CHARISMATIC CATHOLICS LOVE ERROR
May 15, 2002 (David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143, firstname.lastname@example.org) –
Since 1967, when the first Catholics in America began speaking in tongues and experiencing other charismatic phenomena, the so-called Catholic “renewal” has grown rapidly and has spread throughout the world. It is clear, though, that this “renewal” is not a revival of biblical truth, but is a renewal of devotion to Catholic error. The Catholic charismatic movement is not leading people to the truth, but into a deeper, more dedicated relationship with the errors of Rome. Consider some statements by influential leaders in the “renewal” movement:
“Unanimously, people [Roman Catholics who have had Charismatic experiences] report A GREATER APPRECIATION OF THE SACRAMENTS, especially the Mass as meaningful encounters with Christ, the Real Presence [in the Mass] and the role of Mary” (John V. McHale, The Furrow, May 1973).
“Catholic charismatics are placing more emphasis on their church identity and heritage than ever before. Wherever I go ... CATHOLIC CHARISMATICS ARE REDISCOVERING THE MEANING OF TRADITIONAL CATHOLIC BELIEFS AND PRACTICES, including the sacraments, the Rosary, the Virgin Mary and the saints. ... For years I’ve been telling Pentecostals that the Catholic Church was de-emphasizing devotion to Mary. Now I hear it’s all coming back, with the charismatics leading the way” (Nick Cavnar, “Why Are Catholic Charismatics Getting So Catholic?” Charisma, April 1985; Cavnar is executive editor of the Catholic publication New Covenant).
“Anyone who has become a genuine Charismatic, to my knowledge, HAS BECOME A BETTER CATHOLIC” (Cardinal Manning of Los Angeles, quoted by Priest Finbarr Devine, Charismatic Renewal for Catholics, 1976, p. 48).
“There is, however, another option and this is the way that has been followed by the millions of happy Catholics who are active in charismatic renewal. They have experienced a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit in answer to expectant prayer, and they are content to refer to this as ‘being baptized in the Holy Spirit.’ ... Also, very strikingly, they HAVE FOUND THEMSELVES DRAWN MORE DEEPLY INTO THEIR CATHOLIC FAITH AND PRACTICE. The Mass and the sacraments have become more meaningful and fruitful. Quite simply, THEY HAVE BECOME MORE CATHOLIC (Derek Lance, “The Dilemma of Being a Catholic Charismatic,” Chariscenter USA Newsletter, March-April 1990; Lance is a Catholic priest of Northampton, England).
“As one reads the literature coming out of the renewal, it becomes obvious that those who write from within the renewal wish to be Catholic and WISH TO SITUATE THE RENEWAL WITHIN THE CATHOLIC THEOLOGICAL TRADITION. This is an expression, one of many, of the fidelity of the renewal to the [Catholic] Church” (Ralph Martin, The Spirit and the Church, 1976, p. 147).
“Since I have had this [charismatic] experience, MY ALLEGIANCE TO THE HOLY FATHER AS THE VICAR OF CHRIST IN THE WORLD HAS BEEN HEIGHTENED AND STRENGTHENED. My appreciation for Mary as the co-redemptress and mediatoress of my salvation has been assured. My appreciation of the Mass as the sacrifice of Christ has now been heightened” (Cardinal Joseph Suenens, “Charismatic Ecumenism: The Road to Rome,” by Michael McCoskey).
Roman Catholic Cardinal Joseph Suenens (1905-1996) was accepted by Charismatic leaders as a genuine Spirit-filled Christian, but it is obvious that he was not. He bestowed upon the Pope and Mary titles that belong exclusively to the Lord Jesus Christ. He denied the once-for-all eternal sufficiency of the Atonement by claiming that Christ is sacrificed repeatedly upon Roman Catholic altars. This is gross apostasy. Yet, Suenens stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Charismatic leaders for decades. In a show of ecumenical unity, he stood before the 50,000 gathered for Kansas City ‘77 with Assemblies of God General Superintendent Thomas Zimmerman, J.O. Patterson of the Church of God in Christ, and Anglican Archbishop Bill Burnett. Pentecostal Vinson Synan worked closely with Suenens in organizing ecumenical rallies across the United States and in other parts of the world, including England and India. In 1979, over 250,000 people attended these rallies in the States alone.
These Roman Catholic leaders should be rebuked for their abominable practices and false doctrines. They should be exposed and condemned for leading multitudes to eternal Hell through their sacramental gospel. What does Jesus Christ think of these false teachers? His scathing sermon in Matthew 23 to the tradition-bound, works-salvationist Pharisees leaves no question about what He thinks. Instead of dealing with these wolves as Christ did, though, the gullible Charismatic crowd treats them as Spirit-filled men of God, just because they claim to have had some charismatic experience and have learned to use evangelical terminology. This is a great and terrible evil.
