Tuesday, July 7, 2015



The Pope's Remarks To Charismatics A Few Days Ago

First a word of "personal disclosure".  For most of my young adulthood I was involved in the Catholic "charismatic renewal"; more specifically I was affiliated with Mother of God Community headquartered in Gaithersburg.  I am now an "ex-charismatic", to coin a term, and some reasons will be made clear.

At an address to a charismatic convocation in St. Peter's Square a few days ago, the pope uttered this statement: "It is preferable that every service, even in the Church, come to an end. There should be no lifelong leader. This happens in some countries ruled by a dictatorship."  IF he merely meant to refer to leadership as found in charismatic groups, I'll be the first to cry "AMEN!"  Let me provide a little "history-refresher".  During the mid 1990s, many of the charismatic groups, under leaders who firmly ensconced themselves into their positions, claiming divine unction in so doing, became cults (see right side-bar, to the bottom).  They utilized thought-reform techniques on their members; most members, not being schooled in psychology, fell victim to these techniques.  This was doubly true of younger members; I was among that number.  But eventually some members snapped out of it and took matters up with their bishops and the press.  This happened nationwide.  For Mother of God Community, that saga was chronicled in a series of articles found at Washington Post.  Normally I don't ascribe much credence to things proceeding from the Post, but I can attest to what was written therein based on my own 20+ years of first-hand experience.  I urge its review, for those who refuse to learn from history will repeat it.

If you read the series, you'll see that the problems stemmed largely from a stubbornly-entrenched leadership.  While our situation was playing out, so were several other situations across the country.  I'd not be surprised if this happened world-wide.  In this context, the pope's remarks are understandable.  I do wonder about the "every service" part, for that language does encompass the papacy itself, regardless of intentions.  Given past miscues, I'm not inclined to just write it off to sloppy verbal presentation.  Was he utilizing a very real problem in recent history to undermine the life-long office of the Vicar of Christ?

We now move to another part of this address.  Speaking of the murders of Christians in the mid-east, he says, "If the enemy unites us in death who are we not to be united in life?"  First, our enemies don't "unite" us in anything.  Their murderous acts do not arbitrate who is Christian and who isn't.  What I just said is not intended as a judgment on those murdered, but merely to disavow us of the notion that muslim terrorist attacks determine our unity.  Second, how does real unity come about?  Through common belief in objective truth, namely, belief in the fullness of truth contained in the Roman Catholic Church.  There is no "short-cut" when it comes to unity. We don't just decide to "be united" and lickety-split, there unity is.  We Catholics must proclaim the truths of our faith and then others must accept them.  Without that, there is no basis to even pretend at unity, muslim terrorists notwithstanding.  By the way: in interests of "unity" and "ecumenism" we American Catholics backpedaled from preaching the fullness of our Faith to non-Catholic Americans.  That is why abortion, contraception and homosexuality are running rampant through our culture at this very moment.

Pray and offer sacrifices for Holy Mother Church.  Until she's set aright, I cannot see how there will be a channel for God's grace in a world that desperately needs Him.


Supertradmum said...

Father, I was with Servants of the Lord in my youth, but left when I sense there was much more to my to the Church being a channel of grace, it always has been, but the merits are less, except for those of Mary and Jesus, Himself, and the saints.

I think the problem is the lack of contemplatives. Without the backbone of prayer in the Church, actions lack power and focus. Activity qua activity is useless without prayer.

I have been trying for four years to set up a lay association of the laity to-be type of contemplative house...praying for cardinals, priests, seminarians in these hard days.

I still find it amazing that no one wants to join me, in praying and keeping silence, and that few want to help. I am on go fund me and some good people who understand the need for the shock troops of prayer in the spiritual realm have started to help. But I am far from my goal.

I know who to live in community, having been seven years in one, being an "ex" since half-way through 1979. And, I was in a convent for awhile. But, the vast majority of Catholics want to live individually, the great Anglo-Saxon way and not join in what is crucially missing in the Church--houses of prayer.

gob said...

