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Bishop Sheen: "There just isn’t any such thing as a Charismatic Church"

-"Archbishop Fulton Sheen had this to say: “It is their spirit therefore that is gradually unfolding itself in the Church. That is how we come to a theological knowledge of the three persons, and when we detach the spirit from the Church we are very apt to go awry. There just isn’t any such thing as a charismatic Church. There isn’t any such thing, for example, as a baptism of the spirit distinct from baptism. That is why Saint Paul in his epistle to the Corinthians Church, which was the Church that caused him so much trouble, he when he used the word Baptism he said: ‘Sure you are Baptized! You are IN Christ!’."

-"Three popes have acknowledged the movement: Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul II, and Pope Benedict XVI. Pope John Paul stated that the movement was integral to the renewal of the entire Catholic Church. Both Popes Paul and Benedict, while acknowledging the good aspects of the movement, at the same time urge caution to its members to maintain their link to the Catholic Church."

Catholic Charismatic Movement

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Charismatic Catholicism, also known as Catholic Charismatic Renewal is a movement within the Catholic Church which is very similar to the Pentecostal and Evangelical movements. Worship services are characterized by a high energy Mass, as well as prayer meetings featuring prophecy and sometimes glossolalia, or "speaking in tongues." Some supporters within this movement see it as based on the belief that certain charisms (a Greek word for gifts), bestowed by the Holy Spirit, such as the abilities to speak in tongues and to heal (which all Christians believe existed somehow in the early Church as described in the Bible) should still be practiced today.

Catholic Church Christ the King in Ann Arbor's website describes Charismatic Prayer, "A charismatic style of prayer is common at Christ the King. People are free to raise their hands in prayer and during songs, many pray their own prayers audibly, some pray in tongues, etc.... They pray with expressive or charismatic prayer at monthly parish prayer meetings, at the beginning of parish meetings, and most especially during certain moments in the Holy Mass. These are some of the external markers of a charismatic parish. Internal markers include a radical surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in all parts of life, a strong adherence to the Gospel and the teachings of the Catholic Church, and the pursuit of strong friendships centered on Christ."

1 Origins
2 Reaction from the Church Hierarchy
3 Reference
4 Original Source

[edit] Origins
The Catholic Charismatic Renewal as it exists today is the outgrowth from a retreat held in February 1967 of several faculty members and students from Duquesne University. Many of the students - though not all - experienced a movement of God’s Spirit called being “baptized in the Holy Spirit.” The professors had previously been “baptized in the Spirit” a week or two before. God’s action was also prepared for in a very human way by the students’ prayerful preparation in reading the Acts of the Apostles and a book entitled The Cross and the Switchblade.

What happened quickly spread to graduate students and professors at the University of Notre Dame and others serving in campus ministry in Lansing, Michigan. It continued to spread so that, as of 2003, the Catholic Charismatic Renewal exists in over 230 countries in the world, having touched over 119 million members according to David Barret, head of Global Evangelization Movement in Richmond, VA.

The Second Vatican Council stated in the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium:

It is not only through the sacraments and the ministrations of the Church that the Holy Spirit makes holy the people, leads them and enriches them with his virtues.... He also distributes special graces among the faithful of every rank. By these gifts he makes them fit and ready to undertake various tasks and offices for the renewal and building up of the Church. The movement was given a major endorsement by Leo-Josephus Cardinal Suenens, a leading liberal cardinal in the Catholic church. [1]

The charismatic element of the Church is still as evident today as it was in the early days of Christianity, albeit the manifestations may not seem as dramatic as in the first few hundred years. This is thought to be the result of the Church becoming more and more established in the world, and personal sanctification becoming more prevalent. Nevertheless, the charisms as identified in Saint Paul's writings, especially Romans and Corinthians, are as true today as ever. Traditionally they are: faith, expression of knowledge and wisdom, the gift of tongues and their interpretation, prophecy, discernment of spirits and healing. On a lower level, they have expression in the spiritual and corporal works of mercy.

[edit] Reaction from the Church Hierarchy
Reaction to the movement by the church hierarchy has been wildly mixed. Some had initially supported it as being a harbinger of ecumenism (a unity among the Christian denominations). It was thought that these practices would draw the Catholic and Protestant churches together. This support has been tempered however more recently, as it is thought that anti-fundamentalism amongst the charismatics would eventually hurt the cause of ecumenism between Catholics and non-Catholics.

One prominent Catholic personality, Archbishop Fulton Sheen had this to say: “It is their spirit therefore that is gradually unfolding itself in the Church. That is how we come to a theological knowledge of the three persons, and when we detach the spirit from the Church we are very apt to go awry. There just isn’t any such thing as a charismatic Church. There isn’t any such thing, for example, as a baptism of the spirit distinct from baptism. That is why Saint Paul in his epistle to the Corinthians Church, which was the Church that caused him so much trouble, he when he used the word Baptism he said: ‘Sure you are Baptized! You are IN Christ!’.

Three popes have acknowledged the movement: Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul II, and Pope Benedict XVI. Pope John Paul stated that the movement was integral to the renewal of the entire Catholic Church. Both Popes Paul and Benedict, while acknowledging the good aspects of the movement, at the same time urge caution to its members to maintain their link to the Catholic Church. [1] The Apostolic Preacher, Rev. Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, has written on the topic numerous times since 1986 [2].

[edit] Reference
^ Leon Joseph, Cardinal Suenens, A New Pentecost?, (Darton, Longman & Todd, Ltd., 1974)
^ Charismatic Renewal - General. Donovan, Colin B. Eternal Word Television Network. Retrieved on 2006-04-18.


