Are You Charismatic or Catholic?
"For false Christ’s and false prophets shall rise, and shall show signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect." - Mark 13:22
By Raymond Taouk
The Origin of the present day Charismatic Movement can be traced back to the “holiness movement” which was began in the late 19th century in the united states by the Protestant preacher Charles fox Parham who began preaching (1901) to his topeka congregation that speaking in tongues was objective evidence of baptism in the spirit. After the Los Angeles mission of Parham's apostolic faith sect became the center of a great revival (1906) the movement quickly spread around the world. Over the next two decades the movement split along doctrinal and racial lines. Today the Charismatics generally go by the name of “pentecostalist” although the term “Charismatic” is the more generally used since this sect doesn’t limits beliefs to is own denomination.
The Charismatic movement gained its influence into the post Conciliar Church with the efforts of various individuals such as Cardinal Suenens and Kevin Ranaghan who helped deceived a number of well meaning Catholics into thinking this would be a great way of being united with those outside the Church while learning to “experience the holy spirit”. The Catholic Promoters of this Pentecostal movement have been moved far from orthodox in their faith (2 Thess 2:14). That is why Archbishop Dwyer, of Portland, Oregon, in a scathing criticism of the charismatic movement, warned in 1974: "We regard it bluntly as one of the most dangerous trends in the Church in our time, closely allied in spirit with other disruptive and divisive movements threatening grave harm to unity and damager to countless souls."
Charismatic Movement and False Ecumenism
Let us also be greatly aware that this Charismatic Movement in the Catholic Church is founded on a sin against the Faith. As Bishop Louis LaRavoire Morrow, S.T.D points out, "A Catholic sins against Faith by taking part in non-Catholic worship, because he thus professes belief in a religion he knows to be false." This is because participation in Non Catholic worship has always been forbid (See Canon’s 1258,1063,2319,1325 of the 1917 code of Canon Law). Yet by the admission of Catholic Charismatic pioneer, Kevin Ranaghan, the movement began with Catholics performing the grotesque ritual of seeking a spiritual blood transfusion from the dead corpse of Protestantism, and proclaiming that God "filled them to overflowing with the spirit" for doing so. Such collaborating and "seeking the holiness of the Holy Spirit" from anathematized heretics cannot be a religious movement truly of God but rather diabolic Movement of deception. While no one claims that those who belong to this Movement are necessarily all evil or persons of ill intent, yet this is beside the point. Since the movement itself is founded on principles that contradict the Faith.
The false notion of Ecumenical worship as proclaimed by the Charismatic Movement was long ago condemned by Pope Pius XI and Pope Pius XII who (basing their teaching on the unchanging tradition of the Church rather than the progressive novelties of liberal theologians) warned against the dangers of interfaith activity. Pius XI in Mortalium Animos taught that though St. John recounted Our Lord's prayer "that all may be one", as well as Christ's command "to love one another", "nevertheless, he (St. John) strictly forbade any intercourse with those who professed a mutilated and corrupted form of Christ's teaching. For 'If any man come to you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into thy house, nor say to him, God speed you."
Pope Pius XI further castigated interfaith projects, stating, "...It is clear that the Apostolic See can by no means take part in these assemblies, nor is it in any way lawful for Catholics to give such enterprises their encouragement or support. If they did so, they would be giving countenance to a false Christianity, quite alien to the one Church of Christ" (Moralium Animos, Jan 6, 1928).
The Charismatic movement being a product of such forbidden activities needed to acquire the mock-sacrament of a false religion (“baptism in the spirit”) for its impetus. Hence it acts in haughty disdain of Pius XI's directives.
Speaking in Tongues?
