The following article by John Vennari from Catholic Family News on the
Charismatic movement in general and the pentacostalist extravaganza held
in June of 1997 at Franciscan University in particular is one of the best
treatments I have seen of the "charismatic"  phenomenon as we find it in
our time.
Richard Freeman

                   A "Catholic" Charismatic Extravaganza

"To speak in tongues you had never learned was, and is, a recognized symptom
in alleged cases of diabolic possession."
Msgr. Ronald Knox -- Enthusiasm

by John Vennari

  It arrived on my desk a few months ago as yet another unsolicited piece of
bulk mail.  The brochure from the Franciscan University at Steubenville,
announced that "Catholic" Charismatics were about to celebrate their 30th
Anniversary bash in Pittsburgh "where it all began," and for $69.00
registration, I would be welcome too.  So it was that on June 27, 1997, I
found myself travelling toward this Pentecostal extravaganza.  I went for the
purpose of observation.  There was plenty to observe.  

  I had been to the "Toronto Blessing" church about two years ago, as Catholic
 Family News printed as expose on this new movement written by Silvia
MacAhern, and I wanted to see the "worship service" for myself before going
to press.  The "Toronto Blessing" is a high-charged Protestant sect that
could be called "Charismatic to the Tenth Power".  They believe the Holy
Ghost manifests Himself not only in indistinguishable tongues and body
gyrations (as was the case with the Pittsburgh "Catholic Pentecostals") but
also with screams, shrieks, rolling on the floor, hysterical laughter,
barking like dogs and oinking like pigs.

  This "Toronto Blessing" received some favorable comment at the June, 1997
Charismatic Conference.  "Catholic" Charismatic pioneer Kevin Ranaghan, in
his opening address, spoke of the "Toronto Blessing" as a true movement of
the Holy Spirit.  In so saying, this "anointed preacher", as they call each
other, told 7,500 Catholics in the audience that barking like dogs and
oinking like pigs is a true manifestation of the Holy Spirit.

  None of the other speakers voiced any disagreement with this radical
teaching from the podium.  In fact, by the end of the weekend I would witness
priests and bishop(s) doing boogie-woogie dances on stage, I would endure
rock and roll rhythms passed off as "sacred music", I would hear glowing
prayers of praise for Protestant religions, and I would marvel in dismay at
Steubenville's Scott Hahn attempting to defend Pentecostalism against
bothersome "traditionalist" critics.  But we'll come to all this later.

Grown in the Garden of Heresy

  Though it has been an intrusion into the Catholic Church for only 30 years,
Pentecostalism is of longer history.  The majority of authors identify its
true father as England's John Wesley, the founder of Methodism.  Wesley
preached about the baptism of the Holy Spirit (or "second blessing") which he
claimed was an intense personal experience confronting the Christian with the
presence of God.

  In time, Wesley's Methodist sect became more mainstream, and Pentecostalism
branched off into different areas.  In his booklet "Assemblies of God" and
other "Pentecostal Churches", the great counter-reformation apologist Rev.
Dr. L. Rumble (of Radio Replies fame), traces Pentecostalism's expansion
through the conduit of 19th Century Revivalism which spawned "Holiness
Churches", the Latter Rain Movement and the Assembly of God Churches.  Since
this booklet was written prior to present ecumenical confusion, Father Rumble
clearly recognized Pentecostalism as another heretical sect that Catholics
must avoid.

  Regarding "talking in tongues" and other emotional outbursts, Father Rumble
wrote:  "It was a kind of new discovery that such exciting manifestations
could result from strong religious feelings.  Prophet after prophet arose to
engage in a revivalism aimed deliberately at creating such abnormal displays.
 The idea grew that they were proof of a special outpouring of the Holy
Spirit upon elect souls; and such emotional experiences were interpreted as
evidence of 'Spirit Baptism,' a 'Second Blessing', conferring holiness upon
all who received such gifts."1

