Traditional Catholicism and the Charismatic Movement


There is a world of difference between a solemn Tridentine Mass and a charismatic mass.  Many of my friends are charismatic and may not like what I am writing.  Let us put our emotions aside and look at this honestly.  I believe in contemplative catholicism.  That means a deep mystical union with God interiorly when God initiates this loving union.  In this faith experience there may be no feelings what so ever.  As St. John of the Cross describes it “Nada or Nothing”.  St. Theresa of Avila also talks about contemplation as a gift of an interior experience of God.  We can only prepare our souls for this gift by emptying out their lives of all that displeases God (sin) and emptying of self in silence.

When I was young in Aptos California where I was raised, some of my friends were charismatics.  They invited me to come to the “Life in the Spirit” seminar.  At this time I was a cafeteria catholic.  I went faithfully to the 12 week series.  At the end they prayed over me to receive the gift of tongues (Glossolaly).  Nothing happened and I was told to start babbling.  That would help it begin. In those days I was a real people pleaser so I tried but nothing happened.  In preparation for the last day of the seminar we were told to go to confession which helped me think of sin as being sin.  Going to the prayer group was helpful in that I belonged to a group of people who were trying to be holy.    I also began reading the Bible again.

But what bothered me was that in the prayer group with the singing and fellowship my emotions would be fed and God was an emotional experience.  But then all week long I would also feel like God was not around because I did not experience Him emotionally.  When people prayed in tongues it scared me at times.  But you were told that that was a gift from God.  Also one of my very good friends in the group had cancer and they prayed for her.  Then they said it was gone, thanks to prayer.  She later died of cancer.  When you are young you think a lot and wonder why they were so sure she was cured.

People in the charismatic movement are wonderful people looking for God and trying to please Him.  They are very involved in helping at their parishes.  They study the Bible and pray.  But there are great dangers in this movement.  Mother Angelica came out of the charismatic movement.  Look at all the good she has done.  She is one of my heroes.  But you notice how Mother Angelica over time has become more and more conservative in her habit and her way of having the Holy Mass celebrated on EWTN with latin and solemnly.  I deeply believe if Mother Angelica had not had the stroke, she would be promoting only the Tridentine mass now.  My dream is to start a traditional catholic TV station with just the Tridentine mass and traditional programs.  Please pray for this to happen some day.

First I want to say that the charismatic movement was never part of the Catholic faith before 1967.  The gift of tongues as explained in the Bible was a unique gift for the beginning of conversion only in places where many languages were spoken.  Look this up in the Catholic Encyclopedia at New Advent under Gift of Tongues and see what it says.  A few saints had this gift like St. Francis Xavier and St. Vincent Ferrer.

It all began with Pentecostal Protestants in 1901.  Some put it a little earlier.  Then in 1967 at the catholic university of Duquesne, a protestant minister prayed over some catholic young men and teachers and some receive what they called the gifts of the Holy spirit.  From there it spread all over the catholic world.  I remember well how many good catholics became protestant at this time, and mostly pentecostal.  If you do not believe me ask your friends from the 70’s or do google research on this whole issue.

I am not trying to put down charismatic catholics.  I am trying to say that this is a protestant movement in the catholic church.  Again there are good charismatic people doing good things.  The protestant churches are full people studying the Bible and doing good things.  But that is not catholic.

I want to compare a charismatic mass with the Holy Latin Mass.  I have done many charismatic masses, I know what I am talking about.  In the charismatic healing mass you have a band with a choir up front and many times in the sanctuary.  The music is very emotional and everyone participates in the singing with their hands lifted up in praise and clapping.  Many times they pray over people to get well or so that they will fall down and be slain in the spirit.  I once was pushed and pushed so hard to fall over.  I resisted a long time than just to get them to stop I went down.  Again pleasing people rather than God.

The Tridentine mass is reverent and the music is celestial.  People sing the entrance hymn and Credo and Pater Noster but it is not the same kind of emotional experience.  Yes you feel God’s presence in the schola and the soul lifting organ music, but it is on a more intellectual level.  The “active participation” is on a more internal level.  So most catholics do not like the Tridentine mass because it is not an emotional experience with everyone singing along with the band, holding hands and clapping.  There is nothing wrong with emotional experiences, but the Sacrifice on Calvary is not the place for an emotional high.  That should be in the hall with music and prayer.  But I do not believe in the laying on of hands by lay people and exorcisms by lay people and prophesying the future or talking in tongues.