Accompanying the so called “speaking in Tongues” the Charismatics will often be found screaming the name of “Jesus” or rolling on the floor, or making ecstatic utterances frequently unintelligible to listeners. In the history of the Church such behavior has always been condemned. In fact in Scripture it is only those who have been possessed by devils that can not restrain themselves from acting in such a manner. That is why most theologians agree that one of the signs of demonic possession is the speaking in strange or unintelligible tongues. I will quote a few as follows:
"According to the roman ritual, other signs of possession include ‘the ability to speak with some familiarity in a strange tongue or to understand it when spoken by another; the faculty of divulging future and hidden events; and the display of powers which are beyond the subject's age and natural condition.’" (joseph ecanem, ph.d., demonic possession, p. 23)
"The catholic church still defines true signs of possession as displaying superhuman strength, often accompanied by fits and convulsions; changes in personality; having knowledge of the future or other secret information; and being able to understand and converse in languages not previously known to the victim, such as the phenomenon glossolalia. Early puritan ministers and later protestant clergy agreed on the same symptoms for declaring a person demonically possessed. In many incidences there was a complete ignorance of the person's medical condition and behavior." (Michael foreman, ph.d., a short history of diabolical possession, p. 59)
one of the signs of possession as listed in the rituale romanum is as follows: "to speak unknown languages (xenoglosia) and to sustain conversations in such languages, as well as to understand the languages that are spoken." (Rituale romanum)
Further the Charismatics seem to have forgotten the words of St Paul regarding how a person should behave himself in the Church. St Paul tells us " Thou know how thou should behave thyself in the house of God, which is the Church of the living God the pillar and ground of the Truth" (1 Timothy 3:15). In fact when dealing with the issue of “speaking in tongues” he expressly states that “all things be done decently and according to order” (1 Cor 14:40), which is something that Charismatics totally ignore.
“The Holy Spirit”?
The Charismatic Movement often claim to magnifies the Holy Spirit, yet the scriptures tell us the role of the holy spirit is to magnify Christ, as we read "But when He, the Spirit of Truth, is come, He will teach you all truth. For He shall not speak of himself he will speak only what he hears and he will tell you what is yet to come, He Shall Glorify ME; because He shall receive of mine, and Shall make it known to you" (John 16:13).
One of the characteristics of Charismatics is that it goes to excess on a detail, but loses the big picture of the Catholic and Apostolic Faith. It is this excess of sensual “experience of the Holy spirit” that is the problem, which some are trying to substitute for the Roman Catholic Faith.
The Charismatic approach to the Holy Ghost makes Him subservient to their emotions and personal conveniences, when on the contrary our faith teaches us that grace is a free gift given by God which He is not necessitated to give but only does so out of His free will (1 Corinth 4:7).
What is more is that they not only make God subservient to their emotions but also make their “experience” with the Holy Spirit into their new Magesterium, since who needs the Church if we all have a direct line with the Holy Spirit which we can activate according to our own likings! This is confirmed by the fact that the Charismatics will often refuse to admit that their “experience of the spirit” could be nothing more than a diabolic delusion or simply an intensification of ones own emotions. And so this Charismatic heresy is based on the erroneous notion that emotional experience always accompanies the conferral of grace, whereas the Catholic doctrine is that the only sensible indication of the conferral of grace is the sacramental sign itself.
The Catholic church has a marvelous two-thousand year history of "discernment of spirits" by which God has given us means (Spiritual tools) to use in order to discern the spirit of truth from that of error. Yet this Movement ignores Catholic teaching on the discernment of spirits. As we see often see Lay people lay hands on an individual, the individual gets a “rush”, and immediately proclaims that he is "full of the Spirit." This is shocking presumption according to Catholic teaching.
The great mystical writer and Doctor of the Church, St. John of the Cross, warned that souls must flee from seeking such manifestations: " I greatly fear what is happening in these times of ours: If any soul whatever after a bit of meditation has in its recollection one of these locutions, it will immediately baptize all as coming from God and with such a supposition say, 'God told me,' 'God answered me.' Yet this is not so, but, as we pointed out, these persons themselves are more often the origin of their locution." (The Ascent of Mount Carmel. Book II Ch. 29)
It is this very spirituality which the Charismatic movement is based on which has long ago condemned by the Church and her great saints and theologians, precisely because it leads people to delude themselves.
St. Vincent Ferrer, who was well known for the thousands of miracles and conversions he work, nevertheless openly condemned this false form of spirituality when he stated that:
" The soul that attaches itself to these false consolations falls into very dangerous errors, for God justly permits the devil to have power to augment in it these kinds of spiritual tastes, to repeat them frequently, and to inspire it with sentiments that are false, dangerous, and full of illusions, but which the misguided soul imagines to be true. Alas! How many souls have been seduced by these deceitful consolations? The majority of raptures and ecstasies, or, to call them by their proper name, frenzies of these fore runners of Antichrist spring from this cause. Hence, the only consolation you should admit into your soul in time of prayer, is that which is produced by the consciousness of your nothingness and misery; a consciousness which will preserve you in humility, and inspire you with profound reverence and the desire that he may be honored and glorified. Consolations such as these cannot mislead. " - Life of St. Vincent Ferrer, By Fr. Andrew Pradel, London 1875, Pg. 183
“Experience the Holy Spirit” - Go to Mass!