  This point warrants comment.  It stands to reason that within
Protestantism, a need would develop for an intense personal experience as
proof of the presence of God.  Protestants falsely believe that Christ did
not establish a Church to "teach, govern and sanctify in His Name" until the
end of time.  Protestantism, rooted in private interpretation of Scripture,
is merely a loose confederation of believers who accept the Bible as the only
source of Divine Revelation.  They lack the certainties of a Divinely
instituted authority teaching infallibly that the God-given sacraments of the
Catholic Church always give grace (holiness) to a soul who is properly

  This need, then, for proof by experience of God's presence in one's life is
the direct result of the Protestant's rejection of the Catholic Church, its
teaching authority and its sacred, grace-giving sacraments.  Since this need
is founded on an objective mortal sin against Faith, any such emotional
manifestation (that supposedly comes from being 'baptized in the spirit') can
only be explained by natural causes or demonic influence.  Such
manifestations also confirm the Protestant in his sin of unbelief.  Since the
Pentecostal believes he HAS the Holy Spirit already (and can demonstrate it
on cue) who needs the Catholic Church?

  Aligned with unchangable Catholic teaching and tradition, I argue that to
describe such exhibitions as the working of the Holy Spirit is blasphemy.  To
seek and imitate such phenomena is a reckless endangerment of one's Catholic
Faith.  To promote such manifestations is to play the unenviable role of
false prophet.  Herein lies some of the staggering difficulties within
"Catholic Pentecostalism."

Topeka's Tongues

  Catholic Pentecostals believe that the great outpouring of the spirit in
modern times really began from a small Protestant sect in Topeka, Kansas led
by Charles F. Parham.  Some "Catholic" Charismatics such as Peter Herbeck (of
Ralph Martin's Renewal Ministries), treat Parham's revivalist movement as a
Divine manifestation equal in drama and holiness to the visitations of Our
Lady of Fatima.2

  In his book Minority Religions in America, William J. Whalan succinctly
describes the sect's important role in modern Pentecostalism: 
  "The reappearance of glossolaly (speaking in tongues) was reported in 1901.
 Charles F. Parham, a Holiness preacher, was dismayed by the aridity of his
own spiritual life.  He rented a white elephant mansion in Topeka, Kansas,
and started a Bible school with about forty students.  Together they set out
on an intensive study of scriptures and came to the conclusion that speaking
in tongues was the one sign that a Christian had indeed received the baptism
of the Holy Spirit. At 7 p.m., on New Year's Eve in 1900, one of the
students, Miss Agnes N. Ozmen, startled the assembled group when she began to
pray in tongues.  Within a few days many more followed suit.

  "Parham spent the next five years as an itinerant preacher before opening
another Bible school, this time in Houston.  One of his students, a negro
minister named W.J. Seymore, carried the 'full-gospel' message to Los
Angeles.  A three-year-long revival in that California city attracted people
from all over the country, and these people planted Pentecostalism in most of
the major cities in the U.S., as well as in many European nations.  The old
Holiness Churches refused to give emphasis to tongue-speaking, but dozens of
independent Pentecostal Churches were soon organized."3

  The charismatic Msgr. Vincent Walsh, an enthusiastic promoter of "Toronto
Blessing" aberrations, wrote approvingly:  "Due to the ministries of Parham
and Seymore, modern worldwide Pentecostalism was launched."4  As a phenomenon
among Protestant assemblies, it would enjoy spectacular growth.  And in 1967,
a group of Catholics in Pittsburgh, with their defenses flattened by the
steam-roller of aggirornamento, and infatuated with a Protestant Minister's
success story among young New York hoodlums, would adopt a "new way of
thinking," study the scriptures according to this new mindset, and plunge
themselves headlong into the arms of heterodox practice.

"Stirrings in Pittsburgh"

  In the book Catholic Pentecostals, Kevin and Dorothy Ranaghan (founders of
the Catholic Pentecostal movement) give an account of the movement's
beginnings.  The Ranaghans and their colleagues at Duquesne University had
been involved with various activities popular at the time (civil rights,
etc.).  In the midst of these undertakings, they were plagued with great
spiritual aridity.  To combat this, they claim, the group went in search of a
greater influence of God in their lives.

