The Spawning of Catholic Charismaticism

I realize I’m stepping on some toes with this post. I’m not trying to be mean or antagonistic, just stating my views according to my understanding of Scripture.

As By a New Pentecost: The Dramatic Beginning of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal
By Patti Gallagher Mansfield
Proclaim Publications, 1992, 119 pp.

1 Star

I don’t usually make an issue of it in this blog, but I’m a “cessationist,” meaning I believe the apostolic sign gifts (languages, prophecy, healing, raising from the dead, recovering from deadly poison) ceased after the apostolic era. The originators of Pentecostalism claimed these gifts were restored, beginning in Topeka, Kansas in 1900* and continuing to the Azusa Street Revival in 1906 and beyond. Pentecostalism grew, but took a backseat within “mainstream” evangelicalism. However, in 1960, Dennis J. Bennett, rector of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Van Nuys, California claimed he received the gift of tongues/glossolalia and the Pentecostal gifts swiftly seeped into mainline Protestant denominations under the label of “Charismatic.”

A small number of Catholics at Notre Dame University (South Bend, Indiana) and Duquesne University (Pittsburgh) were intrigued with Pentecostalism/Charismaticism and sought mentoring from Protestant continuationists. David Wilkerson’s “The Cross and the Switchblade” (1962) and John Sherrill’s “They Speak With Other Tongues” (1964) were their training manuals. A group of 25 Duquesne University Catholic students went to the nearby Ark and Dove Retreat House on the weekend of February 17-19, 1967, eagerly hoping to manifest the Pentecostal gifts and many predictably did. Since then, the number of Catholics who claim membership in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal (CCR) has grown to 160 million worldwide, including tens of thousands of priests and nuns. Patti Gallagher Mansfield was one of the 25 students who participated in the “Duquesne Weekend” and recounts the origins of the CCR in this book.

Protestant Pentecostals and Charismatics have a dilemma. Mansfield and the other CCR Catholics continue to uphold the RCC’s false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit. In fact, they generally demonstrate a greater zeal for the un-Biblical sacrifice of the mass and the worship of Mary than prior to receiving the gifts. They are unsaved religious zealots. So, how can people receive the Pentecostal gifts of the Spirit when they have not genuinely accepted Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone? Does not compute. This incongruity raises additional questions regarding the experiential Topeka/Azusa gifts. I submit that CCR has inclined Protestant Pentecostals and Charismatics to overlook RC-ism’s false doctrines because, well, CCR-ites manifest the requisite experiential gifts, so that’s “good enough.”

Mansfield and other CCR-ites present Catholic Charismaticism as the ultimate in Catholic spirituality, yet, not one single pope has ever manifested these sign gifts. Why isn’t the “Vicar of Christ” a charismatic if it’s the ultimate in Catholic spirituality? Pope Francis has confessed that he dismissed CCR-ites as deluded fanatics when he was a young cleric (see here), but has pragmatically come to embrace the movement as a useful tool in the quest for RCC-led ecumenism.

Because unregenerated CCR-ites manifest these Topeka/Azusa gifts and pope Francis endorses the movement, I’m less-than-skeptical of the whole business. It is not my desire to “attack” genuine Christians who hold to Pentecostal/Charismatic practices, which is why I don’t generally “soap box” my cessationist views, however, this CCR movement raises questions that cannot be ignored. As a former French-major student, Gallagher-Mansfield claims in this book that she witnessed two Catholic Charismatics speaking perfect French who had no previous knowledge of the language. I know of no documented evidence of a Pentecostal or Charismatic speaking fluently in an actual foreign language unknown to them. Most Pentecostals and Charismatics claim their unintelligible gift of tongues/glossolalia is angelic language (1 Corinthians 13:1) rather than an actual foreign language. I have seen video clips of newbie Pentecostal supplicants being instructed on how to speak in tongues. Indoctrination does not strike me as being a divine gift. Acts 2:1-13 records the apostles being granted the gift of speaking actual foreign languages for the purpose of evangelization.

Humans tend to view truth subjectively and myopically, i.e., “I experienced it, so I know it’s true.” However, speaking in ecstatic utterances is a common practice in many, many pagan religions. A number of Pentecostal groups use speaking in tongues as a litmus test of salvation, i.e., a genuinely born-again person will necessarily manifest this gift, however CCR Catholics do not hold that non-charismatic Catholics are not Catholic.

This 1-star book was valuable only in that it shed some light on the historical “Duquesne Weekend” origins of the CCR.

Postscript: Catholic traditionalists generally dismiss the CCR with its Pentecostalism/Charismaticism sign gifts as a misguided step-child of heretical Protestant novelties. Although anecdotal, unsubstantiated claims are often made, I know of no medically documented cases of a dead person being brought back to life by a Pentecostal or Charismatic healer.

*The roots of Pentecostalism go back further to the ecstatic swoonings often manifested at 19th-century Wesleyan-holiness tent revivals and even during the First Great Awakening of the 18th-century.

Above: Pope Francis and Patti Gallagher Mansfield lifting hands in 2017 in celebration of 50 years of CCR. Mansfield has been a leader in Catholic Charismatic Renewal – New Orleans (CCRNO) for decades
Above: The Ark and Dove Retreat Center in Gibsonia, PA. Many Catholic Charismatics visit here as a “spiritual pilgrimage.”