The Full Gospel Business Men’s Association published a booklet entitled Roman Catholics and the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. It contains testimonies of priests, nuns, and laity telling how they received the “baptism of the Holy Spirit.” The result? Now they attend Mass more regularly, ARE MORE DEVOTED CATHOLICS, and appreciate the liturgy [Roman Catholic rituals] more fully (The Catholic Gospel, Vol. 14, No. 1, p. 4).
Another example of the attitude commonly held by charismatic Catholics toward Rome’s dogmas was revealed in an interview Light of Life conducted in Bombay, India. Light of Life is India’s most influential Evangelical magazine. When the “renewed” Catholics were asked if their views of Mary had changed, they responded as follows:
“Nothing has happened to the great Mother of God. SHE STILL REMAINS QUEEN OF HEAVEN AND EARTH, RESPECTED, LOVED AND VENERATED. But we have a deeper understanding of her position in regard to God and to us” (Light of Life, June 1979).
My friends, the biblical Mary is NOT the Queen of Heaven, nor is she the Mother of God, nor is she to be venerated in any sense whatsoever. “Venerate” is defined as “to solicit the goodwill of a god, worship, revere” (Random House Webster’s College Dictionary). We don’t know what spirit is dealing with these people but it is not the Spirit of Truth. Catholic apologists often warn that it is an error to say that Catholics worship Mary. In so doing they are playing a deceptive semantics game. To worship and to venerate are the same thing, and the Catholic Church admits that it venerates Mary!
In reviewing the early history of the Catholic charismatic movement, Kevin Ranaghan testifies:
“What we were experiencing was very Catholic. In addition to all the new elements, we were awakened to the richness of the Mass, the sacraments and A NEW UNDERSTANDING OF THE PLACE OF MARY AND THE SAINTS” (“Roman Catholics Find Charismatic Movement Is ‘Very Catholic,’” Charisma, June 1982).
This same Ranaghan, who has been at the heart of Charismatic-Catholic activities for decades, made the following statement in the August 1981 issue of New Covenant:
“WE BELIEVE THAT THE CHURCH OF CHRIST SUBSISTS IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH AND THAT SHE POSSESSES IN UNIQUE FULLNESS BOTH REVELATION AND THE MEANS OF SALVATION. We are devoted to scripture, the teaching of the Church, the liturgy and sacraments, and the wisdom of our spiritual tradition. We recognize that without our continual nourishment as sons and daughters of the Church throughout her many channels of grace, we will surely wither away. We place our own personal charismatic experience in this context, and in the company of Mary and the Saints. With them as guides and models, we hope to stand as a beacon of truth and love in the midst of late twentieth century fog and confusion. This is the scope of our life of faith. To say it encompasses less would be ecumenically and theologically dishonest.”
This man, who is accepted as a genuine Christian by ecumenical Charismatics and who has been in leadership positions in some of the largest Charismatic congresses, is obviously a thorough-going Romanist, steeped in and convinced of all its unscriptural dogmas. He also believes God speaks through the papacy:
“It is the Catholic position that the Pope is the supreme teacher and pastor of the church. While he could exercise these roles by himself, he is at the head of all the bishops who as successors of the apostle also exercise these teaching and pastoring gifts. Catholics, then, normally expect to hear the voice of God through the Pope and the bishops” (Kevin Ranaghan, “Roman Catholics Find Charismatic Movement Is ‘Very Catholic,’” Charisma, June 1982).
This spirit of renewed dedication to Roman Catholicism on the part of charismatic Catholics is also evident in their conferences. The National Catholic Register’s report on Notre Dame ‘73 noted this:
“Catholic Charismatics should renew their dedication to Jesus Christ, His Blessed Mother, and His Church, in the person of the Holy Father.” ... That was the message of the seventh annual International Conference on the Charismatic Renewal in the Catholic Church held on the campus of the University of Notre Dame. ...
Addressing his words to the Holy Father, [Jesuit priest Harold Cohen stated,] ‘You are the Vicar on earth of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God. You are the successor of Peter. On this rock Jesus built His church. We are founded on this rock and on this rock we stand.’
With this pledge, the crowd of 25,000 people in the stadium exploded into applause and songs of alleluia, giving a long standing ovation to the pledge of loyalty to the Pope (National Catholic Register, June 17, 1973).
Dear friends, the Pope is NOT holy, is not a father, is not the representative [vicar] of Christ, is not the successor of Peter, is not the rock upon which Christ built His church! The entire papacy is a blasphemous lie, and every person led by the Holy Spirit of Truth will understand this and reject the Pope.
In a similar vein, the Religious News Service reported on Atlantic City ‘76 in this way: “While displaying a dynamic ecumenical outreach, the largest conference in the history of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal—drawing some 28,000 persons from the Northeast U.S.—reflected a posture that strongly affirmed a deep loyalty to the Pope and the Catholic bishops” (RNS, Nov. 1, 1976, reprinted in Christian News Encyclopedia, p. 370).
The Holy Spirit is “the Spirit of Truth,” and it is evident that the spirit leading the Charismatic movement into fellowship with Roman Catholicism is NOT the Holy Spirit.