  The date was 1966 -- a time of unprecedented ecclesiastical upheaval.
 Thomas Merton would soon be off to Tibet praying with the Dalai Lama and
calling for a unity which resembled Hindu "Oneness".  New Age writer Teilhard
de Chardin was practically reverenced by many Catholic intellectuals as the
fifth evangelist.  It was a tumultous period in Church history with violent
winds of change uprooting and destroying countless Catholic landmarks.  With
so many of the familiar signposts swept away, it was all too easy for
Catholics to wander out of bounds seeking God in the wrong places.

  At a Cursillo Congress, this group met Ralph Martin and Steve Clarke who
introduced them to the book The Cross and the Switchblade --the story of
Protestant Minister David Wilkerson's success among teen gangs in New York.
 Because of what Ranaghan and friends regarded as "positive aspects" of
Pentecostalism found in this book and because of the "transformed lives" of
two of their friends involved with such activities, they sought a similar

Ranaghan recounts that his group solicited the counsel of an Episcopalian
minister, thus ignoring the Catholic wisdom of the ages forbidding positive
religious camaraderie with heretical sects.  This clergyman introduced them
to a Protestant, Pentecostal gathering.  The group attended the meeting and
took part in the Bible study.

  One of those present, Ralph Keifer, wrote that at the end of this prayer
meeting "Pat [Bourgeois] and I asked to be prayed with for the baptism of the
Holy Spirit.  They broke up into several groups because they were praying
over several people.  They simply asked me to make an act of faith for the
power of the Spirit to work in me.  I prayed in tongues rather quickly."5
 Later, the same Ralph Keifer laid hands on two others (unidentified in the
book) and they too "received the baptism in the spirit."

  It was not surprising then that Kevin Ranaghan was the first speaker on
opening night at the 30th anniversary Conference.  After boasting that God
had filled him to overflowing with the Spirit, Ranaghan recounted that in the
early days, in order to "grow in the spirit", he and his friend sought
spiritual advice from a Protestant prayer-group:

  "In the beginning the contact with Pentecostals of our area helped us to
grow in an understanding and experience of the charisms.  We met in the home
of the representative of the Full-Gospel Businessmen.  And when he heard that
a group of Catholics was coming, he rallied the troops, and brought in
several Pentecostal ministers and a room full of prayer warriors to engage in
what they were sure would be a hard-fought battle.  What they found was the
most shockingly easy prayer-time they had ever known.  We claimed that we had
already been baptized in the Holy Spirit, which they found hard to believe
because, after all, we were Catholics."  (The audience broke into great
laughter, in joyful mockery of the "exclusive salvation" doctrines of the
Catholic Church).  He continued, "We said that we just wanted their help and
advice on yielding to and using the gifts.  They laid hands on us, and one by
one the whole roomful of us started to pray and sing in tongues.  No battle,
just a victory celebration."      (thunderous applause)

  In making this statment, this "anointed preacher" seems to have forgotten
that a Protestant victory over Catholicism cannot be regarded as a victory
for the Holy Ghost.

  Then Ranaghan, further indoctrinating the crowd into religious
indifferentism, sang the praise and blessings of heretical sects.  He said
"Praise God for the old-time Pentecostals and for the independent
charismatics God sent our way in those days ... Yes, from the beginning, it
was an ecumenical celebration."

  This is how the "Catholic Charismatic Renewal" began -- Catholics receiving
a Protestant mock-sacrament of 'baptism of the spirit', not through the
sacramental channels of grace established by Christ, but through
collaboration with heretical groups.

  From Pittsburgh the movement spread to Notre Dame and then to Newman
Centers at Michigan State and the University of Michigan.  Within four years
from its beginning the Catholic Pentecostal movement spread to dozens of
areas in the U.S. and Canada.  Its epidemic-like expansion was marked by
bizarre episodes played out by peculiar characters.  Layman Ralph Martin, one
of the new breed of roving Pentecostals, travelled the country exercising the
self-appointed commission of baptizing others (including priests and
religious) in the Holy Spirit.  Father Connolly describes an incident where
both Trappist and Benedictine monks, not willing to await the arrival of
Ralph Martin, rushed out and found their own local Pentecostals to "initiate
them", and how, in turn, they spread the "Spirit" among Catholics in their

  This alien "spirit" spread indeed.  Now it is a world-wide movement with
the power to draw 7,500 Catholics from all over the country to celebrate its
30th anniversary.

