In the first part of this article, I described the origin of Pentecostalism and Catholic Charismatic Movement, the characteristics of Pentecostalism and explained why some Catholics drift to Pentecostal churches. In this concluding part of the article, I shall describe the effects of Pentecostalism on the Catholic faithful and recommend ways and means of stopping the exodus of Catholics to Pentecostal churches. Pentecostalism has positive and negative effects on the Catholic Faithful.
Pentecostal Churches show a deep personal devotion and faith in Jesus Christ. They consider the Bible as the word of God and guide for all situations in their lives. There is zeal to evangelize, to convert others. “The aggressive quest for the knowledge of the Bible has made most of our Catholic Christians to become more searching for the word of God, more disposed to become more friendly with the Bible, more cultured to pray in their own words when the need arises, more confident today to preach the gospel, more dynamic in translating what we profess and deliberate at worship into daily life” (See Rev. Fr. P. O. Ashiegbo, C.S.Sp: The proliferation of Churches in Nigeria: A theological and Pastoral Responses).
Members of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal are deeply committed to holiness of life and love of the word of God. If the leadership of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal Movement in Nigeria could accept and obey the guidelines set up for the movement by the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, honour the Blessed Virgin Mary and accept all the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church and in the words of Pope John Paul II “Seek a sound theological formation … to ensure … a mature and complete understanding of God’s word…”, the movement could be a genuine instrument of spiritual renewal, and in the words of Pope Paul VI, a “chance for the Church and the World”.
The errors inherent in the beliefs and practices of the Charismatic movement are many and grave. Dr. Story, one of the founders of the Catholic Charismatic movement in the U.S. who has left the movement, said that many Charismatics have a false sense of priorities concerning their own prayer life and their worship. “From personal experience”, he said, ”We have seen that quite often, when given the choice of attending their own prayer meetings, or attending a Marian devotion with recitation of the Rosary, adoring Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, offering Holy Hours of reparation, attending the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, some charismatics – including religious – prefer and choose their own prayer meetings to the time-honoured devotions andLiturgical worship”.
Archbishop Patrick Ekpu (now Emeritus Archbishop of Benin City) in one of his Pastoral letters titled ‘Lead Kindly Light’ strongly condemns the attitude of “Catholic Charismatics who walk-out from Church whenever Mass or Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament is about to begin”. By such un-Catholic behaviour, the so-called Catholic Charismatics “either betray their ignorance of their Christian doctrine or their MANIFEST DENIAL of the Catholic Faith”.
From eleven and a half years experience with Catholic Charismatics, Rev. Fr. Patrick Moore, SPS of St. Augustine’s Catholic Church, Ikorodu, Nigeria, summarises the errors and dangers of the Catholic charismatic renewal movement “for submission to Archbishop A. O. Okogie (now Cardinal Archbishop Emeritus of Lagos)”.
Among other grave errors, Fr. Moore stated the following:
1) The Charismatics are insensitive/indifferent to many basic doctrines of the Church.
2) When you tie most of those Charismatics down, you find that the Bible is the sole rule of Faith for very many of them especially among their own people. They feel free to choose from the teachings of the Church as they are “inspired by the Spirit”.
3) They are gradually substituting their own Rites for the Sacraments of the Church. e.g, ‘Baptism of the Spirits’ replaces the Sacrament of Baptism: “Confess your sin to each other” replaces the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Penance); Anointing one another with blessed oil replaces the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick: ‘God is Every Where’ replaces the Real Presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, “Charismatic Mass” replaces the Roman rite Mass, ‘Priesthood of the Laity’ replaces the Ministerial Priesthood.
4) Practically, all the Church’s teaching on Mary is dismissed. For example, they say ‘Mary is blocking our way to Jesus’.
5) They are infiltrating all societies of the Church particularly the Legion of Mary and Rosary Crusade by becoming Officers of these societies, thereby weakening the societies and drawing people to the Charismatics, under the cover of righteousness. Using their positions of leadership in these societies, they prevent other members from challenging them and their teachings. This appears to me a very insidious thing: they parade themselves under the banner of Mary while rejecting everything these societies stand for.
6) They regard the Pope and most Bishops as living in “The dark ages of the Church and have not yet seen the ‘LIGHT’”. And this view is being passed on by Charismatic Priests to lay people.
7) Priests who are Charismatic appear indifferent to many doctrines of the Church. Even when they do not deny or reject any of the doctrines themselves, they may not take any strong action when a particular doctrine is denied or ignored. They are not disturbed on hearing of any doctrine being called in question. They simply put one off “with a smile”, “a shrug of the shoulder” or “why get excited”.
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