is indeed advisable, it is clear that the exclusion of traditional devotions employing the use of blessed oil, and in which there is no likelihood of confusion with the sacramental of Anointing of the Sick by a priest, is not the intention of this Instruction. Excluded instead would be any use by a layperson of oil, which even if not the Oil of the Sick blessed by the Bishop on Holy Thursday, would be interpreted as replacing the sacramental Anointing by a priest, or which would in any way be seen as equivalent to it, or which would be employed as a means of attaining for laypersons a new role previously reserved to clergy.

The intention of the person using the oil, the clarity with which such an intention is expressed by such a person, and the understanding of those present will all be relevant in determining the likelihood of misunderstanding and therefore the degree to which such a practice should be avoided. In this matter as in all similar cases, such a practice is subject to the supervision of the local Pastor and ultimately of the diocesan Bishop.

Thanking you for your interest and with every prayerful good wishes for a blessed Easter Season, I am,

Sincerely yours in Christ, Mons. Mario Marini, Undersecretary

 

The common practices of the Charismatic Renewal of the quasi-liturgical “laying on hands to receive the release of the Holy Spirit” is often done without regard to the understanding of those present that the Congregation requires. Even when permission has been attained by a group’s Pastor, the actual practice among many groups tends to be quasi-liturgical in appearance. Many individual Charismatics seem present themselves as quasi-priest in their demeanor even if verbally claiming they are not. Thus, in much of the Charismatic Renewal this practice can be both potentially theologically problematic and certainly too closely resembling what is reserved to bishops and/or priests.

(e) On Receiving the Gifts through “baptism” in the Holy Spirit

237 Since the spiritual (“charismatic”) gifts are a manifestation50 of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, we must determine how we are so “baptized.” As previous quoted, the Catechism affirms that upon the Sacrament of Confirmation we are given “the full outpouring of the Holy Spirit…” (CCC 1302); “baptism” of the Holy Spirit comes with the Sacrament. (See para. (c) above for discussion on the improper use of the term “baptism.”) The Faithful, therefore, ought to have realized and experienced the fullness of the indwelling Holy Spirit and His Gifts upon receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation. Sadly, many or even most do not. This is the value of the Charismatic Renewal—to have reminded us of what we ought to have already known and experienced. The “gifts,” however, are available to us without any quasi-liturgical rites or prayers that mimics, however loosely, the baptism of the Holy Spirit received when we accept the Sacrament of Confirmation. Our goal, if we did not realize it when we were Confirmed, is to realize this fact now and thus to “discover” (not to seek) that gift or gifts we have been given and then begin to “fan them into flame.” To repeat the excellent warning of Colin B. Donovan (Donovan, [article online]), against “seeking the gifts of the Giver and not the Giver of the gifts.”51

(f) On the Predominance of Sensualism (Empiricism)

The primary problematic characteristic of the charismatic experience in Pentecostalism and in much of the Catholic Renewal, even greater than the undue emphasis on Tongues (see subparagraph. (i) below), is the predominance of Sensualism. Sensualism is the notion derived from Empiricism52
that the senses (experiences and emotions) are sufficient principle of all our ideas and knowledge.
53
Indeed, God has created us as sensory beings. We experience the world through our senses. We are, in fact, a “sacramental people.” A “sacrament” is a visible manifestation discerned by the senses of an invisible reality. This is why God has given us the Seven Sacraments and numerous “sacramentals”—because He knows we experience reality through our senses. St. Thomas Aquinas wrote: “Man’s natural path to knowing things only his mind can grasp is thorough what he perceives with his senses … All our knowledge originates in sense-perception…”
54[The fact of positive supernatural revelation]. The same Holy Mother Church holds and teaches that God, the beginning and end of all things, can be known with certitude by the natural light of human reason from created things; “for the invisible things of him, from the creation of the world, are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made” [Rom 1:20] Once such knowledge is gained, it must be tested and authenticated. Reason informs our sense perception. This is the role of reason. This is why Vatican I dogmatically proclaimed (De fide) that God can be certainly known by human reason by virtue of creation:
55 The Great Angelic Doctor helps us to understand. He teaches us that in God’s creation of living creatures exist up to three “souls.” The first soul is the “vegetative soul.” This is the life force of all living creatures—plants and animals. Next is the “sensitive soul.” This gives animals the faculty of experiencing the world about them and responding to that world through the senses. The third type of soul is the “rational soul.” This is the faculty that is the “image of God” given only to human beings. Human beings have all three kinds of soul; animals have the sensitive and the vegetative; plants have only the vegetative. And thus the Catechism concludes: Feelings or passions are emotions or movement of the sensitive appetite that incline us to act or not to act in regard to something felt or imagined to be good or evil. (CCC 1763) In themselves passion are neither good nor evil. They are morally qualified only to the extent that they effectively engage reason and will . (CCC 1767) While human beings experience the world about them through the faculty of the sensitive soul (the senses), those experiences must be “qualified” and interpreted by the rational soul (reason). Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, identifies this empiricism (sense predominance), when isolated from reason, as a threat to Christianity 56. This leads us back to the official Church teaching that the senses, the passions, must be governed by reason (CCC 1767). Given this teaching of the Church, it is critically important for those who are involved in the Charismatic Renewal to “reason” through their experiences and not presume anything about their experiences on the weight of their experiences alone. We need to “test the spirits,” we need to know the presumptions behind the things we believe, we need to know where our beliefs and practices originate, we need to evaluate and to analyze the suppositions, consequences, and ramifications of what we believe and practice. To not evaluate and test our experiences against such “reasoned” analysis is to flirt with imprudent, problematic, or even erroneous ideas and notions that can lead us astray or at least rob us of the fullness of the victorious Christ-Life. Many in the Renewal exaggerate the empirical if not isolate it from reason. The leader of the Charismatic Renewal in Canada offers us an example of this exaggeration in his book, Understanding the Charismatic Gifts, in which it is suggested that we will “just know” if our Tongues was not from the Holy Spirit.57

The Letter to Bishops on Some Aspects of Christian Meditation speaks in some detail about the danger of one aspect of this exaggeration. This Curia document is important to review, since the phenomenon of Tongues is very similar to the effects of classical meditation.58

(g) On Spiritual Gluttony

It is often the case with very devout Catholics, especially those in the Charismatic Renewal, that another kind of Sensualism sets in — spiritual gluttony. Spiritual gluttony can take two forms. 1) Some are so covetous of the Eucharist that they will steal the Eucharist to have it, or will have great fits if a daily Mass is not offered when the Pastor is on vacation. This is patently improper and sinful. 2) The second type of spiritual gluttony is the seeking of “sensual sweetness”, the desire to experience that in which they feel and taste God emotionally, without regard to reason. St. John of the Cross, in his work “The Dark Night of the Soul” (I, vi), defines this sort of spiritual gluttony (a term he uses). He explains that it is the disposition of those who, in prayer and other acts of religion, are always in search of sensible sweetness; they are those who “will feel and taste God, as if he were palpable and accessible to them not only in Communion but in all their other acts of devotion.” The great Saint warns us that this “gluttony” is a very great imperfection that can produce great evils.

 

 

(h) On the Distribution of the Gifts

Another very common example of misdirected teaching is that each of us has the all of the “manifestation gifts.”59

These are the gifts that to some degree are present in each of us although one or the other may predominate, making us have a particular motivating force or direction in our lives. In light of this false teaching, it is important to re-emphasize and for members to understand that we do not all possesses the same “charismatic” gifts — the gifts are varied (1 Cor 12:14) and are distributed by God as He sees fit” (1 Cor 12:18), not as we desire. Despite this clear statement of St. Paul, leaders of the Charismatic Renewal teach the opposite. For example, Father Coughlin, in his book previously cited, states:
These are the gifts that to some degree are present in each of us although one or the other may predominate, making us have a particular motivating force or direction in our lives.60
It is fascinating to note that Father Coughlin quotes Romans 12:6-8 immediately before the statement quoted above. “These are the gifts…” refers to the Romans passage he quotes in his text. That quote from Romans begins with these words: “Let each one of us, therefore, serve according to our different gifts…” He repeats several times throughout his book that everyone has all the charism gifts.
61

(i) On What Is Evidence of Spiritual Maturity

Although most Catholics generally understand this point correctly, it is important, in the face of misdirected teaching on this subject among non-Catholics, to understand that no particular charismatic gift is evidence of spirituality or maturity. No particular gift is evidence of “baptism in the Holy Spirit.” Neither is the manifestation of a “private prayer language” evidence of “baptism in the Spirit” or of some level of maturity or spirituality. The gift of a “private prayer language”, as with all gifts, may be given by God to whom He pleases and as He sees fit. Thus, not everyone will exhibit this particular “gift.” 62
The true evidence for spirituality, maturity, and “baptism in the Spirit,” according to Holy Scripture and Church teaching, is the “Fruit of the Spirit” which is love (1 Cor 13:1-3; Gal 5:22-26). While Catholics in the Renewal understand this point intellectually and articulate the point correctly in their rhetoric, their behavior often implies something else to an onlooker or a seeker. The emphasis on Tongues (subpara. (i) below) and especially the idea that Tongues is the way to “pray in the spirit” or to pray more “perfectly” (see subpara. (j) below) are two major ways that at least implies that being “spiritual” requires “Tongues.” An attitudinal assent, praxiology, and consistent understanding throughout the charismatic experience must follow intellectual assent to this doctrinal point.

(j) On the Emphasis on the Gift of Tongues and Other Sigil Gifts

Despite the clear teaching of Scripture, the Charismatic Renewal, in one fashion or another, to one degree or another, seems to maintain an emphasis upon the Gift of Speaking in Tongues and upon a private prayer language. St. Paul spends a great deal of time admonishing the Church at Corinth against their immaturity and abuse of the Gifts, and especially that of Tongues. One of St. Paul’s instructions on this subject is found in 1 Corinthians 14:6-12: Now, brethren, if I come to you speaking in tongues, how shall I benefit you unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or teaching? If even lifeless instruments, such as the flute or the harp, do not give distinct notes, how will any one know what is played? And if the bugle gives an indistinct sound, who will get ready for battle? So with yourselves; if you in a tongue utter speech that is not intelligible, how will any one know what is said? For you will be speaking into the air. There are doubtless many different languages in the world, and none is without meaning; but if I do not know the meaning of the language, I shall be a foreigner to the speaker and the speaker a foreigner to me. So with yourselves; since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church. But earnestly desire the higher gifts. (1 Cor 11:31a) Father Coughlin, however, writes, “each gift is of equal value. No one is greater than another.”63

Pentecost Today, a journal of the Charismatic Renewal, illustrates the emphasis on Tongues in the passage quoted below that suggests the principle that Tongues is a “gateway” to the other gifts. We believe that the Church teaches us that the Sacrament of Confirmation is the gateway to the charism gifts of the Spirit. In the Life in the Spirit Seminar, the script is often repeated that Tongues can be a gateway to the rest of the gifts. When asked why, the response is that Tongues is the easiest gift to obtain. We agree—Tongues is easily manifested psychgenically, which is why we must be so cautious about it. This “gateway” and “easiest gift” approach to Tongues can create a great deal of pressure to speak in Tongues. With the idea of Tongues as a “common gateway”, we would suggest that the danger of a psychogenic phenomenon is more likely. In addition, as we have written in several sections in these Articles, we believe there is a more precise rendering of Scripture in its teaching on the nature of the gifts. The Church states that we receive the “fullness” of the Holy Spirit as it was with the Apostles at Pentecost when we receive the Sacrament of Conformation. When that being true, and since the gifts come with the Spirit, we must receive whatever gift God has for us at the Sacrament of Confirmation and we thus need to “discover”, rather than to “seek” from a “I wanna” list, what gift or gifts may have been given. There is also an implication suggested in the quote below that Tongues is a fuller way to pray. This too, is problematic: Praying in tongues is “a common gift of prayer by which we can surrender our voice and thoughts to God, what Father Montague describes as a ‘spirit-language’ that gives voice to our inner self before God… [it] can be a gateway to the charismatic dimensions of faith. It gives a person a clear experience of being fully active in prayer, yet touched by the presence of the Holy Spirit.” 64

 

Purpose of Sigil Gifts

The primary purpose of the Sigil Gifts was to authenticate the ministries of Jesus, the Apostles, and the early Church. The Scripture indicates this purpose (e.g., Mt 9:6; Jn 14:31; 1 Cor 14:22, et al.), the witness of history affirms it, and the Magisterium confirms it: By the end of the second century, extraordinary and miraculous charisms had largely disappeared from the Christian communities. St. Gregory the Great, who lived in the sixth century, noted this fact and explained it by pointing out that such charismatic signs were necessary in the first days of the faith, but not in later years.(1) When the visible family of faith had become rooted in the world, then the Church itself with its marks of unity, faith, and love became the principal sign of God’s presence.(2)
65________ (1) Cf. St. Gregory the Great, Homiliae in Evangelia, hom. 29.4 (MG 76.1215-1216). (2) Cf. First Vatican Council, Session 3, Dogmatic Constitution on the Catholic Faith (April 24, 1870), ch. 3 (DS 3013-3014)

 

 

Danger in Seeking Sigil Gifts

There are three primary reasons for great caution in seeking after the Sigil Gifts of Tongues, Interpretation, Miracles, and miraculous Healing. The first is the presumption that these gifts are to be re-established as a norm in Christian life today when their primary purpose, as discussed above, was as a sign to authenticate the ministries of Jesus, the Apostles, and the early Church. We ought not to make presumptions about the workings of the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who, in His sovereignty, decides what gifts to grant us and when. While the Sigil gifts may have a use to build-up the Church today, since both the Scripture and the Vatican Council teach us that their purpose was as a sign to those days, we need to be very circumspect. Are we in another era where signs such as these are necessary to authenticate ministry or the Church? To say yes, contradicts the dogmatic teaching of Vatican I as cited above. With such statements from the Church in the past, this issue must be submitted to the scrutiny and discernment of the Magisterium. The second reason is the inherent danger of “seeking after a sign.” Jesus Himself warns us that: “an evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of Jonah” (Mt 16:4). We can be so desirous for a sign, so eager to be given a sign, that the human psyche will provide one for us. We may get want we want because we want it so badly that our minds will conjure it up; every fiber of our being may be convinced of it, yet what we are experiencing may not be coming from God but from our own psyche. Such desire and eagerness can also leave us vulnerable to people with fraudulent gifts whose purpose is to exploit us. The third reason to avoid seeking after a sign is that the Evil One can easily counterfeit these particular gifts. Tongues, for example, can be and is imitated by Satan often. Satanists, shamans, occultist, witches, pagans, the insane, and the demon possessed all speak in tongues. The first symptom of demon possession listed in the official Rite of Exorcism is speaking in tongues.66
This does not mean that all those who speak in tongues are possessed. No! It means that the Evil One can and does imitate Tongues and other gifts—or even imitate an “angel of light” (2 Cor 11:14) if need be to hoodwink us into his snare. Thus, we need to be very careful and not seek these gifts, but only accept them if the Lord gives them to us. Even then, we must always “test” the spirit behind the tongues or any of the other sigil gifts. Besides, St. Paul admonishes us to “desire the greater gifts” of which Tongues is not! Colin Donovan summarizes: St. Paul’s experience at Corinth demonstrated rather early in the Church how susceptible these charisms are to exaggeration. … he would even warn the Corinthians that the devil can appear as an angel of light (1 Cor 11:14). Similarly, both St. Peter and St. John (1 Pet 5:8-9; 1 John 4:1) warn us of this danger. St. Thomas Aquinas in his Summa Theologiæ [ST II-II q177] tells us that the Holy Spirit does not accomplish the charism directly but through the mediation of angels. Since they are within the power of angelic nature, they are also capable of demonic imitation… It is for these reasons that most spiritual writers, especially the mystical doctor St. John of the Cross, warn us not to seek such extraordinary phenomenon… Vatican II made this warning part of its teaching
67
on the charismatic gifts
.68
Three Apostles (Sts Paul, Peter, and John), the Council Fathers of Vatican II, and two Doctors of the Church (St. Thomas Aquinas and St. John of the Cross) urge great caution and circumspection concerning the extraordinary gifts. Such cautious circumspection of the finer details within the Renewal founded on reasoned evaluation over empiricism seems rare in the Renewal.

 

Testing the Gifts

God has commanded us to “test the spirits” (1 Jn 4:1) to see if they are of God. Testing the spirits is essential since these extraordinary gifts are so easily counterfeited by Satan as is evidenced by the numerous use of them, especially of Tongues, among Satanist, witch doctors, occultist, and false prophets.

Thus, anyone who believes they have the gift of Tongues, Interpretation, Miracles, or miraculous Healing, (as well as those who believe they have a private prayer language), should have their “gift” tested according to the Biblical norms (1 Jn 4:2-3) to assure that the “spirit” behind the Gift is indeed the Holy Spirit.69
Candidates for membership in our Order who speak in Tongues, or believe they have any of the other sigil gifts, must have their “gift” tested. The test is to be conducted by a competent third party and never by oneself since with a third party there is less danger in deluding oneself or being fooled by a spirit not of God.

 

(k) On Tongues as the way to Pray in the Spirit

It is also a misdirected notion that a private prayer language is needed to “pray in the spirit.” Since we know that “tongues” is not a gift that everyone receives, are we to believe that only some of the Faithful are given the privilege of praying in the Spirit? God forbid! We are instructed in Scripture (Eph 6:18) to pray in the Spirit. God would not instruct us to do something that we cannot possible do. The idea that the two are the same thing comes from Pentecostalism with the usual justification for the notion based upon a misinterpretation of Roman 8:26-27: Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words. And he who searches the hearts of men knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. Even a casual reading of this passage reveals that it does not refer to “tongues.” St. Paul tells us that this experience is one that is “too deep for words.” That phrase is from the Revised Standard Version-Catholic Edition. The New American Bible uses the phrase “inexpressible groanings;and the Douay-Rheims uses the phrase “unspeakable groanings”—all translations say the same thing—that the experience is without “any words”. Tongues is a language, it is words. Thus, the experience mentioned in this passage is something too deep for our native language or for a prayer language—for any language. Rather, the verse tells us, the Spirit knows our hearts and intercedes for us to the Father without words. It is the Holy Spirit who prays for us. We are not the ones praying in this case, in any language or without language; the Holy Spirit is interceding for us. The Holy Spirit does not need to use vocal cords, or our tongues, to pray for us.

(l) On Tongues as the way to Pray More Perfectly

It is part of the regular script in the Renewal to explain that Tongues allows a person to pray and to praise God more perfectly. This notion is largely based on the misinterpretation of Roman 8:26-27 as discussed above.

 

 

The ever more perfect prayer, however, is not Tongues, according to the Church, but that special grace granted by God to those in mystical union with Him (cf. para. nn. 223ff). The experience of Tongues does have, nevertheless, an effect similar to contemplative prayer allowing it to easily be mistaken for higher forms of prayer. The notion of Tongues giving a person a closer access and experience of God is sourced in that Pentecostals do not have a tradition or understanding of contemplative prayer. For them, Tongues became the “contemplative” journey to intimacy with God. Catholics are in no need for Tongues to achieve intimacy with God. We have the fullness of the Faith in the Real Presence of the Most Holy Eucharist and the ancient traditions of true contemplative prayer to which, at some level, all the Faithful may participate. This genuine contemplative prayer, for those called by God, may lead to the highest intimacy with God in this life of mystical union. The Renewal, however, seems to have co-opted the Pentecostalism of seeking closer intimacy with God through Tongues since, as the standard script goes, “it is the easiest gift.” Closer intimacy with God, however, is not an easy way. Genuine contemplation requires great commitment of years of prayer and devotion. There are no short-cuts, although the immature and impatient continually seek an “easy” and “faster” way, such as through Tongues and also through the so-called “centering prayer.”70

In as much as a genuine expression of Tongues gives the speaker an intimacy with God, we share with him in praising God. To seek Tongues, however, as a method of intimacy, particularly as an easy technique, or as a more perfect way, we must reject.

(m) On the Exercise of the Gifts in Orderly Fashion: With all this in mind, when legitimate and God-given spiritual (“charismatic”) gifts are manifested they are to be exhibited with order, decorum, and love — God is not a God of chaos and division (1 Cor 14:26-33, 36,40). The Church states: Anything resembling hysteria, artificiality, theatricality or sensationalism, above all on the part of those who are in charge of such gatherings, must not take place. Those who direct healing services, whether liturgical or non-liturgical, are to strive to maintain a climate of peaceful devotion in the assembly and to exercise the necessary prudence if healings should take place among those present; when the celebration is over, any testimony can be collected with honesty and accuracy, and submitted to the proper ecclesiastical authority.71

(n) On Spiritualizing Normal Experiences

Another common error with many in the charismatic movement, and a cousin to the error of Sensualism, is interpreting nearly everything spiritually. Normal experiences do occur. Even wildly unusual and bizarre experiences can and do fall within the mathematical probabilities of coincidence. Even Sigmund Freud, with all his symbolic imagery, remarked that, “sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.” A common cold is a common cold, not an infestation of the “demon of a cold” as some Pentecostal charismatics suggest. Waking up just in time to run to the basement before a tornado hits the house may be an alarm of the Holy Spirit, but may just as easily be one’s subconscious hearing the sound of the wind. There is a danger in rashly spiritualizing our normal experiences. The danger is that indiscriminate attribution of normal experiences to spiritual causes damages the proper discernment abilities leaving us open and vulnerable for benign misinterpretations at best and evil manipulations and subtleties at worse. A very common spiritualization is to be inspired to quote a Scripture verse when giving a presentation before an audience. The speaker may say something like, “The Holy Spirit just inspired me to read this verse to you.” The inspiration is more likely to be a result of normal human insight than a special phone call from the Holy Spirit. Indeed to attribute all insight to a special revelation from God is to insult God by failing to realize the power He has given to His creation. After all, human intellect, intuition, and wisdom are God’s gifts to us, too. To put this in perspective, which is a parent to be more proud? — a child who quotes a verse in their presentation because daddy suggested it directly to them? or, a child who comes up with the inspiration on his own because daddy did such a good job of raising the child in the faith? We believe the use of our human intellect, intuition, and wisdom informed by the Faith under the guidance of the Magisterium of the Catholic Church pleases our Father. We should gratefully and joyfully acknowledge this natural gift.

(o) On Avoiding Para-sensory Definitions and Practices of Gifts

One of the most disturbing influences of Pentecostalism is the tendency to define and to practice certain “gifts” in a way that is tantamount to mediumism or other forms of ESP (Clairvoyance, telesthesia, and precognition)
72
.
For example, the Gift of Knowledge is often defined and practiced in such a way as to be really clairvoyance or telesthesia and the Gift of Prophecy as to be pre-cognition. The Gift of Knowledge is usually the ability to discover, to know deep and profound knowledge about the faith, and to communicate that knowledge. It is not a clairvoyant or telesthesic ability to know occult (hidden) things about people (such as personal information, hidden illnesses, and secret details). The only exception is in the extremely rare instance where God gives a very holy person, such as St. Padre Pio, the gift of “reading souls.” Outside of this very special and rare gift, it is never necessary to know such hidden things in order to pray for someone—God know our needs and the needs of those for whom we pray. Concerning the gift of “Reading of Souls,” St. Padre Pio did not “perform” his ability to read souls on T.V., before crowds, or to reveal trivial information about people. He used it in the Sacrament of Confession to help the penitent to know himself in order to make a good confession and be healed. It is unlikely to witness genuine “reading of souls” outside the Sacrament of Confession, or perhaps the private setting of Spiritual Direction. Often the charismatic minister will say, “The Spirit is telling me that there is someone in the audience with bone cancer.” One must wonder who the “spirit” is as it is not the style of God to display His graces like a “performance.” The Gift of Prophecy is mostly the supernatural ability to reveal and to preach the Truth of God. Only sometimes might this involve conditional predictions of future events. Many charismatics who claim the Gift of Prophecy, on the other hand, receive regular predictions (pre-cognitions) as special messages to particular individuals. Again, the exercise of this “gift” often has the flavor of mediums and clairvoyants and often reveals trivial information. In general, the common attributes of people exercising mediumistic and clairvoyant abilities hiding under the guise of Spiritual Gifts include, but are not limited to, a “show biz” flavor, or other performance atmosphere, a very individualistic focus apart from any benefit to the community of the People of God, and a typical tendency to reveal information that is either trivial or unnecessary.

Such display of these gifts also tends to call attention to the person with the “gift.” It should be noted that the second primary symptom of possession according to the official Rite of Exorcism is the ability to know hidden things that cannot be known by normal means.73
Let us exercise great caution.

 

 

(p) On Avoiding Pride in Spiritual Warfare

The people in the first century Church at Corinth were plagued with immaturity, pride, and exaggeration about the charisms of the Spirit. Their imprudence engendered a canonical book in Holy Scripture (St. Paul’s letters to the Corinthians) and a papal admonishment and warning (from Pope Clement I). Similar exaggerations and immaturities are self-evident in the various Pentecostalisms of today as described in these articles. One of the ramifications of these imprudent understandings charismatics have concerning the charism gifts is found most acutely not only in the empiricalism and the improper emphasis on Tongues and sigil gifts, but especially in the practice of Spiritual Warfare. The misunderstandings and prideful practices of gifts such as prophecy, tongues, healings, and word of knowledge have direct relevance to the imprudent practices and beliefs in Spiritual Warfare that is so common in the Renewal. The areas of erroneous teaching in Spiritual Warfare among charismatics are numerous, but include: (1) the notion that demons cannot be in proximity to the Holy Spirit and thus Christians, or at least devout Christians, cannot be demonized; (2) thinking that demons are around every corner (negative spiritualization of normal things). One extreme example is the idea that even a common cold is caused by a “demon of cold” to be exorcized. Less extreme examples include the automatic presumption of personal problems coming from a demonic harassment; (3) an arrogant confidence in our authority over demons. While in the Catholic Renewal the first example of error is rare, and the second error rare in the extremes, but more common with less extreme spiritualizations, this third error is quite common.

A brief answer to these three errors includes: (1) First, the devil and God speaking directly to each other is found in the book of Job. Proximity was apparently not a problem. Secondly, demons, angels, and God are spirits. As spirits, they live outside of the material world of time and space. Thus, there is no such thing as “place” and “proximity” in the way that we understand it. Thirdly, God is omniscient; He is everywhere. This is a dogma of the faith. Since God is everywhere, He is in the “place” where demons are found and there is no place demons can go where God is not. (2) While the first cause of evil and evil effects in the world may be the devil, the particular and proximate cause of a common cold is a virus, not a demon. The immediate and proximate cause of most of our personal problems is ourselves and are own sins and imperfections. It is said that there are three stumbling blocks to mankind’s spiritual growth and friendship with God: the World, the Flesh, and the Devil. We would suggest that the effects of a fallen World (such as viruses, illnesses, disasters) represent perhaps 7% of the sources of our problems and the devil’s direct effects representing perhaps around 3%. The vast majority of our problems (90%), spiritual and otherwise, result from our own weaknesses of the flesh. We cannot lament, “The devil made me do it.” Most of the time, but not all of the time, we do it to ourselves. (3) There is a tendency within the Renewal, taking the lead from the Pentecostals, to hubris when it comes with dealing with demons. Oftentimes, charismatics act like cowboys who think they can ride in on a horse and with a prayer to kick demon hind-ends with impunity. Even the great St. Michael the Archangel did not take such an attitude (i.e., Jude 9) and Jesus admonished his disciples against pride and arrogance (Lk 10:20): Nevertheless, do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice because your names are written in heaven. In 1985, the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued legislation proscribing certain practices in Deliverance prayers and ministries.74

These proscriptions were necessary precisely because of the exaggerations and abuses of charismatic deliverance teams. It is important to note that some people in the Renewal when they learn of this legislation choose to ignore it in favor of the way they wish to do things. Such spirit of disobedience will be noticed by the demons they seek to disturb. Nothing can be more dangerous. Nowhere is a precise and reasoned approach, and obedience to the Magisterium needed, as in Spiritual Warfare. The typical empirical approach and infiltrations of Pentecostalisms of many in the Catholic Renewal has no place in Spiritual Warfare and Deliverance ministries and is dangerous.

 

238. Discernment of the Gifts in our Order

Thinking or beliefs about spiritual (“charismatic”) gifts that is contrary to the basic principles outlined in these paragraphs leads to pride, envy, strife, and division which is sinful and contrary to our charism. Thus, the manifestation of spiritual (“charismatic”) gifts shall always be under the direction and discernment of the Superior.75

We must always remember that although the Church generally recommends the Charismatic Renewal, such recognition is not an endorsement of errors or imprudence of individual groups or persons.76 In the final discernment, we must remember St. Paul’s ultimate warning in 1 Cor 13:1-3:

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. 239. In addition to spiritual (“charismatic”) gifts, in considering members for leadership positions, we also look for the personal qualities listed in 1 Tim 3:1-13. Regardless of these qualifications and guidelines, however, decisions made to elect or appoint someone to any position shall be based upon discernment of God’s will for the candidate and for the Order, even if the candidate has certain impediments or otherwise may not seem to qualify.

 

1 We break from the usual format for codifying provisions and teachings of a Rule of Life, which normally consists of shorter statements and leaving detailed teaching of the subjects to the Formation Master. In this subject of the Charisms of the Holy Spirit, however, because of the vast misunderstandings on this subject, it is our purpose to present a more complete essay and teaching within our Rule itself.

2 Pope John Paul II, (speech given to a group of international leaders of the Charismatic Renewal, 11 December 1979).

3 Léon-Joseph Cardinal Suenens, Renewal and the Powers of Darkness, with a foreword by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 1983), ix.

4 Church, no. 12.

 

 

5 Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism (March 25, 1993), n. 11.

6 Second Vatican Council, Decree on Ecumenism, Unitatis Redintegratio (21 November 1964), n. 2; quoted in Directory, n. 11; Eph 4:12

7 Minnesota Catholic Charismatic Renewal, Bishops Speak to the Renewal: A Collection of Letters from U.S. Catholic Bishops on the Catholic Charismatic Renewal (Minneapolis: Catholic Charismatic Renewal Office, 2005). All the quotes from bishops in this paragraph number come from letters from the respective bishop published in this book.