Brian Hughes

Historical Antecedents

The Catholic Church, the enduring light of all nations, has throughout her
history been no stranger to individuals and movements which make the
presumptuous claim to possess a unique and exclusive relationship with the
Holy Spirit.
As the late Monsignor Ronald Knox, in his masterful and authoritative work
entitled "Enthusiasm: A Chapter in the History of Religion" observed:

There is, I would say, a recurrent situation in Church History-using the word
'church' in the widest sense-where an excess of charity threatens unity. You
have a clique, an elite, of Christian men and (more importantly) women, who
are trying to live a less worldly life than their neighbors; to be more
attentive to the guidance (directly felt, they would tell you) of the Holy
Spirit. More and more, by a kind of fatality, you see them drawn apart from
their co-religionists, a hive ready to swarm…There is provocation on both
sides; on the one part, cheap jokes at the expense of over godliness…on the
other, contempt of the half-Christians, ominous references to old wine and
new bottles, to the kernel and the husk.

Then, while you hold your breath and turn your eyes away in fear, the break
comes, condemnation or secession, what difference does it make? A fresh name
has been added to the list of Christianities.

The pattern is always repeating itself, not in outline merely, but in detail.
(R.A. Knox, "Enthusiasm: A Chapter in the History of Religion" pge. 1
University of Notre Dame Press, Notre Dame, Indiana, 1994)

Were he alive today, I believe that Knox would clearly discern this same
"pattern always repeating itself" within the ranks of the Catholic
Charismatic Renewal movement; not necessarily among most of those faithful
Catholics who participate in some peripheral fashion within the general
context of the "official" Charismatic movement, which is under the watchful
eye and guiding hand of the Church's Magisterium, but rather of that hardened
nucleus of true believers who, at the fringes of this movement style
themselves messengers of a "New Pentecost" and of a so called "full gospel",
which under the aegis of a "latter rain of the Spirit's blessings"
encompasses, and is not contained within, the Holy Catholic Church founded by
Jesus Christ and which, as the Second Vatican Council clearly teaches,
subsists in its fullness within the Roman Catholic Church.

For these self styled "Catholic neo-pentecostals", who attempt mightily to
reconcile the essence of their Pentecostalism with the plenitude of truth as
possessed and proclaimed unceasingly and indefectibly by the Catholic Church,
must in the end come to terms with the history and origins of pentecostalism
and of the so called "ecumenical Charismatic movement" (which is, after all,
their indubitable point of origin), and its erroneous notions with regard to
the true nature of the "charismata" and their true place in the life of the
Church. They must also ultimately recognize the false irenicism practiced by
the movement's leaders, which is based upon a so called "unity in the Spirit"
which is in reality the subordination of the truths of revelation, of the
Divine Truths contained in Scripture and Tradition and taught authoritatively
by the Church throughout her history, to a shared, subjective and spiritually
dubious experience generally referred to as "Baptism in the Spirit," along
with all the concomitant phenomena which it implies. Lest these words sound
harsh, harsher still to Catholic truth is what is implied by many leaders in
the radical Charismatic movement- a claim that this generation possesses, by
virtue of the "outpouring" or "latter rain", a fullness of the Spirit's power
which was somehow mitigated or hidden (subsequent to the Apostolic Church) in
previous epochs of Church history- only to manifest itself anew as a "New
Pentecost" as articulated by the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements of the
twentieth century.

The Holy Spirit is eminently the Spirit of Truth, and it is His abiding
solicitude as Advocate and Guide which has been the hope and assurance of
Christians for these two thousand years. To affirm that His presence in the
Church was somehow insufficient or truncated throughout many centuries of her
life, and that it is in this century alone that believers can truly
experience the full fruit of His outpouring, is the grossest caricature of
the reality, the shallowest of insults to His perpetual and loving indwelling
of the Mystical Body of Christ.

Antecedents in Church History

As previously stated, the Church has witnessed the coming and going of many
movements, sects, and individuals who have claimed a unique and revelatory
relationship with the Holy Spirit, and what I wish to do within the rather
modest parameters of this work is list in a somewhat cursory fashion, certain
movements and sects within Church history which bear striking similarities to
the contemporary "Pentecostal/Charismatic movement", in its radical
expression. Such a list can hardly be comprehensive, and some such groups
will not be included-such as the Messalians, Quietists, and the Spanish
Illuminati or Alumbrados-not because they do not themselves possess many
elements in common with the "radical" Charismatics, but because to do so in
my mind would be excessively redundant.

For the same reason, I have chosen to include only the Camisards or "French
Prophets" among the groups which originated within the context of historical
Protestantism prior to the nineteenth century, and will not further elaborate
upon others such as the Brethren of the Free Spirit, Ranters, Quakers, nor
upon the Shakers and the Mormons. However, anybody taking the time to study
these groups in depth will undoubtedly be surprised at the many
characteristics they share in common with the modern day Pentecostals and


One of the first, and certainly the most notorious of the early "enthusiast"
challenges to Church authority, originated in Phrygia in the last years of
the second century, and centered around the self styled prophet Montanus, who
claimed to be the voice of the newly descended Paraclete, along with his two
"prophetesses" Prisca (or Priscilla) and Maxilla. Montanism's most famous
convert was the great (previously) Catholic apologist Tertullian, who was
apparently swept away by the great eloquence of the prophecies and the
putative holiness of the sect. Tertullian went so far as to write a defense
of the "prophet's" ecstasies, (which has since been lost) entitled "De
Ecstasi", and also described the manner in which the sect differentiated its
own adherents (the "Pneumatoi", "the spiritual" - spirit filled?) from the
Catholics, who were considered as mere "psychici", fleshly minded or
benighted. A rather illuminating thumbnail sketch of Montanus and the
"Cata-Phrygians" (out of Phrygia) as the sect was also known can be gleaned
from the following passage taken from the "Ecclesiastical History" of
Eusebius. (Bk. V, ch. 14. Eusebius is quoting an anonymous writer of the
second century.)