I read the Washington Post series. You were taken in as a member of this group for TWENTY YEARS? What were you thinking...or not thinking? Did you leave when it sort of fell apart in the 90s, or before that? It seems hard to imagine that being in that environment in those formative years of your life would not have shaped you permanently. You say you are an "ex charismatic". Are you sure? What drew you there? Were you going toward something....trying to get away from something? Like the "arranged marriages", was your Priesthood an "arranged" vocation?

You mention it...I wonder...I inquire.

You, of course, publish what you choose.

rcg said...

This seems to be a copied post from another blog who was a member of the charismatics. In any case I am not convinced the problem was only that the leadership was too long in duration but that they were not ended sooner. It also implies the Papcy is a one man show. If the Pope is a strong leader, and manager, he will build a staff around him that will have the legs he needs during any personal crisis.

Paul said...

The way the article is posted is confusing me.

What is Fr. McDonald's writing and or "Restore-DC"'s? The "My Comments" -- are they Fr.'s or Restore's? It's almost unintelligible.

In any event, the "charismatics" are troublesome for me. First there is an underlying, overriding desire to be separate, secondly, almost always a "cult of personality" begins to form (intended or not), thirdly, "problems" begin to form as the community (increasingly isolated from mother church) begins introducing "strange teachings", fourthly an "us against them" mentally is cultivated and "them" ends up being The Catholic Church.

Most people are called to live and bear witness to Christ within the general population. Jesus did. Thanks be to God.

Anonymous said...

I was involved in the charismatic renewal for just about as long as you were Father. I had to get out of it.

1) There WAS a problem with cults of personality, and I knew one priest in particular who was beleaguered with it. He did not seek it, he did not want it and it would not leave him.

2) Everybody always seemed to be craving some kind of emotional experience or demanding a miracle. I always kept thinking of the Bible verse that says it is a wicked generation that demands a miracle.

3) People began to deviate into anything they wanted to do, because it "felt right in the spirit" (whatever the heck that means) and some even went off into cultish things that were extremely questionable like Bayside, Medjugordje or Luiza Piccareta's Divine Will garbage.

4) It seemed almost demanded of you that you "speak in tongues". Sorry, I just had a hard time listening to everyone repeating 'Shot of vodka, shot of vodka, shot of vodka" while raising their hands in the air.

5) Prophecies? Oh my heaven, at charismatic Masses I would hear people with the "gift of prophecy" go on and on and on, "Oh my children, if you only trusted me…" and spend precious minutes that could be better spent doing pushups telling us meandering messages that meant nothing.

Finally, I had obligations that kept me from attending some of those functions. After about 6 months absence, I went to a charismatic Bible class I used to attend regularly. I couldn't get out of their fast enough. I looked around the room and realized that if the County Mental Health people showed up, they would rope off the building and take everyone away.

Anonymous said...

I meant I couldn't get out of THERE fast enough. Sorry.

Anonymous 2 said...

The Restoring DC article Father posted seems to be a rather quirky piece addressing the author’s particular idiosyncratic concerns and including the now routine willful misreading of Pope Francis and associated express or implied attack on him that is apparently de rigueur among some quarters in the Church.

Anonymous said...

Given Francis just appointed an avowed supporter of homosexuality within the curia,it's impossible to listen to anything he says.Second if the 'catholic church' would disavow every change post 1951 and return to the true catholic faith,the Catholic world would be a better place within 5 months.Charismatics to me personally are protestants that recite the Hail Mary.

Anonymous said...

"A group of French religious refugees, known as the Camisards, brought a renewed sense of mysticism to the scattered English dissenting sects from 1707 onward. They and their converts toured, gave lectures and brought a new enthusiasm to small groups of seekers up and down the country. One group of Quakers who were enthused by these French prophets was based at Bolton-le-moors 12 miles north of Manchester. Lead by Jane and James Wardley this small group used the techniques of Quaker meetings, but their `silent meditation' was interrupted by 'Mother' Jane's passionate revelations; walking up and down trembling she would declaim the word of God. Because of their dancing and crying out in strange tongues, they were known as the Shaking Quakers."

