JUNE 3/JULY 26, 2013
What’s happened to the Catholic Charismatic Renewal?
THIS PAGE WILL BE UPDATED REGULARLY FROM MY EMAIL ARCHIVES AND EARLIER REPORTS AS WELL AS FROM NEW INCOMING MAIL AND FROM NEWS STORIES
After over a decade of ineffective writing to priests and lay leaders in Catholic charismatic ministry in India, to the directors and preachers of retreat centres and independent ministries, and to the bishops concerned, this ministry has decided to publish all related records on the errors propagated by them.
The list of already published reports may be found at the bottom of the present report.
I. A member of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal [CCR] in Italy wrote to me in response to a letter from me:
Sent: Monday, June 03, 2013 11:49 AM
I would never have believed that the CR was a genuine manifestation of the Holy Spirit* if not for the fact that an astonishing outpouring took place from 1981 among members of my wife’s family — at their home [it was outside of the prayer group structure] — and I’ve never seen or heard of its near equivalent in the Church since that time. I took extensive notes and made audio recordings of hundreds of prophecies. I was a lapsed, even anti-, Catholic at that time. The events resulted in my conversion. My ministry is “proof” of the fulfilment of one prophecy.
*From my three-decade experience of the Indian renewal, it is largely about power, control and domination, opposition to genuine charismatic ministries that arise independent of the mainstream hierarchial renewal, unhealthy ‘competition’ among powerful retreat centres, sycophancy, nepotism, a stifling of the prophetic spirit, taking strong exception to correction of error, living in denial, being in the vanguard of liturgical abuse… and that’s not all…
In the final analysis, most charismatics here appear to defend erroneous teachings of their leaders as against instead being concerned of what the truth really is. Blind, unquestioning loyalty to the leadership and lack of knowledge of the catechism and other Church teaching has made the institutional renewal an entity that I prefer to distance myself from.
I have begun exposing some of this in reports on my web site.
Sent: Monday, June 03, 2013 1:12 PM EXTRACT
Sad to say, some of the temptation to power and domination has also tainted the leadership of the Italian Renewal, out of blind loyalty to the leader, as you say. I still belong to the RnS and am on friendly terms with all, but they have fallen out with the ICCRS, and they chose not to be represented at all at the “Pentecost of the Nations” in St Paul’s on Pentecost Sunday. We need to pray hard for the Holy Spirit’s guidance for us all and especially for the Pope. Alex, journalist, ITALY
II. A response to Ron Smith, an excerpt from my APRIL 2011 article,
CATHOLIC CHARISMATIC RENEWAL:
My wife and I, in the second phase of the growth of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal [CCR] in New Delhi, India, planted several prayer groups across the city commencing with one in our own parish of St. Michael’s Church, Prasad Nagar in the second week of June 1982.
This was initiated by us against messages received in locutions by members of the Mendonza family in Coonoor, Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu, occurring during family prayer [that included the Rosary, a Bible reading and hymns, from December 25, 1981, resulting in my conversion experience during my visit and ten-day stay there in May 1982.
During those ten days, my wife and I and our sons aged four and seven witnessed and experienced most of the “charismatic” gifts being “operated” in a sovereign intervention of the Holy Spirit in this family [meaning that they had no prior exposure to or association with charismatic prayer meetings.]
Several messages addressed to me were in the nature of requests from Jesus and His Blessed Mother to start a prayer group in New Delhi on my return there, to tell the Bishops that the Charismatic Renewal in the Church is the work of the Holy Spirit, and an assurance that the Renewal would “grow” there. Another assurance given to me was that one day my ministry would reach “tens of thousands”.
Three things must be noted here:
1. It was several years since I had been to Church and the Sacraments. I was a lapsed Catholic.
2. I had never handled — leave alone possessed — a Bible before in my life.
3. I had never ever heard the term “Charismatic Renewal”.
I was privileged to be a member of the first service team of the CCR in New Delhi and continued to serve it almost until I left the city. We organised the first CCR retreats, seminars, vigils and rallies.
However, after moving to Chennai, my experience with the CCR here was not in the least edifying.
In fact, a lot of what I heard and saw scandalized and confused me.