8 Ibid.

9Underlines and bold type in quotes throughout this document indicates our emphasis of points within the quotation.

10 Colin B. Donovan, Charismatic Renewal — General, EWTN Catholic Q&A, Frequently Asked Questions, n.d. [article online]; available from http://www.ewtn.com; Internet

11 Bishop’s Speak to the Renewal.

12 The gifts listed here are the various possible gifts we find suggested by Scripture, Tradition, and the Saints. They are either specifically mentioned as spiritual gifts by St. Paul in Scripture, implied as spiritual gifts (i.e. martyrdom), or inferred based upon the characteristics of spiritual gifts as graces of supernatural ability for the good of the church. Whatever number of gifts that may exist, to qualify as a “Charism (Spiritual) Gift” it must manifest itself in ways that are extraordinary and beyond what the person might be able to do from natural talents or abilities and must also be for the benefit of the Church and her people. God, in His wisdom and economy, may grant “charism” gifts in numerous ways and in numerous areas not listed here. In no way is this list to be considered definitive or exhaustive.

13 The Sacrificial and Consecrating category especially represents gifts of a nature that require a super-grace to overcome the natural human nature. For example, it is not normal human nature to be self-sacrificing, but some people seem to have an extraordinary grace to be able to do so. Such individuals may have a “gift of penance/mortification” or perhaps even the “gift of martyrdom.” It is equally unnatural for human nature to forswear the right to private ownership, or to marriage, or to make independent decisions. Yet, the gifts of Poverty, Chastity, and Obedience are given to many people in religious and secular life. It is also unnatural for humans to manifest charity or virtue in a consistent and extraordinary way leading to Heroic Acts of Charity. Neither is it natural for humans to be profoundly silent or alone, yet some are given the charism to do so. Others are given the charism to pray for others in a way that is beyond normal human ability. It takes a supernatural grace to accomplish these gifts.

14
Heroic Acts of Charity are acts by which one offers to God all the merits of a good deed performed during life, or all the suffrages and benefits gained after one’s death for the souls in purgatory. This requires an abandonment of all the spiritual graces and benefits one receives in this life to lessen one’s punishments in purgatory so that one’s graces and benefits can be applied to others. Thus one must resolve firmly to live a life without sin so as to avoid the punishments in purgatory.

15
Catechism, nn. 1805-1829; Peter Kreeft, Back to Virtue (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1992). This book is highly recommended.

16 John Paul II, To Men and Women Religious on their Consecration in the Light of the Mystery of the Redemption, Redemptionis Donum , reprinted by St. Paul Editions with permission from L’Osservatore Romano, English Edition (Boston: St. Paul Editions, Daughters of St. Paul, 1984), n. 8.

17 Ps 46:10.

18
Hom. In Cant (also see Catechism, no. 2340): He who climbs never stops going from beginning to beginning, through beginnings that have no end. He never stops desiring what he already knows.

19 When discussing Spiritual Gifts, especially these more classical gifts, one should take St. Paul’s discussion in full context. Please refer to at least Romans 12:4-8, 9-13; 1 Corinthians 12:4-31; 13:1-3.

20 Tongues are one of the “sigil” gifts. See the discussion of “sigil” gifts in para. 237 (i).

21 In order to qualify as a “spiritual gift,” according to St. Paul, the gift must be manifested and used for the purposes of service, ministry, and building up (edifying) of the Church. A Private Prayer Language does not qualify as a “charism gift” in this Pauline context. If God gives such a gift to a person, it may indeed edify the person to whom the experience is given, but it is a “private” gift and a private benefit. (See endnote #62).

22 The Spiritual Works of Mercy are: 1) counsel the doubtful; 2) Instruct the Ignorant; 3) Admonish the Sinner; 4) Comfort the sorrowful; 5) Forgive injuries; 6) Bear wrongs patiently; 7) Pray for the living and the dead.

The Corporal Works of Mercy are: 1) Feed the hungry; 2) Give drink to the thirsty; 3) Clothe the naked; 4) Shelter the homeless; 5) Visit the sick; 6) Visit the imprisoned; 7) bury the dead.

23 Suenens, x.

24 Donovan, [article online].

25 St. Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, Chapter 87, quoted in Stravinskas, Catholic Encyclopedia, s.v., “The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit.”

26 John 15:5; 1 Corinthians 2:10-14; cf. Romans 8:5-8, 26-27; Luke 24:44-45.

27 Catechism, no. 1831.

28 Father Lawrence G. Lovasik, The Apostolate’s Family Catechism, Abridged One-Volume Edition (Bloomingdale, OH: Apostolate for Family Consecration), q. 137: Q. 137. What are the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit? The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and the fear of the Lord. They are the gifts listed in Isaiah 11 which were to characterize the Just Man — the Messiah. These seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are the qualities given to the soul which make the soul responsive to the grace of God. They help us to practice virtue. Just as charity (the most perfect of virtues) embraces all the other virtues, wisdom is the most perfect of gifts, since it embodies all the other gifts.

1. The gift of wisdom strengthens our faith, fortifies our hope, perfects our charity, and promotes our practice of virtue to the highest degree. Wisdom enlightens our minds to discern and relish things divine, so that the appreciation of earthly joys loses its savor, while the Cross of Christ yields a divine sweetness.

 

 

2. Understanding, as a gift of the Holy Spirit, helps us to grasp the meaning of the truths of our holy religion. By faith we know them, but by understanding we learn to appreciate and relish them. Understanding enables us to penetrate the inner meaning of revealed truths, and through them, to quicken us to the newness of life.

3. The gift of counsel endows our souls with supernatural prudence, enabling them to judge promptly and rightly what must be done, especially in difficult circumstances. Counsel applies the principles, furnished by knowledge and understanding, to the innumerable concrete cases which confront us in the course of our daily duty. Counsel is supernatural common sense — a priceless treasure in the quest of salvation.

4. By the gift of fortitude, our souls are strengthened against natural fear, and are supported in the performance of duty. Fortitude imparts to our wills an impulse and energy which moves them to undertake without hesitancy the most arduous tasks, to face dangers, to trample underfoot worldly considerations, and to endure without complaints the crosses of daily life.

5. The gift of knowledge enables our souls to evaluate created things for their true worth, that is, in their relationship to God. Knowledge unmasks the pretense of creatures, reveals their shallowness, and points out their only true purpose as instruments in the service of God. It shows us the loving care God has for us even in adversity, and it directs us to glorify Him in every circumstance of life. Guided by the light of knowledge, we put first things first, and prize the friendship of God beyond all else.

6. The gift of piety begets in our hearts a childlike affection for God as our most loving Father. It inspires us to love and respect, for His sake, persons and things consecrated to Him, as well as those who are vested with His authority, i.e., the Blessed Virgin and the saints, the Church and its visible head, the Pope, our parents and superiors, and our country with its rulers. He who is filled with the gift of piety finds the practice of his religion, not a burdensome duty, but a delightful service. 7. The gift of the fear of the Lord fills us with a sovereign respect for God, and makes us dread nothing so much as offending Him by sin. It is a fear that rises, not from the thought of hell, but from sentiments of reverence and childlike submission to our heavenly Father. It is the fear that is the beginning of wisdom, because it detaches us from worldly pleasures that can separate us from God.

29 1 Corinthians 12:8-11.

30 Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Letter to Bishops on Some Aspects of Christian Meditation (15 October 1989), nn. 22-25. The fuller context of the cited material follows: 22. Finally, the Christian who prays can, if God so wishes, come to a particular experience of “union.” The Sacraments especially Baptism and the Eucharist, are the objective beginning of the union of the Christian with God. Upon this foundation, the person who prays can be called, by a special grace of the Spirit, to that specific type of union with God which in Christian terms is called “mystical.” 23. Without doubt, a Christian needs certain periods of retreat into solitude to be recollected and, in God’s presence, rediscover his path. Nevertheless, given his character as a creature, and as a creature who knows that only in grace is he secure, his method of getting closer to God is not based on any “technique” in the strict sense of the word. That would contradict the spirit of childhood called for by the Gospel. Genuine Christian mysticism has nothing to do with technique: it is always a gift of God, and the one who benefits from it knows himself to be unworthy. 24. There are certain “mystical graces,” conferred on the founders of ecclesial institutes to benefit their foundation, and on other saints, too, which characterize their personal experience of prayer and which cannot, as such, be the object of imitation and aspiration for other members of the faithful, even those who belong to the same institutes and those who seek an ever more perfect way of prayer. There can be different levels and different ways of sharing in a founder’s experience of prayer, without everything having to be exactly the same. Besides, the prayer experience that is given a privileged position in all genuinely ecclesial institutes, ancient and modern, is always in the last analysis something personal. And it is to the individual person that God gives his graces for prayer. 25. With regard to mysticism, one has to distinguish between “the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the charisms” granted by God in a totally gratuitous way. The former are something which every Christian can quicken in himself by his zeal for the life of faith, hope and charity; and thus, by means of a serious ascetical struggle, he can reach a certain experience of God and of the contents of the faith. As for charisms, St. Paul says that these are, above all, for the benefit of the Church, of the other members of the Mystical Body of Christ (cf. 1 Cor 12:17). With this in mind, it should be remembered that charisms are not the same things as extraordinary (“mystical”) gifts (cf. Rom 12:3-21), and that the distinction between the “gifts of the Holy Spirit” and “charisms” can be flexible. It is certain that a charism which bears fruit for the Church, cannot, in the context of the New Testament, be exercised without a certain degree of personal perfection, and that, on the other hand, every “living” Christian has a specific task (and in this sense a “charism”) “for the building up of the body of Christ” (cf. Eph 4:15-16), (29) in communion with the hierarchy whose job it is “not indeed to extinguish the Spirit, but to test all things and hold fast to what is good” (LG, n. 12).

31 Ibid., endnote 29.

32 Intuition and hypersensitivity account for much of the phenomena that people mistake for supernatural gifts or extrasensory perception (ESP). For example, a counselor may perceive the true problem of a client without the client revealing it. Some may mistake this for the Gift of Knowledge or even ESP. In actuality, the perception of the counselor may be sourced in twenty-five years experience of observing client behavior. The counselor has simply recognized the behavioral cue either through cognitive or by subconscious recognition. Human intuition, thus, is often a practiced wisdom of human experience. In similar manner many instances attributed to ESP is purely human perception. Some people, for example, have a unique and acute ability to observe subtle body language and nuances of tones of voice that reveal things about a person that others may not notice. This observational ability tends to be subconscious thereby the misinterpretation that it may be of supernatural or extrasensory origin.

33 Fr. Gabriele Amorth, An Exorcist Tells His Story (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1999), 157-163; idem, An Exorcist: More Stories , 161.

34 Amorth, An Exorcist, 159-160.

 

 

35 Father La Grua, La preghiera di guarigione (n.p., n.d.); quoted in Amorth, An Exorcist, 160. Prana Therapy or healing, also called “bioplasma” is being researched by science, but as yet has not been sanctioned it. Father La Grua, in the complete quote referenced here states: If healings occur through an energy that the healer transfers to the sick person, either through a psychic charge or through a different store of energy, they have nothing to do with charismatic healings. Additionally, there may be the danger of evil infiltration. That is why we need extreme prudence. Father Amorth reports, at the same reference as above, that a Venetian exorcist, Father Pellegrino Ernetti told him that the validity of Prana healings is probably “two for every thousand.”

36 Seeking preternatural gifts or developing such gifts places us in great danger of acquiring occult powers from the Evil One even though that may not have been our intent. We dangerously open a door that should not be opened. Our Father knows this and thus sternly warns us against such “mediumistic” powers (Deut 18:11; Lev 20:27). Some of the legitimate charism gifts are similar to the preternatural gifts — tongues, interpretation, miracles, healings, and some aspects of the word of knowledge, word of wisdom, and prophecy. If we try to “seek” these gifts, we may find them, but not the gifts we were hoping for. This is why St. John of the Cross and Vatican II warned against such “seeking” (see para 237 (i) “Danger in Seeking Sigil Gifts” for more discussion on this).

37 Amorth, An Exorcist, 162.

38
Catechism, nn. 798-801: This section of the Catechism dealing with spiritual gifts is very important to the present discussion and is therefore reproduced here (one should also be referred to other references listed in the Catechism concerning these paragraphs); 798 The Holy Spirit is “the principle of every vital and truly saving action in each part of the Body.” He works in many ways to build up the whole Body in charity: by God’s Word “which is able to build you up”; by Baptism, through which he forms Christ’s Body; by the sacraments, which give growth and healing to Christ’s members; by “the grace of the apostles, which holds first place among his gifts”; by the virtues, which make us act according to what is good; finally, by the many special graces (called “charisms”), by which he makes the faithful “fit and ready to undertake various tasks and offices for the renewal and building up of the Church. 799 Whether extraordinary or simple and humble, charisms are graces of the Holy Spirit which directly or indirectly benefit the Church, ordered as they are to her building up, to the good of men, and to the needs of the world. 800 Charisms are to be accepted with gratitude by the person who receives them and by all members of the Church as well. They are a wonderfully rich grace for the apostolic vitality and for the holiness of the entire Body of Christ, provided they really are genuine gifts of the Holy Spirit and are used in full conformity with authentic promptings of this same Spirit, that is, in keeping with charity, the true measure of all charisms. 801 It is in this sense that discernment of charisms is always necessary. No charism is exempt from being referred and submitted to the Church’s shepherds. “Their office [is] not indeed to extinguish the Spirit, but to test all things and hold fast to what is good,” so that all the diverse and complementary charisms work together “for the common good.”

39 Although God may, in His sovereignty, give charism gifts to whom and when He pleases, by virtue of the fullness of the indwelling Holy Spirit conferred in the Sacrament of Confirmation (the real “baptism in the Holy Spirit”) we are gifted from that point even if we have not realized it. Our task then, we would suggest, is not to “seek” the gifts we want to have, but to “discover” the gifts we have already been given by God’s grace and glory, who alone knows best what gift or gifts we should have. As Colin B. Donovan remarks in his article on the Charismatic Renewal: when we “seek”, we run the risk of “seeking the gifts of the Giver and not the Giver of the gift” (see endnote #40 below). It much safer, as well as more humble, approach, it seems to us, is to ask, “Father, whatever gifts you have given me, or want me to have, help me to know Your Holy Spirit in my life and to fan into flame those gifts.” (also see para 237 (i) entitled, “Danger in Seeking Sigil Gifts”).

40 Donovan, [article online]: An authentic charism would not pull one away from the Church. If a Catholic leaves, seeking an emotional boost he no longer finds in the Church, he is seeking the gifts of the Giver and not the Giver of he gifts. Participation in the life of the Church should lead any Catholic (Charismatic, traditional, or ordinary) into a deeper relationship with the Eucharist, the Blessed Mother and the Pope. If it does not, something is spiritually wrong with that particular individual or with the guidance he is receiving within his group. Since a charism does not give the person any special infallibility or sanctity, given the extraordinary character of such gifts it is especially necessary for individuals possessing them to guard the purity of their faith, lest pride, self-seeking or emotionalism lead them astray, and they others. The reality that some have left the Church for Pentecostalism, or sought to create it within, points to the dangers. 41 Matthew Bunson, ed., Our Sunday Visitor’s Catholic Almanac, 2000 ed. (Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Division, Our Sunday Visitor, Inc., 1999), s.v., “Charismatic Renewal”, 303.

42 Acts 2:4; Ephesians 5:18.

43 J. Byrne, ed., Threshold of God’s Promise: A Handbook for those seeking the Baptism of the Holy Spirit (Notre Dame, IN: True House, 1970). The Introduction of this book offers explanation of the nature of “baptism in the Spirit”: For some, there has been a failure to make a total act of self-surrender — a personal act of faith — to Jesus. For others who seem to have made this full commitment to Jesus as Lord and Savor, there is a hollowness, a lack of life or power. In many ways these Catholics resemble the disciples before Pentecost. They believe in Jesus, have witnessed the resurrection and Ascension — but are timid and afraid. And in the chapter, Waiting for the Baptism in the Holy Spirit: The baptism in the Holy Spirit is not magic, nor is it an isolated religious experience. It is a direct consequence of the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus who was the anointed One of God. Preparation of the baptism in the Holy Spirit cannot be understood unless it is seen as a powerful deepening of a personal relationship with Jesus. To pray for the baptism in the Holy Spirit is to join with the local community and the whole body of Christ in asking Jesus to release His power in our lives. In order to make such a prayer, we must acknowledge Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior. James D.G. Dunn, Baptism in the Holy Spirit: A Re-examination of the New Testament Teaching on the Gift of the Holy Spirit in Relation to Pentecostalism Today (Naperville, IL: Alec R. Allenson, 1970), 226. Dunn reiterates that “baptism in the Spirit” is not an additional act of sacramental grace: According to Luke and Paul, baptism in the Spirit was not something subsequent to or distinct from becoming a Christian… The gift of the Spirit may not be separated in any way from conversion…

 

 

44 See the James Dunn quote in endnote #43 above.

45 The three examples of the Sacrament of Confirmation began first in Jerusalem with Pentecost itself recorded in Acts 2:1-42; the in Samaria in Acts 8:14-17 has a sign of believers untied with the Jerusalem Church, and finally the sign that the Holy Spirit was given even to the uncircumcised (Gentiles) in Acts 10:44-48. This completed the Revelation of what God intended—for His grace to be bestowed upon all who would believe.

46 Congregation For the Doctrine of the Faith, Instruction on Prayers for Healing (14 Sep. 2000), art. 5 §2.

47 Holy See, Instruction, On Certain Questions Regarding the Collaboration of The Non-Ordained Faithful in the Sacred Ministry Of Priest (15 August 1997), art. 9 §1.

48 John Paul II, Discourse at the Symposium on “The Participation of the Lay Faithful in the Priestly Ministry” (11 May 1994), n. 3, l.c.; quoted Collaboration, “Conclusion.”

49
Collaboration, art. 6 §2.

50 1 Corinthians 12:7ff.

51 See endnote #40.

52 Empiricism is a word derived from the Greek meaning, “experience.” It is a theory that all our mental understandings are a product of purely sensory experience.

53 Donald Attwater, ed., A Catholic Dictionary, 3rd ed. (Rockford, IL: Tan Books and Publishers, Inc, 1997), s.v. “Empericism”; “Sensualism.”

54 St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiæ, trans. & ed. Timothy McDermott (Allen, TX: Thomas More Publishing, Christian Classics, 1989), 547 (Summa: IIIa, 60 no. 4).

55 First Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Catholic Faith, 2; quoted in Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, tran. Patrick Lynch and ed. (English ed.) James Canon Bastible (St. Louis, MO: B Herder Book Co., n.d.), 1, 1, §1, 1; Denzinger, 1806; cf. 1785, 1391. The Latin original of this declaration quoted in Ott: Si quis dixerit, Deum unum et vetrum, creatorem et Dominum nostrum per ea, quae facta sent, naturali rationis humanae lumine certo cognosci non posse God, our Creator and Lord, can be known with certainty, by the natural light of reason from created things. Ott’s explanation: The definition of the Vatican stresses the following points: a) The object of our knowing is the one true God, our Creator and Lord, therefore an “extramundane,” personal God. b) The subjective principle of knowledge is natural reason in the condition of the fallen nature. c) The means of knowledge are the created things. d) The knowledge is from its nature and manner a knowledge of certitude. e) Such knowledge of God is possible, but it is not the only way of knowing Him.

56 See para. 212 to review the quote from Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) from the Foreword of the book, Renewal & the Powers of Darkness.

57 Father Peter B. Coughlin, Understanding the Charismatic Gifts (Hamilton, ON: C.C.S.O. Bread of Life Renewal Centre, 1998, book handed out in a “Life in the Spirit” Seminar in Watertown, South Dakota in May 2006), 75:

Sometimes people are concerned with the origin of the gift and are afraid the Tongues may be false (originating from their own spirit). It should be generally presumed, in this case, that it is by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and not one’s own spirit, since one would know if they were “making it up.” This is a most remarkable statement for a person to make. The ability for human beings to delude themselves is quite high. Phenomena like “tongues” can easily be a psychogenic experience. For a priest, let alone the top charismatic priest in Canada to give this advice is extremely troublesome and alarming. Father Coughlin repeats his alarming advice on page 74: The biggest block to praying in Tongues initially is “head knowledge,” in that a person is responding to the Lord from their head (intellect) rather then from their heart… (they) don’t understand the why of Tongues, which is a yielding of control of the tongue over to the Lord. The good Father’s advice seems to be saying that we are to turn off our intellect (that faculty God has given us to guide us and to help us discern truth from error through the virtue of Reason), so that control of our “tongue” may be given over to the Lord. Nowhere in Scripture or Tradition are we advised to suspend our intellect with its faculty of reason in order to “yield control” over to the Lord. Such advice is reflective of the Gnostic heresy called Pseudognosticism. A footnote in the document cited below in Endnote #58 defines pseudognosticism as a notion that “considered matter as something impure and degraded which enveloped the soul in an ignorance from which prayer had to free it, thereby raising it to true superior knowledge and so to a pure state. Of course, not everyone was capable of this, only those who were truly spiritual; for simple believers, faith and observance of the commandments of Christ were sufficient.” Rhetoric in the Catholic Renewal that “tongues” allows one to pray “more perfectly” seems to reflect this pseudognostic notion.

SPECIAL NOTE: This book is decidedly not to be recommended in our view as it contains many spiritually dangerous ideas. We also do not recommend Dove Publications of Pecos, New Mexico as their literature contains much Pentecostalism, though from the particular brochures we reviewed Father Coughlin’s book is far more problematic.

58 Christian Meditation, nn. 8-11, 18-19. The good Father’s advice also describes a similar practice in Eastern Meditation whereby one suspends the intellect and yields oneself to the “spirit.” The Letter to Bishops states in a section called, “Erroneous Ways of Praying’: 8. Even in the first centuries of the Church some incorrect forms of prayer crept in. Some New Testament texts (cf. 1 Jn 4:3; 1 Tim 1:3-7 and 4:3-4) already give hints of their existence. Subsequently, two fundamental deviations came to be identified: Pseudognosticism and Messalianism, both of concern to the Fathers of the Church. There is much to be learned from that experience of primitive Christianity and the reaction of the Fathers which can help in tackling the current problem. In combating the errors of “pseudognosticism” the Fathers affirmed that matter is created by God and as such is not evil. Moreover, they maintained that grace, which always has the Holy Spirit as its source is not a good proper to the soul, but must be sought from God as a gift. Consequently, the illumination or superior knowledge of the Spirit (“gnosis”) does not make Christian faith something superfluous. Finally, for the Fathers, the authentic sign of a superior knowledge, the fruit of prayer, is always Christian love. 9. If the perfection of Christian prayer cannot be evaluated using the sublimity of gnostic knowledge as a basis, neither can it be judged by referring to the experience of the divine, as “Messalianism” proposed.

 

 

 

These false fourth-century charismatics identified the grace of the Holy Spirit with the psychological experience of his presence in the soul. In opposing them, the Fathers insisted on the fact that the soul’s union with God in prayer is realized in a mysterious way, and in particular through the sacraments of the Church. Moreover, it can even be achieved through experiences of affliction or desolation. Contrary to the view of the Messalians, these are not necessarily a sign that the Spirit has abandoned a soul. Rather, as masters of spirituality have always clearly acknowledged, they may be an authentic participation in the state of abandonment experienced on the cross by our Lord, who always remains the model and mediator of prayer. Both of these forms of error continue to be a “temptation for man the sinner.” They incite him to try and overcome the distance separating creature from Creator, as though there ought not to be such a distance; to consider the way of Christ on earth, by which he wishes to lead us to the Father, as something now surpassed; to bring down to the level of natural psychology what has been regarded as pure grace, considering it instead as “superior knowledge” or as “experience.” 10. Such erroneous forms, having reappeared in history from time to time on the fringes of the Church’s prayer, seem once more to impress many Christians, appealing to them as a kind of remedy, be it psychological or spiritual, or as a quick way of finding God. Similar techniques were subsequently identified and dismissed by St. Teresa of Avila who perceptively observed that “the very care taken not to think about anything will arouse the mind to think a great deal,” and that the separation of the mystery of Christ from Christian meditation is always a form of “betrayal” (see: St. Teresa of Jesus. Vida 12, 5 and 22, 1-5). 11. However, these forms of error, wherever they arise, “can be diagnosed” very simply. The meditation of the Christian in prayer seeks to grasp the depths of the divine in the salvific works of God in Christ, the Incarnate Word, and in the gift of his Spirit. These divine depths are always revealed to him through the human-earthly dimension. Similar methods of meditation, on the other hand, including those which have their starting-point in the words and deeds of Jesus, try as far as possible to put aside everything that is worldly, sense perceptible or conceptually limited. It is thus an attempt to ascend to or immerse oneself in the sphere of the divine, which, as such, is neither terrestrial, sense-perceptible nor capable of conceptualization. This tendency, already present in the religious sentiments of the later Greek period (especially in “Neoplatonism”), is found deep in the religious inspiration of many peoples, no sooner than they become aware of the precarious character of their representations of the divine and of their attempts to draw close to it. The passions (empirical faculty) are neither good nor evil in themselves, but they must be guided by reason, as already mentioned, and must be guarded from their natural tendency toward selfishness. The emptying of the mind (turning off the intellect) in prayer refers to this emptying of selfishness, not a denial of created things, of which the intellect is a major gift. Paragraphs 18-19 of the Letter to Bishops speaks of this: 18. The seeking of God through prayer has to be preceded and accompanied by an ascetical struggle and a purification from one’s own sins and errors, since Jesus has said that only “the pure of heart shall see God” (Mt 5:8). The Gospel aims above all at a moral purification from the lack of truth and love and, on a deeper level, from all the selfish instincts which impede man from recognizing and accepting the will of God in its purity. The passions are not negative in themselves (as the Stoics and Neoplatonists thought), but their tendency is to selfishness. It is from this that the Christian has to free himself in order to arrive at that state of positive freedom which in classical Christian times was called “apatheia,” in the Middle Ages “Impassibilitas” and in the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises “indiferencia.” This is impossible without a radical self-denial, as can also be seen in St. Paul who openly uses the word “mortification” (of sinful tendencies). Only this self-denial renders man free to carry out the will of God and to share in the freedom of the Holy Spirit. 19. Therefore, one has to interpret correctly the teaching of those masters who recommend “emptying” the spirit of all sensible representations and of every concept, while remaining lovingly attentive to God. In this way, the person praying creates an empty space which can then be filled by the richness of God. However, the emptiness which God requires is that of the renunciation of personal selfishness, not necessarily that of the renunciation of those created things (i.e., the intellect) which he has given us and among which he has placed us.

59 1 Corinthians 12:7: word of wisdom, word of knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophesy, discernment, tongues, interpretation of tongues.

60 Coughlin, 3.

61 e.g., Coughlin, 71: “Yet everyone who wants it could yield to the gift (of tongues), since it is present in everyone who believes and is filled with, or baptized, in the Holy Spirit” and “The spirit indwells with every gift…”

62 In addition to the text of endnote #21, it is also important to emphasize and repeat the point made in the main text that God may not give this “gift” of a Private Prayer Language to everyone. Not having such a “gift” does not depreciate the level of one’s spirituality, maturity, or grace in any way. However, Father Coughlin seems to disagree and to assert, rather, that those filled with the Spirit will have this and every other gift. See endnote #61 above.

63 Coughlin, 5.

64 “Charisms and the New Life in the Spirit Seminars,Pentecost Today, July/August/September 2001, 12; quoted in Therese Boucher, A Prayer Journal for Baptism in the Holy Spirit (Locust Grove, VA: National Service Committee, Chariscenter USA, endnote 11.

65 Bishop Donald W. Wuerl, Ronald Lawler, and Thomas Comerford Lawler, eds., The Teaching of Christ: A Catechism for Adults (Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor, Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Division, 1995), 143.

66 Congregation of Sacred Rites, Philip T. Weller, trans., The Roman Ritua (25 January 1952), with additions from have been published in Acta Apostolicae Sedis and in Ephemerides Liturgicae and in the Instruction (26 September 1964), complete ed. (n.p.: Bruce Company, 1964), Part XIII, chap. 1, no 3: Signs of possession may be the following: ability to speak with some facility in a strange tongue or to understand it when spoken by another; the faculty of divulging future and hidden events.

67 Church, no. 12; English translation, Father Austin Flannery, Vatican II: The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents, vol. 1, New Revised Edition 1992 (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1992), 363-364: It is not only through the sacraments and the ministrations of the Church that the Holy Spirit makes holy the People, leads them and enriches them with his virtues. Allotting his gifts according as he wills (cf. 1 Cor 12:11), he also distributes special graces among the faithful of every rank.

 

By these gifts he makes them fit and ready to undertake the various tasks and offices for the renewal and building up of the Church, as it is written. “The manifestation of the Spirit is given to everyone for profit” (1 Cor 12:7). Whether these charisms be very remarkable or more simple and widely diffused, they are to be received with thanksgiving and consolation since they are fitting and useful for the needs of the Church. Extraordinary gifts are not to be rashly desired, nor is it from them that the fruits of apostolic labor are to be presumptuously expected. Those who have charge over the Church should judge the genuineness and proper use of these gifts, through their office not indeed to extinguish the Spirit, but to test all things and hold fast to what is good. (cf. 1 Thess 5:12, 19-21) The Council Fathers of Vatican II specifically admonish us that we are not to “rashly seek” after the extraordinary gifts. Other translations of the document do not include the word, “rashly”, but state, “Extraordinary gifts are not to be sought after…”

68 Colin B. Donovan, [article online].

69 There are two accounts from priests that illustrate the need for discernment and testing. The first is an experience of Father Anthony, a Carmelite priest who attended a charismatic meeting. At the meeting, one or two people stood up and spoke in “tongues” while another interpreted. Father Anthony then stood up and spoke in tongues. The “interpreter” interpreted Father Anthony’s tongues. At this point father Anthony knew that the interpreter had a false gift. He stood up and informed her that her gift was false, that her interpretation was in error. In fact, Father Anthony has recited the Lord’s Prayer in the Polish language. The experience of another priest is chilling. The Father was at a charismatic meeting where a woman was praising God in Tongues. After the meeting, the Father approached the woman. He asked her if she knew what she was saying when she was speaking in tongues. She replied that she was praising Jesus. The Father informed her that she happened to be speaking his native language and that she was not praising God, but was cursing God. These two true stories should give anyone who speaks in tongues great pause no matter how wonderful they think their tongues speaking has been for them. We can never underestimate the power of self-delusion, nor the power of the evil one to fool us.

