POST VATICAN II
In an ecumenical response to the neo-pentecostal movement that spread in
evangelical and liberal circles, a "baptism in the Holy Spirit" including
speaking in tongues, was evidenced at a Roman Catholic retreat at Duquesne
University in 1967. It spread first to South Bend, then Ann Arbor, then
over the world.
At first the movement was viewed with extreme caution by Roman Catholic
leaders, but it was demonstrated that Catholics in the charismatic movement
received a greater appreciation for the Mass, Mary, and the Sacraments,
more support was received from the Hierarchy. Charismatic meetings exist in
almost every country. There are numerous charismatic bishops, including one
Cardinal, Leo Suenens of Belgium.
Pope Paul VI, and later John Paul II, commissioned Cardinal Suenens to
"guide the evolution of the Catholic charismatic renewal, so that it enters
fully into the heart of the Church" (RAYMA, Roman Catholic Charismatic
magazine, May/June, 1979).
The pope has acclaimed the charismatic movement, and although there is
constant vigilance that the movement's freedom will not overflow the
sacramental boundaries of Rome, it is in great favor in the Catholic Church
It promotes ecumenism and lay involvement, and stifles evangelization of
Roman Catholics by Protestant groups. Even Evangelicals can be confused in
their outreach to Catholics because of the apparent spirituality of the
Dr. Philip Potter, while general secretary of the WCC, stated, "the
Charismatic renewal provides a link between the churches of the
Reformation, the Roman Catholic Church, (and) the conservative
From Church of the Transfiguration, 4325 Jarvis Ave., San Jose, CA. "The
initiation into this new experience with God is referred to as being
`baptized in the Holy Spirit.' The following effects have been experienced:
A greater appreciation for ther Mass and sacraments. . ."
From JESUS '79 (June 2 at Candlestick Park, San Francisco, CA). "Hear David
duPlessis, Paul Crouch, Dr. Holland London, Fr. William Spohn, S.J., Fr.
Donald Gephi, S.J."
ECUMENICAL CHARISMATIC RENEWAL CONFERENCE, Kansas City, MO 7/20-24/77.
Chairman, Kevin Ranaghan (RC layman). Planning committee includes Lutheran,
Baptist, Episcopalian, Catholic, Methodist, Orthodox. Included are Rev.
Larry Christensen, Lutheran; Dr. David Stern, Jews for Jesus; Dr. Vinson
Synan, Pentecostal Holiness Church. Among prominent guests: Dr. David
duPlessis, Cardinal Leo Suenens, Ruth Carter Stapleton, Ralph Martin (R.C.
lay leader of Word of God, Ann Arbor, MI), Maria von Trapp, Pat Robertson,
Dr. J. Rodney Williams (Melodyland, Anaheim, CA) and Catherine Marshall.
A recognized theologian of the RC charismatic renewal, Priest O'Connor,
Notre Dame, in THE PENTECOSTAL MOVEMENT IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH. "Rebaptism
is unacceptable because at baptism one is reborn and made a member of the
Church. Rebaptism is anathema for a Catholic. To undergo believers' baptism
is heretical or, at the very least, a scandal. No one can receive the
knowledge that he is saved. No one can have the certitude about his
ultimate salvation. This is unscriptural and in contradiction with a firm
and unanimous Catholic tradition, and with the formal teachings of the
Council of Trent."
Killion McConnell in DIALOGUE concludes, "Catholic Pentecostals tend to go
back and cultivate all the avenues to God that they had abandoned: Rosary,
visits to the Blessed Sacrament, devotion to Mary, frequent confession,
daily Mass and Communion."
At Notre Dame, Cardinal Leo Suenens said, "Let me share with you one
secret, how to receive the Holy Spirit in the best way. The secret of our
unity with the Holy Spirit is our unity with Mary, the Mother of God." At
these words, the entire 25,000 rose to their feet for a long period of
applause and praise.
From a message by John Bertolucci, Lakeview, NY, 8/10/75. "Now get the
scene. By one in the morning this fallen-away Catholic had made his
confession to a Catholic priest, had invited the Lord into his life through
a Southern Baptist minister, is being counseled by an Episcopalian priest
and Don (Riling, an Assembly of God minister) is laying on hands for the
Baptism of the Holy Spirit. The next Sunday the man returned to the
sacraments of the Church."
From Sydney, Australia MORNING HERALD, 8/15/70. "Those Catholics involved
in charismatic renewal in Sydney, following the pattern of Catholic
Pentecostals in America, have not rejected the institution of the church as
a source of grace and revelation. Many Catholics are suspicious of a
Pentecostal movement, but the Sydney movement has certainly presented no
threat to the Church; the meetings in St. Michael's have the approval of
George Cornell, AP religious editor, reported the RC charismatic gathering
at Notre Dame in 1973 and wrote, "The cocktail lounge of the inn was
crowded in the evening with Catholic Pentecostals, sipping beer and
whiskey, talking animately about the presence of God with them, and
occasionally joining in a song."