"Under the Spout Where the Glory Comes Out"

  Pittsburgh's David Lawrence Convention Center was set up theater style with
ample chairs and aisle space to accommodate the 7,500 registrants.  The stage
served as speaker's podium, makeshift sanctuary and bandstand.  A banner,
beautiful large crucifix, Divine Mercy poster, and image of Our Lady of
Guadalupe also adorned the platform.  The band, occupying left-stage,
comprised singers, electric instruments and full drum set.  It was similar to
the band at the Toronto Blessing Church.

  The rock'n'pop "praise music" played was undeservedly dignified with the
name "music ministry".  The band's front-man crooned the melodies with that
effeminate, sing-song, style that has come to be the hallmark of modern,
pop-mediocre Church music.  A scant handful of traditional hymns were thinly
spread throughout the weekend amongst a heavy music program.  With one
exception, there was no Gregorian Chant.

  Though many of these songs were of a Top 40 ballad style, several had a
driving rock and roll drum beat that would catapult the crowd to its feet
singing, arms in the air, dancing in place.  During these performances, one
would notice young girls in tight jeans hopping to the music, smiling and
singing into each other's faces as if romping at a Beach Boys festival.
 There was loud cheering and applause at the conclusion of most songs.  The
Emcee, harvesting this enthusiasm, would encourage further outbursts by
shouting "PRAISE JESUS, PRAISE GOD, ALLELUIA, ALLELUIA", to which the crowd
would obediently shout along.  Sometimes, the Emcee would initiate an
indistinguishable "prayer in tongues." Likewise, the audience would follow.
 Then, another musical number would begin.  The atmosphere was dominated by a
blend of Protestant revivalism, rock concert cheering and pep-rally spirit.
 Anything Catholic would be swallowed up in such a tumult.

  Yet one striking exception occurred when the singer intoned a cappella Veni
Creator Spiritu in Gregorian Chant.  It was the only moment of the weekend
when the hall was permeated with that distinctive Catholic trademark; the
reverential hush.  For this one moment the crowd sat motionless.  No hands in
the air, no waving, no dancing in the aisles, no applause at the hymnn's
conclusion.  There is a power in genuine Sacred Music that precludes its
being accompanied by worldly cheering and holy-roller demonstrations.  This
peaceful interlude would not last long.  It appears that Charismatics, like
small children, find it difficult to sit still and keep quiet.

  At about 7:30 p.m. on opening night, the Emcee kicked things off by seizing
the microphone and screaming "HAPPY ANNIVERSARY CATHOLIC CHARISMATICS".  The
crowd responded with a deafening burst of frenzied cheering that bordered on
Beatlemania.  "There's gonna be a hot time in the old town tonight" the Emcee
barked overtop the roaring crowd.

  The weekend proceeded with charismatic prayers, liturgy, dancing,
"tongues", prophesying, and speeches encouraging the crowd to "live under the
spout where the glory comes out."


  One of the most peculiar Charismatic practices is "prophesying".  An
individual stands as the center of attention and speaks as if God were
speaking through him.  Quite a few Pentecostals performed this ritual over
the microphone.  The crowd listened intently as if they were in the presence
of God speaking on Mt. Sinai.  What was always uttered, however, was a pious
platitude that anyone with minimal knowledge of religion could make up as he
went along.

  An excerpt from a lengthy such "prophesying" runs:  "Wherever you go,
wherever you are, know that the power of my Holy Spirit is the same for you,
and bring it to the people ... bring it, proclaim it and call upon it and
know that the same power you experience in you, you take forth from this
place, and have with you, forever, and in all the ministry that I call you to

  After this "prophesying" the audience applauds while the Emcee swoons,
"praise the Lord, praise God, thank you Jesus, etc."

  At one point, in the midst of such "prophesying," one man stated:  "I the
Lord am also your servant."  Jim Murphy, the Emcee, commented to the crowd in
awestruck amazement, "Isn't that wonderful!  GOD HIMSELF has just told us
that He is also our servant."  In practice, Murphy was teaching the audience
that indeed, GOD HAD JUST SPOKEN through the charismatic prophet right before
their eyes ...a presumption that is foreign to Catholicism.