70 “Centering prayer,” we would suggest is an attempt to rob God. It seeks to attain the levels of intimacy with God that are really reserved to the gifts of the higher forms of contemplation and to mystical union. It seeks to acquire the mystical gifts that God only gives to a few. It says, in essence, “God, you did not give me the gift of mystical union, so I will steal it through the techniques of “Centering Prayer.” The Letter to the Bishops on Some Aspects of Christian Mediation (n. 23) reminds us: Without doubt, a Christian needs certain periods of retreat into solitude to be recollected and, in God’s presence, rediscover his path. Nevertheless, given his character as a creature, and as a creature who knows that only in grace is he secure, his method of getting closer to God is not based on any “technique” in the strict sense of the word. That would contradict the spirit of childhood called for by the Gospel. Genuine Christian mysticism has nothing to do with technique: it is always a gift of God, and the one who benefits from it knows himself to be unworthy.

71
Prayers for Healing, art. 5 §3 and art. 9.

72
Clairvoyance is the acute intuitive insight or perception of things that cannot be known by normal means. Telesthesia is a form of clairvoyance that response to distant stimuli by extrasensory means (such as perceiving a person’s illness). Pre-cognition is another form of clairvoyance that predicts future events. All of these abilities are forms of “divination” (foretelling future events or revealing hidden knowledge through supernatural means). God is to the point—He condemns divination (e.g., Deut 18:10).

73 See endnote #66.

74 Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, [Letter to Bishops], On The Current Norms Governing Exorcisms, Inde Ab Aliquot Annis, (29 September 1985), trans. Father Gabriele Amorth, Prot. no. 291/70; AAS 77 (1985): 1169-70; EnchVat 9, nn. 1663-67; quoted in An Exorcist, 189-190.

75 Donovan, [article online]: There is yet another dimension of the discernment which needs to be considered. Since charisms are given to build up the Church, there is no necessary connection with personal sanctity. Saints, sinners and even unbelievers have manifested these gifts. The pagan prophet Balaam was given the Divine spirit of prophecy in order to authenticate Israel as the People of God (Num 22). Thus the moral state of the recipient (good or bad) does not by itself indicate a true or false charism. When actually under the constraint of the Spirit of God, however, the true charismatic could not say or do anything contrary to that Spirit. No one could claim, for instance, that the Spirit of God led him to get drunk or do anything sinful, although he might at other times do such things.

76 Ibid.: For this reason to say that the Charismatic Renewal is approved by the Church is not a blanket approval of every alleged charismatic gift or every charismatic group or individual within the Church. The discernment of the Holy Spirit’s action is an ongoing necessity within the Church and within the Charismatic Renewal.

 

What to Watch For: The Charismatic Experience

http://saint-mike.org/warfare/library/3
EXTRACT

The Charismatic Renewal has been a great blessing in the Church in that it has inspired thousands to “…fan into flame the gift” that is within them (2 Tim 1:6). Although the Church has ensured theological correctness in the Renewal, unfortunately many in the Charismatic Renewal have borrowed terminology and practices (praxiology) from the Pentecostals that is in error.

Deliverance work is a major facet of the practice of spiritual gifts in the Charismatic experience. Abuses stemming from incorrect ideas about gifts by Catholic Charismatic Deliverance Teams became serious enough that by 1985 the Holy See placed restrictions upon what can or cannot be done outside of a solemn exorcism. (See Inde Ab Aliquot Annis: On The Current Norms Governing Exorcisms, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith September 29, 1985; Translated by Father Gabriele Amorth, Exorcist of Diocese of Rome)

It is particularly important in evaluating books and teaching about Spiritual Warfare and Deliverance written by Catholics or non-Catholics that “Pentecostalisms” be discerned and watched for. The contributions of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal can be beneficial as long as it remains close to the Church not only in theology, but also in praxiology; Pentecostalisms must be avoided.

 

On the following pages, Q&As from the saint-mike.net Liturgy and Liturgical Abuses forum:

Lifeteen Mass/Youth Mass abuses

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/lit/viewanswer.asp?QID=69, http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/lit/viewanswer.asp?QID=82

July 26, 2004/August 27, 2004 See also http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/lit/viewanswer.asp?QID=115

My question is about the Lifeteen mass. My kids enjoy it because there is much more singing, accompanied by a rock style band. However, there are some things that make me uncomfortable. The main one being that the teens go up and approach the altar during the consecration. They do seem very reverent, but for some reason it just does not seem right.
Also having the loud rock like music during what to me is a solemn and life changing moment. Many of the young women are also dressed in tight fitting or short cut outfits.
So, I am “old fashioned” or is there something to these concerns of mine?
I know the bottom line is if I do not like it I do not have to go, however I would like to be able to explain to my children if there is cause for concern. –Robin

Yes quite simply all of these things are wrong. I think the best way to explain it is to say that they are irreverent. Mass is not a social function, it is a sacrifice; it is worship of a Divine Being. It is not a party. –Jacob Slavek

I am aware that they do many things that are illicit and abuses.

There is only one way to celebrate Mass. That is to celebrate it according to the Roman Missal. (Latin Rite) This can only be changed by Rome, and not by groups of young adults and teens. –Jacob Slavek

 

Lifeteen Mass/Youth Mass abuses

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/lit/viewanswer.asp?QID=115; See http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/lit/viewanswer.asp?QID=69

November 17, 2004 [See also http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/lit/viewanswer.asp?QID=132]

Our Parish started the Lifeteen program. The attendance so far has been super. The activities after mass are well organized and teens enjoy themselves. We need to keep our youth in the church, and I think this program is a good beginning. However, the mass, I am not in agreement with electric guitars, drums etc… I think the youth, 14 and over are old enough to learn the sacred and respect it (otherwise, when are they going to grow up?). My 8 year old granddaughter started dance motions in the pew. Her mom told her to stop. She answered: “Mom, it’s not a real mass!” The truth comes out of the mouths of babes! –Anne

Yes I agree with you. Actually this is the worst horror story I’ve heard of the Lifeteen Mass. The Lifeteen “authorities” (whoever they are) need to wake up and see what impact they really are having on youth. I think that what your granddaughter has said is a right-on indication of the attitude many of these kids have. They need the “real” Mass.Jacob Slavek

 

“Healing Mass” and praying in tongues at Mass

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/lit/viewanswer.asp?QID=124

December 17, 2004

I went to a “Healing Mass” the other day, and was a little concerned about the structure of this particular Mass.
During the Eucharistic Prayers, the priest would occasionally speak in tongues (as he was elevating the Host and Wine, for example). As he started, the congregation joined him in speaking in tongues. I was a little uncomfortable with this since I prefer the traditional Mass – the ones that follow the Order of Mass. Is the “Healing Mass” exempt (so to speak) from the Order of Mass guidelines? I really felt like I was at the Vineyard, or some other non-denominational church that I attended in my younger years. Please let me know your opinion. -Joe

I don’t know much about speaking in tongues since I have never experienced it first hand, but I do know that if this priest truly has this gift then it is a good thing. However it seems to me that the priest would be able to control it such that he would not speak in tongues during the even greater gift of the Eucharist. Liturgical law mentions nothing of speaking at tongues at Mass. It is not called for in the documents and would distract from the greatest gift of Jesus present on the altar.

Although healing is a great part of the Mass and sacraments, I don’t believe a Mass is referred to officially as a “Healing Mass”, even a Mass in which there is anointing of the sick.

There is reconciliation to God of our venial sins also at Mass, but this is not called “Healing Mass” either.

I would guess that this priest is calling it a “Healing Mass” to emphasize that aspect, hoping to draw the people into greater reconciliation. The speaking in tongues should wait for another time if at all possible.Jacob Slavek

 

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/lit/viewanswer.asp?QID=129

December 23, 2004

There is no such thing as a “Healing Mass.” Any anointing for healing and the like must be done outside of Mass — usually after Mass.
The priest praying the Eucharistic prayer in “tongues” is forbidden. Also the congregation joining the priest in speaking in tongues is also absolutely forbidden as is the people praying the Eucharistic prayer with the priest.

The people are not co-celebrating the Mass, they are not priests, and thus are not to pray, even silently to themselves, prayers that are reserved to the priest.
St. Paul makes it clear in the Bible about when and where speaking in tongues is to be done and the Mass ain’t the time. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Reserving and adoring the Blessed Sacrament

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/lit/viewanswer.asp?QID=132

December 30, 2004

Can a youth group in a parish sit around the altar while Jesus is exposed in the monstrance? In some parishes, they go as far, in a prayer group, to sit around the altar while Jesus is exposed in the monstrance, and touch the altar cloth! Is this allowed? Can the young people of Lifeteen sit in the sanctuary for prayers when there is no exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in the monstrance, and the tabernacle is on the high altar?
Who is allowed to expose and repose the Blessed Sacrament? I heard it was only Priests, Deacons and ordained acolyte; an extraordinary minister of the Eucharist may repose the Blessed Sacrament with special permission. Where could I get the rules on this very important subject? Many are making their own rules. -Anne

The document that contains the rite for exposition is “Holy Communion and Worship of the Eucharist outside Mass”.  Inside you will not find any rule about approaching the altar, but I would think that rule for Mass, found in Notitiae, would also apply to adoration and any other time.

During the liturgy of the Eucharist, only the presiding celebrant remains at the altar. The assembly of the faithful take their place in the Church outside the “presbyterium,” which is reserved for the celebrant or concelebrants and altar ministers: Notitiae 17 (1981) 61. See http://www.saint-mike.org/Library/Curia/Congregations/Worship/notitiae.html

You are correct about the minister of exposition; this is also found in the document.

I think many times a problem is that the “boundaries” of the sanctuary aren’t as clear as they should be, thus “inviting” anyone to come forward.Jacob Slavek

I have encountered charismatic groups that minister in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament -Michael

 

Charismatic practices during the liturgy of the Mass

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/lit/viewanswer.asp?QID=268

November 23, 2005

The local church I have attended for many years is becoming charismatic. I find some of the practices bizarre and disturbing. What is the Church’s position on the following practices?
1. speaking in tongues- the priest and the entire prayer group participates.
2. falling down (being slain) on the altar after being prayed over; this happens to the great majority of people as well.
3. prophesizing, as if the spirit of God has spoken directly through the person to the group; several people claim to have this gift. –Francis

Liturgically speaking, the Church does not have a “position” on these gifts of the Holy Spirit. You will not find anywhere in the Mass or other Liturgy where these charismatic practices take place. Not everyone has these gifts (speaking in tongues, etc); not even all priests do. However these gifts are very real and there are people who have them that are called to use them to serve the Church. Christians are called to worship together using them, but I really think it would be better if they did so outside of the Holy Mass.

I have never heard of being slain on the altar, but I do question its practice since the altar in a Catholic church is where CHRIST is sacrificed. I personally would have a great deal of trouble being “slain” on Christ’s altar. –Jacob Slavek

 

Use of charismatic gifts/speaking in tongues at Mass

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/lit/viewanswer.asp?QID=450

January 16, 2012

Further to a question (and your reply) back in 2005 [see http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/lit/viewanswer.asp?QID=268 on page 26] concerning the use of charismatic gifts – in your opinion, what is the most appropriate way for these gifts/manifestations to be expressed during Mass? St Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians (chapter 12) lists these charismatic gifts (vv 8-10) and it seems to me St Paul is referring to these gifts being used in the assembly during worship. Would this be during the Eucharist, or some other meeting outside the liturgy? I have attended many charismatic Masses where the charismatic gifts have been exercised very beautifully and in an orderly fashion – after the canon of the Mass – immediately before the final blessing. Although these Masses are quite long (due to praise and worship, charismatic gifts, etc.) – I can readily testify how beautiful they can be when there is order, and respect for the rubrics and content of the Mass.

I have also been to charismatic Masses (not many) where there is no order and no respect shown. My personal view is that there is room for the charismatic gifts during Mass. Do you think what I have expressed is also the view of St Paul (in the context of what he wrote in 1 Corinthians 12)? I am definitely not a cessationist, and neither is the Catholic Church. These gifts are still be used to build up the Church, but in what context? Liturgical, missionary, or a combination of both (wherever and however the Holy Spirit directs)? –John

This isn’t exactly a liturgical question at least in the sense that it pertains to liturgical law, but nonetheless I’m delighted to take a crack at it and offer MY OPINION rather than a definitive answer.

Let’s take a look at the gifts mention in 1 Corinthians Chapter 12: expression of wisdom, expression of knowledge, faith, healing, mighty deeds, prophecy, discernment, tongues and interpretation of tongues, all of these gifts of course referring to the Spirit.

Well in today’s modern Liturgy my guess would be that expressions of faith and knowledge are made manifest in the priest’s homily. Along with these expressions we also find prophecy in the actual texts of the Liturgy, especially of course the reading of Sacred Scripture.

 

 

 

It seems to me that both mighty deeds and discernment are the people’s response to what has happened at the Liturgy, not necessarily at the celebration itself but taken from there out into the world.

That leaves speaking in tongues and interpretation of tongues: and before I comment on that I want to remind you this is my PERSONAL OPINION. Back when St. Paul wrote this letter, there was not the mass communication that we have today.  It was common in that world for people to be fluent in many languages, just like it is in that part of the world today. Even though they had all these people speaking all these languages, it would still be considered a gift to have an interpreter present as Christianity grew and grew to new lands and people of new languages, because they did not have the communication capabilities that we take for granted today. So in MY opinion, the gift of tongues and the gift of interpretation of tongues, AS IT PERTAINS TO TODAY’S LITURGY, is the fact that our Liturgy is translated into hundreds of languages and despite that it’s in many languages, we are all praying the SAME THING as a worldwide universal Church. 

Most areas of the Catholic world have priests speaking in the native language, using printed texts translated from a common Latin source (in the Latin rite). That to me is a gift of the Holy Spirit. The only difference is, in our modern world, we are accustomed to it.

With all that having been said, I’d like to add that in my college years I frequented charismatic celebrations, both at Mass and as separate services. I was quite fond of the prayer meetings where members often found themselves with the gift of speaking in tongues; however there never was someone present with the gift of interpretation so I’ll never know if the gift was genuine and if it was, what they were saying.

Regarding the celebrations of Liturgy where charismatic gifts were encouraged (such as praise and worship): well personally I found it distracting when used at Mass.  Charismatic prayer is a FORM of prayer, as is liturgical prayer, private prayer, devotional prayer, contemplative prayer, etc… of all these forms of prayer, liturgical prayer is the highest, and just as you would not insert a another form of prayer into the liturgy for example devotional prayer such as the Rosary into the Mass, in my opinion you would not insert charismatic prayer into the Liturgy. –Jacob Slavek

 

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/lit/viewanswer.asp?QID=451

January 23, 2012

Further to my last post concerning charismatic gifts at Mass, in 1 Corinthians 12, what is the context (liturgical or otherwise) in which St Paul envisages these charismatic gifts (vv.8-11) being used? Further in chapter 14 St Paul refers to these gifts occurring “when you come together” (vv. 28-33) and this would suggest the context is a liturgical one – but following the Canon of the Mass. Note usually in Mass there is a time for “announcements” between the Canon and the final blessing – and this doesn’t interrupt or interfere with the eucharistic liturgy (it’s over by now). In charismatic Masses I’ve attended (the most beautiful and reverent) time for the Lord to speak through the charismatic gifts of prophecy/tongues and interpretation/words of knowledge etc. have taken place here (not during the main body of the Mass) and this has had episcopal approval. Secondly, these gifts have been exercised in an orderly fashion. Thirdly, and most importantly, the prophetic revelation gifts have been carefully discerned before being shared publicly to the congregation.
Is this the scenario referred to by St Paul in 1 Corinthians – where he emphatically states that these gifts are to be manifested in an orderly way during – or immediately following – the liturgical celebration while everyone is still assembled?
Note that at the beginning of chapter 12, St Paul emphasises the importance of these gifts (v. 1) and in 1 Thess.5:19-20 again he says that these gifts (prophetic utterances) are not to be despised, but tested and discerned. This seems to indicate that – unless we err on the side of the cessationists/dispensationalists – these gifts are indeed still with us today. The Catechism says these gifts are to be welcomed but discerned (paragraphs 800-801). Historically – where – and how – were these charismatic gifts manifested? -John

I know that many bishops and popes have recently showed great support for the Charismatic Renewal and to being open to the gifts of the Holy Spirit, but I don’t think liturgically speaking there is a mention of a time and place for speaking in tongues during the actual Liturgy. Please correct me if I’m wrong. Now there IS time allowed during the Mass for brief announcements of course, but remember this is more for a practical reason. If there is a genuine gift of the Holy Spirit being made manifest, it shouldn’t crammed into a specific 2-minutes time slot just because it is convenient to have it then. 

One thing that disappoints me about Catholics today is that it seems that the only time we gather is for Sunday Mass, and then leave as soon as possible. 

I’m not a historian, but it seems to me that in the early church Christians gathered much more frequently and for reasons other than the Lord’s Supper. Remember that most people were illiterate so a great deal of time must have been spent gathered in groups teaching and “speaking”. I see no reason why we can’t get back into that habit today and gather with our fellow Christians weekly for prayer and discernment, and if so called, speaking in tongues.

Regarding the history of speaking in tongues the Catholic Encyclopedia has articles about charismata and glossolalia. I also checked out the Wiki on it and many of the early church fathers, as expected, commented or wrote about it. Nothing I saw though gave a specific time on WHEN it happened (such as, after the canon). –Jacob Slavek

 

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/lit/viewanswer.asp?QID=452

January 27, 2012

There is no such thing as a Charismatic Mass. The Mass is the Mass and must be performed according to the Liturgical laws to the letter.
Tongues is absolutely not to be done in the Mass by the Priest or by the Faithful.

 


The only Charismatic gifts that could possibly be used during Mass by the priest are the Gifts of Prophecy, Evangelism, Teaching, Word of Knowledge, and Word of Wisdom during the Homily. The Gift of Prophecy is almost universally mis-defined by the Charismatic Renewal.

The Gift of Prophecy (which means forth-telling) is the gift of supernatural ability to preach. Word of Knowledge and Word of Wisdom are also about universally mis-defined.
See Charism Gifts Building up the Church for details on the pros and cons of the Renewal. This document also has a chart of 30 charism gifts found in Scripture and defines each. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/lit/viewanswer.asp?QID=463

February 1, 2012

The Gift of Speaking in tongues is one of the Ten Gifts of the Holy Spirit; however, it is not a gift that is given to everyone. The gift of speaking in tongues benefits, if there is no one present to interpret it, only the one who speaks in tongues.
One may also believe that the Holy Spirit would never allow anyone to speak in tongues during the celebration of Holy Mass, yet, on more than one occasion, I have had the misfortune to experience such a blasphemous act taking place during the Consecration.
Scripture is quite clear on speaking in tongues. If one were to consider themselves to have such a gift from the Holy Spirit they would do well to read, in its entirety, the words of St. Paul regarding the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. This can be found in 1 Cor. 12: through 1 Cor. 14: 40.
According to St. Paul, anyone who speaks in tongues benefits no one but himself, that is, provided that his gift is real. To speak in tongues without having someone there to interpret what is said must be construed to be coming, not from the Holy Spirit, but from the evil spirit. Never forget that even Satan can disguise himself as an angel of light.
St. Ignatius of Loyola, in his book titled “The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius” has provided us with two chapters on the “Discernment of Spirits,” a teaching designed to help us determine which spirit is attempting to lead us.
St. Paul says, in 1 Cor 14:6, “So when I come to you, my brothers, what use will I be to you if I speak in strange tongues? Not a bit, unless I bring you some revelation from God or some knowledge or some inspired message or some teaching”.
In 1 Cor. 14: 18-19, St. Paul tells us, “I thank God that I speak in tongues much more than any of you. But in Church worship I would rather speak five words than can be understood than speak thousands of words in tongues”. This is in no way meant to be a criticism of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal Group within the Church provided that they, in their devotion, do not, during Mass, and especially not during the Consecration, disrupt it with a ungodly blasphemous act of impiety. I find such a demonstration, to be an act that has been specifically, not only orchestrated, but motivated and controlled by Satan himself, and under no circumstance should such a profane act of irreverence be tolerated.
Mr. Slavek, your words, in response to John’s question on January 27, 2012 were,
“With all that having been said, I’d like to add that in my college years I frequented charismatic celebrations, both at Mass and as separate services. I was quite fond of the prayer meetings where members often found themselves with the gift of speaking in tongues; however there never was someone present with the gift of interpretation so I’ll never know if the gift was genuine and if it was, what they were saying.”
You also said, “Regarding the celebrations of Liturgy where charismatic gifts were encouraged (such as praise and worship): well personally I found it distracting when used at Mass.
Charismatic prayer is a FORM of prayer, as is liturgical prayer, private prayer, devotional prayer, contemplative prayer, etc… of all these forms of prayer, liturgical prayer is the highest, and just as you would not insert a another form of prayer into the liturgy for example devotional prayer such as the Rosary into the Mass, in my opinion you would not insert charismatic prayer into the Liturgy.”
Mr. Slavek, Thank you for a most concise answer to the question that I’m sure many Charismatic and non-Charismatic people were pondering within their hearts. This Charismatic Renewal group, as it continues to grow, could, in fact, be the shot in the arm that the Church needs. However, as with all things, there is always the chance that one can be mislead. For this, we must be steadfast and pray constantly.
Our prayers should be constant, and should always ask the Holy Spirit for the His gift, the gift of the “Discernment of Spirits”. Without the ability to discern which spirit is attempting to lead us, we may find that we can easily be misled by Satan who has the power to disguise himself, even as an angel of light. –John R

Thank you for your comments. I agree with them all, which is why I was very careful not to say that the college kids actually HAD the gifts of tongues, but rather that they found themselves with them. After reflecting on this subject a little more I think that I should have used language that was even less strong that that since I’m sure that they meant to say that they were PRAYING in “tongues” (to God) rather than SPEAKING in tongues… a gift from the Holy Spirit.

If that is true, then I wonder if technically they should be calling themselves charismatic. –Jacob Slavek

 

On the following pages, Q&As from the saint-mike.net Faith and Spirituality forum:

Praying/speaking in tongues

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=138

September 2, 2004

Check this link out. It is at Biblical Evidence for Catholicism the article is as follows, (Different Kinds of Tongues A Biblical and Linguistic Defense). –Susie

 

 

 

Dave Armstrong is a good apologist for the Faith. He has many very good articles. This article on Tongues is not one of his best, but that aside, I agree with much of what he says in the article.

In the article Dave proposes that Biblical Evidence shows that there is such a thing as a “private prayer language”. I am not convinced of that and Dave “proofs” of this are equally unconvincing.

I do not, however, make a big deal about this; it doesn’t really matter whether there exists “private prayer language”. This is because of the following facts:

1) The Charism Gifts by definition of St. Paul must build-up the Church. Private tongues builds up the person and thus if private prayer language does exist it is not one of the charism gifts and is not to be publicly practiced.

2) Since “tongues” is the easiest of all phenomena for Satan to counterfeit, anyone who speaks any kind of tongues needs to have those tongue testing to be sure they come from God.

3) The practice of tongues whenever in a group are to be done in an orderly manner, one-at-a-time, and only 2-3 offering the tongues during that meeting, again according to St. Paul.

4) The practice of tongues, unless one is by themselves, is to be interpreted so all can understand otherwise the person is not to speak in tongues according to St. Paul.

5) Tongues is the LEAST of all gifts and charisms, thus the over-interest and even ambition to speak in tongues is improper. St. Paul says we are to seek the better gifts. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=140

September 3, 2004

After reading the question from Susie and your discussion of he same, I would like to add a few thoughts from the sermon preached at Pentecost by one of the excellent priests I mentioned recently in another question.
The sermon in question centred on the account of Pentecost from Acts 2, and among other things addressed what the gift of tongues is and what it isn’t.
When the Apostles speak in tongues in Acts 2:5-13, what they are actually doing is finding a way to communicate the message of the Good News to people of all races and nationalities (something which is definitely a charismatic gift as it helps to build up the Church by spreading her message and by expressing her catholicity). The so-called “tongues” often claimed by pentecostals and “charismatics” are not intelligible by others and their public use benefits no-one; such use of “tongues” can only be counter-productive.
To add my own reflections, So-called “tongues” could be a direct attempt by the devil, or the person speaking, to obscure the message of God, or an example of the sin of sanctimony by trying to impress others with a bogus spiritual gift, or people simply being silly, and in doing so making a mockery of the sacred.
Whilst I accept the possibility of a private prayer language, it should be just that – private; after all, we do not even need to speak in order to pray – I know I often pray by thought or by offering something I do to God. –Steven

Very well expressed. I agree.

There was one case in which a person at a meeting stood up and spoke in tongues.

As it happened there was a priest at the meeting who recognized the language spoken by this woman; it was his native language. He approached the woman and asked if she knew what she had said “in tongues”. She did not know.

The priest said, “You were speaking my native language and what you said was cursing God.

Another priest at a charismatic meeting got up and spoke “in tongues”. Another person interpreted. After the woman interpreter finished the priest flashed his finger at her and loudly said, “You are a fraud. That is not what I said. What I said was the Our Father in Polish.”

I have been wanting to learn the Our Father in Polish to test the validity of “interpreters” because the Polish language, at least to the American ear, sounds a lot like the typical tongues speaking of many charismatics.

Bottom line: Everyone and their cat speak in tongues — the devil, demons, shamans, witch doctors, occultist, Satanist, possessed people (one of the official signs of possession), etc. Tongues is so easy to counterfeit. It can hardly be a productive sign of much of anything as a result.

ANYONE speaking in tongues needs to have them tested; and no, thinking that good fruits have come from speaking in tongues, or that great spiritual feelings and insights have come from speaking in tongues IS NOT ENOUGH. The biblical test of the spirit is needed. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Charismatic liturgical abuse

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=232

October 2, 2004

I need some authoritative Church pronouncements about those considered abuses of the liturgy of the mass such as praying in tongues during mass, clapping and swaying to the music, prophecy, laying on of hands, holding hands at the Our Father, etc. Also would contemporary praise and worship be considered the same as folk music as a rule if so I would also like help with sources concerning thus. -Susie

The issues of the abuses of liturgy, ANYTHING that is added to the Mass that is not specifically allowed by the Roman Missal of 2000, the General Instruction to the Roman Missale. Often the specific address of a particular abuse is dealt with in the Notitiae (Clarifications and Interpretations of the GIRM). Here are a couple examples:

 

 

 

The 1975 ban on liturgical dance is found in the document called “Religious Dance, An Expression of Spiritual Joy”, published by Rome in its journal Notitiae, and described itself as “AN AUTHORITATIVE POINT OF REFERENCE FOR EVERY DISCUSSION ON THE MATTER.” Most of the document praises religious dance, yet becomes quite stern when forbidding dance to take place during Mass.

Concerning holding hands the Notitiae states:

REPLY: The prolonged holding of hands is of itself a sign of communion rather than of peace. Further, it is a liturgical gesture introduced spontaneously but on personal initiative; it is not in the rubrics. Nor is there any clear explanation of why the sign of peace at the invitation: “Let us offer each other the sign of peace” should be supplanted in order to bring a different gesture with less meaning into another part of the Mass: the sign of peace is filled with meaning, graciousness, and Christian inspiration. Any substitution for it must be repudiated.

The Notitiae is binding legislation.

The contemporary “praise and worship” music is, by definition, folk music, not sacred music. Thus there is no need for the Church to speak specifically to it. Only Sacred music is allowed in the Mass. See the Vatican II document, Sacrosanctum Concilium (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy), #112-120.

Also the article What is Sacred Music? by Monsignor Richard J. Schuler –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Why the ambiguity in visions and prophecy?

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=475

February 14, 2005

I was wondering why, when a person is given a prophetic vision, whether it is someone from the Bible, or from modern times, why the vision is cryptic and ambiguous? Why is not the person given a clear vision of what is going to happen. For example, I was reading about one of the visions that one of the visionaries had from Fatima which showed the Bishop in a white robe being shot at with arrows and bullets by soldiers. The visionary is asked who she “believes” the image of the Bishop represents in the vision. Thus, we see the opening for interpretation, rather than a clear and unquestionable explanation of who was in the vision. I hope this makes sense. –Omar

I really do not know specifically, but suspect one reason has something to do with God always keeping the options open for us. If He gave us the actual name of the Pope that was to be shot, for example, then that could become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Someone could read the prophecy and make sure it comes true.

Not knowing who the Pope to be shot is prevents that, and also allows for future events to change the course of the prophecy. Most of these prophecies are provisional. That is, “D” will come true, if A, B, C happens, but if we work to prevent A, B, C, then D may not come true. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Charismatic parish

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=514

April 2, 2007

The local church I have attended for many years is becoming charismatic. I find some of the practices bizarre and disturbing. I want to continue being a parishioner at this church for many reasons. What is the churches position on the following practices?
Speaking in tongues- the priest and the entire prayer group participates.
Falling down (being slain) on the altar after being prayed over- this happens to the great majority of people as well.
Prophesizing, as if the spirit of God has spoken directly through the person to the group- several people claim to have this gift. –Francis

Several Popes and many bishops have praised the Charismatic Renewal, BUT they warn against certain abuses and irregular practices. In essence, the Charismatic Renewal can be a great asset to the Church IF they rid themselves of Pentecostalisms.

I have written a major essay that was inserted into our Rule of St. Michael that deals with this subject. The essay is extensively footnoted. Be sure to read the footnotes. The essay is called, Charism Gifts Building up the Church. The essay is a complete analysis of the whole issue. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

The gift of Tongues

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=802

October 30, 2007

I’ve read some of your previous posts on this issue and how some people’s “gift” of tongues is actually NOT from God and we shouldn’t use it because we might be cursing God instead of praising.
Other than finding someone who has the gift of interpretation… I got this gift during Eucharistic Adoration while I was praising God my tongue was “going crazy”. I doubt the devil would give me this gift in front of Jesus in the Eucharist or that God would allow me to get it like that.
However, I still want to be sure. I believe the gift is from God, but if it’s not – I would like to find out how. I use the gift for personal prayer seeing as the ‘inner most being of your soul prays with you’ as you pray in tongues. -John

I praise God that you desire to make sure about your experiences. That is a very positive sign.

