Catholic Charismatic Renewal-A Grace For Us All

Author: Charles Whitehead

Catholic Charismatic Renewal-A Grace For Us All

Catholic Charismatic Renewal is at the heart of the Church, enabling Catholics to be filled with the Spirit and live as effective disciples of Jesus, says Charles Whitehead.

Many people have heard about the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, without understanding its importance in the life of the Church.

A good way of expressing it is to say that the Charismatic Renewal is a current of grace, bringing a new experience of God's power into the lives of his children, because we need the graces of our water baptism to be fully released and new charisms given for our service and mission.

This is a sovereign work of the Spirit, through which we welcome God to BE God, and to equip us to live more effective Christian lives. It's called being "baptised in the Holy Spirit", and in 1968 Cardinal Suenens described this whole move of the Spirit across all the churches as "The Charismatic Renewal."


The adjective "charismatic" is used because a charism is a supernatural gift from the Holy Spirit to equip the recipient to undertake a particular service for the up-building of the Church.


The Oxford Dictionary defines "renewal" as:- "among charismatic Christians, the state or process of being renewed in the Holy Spirit." So this reminds us that Renewal, too, is a supernatural activity of the Holy Spirit. Pope Francis explains it in these words: "You, the Charismatic Renewal, have received a great gift from the Lord. Your birth was willed by the Holy Spirit to be a 'current of grace in the Church and for the Church'. This is your identity." (Rome, June 1st 2014)

 A Move Of The Spirit

The CCR does not have a human founder and Cardinal Suenens explained it like this:

“To interpret Renewal as a movement among other movements is to misunderstand its nature; it is a movement of the Spirit offered to the entire Church, and destined to rejuvenate every  facet of the Church’s life. The soul of Renewal, Baptism in the Spirit, is a grace of Pentecostal refreshment offered to all Christians.”

Enormous Variety 

Everyone in the Charismatic Renewal shares the same experience of baptism in the Spirit, and the emphasis is on relationships and networks, rather than on structures. Many groups feel they are part of a big charismatic family within the Church, and their desire is that as many others as possible should also experience baptism in the Spirit. So the CCR is a current of grace, bringing the power of Pentecost into every part of the life and mission of the Church, thereby offering a fuller life in the Spirit to everyone.                                                                                                           

CHARIS-A Sign Of God's Blessing

At Pentecost 2019, CHARIS was officially launched by Pope Francis. His vision was to have one single organisation to serve, advise and promote the whole CCR rather than a number of different bodies with their own private statutes. So CHARIS (meaning Grace), was launched through the Pontifical Council for Laity, Family and Life, with a “public juridical personality.” The Catholic Charismatic Renewal had become an official Church organisation with a much higher profile than in the past. CHARIS serves an estimated 130 million people, NOT dictating what they should say and do, but offering central support, encouragement and guidance when asked to do so.

This amazing decision by Pope Francis gives full Church recognition to the worldwide Catholic Charismatic Renewal, fifty two years after it began among a small group of American students on retreat at Duquesne University. So a new phase has begun in the CCR, thanks to the vision of a Pope who recognises the need for every Catholic to receive a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit, to equip us all to live much more spiritually effective lives as disciples of Jesus Christ in today’s world.

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