"Their opposition and their recent heresy which has separated them from the
Church arose on the following account…a recent convert, Montanus by name,
through his unquenchable desire for leadership, gave the adversary
opportunity against him. And he became beside himself…in a sort of frenzy
and ecstasy, he raved and began to babble and utter strange things,
prophesying in a manner contrary to the custom of the Church handed down by
tradition from the beginning. Some of those who heard his spurious utterances
at that time were indignant, and they rebuked him as one…that was under the
control of a demon…But others imagining themselves possessed of the Holy
Spirit and of prophetic gifts…Thus, by artifice…the devil, devising
destruction for the disobedient…secretly excited and inflamed their
understandings which had already become estranged from the true faith. And he
stirred up besides two women, and filled them with the false spirit, so that
they talked wildly and unreasonable and strangely, like the person already
mentioned. And the spirit pronounced them blessed as they rejoiced and
gloried in him, and puffed them up by the magnitude of his promises."

It is apparent, as our anonymous writer has stated, that there was a
traditional way of prophesying recognized by the traditions Church "from the
beginning", and that Montanism's ecstatic babbling, or "talking wildly and
unreasonably" (the reader is reffered to the published accounts of the
happenings at Azusa Street, below) paroxysms, or trance like utterances had
nothing to do with the manner of prophesying approved by the Church.
Although the Montanists were condemned by the Bishops of Phrygia, they
actually gained a foothold at Rome and were apparently at the point of being
recognized by Pope Eleutherius, when, according to Tertullian, a certain
Praxeas, "uttering lies" convinced the Pope to withhold such approval.
The last remaining adherents of the sect were reconciled to the Catholic
Church by St. Augustine in the fourth century.

"Joachists, Joachimists"

Blessed Joachim of Flora was a Cistercian monk of renowned holiness who lived
during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Although his sanctity of life
was acknowledged by the Church, many of Abbot Joachim's writings were
subsequently found to contain errors; for instance, it would appear that he
denied the consubstantiality of the Holy Spirit, and this particular error of
his was solemnly condemned by the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215; but what
really generated controversy within the Church during the thirteenth century
were his teachings regarding the three ages or dispensations of world
history, the age of the Father, which lasted until the Incarnation, which
ushered in the age of the Son, during which the Catholic Church would hold
sway, and which would subsequently give way to the final age:

"…the Kingdom of the Holy Spirit, a new dispensation of universal love which
will proceed from the Gospel of Christ, but transcend the letter of it, and
in which there would be no need for disciplinary institutions…" (The Catholic
Encyclopedia, Volume VIII, "Joachim of Flora", Online Version copyright 1999,
by Kevin Knight)

Apparently, Joachim never considered himself a prophet, merely a scriptural
exegete. But some of his followers went well beyond what he himself had
written, and speculated wildly about the nature of the "age of the Holy
Spirit" to the point of predicting that there would be no more need of a
ministerial priesthood, as "everyone would possess the fullness of the
Spirit." This extremist position precipitated the solemn condemnation of
Joachim's teachings by Pope Alexander IV in 1256. It is interesting to note
the similarities between Joachim's "age of the Spirit" and certain
neo-pentecostal teachings such as the "Latter Rain doctrine" and the "signs
and wonders" movment, as well as the apocalyptic pronouncements of many
alleged Marian apparitions and "prophetic" movements within the Church which
have sprung from the Charismatic movement, which speak of a "new Church of
the Spirit" or a "new age of spiritual illumination."

Convulsionary Jansenists

It is not possible to enter here into the particulars of the Jansenist
controversy. Suffice it to say that during the seventeenth and early
eighteenth centruries in France, the Jansenists, although they claimed to be
the authentic and true sons and daughters of the Church, were under
increasing disfavor by the Church's hierarchy due to their extreme "rigorist"
view of the sacraments, and their mitigated Calvinistic teaching regarding
grace, human nature, and free will.

When the dogmatic constitution "Unigenitus Deus" was issued (and confirmed
by Pope Clement XI in 1713), condemning their leading theologian's opinions,
many Jansenists not only refused to abide by the document, but chose to
retrench their opposition by taking refuge in the "miraculous" cemetery of
St. Medard in Paris:

"The immediate occasion of all the trouble was the death of Francois de
Paris, a pronounced Jansenist in deacon's orders who had acquired, in life, a
reputation for sanctity…it was as if he were determined, in his last moments,
that any miracles which came to be associated with his name should be
Jansenist, not merely Catholic, miracles. (Knox, op. Cit., pge 375)

Again, I would refer the reader to the fact that many hard core
"Charismatics" in the Church, after the manner of Deacon Francois, like
nothing better than to point to supposed miracles as evidence, not of the
truth of the Catholic Faith, but as a vindication of the "Charismatic
movement" itself.