Apart from the common problems that exist in other pious associations and which — from my isolated Delhi experience — I naively expected not to encounter among charismatic leaders, what troubled me even more were the excesses that I noted, in teaching, in practice, even in the liturgy of the Holy Mass. I recall that as early as in 1982 itself, I had heard a message from Jesus through a locutionist in Coonoor lamenting the destruction by charismatic Catholics themselves of “this beautiful Renewal” – to use the words “received” from Our Lord. The locutionist wept while giving us this message.
Readers are not obliged to consider or believe any of this, as this is what is called “Private Revelation”. Neither do I base my own Faith, my Christian living or my ministry on these revelations.
The fact that I was in part-time ministry till 1992 in Delhi, and am now in full-time ministry, living by faith since 1993, is in itself a testimony to the fulfilment of the Coonoor “prophecies”.
The Charismatic Renewal is now centered in New Delhi, a possibility whose mention would have been laughed at only a few years earlier by the prayer groups and leaders of Bangalore and Mumbai which were once the National Centres of the different ministries of the Renewal, and the deep South, especially Kerala, which has produced scores of charismatic ministries and retreat centres over the last thirty years.
I must add that the original notebook in which scores of these messages were recorded is in my possession, and so too a couple of audio-tapes of a few hours of these messages. They have been examined by many people and a few priests over the years. Yet, as far as my ministry is concerned, I place such little emphasis on this experiential background of mine that few of even my very closest friends are aware of it and would be greatly surprised if they read what I am sharing here.
Like Ron Smith, I am not pleased to label myself a “charismatic” for the reasons mentioned above [and a few others which I have not mentioned here but which I write about in the contexts of my different articles and reports]. Responding to enquiries, I reply that my spirituality is charismatic, but at the same time it is my belief that there are other unique spiritualities too in the Church.
Some of my main problems with the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in India [and I am generalizing on its leaders here, not the humble and sincere majority in the rank and file membership] are:
Ignorance of the times:
There are very few speakers who cannot be replaced by another; there is almost no one with a really unique ministry, no one who speaks on a myriad of issues that today’s Catholic needs to be informed about.
Power-mongering and nepotism:
Charges that are self-evident if one looks at the constituted service teams, charges leveled by some leaders themselves. Many good and gifted leaders have left the Renewal in disgust, a few the Church. Leadership in some cities rotates within members of families. In others the leadership of the ’80s still dominates the scene
There are other charges that some of the elections are “rigged” [influenced]. I experienced one such in Delhi when a National Chairman, a Jesuit priest, flew over to oversee an election of the Service Team.
A spirit of compromise:
The CCR exists and functions at the pleasure of the Bishops; hence any issue that might ruffle episcopal feathers is carefully avoided. [Example: even an international seminar — by exorcists — on EXORCISM and Deliverance had to be called a Seminar on HEALING and Deliverance.]
Absence of a prophetic spirit:
Senior Renewal leaders [including priests] who write to me privately lament the errors being printed in Catholic literature, taught in the seminaries, encouraged by the dioceses, institutionalized in the Church, and even practiced and promoted by prominent Renewal leaders [again, including priests], but they do nothing about it, even co-hosting programmes with offenders, some of whom have promoted New Age in the Renewal. I have had several cases reported to me of leaders who challenged the status quo being ousted.
An inordinate pursuance of the phenomenal gifts:
Healing conventions, programmes led by priests or lay persons known to exercise the gifts of visions, prophecy, the Word of Knowledge, deliverance, “slaying in the spirit”, etc. draw crowds. Relatively serious themes like apologetics, New Age, studies of Vatican Documents/Scripture and mundane issues related to growth in holiness are fairly non-existent or elicit a much less enthusiastic response from charismatics.
As a combination of all the above, the leaders have no incentive to learn anything new or different.
They can hardly think or act outside the box — the articles written by Indians in at least a dozen charismatic publications are proof of this; they still need to reprint articles from a decade- or two- old U.S. charismatic magazines — because they don’t need to. The faith of the common charismatic Catholic is often based on emotional experience and unquestioning loyalty to the teachings of his group leader. They are quite content with the sense of security from being accepted in their charismatic circles and with the milk that they are fed instead of a gradual progression to solid food.
With the collapse of any of their securities, charismatics drop out of the Renewal or leave the Church.
I can list several former regional chairmen who simply “vanished” after their elected terms were over.
