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« Secret Agent Super Pope | Main | Prayer, Conversion, & Free Will »

January 25, 2007

Comments

DJ

In general terms, if the messages contain predictions that come true then this is a sign that they are genuine;

Even then, still be careful. I've seen some bad fruits from many Charismatic circles. My wife grew up in Charismatic circles and there are some unholy things that go on at times(as well as holy...I'm not dissing the Charismatics.)

Reminds me of a friend of mine(he's not really a religious person) who used to do Tarot. He stopped because his predictions were getting eerily accurate. You can image what type of predictions would make someone stop practicing something like that.

Anna

The Church thus far has not attempted to make a systematic determination of how many of these reports are genuine, and it is likely to do so given the overwhelming number of them.
Did you mean unlikely rather than likely?

Esau

if they contain statements of a theological nature that are false then it is a sign that they are not genuine.

Do not quench the Spirit, do not despise prophesying, but test everything; hold fast what is good (1 Thess. 5:19-21).


Great advice!

Charismatics I've met (though, I don't believe that this goes for all since there are the others who are genuinely touched by the Holy Spirit and testify truly to the Catholic Faith and Our Lord & Saviour) have been more cultish than anything else; submitting to the teachings of their little communities rather than the Teachings of the Church; replacing Tradition passed on from the times of the Apostles forward with what certainly are but man-made traditions; giving supreme reverence and obedience to their spiritual community leader than the Pope, where here, it would certainly appear a personality cult has indeed developed as, for the most part, these followers actually submit a portion of their income to these folks.

Esau

In the second half of the 20th century, the Catholic Charismatic movement developed, and many more reports of this type of activity began to be made.

I would think that perhaps one possible reason why there are more reports than in the past (even prior to any such movement) was due to the advances in technology where dessimination of information had become increasingly instantaneous.

jhughesdunphy

Dear Jimmy:
Just a note to warn that Catholics tend to become absorbed with charasmatics, perhaps because of the emoting that is so common on TV these days with televangelists and the 'moving spirit.' Catholics like to get in on the act, especially liberal ones, with what's groovey in the church. We tried that for a number of years now and, thankfully, we have a very steady hand on the throne of Peter, Pope Benedict XVI who is now initiating a a restoration, long overdue. Expecially significant, is the way he is leveling much of the 'crazy religion' that has taken over as he brings us back to the Tridentine Mass of tradition. Catholics have been too distracted for too long away from the real essence of our faith, the holy sacrifice of the Mass, our repentance of sin, and the most Holy Eucharist received again worthily by the lost and fallen away Catholics in the millions over the last forty years since Vatican II.

http:theorthodoxromancatholic.com
j hughes dunphy

Realist

To reiterate an op-ed:

As per Father Edward Schillebeeckx, contemporary Catholic theologian and author, (Fr. Sillybeeks to some of you) prophets and prophecies are not possible for even God does not know the Future i.e. Future is a subset of the gift of Free Will.

In his book, Church: The Human Story of God, Schillebeeckx notes, "Therefore the historical future is not known even to God; otherwise we and our history would be merely a puppet show in which God holds the strings. For
God, too, history is an adventure, an open history for and of men and women."

St. Paul's prophecy about the imminent Second Coming fortunately for us did not materialize but it did convert a lot of Gentiles and indeed opened their purse strings and still does.

OK now you "prophets of doom of the Realist" start your "engines".

Shane

In his book, Church: The Human Story of God, Schillebeeckx notes, "Therefore the historical future is not known even to God; otherwise we and our history would be merely a puppet show in which God holds the strings. For
God, too, history is an adventure, an open history for and of men and women."

This has a tremendous logical fallacy in it, one big enough to drive 5 trucks through. It equates knowledge with will, failing to seperate them. In other words, it assumes that just because someone knows something will happen, it means that that person actually makes it happen. It isn't any more true than to say this than to say that just because I know the sun will rise tomorrow it means I make it rise, or any number of other things.

If Marty McFly takes the DeLorian back a few minutes before the Lincoln Assasination and hovers in the sky out of range of anyone's ability to notice him, and assuming nobody sees him with a telescope and no birds cross by his path, so that nothing he does, even his presence, could impact events, obviously his knowledge of the impending assasination doesn't cause it to happen. Neither Lincoln nor Booth or anyone else is a puppet in Marty McFly's hands. This is, however, essentially what is being argued about God.

Esau

...prophets and prophecies are not possible for even God does not know the Future

Darn it!

And here I am thinking that God was omniscient!

It's amazing -- God is ever so powerful enough to create the whole world; however, he actually doesn't have the foreknowledge to know exactly what the hell is going on!

I wonder what's the point of the Bible then and the story about Jesus???

These must certainly be myths as those of the Greek gods!

The story of Jesus must be similar to such Greek myths, then, and his story is simply that of another demigod; nothing more!

Well, Realist, I'm glad that you've enlightened me!

I must say, I should revert back to my days of Nietzsche and perhaps God is simply nothing more than an invention of man after all!

Radical Catholic Mom

Frankly, I have found "cult like" behavior in many Catholic groups, not just Charismatic groups. I think in any group one belongs, a person should use their brain and judge the matter before them with what they do know.

I was a very reluctant believer in Charismatic prayer. But I assure those who are hostile to this form of prayer, God does indeed act where 2 or 3 are gathered in His name. I have experienced God in a deeply intimate manner through this form of prayer and do not feel threatened by it one bit. Like I said, some of the extreme conservative Catholic groups to whom I used to pray with were big into being their own Pope.

So, once again, use said brain.

Just remember, the Catholic Church has THE largest group of Charismatics in the world, most of whom reside in India, Philippines and now Latin America.

Curious

"Reminds me of a friend of mine(he's not really a religious person) who used to do Tarot."

How odd that I come across this blog with a topic I was looking into. I know a plus 70 old lady who is a devote Catholic. She attends Mass, part of the Blue Army, usually in the perpetual adoration chapel as well. However she also does card readings on the side. Whenever she does a reading she begins with (the Trinitarian formula and) a prayer for God's healing for the one being read, and inspiration to help them in conformity of God's will. (I haven't had a reading, but have seen her do one at her home.) When I asked her why does she do this practice, which is against Canon Law, she replied this was a gift of the Holy Spirit, the charism of prophecy, and it was through this method she could discern Him. What do you make of this woman who is reverent and pious except for this "plausible" thing?

A.Williams

On Realists post....I guess St.Peter was pretty lucky to find the coin in the mouth of the fish with which he paid the Temple tax, even as Jesus admonished him to do.

Must be coincindence, since Jesus could'nt have known that the very same fish which 'just happened' to swallow a coin, would swim by at the very moment Peter would be throwing his line in. WHAT LUCK! Maybe we should all try paying our taxes with this method, since it works so well!

A.Williams

My honest opinion of the Charismatic movement is that it is merely an off shoot or 'copy-cat' movement founded by the Protestant evangelicals and fundementalists. The Catholics 'just had to' get in on the action!

I currently live about 300 miles from the country of Haiti. It is here, and in other isles of the Carribean, that I've read and believe, most of this charismatic stuff started. Basically, it has roots in African religions and superstitions, wherein senseless dancing,trances and ecstacy's are part of many of the ceremonies. In this sense, when one is "out of his mind", so to say, he/she is then considered to be the more spiritual.

Now I have had numerous friends who were Charismatics and I've also attended various conventions, just to get a first hand look. And it seems to me that even in the Catholic Charismatic movement the same principles seem to be practiced. The stranger the experience, the more authentic it is..whether it be speaking in tongues, prophesying or being 'slain' in the Spirit...so to say.

However, what seems to be a common thread in these experiences, and with these groups, is that the members don't seem to have an attraction for the authentic spiritual teachings and devotional examples the Catholic Saints.(or if they do, they don't care to practice or imitate the Saint's virtues and 'charisms'). Really, I could never find any Charismatic who was truly interested in such truly spiritual wisdom and acts of charity. And one of the reasons why, I think, is because the Saints(Desert Fathers, Sts. Francis, Dominic, Cure de Ars.,..etc.) always stressed the practice of the virtues.. and the mystical phenomena, though it occurred, was not STRESSED, much less, HIGHLIGHTED. Their lives were thus filled with acts of VIRTUE, first, spiritual phenomena, second. This was always fundemental and primary. And 2 virtues stand out amongst them all, one being a tender fidelity, understanding and 'building up' of the Magisterium of the Church, and also a true understanding and practice of the virtue of MODESTY.

Now, today, in my city of Santo Domingo, Benny Hinn will arrive...to do "his thing"! And I can only think how shameful it is that Catholics would want to imitate him, instead of learning from the lives and sayings of true men(and women) of authentic holiness and devotion..the Saints. Why does everyone love so much the pomp, pride, 'show' and spectacle of these immodest false prophets? I guess it's the innate attraction for pomp and vanity in us all??

Long live the countless Catholic Saints!...the true teachers of a healthy, balanced and HOLY Christian spirituality!

Esau

Like I said, some of the extreme conservative Catholic groups to whom I used to pray with were big into being their own Pope.

This, perhaps, may be said of Rad Trads and Schismatics.

However, this cannot be said of those attending Catholic churches that celebrate approved Traditional Latin Masses and are loyal to our Holy Father.

The parish I used to attend in the past was such a church until the priest that had celebrated the Traditional Latin Masses then retired. It was so beautiful.

That's why though the church was several miles away from where I used to live, it was such a joy to attend it and fully experience this truly pious, reverential celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as it was celebrated in the past.

For those interested in attending such Catholic churches, please see the following website:

Home:
http://www.ecclesiadei.org

Mass Listings:
http://www.ecclesiadei.org/masses.cfm

Information:
http://www.ecclesiadei.org/Information.htm

Realist

A. Williams,

The fish and the temple tax story appears only once in scripture: The Temple Tax: (1) Matt 17:24-27;
making it quite suspect as being said by the historic Jesus. see http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb429.html

Tim J.

"What do you make of this woman who is reverent and pious except for this "plausible" thing?"

It is IMPOSSIBLE that one may be led by the Holy Spirit to disobey the authentic teaching of the Church, for the authentic teaching of the Church comes from the Holy Spirit. Therefore, either the Church or this lady is wrong about being led by the Holy Spirit. Which do you think is more likely?

She is either lying to herself, or being deceived by an unholy spirit, or she just enjoys this activity and holds it to be more important than obedience to the Holy Spirit speaking through the Church, which is rebellious.

Christians are forbidden to participate in divination, seances or any other kind of occult magic. She is playing with fire. The Holy Spirit can never have anything to do with these card readings, though some spirit might.

Tim J.

For the sake of simplicity, and for those new to JA.O, here is a short synopsis of Realist's comments on just about any subject;

1) The Bible is nothing more than a collection of faith stories with no basis in historical fact. He knows this because the Jesus Seminar says so, and they are infallible in matters of doctrine.

2) The *Official Version* of Church history is a lie made up by the hierarchy so that they can continue scamming all of us.

3) Miracles - that is supernatural events of any kind - are impossible because in reality, nothing exists outside of nature. This means we have to re-think our idea of "God".

3) "Catholic" is a word with no fixed meaning... this means that all Catholics are equal, especially dissidents.There is, of course, no absolute Truth, but the *Official Catholic Version* of anything is ESPECIALLY rejected.