16 thoughts on “The Spawning of Catholic Charismaticism

  1. I had a “friend” hook me up with a guy to TEACH me how to **speak in “tongues” needless to say I was on the phone with this guy for over an hour and couldn’t speak in tongues-I honestly was a crying shameful mess! Then one day I was praying and I told God that I’m over the speaking in tongues thing-I know I have faith in the Lord and if it’s to be it will be and it will come from the Lord-I never have spoken those tongues from the Bible that happened on the Day of Pentecost BUT I know my Redeemer lives!! And I will rest in that and take that reassurance over the lies of Satan through the charismatic movements that are all over the place and teaching works instead of REST!
    Thank you for this write up, brother! Have another blessed day knowing we are saved and we can REST in Jesus finished work because He says we can!!!

    **Due to the Jimmy Swaggart Ministries making me feel like “I was saved but I wasn’t” because no matter how hard I “yielded “ to the Holy Spirt I just couldn’t speak in “tongues” ☹️

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for sharing, Beth! I have never nor will I ever attend a Pentecostal or charismatic service because I don’t believe this glossolalia practice is what the Bible refers to as the gift of languages. Yes, I have seen the Swaggart boys pressure their audiences to speak in tongues as a proof of their salvation. Also related to this post, many genuinely sick folks have attended healing services only to be disappointed, and then made to feel guilty by being told they weren’t healed because they didn’t have enough faith. They do the same thing with the carrot of “prosperity.” “Well, the reason you’re not rich yet is because you don’t have enough faith or you don’t contribute enough.” It goes on and on.

      Thanks, Beth. Have a blessed day as well! And, yes, I’m grateful we can rest in Jesus Christ instead of chasing after wealth and emotional ecstasies as propagated by the TBN and Swaggart-SBN televangelists.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Hi Tom, You’re a brave man! I read this earlier and prayed about it, before responding. What you have stated didn’t bother me, the unanswered questions I have bothered me. You and I have some differences of opinion on some aspects of this one and I have no problem with that. While I was praying, the words “in spite of” came strongly to my mind but I did not comprehend what they meant, other than they should be the title of a post. Only problem was, I had no idea of what the content would be. Prayed about that too! I told SlimJim that I would write a post for him while he was away and so I thought this title could be the subject of that post. Typed in the title and there I was, I needed direction. “Samaritans” came to mind and the post (complete with Scriptures) pretty much came together after that. SlimJim will post it on his blog when he goes away. The post is an indirect response to your post here. I know there is a lot of garbage out there, I actually write about it with regard to the NAR movement. I’ve asked a lot of the same questions that you have asked. I still haven’t gotten answers to all of my questions. I strongly suspect that while I am in this body, I probably won’t. I do know that God’s Word is the guide by which I judge everything and what I comprehend may not always be totally right. God knows my heart and my limitations better than I do. I could never be a Roman Catholic, and I can tell you why, that much I know. That’s me. The rest I leave to God to filter out. He knows everyone else’s heart and their limitations a lot better than I do, I have no problem with that either. I know one thing, that I need Jesus like I’ve never needed Him before. Sometimes we make assumptions that cast a broad stroke and it isn’t always necessarily so. There’s lessons to be learned with Jesus and the Samaritans. Blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the comments, Bruce. I was wary about publishing this post, BUT the nature of this book spurred me forward.

      I spent 27 years in RC-ism and have spent quite a bit of time studying the RCC since leaving it in 1983. The RCC is quite upfront about its soteriology, the teaching that sacramental grace (initially baptism) is essential, but that it’s then up to each Catholic to “cooperate with grace” by obeying the Ten Commandments in order to hopefully merit salvation at the moment of their death. That’s not the Good News. Although RC-ism uses the Biblical parlance of “grace” and “faith,” it’s a works-righteousness religion at the bottom line.

      Apostle Paul is very bold in his epistles warning the church about wolves creeping in with their false gospel of works-righteousness. He even chides the Corinthians for putting up with the false teachers readily enough (2 Cor. 11:4). Sadly, that describes much of the evangelical church today.

      In this era when inclusivity and plurality are the buzz words, Christians have less and less tolerance for the exclusivity of the Gospel.

      I think I shared with you before that I believe some Catholics genuinely trust in Christ, but that’s in spite of their church. They surely don’t hear the genuine Gospel from their pulpits. The Holy Spirit will draw saved Catholics out of the RCC because the two gospels are irreconcilable.

      It saddens my heart that evangelicals are so willing to embrace RC-ism as a Christian entity and Catholics as brothers in Christ when they are unapologetic in their belief in salvation by sacramental grace and merit. We do them no favors by accepting the unacceptable.

      Blessings to you, Bruce.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Thanks for this… I’ve always felt led to grow in the “fruits” of the Spirit – entirely necessary for the Christian. But to very honest the people I currently know personally who claim to speak in tongues are very confused about other issues and some of them even think the R.C. church is “ok.” I read a useful booklet once called “Charasmatic Confusion” which threw much light on this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Elizabeth. I checked Amazon and I see a number of books and pamphlets have been titled “Charismatic Confusion over the years. I’m personally familiar with “Charismatic Chaos” and “Strange Fire,” both by John MacArthur.

      Although both continuationist and cessationist churches embrace Rome these days, I think there’s a stronger proclivity on the part of continuationist churches because of the CCR connection.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Like you I don’t spend my time focusing on the blog attacking Charismatics; having said that Roman Catholic “Charismatics” seems like a trojan horse for Protestant Charismatics to be accepting of Catholics, I’ve seen this with some Protestant Charismatics. Which you also covered here.
    Good clarification of the one star and what this book contribute even as it is deeply problematic

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! The CCR Catholic-Pentecostal hybrid raises many serious questions about both Catholicism and Pentecostalism. I appreciated learning the history behind the “Duquesne Weekend” while also being saddened for the souls caught in the gross error and deception.

      Liked by 1 person

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