The principle work of the Holy Ghost is the sanctification of the soul (1 Thess 4:3) through grace and not some hyperactive movement of our emotions. This work of sanctification is accomplished by means of worthy reception of the sacraments. This is reason Christ instituted a Church, in order to impart to His members the life of grace through the sacraments.
For this reason the Church has always affirmed that a most powerful outpouring of Gods grace is given to us every time the Holy sacrifice of the Mass is offered. In his well known work “The Incredible Catholic Mass” (Tan Books) Fr. Martin Cochem, elaborates the 77 Graces and Fruits to be Derived from Devout Attendance at Holy Mass and concludes with the words “What dost thou now think of the holy Mass O Christian? Can it be supposed that in the whole world there is any other good work whereby so many graces and fruits are placed within our reach? If Christians only knew how to profit by holy Mass, they might acquire greater riches than are to be found in all the things God has created.”
The Mass being an official prayer of the Church, is non-other than the prayer of Christ Himself who continually offers Himself in intersection for us (Heb 7:25).
Since the outpouring of the Holy Ghost is not limited to the sacraments alone, the Church has always recommend various other means by which God works the sanctification of her members, such as the various sacramentals, (i.e. Holy Water, Scapular), the various and private prayers, not to mention the other public prayers of the Church such as are found in the Roman Breviary. For this reason the Church encourages us to “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thess 5:17).
What is more is that amongst these devotion are found those such as the devotion to the Sacred Heart, which has been practiced and recommended by a great number of Saints. What surer path is there to sanctity than drawing closer to the Heart of God!
Further more, the Rosary itself is another most ample means of drawing Gods grace and blessing up ourselves and those around us. St. Pope St. Pius X in expressing the mind of a number of Popes and saints on this issue states that " There is nothing more excellent, it seems to us, than that numerous voices are uninterruptingly and from many parts of the world simultaneously lifting supplications to the Blessed Virgin Mary as they meditate on the Christian mysteries, so that the blessings of her maternal goodness may not cease to descend upon the Church."
Hence what real pretension have Catholics to claim they have need to partake in works of the Charismatic sects in order to obtain the abundant outpouring of the Holy Ghost.
No Second Pentecost!
Contrary to what the Charismatics claim, their will never be a second Pentecost. The reason being that the first Pentecost was for the purpose of fulfilling Our Lords promise to send the Holy Ghost (John 15:26) and to confirm the divine Origin of the Church which had by the Coming of the Holy Ghost had been established once and for all, for the redemption of the mankind. For this reason St. Paul explicitly states that “For other foundation no man can lay, but that which is laid: which is Christ Jesus” (1 Cor 3:11). In other words the foundation of the Church which Christ has placed can not be re-founded or established. This is not only confirmed by the fact that the Church which Christ founded is indefectible (Matt 16:18-19) but also from the fact that all heretics who have every made the claim of a “second Pentecost” have always been condemned.
In this regard the charismatic movement is similar to that of many of the “spiritual” groups that have arisen in the history of the Church and which consequently merited by their strange beliefs and practices the condemnation of the Church. Chief among these were the Joachimites, followers of Joachim of Fiore in the 12th Century, who held the history of the world to be divided into three distinct phases, each corresponding to a person of the blessed trinity. Thus, the first age of the world was marked by God the Fathers majestic rule, the second by the wisdom of the son and his Church, and the third age (still to come) by the Holy Ghost in an outpouring of universal love. This teaching was condemned by Pope Alexander IV after Joachim’s death, in the 13th Century (Joachim of Flora, the Catholic Encyclopedia, Charles Herbermann, et al, eds, New york,1909).
Appeal to Scripture and History
Charismatics will often attempt to appeal not only to scripture but also the History of the Church to promote their efforts, yet if we look into both scripture and Church history we find that such efforts are clearly confounded.
We read in scripture that on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Ghost descend upon the Apostles they spoke in tongues in such a way that while they were actually speaking in their own language they were understood by those present in their own native language (Acts 2:4 cf also, The Baltimore Catechism No. 3Q46 Pg.89).