From FLORIDA CATHOLIC, 12/14,21/79. "What must I know, as a Catholic, if I
go to a Catholic charismatic meeting? What things should I look for? A
devotion to the Mother of God, rich Eucharistic spirituality, respect for
the priesthood, support for the Church in harmony, he or she is obedient to
the magisteriuum, adheres to doctrine. Especially, that person has a deep
devotion to Mary and his prayer life centers around the Eucharist. One
cannot be a good charismatic and a bad Catholic."
From OUR SUNDAY VISITOR, 7/3/83. "At the National Charismatic Conference,
we were told by the third highest ranking member of the Pentecostal
Holiness Church that God does not want Catholics to leave their Church. We
were told often that the charismatic movement must be rooted in the Church
and that we must rely not only on the Bible, but also on tradition, the
sacraments, and the teachings of the Pope. We were told that the Mass is
the center and summit of our whole lives. We were told that the Church has
not abandoned her devotion and love for Mary, and that we must accept her
joyfully into our lives. A special letter from the Pope for the occasion
shows that, in its true form, the charismatic renewal is meant to make us
From CHARISCENTER USA, Sept/Oct 1989, "From May 7-14, 1989, a group of one
hundred Pentecostal/charistmatic leaders met in an upper room in the Notre
Dame center outside the ancient walls of Jerusalem in a prayer vigil for
world evangelization. The ultimate goal is for the world to have a
Christian majority by the end of the century. Participants came from all of
the streams of the charismatic movement, including Roman Catholics,
Protestants, Pentecostals and nondenominationals. The vigil was led by an
executive committee consisting of Larry Christianson (Lutheran), Tom
Forrest (Catholic), Michael Harper (Anglican), Bob McAlistar
(nondenominational) and Vinson Synan (Pentecostal)."
From NEW COVENANT November 1990 Report on Indianapolis 1990. "Roman
Catholics were by far the largest group at the Congress."
James Hill in ETERNITY states, "It is especially disturbing to Protestant
evangelicals to find Mary honored at times as Mediatrix, and to hear of
cases when tongues are interpreted as `Hail Mary.'"
by Bill Jackson
(available in tract form from CEC)
The Catholic Charismatic Movement, which began in Duquesne University in
1969, has become a source of much consternation and confusion among God's
people. Their emphasis is to underline love as the only criterion for
fellowship among spiritual people. While this sounds harmless and
attractive, a love that is not founded upon scriptural truth is a product
of the human nature and cannot be compared to the love that is of God. Our
love must bear scriptural scrutiny, and although the outcry is that too
much probing will tarnish the love, if the love be of God, close inspection
will only serve to demonstrate its true nature.
We are commanded to prove all things; hold fast to that which is good (I
Thes 5:21), and to try the spirits, whether they be of God (I Jn 4:1). We
know that Satan can transform himself as an angel of light (II Cor 11:14),
and so can his ministers. It is only the searchlight of scripture that can
uncover the truth of this movement.
Charismatic Catholics do not like anyone to probe beneath their thin
veneer of love to find out their true doctrinal foundation. They desire
fellowship on the lowest planes - common feelings, experiences and phrases
that sound religious and can mean anything. Because of this, it is
imperative that we look carefully, praying that the knowledge God imparts
will not only clear our thinking, but will also help us to minister the
truth to charismatic Catholics and others in love.
We must start at the beginning by asking the question - ARE CHARISMATIC
CATHOLICS CHRISTIANS? To assume this to be true (as some Christians do)
without Scriptural foundation would be to undermine a thorough Scriptural
investigation. So we must answer this question using clear biblical
guidelines, and proceed from there.
The Apostle John tells us, "Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ
is born of God" (I Jn 5:1). The necessity is belief, not profession. It is
not whosoever says they believe, but "whosoever believeth." What must they
believe? "That Jesus is the Christ." This was the revelation given to Peter
by God (Mt 16:16) and this is still the cornerstone of God's revelations to
men today. Whosoever scripturally believes this great fact is born of God.
Notice in both of these foundation texts the use of the title Christ
applies to Jesus. Today many do not realize the importance of this title;
it is just tacked on to the name of Jesus as as matter of course. Yet it
has tremendous significance, for Christ is the Greek word for Messiah, and
we understand that believing He is the Christ entails acceptance of and
trust in God's revelation of Jesus as Messiah, especially His Deity and
Substitutionary Atonement (Isa 9:6; 53:4-6).
Lip service may be paid to Jesus Christ, but truly believing in Him
means we accept and trust His Messiahship.
