Novak (novak) wrote,

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Theology Journal: Talking the Catholic Charismatic Renewal with Kevin

A couple of interesting notes from Dr. Fleming today. Thought I'd repost the conversation here, although I'm not sure if it's going anywhere after this, but maybe someone might find something to add to it.


hey bro...

quick question: is the charismatic catholic movement (specifically the laying of hands and speaking of tongues) legitimate in your eyes?



[crunch other stuff]
As to the charismatic movement, I'll reserve judgment on that one. Basically like the wider Church has: wait to see what comes of it.


hey man...

you mean the Church (the pope, Vatican, etc) hasn't legitimated this? i mean, is it like Medjugorje or something like that---popular among Catholic, but only that? i didn't know...for there are so many priests doing this, are they being inappropriate?

my reservation seems to be something that i am not quite sure about: is it my fear of the intensity of the Holy Spirit (and this would be something "not good"; that i am shying away from what "could be" with that relationship in a full entering) or am i appropriate in my reservation for i pick up the implicit "more-ness" in its platform---that i am MORE with Christ in celebration of His Eucharist this way vs. a contemplative stance in me, this is problematic of an you can see the delicateness here between these two fears....for even this second point here has merit (that is, that it is not MORE with Christ then any simple prayer style) it can still be legitimate in its approach--kind of as an equal if anything.....

what do you think?


No, they haven't, that I'm aware of--not in the form of any official statement. One of the major fathers at the Council--Cardinal Suenens of Brussels--was very outspoken in his advocacy of the movement, and that, I think, is about the "highest up" ringing endorsement that I've seen. Your comparison to Medjugorje is an interesting one. No, it's not only among Catholics: charismatic and pentecostal movements have been a significant feature of both Protestant and Catholic churches in the 20th century. The big Protestant denomination that's entirely charismatic would be the Assemblies of God churches, which I'm sure are represented down there.

I think you're right on target with the "vibe" that you seem to have picked up and fear: there does seem to have been that attitude at times, that this is the "better" form of Christianity. Paul seems to address that very issue with regard to spiritual gifts of this sort in 1 Cor. 12. And I think I share your reservation on that point: I get nervous when any facet of Christianity want to make itself the whole thing. And I know full well that there are charismatics who don't make that mistake--some of them are professors here.

Again that's why I think the "wait-and-see" approach is favoured: naturally, you'll see some purely human factors in any human activity, with all the faults and problems that that implies, but over time we'll see what kind of fruit this tree bears. If this newer manifestation of this kind of spiritual movement is from God, it will be evident in time. My own conversion, if that's the best word, happened in a charismatic context. And while I can say that while the spiritual sense that was opened up to me in that experience is very strong and real, I also suspect that some of the more typical "charismatic" behaviours that exhibited themselves at that time were merely learned behaviours, and those have faded away.
Tags: catholicism, dissertation, friends-notre dame era, mysticism/spirituality, theological notebook

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