|The Catholic Charismatic Renewal is a movement
within the Catholic Church. Worship is characterized by vibrant Masses,
as well as prayer meetings featuring prophecy and sometimes
glossolalia, or "speaking in tongues." This movement is based on the
belief that certain charisms bestowed by the Holy Spirit, such as the
abilities to speak in tongues and to heal should still be practiced
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, a Catholic university in Pittsburgh operated by the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (a Catholic religious order founded in France in 1703). Many of the students - though not all - claimed to have experienced a movement of Godís Spirit called being "baptized in the Holy Spirit." The professors had previously been "baptized in the Spirit" a week or two before. Believers felt that "Godís action" was also prepared for in a very human way by the studentsí 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 it exists in over 230 countries in the world, having touched over 119 million members according.
The charismatic element of the Church is still as evident today as it was in the early days of Christianity, although the manifestations may not seem as common or dramatic as in the first few hundred years. The charisms as identified in Saint Paul's writings, especially in Romans 12:6-8, 1 Corinthians 12-14, and Ephesians 4:11-12, continue to exist and to build up the Church. The nine charismatic gifts considered extraordinary in character include: faith, expression of knowledge and wisdom, miracles, the gift of tongues and their interpretation, prophecy, discernment of spirits and healing (1 Corinthians 12:8-10; cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church. These gifts are related to the traditional seven gifts of the Holy Spirit described in Isaiah 11:1-2 (wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord). The nine charismatic gifts in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 are also related to the spiritual and corporal works of mercy.
The initial reaction to the movement by the Church hierarchy was cautiously supportive. Some initially supported it as being a forerunner of ecumenism, greater unity of Gospel witness among the different Christian traditions. It was thought that these practices would draw the Catholic Church and Protestant communities closer together in a truly spiritual ecumenism. Today, the Catholic Charismatic Renewal enjoys the strong support of the hierarchy, from the Pope to bishops of dioceses around the world, as an officially recognized ecclesial movement.