None the less, Realist assures us that he REALLY IS a Catholic, which is like me insisting that I am REALLY a committed Communist, even though I think communism gets everything wrong and that Karl Marx never existed, but was an invention of Joseph Stalin.

Did I leave out anything? Wild dogs? Ancient astronauts?

Dr. Eric

Tim J,

You forgot the part about the "Gospel of Thomas" being the best version of the "Gospels."

Esau

Tim J.:

As usual, great post!

Your Jan 26, 2007 9:14:27 AM post was awesome!

It is IMPOSSIBLE that one may be led by the Holy Spirit to disobey the authentic teaching of the Church, for the authentic teaching of the Church comes from the Holy Spirit.

This reminds me of what Mother Angelica said about those Charismatics who say they are being led by the Spirit yet disobey the very Teachings of the Church.

Esau

REALIST:

Hear from Cardinal Ratzinger himself:

...On one hand there is the attempt to unravel the various threads (of the narrative) so that in the end one holds in one's hands what is the "really historical," which means the purely human element in events. On the other hand, one has to try to show how it happened that the idea of God became interwoven through it all. And so it is that another "real" history is to be fashioned in place of the one given. Underneath the existing sources — that is to say, the biblical books themselves — we are supposed to find more original sources, which in turn become the criteria for interpretation. No one should really be surprised that this procedure leads to the sprouting of ever more numerous hypotheses until finally they turn into a jungle of contradictions. In the end, one no longer learns what the text says, but what it should have said, and by which component parts this can be traced back through the text. [1]

Such a state of affairs could not but generate a countereaction. Among cautious systematic theologians, there began the search for a theology which was as independent as possible from exegesis. [2] But what possible value can a theology have which is cut off from its own foundations? So it was that a radical approach called "fundamentalism" began to win supporters who brand as false in itself and contradictory any application of the historical-critical method to the Word of God. They want to take the Bible again in its literal purity, just as it stands and just as the average reader understands it to be. But when do I really take the Bible "literally"? And which is the "normative" understanding which holds for the Bible in all its particularity? Certainly fundamentalism can take as a precedent the position of the Bible itself, which has selected as its own hermeneutical perspective the viewpoint of the "little ones," the "pure of heart." [3] The problem still remains, however, that the demand for "literalness" and "realism" is not at all so univocal as it might first appear. In grappling with the problem of hermeneutics, another alternative process presents itself: the explanation of the historical process of the development of forms is only one part of the duty of the interpreter; his understanding within the world of today is the other. According to this idea, one should investigate the conditions for understanding itself in order to come to a visualization of the text which would get beyond this historical "autopsy." [4] In fact, as it stands, this is quite correct, for one has not really understood something in its entirety simply because one knows how to explain the circumstances surrounding its beginning.


But how is it possible to come to an understanding which on one hand is not based on some arbitrary choice of particular aspects, but on the other hand allows me to hear the message of the text AND NOT SOMETHING COMING FROM MY OWN SELF? Once the methodology has picked history to death by its dissection, who can reawaken it so that it can live and speak to me?

Let me put it another way: if "hermeneutics" is ever to become convincing, the inner harmony between historical analysis and hermeneutical synthesis must be first found.

To be sure, great strides have already been made in this direction, but I must honestly say that a truly convincing answer has yet to be formulated.[5] If Rudolph Bultmann used the philosophy of Martin Heidegger as a vehicle to represent the biblical word, then that vehicle stands in accord with his reconstruction of the essence of Jesus' message. But was this reconstruction itself not likewise a product of his philosophy? How great is its credibility from a historical point of view? In the end, are we listening to Jesus, or to Heidegger, with this kind of an approach to understanding? Still, one can hardly deny that Bultmann seriously grappled with the issue of increasing our access to the Bible's message. But today, certain forms of exegesis are appearing which can only be explained as symptoms of the disintegration of interetation and hermeneutics. Materialist and feminist exegesis, whatever else may be said about them, do not even claim to be an understanding of the text itself in the manner in which it was originally intended. At best they may be seen as an expression of the view that the Bible's message is in and of itself inexplicable, or else that it is meaningless for life in today's world.


In this sense, they are no longer interested in ascertaining the truth, but only in whatever will serve their own particular agenda.

They go on to justify this combination of agenda with biblical material by saying that the many religious elements help strengthen the vitality of the treatment.

Thus historical method can even serve as a cloak for such maneuvers insofar as it dissects the Bible into discontinuous pieces, which are then able to be put to new use and inserted into a new montage altogether different from the original biblical ontext.

Mary Kay

Curious, please pray for the lady doing the card readings. One does not discern the Holy Spirit through a card reading, but my guess is that she will have an answer to any discussion.

But you can pray for her. Maybe just a general prayer giving the situation to Jesus and Mary.

Radical Catholic Mom

Esau,

I am not sure why you assume what I said about people being their own popes to include the accepted form of Latin Mass. No where did I even bring that up. And I am not talking about Mass, I am specifically talking about Charismatic form of prayer.

But I have met and know MANY people who do attend the accepted Liturgy who still believe that they are more knowledgeable than the Popes and their Bishops on Liturgical matters and spiritual matters, regardless of the names you give these particular people.

Also, I am sorry A. Williams that you have never met a group of Charismatics to include what you mentioned. My prayer group that meets every Wednesday evening does a weekly devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary as part of our prayer. We also feed the hungry and raise funds for our parish needs. And a group of us are beginning to organize for pro-life services.

I don't blame you all for being hostile and skeptical. When you read the first part of Acts, the believers were accused of being drunk so early in the morning because of how they were behaving.

Esau

But I have met and know MANY people who do attend the accepted Liturgy who still believe that they are more knowledgeable than the Popes and their Bishops on Liturgical matters and spiritual matters, regardless of the names you give these particular people.


Radical Catholic Mom:

I believe you may be confusing schismatics (this is not a pejorative term; it's actually what you call folks who have split with Rome) with those Catholics faithful to the Pope and attend the approved Traditional Latin Masses.


I don't blame you all for being hostile and skeptical.

Uhhh... I thought I explicitly stated in my first post:

...though, I don't believe that this goes for all since there are the others who are genuinely touched by the Holy Spirit and testify truly to the Catholic Faith and Our Lord & Saviour...

Now, just where was the hostility in what I said here?

Have you ever watched Mother Angelica Live?

Even she had mentioned of many Charismatics who think they're being led by the Spirit but who instead follow their own ways and not those of the Church.

Esau

Incidentally, Rad Trads is a term they're also known by, as I learned from Catholic Answers.


As Catholic.com has it:

Mad Rad Trads

For years, Pope John Paul II has been called evil by the "radical Traditionalist" (a.k.a. "rad trad")...

A.Williams

Thanks for the lesson, Esau!

Once again, I think folk such as Realist, if they are truly and sincerely truth-seeking Catholics, need to examine not only their own limited interpretations, and even modern critiques, of scripture, but also the opionions and reflections of the canonized Saints. The reason is that the Saints were examples of the 'living' of the Gospel message, not just the reading or studying it.

For someone just beginning The lives and sayings of the desert fathers are a good place to start.

Then, a consideration on the lives of the early Roman martyrs could come in handy.

After this, a good reading of the writings of St. Augustine. Then St. Anselm. And next can be St. Bonaventure and the "Life of St. Francis of Assisi".

One by one, throughout the centuries, great Catholic men and women, and great wonderworkers also, have supported, defended and built up the body of Christ, the Holy Church. It is not only the Bible we should examine. We need to examine this spiritual legacy of devout contemplation, love and devotion!That is how the Gospel was lived right up until our own time. Then we need to try to continue this thread of spirituality and do our own part, in imitation of all those who have gone before us!

Those who don't care to read such biographies, even though they hagve the time and resources available.. prove they don't love Christ! This is because those who 'hear' the Saints,examine their holy lives and teachings... hear Christ! This is why they are canonized by the Church, so that they might be studied and scrutinized.

The saying of Christ is "Those who receive a prophet, because he is a prophet, receives a prophet's reward." But I don't want to think of the reward of...."Those who turn away a prophet because he is a prophet...."

God Bless all on the holy way of doing God's Will!

Esau

A. Williams:
God bless you, too, brother!

I'm glad to see you doing God's work in that part of the world!

DJ

What do you make of this woman who is reverent and pious except for this "plausible" thing?

Man, I live too close to Santa Fe. I can imagine exactly what type of person you're talking about.

Like Mary Kay said, which I'm sure you didn't need to be told:
pray...

Its not the prophecy or the formulations, its that she's trying to be the source of the prophecy by controlling it.

Tim J.

My experience with charismatics is limited, but I have attended charismatic churches, have charismatic family members and know a number of charismatic Catholics. They are good people.

My concern is that charismatic Catholics might believe - or at least act as if - this Spirit Baptism is somehow a more primordial, pure and direct experience of God than the sacraments or the Church... or anything. I wonder whether they think of themselves first as Catholics or as Charismatics.

Do they feel closer to other Catholics, or other Charismatics?

Also, do they imagine that speaking in toungues is necessary for a REALLY fulfilled Catholic prayer life? ...that the spiritual lives of non-charismatics must be somehow incomplete?

I'm also troubled by how the form of this charismatic renewal seems to be patterned directly after a very late (twentieth century) Protestant phenomenon.

There is a vague mention of a "Word of Knowledge" in scripture, but there is really no way to know what this gift looked like in practice in the early Church. Yet, we see this gift supposedly practiced according to the Pat Robertson template.

I once read a book by a priest, wherein he undertook to teach people how to speak in toungues and exercise the gifts of Prophecy, Words of Knowledge, Wisdom, etc...

Never mind that I don't see anywhere in the Bible that people had to be TAUGHT how to speak in toungues, but anyway...

I was disturbed by the assertion he made that the Word of Knowledge basically is just any word or phrase that pops into your head.

For instance, if the Holy Spirit gives you the word "flower", you just say that to the person. Now sometimes people will see how this word relates to some significant event in their life and they will take it as the Holy Spirit speaking directly to them in some way. They might (especially if they are a fellow charismatic) be deeply moved and affected by this word.

He also addressed the situation (that undoubtedly comes up) of a person not "receiving" the word you give them. So you say "flower" and they go "Ummm, Sorry... Nope, that doesn't mean anything to me... I don't see any significance of that to my life.".

The priest advises that when this happens, you must NEVER DOUBT YOUR GIFT. The word WAS significant... the person just didn't know it. In other words, just believe you have the gift (Why? Because you asked God for it, and that means He will give it to you) and then believe that whatever pops into your head is the Holy Spirit talking, and then if the word doesn't seem to make sense or doesn't seem to help anybody, it is their fault for not having the spiritual discernment to understand this miraculous word you have given them.

Healing works the same way. First, ask for the gift, then believe you have it, and then exercise it without any doubt. If the person you have laid hands on doesn't seem to be healed, that is irrelevant. They have been healed of SOMETHING, but they and you might not ever know what it was.

What's wrong with this picture? The authenticity of such gifts (at least as described by this priest) can NEVER be tested.

I'm sure there are charismatic Catholics that don't fall into traps like that, but I am concerned about those that might.

Esau

Tim J.,
Another awesome post!!!


About what you said:

My experience with charismatics is limited, but I have attended charismatic churches, have charismatic family members and know a number of charismatic Catholics. They are good people.