Doesn't seem too dissimilar to what goes on in so-called Charismatic meetings. The Charismatic movement was brought into the Church by a couple of priests who were bored with the Mass - enough said as far as I am concerned. Add to that the Toronto blessing with people oinking like pigs, and all sorts of strange goings on and you have the strange situation where lay people lay on hands while the priests sit and watch. A completely protestant phenomenon as far as I am concerned, and I don't think these people know what spirit they are communicating with.


Jdj said...

Anon @ 2:50,
They don't all recite the Hail Mary. We have a very prominent one in charismatic community here locally who very vocally says "I'm not into that Mary stuff, so don't expect a rosary at my prayer meeting (in front of local abortion mill)." I respect him and his pro-life commitment, but pray he will see the full truth one day. Nuff said.

Rood Screen said...

It's a good thing God was "into that Mary stuff".

Jusadbellum said...

I would caution people from lumping all charismatics in the same box. The Alleluia community in Augusta Georgia is a notable example of a group that has endured for 40 years, and is integrated into the local Church community and diocese as well as regular community.

Another example is Franciscan University of Steubenville and their many Youth conferences... another example is Christ the King parish in Ann Arbor Michigan...

these relatively small communities tend to have large families and produce vocations. Sure some are nuts and every group attracts odd characters, but you have to take the whole measure not just a partial view of things.

I might remind everyone that the Latin Mass was celebrated on the all Latin rite's altars when Pope St. Pius X warned us about the Modernists.... the whole Church pre-Vatican II did not preclude the rise of atheism, the various anti-Catholic regimes etc. So I don't think reality and history is so easy to explain as we tend to make it out with post hoc ergo propter hoc reasoning.

Anonymous said...

Communist cross is all everyone needs to know about our Pope.
It was good that the Jesuit who designed that disgusting artwork was killed. Militant communist activists who end up in the grave is where they belong. Of course our Pope believes there are MANY GOOD communists. If Francis does not denounce the gift he rec'd from the swine Morales then he needs to be thrown out of office posthaste. This is a sacrilegious gift that comes close to the Mapplethopre piss Christ photo and if our Pope doesn't burn the trash then he's not only unfit for papal office but for being an ordinary priest. I have had it with the circus!

Lefebvrian said...

Careful, Mike. With those sorts of opinions, you're likely to get banned from posting at this site.

Reality is best ignored in favor of the error of ultramontanism here. No matter what the pope says or does, it is good and right simply because he said or did it. And you must believe that and endorse it publicly or you're schismatic and neo-Protestant.

That's the score on this blog. If you disagree, you've gotta go.

The Greek said...

^It's much easier than that, Lefebvrian. Flavius was banned for not being Catholic. Gene was banned because... well, we all know why.

I'll likely get banned for posting this, so... 'twas nice knowing you.

Anonymous said...

I know that Father McDonald tries his best to find common ground with Francis and doesn't want to accept the possibility that God has allowed a deeply flawed man to rule in the Vatican. I recall reading on this blog that we don't get the pope we need but the one we deserve. I share responsibility for this daily torture. My prayer life was and is too weak and my sins have been too frequent and at times serious. Father McDonald nor anyone wants to live with these tragic events that keep unfolding. As far as getting the boot; it seems like his dismissals are usually temporary penance and I hope that he allows Gene to return soon. In fact I would humbly ask Father to allow Gene to post on the site. How can any of his words come close to the offense of the "Communist Crucifix"? If that is permissible from the pope then I'm not sure what Gene could ever write that could possibly outdo this most recent scandal. Imagine if someone tried to give the Pope a Confederate crucifix when he comes to the USA? I'm confident that we'd see a Francis no longer interested in dialogue.

Anonymous 2 said...

Anon. Mike (and Lefebvrian):

I hope you did not sprain your intellectual ankles when you leaped to your conclusions. It seems that the story is much more complex than you make it out to be:

But hey, don’t let things like details, complexities, and facts get in the way. No opportunity to bash Francis should go to waste.

