News sources (see far below) are reporting that Catholic Charismatics, evangelical Charismatics, and Pentecostals are gathering in Rome this week to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, which had its beginnings at Duquesne University in 1967, when the Holy Spirit allegedly fell upon a group of teachers and students.
Fair notice: I’m a “cessationist,” which means I believe the apostolic gifts ended with the apostles. I don’t usually bring up my viewpoint on this secondary difference in deference to my Charismatic and Pentecostal brothers and sisters, but these news reports require a response.
300 Charismatic evangelical and Pentecostal leaders are expected to gather with pope Francis, 50 Catholic bishops, 600 Catholic priests, and 30,000 Catholic Charismatic laypersons from May 31 to June 4 to celebrate the anniversary. The biggest events will be a gathering at the ruins of the ancient Roman Circus Maximus on Saturday, June 3, and a Pentecost mass in St. Peters Square on Sunday, June 4.
Yes, I realize that many non-Charismatic/Pentecostal evangelicals also embrace Rome (e.g., Billy Graham, Chuck Colson), but these shared gifts of the spirit have created an especially strong bond between some Charismatic evangelicals and Pentecostals and Catholic Charismatics. It seems to make no difference that the 50 bishops and 600 priests who attend this event proclaim a false gospel of sacramental grace and merit. The important thing is that they manifest the requisite “gifts of the spirit” and so fidelity to biblical doctrine is of no priority. So exactly how does the Holy Spirit indwell Catholic bishops, priests, and laity who proclaim and propagate a false gospel of sacramental grace and merit? It’s puzzling that pope Francis, the alleged Vicar of Christ, hasn’t received the “gifts of the spirit” himself, although he has stated several times that he truly appreciates how the charismatic movement has advanced the cause of ecumenism.
In 2013 it was reported the Catholic Charismatic Renewal had over 160 million followers. I could not find an estimate for the number of Catholic clergy involved but I’m guessing it’s in the tens of thousands.