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Catholic Dictionary




One of the preternatural gifts described by St. Luke. Also known as glossalalia, it was the gift of speaking so as to be understood by all (as happened on Pentecost), and the corresponding ability of the hearers to understand a person speaking in a foreign tongue. St. Paul describes a different gift of tongues in the early Church, namely talking in unintelligible speech, but he viewed it with suspicion when those who had the charism lacked the ability to explain what they were saying (I Corinthians 14:1-40). Among Pentecostals in the charismatic movement, the gift of tongues is said to be very active in modern times.