Many people have converted and become better people because of their experience in the charismatic movement.  But many people have converted and changed their moral lives by being involved in the Jehovah’s Witnesses too.

We need basic contemplative experiences that the saints talk about.  It is Catholic.

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32 Responses to Traditional Catholicism and the Charismatic Movement

  1. ginnyfree says:

    having been to both and found good in each, if I had my choice between the two, I would go for the Tridentine no problem. But I’m also aware that there are some among my brothers and sisters in Christ who have another need in their hearts and so, they go to the Charismatic Masses to find their hearts desire. I’ve been to poorly done in both. I’ve been to well done in both and each has it place. There actually should be no competition between the two as both are approved for us by the Church. This unfortunately is not the reality. If we pray for unity among us, it will lesson the tensions and misunderstandings and so actual harmony can occur and then the day can come when all forms of the Mass available to us will actually be available to us in all places. It is possible, but it takes work and prayer by all to end the misunderstandings that stand in the way. Unity. We are all one body in Christ and the foot cannot consider itself better than the ear nor should the shoulder decide it doesn’t need the elbow cause it seems a bit odd looking. God bless. Ginnyfree.


  2. Gertrude says:

    But …. we can choose between what is essentially a protestant form of worship (which some clergy are happy to go along with) and that which is Catholic, traditional and in use for a very long time, beloved by saints and martyrs alike.


  3. ginnyfree says:

    Gertrude, I’m not certain, but are you suggesting that those priests who serve a NO and include charismatic features are doing so to satisfy the Protestants, or that they actually are celebrating a Protestant Mass, which I don’t think there is such a thing. Huh? I’m confused. Please help. God bless. Ginnyfree.


  4. kathleen says:

    We should keep Fr. Peter Carota (“Traditional Catholic Priest”) in our prayers. I have heard that this dear faithful priest, who has spread such devotion to the Tridentine Mass and teaches the fullness of Catholic Truth to his congregation, is very ill and getting weaker by the day.


  5. toad says:

    “As St. John of the Cross describes it “Nada or Nothing”. “
    Unless St John spoke English, I very much doubt he described it in those words.
    He might have simply called it “Nada”. But that’s not the same thing at all.
    “Nothing, or Nothingness?” surely a bit too Sartrean?


  6. Robert says:

    St John Of The Cross first!
    Why bother with Sartre?
    Aquinas pointed out that human reasoning ends up chasing its tails over body and soul. Dawkins has consciousness as a material matter ie in the genes! Perhaps jeans would be the more appropriate word.
    The Nothingness of St John is seeking God NOT sensation (ie senses!) because these are NOT God. Man is spiritual blind, spiritual deaf, spiritual dumb so if you seek through the senses you will not find God. Its the NOTHING especially kicking self out of the door! Self awareness the fruit of the Fall.


  7. toad says:

    “Why bother with Sartre?”
    Good question, Roberte. But people did. 50,000 attended his funeral. I suppose they had their reasons.
    I first became interested in him myself, when I read that both the French Communist Party, and the French Catholic Church simultaneously declared him the most dangerous man in the country in the immediate post war period..
    A flawed man. Like any of us. But with something valuable to say.


  8. Robert says:

    Well said Toad and well put across!
    What interests me with Pentecost is Not the speaking in tongues its that the hearers heard the Apostles in their(the listeners) own languages!
    The immediate comparison is with the confusion of tongues in Genesis Babel! Babel remember is Man trying to storm Heaven by his own efforts. Here at Pentecost there is NO confusion of tongiues.
    Christ restores ALL things including reversing the Anathema of Babel.
    Babel was man made! The Church is mystical Body of Christ
    Much is made over the Rites and liturgy etc.. Look the priest is the channel for Our prayers and this is done through the Holy sacrifice of the Mass! Without the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass (the perpetual sacrifice) Our prayers would not be acceptable to God.
    The Charismatic prayers are worthless without the priest celebrant on and at the altar offering the Mass.


  9. toad says:

    “The Charismatic prayers are worthless without the priest celebrant on and at the altar offering the Mass.”
    The implication here, Robert, is that all prayer, other than Catholic, is worthless.
    Is this your understanding?