"But in the summer of 1731, the cure of a paralytic…gave a different turn to
the proceedings…it began when she was placed on the tomb of M. Paris, with…
'extremely violent movements'…the cures, from this date onwards, seem to have
been normally, if not invariably accompanied by convulsions…And now began, in
the cemetery of St. Medard, that extraordinary dance of the
convulsionaries…You saw in the cemetery, 'men falling like epileptics, others
swallowing pebbles, glass, and even live coals, women walking feet in air…You
heard nothing but groaning, singing, shrieking, whistling, declaiming,
prophesying, caterwauling'…On the tomb itself you saw the Abbe Becheraud,
hopping incessantly on one leg, and proclaiming his other leg, which was 14
inches shorter, was growing…every three months…A Jansenist pamphlet…seems
to suggest at first that all was done in a dumb show…The author of the same
pamphlet declares that he has heard more than a hundred times a convulsionary
talking in an unknown language, and understanding any language that was spoken
to her…it must be admitted that much of the glossalay was unintelligible…
(ibid., pges. 376-378)

Today, few would call to mind off hand the cemetery of Saint Medard; it has
passed into the inevitable oblivion which must be the fate of the
pseudo-miraculous and the falsely sacred. The modern neo-pentecostals and
Charismatics can lay claim to no prodigy, sign, or wonder which did not first
manifest itself at that notorious burial ground; and without a doubt, future
generations of the faithful will be equally oblivious to such contemporary
monuments to hyper-spirituality as Medjugorje, Kathryn Kuhlman's tomb, and
the Toronto Airport Vineyard.

All of these movements, in their heyday enjoyed great popularity, and managed
to attract supporters from out of the spiritual and political "elite" of
their times; Montanism drew Tertullian away from the Catholic faith, Dante
places abbot Joachim in an exalted place in his 'Paradiso',and how could we
avoid mentioning the greatest Jansenist of all, Blaise Pascal? (I don't
believe, however, that Pascal was a convulsionary Jansenist.)

Yet all of these movements, in one way or another, were eventually condemned
by the Church. They all implied an "illuminist" Christianity, and an elite
and exclusivist view of spirituality, and were heralded by their devotees as
great and miraculous movements of the "Spirit." This should at least give
pause to those who insist that the Church has opened wide her doors, once and
for all, to the radical fringes of the "Charismatic movement", or has stamped
its seal of approval on most elements of Pentecostal spirituality.

The Camisards, or "French Prophets"

Historical Protestantism is not without its sects of this type; indeed, the
hyper-individualistic foundations of the "Reformation" essentially laid the
groundwork for the proliferation of such movements. One could not, however,
categorically deem the subsequent ecclesiastical offshoots of Lutheranism,
Calvinism, Anglicanism, etc. as "hyper-spiritualistic"; the "Radical
Reformation", on the other hand, with its Anabaptists and Brethren of the
Free Spirit, could all be considered as forerunners of the modern day
"Pentecostal" and/or radical "Charismatic" movements, as could the Quakers,
and the "Ranters" of the English Civil War period.

One such notable example within Protestantism were the "Camisards" or "French
Prophets" of the seventeenth century:

The next time any significant tongues speaking movement arose within
Christianity was in the late seventeenth century. A group of militant
Protestants in the Cevennes region of southern France began to prophesy,
experience visions, and speak in tongues. The group, sometimes called the
Cevennol prophets, are remembered for their political and military
activities, not their spiritual legacy. Most of their prophecies were
unfulfilled. They were rabidly anti-Catholic, and advocated the use of armed
force within the Catholic Church. (James MacArthur, Charismatic Chaos, pge.
285, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Mich. 1992)

Subsequent to the "French prophets", within the Protestant milieu, there were
many small sects and groups claiming illumination from "the Spirit" or from
some special revelation from heaven, and which were endowed with generically
charismatic leadership, such as the neo-pagan Shakers and Mormons, both of
whom claimed to "speak in tongues."

Nineteenth Century Forerunners of Pentecostalism


It should be noted that the use of "tongues" as presently understood by both
the Pentecostal and radical adherents of the "Charismatic movement", as
ecstatic or semi-ecstatic babbling, has nothing to do with the authentic,
articulate language recognized by the Church as the miraculous "gift of
tongues" as recorded in the first letter of St. Paul to the Church at
Corinth, nor with the great miracle of Pentecost, as recorded by St. Luke in
the book of Acts, and alluded to by the early Church Fathers. On the
contrary, this babbling, or gibberish has, since ancient times, been
practiced among the adherents of pagan spirituality, mystery cults, and
mediumistic religions, etc. and has historically been considered either as of
a pathological nature or as a sign of spirit possession.

The classical "tongues movement" actually could be said to have preceded the
birth of the Pentecostal movement by over seventy years:

"As early as 1830, Scottish Presbyterian minister Edward Irving and a group
of English Evangelicals predicted the restoration of tongues (as well as
other gifts of the Spirit) as signs of the end of the age." (Vinson Synan,
The Second Comers: At first, the gift of tongues meant one thing: Jesus was
returning soon. www. Christianity history)

(As an aside, it is interesting to note that John Nelson Darby, the founder
of modern day "dispensationalism" and the first to come up with the concept
of a "pre-tribulation rapture", and therefore the forerunner of Hal Lindsey's
apocalyptic "prophecy fiction", totally at variance with the Church's
teaching on eschatalogy, and so popular in Pentecostal and some Charismatic
circles, was a friend of Edward Irving and was undoubtedly influenced by his

"On April 20, 1830, in the first recorded instance in modern times, James
MacDonald spoke in tongues, and his twin, George, interpreted: "Behold, he
cometh-Jesus cometh-a weeping Jesus." In fact, almost all the subsequent
interpretations in England centered on the theme "the Lord is coming soon,
get ready to meet him." (ibid)

Irving later broke away from the Presbyterian Church to found his own sect,
which he subsequently named the "Catholic Apostolic Church."