I don't certainly doubt this since, although I haven't met such people yet personally, but that I have heard of such folks through the world of apologetics.


My concern is that charismatic Catholics might believe - or at least act as if - this Spirit Baptism is somehow a more primordial, pure and direct experience of God than the sacraments or the Church... or anything. I wonder whether they think of themselves first as Catholics or as Charismatics.

Do they feel closer to other Catholics, or other Charismatics?

Also, do they imagine that speaking in toungues is necessary for a REALLY fulfilled Catholic prayer life? ...that the spiritual lives of non-charismatics must be somehow incomplete?

You've hit the nail right on the head, Tim J.!

I remember a girl I was dating who seemed to consider Charismatics as the TRUE CATHOLICS and anybody not a member of their Charismatic community as outsiders.

There are even those who doubt the spirituality of Catholics who do not participate in the Charismatic form of prayer and speak in tongues as they claim to do since, in their view (at least, those of this particular charismatic community), the very fact that such folks cannot attest exactly to this hypothesis of theirs.


The priest advises that when this happens, you must NEVER DOUBT YOUR GIFT.

I actually know of a priest who takes part of this certain Charismatic community who strongly advises their fellow Charismatics in this manner, even in face of the fact that the supposed gifts of these certain Charismatics in their particular community inspires them to do things contrary to the ways and teachings of the Church.


I'm also troubled by how the form of this charismatic renewal seems to be patterned directly after a very late (twentieth century) Protestant phenomenon.

This disturbs me as well. But, interestingly enough, the practices of the Charismatic community I had glimpses of seemed so cultish and eerily almost pagan to me, it actually made me prefer the worship services of the Protestant church I used to attend back in my college days over it.


What's wrong with this picture? The authenticity of such gifts (at least as described by this priest) can NEVER be tested.

I remember discussing this with that gal I had mentioned, and when I cited 1 John 4:1 regarding testing every spirit before accepting them as coming from God, she simply lashed out at me, saying how dare I test God himself. It seems that she had already accepted these things as coming from God without any testing, any actual serious consideration whatsoever.

1 John 4:1 Beloved, don't believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

Radical Catholic Mom

What I find fascinating here is that all of your comments could easily occur in any form of prayer. Really. It is the reason that I have had great difficulty finding an appropriate prayer group to join. I have tried the Rosary groups, the chant groups, etc, and the ones up here at least, I had great difficulty with because of the beliefs of the people in them.

Regarding the saints, excellent point about reading the lives of the Saints. I credit the lives of the Saints for keeping me connected to the Church during a difficult period and also introducing me to the Charismatic form of prayer. Who has not heard of the Saints experiencing being slain in the spirit when receiving the Eucharist, or the saints who smelled the perfume from heaven while in prayer? They were severely criticized at the time for being extraordinarily weird.

Lastly, when writing my thesis for under grad, Flannery O'Connor truly was instrumental in my acceptance of Charismatic type prayer.

I think, you are not being just by attacking the form of prayer itself. It has Scriptural support as well as a long History being practiced by the Saints themselves.

While you may have had bad experiences with it does not in any way mean it is not a valid form of prayer.

My point is that the criticisms you have regarding the Charismatic prayer groups you have experienced, are criticisms about the people within the group, NOT the form itself AND these criticisms can be lobbed at ANY prayer group.

I can assure you, Esau, while I agree with you that those who think they are wiser than the Magesterium at Schismatics, they themselves view themselves completely in line with Roman Catholicism.

A.Williams

Esau,

I've been to various Charismatic events, some, very large conventions. I went to these out of responsibility to better understand this movement in the Catholic Church. I also went with the understanding that I was going to examine the truth, according to what the Holy Spirit was SAYING TO ME.

Jesus said "When you go before judges and kings, don't think of what you are going to say before hand, because it is the Spirit of my Father, who will speak in you...". So, being confident that I am a normal, practicing Catholic, in the Grace of God, who loves Jesus and all of the Catholic Saints, and wanting to fulfill the admonitions of Christ when He says things, I determined to behave as my heart directed while at these Charismatic events and group meetings.

Now, I am a person that loves 'adoration' of God in the Blessed Sacrament and Holy Communion. I am not emotional at these times, but very prayerful. Emotionalism doesn't do anything for me when we are talking about adoration and prayer, rather,its a great annoyance. I want to be profoundly quiet and meditative in prayer, even as the desert Fathers noted, saying, "even the chirping of the little birds can cause distraction in prayer". So, noise and emotion don't aid me in any way during prayer or meditation.

However, in not partaking of all the enthusiasm at these events, I definitely felt a bit odd and isolated! And I think others thought that I was a rebel or stranger of some sort? The group pressure can exert forces that are actually a bit hard to resist at times. However,in these circumstances, I was content to smile, keep my peace of soul, tap my feet to the rythym of the Christian music, and let everyone else..'do their thing'.

Really, not trying to be 'condescending' in anyway, I still view Charismatic spirituality, at best, as pretty much a'kindergarden phase' of Christian or Catholic spirituality, with the more advanced lessons being taught by the likes of St. Francis of Assisi- a great hero of Christian spirituality and perfection!

A.Williams

Radical Catholic Mom,

I've read countless lives of saints for about 30 years now, and have NEVER come across anything like what you call "slain in the Spirit". Yes, ecstasy, but noting like the stuff that Benny Hinn(and even some Catholic groups) does! In my opinion, this is more along the lines of hypnosis and voodoo than true authentic and historical Catholic spirituality. Does this sort of spirituality have a place in ancient benedictine monasticism? Desert Fathers monasticism? Salesian, Franciscan, dominican or Jesuit prayer? No. Classical Catholic mysticism was much different. In my opinion, there is not one canonized Saint that I think could be classified a 'charismatic' as is normally difined in the modern understanding and experience of the current Charismatic movement.

For most of the Saints, and for me too, it's adoration of the Lord during Communion and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament that 'does the trick'.

Esau

A. Williams:

It seems you may have been very much blessed by your spiritual reading of works about and by the Saints.


Radical Catholic Mom:

When you say:

It has Scriptural support as well as a long History being practiced by the Saints themselves.

This almost reminds me of how back in the sixties, there were hippies who justified their lifestyle by actually claiming that St. Francis of Assisi was actually a hippie himself.

You cannot take a text out of context in order to promote personal views.

When reading the actual works of the Saints, there's appears to be a great contrast between their spirituality, which revolved around serious meditation, prayer and contemplation akin to how Jesus went into the desert for 40 days and 40 nites to be alone in prayer and fasting, as compared with that which I've witnessed from certain charismatics whose spirituality revolved more so on a clubhouse mentality, not unlike that which Tim J. mentions in his post.

Curious

"Its not the prophecy or the formulations, its that she's trying to be the source of the prophecy by controlling it."

How then, would this control be different than actual gatherings of charismatics? I.e. they -intentionally- meet to share their gifts rather than just letting it happen randomly like epilepsy. (N.B. I'm referring to the randomness of a seizure and not equivocating glossalalia with seizures.) Or to say that the "gift" of prophetic reading is akin to prayer. I.e. prayer is a gift/grace of God in that no one prays first without God calling them. So that no one would think of having a reading or meeting this reader without God leading them to it, granted that it is a gift from God. (I just happen to be in an angel pin-dancing type of mood it seems.)

Esau

To be clear, regarding what I said in my last post above, just as I mentioned in my first post, I don't believe that this goes for all Charismatics since there are those genuinely touched by the Holy Spirit and testify truly to the Catholic Faith and Our Lord & Saviour, Jesus Christ.

This can certainly apply to some of our seperated brethren as well.

The problem that occurs at some instances is when Christianity all of a sudden no longer appears Christian and, among other things, becomes more of a social club for members only rather than a Congregation of the Faithful with all that comes with this as transmitted by Our Lord to His Apostles, upon the Church and, ultimately, unto us.

Radical Catholic Mom

Esau, if anyone is promoting "personal" views it is you. If St. Paul cannot convince you that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are real, I know I will not be able as well. A. Williams: Start with the New Testament, maybe Acts would be a good place to start with the "fire" from Heaven. Or those who encountered Jesus along the road to Emmaeus (sp?) felt the fire within them.

St. Catherine of Sienna would pass out when receiving the Eucharist. Sometimes they would call the state an "ecstasy" where the person lies dormant for a period. Protestants call this "slain in the spirit" Catholics call this "dormition" or "ecstasy." Other saints described the same phenomenon, using different vocabulary. The point is that something happens and we need a language to describe what happens.

Mary Kay

For A. Williams and Esau, the "slain in the Spirit" that Radical Catholic Mom describes is known and valid, just not a topic usually mentioned in general discussions.

Mary Kay

Curious, DJ is probably correct that some people attempt to be the source of prophecy by controlling it. However, I don't know that I'd ascribe that to the woman you mentioned.

The important thing is that card reading is NOT one of the ways to discern the Holy Spirit. It's not of God. That's what prompted my suggestion of prayer, of placing the situation in the hands of Jesus and Mary.

Esau

Esau, if anyone is promoting "personal" views it is you. If St. Paul cannot convince you that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are real, I know I will not be able as well.

Now, where exactly have I doubted the Gifts of the Holy Spirit in all of my posts above?

If I were you, I would (re-)read Tim J.'s post.
He makes many good points.

Even Mother Angelica said that if it is truly the Spirit that are leading such Charismatics, it wouldn't lead them out of the Church; instead, it would be just the opposite and lead them further into the Church.

Your abrupt behaviour and specific comment in your post here exemplifies exactly what I had been saying about certain Charismatics who accept whole-heartedly (without any serious consideration as to the veracity of such gifts) the prompting of these spirit(s), these gifts, even if it meant disobeying the teachings and ways of the Church (which had been handed down from Christ to His Apostles onto His Church) since, after all, all these things must come from God and never a one from anywhere else; so it, therefore, makes perfect sense to follow whatever this spirit tells you, even if it should instruct you to disobey the teachings and practices of the Church since it can only come from God.

My take is that those Charismatics who are lead to a deeper and closer relationship with God and demonstrate an exceptional degree of faithfulness (as did the Saints) to Christ and His Church are those that are genuinely moved by the Holy Spirit.

Esau

St. Catherine of Sienna would pass out when receiving the Eucharist. Sometimes they would call the state an "ecstasy" where the person lies dormant for a period. Protestants call this "slain in the spirit" Catholics call this "dormition" or "ecstasy." Other saints described the same phenomenon, using different vocabulary. The point is that something happens and we need a language to describe what happens.

How can you claim that the Benny-Hinn experience is identical to that of the ecstasy of St. Catherine of Sienna?

A.Williams

Mary Kay,

If the Charismatics existed in former times, I highly believe they would be severely corrected by Sts. such as Dominic, Francis, Anthony of Padua, Philip of Neri, Bonaventure, John Vienney, Anthony Claret, Ignatius, Bernard of Clairveaux, Benedict, Patrick, Anselm, Augustine, Jerome, both Theresa's, Rose of Lima, Francis Xavier, Francis Solano, John Bosco, and most of the Desert Fathers!