    It is ,of course, possible to be both a Christian and an Existentialist. Kierkegaard was a notable one, but he was a Prod, Maritain, Rahner, (sort of,) Unamuno (dubious Catholic) Some trace Existentialism back to Aquinas.
    In a way we are all a bit existential, these days.
    Michael got it right on another thread: Some 60 years ago, Toad was an Existentialist, which, for him, meant wearing black roll neck sweaters, (still does!) smoking Gauloises, and listening to Juliette Greco records, with a dog-eared copy of “Being And Nothingness” under his arm he pretended to understand (the book that is – not his arm).
    Yes, we can laugh now. And we must.


  10. ginnyfree says:

    Wow, thanks for the look at your past Toad. I was unaware that Toad’s actually have armpits in which the stuff books. Does this transfer the unique scent of Toad to them? Or are their words somehow absorbed into the bloodstream through a form of osmosis unique to toads?


  11. toad says:

    Your interest in Toad’s more obscure bodily parts is gratifying, if a little perverse, Gin-free-girl.
    However, as we amphibians are not made in the image of God ourselves, unlike “humans,” such as yourself and Mr. Rush Limbaugh – our armpits are not of great interest in The Great Scheme of Things. Unlike, for example – your good self – whose armpits are inevitably made in the image of The Almighty’s. And whose scent is perpetually of, “Ashes Of Roses.”
    …Or so I am reliably informed.


  12. GC says:

    Well, Toad, I’ve heard the expression ‘lower than a snake’s armpits’; but one senses that toads are constituted of little more than mouths, stomachs and eye ridges, whatever that may deeply signify; whereas rabits are nearly all ears, though from our arboreal vantage points we rarely espy rabits on rainforest floors in this vicinity nowadays. Perhaps they had already been snacked on by Sister Python. But then again.


  13. ginnyfree says:

    Yes, GC. This is true, but the real mystery is exactly what scent does a sweaty Toad leave behind as he transports his enormous stomach to a newer location? And if he did so with a book of Sartre under said armpits, will the scent be retained upon the book should the toad desire to leave it behind in pursuit of luscious fly bits and worms?


  14. GC says:

    Dear Ginny, according to Sacred Scripture hypocrites are meant to strain at gnats while wholeheartedly swallowing camels. Toads, however, seem to relish both gnats and camels simultaneously, which is quite an achievement considering their puniness, and do so in a commendably most unbiased fashion.


  15. toad says:

    ” Less Toad, more God,” I’d suggest.
    Not that I’m not flattered by the prurient interest.
    However, “..his enormous stomach…”
    Who’s been telling tales?

    Off topic a tad: A wonderfully dreadful woman, who ran a bar in Soho frequented by Toad, was once asked by a bearded journalist, ” Muriel, I’ve been invited to a fancy-dress party. What shall I go as?” “Why don’t you put a bit of talcum powder in your beard, and go as an armpit, Sweetie-Pie?” replied the dame.
    Something our Gin-free friend might consider, if fancy-dress parties are not considered satanic in her neck of the woods. (Well, that revolting little tale doesn’t seem to have much to do with God, either – does it, Toad?.)


  16. toad says:

    “From Camel to Gnat,”
    The Exclusive Toad Cookbook. (profusely and disgustingly illustrated in full colour)
    Both are mist for his grill.


  17. ginnyfree says:

    Not to be published BEFORE your Toadite Dictionary of Political Incorretness. Then the cookbook. Priorities.


  18. johnhenrycn says:

    I feel a bit sorry – very sorry actually – for Rebekah. Given her status as a published author (any chance of favouring us with a snippet, Toad ?) she should consider auditioning for I’m a Celebrity. Get me out of Moratinos!


  19. GC says:

    Dear toads forget to mention what refreshments are to be served with the menu, and at what time and in what measures.

    Shall it be quart jars or, rather, half-gallon jugs of G&T, several times before the actual table presentation of said dishes from Ca to Gn? And with or without those buoyant lemon slices? And any other recommendations? A humble inquiry only.


  20. toad says:

    Toad’s drink is the water pure, water pure, water pure –
    Toad’s drink is the water pure – from the crystal stream,

    …GC. Same as you.
    Would he let a thief enter his mouth to steal his brains? Never! Except when he’s not lying, of course. Same as everyone else.
    I gather our Gin-girl is permanently on the wagon these days, though.
    Esteemable fortitude, under the circumstances..
    God Bless her, (and us) – one and all!
    Says Tiny Toad.


  21. Robert says:

    Toad back to the Aquinas on death and man being body and soul. Remember that Man could not enter Heaven until Our Lord’s Passion and resurrection. Man could not repair for Adams Original Sin. So it follows that without the Holy sacrifice of the Mass man cannot enter Heaven. Then rethink your conclusions over prayer!