The practice of "tongue speaking" spread rapidly to various branches of the
"Holiness movement". This movement grew out of the more traditional Wesleyan
Methodist churches, and eventually Wesley's teaching of a "second experience
of sanctification" or "second blessing" (subsequent and distinct from the
first experience of "salvation") would be metamorphised into the classical
Pentecostal concept of "Baptism in the Holy Spirit."

Baptism in the Holy Spirit

"The holiness movement enjoyed the support of the churches until about 1880
when developments disturbing to ecclesiastical leaders began to emerge.
Among these was a "come outer" movement led by radicals who abandoned any
prospects of renewing the existing churches…At the same time, other radicals
began promoting such new teachings as…a "third blessing" baptism of fire
after the experience of sanctification.

The first Pentecostal churches in the world were produced by the holiness
movement prior to 1901…These churches…simply added the baptism of the Holy
Spirit with glossalalia as "initial evidence" of a "third blessing"…(Vinson
Synan, The Origins of the Pentecostal Movement , Holy Spirit)

Catholics must believe that the Catholic Church is the one true Church of
Christ, and as such, throughout the ages has unfailingly, indefectible taught
the truths of faith without admixture of error. Therefore, we should
question very seriously the contention of certain radical Charismatics that
the Pentecostal "Baptism in the Spirit" or, as it is today more commonly
known, the "Pentecostal experience" is a true movement of the Holy Spirit,
since as by now should be clear, it originated among sects and movements
which explicitly denied many divinely revealed dogmas of the Church. Would
the Holy Spirit be a partisan of error? Would he really conceal or deny to
that one true Church for so many years something which, according to
Pentecostals and radical Charismatics, should be a "normative experience" for
all baptized Christians?

Despite the fact that there were indeed Pentecostal churches before 1901,
this should not detract from the fact that it was Charles Francis Parham who
is the one individual who is almost universally acknowledged to be the
founder of modern "Pentecostalism" and the individual most instrumental in
publicizing the idea of "glossocentric pneumabaptism", or the idea that the
"baptism of the Holy Spirit" is evidenced by speaking in tongues. The modern
Pentecostal movement is generally recognized to have begun at the Topeka
Kansas Bible College on January 1st, 1901, when Parham, a former Methodist
minister and holiness preacher, invoked the Holy Spirit over his
congregation, and a certain Agnes Ozman, one of Parham's students began,
according to eyewitnesses to speak in "Mandarin Chinese" :

"…Parham was in many ways the theological father of the event…Parham taught
the standard teachings of the holiness movement which were current in his
day, i.e. justification by faith, sanctification as a second work of grace,
divine healing, and the pre-millenial second coming of Christ…In January,
1901, one of Parham's students, an eighteen year old girl named Agnes Ozman,
was baptized in the Holy Spirit and began to speak in tongues as the Spirit
gave utterance…"

(Frank Bartlemann, Azusa Street: the Roots of Modern Day Pentecost, with an
introduction by Vinson Synon, pge. Ix, x; Logos International, Plainfield, NJ

According to published accounts, Miss Ozman was unable to speak normally was
unable to speak normally for three days subsequent to the incident; whenever
she attempted to do so nothing but "Chinese" would flow from her mouth.
Likewise, when she attempted to write, she could only scribble "Chinese
characters." Miss Ozman had never before had any acquaintance with the
Chinese language, and, if she were indeed speaking and writing Chinese (and
not just gibberish), any learned exorcist would immediately recognize that
these were signs not of the "presence of the Holy Spirit" but of diabolical
possession. This is plainly alluded to in the Rituale Romanum, or Roman
Rite of Exorcism.

It is also well documented that Parham was heavily influenced at Frank
Sandford's cult center in Maine, known as "Shiloh" which centered around the
teachings of Sandford and a certain Scotsman named John Alexander Dowie, a
holiness faith healer who believed and proclaimed himself to be "come in the
spirit and power of Elijah", the "restorer of all things" and who dressed
himself in robes similar to the Jewish high priest. He established many so
called "Zion Centers" to perpetuate his cult. Sandford apparently also taught
the doctrine of British Israelitism, or the idea that the the Anglo-saxons of
the British Isles and America were in reality the "lost tribes of Israel",
which (as we shall see) was congenial to Parham's overt racism.

It was undoubtedly at Shiloh that Parham conceived the idea of tongues as an
articulate foreign language-since he apparently first heard tongue speaking
at Shiloh; the occult practice of automatic writing was also practiced by
adherents of the cult.

The Reverend Parham at first had great plans for the so called gift of
tongues-the idea was simply for any prospective missionary to receive the
Baptism of the Holy Spirit, and he or she would be miraculously enabled to
speak any tongue necessary for mission activity around the world. Needless
to say, Parham's hopes failed to materialize; the few initial attempts were
disastrous; there simply were no foreign languages miraculously imparted.
Many extremists in the Pentecostal and/or Charismatic movements have tried to
cover up this discrepancy, and now claim that authentic New Testament
glossolalia is a "secret" or "private" prayer language, or a type of heavenly
idioglossia. It is important to note that the overwhelming consensus of
linguistic experts is that the so -called "tongues" spoken or prayed by
Pentecostals and Charismatics do not constitute any true language:

Over a period of five years, I have taken part in meetings in Italy, Holland,
Jamaica, Canada and the United States. I have observed old-fashioned
Pentecostals and neo-Pentecostals…Glossolalia is indeed like language in some
ways, but that is only because the speaker (unconsciously) wants it to be
like language. Yet in spite of artificial similarities, glossolalia is
fundamentally not language. (William J. Samarin, Tongues of Men and Angels ,
New York, Macmillan, 1972, as quoted in MacArthur, op. Cit., pge 278)

None of the early fathers of the Church, whether we speak of St. Irenaeus,
St. Augustine, or St. John Chrysostom, ever speak of the true gift of tongues
except in the context of an articulate language. Should this not give pause
to all those who insist, despite its evidence and dubious origins, that
Pentecostal and Charismatic "tongues" are due to the direct influence of the

Holy Spirit?

