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Life in the Spirit

  /   Sunday October 26, 2003  

This past weekend, I decided to attend the Life in the Spirit conference led by Fr. John Capuci of the Center of Jesus the Lord. Of course, this is what I believe to be the flagship conference of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. I enjoyed it, but there were some things there that I had mixed feelings about. Then again, I expected as much. Just for reference, here is an EWTN article on the legitimacy of the Charismatic Renewal. While the Church recognizes the legitimacy of the renewal, this recognition does not necessarily extend to every reported experience. Of course, attempting to weed through every phenomenon would require appointing every priest and bishop to the Roman Curia (if that would even be enough).

I found their praise and worship to be a refreshing change from some of the Marty Haugenish garbage that has been foisted on us at Sunday Mass. However, I don’t care much for the hand motions and clapping at Mass. The problem, as I have stated before, is that we are at Calvary when we are at Mass. In fact, there is a crucifix right in front of us. How many of us would be clapping were we physically standing in front of Jesus dying on the cross? It just doesn’t make sense to me, so I can’t bring myself to participate.

I appreciated their enthusiasm and the fact that they prayed over each other (and me). They have a great emphasis on the fact that what Christ did for us on the cross is reality and not just some legend. They also emphasize that God can really act in their lives. I also appreciate their emphasis on praising God. In fact, I learned to say prayers of praise from no less a place that Steubenville.

Some of their spontaneous praising seemed a bit disordered in my mind. For some reason, I have this idea that the Holy Spirit would produce unity. After singing a song, several people in the church would then all start praising on their own. I have a hard time seeing this as a viable form of public worship. If anyone would beg to differ, please do.

Maybe I’m just afraid of an emotional faith. There was plenty of it. I have a natural suspicion of heavy emotion, but it is not a completely healthy trait of mine. I felt at the time that the importance of emotion was overly stressed. However, Fr. Capuci has personally explained to me what was on his mind. He has seen people not even bother to say “Amen” when he begins with the Sign of the Cross. I guess they can’t possibly be tired already, especially since most of them didn’t bother to sing the opening hymn.

Perhaps the one thing that I am really wondering about is speaking in tongues. However, I am currently trying to research more on it. Fr. Capuci says that everyone he ever knew who came into tongues doubted the experience at first. In fact, more than one person, myself included, had no idea if we were making it up or if we really spoke in tongues. The Scripture passages that they cite don’t appear to me to mean what the charismatics say that they mean. I will post more on this as I get information. However, I found this posting to be of interest, though I’m not sure how Msgr. Knox would think that speaking languages you never learned is a sign of demon possesion given that this is exactly what happened at Pentecost. I do want to add that nowhere did Fr. Capuci suggest that those who don’t speak in tongues are headed downstairs. In fact, in one of his tapes, he says the opposite.

I searched the EWTN forum on the Charismatic Renewal and found questioners who think that the movement is anything from Catholic to borderline heretical. I tend to agree with this person. The forum experts may or may not have even felt comfortable giving input, and I appreciate their honesty. I wish to look more into this. Meanwhile, I wish to remain open to whatever the Lord wants.

Category: Posts imported from Danger! Falling Brainwaves, Uncategorized



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