As for where you first received your tongues, it is possible for the devil, or for your own psychology, to give you the tongues experiences no matter where you are at — even in Adoration.

 

 

Also of note is that the idea that one needs to pray in tongues as the “inner most being of our soul prays with you as you pray in tongues” is an idea that comes from Protestant Pentecostals and their very flawed theology about the Spiritual Gifts.

One can pray from their inner most being without ever speaking in tongues. It is called contemplation which is so far superior to tongues that tongues is like a cold two-day old MacDonald’s hamburger compared to the best and freshest and juiciest prime rib one can eat, and more.

The mystics show us contemplation, not tongues, as the way to prayer that is deep and penetrating into the soul and in intimacy with God.

Tongues is the LEAST of all gifts according to St. Paul. Tongues is also so easily counterfeited by the devil that anyone who speaks in tongues needs to be really sure of their origin. By the way, one of the symptoms of possession listed in the Rite of Exorcism is speaking in tongues. Witches, shamans, satanists all speak in tongues.

So how can we know the difference between that which is given by God, that which is a manifestation of psychology, and that which is given by the devil?

Well, there is no sure-fire way. Perhaps that is why St. Paul said he would rather speak in a tongue he can understand than one where he can’t.

I can give you a test for tongues, but this test is not 100% sure since it can be contaminated by several things, including…

-conscious or unconscious Resistance on the part of the tongues speaker,

-a person who may not wish to give up the tongues or is reluctant to accept the test results and thereby is not honest with the test,

-psychological issues with the tongues-speaker like delusion or pride, and finally,

-the tenacity of the devil to manipulate the person (the devil can appear as an angel of light).

The principles we see in the Bible include the advice given by St. Paul to “test everything” (1 Thess 5:21): “Put everything to the test. Accept what is good”.

The Apostle John picks up on this advice and applies it to spirits in 1 John 4:1-3:

1 Beloved, stop believing [or, trusting] every spirit, but be testing the spirits [to see] if they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

St. John then tells us how to test the spirits:

2 By this is known the Spirit of God: every spirit which confesses Jesus Christ [as] having come in [the] flesh is of God.

3 And every spirit which does not confess Jesus Christ [as] having come in the flesh is not from God…

From this we can formulate a procedure to test the spirit behind tongues.

The procedure is for the tongue-speaker to be instructed to begin speaking in tongues with an acute awareness of the “spirit” behind the tongues.

The third party then prays a prayer such as this:

In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen. Father, in heaven, we come to you asking for a authentication of the gift of tongues given to ___________. We ask that the spirit behind the tongues be forced to be truthful to our inquiry that the real source of these tongues be revealed. We also ask, Father, that no one here be harmed by this inquiry. Amen.

Then the third party addresses the “spirit” behind the tongues:

In the name of Jesus Christ, we now ask of the spirit behind the tongues speaking through __________ under command of God to tell the truth: Has Jesus Christ, Son of the Most High God, second Person of the Holy Trinity, come in the flesh? {Pause} Are these tongues a gift from the Holy Spirit? By the Blood of Jesus Christ and by the command of the Holy Spirit you must tell the truth. {Pause} (After the answer comes, say…) Will that answer stand before the Throne of the most Holy God as truth? {Pause}

The tongue-speaker needs to be attentive to the inner voice. If there is ANY hesitation in answering either of these questions, then the “tongues” are probably not genuine.

Keep in mind, this is not foolproof. It depends upon the tongues-speakers sensitivity to the inner voice (the spirit of the tongues), their honesty, and their willingness to give up tongues should the test results be negative.

The lack of willingness to give up tongues is a MAJOR clue that the tongues are 1) either not from God; or 2) the person’s spiritual maturity is very low; or 3) both.

All of us should have total willingness to give up any gift, even gifts that are genuinely from God, if God asks that of us, or if it is prudent to do so. Lack of willingness is Pride.  These “gifts” are on loan to us and thus we are to be stewards, not owners, of those gifts. All gifts are subject to the largess of God.

Some people presume their tongues are okay because they experience positive fruit. This positive “fruit”, however, is NOT a guarantee that a particular experience is from God.

We misinterpret the comments of Jesus of “you shall know them by their fruits.” A good fruit, as a matter of fact, can come from a bad tree. Jesus was stating an overall principle, not a scientific test.

There are many people, for example, who claim positive fruit from the Bayside Visions. Problem is that Bayside has been officially condemned by the Church as not coming from God. Point is that it is possible to have good fruit come from a bad source.

As for the advice you have been given, if your personal gift of tongues (not to be confused with the Charism Gift of Tongues that are one of the Charism Gifts of the Spirit) is genuine then there is nothing wrong with praying in tongues daily.

 

 

I personally do not understand why one needs to do that. St. Paul makes it clear that speaking in a language one knows is better because we know what we are saying (and it absolutely avoids the problem of speaking curses without knowing it).

The alleged reasons for tongues given by the Charismatic Renewal are usually borrowed from the Pentecostal Charismatics (whose theology and praxiology are inconsistent with Catholicism). Those reasons, such as the one about “praying in the spirit”, as referenced in the Bible, is not exclusive to “tongues” although Charismatics seem to always interpret it that way. The one about not knowing what to pray based upon Romans 8:26 is just plain wrong and based on a misinterpretation of Romans 8:26 which specifically says that this phenomenon is “without words”. That means that this verse cannot be talking about tongues since tongues, by definition, involves words.  See the long essay, Charism Gifts to Build Up the Church, for a full-length discussion of the Charismatic Gifts. 

Now to the personal edification part. The Gift of Tongues as experienced on Pentecost was a preaching gift used to evangelize — preach the Gospel to everyone present regardless of language. This would be a handy gift on the Mission field. The personal gift of tongues that people use in their personal prayers, however, has no relationship with this.

The Charism Gift of Tongues is a public ministry, that is, for the good of the Church, to build-up the Church in a public way. A personal gift of tongues may build-up the person and thus the person contributes to the Church, but this is a private edification with public effects, not a public ministry.

Only those tongues that qualify as a public edification of the Church and her people can be called the Charism Gift of Tongues.

Some Charismatics have suggested that most active Catholic laity are Charismatic and trace their love of the Church to the speaking of tongues. This is simply not true — not even close to being true.

Most active and devout Catholics are NOT involved in the Charismatic Renewal and the majority of active and devout Catholics do NOT speak in tongues. There is even a significant number of people active in the Charismatic Renewal who do not speak in tongues.

Tongues are unimportant and the least of all gifts according to St. Paul. The emphasis of “tongues” is improper and unbiblical. Catholics who emphasize tongues need to stop borrowing from a Protestant Pentecostal mindset and develop a thoroughly Catholic perspective on this.

As a final note on tongues, we must remember that “tongues” is the easiest of all phenomena to be counterfeited by the devil. In fact, speaking in tongues is one of the official symptoms of demonic possession according to the Church’s Rite of Exorcism. This does not mean that tongues speakers are possessed. What it means and shows is that tongues can be used by the devil very easily.

Given the fact that tongues is not necessary for spiritual growth, not necessary to “pray in the spirit”, is the least of all gifts, and can be so easily counterfeited, I fail to understand why it is emphasized or sought-after at all.

I think humility will say, “Lord, I accept whatever gift you choose to give me” rather than “Lord, I want tongues”.

I realize that many do not ask, but find themselves speaking in tongues spontaneously. Be careful. The tongues may or not be from God.

By the way, I use to speak in tongues myself until one day I realized that my tongues were not from God. I renounced them and have not spoken in tongues since.

If one does have a genuine gift of tongues, then praise God, but be sure of your catechesis. The Charismatic Renewal, Life in the Spirit Seminars and the like give inaccurate information.

I was actually kicked out of a Life in the Spirit Seminar for daring to politely, and only because my small group asked me, began to point out some of these improper “Pentecostalisms” and providing Church documents and statements from Popes and Bishops to back it up (see Charism Gifts to Build up the Church). I praised the Charismatic Renewal overall, but asserted that it needed to be Catholic through and through.

I was not only asked to leave, but was insulted with petty accusations in the process. Where’s the Holy Spirit in that?

If you have a genuine gift, then use that gift to the glory of God. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

I do not agree with some things that Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM holds concerning the gifts of Prophecy and Tongues. But considering the widespread abuse of the charismatic gifts and the protestantization of the Catholic Renewal, it is good for Catholics to exercise caution and discernment –Michael

 

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=826

November 29, 2007

I have been investigating the gift of tongues and I came upon your web site. Can you answer some of the following questions?
1.) If the gift of tongues is so “unimportant” then why is it mentioned more than any other in the Acts of the Apostles? It seems that EVERY time a new group of believers is identified and prayed over, the gift of tongues is released.
2.) You claim that St. Paul admonishes us to speak in a language known by men, instead of tongues. Why then does he say, “Would that you ALL spoke in tongues?”
3.) Where in scripture or Tradition do you find a reference that the “Charism Gift of Tongues” is different than “praying in tongues” and only means praying in a language other than your own?
4.) Why does St. Paul say, “If I speak in the tongues of men and ‘angels’, but have not love, I am nothing”? Does that not imply that one can speak in human and angelic tongues?
5.) Why do you suggest to the poor young man who told you he received this gift while in Adoration, that he could be influenced by the devil? What would the devil accomplish by giving the gift of tongues? Can the devil manipulate our bodies to do what we do not want to?

 

If you are interested in doing further research on the charismatic aspect of our faith, please consider reading “Sober Intoxication of the Spirit” by Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa (available at Amazon.com), or the text of the letter from John Paul II to the Charismatic Renewal in, I believe, 1998. You can go to http://www.vatican.va and enter the site in English. A search box is at the top right corner, search for: “Speech of the Holy Father Pope John Paul II Meeting with Ecclesial Movements and New Communities.” (This document is the second result in the search results).
He states:
“Whenever the Spirit intervenes, he leaves people astonished. He brings about events of amazing newness; he radically changes persons and history. This was the unforgettable experience of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council during which, under the guidance of the same Spirit, the Church rediscovered the charismatic dimension as one of her constitutive elements: “It is not only through the sacraments and the ministrations of the Church that the Holy Spirit makes holy the people, leads them and enriches them with his virtues. Allotting his gifts according as he wills (cf. 1 Cor 12:11), he also distributes special graces among the faithful of every rank….He makes them fit and ready to undertake various tasks and offices for the renewal and building up of the Church” The institutional and charismatic aspects are co-essential as it were to the Church’s constitution. They contribute, although differently, to the life, renewal and sanctification of God’s People.” I am interested to read your comments. –Tom

I have written an extensive essay about the Charismatic experience that is part of the Rule of St. Michael.

I’ll refer you to that essay for our position on this phenomenon. You need to read that before asking any questions.

The essay is entitled, “All about Spiritual Gifts“. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=833

December 4, 2007

I believe that tongues is the most counterfeited gift. However, regarding the post about the man who got the gift during adoration… I doubt the devil could counterfeit that (Have you ever heard of such a case?)
If it is true, the opposite is also true – it’s like a Satan worshipper praying in tongues and actually praising God? It just doesn’t make sense otherwise they wouldn’t be doing it. –Dean

Yes, I know of cases where a person received a false “Tongue” while in the presence of the Holy Eucharist. Actually it happens frequently. The devil is not automatically barred from the Adoration Chapel or the Sanctuary. He can and does attack people while in Adoration, in Mass, or devotion. He can attack priests and extraordinary ministers while they carry the Eucharist on their person making their rounds to the sick and shut-ins. As God allows it, the devil is not barred from attacking anyone, anytime, and anywhere.

The opposite about tongues is NOT true, by the way. A diabolically received tongues cannot genuinely praise God. A person who received genuine tongues will lose that gift if he abandons the faith and becomes a Satanist. If a Satanist began to truly praise God in tongues this could only be in the context of a conversion. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=827

November 30, 2007

It was precisely due to reading your PDF file that I raised my questions on 11/29. Can you please address them? –Tom

With all due respect I do not think you have read very carefully the essay, “All about Spiritual Gifts“, nor for that matter, carefully read the Bible on this subject. If you had, most of your questions would already be answered.

The “All about Spiritual Gifts” essay is thoroughly footnoted and supported by comments and writings of Popes, bishops, Saints, and other authorities. The essay quotes Popes and bishops are the value of the Charismatic Renewal and criticisms. The essay is supportive of genuine Charismatic experience and warns against the Pentecostalisms that are not Catholic and which may have doctrinal problems to which Catholics should avoid. Any Catholic of good will who respects truth should be interested in avoiding such Pentecostalisms and doctrinal problems.

From my experience the only people who take issue with that essay are those who have such a emotional investment in the way they do things that they will not listen to reason. Many in the Charismatic Renewal suffer from this myopia.

Quoting from the essay, Pope Benedict XVI, as Cardinal Ratzinger has warned the Charismatic Renewal of this problem in his “Foreword” to Cardinal Suenens book, Renewal and the Powers of Darkness:

First he (Cardinal Suenens) raises the basic question which is decisive for the fruitful growth of the Renewal. What is the relation between personal experience and the common faith of the Church? Both factors are important: a dogmatic faith unsupported by personal experience remains empty; mere personal experience unrelated to the faith of the Church remains blind.

The isolation of experience constitutes a serious threat to true Christianity—a threat extending far beyond the Renewal movement. Even if this isolation has a “pneumatic” [spiritual] origin, it is the price that has to be paid for [it is the result that comes from] the empiricism [the notion that experience and the senses are the only, or the primary, source of knowledge] that dominates our time.

Such an isolation of experience is closely linked with the Fundamentalism that separates the Bible from the whole of salvation history and reduces it to an experience of self with no mediation whatsoever. It does justice neither to historical reality, nor to the breadth of the mystery of God. Here, too, the true answer lies in a comprehension of the Bible, in union with the whole Church, and not merely in an isolated historicist reading.

All this shows once again that charism and institution overlap, and that what matters is not the “we” of the group but the great “we” of the Church of all times, which alone can provide the adequate and necessary framework, enabling us both to “hold on to what is good” and to “discern spirits.”

 

 

The two principles of Catholic Worldview described here are 1) that reason must always lead the way and guide experience, feelings, and emotions; and 2) our experiences must be integrated in the whole Body of the Church and not isolated into individual groups or movements.

Colin B. Donovan, Vice President for Theology at EWTN and former professor at Aquinas College in Nashville, summarizes the Church’s position on the Renewal:

The Church clearly wishes to follow a middle course, between a rationalistic skepticism and a blind credulity in alleged working of the Holy Spirit. In the past the Church had condemned what it called Pentecostalism, understood as the total dependence, even theologically, on the presence and manifestation of the charisms. Such a dependence is blind, for it fails to allow itself to be guided by the full content of the faith and the judgement of the Church’s teaching authority. It is total when such “gifts” displace the means of grace in the life of the Christian, such as the sacraments. On the other hand, the Church cannot condemn charisms, since they are part of the patrimony of our apostolic faith. What we have seen in our time is the appearance of the Charismatic Renewal, an apparent outpouring of the extraordinary charisms. This doesn’t mean that one has to be charismatic, that charismatics are better Catholics, or that every alleged charism is authentic. Yet, as the Council noted, the Church must respect the workings of God, discerning the authentic from the inauthentic.

It is only those who place experience and subjective feelings above reason and respect for truth that seem to have problems with that essay. We need to assess the Charismatic Renewal, or any other movement in the Church, with reason, not with emotion and subjective experience.

I should add here before answering your questions, that I have taught seminars for thirty years on how to find one’s charismatic gifts. I am not an opponent to the Charismatic Renewal; I am rather, an opponent to the inauthentic and to the contamination of Protestant Pentecostal ideas, notions, definitions, and theology into the Catholic experience.

Now to your questions:

Q1: If the gift of tongues is so “unimportant” then why is it mentioned more than any other in the Acts of the Apostles? It seems that EVERY time a new group of believers is identified and prayed over, the gift of tongues is released.
A. As mentioned in the essay, tongues in this reference was a Sigil Gift that was meant to authenticate the presence of the Holy Spirit. In this case, in the Book of Acts, we are dealing with the Sacrament of Confirmation and NOT some extra-sacramental “baptism” of the Spirit. The reason the Pentecostals misinterpret this, and why they mistakenly call their experience “baptism in the Spirit” is because they do not recognize the Sacrament of Conformation and thus they misinterpret the passages in Acts to be something other than what we know is the Sacrament.

This Sigil gift was no longer needed after the first century as the Bible and the Church were the authenticators and not any Sigil gift. This is mentioned by the likes of Pope St. Gregory the Great and also the First Vatican Council. Thus, the speaking in tongues upon the laying on of hands in the Sacrament of Confirmation ceased after the first century.

Q2: You claim that St. Paul admonishes us to speak in a language known by men, instead of tongues. Why then does he say, “Would that you ALL spoke in tongues?”

A. I “claim”? My dear Tom, I claim nothing; I state what St. Paul states in the Bible. By the way, it is St. Paul who states that tongues is the least important of all gifts (in reference to the first question). Dear Sir, you need to read your Bible. St. Jerome said that “Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ.”

1 Corinthians 14 St. Paul gives instructions on the limitations of Tongues:

1 Make love your aim, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy. 2 For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit. 3 On the other hand, he who prophesies speaks to men for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation. 4 He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. 5 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.

6 Now, brethren, if I come to you speaking in tongues, how shall I benefit you unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or teaching? 7 If even lifeless instruments, such as the flute or the harp, do not give distinct notes, how will any one know what is played? 8 And if the bugle gives an indistinct sound, who will get ready for battle? 9 So with yourselves; if you in a tongue utter speech that is not intelligible, how will any one know what is said? For you will be speaking into the air. 10 There are doubtless many different languages in the world, and none is without meaning; 11 but if I do not know the meaning of the language, I shall be a foreigner to the speaker and the speaker a foreigner to me. 12 So with yourselves; since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church.

13 Therefore, he who speaks in a tongue should pray for the power to interpret. 14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays but my mind is unfruitful. 15 What am I to do? I will pray with the spirit and I will pray with the mind also; I will sing with the spirit and I will sing with the mind also. 16 Otherwise, if you bless with the spirit, how can any one in the position of an outsider say the “Amen” to your thanksgiving when he does not know what you are saying? 17 For you may give thanks well enough, but the other man is not edified. 18 I thank God that I speak in tongues more than you all; 19 nevertheless, in church I would rather speak five words with my mind, in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue.

St. Paul in 1 Cor 12:7 and Eph 4:11-13 affirms again that the charism Gifts are those which edify, uplift, and build-up of the Church and the Faithful.

The phrase “would that you all speak in tongues” must be taken in context and not like the Protestants interpret Scripture on face-value. St. Paul is using a language convention.

 

 

He is talking with people who are abusing tongues so he exaggerates in saying that would you all speak in tongues (which implies that not everyone does, by the way), but more important is prophesy, and more important is to speak with words that one understands, and more important is for others to understand.

I might use the same language convention technique in an argument and say something like, “If ALL of you were Catholics…” or “I want all of you to be Catholics, but….”

Such language conventions and techniques of rhetoric are common in the Bible, but people ignorant of proper Biblical exegesis never understand this.

Q3 Where in scripture or Tradition do you find a reference that the “Charism Gift of Tongues” is different than “praying in tongues” and only means praying in a language other than your own?

A.
The proper question is where do you find Scriptural support for a “private prayer language”? In the passage quoted above St. Paul refers to tongues in the context of “…many different languages in the world”, the tongues on the Day of Pentecost was human languages. The only reference to any other kind of tongue is the passage of “tongues of men and of angels”. Again St. Paul is not suggesting that anyone speaks in angelic languages. He is yet again using a language convention of exaggeration — “If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels and have not love” — he is saying you can speak in all sorts of tongues, even the tongues of angels, and it is useless without love.

One cannot base an entire theology based upon one verse, especially a verse where the OBVIOUS measure of St. Paul’s words is to exaggerate to make a point.

As to the difference between the “charism gift” and another kind of gift, that point is made in 1 Corinthians 12:7 and in Ephesians 4:11-13, and in the passage above: 

He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. 5 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.

Q4: Why does St. Paul say, “If I speak in the tongues of men and ‘angels’, but have not love, I am nothing”? Does that not imply that one can speak in human and angelic tongues?
A.
Sir, you need to stop thinking like a Protestant and start being Catholic. See the answer to Q3 for reference to this passage.

Q5: Why do you suggest to the poor young man who told you he received this gift while in Adoration, that he could be influenced by the devil? What would the devil accomplish by giving the gift of tongues? Can the devil manipulate our bodies to do what we do not want to?

A.
Because tongues is the most easily counterfeited phenomenon on the planet. Everyone speaks in tongues — shamans, satanists, witch doctors, new agers, and possessed people.

One of the symptoms of being possessed that is mentioned in the official Rite of Exorcism is speaking in tongues. This does not mean that all tongue-speakers are possessed; it only means that speaking in tongues is counterfeited by the devil EASILY.

This is not opinion, but fact.

In addition to diabolical tongues, tongues can be a psychological manifestation. This is also fact, not opinion.

There is also a legitimate tongues, but we must be very careful. There have been many cases of charismatics who think they have the gift of tongues only to find out their tongues is false. One priest at a charismatic meetings heard a women “praising God” in tongues. After the meeting he approached the woman and asked if she knew what she was saying. She said she was praising God. The priest told her that she was speaking his native language and that she was NOT praising God, but cursing God.

What was it that St. Paul said? I would rather speak five words with my mind, in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue.

If we speak in a language we understand there is 100% assurance that we will not curse God without knowing it. Speak in a tongue, you have no idea what you are saying.

The primary purpose of tongues — to authenticate the ministry and early Church — no longer is needed. Tongues without interpretation does not benefit the Church and thus is not a Charism gift and also runs the risk of not knowing what you are saying — like that woman who thought she was praising God when in fact she was cursing God.

“Praying in the Spirit” does not require tongues. The majority of the Saints prayed in the spirit in ways that FAR exceed any charismatic expression and did so without tongues.

The bottom line is much of this does not come from Catholic theology but from misinterpretations of Protestant Pentecostals.

Let is “fan into flame the gift that is within us”, but let is do it properly according to a Catholic understanding of the Bible and the Faith.Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM [Emphases theirs]

 

Charismatic Masses

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=945

March 21, 2008

I am a devout Catholic, and am also committed to the Charismatic Renewal. I often attend charismatic Masses where time is set aside (usually before the official ending of the Mass) for those of us who have a prophetic word for the rest of the assembly, to share that word.

 

I notice that St Paul, in the 12th chapter of his letter to the Corinthians, clearly states that such charismatic manifestations are indeed permissible (and even encouraged) provided they are exercised (1) decently and in order (2) for the upbuilding of the gathered community (3) are properly discerned. I know that charismatic Masses that observe these guidelines are very, very beautiful and are in no way disrespectful to liturgical practice.

In your opinion (which, by the way, I respect) do you feel comfortable about charismatic gifts being exercised during Mass, and secondly, do you think St Paul in 1 Corinthians 12 is addressing the exercise of charismatic gifts and manifestations in the context of a liturgical celebration? I look forward to hearing from you! -John

Well, I first must say that there is no such thing as a “charismatic” Mass. The Liturgy of the Holy Mass is regulated by the Holy See. It is a universal celebration in accord with the liturgical traditions of the particular Rite of the Church. There is no “charismatic” Rite.

While it is true that St. Paul gave regulations for the Charismatic expression in liturgy, liturgy is a discipline of the Church that can be changed anytime the Church in her wisdom decides.

Today, there is no provision for the Charismatic expression within the Liturgy of the Holy Mass. The Church has stated repeatedly that “no one, not even a priest, may change anything in the liturgy on his own authority.”

Thus, any Charismatic expression inserted into the Holy Mass is illegal and an abuse of the liturgy.

The Mass MUST be celebrated the way it is directed in the approved Sacramentary. No alterations, exclusions, or additions are permitted.

This is not an opinion, but liturgical law. Thus, personally, no matter how beautiful an innovation may be if it violates law I am uncomfortable with it and sorrowed by the lack of respect the priest exhibits toward the Holy Mass and the Church.

Brief announcements (if necessary) are permitted just before the Concluding Rite of the Mass, but not Charismatic expressions. Charismatic expressions need to be performed OUTSIDE of the Liturgy of the Mass. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Charismatic worship

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=1334

March 29, 2009

My wife and I belong to a charismatic parish. We attend daily Mass, as well as various other services (e.g., Advent and Lenten missions, prayer groups, etc.) that are offered as often as possible. I also act as an altar server at daily Mass. We are not outgoing people and find it very difficult to participate in much of the exuberant worship – hand waving, speaking in tongues, etc. – that takes place. We have, however, been “baptized in the spirit” and I know I found it to be a very moving experience. We love our parish and have many friends and great relationships with the priests assigned there. However, due to our more traditional, non-charismatic approach to worshiping God, we (maybe more I) feel somewhat left out. By not being able to fully embrace the charismatic approach to worshiping God, is our faith deficient in some way, or are we are not progressing in our faith as we should? –David

Your experience illustrates some of the primary problems of the Charismatic Renewal. A genuine expression of a non-essential form of faith or practice should not lead to anyone feeling left out or inadequate in faith. The Charismatic experience is a non-essential. For those who wish to participate, that is not a problem. But, others should not feel inadequate by it. The Charismatic Renewal is NOT to be a church within a church. Pope Benedict has specifically warned about this tendency of the Charismatic Renewal. There is but one Church and the liturgy is only as the Church directs it.

Secondly, you did not say whether or not the “hand waving, speaking in tongues” was during Mass. If this is being done during Mass, then that parish is breaking Church law. There is only one kind of Mass; there is no such thing as a Charismatic Mass. And that Mass must be performed as the Holy See says it is to be performed. At no time should tongues, congregational hand-holding, the orans posture (holding arms out palms open during the Our Father), folk songs (most “charismatic” songs are folk in style), or other liturgical irregularities or innovations be performed during Mass — ever.

Thirdly, is the issue of Tongues. Nearly all Charismatic groups practice tongues improperly.  At “Charismatic meetings” the common practice of everyone praying or singing in tongues violates the directive of St. Paul in the Bible.

Fourthly, the explicit or implicit pressure upon people to speak in tongues is patently improper. St. Paul says that tongues is the least of all gifts. While most Catholic Charismatics will give lip-service to the truth that God does not give the gift of tongues to everyone, there is almost always an implicit pressure to do so, as if tongues is an aid to increased faith. St. Paul suggests otherwise. And in fact the whole tongues issue was a major pain in the neck to the Pope and to St. Paul. As a result of the “charismatic” expression in Corinth, the Church there was divided and childish. St. Paul wrote two letters to the Church and Pope Clement wrote a letter to the Church in Corinth ordering them to shape up and fly right or be under the pain of sin.

I would advise that you read the article Charism Gifts Building up the Church. This essay details the pros and cons of the Charismatic renewal, including a detailed analysis of the contamination into the Renewal of “Pentecostalisms”.

If the Renewal avoids the Pentecostalisms, stays close to the Church, obeys liturgical laws, heeds the directives of St. Paul, does not develop into a church-within-the-Church in effect, and practices the gifts properly and with an accurate understanding of the gift that are given to build-up the Church, not oneself, then the Renewal can be beneficial and an asset to the Church.

Bottom line: Worship of God is to be uplifting. You should not feel inadequate in any way. If that is how you are feeling, then I would change parishes. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

“Baptism in the Holy Spirit”

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=1537

February 1, 2010

Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa in his article Baptism in the Holy Spirit says:

The Baptism in the Spirit is not a sacrament, but it is related to several sacraments. The Baptism in the Spirit makes real and in a way renews Christian initiation. At the beginning of the Church, Baptism was administered to adults who converted from paganism and who, made on the occasion of Baptism, an act of faith and a free and mature choice. Today it is substituted instead by intermediary parents or godparents. In this situation, rarely, or never, does the baptized person ever reach the stage of proclaiming in the Holy Spirit “Jesus is Lord”. And until one reaches this point, everything else in the Christian life remains out of focus and immature. Miracles no longer happen and we experience what Jesus did in Nazareth: “Jesus could not perform many miracles because of their lack of faith” (Mt.13.58).

The Baptism in the Spirit’s effectiveness in reactivating baptism consists in this: finally man contributes his part — namely, he makes a choice of faith, prepared in repentance, which allows the work of God to set itself free and to emanate all its strength. It is as if the plug is pulled and the light is switched on. The gift of God is finally “untied” and the Spirit is allowed to flow like a fragrance in the Christian life.

1) How does one receive this “Baptism in the Holy Spirit”?
2) Why is it that most Catholics (except for charismatics) are not aware of this “Baptism in the Holy Spirit” OR have not experienced it? -Leon

We are Baptized in the Holy Spirit in the Sacrament of Baptism and the Sacrament of Confirmation. There is no other “Baptism” in the Holy Spirit, properly so-called.

The suggestion that the Charismatic experience is needed to be a focused and mature Christian is arrogance and contrary to Church teaching. One can reach a point of saying “Jesus is Lord” and have a mature and spirit-filled Christian life without ever having any Charismatic experience.  One might note that most of the Saints never experienced a “Baptism in the Spirit” as practiced by the Charismatic Renewal.

The term “Baptism of the Holy Spirit” was invented by Protestant Pentecostals. The Pentecostals do not believe in the Sacrament of Confirmation and thus when they read the passages in the Book of Acts concerning this, they could only interpret it as some experience that is extra-sacramental that happens at some future date in life. This is false.

The passages in the book of Acts about laying on hands for the coming of the Holy Spirit is about the Sacrament of Confirmation. As mentioned above, we are baptized in the Holy Spirit at water baptism and at confirmation. The so-called “baptism of the Holy Spirit” in the Charismatic community is not a baptism at all technically; it is rather an experience where a person, perhaps for the first time, realizes the power of the Holy Spirit that is already within him. It is a “filling” not a “baptism” of the Holy Spirit.

