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PENTECOSTALISM

A revivalist movement in Christianity, originally among Protestant bodies, but, since the Second Vatican Council, also among Roman Catholics. The main postulate of Pentecostalism also explains the name. Just as on the first Pentecost in Jerusalem there was an extraordinary descent of the Holy Spirit, so today there is said to be a similar effusion of spiritual gifts. No less than on Pentecost Sunday, so now the descent of the Spirit becomes clearly perceptible especially in three ways: 1. in a personally felt experience of the Spirit's presence in the one who receives him; 2. in external manifestations of a preternatural character, notably speaking in strange tongues, the gift of prophecy, the power of healing, and in fact all the charismata described in the Acts of the Apostles and the letters of St. Paul; 3. in a strong impulse to communicate these blessings to others by becoming a messenger of the Spirit in the modern world. The basic condition required to receive the charismatic outpouring is openness of faith. The only real obstacle, it is claimed, is diffidence or distrust of the Spirit to produce today what he had done in apostolic times.

All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

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