Azusa Street
The Azusa Street Revival, as it is popularly known, that propelled the
Pentecostal movement from relative obscurity to worldwide notoriety.
It is one of the lesser known but well documented facts that Charles Parham's
greatest pupil was, because of his race, was not allowed by the "spiritual
father" of the Pentecostal movement to enter his classroom, but obliged to
listen to Parham's lectures in the hall.

William Seymour, a black holiness preacher, received his "Pentecostal
experience", or "Baptism in the Spirit" in Los Angeles, and is credited with
beginning the Azusa Street revival. This "revival", by its very nature, was
not likely to avoid becoming controversial, as evinced by an article which
appeared in the Los Angeles Times on April 18, 1906:

"…Breathing strange utterances, and mouthing a creed which it would seem no
mortal could understand, the newest religious sect has started in Los
Angeles…devotees of the weird doctrine practice the most fanatical rites,
preach the wildest theories, and work themselves into a state of mad
excitement…night is made hideous in the neighborhood by the howlings of the
worshippers who spend hours swaying back and forth in a nerve racking [sic]
attitude of prayer and supplication. They claim to have the "gift of
tongues" and be able to comprehend the babel…

An old colored exhorter (presumably Seymour), blind in one eye is the major
domo of the company. With his stony optic fixed on some luckless unbeliever,
the old man yells his defiance and challenges an answer. Anathemas are
heaped upon him who shall dare to gainsay the utterances of the preacher.
Clasped in his big fist, the colored brother holds a miniature Bible from
which he reads at intervals one or two words, never more. After an hour
spent in exhortation the brethren [sic] present are invited to join in a
'meeting of song, prayer, and testimony.' Then it is that pandemonium breaks
loose, and the bounds of reason are passed by the those who are 'filled with
the spirit', whatever that may be."

One who possesses even a passing familiarity with the mystical life and
theology of the Catholic Church would be hard put to attempt to extrapolate
from these scenes of obviously dionysiac frenzy anything even remotely
resembling the Pentecost as described by St. Luke in the Acts of the
Apostles. Nowhere in the New Testament or the early Church Fathers do we
read of any of the authentic "charismata" or gifts of the Holy Spirit coming
about in this manner. Nevertheless, Azusa was the means whereby the
Pentecostal movement was able to broadcast its presence to the world, and
Azusa's seminal influence on both the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements
is acknowledged quite openly by their leaders, even by such a renowned
theologian as Fr. Rene Laurentin in his book on Catholic neo-pentecostals.

One wonders whether the hunger for experiencing thrilling emotions and
witnessing "signs and wonders" may have overtaken sound dogmatic and
theological reasoning-an all too frequent occurrence in Church history.

At any rate, one of the "fruits" of the Azusa revival was the emergence of
"Oneness" or "Jesus only" Pentecostalism" as presently represented by the
Apostolic Faith Churches and the United Pentecostal Churches-both
denominations deny the Three Persons of the Blessed Trinity, and espouse the
ancient heresy of Sabellius or modalism-that there is only one person in the
Godhead, and therefore Jesus was God the Father incarnate; they are called
"Jesus only Pentecostals" because they baptize only in the name of Jesus, and
do not use the trinitarian formula commanded by Our Lord Himself, thereby
denying to their adherents a valid baptism.

The emergence of the "Oneness" groups provoked a schism in the ranks of the
incipient movement:

"…The end result was that the Assemblies of God overwhelmingly chose to
remain strictly Trinitarian…this left Haywood and Ewart outside the church,
along with several leaders of the Assemblies, including one of its
cofounders, Howard Goss. They formed several separate church bodies,
including the United Pentecostal Church and drew into their camp most of the
"Apostolic" church bodies that came more or less directly from the Azusa
revival. (Pentecostalism After Azusa: Some Notes Copyright 1997, 1998, Robert
Longman Jr.)

Another disastrous consequence (from the standpoint of Holy Mother Church)
was the impetus given by the Azusa revival to pentecostal missionary activity
in overwhelmingly Catholic Latin America. Pentecostalism was instrumental in
robbing more Latin American Catholics (numbering in the millions) of the
faith of their fathers than any other Protestant denomination, probably more
than all other such churches combined. Another sign of a "New Pentecost" or
"Latter Day Outpouring of the Spirit"?

In the meantime, the "spiritual founder" of Pentecostalism, Charles Parham,
was arrested in 1907 for sodomizing one of his pupils. This apparently ended
his career as a chaneller of "the spirit." Parham spent the rest of his days
as a devoted member of, and a fervent propogandist for, the Ku-Klux-Klan.
Those convinced neo-pentecostals and radical charismatics who look upon
twentieth century pentecostalism (via the ecumenical "Charismatic movement")
as a means whereby the Holy Spirit has restored the "primitive charisms" to
the Church should meditate on these words of Jesus Christ, Our Lord:

"Beware of false prophets who come to you in the clothing of sheep, but
inwardly they are ravenous wolves.

By their fruits you shall know them. Do men gather grapes off thorns, or
figs off thistles?

Even so, every good tree that yieldeth not good fruit, shall be cut down and
cast into the fire.

Wherefore by their fruits you shall know them.

