Recent Posts

Friday, 15 February 2013

An answer to a question this morning

One of my readers has asked me about charismatic gifts, charismatic deliverance, and healing Masses this morning.

I have written about this at least once before.

I cannot stress these points which follow enough.

One: only exorcist-priests duly appointed by a bishop can be involved in exorcisms. If that priest desires a lay team to accompany him for discernment or prayer, he may ask the bishop. Those people are trained in the diocese for that purpose.

Two: there is no difference between deliverance and exorcism. There has been a fudging in some books and prayer groups on this point. Most of the bad theology comes from Protestant ministries, and  are outside of Catholic teaching or authority.

Three: no lay person can claim they have a gift of deliverance as this is an office of the Church under Church hierarchy. Gifts accompany office.

Four: charismatic gifts are given to all of us in baptism and confirmation; these are not the special property of the charismatic movement or prayer meetings. The Baptism of the Spirit, a Protestant term, is, for a Catholic, merely the openness of the gifts given in the sacraments of baptism and confirmation. Baptism of the Spirit is not a sacrament. Your day of redemption is your baptismal day.

If one is in serious sin at confirmation, one does not receive the graces. A removal of sin may allow those graces to come to the fore. This is a contentious subject, which even the greats, such as Thomas Aquinas, argue. But, one must not be in mortal sin to receive the sanctifying graces of confirmation. Whether those graces stay there "dormant" or not is a serious theological question. In RCIA, a bishop can decide to "conditionally" confirm people who have repented from lives of sin and were in sin when confirmed (such as living in fornication or in same sex active relationships) after confession. Some of these converts experience a great outpouring of the gifts at their confirmation . Some bishops do not repeat confirmation, even conditionally, accepting the fact that these graces would be "released". This is open to discussion, but the Baptism of the Spirit is not the sacrament of Confirmation.

Anyone who claims there is a sacramental quality to this Baptism of the Spirit is wrong. The sacraments, as clearly defined in the CCC, give us the gifts and the fruits come from those gifts.

Five: tongues are not necessary for salvation; sometimes so-called tongues are not from God.

Six: I refuse to see being slain in the Spirit a sacramental or even a totally spiritual experience. Such an experience can be connected to the emotions or psychology of an individual person. This is NOT to be confused with the higher gift of ecstasy as experienced by St. Teresa of Avila, for example, or St. Paul.

Seven: all charismatic meetings must be under the authority of the diocese and have a chaplain assigned to them. If there is no authority from the Church present or connected to the meeting, do not go, do not. Many dioceses have an "Office of Charismatic Renewal".

PS I lived in a disciplined, orderly charismatic community for seven years as a very young person. We had 2,000 people in the community. I have a lot of experience in these matters.