As all who are familiar with hagiography well know, 'mystical experience' is an highly obscure topic. Furthermore, everyone who knows something about spiritual direction, and especially spiritual direction given by, and to, Saints, knows that it takes a highly spiritual person, with a great gift of discernment, to differentiate the authentic mystical experiences from the fake or purely psychological ones. This is why most of the founders of the religious orders were so good at guiding souls, because they had ample experience themselves concerning such mystical and ecstatic experiences.

So of the list above, I would like someone to tell me which of these Saints they think would approve of the methods of 'pomp' and worship(especially as found in the gatherings and conventions), promoted in the Charismatic movement today?

Just curious?

Or is this just another one of the multitudes of 'Modern Phenomena' or 'spiritual fads'(born, like many other such liberal fads, of the famous '60's movement), that the Church seems to be experiencing in these modern times, with no one with the guts, intelligence or spiritual discernment to correct them?

Or again, is it possibly just too big of a job and no one wants to devote the time, but are rather just waiting for Pentacostalism/Charismaticism to pass away on its own?

Again, my opinion is that this is a protestant/ pentecostal inspired and founded movement, with it's roots in African mysticism and voodoo-type ecstatic worship, brought to the United States via slave ships, and is now spread about by the likes of Benny Hinn and multitudes of spiritually ignorant Catholics, fascinated, and in many cases 'duped', by this shallow style of modern religious worship.

Mary Kay

I find it easy to believe that your experience with "Charismatics" is as you described. But they don't represent all people or experiences called charismatic.

This is too complex to do this late at night. I'll be back in the morning when I'm actually coherent.

Esau

Actually, A. Williams, you're not alone in your thoughts:

St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila, both doctors of the Church, strongly discouraged such attitudes...

They discouraged it because it was spiritually dangerous. People eager for spiritual phenomena, for prophecies, visions, etc., will accept anything supernatural as coming from God, without any discernment. Yet we all know that the Devil can appear to us as an angel of light. He can also cause phenomena to occur.

Again, my personal opinion on the matter:

Those Charismatics who are led to a deeper and closer relationship with God and demonstrate an exceptional degree of faithfulness (as did the Saints) to Christ and His Church are those that are genuinely moved by the Holy Spirit.

Yet, I cannot claim that all such folks are actually being led by the Holy Spirit.

There are those Charismatic communities who seem to have established their own ways and teachings entirely separate and contrary to the Church.

Esau

Incidentally, A. Williams, what's so weird is that I had discovered the above quote just this evening.

It kind of outlines my own concerns regarding the attitudes of certain Charismatics out there (though, of course, not all).

A.Williams

Matt.21:

" Not every one that saith to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that doth the will of my Father who is in heaven, he shall enter into the kingdom of heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day: Lord, Lord, have not we prophesied in thy name, and cast out devils in thy name, and done many miracles in thy name? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity. 24 Every one therefore that heareth these my words, and doth them, shall be likened to a wise man that built his house upon a rock, 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and they beat upon that house, and it fell not, for it was founded on a rock."

A.Williams

correction above: Matt 7:21-25

A.Williams

For those interested in some theories about the roots from which the current Charismatic Movement and Pentecostalism might have evolved:

From: THE ORIGINS, GROWTH AND SIGNIFICANCE OF THE PENTECOSTAL MOVEMENTS IN THE THIRD WORLD - Dr. Allan Anderson Director: Centre for the Study of New Religious Movements Selly Oak Colleges, Birmingham B29 6LQ, England

3.3 The African Roots

There are several theories about the origins of Pentecostalism (Robeck 1993:166), but the generation of the movement from a black church rooted in the African American culture of the nineteenth century is an extremely significant fact. Many early manifestations of Pentecostalism were found in the religious expressions of the slaves and were themselves a reflection of the African religious culture from which they had been wrenched (Anderson 1991:27). Seymour himself was deeply affected by black slave spirituality (Nelson 1981: 157-158). Black pentecostal scholar Leonard Lovett said that “black Pentecostalism emerged out of the context of the brokenness of black existence... their holistic view of religion had its roots in African religion” (MacRobert 1988:77-78). Hollenweger (1986:5-6) considers the main features of this African American spirituality to be oral liturgy, narrative theology and witness, the maximum participation of the whole community in worship and service, the inclusion of visions and dreams into public worship, and understanding the relationship between body and mind manifested by healing through prayer. MacRobert (1988:29) adds that rhythmic hand clapping, the antiphonal participation of the congregation in the sermon, the immediacy of God in the services and baptism by immersion (all common pentecostal practices) are “survivals of Africanisms”. These expressions were fundamental to early Pentecostalism and remain in the movement to this day. The African roots of Pentecostalism help explain its significance in the Third World today. But as Robert Anderson (1979:222) observes, a movement which was “born of radical social discontent ... expended its revolutionary impulses in veiled, ineffectual, displaced attacks that amounted to withdrawal from the social struggle” in its subsequent history. This originally working class and racially integrated movement was designed to protest against the social system which marginalised its members, but it eventually “functioned in a way that perpetuated that very system".

Mary Kay

A. Williams and Esau, give me a chance to catch up with you, okay?

It might be helpful to read Jimmy's "Universe of Discourse" linked above.

I've noticed that all sorts of things have been mentioned as if interchangeable and they're not. So far, there's prophecy, private revelation, Catholic charismatic prayer groups and , Protestant charismatic prayer, the Holy Spirit, Tarot cards, an instance of likely unholy spirit, Benny Hinn, all of the Catholic saints and mystics, "slain in the Spirit," and the syncretism found in the Caribbean and some of Latin America.

Same universe? Clearly not.

Mary Kay

So Esau, when you ask Radical Catholic Mom how she can claim that the experience of Benny Hinn is identical to that of Catherine of Sienna, it didn't sound to me that she was claiming they were identical.

A. Williams, this topic obviously hits close to home, but I'd ask that you (and you too Esau) not dismiss charismatic experience because of the excesses and misuse and even misunderstanding of some.

I'm doing this in short posts because I'm thinking it out as I type.

Mary Kay

I've attended a few (Catholic) charismatic prayer groups and Masses. Tim's echoed my experience. Some did indeed imply that "the spiritual lives of non-charismatics must be somehow incomplete." (to use Tim's phrase) Like anything else, there's the potential to think that the person is not responding quickly enough and "assist" by literally pushing (that happened to me once).

But I've also known people who have validly and spontaneously experienced being "slain in the Spirit." (that's the phrase I'm used to) It's a private experience, and one that people are not bursting at the seams to talk about. My take is that the more public a person is about being "slain in the Spirit" the greater potential to go off-track.

Bottom line is that one has to be careful of what is talking about, but not to totally dismiss the charismatic experience.

Eileen R

Oh, you think the charismatic movement is a 20th century phenomenom? I'd trace it back at least to the 17th century. Ronald Knox's "Enthusiasm" is a good history which might shed some light on the subject, though it's not on the whole positive, it's quite understanding.

Mary Kay

Eileen, what I think they're referring to is the recent discernible increase, usually traced back to several laymen in February 1967 at Duquesne University. They had started meeting the previous fall and after reading a copy of The Cross and the Switchblade, had asked for the gift of the Holy Spirit for themselves.

While double-checking that, I ran across the Catholic Charismatic website:

http://www.iccrs.org/English.htm

(sorry I don't know html and don't know how to make it clickable)

This is the first time I've seen that site, but I did see Vatican approval. Will have to check it out more thoroughly later.

My source is a book by Catherine Marshall who had spoken to one of the laymen in that initial group.

A.Williams

Mary Kay, Thanks for the Link!

Catholic Charismatic Renewal Statutes..

"..Preamble

The Catholic Charismatic Renewal (CCR) is a grace of renewal in the Holy Spirit with a worldwide character and many expressions in the Catholic Church, but it is neither uniform nor unified. It does not have a single founder nor a group of founders, and has no membership lists. Rather it is a flow of grace that allows individuals and groups to express themselves in different ways and forms of organisation and activities, often quite independent of one another, in different stages and modes of development, with differing emphases. Nevertheless, they share the same fundamental experience and espouse the same general goals. ..."

Ok..it's approved(In some way or other)! But the terminology is extraordinality general. It almost seems not to mean anything other than that the Charismatics have the permission to be Catholic's in a state of grace...just like any other lay believer.

Read over the 1st paragraph. It's like trying to define "nothing in particular". It has no leaders, no membership lists,but, "Nevertheless, they share the same fundamental experience and espouse the same general goals."


It appears that the Vatican saw the reality that the coming of the Pentacostalists was NOT going to go away any time soon...and so, are trying to 'domesticate' the movement as best as possible?

I can certainly agree with allowing others to 'do their own thing', but I would NEVER encourage anyone I know to follow anything associated with the Charismatic Renewal.

Better to follow the teachings and spirituality of the Catholic Saints! This is something not vague and ethereal, but rather, the true devotion to JESUS CHRIST in Holy Communion and the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. And this in no way takes away from the adoration of the Holy Spirit, but rather, actively uses the aid of the Holy Spirit in such "holy" adoration of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Weak and sinful men of our modern world just love to make everything so unnecessarily complicated, cunning and twisted! Thank's be to God for sending the Holy Spirit of Truth, who can guide us and help us to understand and sort it all out, in accordance with His Divine Truth!

And I still can't imagine this group or movement being approved by the Church in any past age, or by any of the Saints I posted earlier! The church then was more strict, serious, careful and watchful over it's flock in past days!

Now it's more like the 'Wild West' of spirituality where almost 'anything goes'. I just pray that Pope Benedict will be incredibly strong to resist all of these forces which are POTENTIALLY against him, in one way or another!

JH

For what it's worth, I had a Hymnology professor (that's right, the study of hymns) at a Baptist Seminary claim that the Charismatic movement actually began in the Catholic church.

Mary Kay

that the Charismatics have the permission to be Catholic's in a state of grace...just like any other lay believer.

A. Williams, yes, that's probably right. This group at least seems to not be among those who think themselves "more complete" than other Catholics.

I think their vagueness is more a reflection of trying to accurately portray something that doesn't fit a general description. I don't read anything sinister or contrary to the Church.

My concern is that you seem to see it in opposition to the Church. I took a quick look through their website. Far from being opposed to the Church, Article 17(3) of their statutes says that "The Pontifical Council for the Laity...ensures that the central goals of the Catholic Charismatic movement and of ICCRS corresponds to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church and especially to the teachings and orientation of the Holy Father with regard to Charismatic Renewal."

That sounds pretty faithful to me.

Given that you have the unfaithful stuff so close at hand might make it more difficult to see that at least in some areas, there are indeed charismatic Catholics faithful to the Magesterium.

But you're right to ask and question and test which is what we're instructed to do. (letter of John?)

Jean


Do Catholic Chrismatics "follow the teachings of the Catholic Saints?" Do they "have a devotion to JESUS CHRIST in Holy Communion and the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar?" In my experience , many Catholic Charismatics are most definitely devoted to both.

That said, is there an element of "clubishness" and "holier than than thou" attitude among some charismatics? My experience is yes. But the same can be said of my fellow singers in a Gregorian Chant choir. Most of us are not perfect in humility. \

In all of the various ways that believers come together to worship and praise God, Satan does his best to twist that experience to his own purposes. So my concern about the charismatics is that their manner of prayer which emphasizes that an emotional response is probably more "valid" prayer than an unemotional one MAY result in manipulation by forces of evil. (C.S Lewis speaks of this.) As has been said, testing is essential. But this is acknowledged by the mature charismatics that I know.