  22. toad says:

    My “conclusions over prayer,” are that it can’t possibly do the slightest harm, Roger. I see no reason to re-think that.
    Nor do I see how “souls” can function independently of bodies. The least worst body/soul analogy I can come up with is – that we are walking computers made of meat, and the soul is the “electricity” that runs us. When it’s switched off – we are dead.
    Same for us as for a python.


  23. kathleen says:

    Nor do I see how “souls” can function independently of bodies.

    No of course you don’t, Toad, because you are a ‘blind’ toad. Faith is a gift that must be searched for with “a humble and contrite heart”.


  24. toad says:

    Possibly, Kathleen. But believing the illogical and improbable (as I see it) is not an option for me. Conscience won’t allow it.
    You call me blind. But you cannot know. And it seems a very arrogant judgement .
    I may be wrong in my assumptions, and you might be right. I don’t know. But my beliefs, like yours, are honestly arrived at. ….And amenable to change.


  25. toad says:

    Re-reading his comment above, Toad is now aware how fantastically pompous, and self-serving it is.
    So, there’s no need to bother telling him. Apologies all round.

    “Uncertainty is uncomfortable, but certainty is absurd. “


  26. ginnyfree says:

    Kathleen. Do not despair over poor ole Toad. He’ll survive.


  27. toad says:

    “Do not despair over poor ole Toad. He’ll survive.”
    Depends on what is meant by “survive,” I suggest.
    But, yes despair is unnecessary.


  28. kathleen says:

    Toad @ 10:38 declares:

    But my beliefs, like yours, are honestly arrived at.

    Oh come on Toad… what “beliefs”? You have always demonstrated that you have no beliefs in anything… only in the (ahem) ‘doctrine’ of Relativism.

    Have you not read the gospel story of the blind man who calls out to Our Blessed Lord: “Lord that I might see!”? And that when He had cured him, i.e., forgiven him, Our Lord said: “Receive thy sight: thy faith hath made thee whole” (Luke 18:35-43).
    This is the ‘blindness” I was talking about; that which obscures us, all of us at times, from seeing God. (Sin blinds us, especially the sin of pride from which all other sins flow).

    I have a little story from Ven. Fulton Sheen for you; it is a good example of one type of this “blindness”:

    Bishop Sheen had led a retreat for priests one weekend. One of the talks he gave was on the Real Presence of the Eucharist. One priest in attendance evidently was struggling with his faith. Indeed, he had a hard time believing that Jesus Christ was really present – Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity – under the appearance of bread and wine. After expressing his doubts, Bishop Sheen explained the doctrine of the Real Presece to the priest in a variety of ways. When that did not help assuage the doubts of the priest, with a keen spiritual instinct, Sheen abruptly asked him in an accusatory manner: “Is she a blond or a brunette?” Becoming indignant, the priest responded by asking what the bishop meant. Bishop Sheen then clarified his question: “Is the woman you are now with a blond or a brunette?” Absolutely incensed, and in so many words, the priest retorted back, “How dare you accuse me of being with a woman!!” Then he stormed off. The next day the doubting priest, who was deeply offended by the accusation the day before, approached Bishop Sheen and said, “She is a blond.”
    This good bishop understood that the moral blight of sexual sin dims the light of spiritual truth. He was able to connect the dots in a moment’s notice.


  29. toad says:

    …with a keen spiritual instinct, Sheen abruptly asked him in an accusatory manner: “Is she a blond or a brunette?”

    [Two sentences removed by a CP&S Moderator]

    (That’ll never get published.)
    Sorry, Kathleen, it’s all beyond me. Whether below or above, I don’t know. You do – of course. You seem to know everything. Must be comfy to be so sure of it all. “What beliefs, Toad?” The beliefs that we can know nothing metaphysical for certain. We can only guess, and it’s wiser not to jump to conclusions before credible evidence shows up.


  30. Robert says:

    The worst that can happen to Man is that He becomes spiritual blind and spiritually deaf! This is spiritual Death and the loss of Heaven. Spiritual Death is the road to Hell.


  31. ginnyfree says:

    Toad, you are credible evidence that something about the process of evolution isn’t right.


  32. toad says:

    Nobody ever suggested that the process of evolution was “right,” Gin-Girl. Nobody who knew what they were talking about.
    Evolution is no more “right,” than leprosy, or a tsunami. Just inevitable.


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