Last weekend I was in Philadelphia to speak at a Catholic Charismatic Renewal Conference, and had a great time. This may surprise some readers, as I think some perceive me as a traditionalist Catholic.
It is true that when it comes to worship styles (especially at Mass) I am more traddy than trendy. However, when it comes to spirituality, pastoral work and theological views, I am interested and open to groups in the church who may not be on the same page as me liturgically.
I like singing praise and worship music if the band is good and the singing is upbeat. (Especially in a non liturgical setting) I’d rather be with a group of people who are singing their guts out and jumping for Jesus than to be with crossed arms Catholics. You know the ones I mean who stand there at Mass, mouths closed, arms crossed with an expression on their face that says, “I’m here ’cause I have to be here, but you just try to get me interested.”
What I like about Catholic Charismatics is that they are enthusiastic. If they’re not traddy in their liturgical style, they are orthodox in their theology. The best are totally loyal to their bishop and the Holy Father. I have criticisms of some aspects of the movement, and realize sometimes there has been division and there is a wacky extreme, but that can be said of most of the new movements in the church.
The most important thing for me to realize is this: the charismatic movement reminds me that we don’t all have to join the charismatic movement, but we all need to be charismatic. What I mean by this is that we need what is good from the charismatic movement, even if we don’t join it, and those who are members help us to see that. It reminds me that a man is most often right in what he affirms and wrong in what he denies.
It is the same with all the movements. I’m glad the FSSP are out there with their allegiance to the traditional Mass. They’ve got their wacky fringe element too, but they’re good people and while I don’t want to join them, I support them. I’m grateful for them because they remind me of the need to value the tradition and renew the liturgy.
You could apply this not only to the new movements, but to religious orders too. I don’t want to be a Franciscan, for example, but I’m glad the Fransciscans are there to remind me of the need to be joyful in poverty, free to love in chastity and learning the Lord’s will through obedience.
So, while I’m not a card-carrying Charismatic, I’m glad there are plenty who are. They widen the range of Catholicism. They’re hard working, organized, enthusiastic and they love the Lord. More power to them.