Here are links to three addresses of Pope Francis to the CCR and CF:
In Chapter Two of Volume Two of Sober Intoxication of the Spirit, Fr Cantalamessa presents the following perspective on the place of prayer groups, communities and the charismatic renewal in the Church (pp. 29-31):
I have asked myself sometimes what in some of the prayer groups and budding communities that are rising up here and there in the charismatic renewal pleases Jesus so much that he would manifest so much power and so many wonders in them. It seemed to me that the secret of what makes them so precious to God is their absolute poverty, the fact that they have no past and hardly any future. They are almost a “nothing,” like certain life forms that appear in the morning and disappear in the evening, reabsorbed into the great bosom of life, or like a little cloud that calmly disappears from the sky after having poured out all its water.
Traditional religious orders have a past, often a glorious one; recent ones (lay institutes; ecclesial movements) have a future and are sometimes very aware of it. God is looking for something very, very small among so many grand and established groups (which do please him and are useful to him), something that he can take just as it is, without having to be concerned about its past or its future. He is looking for something that will be useful to him, for an instant, something unencumbered that wants nothing and asks for nothing in return for pleasing God and for making his power and his wishes shine forth in the world.
Do we want to be that small thing that is precious to God? Do we want to be that instrument of “nothing” in his omnipotent hand? Then, let us not worry about “setting up house”; let us not worry about assuring that the charismatic renewal has a future among today’s ecclesial realities; let us not worry about numbers.
Let it be enough for us that the future of the Church is already assured. Let the Church be enough for us, as institution. For our part, let us try, if we can, to remain prophetic for the Church, even if it is only in small measure. Let us continue to draw directly from the Church, especially from the local Church, all that is necessary to live a life of the Spirit — sacraments, authority, ministries, and doctrine. Let us continue to pour out all that we are, even though we are small, directly into the bosom of life that is the Church — quietly or also openly, if it is possible and if it is requested. Let us try to be that little cloud, ready to disappear, after it has poured out all its water on the Church.
I had hardly come into contact with the charismatic renewal when, one day in prayer, I was struck with certain thoughts. I seemed to sense the new thing the Lord was doing in the Church through the charismatic renewal. I took a sheet of paper and a pen and wrote down some thoughts, which surprised me, as they came without premeditation:
The Father wants to glorify the Son, Jesus Christ, on earth in a new way, through a new intervention. The Holy Spirit is appointed to carry out this glorification because it is written: “He will glorify me and take that which is mine.” A Christian life entirely consecrated to God, without a founder, without a rule, and without new congregations. The Founder: Jesus! The Rule: the gospel interpreted by the Holy Spirit! The Congregation: the Church! Do not worry about tomorrow, do not try to make something that will remain, and do not set in motion recognized organizations that can be perpetuated by successors….Jesus is a Founder who never dies, so there is no need for successors. We always need to let him do new things, even tomorrow. The Holy Spirit will remain in the Church, even tomorrow!
A tip-of-the-hat to David Peterman Sr in the Community of God’s Delight in Texas for reminding us to share how Pope Francis spoke about the Catholic Charismatic Renewal during his interview with journalists on his return trip from World Youth Day:
Question from Marcio Campos:
Your blessing, Holy Father. I want to say to you when you feel longing for Brazil, for the joyful Brazilian people, embrace the flag that they gave you. I want to say also that I want to thank my colleagues of the newspapers Folha de Sao Paulo, Estado, Globo and Veja for representing them with a question. Holy Father, it’s very difficult to accompany a Pope. We are all tired. You are fine and we are tired. In Brazil, the Catholic Church has lost faithful over the years. Is the Charismatic Renewal Movement a possibility to avoid the faithful joining the Pentecostal churches? Thank you very much for your presence, and thank you very much for our being on your flight.
Answer from Pope Francis:
What you say is very true about the loss of faithful: it’s true, it’s true. There are statistics. We spoke with the Brazilian bishops about the problem, in a meeting we had yesterday. You asked about the Charismatic Renewal Movement. I’ll tell you something. In the years, at the end of the 70s, beginning of the 80s, I couldn’t stand them. Once, speaking of them, I said this phrase: “They confuse a liturgical celebration with a samba school!” I said this. But I repented. Then, I got to know them better. It’s also true that the Movement, with good advisers, has gone on a good path. And now I think this Movement has done so much good to the Church in general. At Buenos Aires, I met with them often and once a year had a Mass with all of them in the Cathedral. I’ve always favored them, after I was converted, when I saw the good they do. Because at this moment of the Church – and here I lengthen the answer a bit – I think the Movements are necessary. The Movements are a grace of the Holy Spirit. “But how can one stop a Movement that is so free?” The Church is also free! The Holy Spirit does what He wishes. Then He does the work of harmonizing, but I think the Movements are a grace, those Movements that have the spirit of the Church. Because of this, I think that the Charismatic Renewal Movement not only serves to avoid some going to join Pentecostal confessions. But no! It serves the Church! It renews us. And each one seeks his Movement according to his charism, where the Spirit takes him.
I want to keep this quote by Abp Collins handy for our Community’s discussion of Bp Bambera’s pastoral letter, and this is the handiest place available.
I’ve sought to try to understand their particular charism, to have all of them speaking to the bishop and, if possible, to have them speaking to one another. They’re a great richness in the church, but we can’t become globulized into this kind of Catholic or that kind of Catholic. The key is that they center in on the parish and the diocese, and that they provide their special gift or their charism for the service of the whole church, and that they not become disconnected from the whole church. What I’d like to do is to reach out to each one of them, and to be sure that they’re part of the whole reality and the fabric of life in the archdiocese. I’m sure that’s what they are.
Here’s the video of Tim Staples taking a recent call on the “Catholic Answers Live” radio show on the question of tongues. A good resource to pass on to sceptical Catholics.
An International Colloquium on the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is being held in Rome March 17th-20th. Representatives from several of the CFNA Communities are participating in it. Your prayers are requested!
Update 01 Apr 2011: Zenit summary.
A while ago I took the time to read many of the messages from Pope John Paul II to the various expressions of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. Here (based on my calculations) are the top ten issues most frequently cited by our Holy Father in those messages, either affirming the CCR for its progress in them, and/or exhorting the CCR to grow in them:
- Building bonds of unity, trust and cooperation with local Bishops
- Evangelization; going forth to proclaim the Gospel and bearing witness to it by the way we live
- Commitment to growing in holiness: prayer, the Word, sacramental life, openness to the gifts of the Spirit
- Fidelity to and formation in authentic Catholic doctrine
- Broadened ecclesial vision, better ecclesial formation, and growth in ecclesial maturity
- Focus on the ‘higher gifts’ that will better serve the common good
- Service to the local Church (i.e., the diocese) and parishes
- Commitment to seek true ecumenism
- Generosity in sharing with the poor and less fortunate
- Openness to collaboration with priests