A.Williams

In seeking to find more authentic information on the Charismatic type of prayer and worship, I scanned 3 of the 4 books of the "Liturgy of the Hours", searching vall the selections from the "Office of Readings".. to see if any Church Father had to say anything on this subject.

I came up with countless exhortations on virtue and humility, faith, patience and charity...but nothing that resembles anything 'patently' Charismatic.

However, this selection from St. Cyprian seems to teach the traditional forms and attitdes of prayer and worship, the kinds found, for the most part, in the Lives of all similar Fathers of the Church and Saints:


"When we pray, our words should be calm, modest and disciplined. Let us reflect that we are standing before God. We should please him both by our bodily posture and the manner of our speech. It is characteristic of the vulgar to shout and make a noise, not those who are modest. On the contrary, they should employ a quiet tone in their prayer...

...the same modesty and discipline should characterize our liturgical prayer as well. when we gather to celebrate the divine mysteries with God's priest, we should not express our prayer with unruly words: the petition that should be made to God with moderation is not to be shouted out noisily and verbosely. For God hears our heart not our voice. He sees our thoughts; he is not to be shouted at...."

From a treatise on the Lord's prayer by St.Cyprian pg. 353, vol.III.

Now THIS, I believe, is Good Catholic 'traditional' sense! :)

Amen. And Alleluia!

Radical Catholic Mom

A. Williams: What you are looking for is VOCABULARY. But you are missing the Big Picture, sir.

You don't get it, and will not get it. By the way, please site your source on your assertion that "back in the day" things were serious? Have you been reading the same Lives of the Saints as me? Come on!

The "Charismatic" movement, began in Acts of the Apostles. But God is not limited to the Liturgy. God can manifest Himself however God chooses. He is not limited to A. William's assertions that He cannot do it because He does not allow it! You sound like the crowd in Acts. They, like you, thought Peter was drunk. He said, "I am drunk with the Holy Spirit."

If anything, I am sorry your experience with Charismatic prayer has been so limited and negative. You are free to not care for this type of prayer! Thank God that the Catholic Church feels differently than you!

Radical Catholic Mom

P.S. I don't want it to sound like the Liturgy is nothing. I, as a devout Catholic, know that the Sacrifice of the Mass, is the highest form of prayer.

But, God lets us pray to Him however we want outside of Mass. And if I want to dance for joy to give praise to God, or sing at the top of my voice to glorify Him, or if I want to whisper a soft prayer, or Bless myself with the Sign of the Cross, or worship Him in Adoration, or Serve Him by feeding the hungry, fighting for the unborn, or fighting for immigrant rights, I, frankly do not care A. Williams if you think I am a flake.

I don't do it for you, I do it for Him and if He is happy that is all I care about.

A.Williams

Radical Catholic Mom,

The way I see things is that the early Church Fathers, like St. Cyprian quoted above, wrote things down for an important reason, and that was to teach and shed light on various aspects, and even difficulties, that we might come across in our attempts to live a more profound and perfect life in Christ.

And I agree with you, we are all free to act and worship as we feel inspired, and I hope you indeed practice all those good things you talked about, feeding the hungry, fighting for the un-born, etc...because the very same Fathers encouraged exactly the same things! It just seems to me that you have something against learning things from such valuable sources of inspiration.

Now, you asked me for a source as to how 'back in the days things were more serious'? I can only recommend the very same 'Office of Readings' in the Liturgy of the Hours. Most people who do alot of spiritual reading know that there are different types of reading that one can do. Some is more profound than others. In general, I would consider most in the Office of Readings to be in this 'more profound' category. We might compare that to some humorous stories from St. John Bosco, for more light hearted reading, for instance.

Now, really, everyone knows that in the past, authors wrote in a more classical style. Even the typography used was very formal and evoked seriousness and profundity. So, yes, I believe those who lived in the past, probably lived on a slightly more serious level than most folk these days,(or, at least they wrote in a more serious style), and I think further proofs can be found in monastic rules of life that were more common in the past. These, as you know, were fairly austere 'rules'-- at least as compared to most modern comparisons. Most such rules have been highly adapted in modern times. (except maybe for the Carthusians?)

Prayers, in general were exceedingly long, as were fasts and many other types of mortifications. And these former corporal disciplines are almost non-existant in our modern days. (hairshirts, dis-calced, disciplines etc..)

Now, if you take all of this into consideration, I would argue, that the Charismatic movement would have a pretty hard time finding a place in any of the Religious Orders of the past, because of such austerities. I think the lives of even common folk were much more austere back then(..heck, they didn't even have bikini's, electric guitars or levi's!)

And because there was a generally more 'ordered' way

So, yes, I will defend my assertion that the writings of these Fathers and Doctors of the Church, and life in general, was probably quite a bit more serious in former centuries,than in our present day, and for the very reasons I just mentioned.


So, go ahead and shout for joy! I do too sometimes. And if you don't think I 'get it', thats ok too. I 'get' Jesus Christ whenever I meditate on Him, or recieve Him in Holy Communion. Also, in doing as you said...having mercy on the poor.

My advice for you is to do the best you can and be as honest as possible. Follow the truth and inspiration as it's given to you from God. But remember, as mentioned above, "It's good to test the spirits"....and this can be done against the background of the teachings of the Fathers of the Church and other Canonized Saints.

So study them carefully, and imitate the way they imitated Our Lord Jesus Christ. This is much better than just interpreting the Bible as we wish, or following any preacher that comes our way..even as many Protestants, Mormons, Jehovahs Witnesses, Moonies and Benny Hinn devotees, do! Thanks be to God, for giving us the Church Fathers to always be a 'guiding light' so that we can distiguish what is a healthy, solid and profound Christian spirituality!

Mary Kay

RC Mom and A Williams, you're both right and you're both missing something.

RC Mom, your descriptions sound like the charismatic experience as it's meant to be.

The part that you missed is that A Williams lives in an area where charismatic does not necessarily mean what it does to you. There indeed is an emotionalism not rigorously grounded.

In addition, there is a spiritual slipperiness in his corner of the world. Because of that, holding fast to the "classics" makes sense.

A Williams, you're right about the wisdom in the Office of Readings. But your missing something when a) you call charismatic lighter weight and b) act as if RC Mom is like the folks in your area.

Let me address b) first.

It just seems to me that you have something against learning things from such valuable sources of inspiration

Where does she say that? Do you consider the charismatic experience in itself as "against learning" from the Fathers?

My advice for you is to do the best you can and be as honest as possible. (What's the deal about honesty?)

But remember, as mentioned above, "It's good to test the spirits" That's true, but questioning and testing doesn't go on forever. Something is either okay or not okay. From what RC Mom has said, her prayer group/Mass (I forgot which she said), is faithful to the Magesterium.

So study them carefully ... This is much better than just interpreting the Bible as we wish, or following any preacher that comes our way..even as many Protestants, Mormons, Jehovahs Witnesses, Moonies and Benny Hinn devotees, do!

Is that what you think RC Mom does?

Now for a) the perception that charismatic is lighter weight. The charismatic experience has been around since the days of the Apostles. The charismatic movement happened when it did because that's the time God chose for it, NOT because of incompatibility with austerity or because of "lighter weight" than "profound" spirituality.

I'll have to write the rest this afternoon after Mass.

Realist

Op-ed on Matthew 7: 21-25, see http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb111.html and http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb142.html and http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb164.html

Rebekah

I grew up in charismatic Protestant churches, and the whole thing just turns me off completely now. I just saw too many people who were consumed by a need for emotionalism (and the attention it garnered), but who basically did whatever they felt like doing morally. Worse, they often used their "revelations from God" to justify it.

Also, any supposed prophecy I've ever seen, Protestant or Catholic style, (and I've seen a lot) fell into one of two categories. It was either so vague as to apply to anyone ("God sees the many times you have wept into your pillow, etc., etc.") or was a clear case of guessing what the person would like in life.

I'm an amputee and can't count the number of times someone told me my foot was going to spontaneously regenerate. If I didn't go up for healing (that I didn't want; I like who I am), I had no faith. And when I was born and my parents were reeling from their first child having a congenital deformity, people nastily implied that it wouldn't have happened or would fix itself if they would just have faith instead of scheduling the necessary surgeries.

Another time, my sisters and I had all gotten new glasses that we were very proud of, and some people immediately (without asking) began praying and prophesying that our vision would become perfect. Other prophecies were that we would get a brand new (not used) car in the next few years, and that I would become a mountain-climbing missionary.

I'm sorry, I just think it's all a crock. If I had absolutely no scruples, I could cold-read people much more accurately. If someone becomes closer to God because of it, then it's redeemed a little--but it still doesn't mean converting over parlor tricks is a good idea that will result in a lasting faith.

One thing I do want to ask is if there are any saints who asked to be able to speak in tongues or prophesy, or any of that. From anything I've read, they all did the exact opposite and strongly discouraged people from seeking such phenomena.

A.Williams

Good for you Rebekah!

You have the spiritual honesty to call "a spade, a spade!" The Holy Spirit is the 'Spirit of Truth'. This is what I try to be faithful to! Keep being honest and keep resisting the group pressure/cultish tactics that try to turn an honest soul against itself!

And true, I never heard of a saint practicing speaking in tongues, or being 'slain in the Spirit' by the touch of another.

These aren't new things?? I disagree. I won't associate anything in the Charismatic movement with the accounts at Pentacost. This is MY opinion. I believe, like Rebekah, that it is mostly a 'crock', and lie, as she says. some practitioners might be innocent..but I believe it was founded by evangelical FAKES! Just as Rebekah relates!

If its a 'crock' in the evangelical/fundementalist churches, who started the whole thing, don't you think it's possible to be a 'crock' in the Catholic Church as well? However, since it is approved in one way or another, and apparently,very generally approved at that, I will wait until the Vatican teaches authoritatively and in DETAIL, before I accept the 'specific' phenomena that everyone is calling real and spiritual!

Is it real spiritual phenomena in the Evangelical Faiths? Has anybody ever thought that this stuff was invented, just like all the other sham's and scams out there, for the Evangelicals to exert control over their congregations? Doesn't anyone believe there are actually cults out there who exert mind control on the congregation, to both steal the souls...and money of their 'duped' flocks?

Anyone ever hear of a man named JIM JONES? Or Jim and Tammy Baker? Or any of the other numerous spiritual scam artists out there who use the name of Jesus, and the Holy Spirit for their own gain?

If Jesus warned us about 'wolves in sheeps clothing'! Do you really think a wolf will come, as is? No he will appear VERY, VERY Catholic and Christian, and will fool MULTITUDES!

For me! As said before, I follow the teachings of the Fathers and Saints. I prefer a clean, strong and pure mind (and heart) to offer to our Lord!I Hate hypnotism and the mind control tactics of cults! And as for the 'Spirit'....I follow the HOLY Spirit. That again is HOLY! Yes, the Spirit of truth.

This Holy Spirit, as I know HIM, tells ME to stay away from these immodest groups! Not support them at all!

But He also tells me to love and honor all the Church Fathers and Saints, because their holy words abound in the SPIRIT of TRUTH!

I'll wait for the canonization of a modern Charismatic! And I think It'll probably be a very, very long time from now...if it ever happens at all!

Come Holy Spirit,to give us the Light of YOUR TRUTH, and the Strength to FOLLOW IT!