I would suggest everyone read the essay Charism Gifts Building up the Church. This essay details the pros and cons of the Charismatic Renewal, and explains the “Pentecostalisms” that have contaminated the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. This essay quotes many experts, popes, and bishops. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=1546

February 4, 2010

I have read the essay, Charism Gifts Building up the Church.
Why is it that most Catholics do not realize the power of the Holy Spirit that is already within them, by virtue of Baptism and Confirmation? Is there such a thing as a “tied sacrament”?

Again in his article Baptism in the Holy Spirit Fr. Cantalamessa says:

Catholic theology recognizes the concept of a valid but “tied” sacrament. A sacrament is called tied if the fruit that should accompany it remains bound because of certain blocks that prevent its effectiveness. An extreme example of this is the Sacrament of Matrimony or Holy Orders received in the state of mortal sin. In such circumstances these sacraments cannot grant any grace to people until the obstacle of sin is removed through penance. Once this happens the sacrament is said to live again thanks to the indelible character and irrevocability of the gift of God: God remains faithful even if we are unfaithful because He cannot deny Himself (see Timothy 2:13). -Leon

Quoting from Ott’s Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, “The Sacraments of the New Covenant contain the grace which they signify, and bestow it on those who do not hinder it… The Sacraments work ex opere operator.” This is a De Fide dogma. This means that sacramental grace is not “conferred by reason of the subjective activity of the recipient”, rather that the “sacramental grace is caused by the validity of operated sacramental sign [the valid Sacrament itself]… the subjective disposition of the recipient is not the cause of grace.”

Ott continues, “The measure of the grace effected ex opere operato even depends on the grade of the subjective disposition…. ‘we receive grace according to the measure given by the Holy Spirit as He wills and according to each one’s own dispositions and co-operation'” (Paul III, Council of Trent).

I believe that “hinder it” refers to a person refusing the grace, not intending to receive the sacrament and its grace.

Thus, I would disagree with the Fr. Cantalamessa a little, if I understand him correctly. It seems to me from reading the dogma cited above, that the Sacrament is valid, thereby the grace is conferred upon the recipients regardless of their personal dispositions. It is not the disposition of the recipients that causes the grace, but the Sacrament itself.

With that said, the fruit of the Sacrament is certainly hindered and cannot be in full flower until the recipient is properly disposed. As St. Paul says (1 Thess 5:19) “Do not quench the Spirit” and (2 Tim 1:6) “Hence I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands.”

 

The “laying on hands” here is in conferring of Holy Orders upon St. Timothy (and also applies to Confirmation in which there is a laying on of hands). It is not referring to what Charismatics do.

While the phrase “tied sacrament” appears to be an invention of Fr. Cantalamessa, one can certainly quench (suppress) the grace given to them. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Mark 16:17-18

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=1634

May 5, 2010

My question regards the laity, charisms and the operation of the Holy Spirit. Why is it that the Church with the fullness of truth barely seems willing to acknowledge the gifts that are mentioned in Corinthians and almost seem reluctant to acknowledge that the laity, not just the ordained, has been given these as well? It seems to me and other Catholics I know that most priests disregard this scriptural truth and are almost neglectful of them. Does the hierarchy forbid it? I have heard JPII spoke in tongues from an early age and held other gifts. Hebrews says “… for those who come to him must believe that he is and is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him”. Charismatic Catholics seek Him in His power and are most times rewarded with His obvious presence.

My point? The Church with all her splendor appears ineffective to heal a sick and wounded world while numerous Protestant congregations display multiple acts of the Holy Spirit and thrive. What’s the deal please? I am a Catholic from birth active in my parish, CCD teacher and prayer warrior. –Desiree

The Popes and many Bishops are very supportive of the Charismatic Renewal, at least when they behave themselves. One of the reasons that some priests are not so positively disposed to the Charismatic Renewal is that the Renewal is often time devoid of the Holy Spirit with fruits of egotism, elitism, arrogance, errant theology, and a sense of a “church within the Church.”

When the Renewal begins to suggest that to have the fullness of the Holy Spirit one must be “charismatic” they cross the line. Most of the Saints were not charismatics in the sense that Charismatic Renewal defines itself. Few spoke in tongues. The Church encourages people to “fan into flame the gift within them”, the Church just doesn’t do it in Protestant Charismatic style.

I have a lot of experience with Protestant Charismatics when I was a Protestant. During that time I never once experienced, nor have I seen, read, or heard of any Protestant Charismatic groups who actually follow St. Paul’s directives on the subject. The Protestant Pentecostals are hardly a model to go by. The Pentecostal theology is actually materially heretical.

As a Catholic I have a lot experience with the Catholic Renewal. I have found a few, a minority, who has a proper attitude and belief about the charisms. In my experience, however, the majority of Catholic Charismatics act like Pentecostals and not Catholics.

I would suggest you read the thorough and extensive analysis of the Pros and Cons about the Catholic Renewal in the essay, Charism Gifts Building up the Church.

If the Renewal remains humble, stays close to the Church, and eradicate Pentecostalisms, then it can be an asset to the Church. But, the Renewal has never been and never will be the primary way people experience the fullness of the Holy Spirit and His gifts.

As for Mark 16:17-18 do not interpret that passage like a Protestant Pentecostal. The Navarre Bible Commentary explains the real interpretation:

In the early days of the Church, public miracles of this kind happened frequently. There are numerous historical of these events in the New Testament (cf., e.g., Acts 3:1-11; 28:3-6) and in other ancient Christian writings. It was fitting that this should be so, for it gave visible proof of the truth of Christianity. Miracles of this type still occur, but much more seldom; they are very exceptional. This, too, is fitting because, on the one hand, the truth of Christianity has been attested to enough; and, on the other, it leaves room for us to merit through faith. St. Jerome comments: “Miracles were necessary at the beginning to confirm people in the faith. But, once the faith of the Church is confirmed, miracles are not necessary” (Commentary in Marcum, in loc.). However, God still works miracles through saints in every generation, including our own. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Priest giving talks with the Blessed Sacrament exposed

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=1654

May 30, 2010

I tried to look up the rightness of a rather common practice, especially among charismatically-oriented groups in certain lands, of the priests giving talks with Eucharist exposed on the altar; I do not remember seeing this practice hardly at all here and thus the concern if this too is a practice that has crept in without much thought given to the aspect of reverence! I would appreciate if you could cite any guidelines on this from the Church.
Having seen how edifying it is to see the priest kneeling and praying in front of the Lord on the altar, incensing the altar etc. like we see on EWTN, it has been bothersome to sit and listen to at times even emotional yelling of some priests right next to the Eucharistic Lord ! –Philo

According to the Order for the Solemn Exposition of the Holy Eucharist, prayer, songs, readings, and time of silent prayer during Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament are permissible. A homily from the readings may be included, I think, during Exposition.

 

 

The purpose of Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament is to adore our Lord. To expose the Sacrament just for benediction, or for a meeting, mission, or other presentation is not proper. “Giving talks” is not a homily and thus is improper.

Proper decorum during the Exposition should be maintained at all times.

I am not surprised that Charismatic groups violate this decorum. These groups often seem to think they have rules to themselves apart of the rest of the Church. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Lay person leading prayer in church

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=1823

December 13, 2010

Our priest has been sick for a few weeks and unable to do daily mass. He always does Sunday Mass with great discomfort.

Today after the weekday communion service a man invited all to stay to pray for our priest, a few of us stayed. The man witnessed his healing came after a woman’s public confession, he than stated that our priest was sick because we where holding grudges against other people, at that time the man said “in Jesus’ name I command the spirit of unforgiveness to leave, he then went on saying something about a grudge that he had with our priest, at that time myself and all but 2 people got off our knees and left our church without saying a word to anyone.

I am bothered as this “prayer” group that commanded spirits was held in church and without our priest’s knowledge or permission. I want to pray for our priest however I believe that only a priest can command a spirit.

I have been troubled that I took part in this I am not a cradle Catholic and do not know is what I saw today in keeping with the teaching of the Catholic Church? Is this something that I should discuss with my priest? My priest is in need of prayers. He is suffering from the same illness that recently his sister died from and he is very sick , I do not want to burden him if not needed. -Andrea

It sounds to me that this “group” is a Charismatic group. The charismatics often overstep their bounds and approach things from a point-of-view that is more Pentecostal than Catholic. See the article, Charism Gifts Building up the Church, which details the pros and cons of the Charismatic Renewal.

For these people to say that the Priest is sick because of “their” unforgiveness is rather presumptuous to say the least. It is those who do not forgive who are more likely to get sick in spiritual, in emotions and mind, and, as recent scientific studies have shown, even in physical health.

As for commanding demons, laity may do that. Jesus called all people, clergy and laity, to pray against demons. The restriction upon laity given by the Church is that laity may not perform a Solemn Exorcism (the rite of exorcism), but they may pray Deliverance Prayers. In addition, in praying deliverance prayers the laity are not to engage in conversation with demons to ascertain information such as their names. Instead, the laity can refer to demons by their attributes, such as the “spirit of unforgiveness”, “spirit of bitterness”, “spirit of lust”, etc.

There was nothing wrong with man saying “in Jesus’ name I command the spirit of unforgiveness to leave”, but to suggest that the Priest is sick because of unforgiveness among the parishioners is a little much.

If the priest is very sick, I would not bother him at this time. If there is more of this suggestion that the priest is sick because of the sins of the parishioners, I would suggest talking to another priest about it. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Would criticism of the charismatic renewal constitute blasphemy of the Holy Spirit?

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=1986

August 27, 2011

I just wanted to know if it would be considered a blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, like in Mark 3:23-30, to say that someone receiving “baptism of the Holy Spirit” is faking it or it really isn’t the Holy Spirit. In this baptism I would include anything from tongues to laughing to acting like a drunken person. I just want to know in case I’m guilty of blaspheming the Spirit by saying it isn’t when it really is. –Christian

First of all, charismatics misuse the term “Baptism of the Holy Spirit”. The only “baptism” of the Holy Spirit we receive is in the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation. The verses the Pentecostals point to in the Book of Acts to justify their erroneous “Baptism in the Holy Spirit” doctrine actually refers to the Sacrament of Confirmation.

See the essay, Charism Gifts Building up the Church for the real scoop, pro and con, on the charismatic movement and the Pentecostal contaminations into the Catholic Charismatic Renewal.

As for the Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, or the Unforgivable Sin, all sin, that is all sin, may be forgiven except one — rejecting God’s grace and offer of salvation at the point of death. If one dies rejecting God that is Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. It cannot be forgiven because the person decided to reject God and then died unrepentant. There are no second chances after death. The state of one’s soul at death determines his eternal destiny.

All other sin, no matter how blasphemous, no matter how heinous, no matter how demonic can be forgiven if the person asks God to forgive him. God promises:

(1 John 1:9) “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” The sins you mentioned are totally forgivable. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Problems with the charismatic renewal

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=2011

October 4, 2011

 

 

I attended several charismatic prayer groups a few years ago and it really made me feel uncomfortable. They always referred that speaking in tongues was a sign you were baptised in the Holy Spirit. Driving home with people who stated they were going to leave the Catholic Church and join a Pentecostal church because after attending these prayer groups they were not having the same feelings at mass, I knew right then and there that the charismatic renewal was not from God. What can a regular Catholic do to help correct the errors? -Michael

We have a long essay that details the pros and cons of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. Much of the document is outlining Pentecostal errors.

The Catholic Charismatic Renewal can be an asset to the Church, but only if those in the Renewal remain very close to the Church, obedient to the Church, and rid themselves of Pentecostalisms.

Claiming that tongues is the sign of Baptism of the Holy Spirit is a direct rebellion against Church teaching. Catholics tempted to leave the Church because they do not “feel” in Mass what they feel in a Charismatic meeting are immature and risking their souls to hell if they leave the Church. The Mass is the worship of God, not a feeling frenzy.

The Church teaches that feelings are a great gift from God, but that feelings must always come under the guidance of reason. Placing feelings over reason is a form of idolatry. This is one of the most important mistakes Charismatics make — to view the world though subjective experience.  Our current Pope issued a warning to Charismatics about this. The Pope’s warning is quoted in the essay. What you can do personally is to distribute this document entitled, “Charism Gifts Building up the Church.” –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Problems with the charismatic renewal

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=2088

January 22, 2011

I recently started going to fellowships with a papal recognized singles ministry. I joined them in a 3-day retreat program. At the end of the second day, there was a small praise and prayer session. Afterwards the brothers and the sisters in the ministry separated for prayer and to be blessed with the Holy Spirit. During my experience I went into the room at the parish where I sat in a chair next to open scripture, candles, and rosaries.

The brothers in the ministry placed their hands on me and started to pray. During the prayer I had some weird feeling like something went into me and was pressing inside of me and traveling through my body. I couldn’t help but to laugh some, but I also was crying too. All of these emotions had happened at once simultaneously, depressive tears and joyful laughter. The only way I can explain it is if my body was a pressurized piece of pipe that had more fluid and higher pressure temporarily put through it. The one brother said I was to tense when they started praying and I needed to relax. I did not speak in tongues like some had witnessed in their own testimony experience at the retreat on previous occasions. What happened? -Maximus

I believe that one should be very careful about allowing people to lay hands on you, especially within the charismatic expression, as this is not always a prudent practice and can actually cause spiritual problems in some cases.

Your experience may be from God or may not be. It is hard for me to tell since I was not there and have not talked to you personally. But, it should be noted that just because you did not have an impulse to blasphemy does not mean that your experience was from the Holy Spirit. Contrary to popular opinion, the devil can grant you positive experiences when it suits his purpose to potentially lead someone off the road of the Christ-life. People normally, this in extremely subtle ways. Thus, the note of caution.

With that cautionary note made, what you have described and the effects of that experience sounds like it was probably genuine. If that is the case, then your experience was that of the healing effect of the Holy Spirit. We can praise God for that.

There are some people whom I personally know who had similar experiences. Because I know them personally I was in a better position to evaluate their experience when they asked me. I believed that their experiences were one of the healing power of the Holy Spirit.

As for the Charismatic Renewal, there are pros and cons to consider. There is a very extensive essay that I would advise you to read called, Charism Gifts Building up the Church. This document thoroughly examines what is good about the Renewal and details some of its problems. It includes quotes from popes and bishops, gives a chart of some thirty charismatic gifts that I have found in Scripture, and details some of what I call “Pentecostalisms” that often intrude and are improperly included in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal.

The biggest problem in the Charismatic Renewal is the practice of tongues. Tongues are the least of all the gifts according to St. Paul. I have heard charismatic leaders dangerously suggest that tongues provide the entryway to the rest of the gifts. I have no idea where they get that.

The Scripture certainly does not say that and I’m not aware of any Saint who suggests that. Where I have heard of that notion is in the occult and New Age. Tongues are not the entryway to the rest of the gifts. The Scripture is very clear that God gives one person this gift another person a different gift with no mention that tongues as of entryway. That concept is extremely dangerous.

In addition, for tongues to be a Charism gift it must build-up the Church, not merely the individual. The Pentecostal Gift that is the Tongues spoken by the Apostles on the Day of Pentecost has nothing whatsoever to do with any “personal” tongues. In fact, the experience on the Day of Pentecost was a gift of hearing, not speaking. St. Peter and the others came out from the Upper Room and began to preach and the people “heard” the preaching in their own language.

 

 

There is no real evidence in Scripture about any “personal” tongues. The verse or two that charismatics point to as evidence of a “personal” tongues are quite obvious misinterpretations of the passage. If such a phenomenon exists it does not quality as a Charism Gift that St. Paul talks about since the Charism Gifts of the Holy Spirit are always public gifts, not personal.

Another problem among many in the Charismatic renewal is a kind of arrogance and pride in their demeanor as if they have a personal and direct telephone line to God. The essay goes into the details of all this.

There is little doubt that the Charismatic Renewal can be a great asset to the Church if they remain loyal, obedient, and close to the Church not only in overall orthodoxy but also with the Catholic worldview. The Renewal also needs to rid itself of the Pentecostalisms that much of the Renewal seems to be contaminated with. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Charismatic gifts at Mass

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=2124

March 26, 2012

I’m writing in reply to a comment you made in Mr Jacob Slavek’s section of question and answers concerning charismatic gifts (specifically at Mass). There is a period towards the end of the Eucharistic celebration (after the Canon of the Mass and Holy Communion) where charismatic gifts legitimately can be exercised – directly before the final blessing (reserved also for announcements etc.). This does not contravene liturgical norms. The charismatic gifts exercised here are usually prophetic utterance, word of knowledge, and word of wisdom (as listed in 1 Corinthians 12), and if there is an utterance in tongues – it is always followed by an interpretation. Charismatic Masses of this kind are usually lengthy (to allow time for sharing of the charismatic gifts) so that these gifts do not intrude or interrupt the main part of the Mass (viz. the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist). The scenario I am describing has received episcopal approval where I live.
Secondly, you seem to define the gift of prophecy to preaching/teaching during the homily. I interpret the gift of prophecy in a much wider sense – an inspired word directly from the Holy Spirit giving comfort, encouragement, and exhortation (1 Cor. 14:3). What you seem to define as prophecy (during the Liturgy of the Word) would be more akin to the “gift of teaching/preaching”. Your thoughts on this would be much appreciated. -John

I disagree. I see no provision in Liturgical Law that allows charismatic gifts other than prophecy (which is primary preaching) by the priest or deacon during the homily. In order to be allowed, there must be a specific mention of it in Liturgical Law. I think your bishop has overreached.

The presence of the Charismatic expressions is contrary, I believe, to the purpose of Mass. In fact, there is no such thing as a Charismatic MassThere are only two Masses authorized in the Roman Rite: The Roman Missal of 2000, and the Roman Missal of 1962. Anything else is a violation of Liturgical Law, both Missals must be said precisely has the Holy See requires. As Vatican II affirmed, “No one, not even a priest, may change anything in the Missal on his own authority.” Without a statement from the Holy See on this innovation, I will have to side with the published Missal, which gives no provision for such things:

The General Instructions on the Roman Missal states:

90. The concluding rites consist of

a. Brief announcements, if they are necessary; 

b. The priest’s greeting and blessing, which on certain days and occasions is enriched and expressed in the prayer over the People or another more solemn formula; 

c. The dismissal of the people by the deacon or the priest, so that each may go out to do good works, praising and blessing God; 

d. The kissing of the altar by the priest and the deacon, followed by a profound bow to the altar by the priest, the deacon, and the other ministers

There is not even a hint that allows anything else than what is specifically stated during the closing rites.

In addition, I find that allowing the charismatic expression during Mass to be profoundly rude and insensitive as not everyone present may be interested in charismatic expression. 

The definitions you appear to be using are borrowed from the Pentecostals. We need to avoid interpreting the charismatic experience the way that Pentecostals do. They are very close to being 100% wrong. I recommend reading the lengthy treatment, including the Pentecostalism that infects the Catholic Renewal, on this subject entitled, Charism Gift Building up the Church. Be sure to also read the footnotes as they contain extensive quotations and information. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=2127

March 29, 2012

I agree with you 100%.

I used to belong to a Charismatic Prayer group many years back. There would at times be Masses in different churches and were called “Charismatic Mass”. One time after communion there were so call “prophecies”, “words of knowledge”, “tongues and interpretations” etc., just at the point that John suggest this could be done. The problem was that it got carried away. People started babbling and then another would get up and interpret that “tongue” as word coming from the Virgin Mary.

During those days there was a planned protest before a Planned Parenthood “killing” site. Some “tongues” were interpreted something like “go out and stand before these sites to protest.” Others were the same. Then one young girl got up and claimed a word from the “Virgin Mary” and it was completely contradictory to what was supposedly suggested just a few minutes earlier by our Mother and said not to go there at all because we must not start confrontations, or something like that; just pray, pray, pray.

 

 

This sort of thing is what started turning me against some of the prayer meetings where the interpreter of tongues seemed to be “interpreting” his/her own opinion. Sometimes there were contradictory interpretations and others that made no sense at all. At times two or three would get up to interpret that “utterance” and they would all be completely different. Or they would be interpreting at the same time. The thing is that this would go on with several people getting up which, to point out on 1 Cor 14, only two or three at the most should do the interpreting. But no; everybody with that gift wanted to do the interpreting.
Imagine in a church where the attendance is over one thousand, and people all over the place are getting up to give us prophecies, words of knowledge, etc. It would be simply chaotic. Oh, and of course 1 Cor 14 also says “…God is not a God of disorder but of peace.”
And you are correct; they were TOO Pentecostal with “dancing in the spirit” right after communion, people being “slain in the spirit” all over the place. Sorry but that was not for me any longer.

–Karl

Thanks for sharing your experience.

People need to understand that tongues is the easiest “gift” to counterfeit. Satanists, shamans, occultist, and many others speak in tongues. Speaking in tongues is also an official symptom of possession mentioned in the Rite of Exorcism.

In the article, Charism Gift Building up the Church, is found these two stories in footnote 69:

There are two accounts from priests that illustrate the need for discernment and testing. The first is an experience of Father Anthony, a Carmelite priest who attended a charismatic meeting. At the meeting, one or two people stood up and spoke in “tongues” while another interpreted. Father Anthony then stood up and spoke in tongues. The “interpreter” interpreted Father Anthony’s tongues. At this point father Anthony knew that the interpreter had a false gift. He stood up and informed her that her gift was false, that her interpretation was in error. In fact, Father Anthony has recited the Lord’s Prayer in the Polish language.  

The experience of another priest is chilling. The Father was at a charismatic meeting where a woman was praising God in Tongues. After the meeting, the Father approached the woman. He asked her if she knew what she was saying when she was speaking in tongues. She replied that she was praising Jesus. The Father informed her that she happened to be speaking his native language and that she was not praising God, but was cursing God. These two true stories should give anyone who speaks in tongues great pause no matter how wonderful they think their tongues speaking has been for them. We can never underestimate the power of self delusion, or the power of the evil one to fool us.

If the Charismatic Renewal is to benefit the Church, which it has the potential to do, the Renewal must rid itself of these Pentecostalisms and their errant views that Tongues is a gateway to the other gifts and is otherwise important, and also the mediumistic behavior of other gifts.

The Church has instructed the Renewal to not teach that tongues are required. Our current Pope has warned the Renewal about Sensualism. The Renewal parrots those teachings in obedience when they write or speak, but in practice, it is another matter. This is a case of paying lip-service to Church authorities, while actually violating the spirit of the instruction through subtlety and by the modeling of behavior that flavors Pentecostalism. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=2133

April 4, 2012

Further to Karl’s comment on 28 March – I totally agree and wholeheartedly affirm what he has said. There is nothing worse than a meeting (be it a prayer group or elsewhere) where there is confusion and disorder regarding the charismatic gifts and their exercise. And I agree with you, Brother Ignatius, that the charismatic gifts must be exercised where there is discernment and supervision.
What I am saying, though, is that all Catholic charismatic gatherings I’ve attended (either in the context of Mass or prayer group) have been conducted beautifully – in decency and in good order. The episcopal supervision has ensured there are absolutely no liturgical abuses or ‘pentecostalisms’. Bearing in mind that historically, Church gatherings (e.g. the Eucharist, Agape) often lasted for extended periods (several hours) and allowed for charismatic expression after the main part of the liturgy was finished – charismatic gifts were never prohibited, so long as they were exercised in good order and followed the directions laid down in 1 Corinthians 12-14. My point is this – while I agree one must definitely avoid ‘pentecostalisms’ and liturgical abuse, one must also avoid going to the other extreme and “throwing the baby out with the bathwater”. For this reason, I still maintain there is definitely room for charismatic expression directly before the final blessing at Mass as there is thus no interference with the liturgy of the Word/liturgy of the Eucharist. Fr Mitch Pacwa (EWTN) supports this view. And so, I rest my case, and say there is no contravention of any directives – provided the guidelines I’ve outlined are followed.
These are my views and I respectfully submit them for consideration. I am very orthodox and traditional – as well as charismatic in my spirituality. One can be traditional and charismatic – the Church for many centuries was both. It’s a shame that these days, one equates ‘charismatic’ spirituality with lunacy – although unfortunately, it’s understandable because the ‘lunatic fringe’ (which I abhor) brings the Charismatic Renewal into disrepute. –John

The issue that one cannot say that charismatic expressions or any other expressions is allowed because there is no specific prohibition to them. Doing jumping jacks is not specifically mentioned in liturgical law either. Would it be okay to do jumping jacks during communion? No.

Liturgical laws allows only what it allows. When there are options for things, the GIRM specifically mentions those options. The Holy See has repeatedly affirmed that innovations and practices cannot be added to the Liturgy without Papal permission. These innovations cannot be “just included.”

 

 

 

As for history, I would be interested in historical evidence that charismatic expression were ever performed during Mass beyond the first century. The Didache does not mention this. However, what was done historically has no bearing on this. It is the current Magisterium that governs what is or is not allowed in Liturgy.

As for Pentecostalisms, part of the Pentecostal contamination is in how the various Gifts are defined. The Catholic Renewal typically borrows the definitions from the Pentecostals, especially for the definitions of Word of Knowledge, Word of Wisdom, Prophecy, and Tongues.

Tongues is never permitted unless there is an interpreter. There is absolute no Biblical or patristic evidence of the so-called “private” tongues. Even if such a thing exists, it is private and not for the public assembly.

This issue also has nothing to do with being traditional and charismatic. There is a time and place for everything. Mass is not the time for this that I can see.

There is no provision in Liturgical Law that I can find that allows for the expression of Charismatic Gifts. Even if your bishop approved of this, does not make it automatically ok. Some Bishops in Australia and in the United States have had a hard time dealing with the concept of orthodoxy. There are many bishops who overstep their authority on liturgical issues and other matters. We have seen that many times here is the U.S.

Perhaps a letter to the Holy See is needed to have a definitive answer. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Charismatic renewal comes to the parish

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=2189

July 24, 2012

My children are now teenagers and have converted to the faith 4 years ago. My oldest has joined the youth group at our church. There have been a lot of things taught that are not 100% correct by teachers that may not fully understand the faith themselves, but I have a very strong relationship with my children and they usually ask me whenever they hear something that doesn’t sound right and then I can clarify or I ask you or look up the answers in the catechism.

Now my daughter has been invited to a charismatic retreat in our church. I have in the past touched upon the charismatic movement to my children, but since I have no interest in it I didn’t think I would need to worry about this. I have not studied the issue very much. All I know is the little I’ve heard from others did not bode well with me. Well, she has been asked over and over by very eager friends to come to this event. Our priest is supporting the retreat and will even be assisting. My daughter showed me some pictures from Facebook that her friend posted on the retreat from last year. Our church has the tabernacle in the sanctuary (the only church in our area that has placed the tabernacle in a place of prominence). The pictures show these events taking place in the sanctuary, tissues being waved in the air, people huddled in circles praying together, hugging, crying, one picture showed what looked liked they were marching around the sanctuary, people putting their hands over others like they were praying over them.

Anyway, my daughter told me that she doesn’t want to go. She may visit one day, but she said she would be afraid to go. She only believes a priest has the gift to pray over someone and she hasn’t seen our priest do it so she’s not interested in a stranger doing it. I just want to make sure that I am being prudent in warning her against the charismatic movement.

I’m confused, because our own priest does not like it when people hold hands during the “Lord’s Prayer” which I fully support my priest, yet he would allow these behaviours in the sanctuary.

Her friends explained that the Holy Spirit works “more” in this type of movement. I told her that the only place that the Holy Spirit can work any more is when we are at Mass witnessing the miracle of the Holy Eucharist.

Please let me know if I am guiding her correctly. She is not pushing the issue and she has stated that she is not interested in attending, but I want to make sure that I am correct in guiding her away from this. -Cecilia

The Charismatic Renewal can be a great gift to the Church, and a benefit to the people within it, if and only if:

– the Renewal remains close to the Church,

– follows all Church teachings and regulations,

– follows a Catholic worldview and not a Pentecostal worldview,

– purges from the itself all Pentecostalisms, and

– mortifies its pride and arrogance.

It is not uncommon to hear Charismatics refer to the Renewal as “better”, “the way to get closer to God”, or where the “Holy Spirit works more”. These are egotistical, arrogant, and self-righteous remarks. The Holy Spirit is impeded in the face of such arrogance. One can be just as close to God, just as filled with the Holy Spirit, and pray in the spirit (which does not mean tongues) without every going into the Charismatic Renewal or even attending one of their meetings or seminars.

You know, if the Renewal is so necessary, why do we not read about the Saints involved in this way of thinking, praying, and acting? I am not aware at the moment of any Saint outside of the First Century praying in tongues (the least of the gifts and the one most easily counterfeited by the devil, and officially, from the Rite of Exorcism, can be a sign of possession in some instances).

I think that the Holy Spirit may be speaking to your daughter. You and your daughter should listen.

By the way, prancing around the Sanctuary is totally improper. No one except a bishop, priest, deacon, installed acolyte, or other person deputed to be there should ever be in the Sanctuary area.

As for laying on of hands, laity can do that but only if they do it in such a way, and for such a purpose, that does not resemble the actions of a priest. […]

 

 

 

As for the Charismatic Renewal overall, I have written an extensive thesis on this subject that details the pros and cons, opinions from bishops and Popes, a list of legitimate gifts and their definitions, and a long list of Pentecostalism that should be avoided by the Renewal: Charism Gifts Building up the Church.

There are no Protestant Charismatic groups that I have ever seen who practice the Charismatic expression properly. There a few Catholic groups and people who have their heads on straight, but only a few. I agree with a bishop I quoted in the above article that the problems are not with the Renewal itself, but with the individual leaders of the Renewal. I would agree with that. One can have completely different experiences from one group to another. But, “buyer beware” is my advice.

I would support your daughter’s desire to not go to this retreat. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Charismatic gifts

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=2265
EXTRACT

November 4, 2012

Out of all the reported supernatural events that people experience: i.e. […], people bestowed with the gift of healing or other gifts of the Holy Spirit, […], etc, how many would you say are eventually deemed authentic by the Church? If I remember correctly, most reported supernatural phenomenon, (roughly 80-90 percent) is eventually considered either a hoax, or self-delusion. This is actually data I need for an editorial I plan on putting together for a local community paper. If there isn’t an official number provided by the church, would you be willing to give me a guess that either you or others in the field may have as to whether it’s a majority or minority of cases that are authentic in nature? -Omar

Every baptized person has the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit, without which it is not possible to live the Christian life. These gifts are listed in Isaiah 11:2,

1) Wisdom
2) Understanding
3) Counsel
4) Fortitude
5) Knowledge
6) Piety
7) Fear of the Lord (reverence).


