Sacred Heart

Catholic Church

Imlay City, Michigan  Tel: (810) 724-1135

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A Reasoned Critique of the Gnostic Charismatic Movement

Charismania: Introduction


   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 outstanding examples.

   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 very topic.

   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










Compendium of Social Doctrine of the Church, from the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Librevia Editrice Vaticana




Vatican Website






Archives of Homilies on Elijah during Lent 2016

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Archives of Homilies on the New English Translation