Mary Kay

Rebekah, ah yes, the nearly universal bad experience with some aspect of church. Sometimes I marvel that the Church has survived, given what people do.

Starting with the end of your post, in my brief reading of the saints, I don't know of any who asked to speak in tongues or prophesy. Esau and/or A Williams also commented that some saints discouraged others from seeking such phenomena as spiritually dangerous.

There's a difference between seeking out spiritual novelty and simply asking for the gift of the Holy Spirit as the laymen at Duquesne did.

There's so much to this topic that I hardly know where to start. There is a valid experience that's labeled charismatic. There's obviously also a lot that isn't.

The thing that strikes me most is that God gives gifts to help a person with the work that he or she is to do. They're not to be sought for their own sake, but to help in doing God's work. (which means listening to God, not doing your own thing and then saying, "that's what God told me" which again comes down to discernment)

The original post asked about prophecy, which I don't know much about, but Jimmy's post nails it. It refers to those given the gift of prophecy and the criteria of private revelation applies.

Enough rambling for the moment.


Mary Kay

A Williams,
DO NOT CALL AN OUTPOURING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT A CROCK.

You're trying to fit the Holy Spirit into the image of A Williams and that is just as dangerous as those who seek out charismatic stuff as a spiritual high.

Granted, in your situation, God has you staying away from charismatic. But if the Holy Spirit decides to give certain gifts to others, don't dismiss or mock or call it a crock, just because you haven't personally experienced it.

Mary Kay

What I had initially planned on starting this afternoon's post with were the gifts of the Holy Spirit from Isaiah 11:2 - wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord.

And the fruit of the Spirit from Galatians 5:22, 23 - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Tim J.

I have expressed doubts and concerns about some aspects of the Charismatic Renewal with which I have had experience, but I certainly want to leave room for the legitimate exercise of all the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

For this reason, I am not prepared to call the whole idea a "crock". I think it is in many cases, but I don't know about ALL cases. The biggest reason I am not calling it a crock is the definite chance that I may be wrong. Jesus had a few choice words about those who attribute to Satan the work of the Holy Spirit.

What he taught on that subject is enough to make me think twice about condemning the whole phenomenon as a fake and a fraud. Knowing my limitations, I will express my concerns and leave it at that.

Mary

Mary

(takes a bow 0:)

Matt

Mary Kay,

DO NOT CALL AN OUTPOURING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT A CROCK.

There's no call for shouting here. He is not calling the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that occurred authentically in Acts and the early Church a crock, of course not. What he's calling a crock is the authenticity of the current charismatic movement among Catholics, which was inspired by similar movements among the separated brethren (formerly referred to as heretics).

It seems to me that he is also calling on Catholics to take example from the saints actual writings and not some personal expectation of what they would be like. The saints called for a much more sober approach to prayer, there is no question of that, and the saints are given to us in order to imitate them, so when you wander far away from what they propose, especially inspired by a protestant movement, you are treading on dangerous territory.

Remember, God gave us the Catholic Church and the saints, not heretics to inspire and lead us to salvation. It is all about salvation, not feeling good.

God Bless,

Matt

Mary Kay

Matt,

There was indeed a good reason for speaking as strongly as I did.

Please read my previous posts before attempting to chide someone for what you apparently don't understand.

Rebekah

Clarification: I do not think every possible gift of the Holy Spirit is a crock. The thing is, I never saw anyone ask for any gift (wisdom, fortitude, etc.) that wasn't showy or that would require the learning and practice of patience or anything else unpleasant. It was always speaking in tongues and prophecy or healing, and said "gifts" were always displayed in the most disruptive manner possible.

I'm not saying always everywhere, just always everywhere I happened to be witness to it. And yes, I feel fully qualified to judge the spirit and true nature of said "gifts" that I saw based on the behavior it resulted in in the participants.

If a person is stable mentally and emotionally and is seeking something more, fine. I can think of two examples of people I've met to whom the speaking in tongues and prophecy is an extra, a spiritual exercise in addition to the living of a full faith. They practice it in private, and if it stopped tomorrow their faith would not be crushed.

But the charismatic movement seems to appeal very strongly to people who aren't at all stable, either in their faith or emotionally. i.e. the same sorts who get sucked into cults. I saw marriages break up over people deciding they had a gift and needed to spend several hours every evening exercising it in charismatic prayer groups. They would jokingly comment that their home was just a pit stop. Meanwhile they hardly saw their kids or spouses, and the kids ended up running absolutely wild without any parental guidance.

I'm talking actual lives ruined by an obsession on par with that involved in joining a cult, and a faith that shrivels up and dies at the slightest sign of a dark night of the soul. Their whole faith was emotionally based, and that translated to all aspects of their lives. Meaning if they aren't perfectly happy in their marriage and aren't feeling the thrill they once did? God must be leading them to leave, because he wants them to be happy and spiritually fulfilled, and the current spouse just isn't doing it for them. He wants them with someone just as devoted to Him as they are, etc.

I think, by and large, the seeking out of the "showier" gifts smacks of hubris (and the attraction of playing with fire that comes from a lack of the gift of wisdom) from the very beginning--"The saints advise against it, but I'll know the difference between something that's of God and something of Satan." And this is absolutely borne out in the utter lack of humility that follows from it.

I'm no more bound to spend my time seeking out a group which doesn't fit that category than I'm bound to believe private revalations. Nobody even has to believe revelations that have been approved by the Church as not at odds with Church teaching. What I am bound to do is use whatever wisdom God's given me in order to judge things by their fruits, and the only fruits I've seen in people heavily involved in the charismatic movement have been rotting on the ground. The wasps can have that, thanks.

JV

"But, God lets us pray to Him however we want outside of Mass."

Can we really say that our prayers, outside of the timeframe of the Mass, are ever outside it in a theological sense?

My understanding is very limited but I always thought that all our prayer and works and desire for God is a part of the heavenly Liturgy.

Anyway, I see a lot of unfortunate blathering about semantics here. Sure, there are some charismatics who are perfect nutters but it proves nothing about whether we should despise miraculous gifts.

It is as the Scripture Jimmy quoted, "...test everything; hold fast what is good."

Esau

Mary Kay:

I respect you greatly and what you have to say since I've often read many of your posts which come off pretty sincere and charitable.

The issues I have with Radical Catholic mom are these:

1. She makes it seem that all Catholics who have profound respect and reverence for the Traditional Latin Mass are schismatics when, in fact, I betcha she's never even attended ecclesia dei parishes that celebrate the TLM and are faithful to the Pope.

In fact, the monsignor who used to celebrate the TLM in the parish I used to attend way back in the days often had homilies that revolved around the encyclicals and teachings of Pope John Paul II.


2. She makes it seem that the Gifts of the Holy Spirit are exclusive only to Charismatics.

Look at what she said in her post:

"Esau, if anyone is promoting "personal" views it is you. If St. Paul cannot convince you that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are real, I know I will not be able as well."

just because I believe that there are Charismatics out there who are not actually being led by the Holy Spirit, which is made obvious by their actions and practices which are contrary to Church Teaching and Tradition. Simply because of this, she says that I'm not convinced that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are real. Am I to think, then, that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are only real when it comes to Charismatics and that should I say anything against any Charismatic out there, that I am actually doubting the gifts of the Holy Spirit? Are the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, then, specifically reserved for Charismatics?

I hold the very same opinion that Mother Angelica who (herself a Charismatic) said at the end of a Mother Angelica Live episode that Charismatics who say they are being led by the Holy Spirit but are doing things contrary to the Church are NOT really being led by the Holy Spirit because if they were, they would be led further into the Church rather than away from it.

By the way, contrary to what Radical Catholic mom implied in her remarks, I know of many, many Catholics who aren't Charismatics but I can assure you, they are nevertheless blessed with the Gifts of the Holy Spirit not only in the sense of the natural outcomes that have manifested as a direct result of such gifts but, more importantly, by their all-out devotion to Christ and His Church (as found also in the lives of the saints) made evident even further by many fruits of that unyielding devotion not only in their lives but those of the lives they touch.

Mary Kay

Rebekah, yes, I did get that that's what you were saying. I agree with you that the showier it is, the less likely it's genuine.

"The saints advise against it, but I'll know the difference between something that's of God and something of Satan."

I don't know if you were saying that the charismatic groups were saying that or asking if that's what I was saying. One of the things that I meant to put into an earlier post, but got sidetracked, was that the people who I know fairly well have all checked out their experience with a very solid priest. You're absolutely correct that it's not something a person can discern for themselves.

What I reacted so strongly to was the refusal to see the possibility of the Holy Spirit working in others' lives.

Mary Kay

Esau, there may have been a side conversation between you and RC Mom but I have to admit that I didn't read the TLM posts in this thread. So I don't know what to say about that.

I put my two cents in because it seemed there had been sweeping generalizations about the charismatic movement.

Rebekah

I don't know if you were saying that the charismatic groups were saying that or asking if that's what I was saying.

No, I was referring to individuals who get huffy over the suggestions or warnings of the saints, because they don't match up with what appeals to them.

The very suggestion that it's somehow dangerous to do exactly what the Bible tells us to do with regard to judging whether or not something is of God is a huge red flag that something's not right. Humility and holiness don't demand respect or suggest dire consequences for people who choose to withhold belief until such time as they're able to judge something by its fruits. Cults, however, do.

The Bible warns of false prophets and movements that will arise, and doesn't advise that we believe in such things until they're absolutely proven untrue. Judging by the fruits of such a movement necessarily requires the passage of some time.

What I reacted so strongly to was the refusal to see the possibility of the Holy Spirit working in others' lives.

I don't disagree that to deny the existence of gifts of the Holy Spirit is dangerous and wrong. I believe in ALL of the gifts described in the Bible, and the ability of priests, bishops, etc. to exercise spiritual gifts in carrying out their duties. I believe baptism and other sacraments confer spiritual gifts. I don't even deny that some present-day instances of prophecy or speaking in tongues are actual gifts, and not delusion or of Satan.

The thing is that discernment and wisdom are also gifts of the Spirit, and they by their very nature require an objective look at the results of other supposed gifts and/or religious movements. The thing I object to is how very many charismatics bristle at the suggestion that some things might be dangerous to dabble in, or not genuine, and that perhaps some time should be allowed to pass before we accept the veracity of a very new movement in the Church. It is not dangerous to doubt the true nature of a "gift;" in fact, I'd say we're required to attempt to do so, and that requires at least the possibility of skepticism.

I do have to believe in the Holy Spirit. I don't have to believe that individual people are being inspired or led by Him. I do have to believe that the Holy Spirit leads the Church and has inspired the teachings of the Church. I don't have to believe in any individual God hasn't promised us is free from error in matters of faith and morals.

It would be way easier if wolves didn't come disguised in sheep's clothing. But Satan uses lies and cheap imitations, usually convincing ones at first.

Mary Kay

Rebekah, it looks like you and I basically agree. But since discussion doesn't revolve on agreement :) let me bonepick a few sentences. Well, maybe just one.

that perhaps some time should be allowed to pass before we accept the veracity of a very new movement in the Church

Pope Paul VI celebrated Mass with the charismatics more than 30 years ago. People may misuse the charismatic movement (as indeed any aspect of church life), but it's veracity has already been vetted.