In addition, each baptized Christian has been given at least one Charism as explained by St. Paul. While the Seven Gift of the Spirit assist us in our Christian life, the Charism Gifts our not for our personal benefit, but are given to us to build up the Church. I have identified 30 such gifts in Scripture.

See Charism Gifts Building up the Church for details on these gifts and an evaluation of the Charismatic Renewal, Pro and Con.

The Church does not make an evaluation of Charism gifts, as such. The local pastor or spiritual director may assist a person discerning a Charism gift. Anyone who believes they have the gift of speaking or interpreting tongues, or healing, miracles, exorcism, or other gifts of a more miraculous nature, must have a spiritual director, though everyone should have a spiritual director. If someone is using a Charism Gift, such as Healing, Miracles, and such, in a very public way, the Bishop may then investigate, but most people express their gifts quietly in the course of the doing the apostolate and/or volunteering for various tasks in their parishes. 

It is critically important that the gifts be properly defined, and for us to not use the definitions that come from the Pentecostals. For example, the Gift of Prophecy is a gift of preaching, not fore-telling the future or revealing divine insight as if one has a phone call from God (this goes also for the gifts of Word of knowledge and Word of Wisdom. These are not phone calls from God as Pentecostals tend to imply). Charismatic expressions should not be Catholic versions of the Pentecostals. This is the major mistake made by the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. The article linked above gives all the particulars.

 

On the following pages, Q&As from the saint-mike.net Spiritual Warfare forum

The gift of tongues

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=118

September 3, 2004

Concerning tongues I have heard of the test of John chapter 4 verses 1-3. Now in regards to this I have interpreted this to mean if I confess my Lord Jesus who is God the Son to have become flesh still remaining God and his true Presence then that seems like what I read.

I have talked to my priest about tongues and prophecy, although I don’t know if he has a full experience in testing. We looked over Corinthians and then I talked to him about how I have been drawn closer to the faith picking up things like Mary New Eve in my private studies (I had never heard it preached before).

Although I know thinking good fruits comes is not enough I would like to know if my interpretation has any leeway on how I would go about testing my gifts. I am baptised and starting RCIA this month. –Susie

First let me welcome you to the Church. We will be in prayer for you as you go through RCIA.

The testing is not the testing of yourself; it is the testing of the spirits and the fruits of the tongues. The three “tests” are:

 

 

1) Orthodoxy: One’s tongues experience should NEVER lead to ANYTHING that is even remotely contrary to Church teaching, no matter how small and trivial that Church teaching may be. For example, for those in the Latin Rite, if one discerns through praying in tongues that it is ok to clap and sway to the music in Mass, then those tongues are false since clapping and swaying to the music is prohibited in the Latin Rite of the Church

2) Fruits: Examine the fruits of the tongues. Is this practice truly helping you to be more mature in the faith etc? It often requires a third party who knows you well to make this determination since we can fool ourselves easily about what is to is not good fruit.

3) Biblical Test of the Spirits: To test tongues one needs to find someone who can administer the test; this cannot be done alone. Then what you do is that you will begin to speak in tongues. The other person will then speak to the “spirit behind the tongues” and ask it if it believes that Jesus Christ came in the flesh. If you perceive ANY feeling of hesitation at this question when you are speaking in tongues then those tongues are not of God. The Spirit of God will always resoundingly affirm that Jesus came in the flesh. Other spirits will hesitate or beat around the bush. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

“Slain in the Spirit”

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=141

September 26, 2004

Years ago I attended an all-night vigil. First a Padre Pio prayer group organized it but then the priest that said the masses started doing praying over people during the break between masses and when the Eucharist was exposed. Then the priest when he held his hands over people’s heads, the person would sway back and forth and finally fall backwards. Someone always stood behind them to catch and lay them on the floor where they would remain for 5 to 20 min. resting as if asleep. This was called being “slain in the spirit” or “resting in the spirit”.

I too, came up for this “blessing” and I don’t remember if he prayed or not but suddenly I felt the cold floor of the church beneath my hands as a person standing behind me caught me and laid me on the floor. I don’t remember swaying or falling. I thought that I wouldn’t be conscience of noises or cold when in this state so when I did hear noises in the church and felt the cold floor I felt that I was faking it or something and got up but was shaky on my feet. Later I was told that this was called “resting in the spirit” and is the lowest form of ecstasy.

My question is what really did happen to me? I really wonder if my own desires to have this happen to me as it was happening to others is what made me fall. Was this of God or the devil? 

(Because of the great amount of people coming not for adoration but to see people “resting in the spirit”, the Padre Pio group complained and the pastor (not the priest that said mass) stopped the all-night vigil. He was right and the Padre Pio group was right as it was becoming a circus.) -Linda

The phenomenon of “resting in the spirit”, also called “slain in the spirit” is most likely a psychological event fueled by the desire to experience something and the group dynamics of expectation. It is part and parcel of the improper and almost idolization of emotion and subjective experience typically found among many charismatics.

From what I can gather, this “resting in the Spirit” is rare outside of an audience. If this is the case, then that is powerful evidence of the psychological group dynamics. If this were truly a genuine phenomenon from God, then it should just as easily happen in private, with only the priest and pilgrim present, and not only in group settings where the emotions and expectation of the group play upon our psychology.

I have been blessed by priests at such meetings and know a lot of other people who have to without “resting in the spirit”. Of course I was not looking for or expecting that experience, I was only looking to be blessed and prayed over.

It appears that the experience is mostly a psychological one. This does not preclude the possibility that the “resting in the Spirit” is not real too in some cases. Indeed I can see the possibility of having the Holy Spirit come upon a person in such a way that they are overwhelmed and may fall “resting” in the experience.

Your experience may have been a result of the psychological dynamics or it could have been because you were overwhelmed by the Holy Spirit. The instantaneous nature that you describe however leads me to believe that the psychological aspect was most likely the cause.

Even when the experience is genuinely from God, there is a great danger of this being a circus as you observed, which is an atmosphere not appreciated by God. The most extreme manifestation of this experience is the profoundly stupid and silly nonsense called the Toronto Blessing. This so-called “blessing” is an insult to human dignity and an affront to God I would imagine with its drunken behavior of hysterical laughing, crying, leaping around, dancing, and even roaring or barking like a dog as a result of what these people call “a move of the Holy Spirit”. These people even use the term “drunk in the Spirit”.

God does not desire us to be intoxicated with anything, even the Spirit, but rather to be Filled with the Spirit.

Drunken behavior as in the Toronto Blessing, or the circus atmosphere that you witnessed, is beneath the dignity of God.

We need to stop “seeking” fantastic experiences and instead with sober devotion seek to be filled with the Holy Spirit and to fan into flame the gift of the Spirit within us so as to love God, love our neighbor, and to do the work of sanctifying the temporal world — which is the primary mission of the laity.

St. Teresa of Avila, a great mystic, once said that she would rather have one regular experience than a 1000 mystical ones.

Here is an article that gives a good analysis that we should take to heart about things like “resting in the Spirit”. The article deals with phenomena like that but especially mentions the Toronto Blessing. The principles of evaluation of the Toronto Blessing, however, apply to how we should evaluate all similar phenomena. The article is called, TORONTO BLESSING (a little treatise) a.k.a. The Anointing, Revival, Father’s Blessing, written by Colin B. Donovan, STL. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

 

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=146

September 29, 2004

Just a comment on your answer to me about “resting or slain in the spirit”. I accept your answer but find it amazing that my mind could do this to me.

I do remember that this priest was a favorite with the people who came to the vigils. He was well liked but not flamboyant. My fiancé and I were just learning about the Catholic faith in its fullness and we were full of zeal and easily led into excesses. I can see in this regard what you meant by group expectation. I felt this was a holy thing happening and I wanted to be part of it as if that would make me more holy!

My fiancé also went up to be prayed over but fearing that drugs might be being used to make people react like that he was very distrustful and I think he even held his breath so as not to breath in any drugs! Nothing happened to him and he was worried when he saw me on the floor, so maybe what you say about group expectation is right. I know this must sound funny to you but that is how we were then.

In regards to your comment about this experience happening in private, it brought to mind another time it happened. I was at a friend’s house and the same priest was there. He prayer over me and I did start to sway back and forth but didn’t fall back. I can’t remember if I felt myself sway back and forth. Only the priest, I, my fiancé and the owner of the home were there. Not exactly private but a smaller group.
Do you think I committed the sin of pride or some other sin in trying to do what everyone else did with the hopes of becoming more holy? -Linda

We all can be amazed at what we can find ourselves doing when the circumstances are right. Any of us can get caught up in the moment. I am a very “heady” kind of person, yet I found myself responding emotionally and “following the crowd” once in a religious service.

The power of the group dynamics cannot be underestimated. There have been many people who have joined lynch mobs or riots by getting caught up in the fervor of the moment. MANY people “come forward” in evangelistic services to accept Christ that are doing so because of being emotionally caught-up in the moment. That is why there must be follow-up with such converts to help them maintain their new faith after the emotion has calmed.

You have not committed any sin. Your experience may be one in which you got caught up in the moment, or maybe it was the Holy Spirit. Even if caught up in the moment, all it means is that you are human.

Now if you regularly sought out this experience then there could be issues of pride and the like, but not from your experience as you relate it to me.

I find it interesting that the private experience was different than the public experience. This is consistent with the notion that this phenomenon is mostly psychological. You would have had a personal expectation that may have caused you to sway, but did not fall because the added “umph” of the group dynamics was missing.

I do not think you have sinned. What you need to do, however, is read the Saints to discover the REAL ways to become Holy.

Here are some suggested books:

Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales

12 Steps to Holiness by St. Alphonsus Liguori

Easy Way to Become a Saint by Fr. Paul O’Sullivan –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Praying over someone in proxy for another

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=216

December 31, 2004

I was very disturbed when a friend I’ll call “Corrine” informed me that she thinks “got” cancer when I prayed over her some time ago. We would pray together infrequently in a small group especially when someone was experiencing one “crisis” or another.

Our prayer nights always included praise music and spoken prayer and usually finished with anointing with holy oil and prayer for healing of sickness or disease, troubled relationships, strained finances, etc.–whatever the problems seemed to be. Everything was always very prayerful and very Christ-centered.

The night in question was supposed to be for a woman I’ll call “Debra” who had just been diagnosed with cancer, and this coming on top of a recent separation from her clinically depressed husband. Debra was not feeling well and backed out at the last minute, but we went ahead and focused our prayer night towards her needs anyway.

Corrine volunteered to “stand in proxy” for Debra and be anointed and prayed over on her behalf–something we had done for others previously.

Corrine now claims that in being prayed over on behalf of her friend with cancer, the cancer somehow “transferred” to her body! Debra’s cancer did go into remission, and the cancer that mysteriously showed up in Corrine months later was Debra’s exact same rare type–a type of cancer that Corrine’s doctor says she should not have developed.

Various other medical and spiritual coincidences, that I will not bother detailing here, have convinced Corrine that her cancer was the result of my praying over her! She now believes that we were somehow “messing with” spiritual powers and that there must have been some demonic element present that night. In fact, she prefaced this disclosure about her beliefs regarding her cancer with a question about Reiki and other forms of “healing” prayer and practices. Needless to say, I am stunned to think that innocent, Christ-centered prayer for healing on behalf of an absent friend could somehow result in such a tragedy. None of us had ever had any dealings with the occult, and there was never anything remotely new age about our prayer nights.

 

 

Is she crazy? Is this even remotely possible? Could I have been unwittingly “used” by Satan in my zeal to anoint and pray even if it was all done through appeals to Father, Son and Holy Spirit and in imitation of what I had witnessed and experienced with various Pentecostal or charismatic Catholic groups? (I already know of your disdain for the charismatic movement)

What in the world do I tell her other than: “Don’t worry, I promise never to pray for you again!”?

Thank you for fielding this query. My wife and I have written before and have always appreciated your answers. Keep up the good work and may God richly bless you and this apostolate! -Alan

Thank you for asking about this situation because it relates to a very important points and cautions concerning some prayer practices.
First, I should mention that I do not have a disdain for the Charismatic Movement per se. I have charismatic gifts myself, and I teach others how to find and use their charismatic gifts.
My criticism of the Charismatic Movement in the Catholic Church is 1) that so many of the people in the movement are contaminated with Pentecostal charismatic ideas; and 2) Charismatics tend to view the world and evaluate the world around them and their experiences with emotional and subjective eyes which is contrary to the faculty of reason that is taught by the Bible, the Church, the advice of the Saints, and by plain common sense.
As I have said many times, the charismatic experience can be a great asset to a person and to the Church IF, and only IF, it is conducted with the proper reasoned thinking, proper use of gifts, and with fidelity to the Church and the Catholic worldview. I will not go into that more since I have already thoroughly explained my position on this in other posts (click here)*. *Link does not open
As for your friend Corrine, regardless of the unusual “coincidence” of her contracting this rare form of cancer and Debra’s remission of the same cancer, this most likely does fall within the mathematical probabilities of coincidence. We need to be careful jumping to conclusions to a spiritual cause or source. Corrine contracting this cancer may, in fact, be mere coincidence. People in general are unaware of how some very remarkable events that appear miraculously interlinked actually do fall within the mathematical probabilities of coincidence.
There are three practices common with charismatic healers and deliverance counselors for which one needs to be very careful: 1) laying on of hands; 2) praying in tongues; and 3) praying by proxy.
1) Laying on of Hands, it is possible to have a demonic transference by touching a person who is demonized. This should not be attempted as a matter of course, and should never be done without specific permission of the person.
2) Praying in Tongues, often in conjunction with the laying on of hands, can be a really serious problem if those tongues are not from God. While tongues speakers will fight tooth and nail that their tongues of from God and produces good fruits, the facts do not always bear that out.
There is more than a few documented cases, which I have mentioned before in other posts, where a sincere tongues speaker was utterly unaware that she was actually cursing God in her tongues. Almost no one has their tongues “tested” by the Biblical test and thus they really do not know for sure if their tongues is truly from God or not. Satan easily counterfeits this “gift.”
Thus, while laying on of hands and praying in tongues, the pray-er could be actually cursing the person for all he knows.
Speaking in tongues is one of the symptoms listed in the Official Rite of Exorcism of the Church as a symptom of demonization. There are many cases of people demonized through people laying hands upon them praying in tongues.
There is no valid reason to speak in tongues to begin with when doing healing and deliverance work. And since tongues is so easily counterfeited by Satan and since we cannot know what we are saying, why take the risk. St. Paul said that it is better to understand what one is saying.
3) Praying by Proxy, can also be dangerous as one is “standing in” for another and by that may be attacked by the demons of the person being prayed for.
In addition, the whole concept of healing/praying by proxy is one that comes from non-Christian sources. This technique is very popular with witches and shamans and other “new age” healers. Here is an explanation from one witch practitioner:

Someone else, usually the practitioner, stands in for the client.  Receiving the notes from the session, usually confirms the experience of the session, for the client.

If you consider that our body-mind-spirit system at a sub-atomic level is a vibrating field of frequencies, it becomes hard to distinguish where one energy field begins and ends. This observation by scientists of unified field theory that we are all interconnected. A vibration change in one part of the system is felt throughout the system or universe much like stubbing your big toe is felt throughout your body.

The theory is that we are all interconnected cosmically and thus a proxy can be the focus of energy that is sent out to the absent person to affect them for healing or deliverance. This theory is part of the energy-flow-connection-universe cosmology of oriental occultism. On a mathematical perspective this theory borrows from the Butterfly Effect of Chaos Theory (that a butterfly flapping his wings in India can cause a tornado in Kansas) but believes that the effect can be directed specifically to the intended person.
Although the Charismatics are unaware of the source of the concept of “proxy”, they are, nevertheless, involving themselves in an activity that is not based in Christianity and that can be spiritually dangerous.
The Charismatics justification for this practice comes from a misinterpretation of Daniel. To quote from a charismatic source:

Daniel intercedes for his people.

 

 

 

In chapter 9, where Daniel prays for his people, we discover that he prays intercessory prayers as if he, Daniel, is the transgressor. He says, “We have sinned and done wrong” (verse 5). “We have not listened to your servants the prophets” (verse 6). “To us, O Lord, belongs open shame” (verse 7) etc.

Daniel understood the key to intercessory prayer is to “stand in” for the guilty by proxy, praying their prayers for them—as if you are the transgressor.

In Charismatic circles there is a common expression that is used, and it’s called standing proxy for someone. And sometimes someone will go forward in a meeting for prayer and they will say, “I don’t have a need myself, but I’m standing proxy for someone else. There is someone who is at home lying in bed sick, and so I’m standing in their place and I want you to pray over me as though you were praying over that person.” It’s the same kind of thing. You actually become that person and pray as that person in the spirit. Therefore you can pray with full authority on that person’s behalf.

Perhaps the person you’re praying for has been beaten into unconsciousness and is dying and therefore cannot pray for themselves, but their spirit has reached out to God. God will move upon you as an intercessor and you will enter into the experience of that person who’s lying unconscious, and you will pray for them the prayer that they cannot pray. And you will release the authority of God to bring about deliverance, victory and healing or whatever is needed.

This language “And you will release the authority of God to bring about deliverance” is remarkably similar to the witches explanation of proxy “releasing” energy toward the absent person to heal them.
In addition to this procedure having a smattering of mediumship to it, these Pentecostals have taken a passage from Daniel and invented a prayer technique that Daniel never practiced.
In this passage in Daniel, the prophet is not praying in proxy for an individual, he is praying an intercessory prayer for Israel. He says “we have sinned” in the same context as you or I may pray to God, “We have sinned” meaning “America has sinned.”
This is just an intercessory prayer. Daniel is not standing in proxy.
This is an example of the poor thinking, weak theology, and subjective analysis that is typical with Pentecostal Charismatics.
While many may say that proxy is just a form of intercessory prayer, I would say to them, “why not then pray an intercessory prayer and not include the proxy technique practiced by witches and shamans, and for which there is no theologically justification?”
The idea of proxy is a Pentecostal contamination and should not be practiced by Catholics.
As Catholics we have intercessory prayer from ourselves and through the Saints; the dubious proxy method is not needed.
You ask how bad things could come from a prayerful and Christ-centered prayer meeting. Bad things can happen no matter how well intentioned and devout a person is because of ignorance and misunderstanding of the person about these issues. This is one reason to stay close to the Church and the Catholic worldview instead of borrowing things from other sources.
Do not give the devil the opportunity is a well advised cliché. Avoid Pentecostal and pseudo-Pentecostal techniques that are not consistent with Catholic theology and worldview.
In addition to all of this, the other problem is people messing with spiritual things when they are not qualified to do so and do not really know what they are doing. This is another tendency of charismatics. This lack of qualification is seen in the use of proxy prayer to begin with and also on the selection of who will stand-in as proxy. Your friend Corrine, from the description of her reaction, does not appear mature enough and strong enough in her faith to have offered herself in proxy.
If proxy was something that we could do wisely, I would never allow anyone to stand-in as proxy without about four years of training in spiritual warfare and an additional five years of experience and formation.
The proper thing to have done for Debra was for the group to pray for her with the normal intercessory prayers that we typically pray.
As for Corrine’s illness, it is probably a coincidence, but there is an outside and rare chance of a possible demonic involvement in her illness — especially if there was a demonic element in Debra’s life.
She needs to accept her situation, offer it to God, pray for healing, have others pray for her (but not by proxy), and pray Spiritual Warfare prayers for any demonic attachments that may be present. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

The gift of the Word of Knowledge

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=411

August 5, 2007

Because of my background with spiritualism, as well as past and present relationships with others who have been oppressed and/or possessed, I had been involved in the healing and inner-healing/deliverance ministry (under the auspices of a priest, with deliverance assistance only with the priest), and have done an intermediate amount of reading and studying on the subject. However, it has been a number of years since I have been active in this ministry (currently disabled), and am not able to remember the specifics regarding the so-called “gifts”, albeit less perfect, that the evil one sometime grants to those he holds under oppression or possession, specifically, his less-perfect gift of knowledge.

I understand that the evil one may not be allowed to know anything that God forbids, especially with matters that God alone knows until the end of time.
However, as far as every day mundane occurrences that are in no way connected to the sacraments or holy in nature, I have read that spirits sometimes have a certain knowledge. I believe that most of this is most likely simply careful observation on the part of the spirit or spirits. However, there are times that this knowledge would be an impossibility.

 

My question is this: In the matter of a personal and private issue that would not be known to others unless it was made available by an individual to others, may a demon or evil spirit give this knowledge to another individual close to him if the demon holds at least part or more of the second individual’s free will?

Can evil spirits, if they choose, grant this word of knowledge to those they oppress or possess? I understand that whatever evil spirits do or give to their host, their ultimate goal is to cause chaos and dissension. -Maggie

Well, I need to comment first about terminology. The Charism gift of “Word of Knowledge” is generally not what the Pentecostals define it to be. The Pentecostals, with their profound misunderstanding of the Spiritual Gifts of the Spirit, think of the Word of Knowledge as an ability that is akin to being a medium discerning occult (hidden) knowledge about people. You see Pat Robertson doing this silliness on the 700 Club: “The Lord has revealed to me that there is someone in the audience with kidney problems…” This is NOT the charism Gift of Word of Knowledge.

It is more proper to understand the gift of Word of Knowledge [1 Corinthians 12:8] as an ability to discover, know, and communicate deep spiritual Truths. Only in extremely rare instances, such as with St. Padre Pio, may this gift include the ability to “read souls”. It is not a gift that “knows” general private information about people (e.g., illness, finances, relationships, etc.) outside of the very rare “reading of souls.”

Your question is really asking about what can demons know about us and can they pass that information along to other demons, or even to humans.

The devil has his spies watching us all the time. He knows us well. Demons can know anything about us that they can observe, but neither demons nor angels can read our thoughts.

Demons can observe us and know us so well, however, that they can seem to predict our future sometimes. This is no different than a husband and wife of 50 years knowing each other so well that they can know what the other will do before he does it. Of course, neither the spouses nor the demons (or angels) actually know the future unless God tells them.

Whatever knowledge the demons gather through observation of us, they can pass along to other demons or to human beings.

99% of so-called psychics are outright frauds. When a psychic actually does know information he cannot possibly know, it will normally be a demon who has given him this information.

In exorcisms the demons possessing the person may try to distract the process by revealing embarrassing facts about the exorcist. This information does not come from any ability to know hidden things, but merely from observation.

But, ANY information demons possess is strictly by observation. Remember, however, that demons have powers of observation that make us look like idiot and blind creatures. In addition, there are hordes of demons, so they can be watching every second of our lives. They can know us better than we know ourselves.

Thus, they can know things about us that we “think” is private and unknown, but in actuality we have revealed in subtle ways that the demons observe and that we never realized.

Plus, the demons can know so much about us that they can make rather accurate educated guesses about us.

All this tends to give us the impression that demons can know secret things about us. But, again, they can only know what they observe, or what we tell them, or what God may reveal to them. They have NO powers to know our heart or our private thoughts or anything that only God can know. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=414

August 6, 2007

Your understanding of the evil spirit’s knowledge is just as I thought I had remembered. Thank you. I see that you also have no specific terminology for this phenomenon. It certainly would not be common knowledge if there is one. Demonology is a study that not many partake of. I would not use the term “Word of Knowledge” for a demon, but because so much time has lapsed since I was involved in the inner-healing ministry, and my disability includes an unfortunate problem with memory loss that comes and goes, this was the closest that I could come in describing the devil’s less than perfect (or cheap) imitation of the gifts of the Spirit. I realize there is proper terminology for those involved in full-time inner-healing and deliverance—proper wording taken from demonology—but I was not able to remain in the ministry for more than two years or so because of a serious injury that forced me to my bed for many years. I have not continued to study, but do brush up on the subject occasionally and even read a new book every so often.
A very talented M.D. has enabled me, after several years, to leave my bed for some hours to work with the gift God gave me when I was born, my art. It brings me much joy. However, still having individuals in my life who face oppression or possession, I try to keep as much information fresh in my mind as I am able when one of these folks asks me for advice. What I greatly need is a strapping young person to help me to, once again, rearrange my library after my dear, loving husband decided it was a wonderful idea to sort it by “size”. Then, maybe I would be able to put my hands on the references I need at the time.
I am not a Pentecostal. I am a Catholic. (I apologize if the wrong religion was posted; I had selected Catholic, but went back to view the very long list of religions. I was impressed by its number.) Believe it or not, I am a very orthodox Catholic. There are certain practices that Charismatic or Pentecostal Catholics have that I do not approve of when they are contrary to Church rubrics of any kind.

Additionally, where a Charismatic Catholic insists that hands must be laid on an individual for healing, I am “old book” and believe as the saints do—God can heal any way he so chooses. There is no single equation to guarantee a healing. Faith still plays an enormous role as well. Pentecostal Protestants are always surprised when I assert that God did not just grant the Catholic Church the gift of healing in the 1960s, but that it has been around since before Christ erected his Church upon the rock of Peter, and that was through his disciples.

 


I do have one more question for you, Brother, if I may. I pray that I am not overstaying your hospitality. With the charismata given for the inner life of the Church, one is displayed in the “Word of Knowledge” that reinforces God’s truths. But is there a name for the knowledge we receive from our angels or the saints when we ask them for assistance? A “Word of Knowledge” is for Church alone. But the second “knowledge” that we may be given is for personal enlightenment—matters that may not have anything to do with the Church (but may yet be connected to one’s own, personal sanctification and/or salvation).
Thanks so much, Bro. Ignatius, for your kindness and time in responding to my inquiry. It is greatly appreciated. This Catholic Web site is very extensive, and one of the most abundant and helpful in matters of deliverance, etc., that I have found. I’m so pleased that I found it years ago, and it continues to be an extremely useful and enlightening source. Thanks very much once again. -Maggie

You may be interested in a portion of our Rule of St. Michael that deals with the Charismatic Renewal. It is called, Charism Gifts to Build up the Church.

The linked document will detail things like defining Word of Knowledge and also other phenomena whereby a person receives knowledge, yet not being the gift of Word of Knowledge.

Gaining information from angels or from the Saints is a VERY rare thing. When it happens this is called a Private Revelation. There are different kinds of Private Revelations. The type in which the knowledge comes into a person’s mind is called a Locution. The formal definition from the Modern Catholic Dictionary:

 …a supernatural communication to the ear, imagination, or directly to the intellect. The locution is supernatural in the manner of communication, that is, beyond the ordinary laws of nature. Spurious locutions may come from the evil spirit and can be recognized by their lack of coherence or clarity, the disquiet they cause in the one who receives them, and the evil effects they produce in those who listen to them.

We shall be in prayer concerning your health problems.

As a bibliophile, I understand perfectly the quiet frustration of a spouse who is not a bibliophile thinking organizing books by size is the thing to do. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Testing tongues

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=420

August 8, 2007

Having just been introduced to this website I am horrified to read that I may be cursing God in tongues without knowing it. It is recommended that that tongues be authenticated by a third person but you give no guidance as to who would that third person be?

From my own experience I can only say that spontaneously realising that I could speak in tongues, whilst praying the rosary for a sick relative one day over two years ago, began an incredible conversion experience for me (and coincided with my relative’s healing) that has transformed me from being a dutiful Catholic into a devout Catholic who loves all aspects of the Church and in whom the faith is very much alive.

I was advised to pray in tongues ever day by a very respected person in the Catholic Church who has responsibility for Catholic Evangelisation Services (and does so in a very traditional rather than Charismatic style). So who is right?

Also, I take the point about personal edification not being beneficial to the community but this could also be wrong thinking since the majority of active Catholic laity are Charismatic and can trace their love of the Church from the time they began praying in tongues. Maybe this is why St Paul thanked God that he spoke in tongues so often?

Any answers would be gratefully received. –Joanna

The “testing” of tongues can be accomplished by any third party.

The procedure is for the tongue-speaker to be instructed to begin speaking in tongues with an acute awareness of the “spirit” behind the tongues.

The third party then prays a prayer such as this:

In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen. Father, in heaven, we come to you asking for a authentication of the gift of tongues given to ___________. We ask that the spirit behind the tongues be forced to be truthful to our inquiry that the real source of these tongues be revealed. We also ask, Father, that no one here be harmed by this inquiry. Amen.

Then the third party addresses the “spirit” behind the tongues:

In the name of Jesus Christ, we now ask of the spirit behind the tongues speaking through __________ under command of God to tell the truth: Has Jesus Christ, Son of the Most High God, second Person of the Holy Trinity, come in the flesh? {Pause} Are these tongues a gift from the Holy Spirit? {Pause}

The tongue-speaker needs to be attentive to the inner voice. If there is ANY hesitation in answering either of these questions, then the “tongues” are probably not genuine.

Keep in mind, this is not foolproof. It depends upon the tongues-speakers sensitivity to the inner voice (the spirit of the tongues), their honesty, and their willingness to give up tongues should the test results be negative.

The lack of willingness to give up tongues is a MAJOR clue that the tongues are 1) either not from God; or 2) the person’s spiritual maturity is very low; or 3) both.

All of us should have total willingness to give up any gift, even gifts that are genuinely from God, if God asks that of us, or if it is prudent to do so. Lack of willingness is Pride.  These “gifts” are on loan to us and thus we are to be stewards, not owners, of those gifts. All gifts are subject to the largess of God.

 

 

I praise God that your experience with tongues lead you to be a better Catholic. That is a common experience with many people in the Charismatic Renewal. This positive “fruit”, however, is NOT a guarantee that a particular experience is from God necessarily.

We misinterpret the comments of Jesus of “you shall know them by their fruits.” A good fruit, as a matter of fact, can come from a bad tree. Jesus was stating an overall principle, not a scientific test.

There are many people, for example, who claim positive fruit from the Bayside Visions. Problem is that Bayside has been officially condemned by the Church as not coming from God. Point is that it is possible to have good fruit come from a bad source.

As for the advice you have been given, if your personal gift of tongues (not to be confused with the Charism Gift of Tongues that are one of the Charism Gifts of the Spirit) is genuine then there is nothing wrong with praying in tongues daily.

I personally do not understand why one needs to do that. St. Paul makes it clear that speaking in a language one knows is better because we know what we are saying (and it absolutely avoids the problem of speaking curses without knowing it).

