Catholic World News

Pope urges charismatic Catholics to work for Christian unity, warns against authoritarianism

July 06, 2015

Pope Francis warned members of the Catholic charismatic renewal movement not to succumb to temptations to authoritarianism and called upon them to work for Christian unity and to introduce the poor to the Gospel.

The Pontiff made his extemporaneous remarks on July 3 to members of Rinnovamento nello Spirito Santo (Renewal of the Holy Spirit) who were taking part in their Italian national convocation and had gathered in St. Peter’s Square on a rainy afternoon. The gathering had an ecumenical theme, and some Orthodox prelates and Protestant clergy were present.

Reviewing the history of the Catholic charismatic renewal, Pope Francis cited remarks by the late Cardinal Leo Joseph Suenens that the movement is called to be a river of grace that becomes lost in the ocean of God. If the movement works for itself and does not flow into the ocean of God’s love, “this is from the evil one, the father of lies,” said the Pope.

The Pontiff reminded charismatic Catholics that unity does not mean uniformity and warned lay leaders in the movement against tendencies to authoritarianism, which he said is also from the devil. Leadership, he said, should be limited in time, lest it become a lifelong dictatorship.

Thanking members of the movement for the fruit that the movement has borne in Italy, the Pope urged them to work with their bishops. Citing the ecumenism of the blood of the martyrs of Uganda, the Nazi concentration camps, and the present day, he also also upon charismatic Catholics to work for Christian unity.

Pope Francis also called upon members of the movement to bring the Gospel to the poor, organizing life in the Spirit seminars for people who live in the streets.

“And with the Bible, the Word of God, go and preach the news that Jesus gave us,” he added. “Preach to the poor, the marginalized, the blind, the sick, prisoners, all men and women.”

 


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