Mary Kay

This discussion has gotten me thinking (ugh and on a Sunday, so much for a day of rest).

It's not so much that I want to defend the Catholic Charismatic movement. I've have very little contact and that had an elitist, clique-ish aspect that I could do without.

But there has been a discernible movement of the Holy Spirit in the past 40 years. Not just in a "charismatic" group. Maybe I've reached the point of repeating myself and should stop babbling and just go to sleep for the night.

Rebekah

Pope Paul VI celebrated Mass with the charismatics more than 30 years ago. People may misuse the charismatic movement (as indeed any aspect of church life), but it's veracity has already been vetted.

I meant new in relation to the 2000 years the Church has existed. Even the Protestant movement itself is new compared to that, and its charismatic movement started quite a bit earlier. I'm only 21, so I'm not able to use the "you young whippersnappers" argument yet, but I do take full advantage of the, "What? 500 years? A drop in the bucket!" one. ;-)

Mary Kay

Rebekah, if I knew Church history better, I could say dates and events that were new at the time. And of course, it's not something brand new, simply a flowering of an experience that had already been present in the Church. There have been writings of the new Springtime in the Church and I think the charismatic movement is part of that.

One group specifically charismatic has been given official approval from the Pontifical Council on the Laity and I have to trust that. That doesn't mean I'd run down to the local charismatic group if this area had one. My own experience with such groups is the same lack of humility that you've mentioned.

But even with the most humble, grounded group, they're just one of many groups and orders in the Church. Each has its own particular focus. Just because a group exists doesn't mean that everyone else has to drop what they're doing and join the new group.

I'm beginning to ramble again.

My Cat's Name Is Lily

There is nothing like going out on a very long limb....
Nevertheless: I worry. I worry about Catholic charismatics, and I worry about non-Catholic charismatics. (I actually, worry about the non-Catholics ones more, becasue they have nobody to reel them in).
Still, this is a true story, for what it's worth, since the question of discernment has been raised: My grandparents were old-fashioned Holiness Free Methodists living in Rochester, NY, at the time when the 20th C. pentecostal fever was spreading (circa WW1).
There was a Free Methodist missionary home from China staying in their home, & he expressed an interest in seeing what the fuss was all about. Grandfather & he went to one of their evening meetings.
There was a lot of good feelings, prayers (in & out of tongues), etc. Nothing otherthan tongues was anything new to a pair of ;-) Nice Holiness Boys....
A man stood up in the back, ran down front & began "praying in tongues"; another man gave an "interpretation". All according to hoyle, as it were....except.....
The missionary went red & white by turns, seized Grandfather's hand, & all but dragged him from the church. Outside, he explained: The man had been speaking in the dialect of the Chinese province the missionary served. The man inside had been spewing forth descriptions of vile immoral conduct, mixed with profanities.... "I don't doubt that he has a spirit", the missionary said; "but it isn't the Holy Spirit".

I believe that there are indeed real spiritual gifts. I just hope, whenever I hear this subject raised, that there is a whole lot of discernment being practiced. And I hope that somebody, somewhere, stops & thinks before so easily accepting that every manifestation has a divine origin, until proven otherwise.
Better, I think, the opposite.
I love Teresa of Avila, & I appreciate her total obedience to her superiors, when they ordered that she "snap her fingers" at her experiences. That kind of attititude might have prevented the Rochester fiasco.

But hey! That's just me.

A.Williams

Rebekah has spoken on this issue far more eloquently than I have, and I agree with her in everything.

Mary Kay, has spoken very prudently for the most part, but I think she is correct when she says she has only limited experience with Charismatics (in practice).

Matt is very correct in saying, .."He(A. Williams) is not calling the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that occurred authentically in Acts and the early Church a crock, of course not." You are 100% correct, as I could never, in my current state of spirituality, speak ill of the Good God, who I try to love and serve with my whole heart! And s I thank you for getting the gist of my messege correctly!

Esau, I value your post also, because I find alot of truth in it that I have experienced personally, and also respect the opinions of knowelegable persons such as Mother Angelica.

Tim is also correct, in saying.."I certainly want to leave room for the legitimate exercise of all the gifts of the Holy Spirit." I'm defenitely with him on that...except I will be the "Devil's advocate, 'so-to-say, until I personally witness something verifiably good in the movement, which I, like Rebekah, haven't as of yet.

However, I have 'personally' witnessed much 'deception' in the movement..and yes, I was, when very young in the faith, unfortuntely,(with sorrow) "TAUGHT" to speak in tongues at one time. I heard many prophesy's also, and recieved some about me...none of which came true so far. Actually THE OPPOSITE happened and I immediately confessed my sin and weakness to a priest - for following something I believe the Holy Spirit, in no way, was leading me to.

In fact, it is one of the most shameful things I have ever done in my Catholic spiritual life--and I'm even somewhat ashamed about telling it publicly here--even though there is some anonymity on the internet. Thats how bad I feel about succombing to a peer pressure, and NOT following the HOLY SPIRIT, the Spirit of Truth, teaching me otherwise, inside my soul.

And yes Rebekah, it is terrible to have to be 'taught' such things! It was in no way natural but rediculous and very shameful! To think that I would permit such a thing! But, that's what peer presure does - especially when you are young, and have older adults doing the teaching, and claiming it is the 'Will and way of God adn the Holy Spirit' --and with prophesy too!(false,in my case so far,that is, and this was a loooong time ago!)

Another shameful thing I experienced in the past, and I'll never forget it, was being at a Pentecostal event, just as an observer, about 10 years after the former event,..and seeing a little girl walking up and down the aisle 'weeping in the spirit'...flailing her arms, and continually walking around the' movie theater.(Pentacostal Church that I just happened to be passing by that day! It was close to my house.)

And knowing that this was all an act, I smiled at the little girl(6 yrs old?) as she was passing by, telling her in spirit.."You're not fooling me one little bit!", and" you can sound like you're crying, you can flail you arms...but there is no truth at all to any of this...you are just a regular little child like all the rest I know!" And as she passed me by a few times, over the hour or so I was there, I looked at her in the same way, not saying a single word. And as she passed by, in the end, doing her act, while 'weeping' and flailing..she quickly glanced at me with happy child eyes, and for a moment looked at me and chuckled, thereby silently telling me that I was 100% correct in my assesment of her little act, and that wshe was just truy=ing to do as her father(or other related had told her to do). And, I kind of nodded back to her, and chuckled myself, thanking her for revealing her funny little secret.

This is another reason why I have a general distaste for so many of the, 'extraordinary things' in Modern movements and modern spirituality, because I have personally seen or witnessed anythng that I would consider truly 'extraordinary'. I think most are trained in these experiences, and then make them their own meaning, and authority...kind of like giving meaning to modern or abstract art. Even if the artist never intended a meaning there will always be viewers of such art that can convince themselves otherwise! They can give an authentic meaning to something that was never intended by the artist!

Now again, this does not mean I don't believe in mystical experiences and miracles! I would be a pretty incredible guy to claim that I believe in St. Francis of Assisi, St. Joseph of Cupertino, St. Francis Xavier, St. Anthony Mary Claret and St. John Bosco, but then say I don't believe in miracles or prophesy. Kind of rediculous to even to think about such a thing!

St. John Bosco was one of the greatest prophets ever! And Anthony Claret incredible too! What should we say of St.Francis and his very numerous miracles and prophesies? Anyway, these are examples of those 'solid authorities' that I compare all others to!

And formerly living in California, I can only remember all the devotees who, like many Charismatics, sought(and are still seeking) mystical phenomena in their lives. I recall to mind those who seek the phenomena of levitation.

Not content to let God manifest this experience in His own way and time...like was experienced by St. Joseph of Cupertino, St. Francis and St. Theresa of Avila.. they, of course...TAKE LESSONS.

I think everyone probably has seen video on this subject matter before!

Yes, they start by grabbing the pillows beneath them, and jumping or hopping, while in an 'indian seated posture', around a room...one following the other.

And really, some can jump real high! Oh..I mean 'levitate'(imperfect as it might be) real high, but only after alot of strenuos meditation.. and especially after a couple of years of dedicated exercise, and their thighs and 'rear-ends' have grown an inch or two thicker!

So Mary Kay is correct. Alot of what we are talking and arguing about is terminology, and that is, 1.What phenomena is patently false, pure lie and deception? 2. What it 'taught', or psycologically conditioned 'into' a person by peer pressure or a 'desire to belong' to a group? and 3. What is 'patently' true, and lacks anything deceptive or sinister, and has all of the virtues and true gifts of the Holy Spirit accompanying it.


Anyway, thanks to everyone on this thread who are trying to relate the truth of these, so-called, mystical phenomena as they see and experience them in their own lives. In doing this we are indeed being faithful to the Holy Spirit...the Spirit of Good Counsel, Wisdom, Love, Rememberance of Holy teachings and Truth!

God Bless and Enlighten All, Now and Forever! Amen!

Mary Kay

A Williams, I'm sorry that you had such a bad experience. It really illustrates the importance of being anchored on the solid base of orthodox Catholicism.

Of my experience with Charismatics, I have no direct experience with what you've described. I can understand your being "gun shy" because of that.

I have had some experience with Catholic Charismatics which I limited. Not because of the charlatan like you experienced or the unholy spirit related by My Cat's Name is Lily, but because of the lack of humility described by Rebekah. They were "good Catholics" but too full of themselves to allow the Spirit to fully work.

What I am most familiar with are solid Catholics who have/had learned the humility to let God do what He would with them. Their speaking in tongues or being slain in the Spirit is very different from all the above examples.

You've mentioned discernment which is key.

I had a concern when you cast doubt on the good charismatic by lumping it with the bad charismatic.

You said you wouldn't believe it until the Vatican teaches authoritavely and in detail. That ain't gonna happen. Not for a public general audience.

You are absolutely correct about promises to "teach" this stuff. It can not be taught.

I'll keep you in prayer that you continue to find solid, orthodox Catholic people and reading.

A.Williams

Mary Kay,

As the owner of a large ranch, on which sheep were pastured for about 4 years and cows for more than ten, I am well of aware of the concept, and even the 'symbolism', that you use here about being in some way 'gun shy'.

But I did once have a dog that indeed was very gun shy!

However, I am not, and never have been, either in actuality or symbolically, 'gun shy'. A more correct symbolism might be that I am someone who has a lot of understanding of snakes, and have killed 'rattlers' very often either below or near my house. But this also does not mean that I am 'snake shy' in any way, for,on the contrary, when I catch harmless snakes I put them in bottles for the kids to play with.

The difference here is knowing what is dangerous and what is not.

Now, I'm not even that afraid of rattlesnakes for that matter, and have permitted them in my private garden for years on end, and the same snakes, mind you... without causing them any harm. And this is because I came to know their mannerisms, and habits,and really didn't feel personally threatened by them. They never bothered me, except by being coiled about 15 feet away, watching me prune my trees, and I never bothered them either...kind of a mutual respect.

However, although I was not afraid of them, I was very much concerned that there might be a problem with visitors to my ranch. I had a responsibility to protect these who were ignorant and who didn't have the same understanding or experience as I had. And indeed, without the proper understanding of the 'nature of the beast' there is indeed significant danger.

