Church Viewpoint

1. What is Catholic Charismatic Renewal?
Catholic Charismatic Renewal is the Charismatic Renewal movement within the Catholic Church. Charismatic Renewal, often understood as a renewal and activation of the power and gifts from the Holy Spirit, originates from the promise of Jesus Christ our Lord. “And behold I am sending the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” (Luke 24:49) “for John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit." (Acts 1:5). The Renewal itself, as suggested by its name, is not a new invention but serves to revive the power and gifts of the Holy Spirit which are actively and explicitly manifested in the Church 2000 years ago at Pentecost.

2. How does Catholic Charismatic Renewal begin?
The Catholic Charismatic Renewal movement began with a group of American college students in Duquesne University, Pittsburg Pennsylvania in Feb 1967. They gathered to pray for a revival of the Catholic faith, in particular for the college. They concluded that they need a renewal in the experience of grace and power at Pentecost.

During the weekend while they were attending a retreat, their prayers were answered through a powerful and transforming encounter of God which comes from the Holy Spirit. Their life changing experience which leads them into the living encounter with God is now commonly known as “baptism in the Holy Spirit”.

3. What is the development of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal since it began?
From 1967, the Catholic Charismatic Renewal (CCR) spreads rapidly throughout America and other countries of the world. The CCR movement is now present in more than 200 countries and have more than 40 million participants worldwide.

The International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Service (ICCRS), currently based in Rome, serves as a centre of communication between other Renewal groups around the world, and also between CCR at an international level and the Vatican. The ICCRS is set up by a Council formed in 1978 with Cardinal Suenens being appointed by Pope Paul VI as the Pontificate advisor to support the Renewal.

Cardinal Suenens’s role is succeeded by Bishop Paul J. Cordes in 1984 as appointed by Pope John Paul II. The ICCRS is formally recognised by the Holy See on 14 Sep, 1993 (refer to Decree issued by the Pontifical Council for the Laity).

4. Is Catholic Charismatic Renewal approved by the Catholic Church?

What are some of the comments from our recent Popes on the Renewal?
Catholic Charismatic Renewal is supported and encouraged by our Church.

Many believe the Catholic Charismatic Renewal is a direct result of Second Vatican Council and Pope John XXIII’s hopes and prayer for a new Pentecost.

In 1975, Pope Paul VI invited the CCR leaders to hold its annual conference in Rome and commented:

• “How then could this ‘spiritual renewal’ not be ‘a chance’ for the church and for the world?”

• “Nothing is more necessary for such a world, more and more secularized, than the testimony of this ‘spiritual renewal’, which we see the Holy Spirit bring about today in the most diverse regions and environments.”
(Address to the Catholic Charismatic Renewal on the 2nd International Leaders’ Conference in Rome, Italy – 19 May 1975)

Pope John Paul II had more frequent and regular meetings with leaders of CCR during his papacy. The Pope has acclaimed the Renewal in various occasions:

• “I am convinced that this movement is a sign of His action (of the Spirit).”
(Private audience with the International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Council in Rome, Italy – 11 Dec 1979)

• “The emergence of the Renewal following the Second Vatican Council is a special gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church in our time.”
(Audience with the International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Council in Rome, Italy – 14 Mar 1992)

• “Born in the Church and for the Church,” the Holy Spirit has brought transforming experience of -

- “living encounter with Jesus”
- “fidelity to God in personal and communal prayer life”
- “confident listening to His Word”
- “a vital rediscovery of the Sacraments and love for the Church.”
(Address to the National Congress of the Italian “Renewal in the Holy Spirit” in Rimini, Italy – 14 Mar 2002)

• “The Catholic Charismatic Renewal has helped many Christians to rediscover the presence and power of the Holy Spirit in their lives, in the life of the Church and in the world”
(Audience with participants at the 9th Leaders’ Conference in Fiuggi, Italy – 30 Oct 1998)

• “As you celebrate the 25th anniversary of the beginning of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, I willingly join you in giving praise to God for the many fruits which it has borne in the life of the Church.”
(Audience with the International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Council in Rome, Italy – 14 Mar 1992)

Pope Benedict XVI, in his Apostolic Blessing through the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Sodano, mentioned to the National Congress of the Italian “Renewal in the Holy Spirit” in Rimini, Italy 22 Apr 2005

• that He will continue to guide the movement with His fatherly love for Christ’s body to be built up.

In a forward to a book by Cardinal Suenens “Renewal and the Powers of Darkness (1983)”, while the Pope was then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger acting as Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, he noted:

• “At the heart of a world imbued with a rationalistic skepticism, a new experience of the Holy Spirit suddenly burst forth. And, since then, that experience has assumed a breadth of a worldwide Renewal movement”

• “to those responsible for the ecclesiastical ministry - from parish priests to bishops - not to let the Renewal pass them by but to welcome it fully; the members of the Renewal to cherish and maintain their link with the whole Church and with the charisms of their pastors.”