Not every one who says to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of
heaven: but he that doth the will of my Father, who is in heaven, he shall
enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Many will say to me in that day: Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy
name, and cast out devils in thy name, and done many wonderful works in thy

And then I will profess unto them: I never knew you: depart from me you that
work iniquity."
(Matthew 5:15-23)

Subsequent to the Azusa street revival, and prior to the beginnings of the
Catholic "Charismatic" movement, there was a sixty year period of growth and
consolidation of Pentecostal and related denominations throughout the world.
Many of the leading "lights" of Pentecostalism were characterized by their
sensational claims regarding divine healing, such as the notorious fraud A.A.
Allen, the faith healer, the anti-Trinitarian "spirit channeler" William
Branham, and the perenially popular Oral Roberts. Roberts, who is famous
for, among other things, his pleading on nationwide television for millions
of dollars, since, as he claimed, Jesus had appeared to him in a vision and
threatened to strike him dead if he did not come up with the money,
allegedly, I believe, for the construction of a hospital at Oral Roberts
University, where "faith-healing" would be practiced in conjunction with
modern medicine. (I may be mistaken; it could have been to pay off some
debts.) Needless to say, Roberts neither raised the necessary amount, and is
at present enjoying reasonably good health, at least for a man previously
sentenced to death by the divinity.

Roberts was also one of the founding members of Demos Shakarian's Full Gospel
Business Men's Association International, with headquarters near Los Angeles,
which was instrumental in laying the groundwork for the beginnings of the
"Ecumenical Charismatic Movement" among various pastors and clergymen in
mainline Protestant churches, among them, the Reverend Dennis Bennet.

It was only on an individual basis that Catholics who were involved in the
"neo-pentecostal movement" prior to the late 1960's, as the movment developed
its ecumenical aspects due to various influences-among them Dennis Bennet,
the Los Angeles based Episcopalian priest whose reception of the "Baptism of
the Holy Spirit" in the early 1960's is considered by many to be the
beginning of the "Charismatic movement" proper.

Perhaps the one individual who was instrumental in softening the attitudes of
many Catholic prelates towards Pentecostalism was the late David DuPlessis,
who during his lifetime won the title "Mr. Pentecost." David Du Plessis was
apparently the subject of a prophecy made by Smith Wigglesworth, a Welsh
Pentecostal preacher and faith healer, who prophesied that DuPlessis would be
successful in leading many of the members of the mainline denominations into
"the pentecostal experience." Smith Wigglesworth was famous for his
"annointing" which was allegedly so powerful that merely being in his
presence was enough to make many people confess their sinfulness out loud;
Wigglesworth also believed that all sickness was caused by demons, and
therefore forbade his wife to consult a doctor when she was ill. He
supposedly once healed a man by punching him in the stomach.

Mr. DuPlessis was acquainted with many priests and prelates, since he served
on a commission for dialogue between Catholics and Pentecostals; he was also
a lay observer at the Second Vatican Council. Apparently, Father Killian
Mcdonnel, one of the prominent theologians of the "Charismatic movement" was
influenced by DuPlessis.

I remember hearing DuPlessis as a guest on Kathryn Kuhlman's radio program;
he related that while he was present in St. Peter's Bascilica during a
session of the Council, he was asked by a certain Cardinal how it felt to be
in the presence of so many Bishops and Cardinals of the Church; Mr. DuPlessis
replied that he felt "like Ezechiel in the valley of dry bones"; while "Mr.
Pentecost" seemed to have a great affection for both John XXIII and Paul VI,
I heard him refer to Pius XII (on the same broadcast), as an "antichrist".

It was in the wake of such a spirit of cooperation and openness facilitated
by DuPlessis and his like minded clerical admirers, that the "official
commencement" of the "Catholic Charismatic Renewal" took place during the now
famous "Duquesne weekend" among a group of students attached to Duqesne
University. The events surrounding the students first experience are, in the
context of two thousand years of Catholic spirituality, quite unusual:

(Patti Gallagher)…stopped in the second floor chapel. She remembers, "I
wasn't going to pray-just tell any students there to come down to the party.
But as I entered into the presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, I was
filled with a sense of awe…As I knelt there, my body literally trembled…I
felt really scared and said to myself, 'Get out of here quick, because
something is going to happen if you stay in the presence of God'…In the next
few moments, Patti found herself prostrate, flat on her face before the
tabernacle. No one had touched her, but her shoes had come off…Within half
an hour, 24 students were in the chapel…They stayed singing and praying from
10 p.m. to 5 a.m. the following morning…Some felt God's love so deeply that
they couldn't do anything but weep….Some…felt a tremendous burning in their
hands, or going through their arms like fire. Others experienced a clicking
in their throats, or a tingling in their tongues. "You have to remember, we
didn't know about the gifts of the Holy Spirit," said Patti.) from:
(What is Charismatic Renewal?"

The paroxysms, the weeping, "tingling" and "tongue clicking" as described
in the foregoing account, far from calling to mind any authentic mystical
experiences ever recorded by the great mystical writers and doctors througout
Church history, bear a striking resemblance to what occurs in the
syncretistic "possession cults" of the Caribbean, to the "Latihan" of Cult
Subud, or to the false "slain in the spirit" phenomenon, popularized by the
likes of the notorious Aimee Semple Mcpherson and her imitator, Kathryn
Kuhlman. (Kuhlman, by the way, despite her obvious departures from orthodox
Christian doctrine, such as her tritheism, exerted a considerable influence
over leading figures in the early, radical "Catholic Charismatic" movement,
such as Fr. Di Orio and ex-priest, ex-Catholic Francis MacNutt)

Nevertheless, the students were apparently eager for more of the same, and
this inspired their interest in the "pentecostal experience" which some of
their number had previously read about in the militant anti-Catholic
pentecostal, David Wilkerson's book, "The Cross and the Switchblade".