Now I say this becasue the faith is the same way. And I am in no way threatened or 'faith shy' by anything the Charismatics or fundementalists do. The bad experience I described above, which was really only one of many lesser ones, came a little after my 1st year of really returning to the Church,( which, by the way, was a looong time ago) and I was quite a bit more ignorant in spiritual things than I am now.

However, I know enough both about snakes and Charismatics to suggest that everyone needs to pay very great attention to both, and to make sure that neither is venomous!

For the Reptiles, we need to study books and wildlife guides to know the habitat, colors and particular behavior's that indicate that a snake is one of the poisonous ones. We need to be cautios with ALL snakes, but extremely cautios with the ones that appear, or resemble, the truly poisonous.

Likewise in the faith. We need to study books to find out all the different types of 'spiritual creatures' out there. We need to study well to find authoritative sources who have experience with such spiritul 'wildlife'. Just as snakes, some are very harmless and can be kept at home as pets. Others are deadly and only a fool would play with them (and they indeed do!)

So, by reading authoritative manuals on the many different dangers in the faith, some of which manuals are even 1000's of years old, we can learn something descriptive about the "habitat, colors and particular behavior's" of these potential dangers.

What I posted above was a warning to all about the potential dangers found in the Charismatic groups. I did this out of an obligation, like a mindful shepherd, to help defend the Lord's lambs from potential perils lurking in the shadows. I gave my own personal experience, as being tempted and bitten by a 'snake'.. and others have given theirs. And this is to say, "this snake didn't kill me, and I confessed pretty much 1 or 2 days later, but it MIGHT kill you if you don't have the antidote!..which are the sacraments and the true teachings of the Catholic Church!

So I, and others also who have had experience in potentially perilous spirituality, are only warning others for their own good to study and read as much as they can from truly holy sources, so as to avoid not only this particular danger, but countless others as well.

And speaking of 'dogs'...the one thing I never want to hear from the Lord, at the last judgement, are these words:

"He was a dog that never barked!" Isaiah 56:10


But thanks for the prayers and I accept all that are offered. I will also pray for you likewise!

A.Williams

...also, since I think we don't want to break any records for the most number of comments on any one topic, this will be my last comment on the subject.

wheww...! :)

Esau

Actually, A. Williams, you might want to take note of:

1 Timothy 4:16
16 Take heed to thyself and to doctrine: be earnest in them. For in doing this thou shalt both save thyself and them that hear thee.


2 Thess 3:14-15
14 And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed.
15 Yet do not esteem him as an enemy but admonish him as a brother.


Ezekiel 33:8-9
8 When I say to the wicked: O wicked man, thou shalt surely die: if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked man from his way: that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but I will require his blood at thy hand.
9 But if thou tell the wicked man, that he may be converted from his ways, and he be not converted from his way he shall die in his iniquity: but thou hast delivered thy soul.


To others, I only reference these in regards to the many wayward Charismatics who've I've met that believe and practice things contrary to the Catholic Faith and even to Christian doctrine in general.

As Tim J. had wisely remarked in his post:

"It is IMPOSSIBLE that one may be led by the Holy Spirit to disobey the authentic teaching of the Church, for the authentic teaching of the Church comes from the Holy Spirit. Therefore, either the Church or this lady is wrong about being led by the Holy Spirit. Which do you think is more likely?"

Further, as Mother Angelica (herself a Charismatic) said at the end of a Mother Angelica Live episode that Charismatics who say they are being led by the Holy Spirit but are doing things contrary to the Church are NOT really being led by the Holy Spirit because if they were, they would be led further into the Church rather than away from it.

Though I have not personally met Charismatics faithful to the Church, I have heard of those in the world of apologetics who appear to be devoted to the Church and strive to make a difference in its renewal. God bless these who truly live up to the Catholic Faith and the Church Christ established!

A.Williams

AMEN!

(...just a quicky!)

SteveE

Obviously any individual or group going against church teaching is not someone you want to be around, but regarding the gifts I think we are throwing the baby out with the bathwater here. The discussion seems to be going in the direction of "anyone seeking gifts always seeks the showy ones and that's not a good thing".

I was not raised Pentacostal or even Catholic, but I grew up knowing the Bible and Saint Paul writes extensively in 1 Cor 12-14 about the "charismatic gifts" (kind of like an ATM machine?) and their relationship to love and the building of the body of Christ.

What jumps out at me is 1 Cor 14:1... "Follow after love, and desire spiritual gifts, above all that you may prophesy."

Paul goes on to relate how tongues need to be understood to be effective. Kind of interesting in light of the nonsensical "speaking in tongues" we encounter in Charismatic groups.

At 1 Cor 14:22 we have "thus the gift of tongues is instituted as a sign... for unbelievers.. but prophesying is.. for those believe.

Clearly we have here one saint, Paul, who exhorts us to desire (maybe, seek?) spiritual gifts for building up the church. What form these gifts take and how they stack up to the gifts as practiced in the CCR is an interesting discussion, especially tongues because Paul sounds like he is talking about praying in other human languages.

Esau

The discussion seems to be going in the direction of "anyone seeking gifts always seeks the showy ones and that's not a good thing".


SteveE:
You need to re-read the posts here.

That is not what is being said by anyone here at all.

In fact, in my Jan 28, 2007 4:54:20 PM post above, take note what I had previously mentioned:

2. She makes it seem that the Gifts of the Holy Spirit are exclusive only to Charismatics.

Look at what she said in her post:

"Esau, if anyone is promoting "personal" views it is you. If St. Paul cannot convince you that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are real, I know I will not be able as well."

just because I believe that there are Charismatics out there who are not actually being led by the Holy Spirit, which is made obvious by their actions and practices which are contrary to Church Teaching and Tradition. Simply because of this, she says that I'm not convinced that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are real. Am I to think, then, that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are only real when it comes to Charismatics and that should I say anything against any Charismatic out there, that I am actually doubting the gifts of the Holy Spirit? Are the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, then, specifically reserved for Charismatics?

I hold the very same opinion that Mother Angelica who (herself a Charismatic) said at the end of a Mother Angelica Live episode that Charismatics who say they are being led by the Holy Spirit but are doing things contrary to the Church are NOT really being led by the Holy Spirit because if they were, they would be led further into the Church rather than away from it.

By the way, contrary to what Radical Catholic mom implied in her remarks, I know of many, many Catholics who aren't Charismatics but I can assure you, they are nevertheless blessed with the Gifts of the Holy Spirit not only in the sense of the natural outcomes that have manifested as a direct result of such gifts but, more importantly, by their all-out devotion to Christ and His Church (as found also in the lives of the saints) made evident even further by many fruits of that unyielding devotion not only in their lives but those of the lives they touch.

Esau

Further, Steve E:

Here is what I mentioned on a Jan 26, 2007 11:53:34 AM post:

I remember discussing this with that gal I had mentioned, and when I cited 1 John 4:1 regarding testing every spirit before accepting them as coming from God, she simply lashed out at me, saying how dare I test God himself. It seems that she had already accepted these things as coming from God without any testing, any actual serious consideration whatsoever.

1 John 4:1 Beloved, don't believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

Rebekah

I agree with what Esau has said. I only addressed charismatics I've known, who were actually seeking such things. One is a very holy man who's a deacon at our church and not at all like most of the charismatics I've met. My godmother is just a smidge charismatic, and she's also very holy.

Any my little sister isn't at all charismatic--like me and my youngest sis, she's never spoken in tongues or sought that out. She has, however, seen things and received messages that did indeed come true, most especially when she was a little girl. The most notable was when she was seven and we were all having to live in an abusive situation with our dad and stepmother, not knowing when (or if) we'd be able to go home. In spite of their telling us all the time that we were staying with them permanently, she was never worried. When asked, she said she'd had her head on her desk at school one day, and Jesus told her we would be going back to our Mom, and not to lose hope. So she said okay, and...didn't. (Incidentally, her middle name is also Hope.)

She's exhibited every gift of the Spirit there is since then in her daily life. Nothing will convince me that the kid's not a saint. She hasn't mentioned anything "out there" happening to her in years, but I would believe her if she did. In case anyone's wondering, living with a saint is lovely. ;-) I just wish I could be more like her.

Steve E

Esau,
I wasn't disagreeing with you in my post. In fact, I agree with everything you point out in your response to me.

Thanks to your suggestion I did reread the thread and in fact there is a quote within this thread that directly refers to the seeking of "showy" gifts in a negative sense:

"Clarification: I do not think every possible gift of the Holy Spirit is a crock. The thing is, I never saw anyone ask for any gift (wisdom, fortitude, etc.) that wasn't showy or that would require the learning and practice of patience or anything else unpleasant. It was always speaking in tongues and prophecy or healing, and said "gifts" were always displayed in the most disruptive manner possible."

And this:

"I think, by and large, the seeking out of the "showier" gifts smacks of hubris (and the attraction of playing with fire that comes from a lack of the gift of wisdom) from the very beginning--"The saints advise against it, but I'll know the difference between something that's of God and something of Satan." And this is absolutely borne out in the utter lack of humility that follows from it."

My message did not address the existence of the gifts, as some others have discussed, but I wanted to contribute to the discussion by adding that there is at least one very well-known saint who exhorts us to actively desire the gifts. The gifts that Saint Paul mentions in this context happen to be tongues and prophecy, which are some of the "showy" ones.

Interestingly enough, Paul seems to be laying out some guidlines for keeping the expression of these gifts from being disruptive to the assembly. I'm personally not entirely convinced that the "gift of tongues" I see at CCR events lines up with what Paul is describing in 1 Corinthians, and I agree that the gifts are not exclusive to Charismatics, but Paul is clear that it's good to desire the gifts - even the showy ones if they are used for the building up of the body of Christ.

I'm sorry that my initial message wasn't clearly-written enough. I doubt this one is either but it's the end of the work day and I'm experiencing computer burn-out.

Esau

No prob, Steve E.!

Actually, I do admire some of the points you've made in your post here.

God bless!

Richard Moody

First I must say that I have attended Mass with friends of mine when I was in high school, and from that time I always remembered the robotic aspects of the Mass and not really seeking a time to usher in the Spirit of God in the Mass. I guess now you would consider me a Charismatic, yes, I speak and pray in toungues. I have learned to Love Christ, believe in him, and that He is the way and the light and the only way to salvation. I study the whole Word of God and do believe that the gift was given to many in the bible and still is available to anyone who would like to receive it. I was very skeptical at first, and did not really believe it, I thought it was hogwash. After the first time that I was truly quiet in the Lord seeking the Spirit of God in prayer, I did start to speak in toungues. Now I know how to get close to God through the Spirit and Jesus and can easily find peace and quiet in the Spirit and find guidance in my life from God. I have also learned another Biblical principal of discerning of Spirits to know when it is truly from God or not. It is very easy to criticise others, but I have learned as a Charasmatic to Love Everyone, though not always an easy task, and to Love God, Christ, and the Spirit. It is a time when we all need to put our differences aside and all work together to our common goal. Saving souls for the harvest. If we are all fulfilling our calling of bringing people to Christ for salvation, does it really matter if I pray in toungues and you don't? I don't pray to Mary, but I am not going to tell Catholics that it is wrong or try to convert them. I am glad that the Catholic Church is bringing in more lost people into the harvest! I have great respect for the Catholic Church, the Pope, and everyone on this board. I think most "Charasmatics" like myself would agree. Till we meet in Heaven...

With Love in Christ.

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