A Reasoned Critique of the Gnostic Charismatic Movement
I have continually admonished
the Gentle Reader and all our parishioners to trust in
Catholicism, and avoid turning to the so-called
“Charismatic Movement” or “Pentecostal Movement” which
have, of late, been making great inroads in Catholicism.
Sometimes even Bishops, who should be teachers of
doctrine and guardians of Catholic tradition, have been
swayed by Charismania, often thinking, it seems, that
the emotional hype it generates in some would serve as a
solution to the dwindling numbers of heads and dollars.
(Some also seem to think that more dollars will solve
the head count problem.) But this is not new, for many
times in history we have seen large numbers of bishops
go astray – Arianism and the Orthodox schism serving as
Charismania is nothing but Gnosticism rehashed – the
heresy promising “secret knowledge” (from which comes
the name, as gnosis is Greek for “knowledge”) to
some sort of initiated persons; and all the
non-initiated are categorized as lesser, deviants,
inferiors, and so on.
It promotes the exercise of miracles as if the human
person could perform them at will. It stresses, like the
arch-heresy of Modernism, the addiction to emotional
experiences and then interpreting them as supernatural
experiences. It orients the soul to pursue the
extraordinary gifts of the spiritual life, such as
miracles, locutions, etc., while leaving doctrine,
penance, sacraments and the works of charity aside. It
encourages people to babble like animals, or like a
jazzy scat, and then call it “the gift of tongues”; and
repeatedly I have met Charismaniacs who claim to be able
to teach these skills to others. Its origin,
historically speaking, is not in the Apostles, but in a
group of Pentecostal Protestants – who neither believe
nor practice the Catholic faith that Jesus gave us
through the Apostles – in the 1800’s.
This is only a small, initial list of what’s wrong
with Charismania, and how it should be avoided and
ignored like every other heresy.
In the next few weeks, to further edify and inform
the faithful, and to provide sound reasons why the
Gentle Reader should avoid so-called “charismatic”
events, be they presented as Catholic or no, I will do
the following. I will reprint, part by part, a long
homily a fine priest delivered some years ago on this
I do not know who this priest is, but a scholarly
friend forwarded me the homily.
Perhaps if the Gentle Reader hears the same warnings
from a different priest, he or she may take the matter
more to heart and be less critical or suspicious that
it’s “just all Fr. Ward’s opinion.” Rather, the deep
disorder of the so-called charismatic movement is not a
dubious opinion, but a well-formulated judgment. The
reasons for this evaluation are presented above, but
also in future bulletin articles of the upcoming weeks.
The whole homily will be posted on the parish web
site as of this weekend.
A Reasoned Critique
of the Gnostic Charismatic Movement