Is it also good that Father Espinola was tortured before he was killed?

In light of such prejudice (prejudging before the facts are known) against the Pope, you need not wonder why some question the judgment or even the motives of Francis bashers.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2
Thank you for the link. I like how the Vatican was quick to correct the Pope's comments. Of all the ridiculous comments made by this Pope this is the one that the Vatican moves at light speed to clarify. The article helps to support my position rather than refute it. Try again.


Lefebvrian said...

The article that Anonymous 2 posted has been disproven through video evidence. The pope did not say, "This is not right." He was asked if he knew what gift he was getting, and he said, "I did not know that."

Details, complexities, and facts.

Interesting that you prejudged before the facts are known, and you judge the actions acceptable. But when others prejudge before the facts are known, and they judge the actions unacceptable, one of those judgments you tolerate and the other you call "bashing."

Well, now that all the facts are known, what do you think? Should the pope be receiving a Communist Crucifix, a symbol of oppression and mass murder that resulted in thousands of martyrs for the faith in the 20th Century coupled with our most sacred religious icon? Go ahead and defend it -- I'm sure you've got some excuses for this incident.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2, there has been a correction from Fr Lombardi who said, "it is much more likely that the pope admitted to not knowing its origin than to saying it was wrong":

"A Vatican television camera was present but, as Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, told reporters, the audio is almost impossible understand.

At least one media outlet reported the pope saying, “That’s not right,” (“No esta bien eso”) but several others said the pope, who was speaking Spanish, responded, “I didn’t know that” (“Eso no lo sabia”) when Morales explained the cross was based on a design by Father Espinal.

Father Lombardi, who said neither he nor the Jesuit pope had ever seen or heard of Father Espinal’s crucifix, said he believes it is much more likely that the pope admitted to not knowing its origin than to saying it was wrong."


Paul said...

Kind of off the topic of "charismatics"...

During an "exchange of gifts" Pope Francis is handed something politically charged and sacrilegious. What a photo op for those with an agenda! Instead, it would have been much better to see Pope Francis handing Morales the mosaic and encyclical. Ah, but that makes for a "boring" picture so the media, in essence, decides to go with "Bolivian president pranks Pope Francis".

Was everyone waiting for Pope Francis to throw down the "gift", scold the president and storm out in disgust? I don't think Jesus would have done that.

gob said...

Suggested reading....New York Times, yesterday, July 9, 2015....."Pope Francis Faces a Latin America Where Many Catholics Worship To a Different Beat".

gob said...

Suggested reading....New York Times, yesterday, July 9, 2015....."Pope Francis Faces a Latin America Where Many Catholics Worship To a Different Beat".

Anonymous said...

Reading these comments and everything in the Catholic blogosphere must be like listening to the apostles bicker over who will be first in heaven. None of us can fix, nor definitively judge what is going on in the Vatican. Paying attention to everything that comes from the Vatican these days is scandalizing whether it's due to actual facts or media distortion. That problem is not being addressed, and yet we're surprised day after day after day? Really? If you want papal guidance, start with 1Peter and work up from there. Look to your soul, the souls of your children and those entrusted to your care. I suspect there is plenty to be done building up/preparing our local parishes/chapels for the coming days. It is unreal how much infighting can be done while the enemy pounds on the gates.


Anonymous 2 said...

Anon. Mike, Lefebvrian, and Anon. Jan.:

There you go a-leaping again, all of you. First, I never said I judged the actions acceptable. I said the story is more complex than you make it out to be. I still say that. Do you know all the details, background, and overall context? I don’t. Second, the alternative interpretation of Francis’ indistinct words is no revelation. The article I linked discusses that too. I guess you missed that in the leaping.

gob said...

Steven...If we start with "1Peter and work up from there" we're gonna have to deal with a whole bunch of creeps and criminals....

The Greek said...

^is there something wrong with 'creeps and criminals'?