"In the weeks that followed, the students gradually learned about the gifts
of the Holy Spirit. They told their friends and colleagues about it, and
within a few months, the Catholic Pentecostal Movement had spread o half a
dozen other campuses and within a few years there were prayer groups and
meetings all over America." (Ibid)

What the students had actually accomplished, if we are to believe the
account, is to ultimately convince millions of Catholics to literally stand
traditional Catholic mystical theology on its head. They would have done

Although nobody's emotional experiences should be slighted merely on account
of their intensity, it is another thing entirely to attribute such
experiences to the workings of the Holy Spirit, much less compare such
experiences to the definitive, one time Pentecost, as recorded in the Book of
Acts. The one time historical Pentecost perpetuates its fruits unfailingly
throughout the history of the Church by means of the Church's sacramental
life and in the devotional and mystical lives of the saints and of the People
of God at prayer; the Holy Spirit is ever present in the Body of Christ, and
His presence is abiding and indefectible, shining forth on all generations of
the faithful with an equal and co-eternal splendor.

The students, in their thirst for mystical or pseudo-mystical experience, had
committed one of the greatest and most common mistakes were discernment is
concerned; for as St. Paul reminds the Corinthians, we are all to seek after
the greatest gifts of the Holy Spirit, the infused theological virtues of
faith, hope and charity. (1Cor. 13) The Holy Spirit will without a doubt
come to the aid of His Church with an outpuring of the true "charismata" or
extraordinary graces, in proportion to its spiritual needs and those of its
children; but to desire such extraordinary experiences for oneself, will, in
the words of the great mystical doctor, St. John of the Cross, more often
than not be displeasing to God:

"Some spiritual persons, as we said, convince themselves that the curiosity
to know of certain things is good, because God sometimes answers these
petitions. They think this conduct is good and pleasing…Yet the truth is
that, regardless of God's reply, such behavior is neither good nor pleasing
to God. Rather, He is displeased; not only displeased but frequently angered
and deeply offended…The reason lies in the illicitness of transcending the
natural boundaries God has established for the governing of rational
creatures…A desire to transcend them, hence, is unlawful, and to desire to
investigate and arrive at knowledge in a supernatural way is to go beyond the
natural limits…" (St. John of the Cross, The Ascent of Mt. Carmel, bk.2,
ch.21, par. 1)

One might add that the "knowledge" referred to here by the saint would
undoubtedly include the experiential as well-the desire to "feel" or "touch"
the Holy Spirit's power, as it were, rather than the striving for the true
and loving indwelling of the Holy Spirit, which all faithful Catholics in the
state of grace possess through their reception of the sacraments, the true
channels of His graces and gifts. I must admit that I was struck by the
statements of the students involved in the "Duquesne weekend" to the effect
that they had had no previous knowledge of the gifts of the Holy Spirit,
which indicates that they had no true understanding of the sacramental life
of the Church. Could it be that this ambience of spiritual poverty
contributed to their desire, following the words of the great mystical
doctor, to "illicitly desire to transcend the boundaries which God has set"?

In any case, it was from the "Duqesne weekend" that the Catholic Charismatic
Renewal derived its original impetus, and it soon spread throughout the
length and breadth of the Catholic world.

Perhaps the most notable member of the hierarchy to further its spread was
Cardinal Suenens of Belgium. As the author of "A New Pentecost", he probably
did more than any other single member of the Church to ensure that the
movement's propagation and acceptance. It is well known that Cardinal
Suenens was one of the most prominent dissenters to Pope Paul VI's "Humanae
Vitae", and that it was he who sponsored a "Charismatic Mass" in St. Peter's
Bascilica, during which, according to eyewitness accounts, consecrated hosts
were literally scattered like rose petals among the crowd, to "speed up" the
reception of communion.

It was not long before one would witness Catholics becoming formal heretics
in their desire to placate this "movement of the spirit". Many members among
the faithful (and even more than a few priests) actually gave up praying to
the saints, or the Mother of God, in order to placate the sensibilities of
"the movement" and its Protestant adherents. Is formal heresy another "fruit"
which the presence of the Holy Spirit is known by?

Because of its extension to and acceptance by so many of the faithful, the
"Catholic Charismatic Renewal" is touted by many of its more radical
adherents as a "New Pentecost", a new era for the Church. Charismatic
"mega-conferences" have become quite common, and many of the spiritual
elements of classic Pentecostalism are still held "as Gospel" by many members
of the laity and clergy, who seem to unwittingly be preaching the old errors
of Joachism, that a "new age of the Holy Spirit" has dawned upon the Church,
and to a certain degree supplanted the old, "pre-charismatic" Church, which
had been in existence from the time of the apostles.

The Church's hierarchy has, apparently, decided to permit the existence of
the Charismatic movement. I perceive this to be, on its part, a means to
coopt the movement itself and bring its adherents back to a true
understanding of the continuous and authentic Catholic teaching on the
charisms as means whereby the Holy Spirit edifies and embellishes the
Church's spiritual life; I believe, that in time, the Catholic Charismatic
movement, which after all, claims many sincere and faithful Catholics as its
adherents will, after it has shed once and for all the legacy which it has,
sadly, inherited from the false and dogmatically inadmissible spirituality of
Parham, Azusa street, classic "Pentecostalism", and the "ecumenical
charismatism" of DuPlessis, Kuhlman, et al, become a vehicle for the true,
Catholic understanding of the work of sanctification which is the Holy
Spirit's, as the "Lord and giver of life", and which he unfailingly carries
out in the one, true, Church founded by Jesus Christ, His spotless and
immaculate bride.


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