The alleged reasons for tongues given by the Charismatic Renewal are usually borrowed from the Pentecostal Charismatics (whose theology and praxiology are inconsistent with Catholicism). Those reasons, such as the one about “praying in the spirit”, as referenced in the Bible, is not exclusive to “tongues” although Charismatics seem to always interpret it that way. The one about not knowing what to pray based upon Romans 8:26 is just plain wrong and based on a misinterpretation of Romans 8:26 which specifically says that this phenomenon is “without words”. That means that this verse cannot be talking about tongues since tongues, by definition, involves words.  See the long essay, Charism Gifts to Build up the Church, for a full-length discussion of the Charismatic Gifts. 

Now to the personal edification part. The Gift of Tongues as experienced on Pentecost was a preaching gift used to evangelize — preach the Gospel to everyone present regardless of language. This would be a handy gift on the Mission field. The personal gift of tongues that people use in their personal prayers, however, has no relationship with this.

The Charism Gift of Tongues is a public ministry, that is, for the good of the Church, to build-up the Church in a public way. A personal gift of tongues may build-up the person and thus the person contributes to the Church, but this is a private edification with public effects, not a public ministry.

Only those tongues that qualify as a public edification of the Church and her people can be called the Charism Gift of Tongues.

As to the idea that most active Catholic laity are Charismatic and trace their love of the Church to the speaking of tongues, this is simply not true — not even close to being true.

Most active and devout Catholics are NOT involved in the Charismatic Renewal and the majority of active and devout Catholics do NOT speak in tongues. There are a significant number of people active in the Charismatic Renewal who do not speak in tongues.

Tongues are unimportant and the least of all gifts according to St. Paul. The emphasis of “tongues” is improper and unbiblical. Catholics who emphasize tongues need to stop borrowing from a Protestant Pentecostal mindset and develop a thoroughly Catholic perspective on this.

As a final note on tongues, we must remember that “tongues” is the easiest of all phenomena to be counterfeited by the devil. In fact, speaking in tongues is one of the official symptoms of demonic possession according to the Church’s Rite of Exorcism. This does not mean that tongues speakers are possessed. What it means and shows is that tongues can be used by the devil very easily.

Given the fact that tongues is not necessary for spiritual growth, not necessary to “pray in the spirit”, is the least of all gifts, and can be so easily counterfeited, I fail to understand why it is emphasized or sought-after at all.

I think humility will say, “Lord, I accept whatever gift you choose to give me” rather than “Lord, I want tongues”.

I realize that many do not ask, but find themselves speaking in tongues spontaneously. Be careful. The tongues may or not be from God. By the way, I use to speak in tongues myself until one day I realized that my tongues were not from God. I renounced them and have not spoken in tongues since.

If one does have a genuine gift of tongues, then praise God, but be sure of your catechesis. The Charismatic Renewal, Life in the Spirit Seminars and the like give inaccurate information.

I was actually kicked out of a Life in the Spirit Seminar for daring to politely, and only because my small group asked me, began to point out some of these improper “Pentecostalisms” and providing Church documents and statements from Popes and Bishops to back it up (see Charism Gifts to Build up the Church). I praised the Charismatic Renewal overall, but asserted that it needed to be Catholic through and through. I was not only asked to leave, but was insulted in the process. Where’s the Holy Spirit in that? –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Charismatics and deliverance

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=543

January 29, 2008

I was involved in the occult for many years and started practicing witchcraft around 2003. Around the time I began to become more deeply involved I began to experience some strange occurrences inside my house which at the time I blew off and actually laughed at. Around May 2004 I was sexually assaulted on a date and did suffer from some post-traumatic stress but this in itself did not explain the events that occurred to me over the next 2years.

 

 

 

It would take me a while to explain all of it but let me just say the attacks came from every angle imaginable. Things not only were occurring in my house but were occurring outside as well and coming through other people also. I had an unbelievable amount of car wrecks (one was near fatal) and constant accidents at work etc. I wish I could explain it all but it would take a while.

I came in contact with a minister my aunt knew who had experience with deliverance ministry. I underwent several sessions over a period of about 6 months and did experience some relief.

I’m just giving you this info as background information on what led me to become oppressed and also what led me to get involved with this charismatic church.

I attended this church for about a year and a half and they DID actually help me. As I became more involved I began to see cracks in their teachings. They rely heavily on prophecies, speaking in tongues, etc. I felt like God was telling me to get out. I did and plan on going through RCIA this fall. I have not told anyone except my immediate family about my decision to convert to Catholicism because I know I will be told things like “You are being influenced by the devil” and etc. I also feel guilty about leaving because these people have helped me out a lot but in the midst of all the theatrics, prophecies, and all the thought came in to my mind “Where is Jesus in all of this?”

I would like to know some of your opinions on this movement and whether or not my gut feelings about it are correct.

And by the way I did renounce all of my occult involvement. I feel like God is possibly leading me towards some involvement with deliverance work because the area I live in is dry as far as that is concerned. I do want to discern that this is the right thing to do before becoming involved because I know it is a very serious matter that needs to be approached in the right way.

When I try to tell my charismatic friends that deliverance is a serious work they tell me that anyone who is “covered in the blood of Jesus” can go in and cast out or rebuke demons. I think their cavalier approach is stupid and foolish. Any comments on that? -Stacey

Let me first say that I am sorry that you were attacked and certainly hope and pray that you find complete healing from that terrible experience. I also praise God that you have decided to come into God’s True Church, the Catholic Church. We will be praying for you on that score also. We will especially pray for you in the perseverance you will need to cope with family and friends who will not be happy about your joining the Catholic Church. Hang in there, believe me, as a former Baptist preacher who went through the same sorts of things with friends, it is worth it.

As for the Charismatic movement, there is a version of that in the Catholic Church too, called the Charismatic Renewal. The problem with much of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal is that they borrow too much from the Protestant Pentecostal Charismatic movement which has MANY flaws.

I thoroughly outline the pros, cons, and appropriate approaches to Charismatic gifts and the Charismatic renewal and such in an essay, which is an excerpt from the Rule of my Order, called Charism Gifts to Build up the Church. That essay should answer your questions about that.

As far as the attitude of many Charismatics that seems to be like “let’s go kick some demon butt” and that “anyone covered in the blood” can do it is not only stupid but profoundly dangerous.

In the Catholic Church formal exorcism is restricted to a priest and only if he has the permission of the bishop. Deliverance work deals with issues not involving full possession. It can be done by anyone theoretically, but not everyone is qualified or called to do this work.

One of the principles of the Bible taught by St. Paul, if Charismatics ever bother to read it, is that because something is allowable does not mean that it is beneficial to do, or prudent to do.

While it is allowable for any Christian to be in deliverance ministry, not every Christian is called by God to do it and not every Christian is qualified to do it.

In our ministry, if someone is interested in being trained to be a deliverance counselor they must fill out an application, undergo one or two interviews or more and then go through a training program that lasts four years of discernment and that has academic, clinical, and spiritual direction modules. After graduating from that, the person must undergo three additional years of supervision, before being let out on their own to do deliverance work.

This is serious business that is not for everyone. The cavalier approach is not only stupid and foolish, but dangerous to both the deliverance counselor and to the client. People can get hurt, even killed by inexperienced and untrained counselors.

Your gut feelings are indeed correct. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

False prophesying and praying in tongues

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=556

February 18, 2008

I had previously attended a charismatic church that relied heavily on prophecy and speaking in tongues. We (the church members) were always encouraged to seek guidance with other church members regarding important personal issues, etc.

Being new to the charismatic movement I relied heavily on the prophetic words of some of the members and naively put them on a pedestal. One of the few members who seemed to have her head on straight warned me about doing this and said that it could invite in a lot of deception. She is verily happily married to a great guy but related to me that before she got married that people were “prophesying” to her that this relationship was from the enemy and that it would all be disastrous which so far has all proved to be very wrong.

I went to some of the members with an issue that was very important to me at the time. I kept getting all kinds of weird mixed up information which just didn’t feel right.

 

 

Finally one night in desperation I got down on my hands and knees and went straight to God with the situation because I was tired of going to people and getting a bunch of crap. I really didn’t expect an answer but to my amazement he did answer which seemed to be totally opposite of the info coming from some of these church members “prophetic words.” It was like he was finally saying to me “It’s about time you came to me instead of going to other people!”

When I told one of my church acquaintances about praying to God and getting an answer she asked me “Well how do you know it was God who answered?” I said well I just felt a real peace about it but I guess I won’t really know until it comes to pass. She asked me if had prayed my prayer in the spirit (speaking in tongues) and I said no. She told me that if you do not pray in the spirit that the devil can hear your prayer and come and supply a false answer even if you thought you were praying to God.

I don’t know where she got that but it threw me into such a state of confusion at the time and had me so confused as to whether or not I was capable of hearing from God on my own without their help. This is one of the many reasons I decided to disassociate myself from this church.

I come from a heavy occult background and a lot of what they were doing seems to be the same as fortunetelling and divination except they just attach the name of the Holy Spirit to it.

Is there any merit at all to what she told me? I’m so confused to the point that I feel as if I can’t trust whether or not God is speaking to me. -Stacey

There is NO MERIT whatsoever in what you were told by this dingbat. “Praying in the Spirit” does not mean “speaking in tongues” in the first place. St. Paul tells us that is better to speak in a language we understand than a language we do not understand. The Bible’s language of “praying in the spirit” means to pray sincerely and fervently.

These people claim to be “praying in the spirit” but whose spirit?

There are many documented cases of people praying in tongues thinking they were praising God when in actuality they were cursing God. In one case the women speaking in tongues happen to be speaking in the native language of a priest who was present. The priest told the women she was actually cursing God.

The idea that the devil cannot understand prayers in tongue is also stupid. I have no idea where that fantasy comes from.

You did the right thing getting away from this wacko group.

The best way to pray concerning God’s will is to sincerely pray (in a language you understand), listen to the still small voice within you, check the “answer” to your prayer against Church teaching and the Bible, and discuss your insights with a trusted spiritual director.

If the “answer” to your prayer tells you to do something that is contrary to God’s teachings, then obviously that answer was not from God.

Since it can be difficult to interpret properly our own inspirations, it is important to discuss these things with a trusted, knowledgeable, and wise adviser.

Do not let these people cause you confusion. Ignore them. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Charismatic prophesying and divination

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=624

April 23, 2008

After leaving the charismatic movement for good a few months ago I find that I’m still having questions about some of their practices. In a way I feel like I’m in the process of deprogramming my mind as I’ve gradually come to realize just how controlling the church I attended was.

One big question I have concerned the gift of “prophecy” that so many of them claimed to have. I feel like this is an area that is heavily abused in the movement. Several members of the church were always doing this and towards the end this made me very uncomfortable.

One lady I was friends with was constantly trying to get in peoples heads to discern what kind of spiritual problems people had. I can remember getting uncomfortable during a group meeting and leaving. She later told me she sensed that I had a “spirit of condemnation.” There always was some “spirit” behind my every action and behavior.

When I would eat with her in a restaurant she would try to discern things about the patrons. For example, she saw one girl walk in and claimed this girl had some sort of blood disease. I used to go visit her often but one day when I was going to her house I sensed something telling me to stop going over there and I never went back. The next Sunday when I went to church I felt nothing but coldness from this woman who used to always be so warm and friendly towards me. I never did or said anything to cause her to act that way all of the sudden.

It’s just strange how all the sudden she started to act very uncomfortable around me after I came to the realization that what she was doing was not really good.

Having been involved in the occult for years I began to see that some of the things they were doing were not so much different from say someone like John Edwards or Sylvia Brown. It’s funny how it suddenly seems okay if it occurs in the church and has the name of the Holy Spirit tacked onto it.

I’m not putting down the Charismatic Church as a whole nor am I denying the reality and validity of the spiritual gifts if done in the proper way. I guess I just need a reality check to see if my gut feeling about the abuse of some of these gifts is correct. It’s kind of like coming out of a bad relationship and you have all these questions about why they do these things and why you got involved in the first place. -Stacey

Your “gut” feelings are correct.

 

 

 

The gift of prophecy is the gift of inspired preaching. The word “prophecy” means to “forth-tell”, “to proclaim”. The gift has nothing to do with a pseudo-mediumistic ability that your friend was practicing.

It is not uncommon for people in the Charismatic movement to practice what amounts to occult abilities — such as what your friend does.

I might add that even if your friend had a legitimate gift, she was abusing it. To think there is a “spirit” of something for everything actually plays right into the devil’s schemes. He would love us to think that he is around every corner. That way he can hide amongst our hysteria.

One time I had a charismatic tell me that I had a “spirit of the common cold”. I looked at this person as if she was an idiot and said, “no, I have a virus that is causing the cold”.

One of the other things you mentioned is also a common experience. When anyone chooses to be appropriately skeptical about the charismatic experience, or about some particular gift, all of a sudden the charismatic person (who is suppose to be so filled with the Spirit) becomes hostile (oftentimes very subtlety) and tends to ostracize the questioning person and refuses to listen to reason. This is a good sign of a person NOT filled with the Spirit.

That there are so many instances of this among the Charismatic people is a sign that there is something deeply wrong. The movement attracts too many immature Christians and it does not help them to mature.

The Charismatic Renewal has helped many people to return to the Church and to their faith. It has helped them to fire in flame the gift within them. But, many of the people I know, once they were inspired by the Renewal, grew in maturity and then either gravitated to the periphery of the Renewal or left the Renewal.

The Charismatic Renewal can be like a support group. It is great at first when the support is needed, but once one heals and grows, he no longer needs the support group and moves on.

All this is mostly a problem of leadership. The Charismatic Renewal is a wonderful thing in itself, but as the Catholic Bishop Edward P. Cullen of Allentown observed:

I don’t see any weaknesses intrinsic to the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. In its actual practice, however, (dys)function can and has arisen. I found that such dysfunctions flowed from some flaw in those who carry leadership responsibility in the movement.

Your “guts” are correct which tells me that you are listening to the Holy Spirit.

You may be interested in a comprehensive analysis of the benefits and problems of the Charismatic Renewal. This document is from a Catholic point-of-view, but you may find it helpful. The document is Charism Gifts Building up the Church. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Praying in tongues

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=627

April 23, 2008

I attended several Catholic Charismatic Renewal prayer sessions. They started out with 1) praying Divine Mercy Chaplet (20 min.) then 2) sing several hymns to praise and glorify GOD (20 min.) and 3) prayer in tongues (ecstatic utterances for 20 min). Not all the people attending the Charismatic prayer sessions have the ‘gift’ of tongues so it was kind of confusing for us who do not have this ‘gift’. However I enjoy tremendously part 1 and part 2.

I have read and understood 1 Corinthians Ch. 12-14 and I have read the Catechism of the Catholic Church and I cannot find any documents which support praying in tongue in public w/o the gift of interpretation. Would you please let me know what the Vatican thinks about praying in tongue in public w/o the gift of interpretation? -Beth

There is no specific statement from the Vatican about speaking in tongues to which I am aware.

And, there is no support in any writings of the Saints, or in the Bible, for the practice praying in tongues en masse. In addition, St. Paul is clear that he thought it was better to speak in a language one knows and understands than in one that cannot be understood.

This practice you describe does not have a Catholic origin, but one in Pentecostalism. It is a shame that something that is an potentially as wonderful as the Charismatic Renewal must be contaminated with Pentecostalisms.

You may be interested in an extensive article that discusses the pros and cons of the Charismatic Renewal and the expression of Charism Gifts. This article goes into detail about the Pentecostalisms that contaminate the Renewal.

This document is an excerpt from the Rule of the Order of the Legion of St. Michael and is entitled, “Charism Gifts Building up the Church.”Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Blaspheming against the Holy Spirit

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=787

October 20, 2008

I recently read an article by a charismatic preacher claiming that when we criticize some of the practices in the charismatic movement we are in danger of blaspheming the Holy Spirit.

Where does one draw the line between having a healthy skepticism of abuse of charismatic gifts and the potential for attributing a genuine work of the Holy Spirit as coming from a demonic source?

When I went through the Charismatic movement myself I saw a lot of good, positive things but also observed way too many off-the-wall practices mainly involving prophesying and words of knowledge. I had several words of knowledge given to me that turned out to be blatantly false and prophecies that didn’t come true.

 

 

How can we be comfortable in trusting our discernment without stepping over the line and being in danger of blaspheming something that truly is coming from God?

Do some of these leaders in the movement use this as a fear tactic to prevent discerning Christians from discovering and exposing false teachings? -Stacey

Yes, some of these leaders use this sinful tactic of saying “agree with what we do or you are going to hell”, which is what they are saying when they suggest one commits Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit (the unforgivable sin) when they criticize their practices.

This is the arrogance often found in the Charismatic Renewal. It is not very Holy Spirit like. St. Paul tells us to TEST the spirits, to TEST the prophets, to TEST the teachers.

A true spirit of God is not insulted because we test them to be sure they are of God.

The Catholic Catechism states:

801 It is in this sense that discernment of charisms is always necessary. No charism is exempt from being referred and submitted to the Church’s shepherds. “Their office [is] not indeed to extinguish the Spirit, but to test all things and hold fast to what is good,” (1 Thess 5:12, 19-21) so that all the diverse and complementary charisms work together “for the common good.” (1 Cor 12:7)

This arrogance of the Charismatic movement is borne of the subjective worldview and experiences (and ego) that dominate the movement — not unlike the Church of Corinth in which St. Paul and Pope Clement I had to chastise them for their immaturity and arrogance stemming from their “charismatic” activities.

Pope Benedict XVI, then Cardinal Ratzinger, refers to one of the central principles of the Catholic Worldview that needs to be remembered in the Charismatic Renewal in his “Foreword” to Cardinal Suenens book on Spiritual Warfare:

First he (Cardinal Suenens) raises the basic question which is decisive for the fruitful growth of the Renewal. What is the relation between personal experience and the common faith of the Church? Both factors are important: a dogmatic faith unsupported by personal experience remains empty; mere personal experience unrelated to the faith of the Church remains blind.

The isolation of experience constitutes a serious threat to true Christianity—a threat extending far beyond the Renewal movement. Even if this isolation has a “pneumatic” [spiritual] origin, it is the price that has to be paid for [it is the result that comes from] the empiricism [the notion that experience and the senses are the only, or the primary, source of knowledge] that dominates our time.

Such an isolation of experience is closely linked with the Fundamentalism that separates the Bible from the whole of salvation history and reduces it to an experience of self with no mediation whatsoever. It does justice neither to historical reality, nor to the breadth of the mystery of God. Here, too, the true answer lies in a comprehension of the Bible, in union with the whole Church, and not merely in an isolated historicist reading.

All this shows once again that charism and institution overlap, and that what matters is not the “we” of the group but the great “we” of the Church of all times, which alone can provide the adequate and necessary framework, enabling us both to “hold on to what is good” and to “discern spirits.”

While subjective experiences and feelings are part of our humanity, it is reason that must guide those subjective experiences and feelings.

When we use reason as the guide we can then evaluate the goodness or badness of something.

The other problem in that charismatic preacher’s word is that he apparently hasn’t a clue to what is Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.

Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is the unforgivable sin because the person rejects the loving grace and mercy of God. One cannot be forgiven if they do not want the forgiveness. God is not going to force himself upon anyone.

This sin is ultimately, therefore, is the sin of “final impenitence” — the person dies rejecting God’s grace. That is why it is unforgivable.

Challenging or criticizing Charismatic practices does not even remotely fit the definition of Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.

A Protestant minister, Tom Brown, gives a pretty good definition:

Blasphemy against the Spirit is the absolute, permanent, hateful rejection of the gifts of the Holy Spirit with the motive to keep others from fully following Christ as well as to keep one’s position of power. A person who has committed this sin has no desire for repentance, will divide the body of Christ, judge the salvation of others, and will ultimately die in this state.

The Catholic Catechism says it this way:

1864 “Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.” (Mt 12:31; cf. Mk 3:29; Lk 12:10) There are no limits to the mercy of God, but anyone who deliberately refuses to accept his mercy by repenting, rejects the forgiveness of his sins and the salvation offered by the Holy Spirit. Such hardness of heart can lead to final impenitence and eternal loss.

Where you draw the line is that when any preacher who says that we blaspheme the Holy Spirit because we criticize charismatic practices, run, do not walk, away from that man for he does not speak in the Spirit of God.

For a detailed analysis of this issue see the essay, Charism Gifts Building up the Church. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

The Word of Knowledge

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=793    

October 26, 2008

Is there any biblical basis for the word of knowledge practice in the word-faith movement?

 

My experience in the beginning of my involvement with the movement was that certain individuals in my church who supposedly had this gift would tell many things about my life that they had no way of knowing otherwise. So much of it was correct in the beginning and was helpful to me at the time since I was not used to hearing from God on my own.

Eventually as time went on I started to discern quite a bit of error mixed in with the truth. It was like they would prophesy correctly about 99% of the time and then I would detect a big lie in the middle of all of it. Then it seemed like I was starting to pick up on even more untruths. I had one person give me a word that was so accurate at first. I decided on the spur of the moment to test what she was saying and asked her to expound on a detail she had brought up. Before she would give a word she would always bow her head and start speaking in tongues before she would say anything almost like she would be in a trance. When I asked her about that certain detail she did that then confidently lifted her head and told me the biggest bald-faced lie. I didn’t set out test her intentionally-it was a spur of the moment thing. It did set off my alarm meter though. When I then confronted her with the truth she immediately tried to backpedal and weave it in with her original prophecy. She acted embarrassed like she had been “caught”. That’s when I started to suspect that this practice is not a good thing.

A lot of people who think they have this gift it becomes a pride issue with them and they give off the impression that they have a direct line to God that others don’t have. I’ve also noticed that when you discern the truth those same individuals immediately start to distance themselves from you and almost shun you. What’s strange is that you haven’t really done or said anything to outright make them mad at you it’s almost as if something in them immediately senses that you see through it. I’ve seen quite a few people really hurt from being given false words and then making important decisions on the basis of those false words. It can really damage a person’s faith. Can you give me your opinion and tell me what you know about this practice? -Stacey

St. Paul mentions the charism gift of the Word of Knowledge, but the usual interpretation of this gift is improper in the Pentecostal and word-faith communities. They utilize what they call the Word of Knowledge almost like channeling spirits or ESP.

Your experience, observations, and gut reactions are very interesting and discerning. You are correct in your observations. Your experiences when you doubt what is happening is typical. Most often such people will backpedal, make some excuse, or walk away. I have been kicked out of a Catholic Charismatic meeting because of the essay linked in the next paragraph.

For a more genuine approach to this phenomenon, I suggest you read the essay, Charism Gifts Building up the Church. This essay goes into detail about what is and is not proper in the exercise of spiritual gifts. It is written from the Catholic perspective, but you should still get a lot of information from it. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1044

August 21, 2009

When I was in the charismatic movement, I received several words of knowledge from various people. Some of the information was true and right-on-the money and some was obviously very false. Often, I would get true words and false words coming from the same person at the same time. I question everything and this was one of the reasons why I left. If there is a mixture of both true and false information, then what is the source of this information? –Stacey

Word of Knowledge is not what most charismatics think it is. They mis-define it. This, “God gave me a message for you” is not really the Word of Knowledge, nor is what you see with TV evangelists who say, “God has told me there is someone in the audience with a liver condition.”

The Word of Knowledge is the ability to discover, know, and communicate deep spiritual Truths. In extremely rare instances, such as with St. Padre Pio, this gift may include the ability to “read souls” [1 Cor 12:8]. (See the article Charism Gifts Building up the Church)

If someone was receiving information from God then that information would be 100% accurate all the time. From what you are describing about this person’s “gift” I doubt very highly her source of information was God. At best the person was misinterpreting the messages since God can never be wrong. But, my sense is that this person is wrapped up in what most charismatics are wrapped into — subjective emotional states that create these phenomena from their imaginations. At worse, the person is getting the information from the devil. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Spiritual gifts

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=861

January 3, 2009

I just read your article “Charism Gift Building up the Church.”
Thank you very much. I just want some clarification about the mystical gifts not to be sought for. Is it the charismatic gifts of 1 Corinthians 12 that you are referring here or is it mystical prayer? Is it not right to pray that God bestow us the charismatic gifts referred above? Because I found a prayer to the Holy Spirit asking the gifts of tongues etc. And are we not to pray/seek to reach mystical union or transforming union? Please enlighten me because the difference of mystical prayer, mystical union and transforming union is somewhat vague to me. All I know is the difference between the 7 sanctification gifts of Isaiah and the charismatic gifts referred above. –James

Mystical prayer and the charismatic gifts are two completely different things. The mystical union referred to by St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross has nothing whatsoever to do with the charismatic gifts.

To the charismatic gifts we need to pray to DISCOVER what gift(s) God has already given us. We should not covet any of the gifts or seek after them. This is especially the case with the gifts of tongues (the least important of all gifts) since we can be easily fooled — as I explained in that essay. A prayer to specifically ask for the gift of tongues is a Pentecostal idea, not a Catholic one.

 

 

Mystical prayer and union is part of contemplative prayer. See the Catholic Encyclopedia article on Contemplation.

Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Life in the Spirit Seminar

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=868

January 7, 2009

Can you give me any information as to what the Life in the Spirit Seminar is all about? A woman from my former prayer group began to get very pushy with me about attending this seminar with her last year. She told me that she felt that God was impressing upon her that I needed to attend. I responded that I had no desire to go nor did I have any inkling whatsoever from God that he wanted me to go. Actually my intuition was to stay away from it. I don’t know that much about it but would appreciate your opinion. –Stacey

The Life in the Spirit Seminars “consists of a series of talks designed to help people realize the power of the Holy Spirit that is available for every aspect of their lives.” Charismatic literature explains that “we receive the Holy Spirit through the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation. Through what is called the baptism in the Holy Spirit, a personal conversion experience, the power that is the Holy Spirit is released within us.”

This sounds perfectly fine, except for the terminology of “baptism of the Holy Spirit” which is improperly borrowed from the Pentecostals. Our “baptism” of the Holy Spirit is receive is during the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation.

While Catholic Charismatics will tell you that one does not need to speak in tongues, the subtle message is that tongues is very important and is specifically encouraged. Usually during the Seminar there will be a time when people can have hands laid on them to find the “release of the Holy Spirit” (a concept not found in Scripture or Church Fathers) and in which tongues is a high expectation, even if not required.

Often leaders will justify the promotion of tongues (the least of the gifts according to St. Paul) as the easiest one to attain and the gateway to the other gifts. This notion is utter nonsense and cannot be supported by Scripture, the Church writings, or any writings of the Saints.

This emphasis on tongues as a gateway is very dangerous for it can be a gateway — to demonic bondage as tongues is easily counterfeited by the devil. There are many examples of this, a few that I detail in the essay linked below.

Nevertheless, what about the Renewal as a whole? The Renewal can be a major asset to the Church if the Renewal stays 100% Catholic. Unfortunately, the Renewal falls short of that 100% and borrows much from the flawed theology of Pentecostals.

You experienced another abuse of the Renewal by this person coming up to tell that God was telling her that you needed to attend the Seminar. If God wanted this why wasn’t He telling you! Many people in the Renewal seem to think they have a person red phone to God. Such subjective, emotional, and arrogant attitudes are what get them into trouble.

The idea of the Renewal may be positive, however, with major problems caused by individual leaders. Bishop Edward P. Cullen of Allentown made this observation: “I don’t see any weaknesses intrinsic to the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. In its actual practice, however, (dys)function can and has arisen. I found that such dysfunctions flowed from some flaw in those who carry leadership responsibility in the movement.”

For a complete discussion on the pros and cons of the Renewal and an explanation of the Pentecostalisms that tend to contaminate the Renewal see the article, Charism Gifts Building up the Church. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Misuse of the gift of tongues

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=925

March 4, 2009

I have been attending a Catholic charismatic prayer group for over a year, and up to this point it has been a good experience. The last meeting was different.

The lay couple who usually led the group wasn’t there. […] Another thing I found disturbing was the way a man there prayed. He rocked back and forth, put his hand to his head in a strange gesture, palm open and facing out. He prayed loudly in “tongues”, which actually did sort of sound like a real language (not the usual repetition of a few syllables). He also went on about a dark cloud coming over America; he said he saw a mushroom cloud over the capitol, etc. It was disturbing to me. I know St. Paul says that if there isn’t an interpreter the person speaking in tongues should keep quiet.

Do you think my concerns are valid? I may not return to the prayer group. What do you think? -Kayla

Your concerns are 100% valid. I would not return to that group. […]

As far as this man who puts his hand on his forehead as if it is some kind of antenna to capture the “words of God” and violating the Pauline rules for Tongues by speaking without an interpreter, would be humorous if it weren’t so pathetic and even dangerous.

Although the Charismatic Renewal has great promise, what you are experiencing is unfortunately all too common in the Renewal — mostly because of the Pentecostalism that contaminates the Renewal. See the article Charism Gifts Building up the Church for details on this. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Holy laughter, laying on of hands, and charismatic healing Masses

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=944

March 23, 2009

 

 

I’m a cradle Catholic and I had a conversion experience that I did not expect. The experience changed me in many ways. One such way is through a gift of laughter. After reading many of your comments, you seem level headed. As a result, I would like to know your thoughts about this situation. . .
Once I was at a Healing Mass and was asked if I would stand behind those who were being prayed with. I was there to catch those who experienced dormition. While standing there, I began to pray for those I was paired with. While praying, the laughter came. While I was laughing, I heard someone who was resting in the Spirit speak in a very hideous voice. The voice was horrible. It said, ‘Stop the laughter! I cannot stand the laughter!’ After Mass, I talked to all those who were in proximity to this event and they all said they heard nothing come from the mouth of this person. In fact, they disbelieved me.

Three months later, all the same people were gathered for an adult faith formation class that discussed spiritual healing. The speaker volunteered to lay hands in prayer on those who needed healing. Well, this guy who was demonized was first to get prayer and he was jerking violently on the floor. As I began laughing, I asked God that the Spirit in me be given to him on the floor. As I thought this, I raised my hand in his direction. The demonized person kicked a 6ft long table in the air and several people jumped on him. We all began to pray for this person. I could not stop laughing in the Spirit. (I didn’t want to).