What is more is that nowhere in Acts of the Apostles do we read that in order prepare themselves for the reception of the Holy Ghost, the apostle or disciples began to show forth hysterical signs or actions that where not in keeping with Christian modesty for as numerous spiritual authors have pointed out, God speaks to us in silence (3 Kings 19:12) and not by means of hyperactive motions. That is why we read that in the Acts of the Apostles that “All these (Apostles) were persevering with one mind in prayer with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus” (Acts 1:14). And so if we desire the abundance of Gods grace we also must unite ourselves in prayer “with Mary the mother of Jesus”, who is truly the Mediatrix of all graces.
Further when St. Paul deals with the issue of speaking in tongues in the fourteenth chapter of his first letter to the Corinthians, he gives them some precise instructions, for example he firmly states that such person are to speak in such a manner that they are understood by the congregation for “If then I know not the power of the voice, I shall be to him to whom I speak a barbarian: and he that speaks a barbarian to me.” (1 Cor 14:11). This is because the soul purpose of speaking in tongues must be the edification of the Church and NOT the sensual gratification of the individual. For this reason, St. Paul goes on to say “ But in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that I may instruct others also: than ten thousand words in a tongue.”
What is more is that St. Paul is unhesitant to tells the Corinthians in this instruction (1 Cor 14:34) “Let women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted them to speak (in the Church)”. How many Charismatics observe such commands?
St. Paul stresses the fact that all Charisms are imperfect in comparison with Charity, which is far more superior, for this reason he tells the Corinthians "But be zealous of the better gifts. And I show unto you yet a more excellent way" (I Cor. XII :31). What is this better way? Well St. Paul goes on to explain in the thirtheen chapter to the Corinthians that this better way is Charity: “And if I should have prophecy and should know all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I should have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.”
The Catholic faith is built on the supernatural virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity and not on Charisms which are only lower gifts. For this reason St. Macarius Magnus (4th Century) states "In comparison with Charity which is perfect, these gifts are of little consequence and those who are at that level can fall while those who have Charity do not fall. I tell you that I have seen men who have received all the Charisms and who have become participants in the Spirit and who nonetheless fell because they did not achieve perfect Charity". (Spiritual Homilies, II, 27, 14)
Further the Charismatic idea of trying to revive the phenomenon of the early Church’s Charisma was an error the Montanist’s fell into in 170 A.D. These heretics were anathematized by the Church. This is because the “Charismata” of speaking tongues enabled the early Church to spread to the ends of the known world rapidly and become well established before the death of the apostles. That is why St. Paul in his second epistle to the Corinthians, explains the purpose of the gifts was simply to build up the Church and not for the sanctification of those whom the gifts were given.
The Catholic Church today now contains people of every nation. What need could there possibly be of the gift of tongues for evangelization? Sine the Catholic Church has a 2000-year record as the true religion, what further need has she to prove her claims. Wherefore St. Augustine (354-430) declares that , “ whereas even now the Holy Ghost is received yet no one speaks in tongues of all nations, because the Church already speaks in the languages of all nations. Since whoever is not in the Church, receives not the Holy Ghost” (Tract. XXXII, in Joan). Elsewhere he also affirms that "these [glossolalia] were miracles suited to the times.... Is it now expected that they upon whom hands are laid, should speak with tongues? Or when we imposed our hand upon these children, did each of you wait to see whether they would speak with tongues? and when he saw that they did not speak with tongues, were any of you so perverse of heart as to say "these have not received the Holy Ghost"? --St. Augustine, Ep. Joan., tr. vi.)
The apostle St Paul warns us against such false movements saying " In those last days some shall depart from the faith giving heed to spirits of error and doctrines of devils" (1 Timothy 4:2). This movement is essentially a substitution of emotion for faith and good will for sound doctrine. It is a stepping stone to occultism. For this reason the Charismatic Movement bears a striking resemblance to the occultic New Age movement and several heresies condemned by the Church:
Below is an example of some of those heresies and the resemblance:
New age Movement. It is a pan-denominational movement with a non-Catholic principle as its unifying factors, in this case, "baptism in the spirit". It offers a religion of EXPERIENCE. Charismatics never really provide a satisfactory theological explanation of "baptism of the spirit," but emphasize that it is something that must be experienced. Yet the Scriptures Say you are complete in Christ, (COL 2:9).