Charismatic Catholics have no trouble ascribing Deity to Jesus, although
their soteriology plainly denies this fact because they do not accept the
completeness of His sacrifice for sin. They say that they believe He died
for them, but have no heart knowledge of His Substitutionary Atonement.
Some will point to their baby baptism as the time they were born again and
became Christians; others their first Communion, when, for the first time,
they "received Christ." Some appear to have a more evangelical testimony
and came to Christ later in life, perhaps in response to an altar call. But
they vital question they must answer is where does their salvation come
Do they continue to receive propitiation in the Mass? Since their Church
teaches that they do, can they deny this and continue to define themselves
as Roman Catholics? Does confession (the sacrament of penance) absolve from
sin? Anyone, whether altar boy, pope or charismatic Catholic who believes
it does cannot at the same time be trusting the one perfect substitutionary
Sacrifice of Christ, and therefore is not born of God according to I John
5:1. One who answers no to these questions is denying Roman Catholic dogma,
and because of this is condemned by the Roman Catholic Church to be living
in a state of mortal sin.
Feelings, professions, emptions, experiences are all swept away by the
absolute truth of God's Word. A doctrine that tries to substitute a feeling
of love for biblical truth is Satanic.
To anyone who claims to be a Roman Catholic and does not believe the
Mass is truly a sacrifice for sin, does not frequent Confession and does
not pray to Mary because Jesus Christ is a perfect Mediator, we would ask
the obvious question: is he truly a Roman Catholic?
Possibly he truly trusts Christ but does not have assurance of salvation
because of his Roman Catholic background and associations. At the best, he
is living a sub-par Christian life, in spite of the effusions of human
emotion that may gush forth in seeming love and spiritual power. His
experiences are just a lot of candy floss compared to the solid Christian
who not only trusts Christ, but has assurance (I Jn 5:13); is learning
Bible truth in a local church (Acts 2:42) and shares his faith (not his
experience) with others (Mk 16:15).
On close examination, we will find that a person who is a born again
Christian and remains in the Roman Catholic Church is either ignorant,
disobedient or hypocritical.
Some converted Roman Catholics may be ignorant of the biblical command
to separate from pagan practices, or they may be ignorant of what the Roman
Church really teaches. We can help them by lovingly pointing out the
contrasts, and showing them what the Bible says.
However, some know the truth but find it more convenient to remain in
the Roman church. These people are simply disobedient to the Word of God.
One charismatic Catholic told me that he would come out of the Church "as
soon as the Holy Spirit told him to." I asked him if he was waiting for a
personal letter from the Holy Spirit, or would he take what was written to
all in II Cor 6?
While the word "hypocrite" sounds ugly, it merely means play-acting, or
pretending to be what you are not. If you are a truly converted child of
God (born of God according to I Jn 5:1), and you attend Mass, pretending to
participate but knowing that it is a sacrifice void of any spiritual
benefit, you are play-acting. You are a hypocrite! On the other hand,
there are people who are still convinced Roman Catholics; they look to the
sacraments to remove sin and therefore are not relying on the perfect work
of Christ. If they pretend to be evangelical Christians, they are
We must ask if the Roman Catholic Church is truly a Christian Church.
Living in Western civilization has its disadvantages in the broad
definition we have given to the word Christian. This is not a term
signifying those who have taken Jesus as their figure-head. To find the
true definition of the Church of Jesus Christ, and individual churches that
are His, we must turn not to the dictionary but to the Bible.
The Corinthian Christians were people that were sanctified in Christ (I
Cor 1:2). To be sanctified means to be cleansed and set apart for God's
use, and we remember that it is the blood of Christ that cleanses from sin,
not confession, Mass, holy water or any other Roman Catholic invention.
The members of the local church at Ephesus were called saints (Eph 1:1),
this signifying those robed in the perfect righteousness of Christ, not the
flimsy garments of religious acts.
In I Thes 1:1 we read of a church that is in the Lord Jesus Christ. Any
Church that does not teach the full Messiahship of Jesus is not in the Lord
The Roman Catholic Church does not teach His substitutionary atonement.
It preaches another Gospel, and is therefore condemned to Hell by the
Apostolic writings of the Holy Spirit in Galatians 1:8,9. The Roman
Catholic Church IS NOT a Christian Church.
Because of this, we must ask if a converted Roman Catholic should leave
his Church. Human arguments can sound good. Shouldn't we go back to the
Roman Catholic Church and evangelize? How can we win them if we leave?
Would they not be offended if we suggested the Roman Catholic Church was
not a Christian Church? But we are left with the simple choice of believing
human logic or believing the Word of God. God told His people to come out
of paganism and idolatry (II Cor 6:14-18).
Therefore, it is essential for every truly born again child of God to
separate from the church of Rome or any other false system of religion, and
unite with a Bible believing fundamental Christian local church so that
they can serve God in true obedience.
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