In faith I wiped the Blood of Jesus on his legs and they stopped jerking. Other were very much involved, not just me!! In a moment of stillness, he opened his eyes with a ‘thousand yard’ stare and everyone heard the voice say, “This man is mine!” Eventually, the demonized person was able to lay without anyone holding him. With his eyes closed and with a trembling hand, this person made the sign of the cross over himself and then woke up wondering what happened. –Patrick

Before I answer your post I need to warn you that you will probably not like my comments. You may even be offended by my comments. I am sorry for that, if that happens, but I have a duty to tell the truth about the things presented in your post and call it as I see it.

The story you relate is troubling on several levels. The so-called “holy laughter” is problematic, and perhaps the so-called “Healing Mass”, as what as what was done for this alleged demonized man, and especially how the Blood of Jesus was used.

First, on the “holy laughter”:

I appreciate and praise God that you have come closer to our Lord through your experiences, but this does not mean that the experience is good, only that God is good in knowing the desires of your heart.

The history and source of Holy Laughter is solely within the Protestant Charismatic movement. While somewhat rare among Catholic charismatics, this Pentecostal phenomenon has contaminated Catholics. For a complete discussion of spiritual gifts and the Pentecostal contaminations see the article, Charism Gifts Building up the Church.

To quote from one source…

… in these charismatic meetings where “holy laughter” occurs, some participants (from a handful, to almost the whole audience at times) find themselves laughing uncontrollably for no particular reason, sometimes even to the point of falling out of their chairs and rolling on the floor in convulsions of laughter. This can occur no matter the topic being addressed by the current speaker from the pulpit-even when the speaker is expounding on such matters as Eternal Judgment and Hell.

It is taught in such settings that this is a supernatural manifestation which indicates a special in-filling of the individual by the Holy Spirit. Although this phenomenon has been reported in isolated instances for the past 100 years or so, it first attracted widespread attention in the early 1990s as one of the typical manifestations involved with the Toronto Blessing movement. The most prominent individual connected with the Holy Laughter phenomenon is South African evangelist Rodney Howard-Browne, who styles himself “Joel’s Bartender.” This is a reference to the prophecy in the Bible in Joel 2 regarding the pouring out of the Holy Spirit. Those who are overcome with Holy Laughter at Howard-Browne’s meetings are viewed as being “drunk with (or in) the Holy Spirit,” and some do behave as if physically intoxicated, to the point that they are unable to drive home from meetings.

St. Paul specifically warns against the appearance of intoxication. He warned against the congregation speaking in tongues because onlookers will think them drunk (1 Cor 14:23).

Uncontrollable laughter is not a sign of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is not going to cause a person to lose his dignity and appear drunk or crazy. Inappropriate and uncontrollable laughter is actually a classic symptom of some types of mental illness. The Holy Spirit is not going to cause a normal and sane person to appear mentally ill like this. The Holy Spirit also does not force people to do anything so these phenomena that are not within the control of the person are not of God by definition.

The Toronto Phenomena had people not only in uncontrollable laughter but barking like dogs and such. This is nonsense and certainly not of God.

The cause of this so-called “holy laughter” may be 1) a psychological manifestation caused by stress and anxiety or a reaction of being caught up in the moment, or some other psychological genesis;  2) demonic; or 3) a combination of both.

While I do not intend to scare you I have to tell you that the reaction of the man on the floor to your laughter does not necessarily indicate that your laughter is from the Holy Spirit. The demon in him could react that way to the Holy Spirit, but the demon could also act that way in response to the presence of another demon if the laughter was actually sourced in the demonic.

I would advise you to pray to God and ask him to remove this “gift” from you. If you experience this “holy laughter” again after asking God to remove it, then it is assured that the “laughter” is not from God since God does not force anyone to do anything.

 

 

On Healing Mass:

Technically, there is no such thing as a Healing Mass. If there is a time where the priest prays over people for healing that must be done outside of the Mass. It can be done before or after the Mass, but never during the Mass. Your description seems to imply that this healing period was during the Mass. Maybe you meant that it was done after the Mass. If it was done during the Mass then the Priest violated Liturgical Law. He should know better.

Concerning Laying on of Hands:

You mention that a “speaker” of a meeting was laying on hands for healing. There was no reference that this speaker was a priest. We need to be very circumspect about this practice. The Church has specifically warned against laity practicing gestures and pseudo-rituals that too closely resemble those gestures and actions reserved to priests. Many charismatics perform pseudo-rituals that are very close to the Sacrament of Anointing. They will say they are not trying to do the Sacrament, and that is fine, but the Church says that we must have concern even over the “appearance” that others may perceive of our actions. One of the major documents from the Church on this is the Instruction on Prayers for Healing.

The Spirit in me be given to another:

This is very odd wording. If you mean the Holy Spirit, then you should have prayed in a manner like, “Lord please bring the Holy Spirit upon this poor soul…” The “Spirit in me” is not something I would want you to pray for me. What if you have a demonic spirit in or around you and you do not even know it? If you did you may have just given the poor man another demon (a good Catholic in a state of Grace can still have a demonic spirit).

Wiped the Blood of Jesus on his legs:

This is the most troubling of all, if you mean by this that you wiped the man’s leg with the Blessed Sacrament. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER do that. Why did you have the Blessed Sacrament in the first place? This was apparently a formation class. The Blessed Sacrament should have been locked in the Tabernacle in the Sanctuary.

In my opinion, doing this was a sacrilege against the Blessed Sacrament. The Sacrament is not to be used like Holy Oil or a salve. You could have wiped the man’s legs with blessed oil, but not with the Sacrament.

Bottom line: your story of the charismatic group illustrates the profound problems of Catholic charismatics who practice their charisma in a Pentecostal fashion instead of a Catholic expression.

As for your “holy laughter” I seriously suggest that you ask God to remove this “gift”. It does not serve the dignity of the human person or of God. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Charismatic healing Masses

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1049

August 29, 2009

When I was in High School I was introduced to a deliverance Ministry. They would pray over people using the name of Jesus. What is confusing to me was that the person or leader was not a priest and most importantly the location of this ministry was not a Catholic Church.

Also Healing masses would be done (by a Catholic priest) every month. However since I stopped coming to this prayer group I am still confused as to what I got myself into and have trying to think of whom to speak to.

My prayer life grew in part to what I learned in this ministry, healing, praying over people. Witnessing for the most part what might have been people being possessed with a demon. However, I still want to learn more about Spiritual Warfare not as a means to be prideful but a means to gain greater understanding and knowledge. It is something that I have grown up with. Can you help me? Do you know of any groups in Southern California that I might be able to pray and learn? I don’t know who to talk to, and until now I’ve found the only way to possibly get some answers. –Eric

Most of the groups who “pray over” others for deliverance are charismatics who, frankly, are not qualified to do this and often do more harm than good. Deliverance, properly done in our view, involves a lot more than a few prayers. Deliverance is a process over time, not a single prayer session.

There is actually no such thing as a “Healing Mass.” If a “healing” priest is willing to pray with people that must be done outside of the Mass (after the Mass). It is illegal to do it during the Mass.

Even though it is popular to call these a “Healing Mass”, the vast majority of priests actually do the healing prayers after the Mass.

You need to be very careful about learning about spiritual warfare. Mere curiosity is very dangerous. There is a level of knowledge, however, that is needed by all the faithful in order to protect oneself against the schemes of the devil.

I would suggest that you join the SPCDC Spiritual Warfare BBS and view the information, including recommended books and articles, found in the Resources area of the SPCDC website.

You may want to read two very important articles:

Satan’s Three Secret Strategies
Charism Gifts Uplifting the Church
Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1099

October 21, 2009

I wrote previously about attending a charismatic prayer group and that I stopped attending because of strange things going on there. Now the same people running this prayer group are having “Healing Masses” in our diocese and it is advertised as a Miracle Night of Healing. It promises healing and deliverance from illnesses and all sorts of bondages. I really do not think this sort of thing is in keeping with our Catholic faith. Am I wrong? If not, what can I do (or should I do anything)? -Kayla

 

 

Well, technically, there is no such thing as a “Healing Mass.” Some Charismatic priests do violate Liturgical Law by performing “healing” during the Mass. Most priests, however, pray with people, anoint them, and lay hands on them (the healing service) after Mass.

As long as the healing service is not during Mass, there is nothing wrong with praying for healing and deliverance. Often the charismatics are “over-exuberate” and presumptuous about these things, even superstitious at times, but a Prayer and Healing Service, if not during the Mass, is not a problem in-an-of-itself.

For those who have demonic bondages, however, this sort of “deliverance” service is inappropriate in my opinion because one needs to interview a person who has demonization problems and counsel with them over a period of time and not just pray over them. It can even be dangerous in some cases to merely pray over them without doing a counseling process.

The Sacrament of Anointing is often done by Charismatics Priests during these “healing services” for just anybody who present themselves. This is an abuse of the Sacrament and violates canon law (CIC 1004). The Sacrament of Anointing is only to be performed for those in danger of death “by reason of illness or old age”. The Sacrament is not to be administered merely because a person is ill. Obviously, therefore, the priest needs to know the condition of the person as to make a judgment on whether or not the Sacrament is appropriate, and not just administer the Sacrament to anyone who comes forward. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Charismatic Renewal: Prophecy is “forth-telling” not “fore-telling”

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1091

October 12, 2009

In one of your recent responses, “The Supernatural and God,” you stated: “Those who think they see the future do so by unconscious analysis of trends and events and surmise a future. These can sometimes be accurate, but that accuracy (which is always very low) comes from being an acute observer (consciously or unconsciously) of events that suggest a certain future. Information about the future can also come from demons. Demons do not actually know the future either, but they know a lot more than we do about the trends and events as to be able to make more accurate predictions.”
My question is: Might not God ever give us glimpses into the future through dreams for his own purposes, which we may not know? Although I’m sure it’s rare: can’t one of our dreams that may have shown us a future event have been sent to us by God? Omar

God is the only one who knows the future. He can and does communicate that knowledge when He chooses to angels, His prophets, and others when it serves His purposes. But, angels, prophets, and others cannot “just know” the future or come to know it by their own initiative — which is what is done by many so-called Christian prophets, especially in the Charismatic Renewal.

God will reveal this information only when it serves a specific purpose for His glory and His Salvation History. He does not reveal the future to self-appointed prophets like a parlor game. This is also true about other gifts of the spirit, such as Word of Knowledge, Word of Wisdom, and Discernment, for example.

By the way, the spiritual gift of prophecy is not what most charismatics think it is. Prophecy is “forth-telling” not “fore-telling”. The best equivalent is that the gift of prophecy is the gift of preaching. While it may sometimes involve information about future events, as in the Old Testament prophets, the prophets of those times, and now, are mostly preachers.

Since this question touches on this issue of spiritual gifts I refer people to the essay, Charism Gifts Building up the Church.

But to answer your question directly — yes, God does sometimes, but rarely, reveal future events to people in their dreams or in other ways.

I was going to say that a common and ordinary way this may happen is when, for example, a person is about to board an airplane that will crash and decide not to board, or those people who didn’t go to work on the day the Towers were destroyed on September 11th.

But, these things may have nothing to do with God revealing future events. This may be nothing more than the actions of Guardian Angels who knew all the factors taking place and thus knew from logic and intelligence of what was about to happen.

On September 11th, the Guardian Angels already knew what the terrorists were doing and planning before we did. That is an easy one to explain. As for a future plane crash and a Guardian Angel giving a person the inspiration to not board the plane, that again is easy to explain. The Angel knows the weather patterns, or the flaws in the plane, or the condition of the pilot, or the direction of flight of a flock of birds, or whatever variables that would lead to the plane crashing.

A lot that passes for prophetic knowledge of the future is merely a logical and intellectual assessment based on what is known of all the variables that go into the event. We humans do that all the time. We take a look at available evidence and make a prediction. We do not know all the variables so our predictions are not always right. The Angels, however, are privy to all variables, and thus they can appear to know the future when in fact they do not. They just see what is about to happen because they know there is a train around the bend that we do not see that will crash into us if we do not move off the rails. Nevertheless, there are times, of course, that God does reveal the future supernaturally. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Charismatic retreats

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1187

March 20, 2010

 

 

Where do you recommend a great Healing retreat in the country, one with Spiritual Direction, counseling and very Catholic? -Joe

Unfortunately, Retreat Centers are notorious for being heterodox, even using new age and occultic practices such as Centering Prayer, enneagram, yoga, and other improper practices.

Going to a Retreat Center as a private retreat for the quiet and pastoral environment is not a problem. The problems come from accepting classes or spiritual direction, or participating in any programs at the Retreat Center. Spiritual Direction at many of these Centers can be contrary to Church teaching on some issues.

All I can say is that if one is looking for a Retreat Center where they may receive Spiritual Direction and such they must check out the Retreat Center thoroughly to ensure they are not involved in questionable teachings and practices.

As for a “healing” retreat be careful of Charismatic centers. The Charismatic centers are often problematic. See the essay, Charism Gifts Building up the Church for details.

There is no retreat center that I know personally that I can recommend to a person in terms of participating in the center’s programs. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Charismatics and spiritual warfare

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1342

November 4, 2010

My wife has tremendous struggles in her life. She is a Samoan woman. She has been sexually and mentally abused by various relatives since nine years of age and horrifically abused by her mother and father. There’s so much to her story that I couldn’t possibly write it all in this forum. She is 44 years of age, has all sorts of diplomas and degrees but cannot hold down a job as her mind is often too confused to focus on a job for more than a week.

We have both been to various Catholic Charismatic Renewal centres. At the two centres she attended, each centre has a person working there who has a gift and the ability to tell you things about yourself that nobody could possibly know. (They say the information is received from the Holy Spirit).

The two people at each centre do not know one another but have told my wife the same things about her past and present. Amongst many other things, both told my wife that she has the spirit of death following her which has been following her since the age of nine (when the abuse started). What on earth is this spirit of death and how do we get rid of it? It follows one of her brothers and appears as a large black shadow of a man. My brother in law’s wife has seen it and their dogs go crazy when it appears. One of the dogs appears to be trying to bite the leg of this invisible creature. What can be done, brother? There have been many CCR prayers and prayers from everywhere but nothing seems to change. –Michael

Well, the first step is to stop seeking help from the Charismatic centers. Those in the Charismatic Renewal think they know all about spiritual warfare, but generally do know very little and often do harm to people who come to them for help. Our apostolate has had to pick up the pieces several times with clients who were harmed by Charismatic ministers and prayer groups.

This “gift” where Charismatics claim to “tell you things about yourself that nobody could possibly know” is mostly fraudulent. God’s does not give a gift of mediumship. God gives to confessors, on a very rare basis, a gift of reading souls. St. Padre Pio had this gift. Such a gift has almost no relevance outside of confession.

We always have to ask what “spirit” is telling these people about someone. The devil can give these Charismatics the information about other people, too. I will bet money that the Charismatics who do this merely presume their “gift” is from God, and never truly and objectively test their gift, even though the devil can counterfeit gifts like this at a drop of a hat.

I would suggest you read our article, Charism Gifts Building up the Church. This article goes into great detail the pros and cons of the Charismatic Renewal, a listing of thirty gifts found in the Bible with their definitions, and outlines the “Pentecostalisms” that infect the Renewal with false theologies and practices.

As to the primary question about your wife: Given the experiences of your wife when she was young she can probably benefit from professional counselor, especially a counselor who is a good and loyal Catholic. There are many psychological scares associated with sex abuse.

Secondly, since demons are opportunists, those evil things can see the vulnerability in us and try to exploit us. Thus, even though the main issue may be psychological, demons can intrude and interfere.

Thus, on the spiritual side of things, I recommend that your wife follow the Seven Steps to Self-Deliverance linked below*. Also, linked is our Spiritual Warfare Catalog. There are prayers called Hedge Prayers of Protection and similar other prayers that can be useful to you. Another one is Rebuking Particular Spirits. We can rebuke evil spirits. But, we are never to ask demons their names. Thus, we call the demons by their attribute, such as the spirit of lust, anger, greed, unforgiveness, etc. Also, in the catalog is a House Cleansing and Blessing. It would be wise to have your house blessed. If a priest is not willing to use this House Cleansing and Blessing, we can lead you through it over the phone.

If trying those steps for a few months does not bring any relief then you may want to contact us for formal deliverance counseling.

For information on how to receive help see our Help page. We suggest that before contacting us directly for help you try the Seven Steps to Self-Deliverance. These self-help steps will often resolve the problem. Also our Spiritual Warfare Prayer Catalog contains many prayers that may be helpful.

In the meantime we will be in prayer for her. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

 

 

 

Being Slain in the Spirit

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1460

July 14, 2011

By laying of hands when the Holy Spirit enters a person who has certain amount of sins he will be falling down; is this true? -Thomas

The only time that the Holy Spirit “enters” us upon laying on of hands is in the Sacraments (e.g., Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Orders). The phenomenon that I think you are talking about where a person falls down is called, among other things, fainting is the spirit. The idea is that the person is overwhelmed by the presence of the Holy Spirit that they faint, fall down.

This has nothing to do with sin. Most of this phenomenon, I believe, is psychological and has little to do with a genuine spiritual experience.

 

Charismatics

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1792

March 1, 2013

There seems to be a huge surge of charismatic Catholics in my church including the priest. I went to see a charismatic healer many years ago when I first came into the faith and I was prayed with. To be honest I did not think he was so holy. In fact looking back I must have been desperate to go in first place. I am not sure weather its me, but the last while people I thought who where practicing devoted Catholics don’t seem to be anymore, but are more like Baptists or a have a protestant way about them that I just can not take too and in the name of Catholics. The group has been to other denominations over the years for teachings and it seems to have had an effect on them for the worst. My fear is this seems to have infiltrated the Church. I am finding myself avoiding the church and will travel miles to another church. In fact the whole charismatic ways nauseate me and I have felt a huge uneasiness in the past including the baptism in the Holy Spirit or known as Life in the Spirit Seminar. That did nothing for me with exception of an anxiety. I actually did the Life in the Spirit Seminar twice over the years, wondering what the big deal was. It’s only lately that I have started to see all this. Could you please help as I wonder am I taken it all too seriously at times. -Berniece

It is possible for the Catholic Charismatic Renewal to be a great asset to the Church and to the Faithful, but the Renewal needs to be Catholic and not Pentecostal. Unfortunately, much of the Renewal borrows ideas from the Pentecostals, who are wrong about the Charismatic experience nearly to a 100%.

We have an extensive and detailed essay about the Charism Gifts of the Spirit, and the Pros and Cons of the Renewal. This essay includes an extension list of “Pentecostalism” that contaminates the Renewal.

This essay, by the way, got me kicked out of a Life in the Spirit seminar in Watertown, South Dakota. The “leader” was rather rude and insulting about it. Where the Holy Spirit was in that, I do not know. Because of the nature of the Renewal ego and even snobbery is common among many, though not all, of its members.

I believe, rather I know that the Renewal can actually damage people more than help them, unless the warnings detailed in our essay are heeded. I know this because I have seen the damage with my own eyes. I saw this damage to a man in Watertown. I have had to pick up the pieces of more than one client who was damaged by a Charismatic priest doing deliverance. People in the Renewal seem to think they know something about spiritual warfare and deliverance. They know next to nothing about it by merely being in the Renewal, and damage people, and themselves as a result.

Much of the problem is not necessarily the Renewal as a whole, but with individual leaders. Nevertheless, I have met no Protestant Charismatic and only a handful of Catholic Charismatics who seem to have their head on straight about the Charismatic experience.

One of the biggest problems, and one in which Pope Benedict warned about, is discerning the world through subjective emotion. Charismatics tend to lead with their emotion and subjective “feelings”. This is profoundly dangerous and the engine behind many a heresy, heterodoxy, and other mis-adventures among the people who do this.

The Church officially states that emotion and feelings are a great gift from God, but emotions must always be under the guidance of reason. Charismatics are famous for violating that teaching, and so are Marian Apparition groupies.

The Renewal can be an asset to those who need a kick in the rear to do that they should have always done since their Confirmation. The only “Baptism in the Spirit” is in the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation. Once kicked into gear, that is, once one’s gift is fanned into flame, as St. Paul put it (2 Tim 1:6), then it is time to move on into spiritual adulthood, where the subjective and the emotional gives way to reasoned, matured, and more stable faith. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

See

BRO IGNATIUS MARY

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/BRO_IGNATIUS_MARY.doc

VASSULA RYDEN-BRO IGNATIUS MARY

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/VASSULA_RYDEN-BRO_IGNATIUS_MARY.doc

SPIRITUAL WARFARE-BRO IGNATIUS MARY

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/SPIRITUAL_WARFARE-BRO_IGNATIUS_MARY.doc

YOGA-BRO IGNATIUS MARY

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/YOGA-BRO_IGNATIUS_MARY.doc

 

 

NEW AGE-BRO IGNATIUS MARY

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/NEW_AGE-BRO_IGNATIUS_MARY.doc

LITURGICAL ABUSE-BRO IGNATIUS MARY

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/LITURGICAL_ABUSE-BRO_IGNATIUS_MARY.doc

TESTIMONY OF A FORMER PROTESTANT-363

BRO. IGNATIUS MARY OMSM

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/TESTIMONY_OF_A_FORMER_PROTESTANT-363.doc

 

More related files – in the context of cults and sects founded by ex-Catholic charismatic lay persons, read:

EMPEROR EMMANUEL-DANGEROUS DOOMSDAY CULT

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/EMPEROR_EMMANUEL-DANGEROUS_DOOMSDAY_CULT.doc

EMPEROR EMMANUEL-DANGEROUS DOOMSDAY CULT-SUMMARY

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/EMPEROR_EMMANUEL-DANGEROUS_DOOMSDAY_CULT-SUMMARY.doc

ANTHONY SAMUEL-ADONAI’S BRIDE-CATHOLIC CHARISMATIC PREACHER TURNS PENTECOSTAL

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/ANTHONY_SAMUEL-ADONAIS_BRIDE-CATHOLIC_CHARISMATIC_PREACHER_TURNS_PENTECOSTAL.doc

ARMY OF JESUS PENTECOSTALS MASQUERADE AS CATHOLIC NUNS

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/ARMY_OF_JESUS_PENTECOSTALS_MASQUERADE_AS_CATHOLIC_NUNS.doc

 

RELATIONSHIP TO NON-CHRISTIAN RELIGIONS

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/RELATIONSHIP_TO_NON_CHRISTIAN_RELIGIONS.doc

 

CATHOLIC CHARISMATIC RENEWAL

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/CATHOLIC_CHARISMATIC_RENEWAL.doc

CATHOLIC ASHRAMS AND THE CATHOLIC CHARISMATIC RENEWAL

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/CATHOLIC_ASHRAMS_AND_THE_CATHOLIC_CHARISMATIC_RENEWAL.doc

WHAT’S HAPPENED TO THE CATHOLIC CHARISMATIC RENEWAL?

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/WHATS_HAPPENED_TO_THE_CATHOLIC_CHARISMATIC_RENEWAL.doc

 

DIVINE RETREAT CENTRE ERRORS-01
ENNEAGRAM PRACTITIONER LALITH PERERA MINISTERS

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/DIVINE_RETREAT_CENTRE_ERRORS-01.doc

DIVINE RETREAT CENTRE ERRORS-02
MAUREEN SWEENEY-HOLY LOVE MINISTRIES PROMOTED

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/DIVINE_RETREAT_CENTRE_ERRORS-02.doc

DIVINE RETREAT CENTRE ERRORS-03
VASSULA RYDEN INVITED

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/DIVINE_RETREAT_CENTRE_ERRORS-03.doc

DIVINE RETREAT CENTRE ERRORS-04
 USE OF THE HINDU BINDI OR TILAK MARK

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/DIVINE_RETREAT_CENTRE_ERRORS-04.doc

DIVINE RETREAT CENTRE ERRORS-05
 YOGA PROMOTED

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/DIVINE_RETREAT_CENTRE_ERRORS-05.doc

DIVINE RETREAT CENTRE ERRORS-05-B REBUTTAL OF FR AUGUSTINE VALLOORAN

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/DIVINE_RETREAT_CENTRE_ERRORS-05-B.doc

DIVINE RETREAT CENTRE ERRORS-07 EDMUND ANTAO-CRUSADERS OF JESUS WITH MARY

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/DIVINE_RETREAT_CENTRE_ERRORS-07.doc

DIVINE RETREAT CENTRE ERRORS-08
CONDEMNATION OF DRINKING ALCOHOL

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/DIVINE_RETREAT_CENTRE_ERRORS-08.doc

 

CHARISINDIA ERRORS-01
PRO-CONTRACEPTION ARTICLE

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/CHARISINDIA_ERRORS-01.doc

CHARISINDIA ERRORS-02
EULOGIES AT FR. RUFUS’ FUNERAL MASS

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/CHARISINDIA_ERRORS-02.doc

CHARISINDIA ERRORS-03
ERRORS ABOUT FRANCIS MACNUTT

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/CHARISINDIA_ERRORS-03.doc

CHARISINDIA ERRORS-04

ARTICLE AUTHORSHIP WRONGLY ATTRIBUTED

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/CHARISINDIA_ERRORS-04.doc

CHARISINDIA ERRORS-05
BANNED FROM THE NATIONAL CHARISMATIC CONVENTION

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/CHARISINDIA_ERRORS-05.doc

CHARISINDIA ERRORS-07
ERRORS IN BACK ISSUES OF CHARISINDIA

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/CHARISINDIA_ERRORS-07.doc

CHARISINDIA ERRORS-08
ERRORS ABOUT FR. THAMBURAJ AS CHAIRMAN

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/CHARISINDIA_ERRORS-08.doc



Categories: PROTESTANTISM

3 replies

  1. Hi. I first found out about your Web site from Sharon Lee Giganti from the USA who has a ministry focused on helping Catholics be aware of New Age and occult influences[1].

    I am writing to you today to make you aware that the site your above information is from is quite problematic and has been given a red (meaning warning) rating from Catholic Culture[2] who do a wonderful job of advising Catholics of the orthodoxy of various groups or people who claim to be Catholic. This list can be accessed on their site[3].

    Catholic Culture’s review[4] of the St. Michael’s Call site (www.saint-mike.org) states, among other concerns, that its founder, Bro. Ignatius, is on the sex-offense registry [in the USA]. Any reputable Web site, I’m sure, would not want to be associated in any way with such person or organization.

    I hope this information is helpful to you and your ministry.

    [1] newagedeception.com
    [2] catholicculture.org
    [3] http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/reviews/browse.cfm?browseby=ratings
    [4] http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/reviews/view.cfm?recnum=144&repos=2&subrepos=0&searchid=1177503

    Your sister in Christ,
    Lisa deMOAOC
    Canada

  2. Hi again. I just wanted to add that many of your links[1] link to the Ohio Spiritual Warfare Center. This center is affiliated with St. Michael’s Call and also has a red (warning) rating.[2] I encourage you to read Catholic Culture’s review of both these sites for details. I have found their list quite useful over the years as there are so many Judas’ to stay away from.

    Again, I hope this information is helpful.

    [1] For example under the heading “Lifeteen Mass/Youth Mass abuses”
    [2] http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/reviews/view.cfm?recnum=4255&repos=2&subrepos=0&searchid=1177544

    Your sister in Christ,
    Lisa deMOAOC
    Canada

  3. Dear Lisa,
    Thank you. I greatly appreciate your bringing this to my notice.
    This blog ephesians511 is neither owned nor managed by me. The owner posted your two communications and informed me about them.
    To contact me, you must use my email address which is michaelprabhu@vsnl.net.
    My web site is of course http://www.ephesians-511.net.
    I am already aware of the catholicculture postings about the saint-mike site.
    As a matter of fact, I spent over two months [believe it or not!] diligently studying every possible line on the saint-mike site, and weighing every situation…
    I had to make a most difficult decision… and made it… which was to put up Bro. Ignatius Mary’s work.
    I am in ministry myself for over 30 years and have moved closely with the biggest lay leaders and most famous Catholic names in India. I found them all to have weaknesses and moral failures. I should not forget to include myself in that category. I always think what if I had been caught in the act and exposed, what would have become of my ministry, my life. I too have been a great sinner, sister. I cannot bring myself to judge or condemn anyone. I just didn’t get caught. I simply cannot bring myself to accept that if someone was sent to prison once, he or she must be rejected in ministry even though he or she has sincerely repented. It can happen to the best of us.
    Without any prejudice to you, I understand what you were trying to convey to me and appreciate your concern. My decision to publish saint-mike on my site was on the basis of its content. It has a lot against New Age — though I disagree with Ignatius Mary on some issues — and is quite good in its analysis of issues in regard to deliverance ministry [even though, again, I may not agree with him 100%] and generally in answering readers enquiries about different aspects of the Catholic faith in their various Q&A fora.
    The content would be helpful to some Catholics searching for answers.
    I did find Bro. Ignatius Mary harsh and aggressive in certain places, but if you read his website and fora as meticulously as I have, you will find that he has had a hard family and health life and engaged in a fight to stay clean. A few good Catholics have rallied around him and given him the fellowship that he requires, and that makes me happy.
    Lisa, I like your straightforwardness and pro-activeness. People like you are a blessing to the Church. I hope that we can be friends as we are all working for the same cause.
    Sharon Lee has been in touch with me many times in the past. She is a wonderful person. As are you.
    The owner of ephesians511 blog says that he likes your blog site. I will try to access it after this letter. God bless you.
    Pray for me, I am recovering after bypass heart surgery for four major blocks.
    Love and prayers,
    Michael

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EPHESIANS-511.NET- A Roman Catholic Ministry Exposing Errors in the Indian Church Michael Prabhu, METAMORPHOSE, #12,Dawn Apartments, 22,Leith Castle South Street, Chennai – 600 028, Tamilnadu, India. Phone: +91 (44) 24611606 E-mail: michaelprabhu@vsnl.net, http://www.ephesians-511.net

EPHESIANS-511.NET- A Roman Catholic Ministry Exposing Errors in the Indian Church

Michael Prabhu, METAMORPHOSE, #12,Dawn Apartments, 22,Leith Castle South Street, Chennai - 600 028, Tamilnadu, India. Phone: +91 (44) 24611606 E-mail: michaelprabhu@vsnl.net, http://www.ephesians-511.net

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