* Messalianism, a heresy that originated in Mesopotamia in A.D. 360. The Messalians denied that the Sacraments give grace and declared that the only spiritual power is prayer leading to possession by the Holy Spirit. Such "possession" eventually led to immorality, from which they were also called "The Filthy." Various bishops and councils of the Church condemned them.
* Montanism, a heresy that claimed the Holy Spirit superseded the revelation of Christ and was supplementing the revelation of Christ, such that they were acting under a "new outpouring of the Spirit." This heresy takes the name of its founder, Monatanus, who began to be carried away by “inspiration”, by which would fall into a sudden seizure and start raving in his speech, speaking with a strange tongue. Pope St. Zephyrinus (199-217) denied them communion with the Church.
* Protestantism, a heresy that originated with Martin Luther in 1517. This heresy denies the existence of a visible hierarchical Church but holds to an invisible “spiritual Church of the predestined”, while also claiming that prophetic inspiration is given to each individual believer to understand the Word of God infallibly.
* Jansenism, a 16th Century heresy that tried to incorporate the errors of Protestantism into the Catholic faith. Like Protestantism it failed to make the distinction between nature and grace in such a way that they erroneously held that grace was due to nature, since it maintained with Protestantism that by original sin mans nature had been totally destroyed so that without grace it could not even do natural good. The Jansenists confused grace with the feeling of consolation while claiming that only those who are totally spiritual (i.e. the Jansenists) can be sure that they are predestined and this was assurance was to be seen in living a life away from the sacraments and abandoning oneself to “the grace of God”.
* For a detailed explanation and a more complete listing see: “Enthusiasm” by Mgr Ronald Knox, Oxford of University Press, 1950
Seven Reason Why the Charismatic Movement is not From God
1) The Charismatic Movement Magnifies the Holy Spirit, Yet the Bible Magnifies Christ.
JOHN 16:13 "But when He, the Spirit of Truth, is come, He will teach you all truth. For He shall not speak of himself he will speak only what he hears and he will tell you what is yet to come, He Shall Glorify ME; because He shall receive of mine, and Shall make it known to you."
2) The Charismatic Movement produces Division and strife in many Churches. The Bible says, "God is not the author of Confusion."
1COR 14:33 "For GOD is not the GOD of dissension, but of peace: as also I teach in all the Churches of the Saints."
3) The Charismatic Movement Says that a " Second experience" is necessary in order to be complete. The Bible says you are complete in Christ when you are saved.
COL 2:9 "For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead corporeally; And you are filled in Him, Who is the head of Principality and power.'
4) The Charismatic Movement Says that Miracles must be from God, yet the Scriptures say that not all miracles are from God.
MATT 7:22 "Many will say to me in that day; Lord, Lord, have we prophesied in thy name, cast out devils in thy name, and done many miracles in thy name? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity."
5) The Charismatic Movement says that speaking in tongues is a sign that you have been baptized with the Holy Spirit, yet the Scriptures say that it was a sign to unbelieving Jews.
1COR 14:22 " Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to believers but unbelievers, but prophecies not unbelievers, but to believers."
6) The Charismatic Movement Says that it is alright for Women to speak in tongues in the Church, yet the Scriptures say that women are to Keep Silent in the Church.
1COR 14:34 "Let women Keep silence in the Churches: for it is not permitted them to speak, but to subject, as also the Law Saith."
7) The Charismatic Movement places Great emphasis on "Bodily healing" and tells people that "GOD is not wanting anybody to be sick" but they have no Scriptural passages to refere to while many of them Scoff and Sneer at such Passages.
2COR 12:7 "And Lest The greatness of the revelations should exalt me, there was given me a sting of my flesh, and angel of Satan to buffet me. For which thing thrice I besought the Lord, that it might depart from me. And he said to me: My Grace is sufficient for thee for power is made perfect in infirmity. Gladly therefore will I Glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may dwell in me. For which Cause I please myself in my infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ. FOR WHEN I AM WEAK THEN AM I POWERFUL."
"And we charge you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to withdraw yourselves from every brother who lives irregularly, and not according to the [Apostolic] teaching received from us." - 2 Thessalonians 3:6
- CATHOLIC APOLOGETICS -