Errors and excesses:
Example: “Smoking and drinking of alcohol is a mortal sin.” Nowhere does the Church teach that.
Example: Regional and national-level leaders and preachers have been or are into New Age.
Example: Some who are closet Pentecostals or who reject Marian or other doctrines or who teach erroneous doctrines like “Word Faith theology” are encouraged to minister in the Renewal.
Example: Use of the “Om” mantra in bhajans. Check out the Praise the Lord CCR official hymnal.
Example: The promotion of yoga in major charismatic retreat centres.
Example: The faithful adopting the “Orans” posture a la the celebrant during the Our Father, the priest leaving the altar/sanctuary during the “exchange of peace”, singing at the elevation, self-intinction, “praying/singing in tongues” during the Liturgy, congregation joining in singing the Doxology, felicitations and applause, etc. The list is far from exhaustive. Occurrences of the above — and many others — are documented in different articles and reports on this ministry’s web site.
The CCR has to a great extent become one more pious activity in the Church, an end unto itself.
I would like to assert once again that I am not indulging in charismatic-bashing or in condemning the Catholic Charismatic Renewal; I reiterate that my spirituality is very much charismatic.
I write as one who would like to see, as it were, a new Pentecost in the Charismatic Renewal, or as my first mentor, the late charismatic priest Fr. Francis Rebello SJ prayed for, “a renewal of the Renewal”.
III. Dissent at Catholic Youth Ministries
By Austin Ruse, Crisis Magazine, July 19, 2013
Scott Hahn, once a charismatic himself, told me the charismatic movement was one lane coming into the church and six going out. What is the calculus for Catholic youth ministries? How many lanes in? How many lanes out?
Austin Ruse is president of C-FAM (Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute), a New York and Washington DC-based research institute focusing on international legal and social policy.
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
V. [TO BE ENTERED]
LIST OF RELATED PUBLISHED REPORTS AND DOCUMENTS
In the context of cults and sects founded by ex-Catholic charismatic lay persons, read:
EMPEROR EMMANUEL-DANGEROUS DOOMSDAY CULT
EMPEROR EMMANUEL-DANGEROUS DOOMSDAY CULT-SUMMARY
ANTHONY SAMUEL-ADONAI’S BRIDE-CATHOLIC CHARISMATIC PREACHER TURNS PENTECOSTAL
ARMY OF JESUS PENTECOSTALS MASQUERADE AS CATHOLIC NUNS
RELATIONSHIP TO NON-CHRISTIAN RELIGIONS
CATHOLIC CHARISMATIC RENEWAL
*CATHOLIC CHARISMATIC RENEWAL-BRO IGNATIUS MARY
CATHOLIC ASHRAMS AND THE CATHOLIC CHARISMATIC RENEWAL
DIVINE RETREAT CENTRE ERRORS-01
– ENNEAGRAM PRACTITIONER LALITH PERERA MINISTERS
DIVINE RETREAT CENTRE ERRORS-02
– MAUREEN SWEENEY-HOLY LOVE MINISTRIES PROMOTED
DIVINE RETREAT CENTRE ERRORS-03
– VASSULA RYDEN INVITED
DIVINE RETREAT CENTRE ERRORS-04
– USE OF THE HINDU BINDI OR TILAK MARK
DIVINE RETREAT CENTRE ERRORS-05
– YOGA PROMOTED
DIVINE RETREAT CENTRE ERRORS-05-B REBUTTAL OF FR AUGUSTINE VALLOORAN
DIVINE RETREAT CENTRE ERRORS-07 EDMUND ANTAO-CRUSADERS OF JESUS WITH MARY
DIVINE RETREAT CENTRE ERRORS-08
CONDEMNATION OF DRINKING ALCOHOL
– PRO-CONTRACEPTION ARTICLE
– EULOGIES AT FR. RUFUS’ FUNERAL MASS
– ERRORS ABOUT FRANCIS MACNUTT
ARTICLE AUTHORSHIP WRONGLY ATTRIBUTED
– BANNED FROM THE NATIONAL CHARISMATIC CONVENTION
– ERRORS IN BACK ISSUES OF CHARISINDIA
– ERRORS ABOUT FR. THAMBURAJ AS CHAIRMAN