  There was not much solid teaching on doctrine, morals or spirituality from
the speakers.  Any Catholic teaching was highly-seasoned with post-Vatican II
flavoring.  Anyone hoping to really learn something would have walked away
disappointed.  Like the Toronto Blessing, most speakers were shallow, empty
and often quite noisy.  The weekend's primary purpose was to celebrate the
joy of being "alive in the Lord," with much encouragement to "march forward
in the spirit."

No Rosary 
  Strange Liturgies

  Patti Gallagher Mansfield, one of the pioneer charismatics of the 60s,
lectured on St. Louis de Montfort's True Devotion to Our Lady.  The speech
was a hybrid of theologies blending the "goodness" of being baptized in the
spirit along with devotion to Mary.  Mrs. Mansfield seriously undermined her
own lecture, and shredded her credibility, stating that she purposely did not
recommend traditional devotions to Mary such as the Miraculous Medal, the
Rosary, etc., because, in her theology, "it doesn't matter how you come to
Mary, as long as you come."

  She further downplayed the importance of the Holy Rosary with the
declaration:  "If devotion to Mary consisted of saying the Rosary every day,
I would be lost."

  I thought it odd that this Charismatic lady, (supposedly possessing a
special "hotline to Heaven" due to her baptism in the spirit) would so
self-assuredly contradict the express command of Heaven by Our Lady in 1917
who said "God wishes to establish in the world devotion to My Immaculate
Heart."  Our Lady then gave specific directions on how this devotion is to be
practiced, most important of which is Our Lady's request to pray the Rosary
every day.  Our Lady then proved Her words with the greatest miracle in New
Testament history, the Miracle of the Sun.  Yet none of Fatima's urgent
directions from Heaven were preached at this conference by speakers who
constantly boasted of being "filled to overflowing with the spirit."  During
this gathering, Fatima was practically non-existent.  There was no public
recitation of the Rosary during the entire weekend, yet plenty of time for
revivalist, dance-in-the-aisle "worship" services.

  The conference liturgies were Novus Ordo concelebrations with Bishop Sam
Jacobs, a to-the-bone charismatic prelate, as main celebrant.  Here too, the
scale of spirituality tipped toward Protestantism.  What took place after the
Gospel smacked more of an Amway motivational seminar than a Catholic homily.
 The "Sunday Sermon" featured Bishop Jacobs prancing up and down the stage in
revivalist style, spewing a generous mouthful of "Amens" and encouraging
audience participation.

During this address, taking his cue from Our Lord's "Who do you say that I
am?" to Simon Peter, Bishop Jacobs screamed at the audience:  "WHO DO YOU SAY
  Screaming crowd "JESUS!"
  Bishop Jacobs:  "WHO DO YOU SAY THAT I AM?"
  Crowd:  "JESUS!"
  Bishop Jacobs:  "WHO DO YOU SAY THAT I AM?"
  Crowd:  "JESUS!"7

  The homily was often interrupted by loud, stamping applause... mind you,
this was in the middle of Sunday Mass!  Homilies on other days were of
similar stripe.  It was heartbreaking to endure a Roman Catholic bishop
carrying on like some cheap imitation of Oral Roberts.

  The Masses included choreographed "worship in tongues" that would take
place at a pause during the "Holy Holy Holy" and also before the Our Father.
 The "kiss of peace" will be left to the reader's imagination.

  Most eerie of all charismatic liturgical practices is the buzz of "tongues"
replacing the consecration bells.  During the consecration, at the elevation
of the Host and at the elevation of the Chalice, Bishop Jacobs stood in
elevation pose and initiated "prayer in tongues" that spread through the
entire congregation:  "Hum de yah hay dah sham a lum yada ..."  A drone of
indistinguishable gibberish would rise from the crowd, sounding like the
ghastly hum of a Hindu Ashram.  The vast majority of the audience received
Communion in the hand.

Father Michael Scanlon

  The summer, 1997 issue of Sursum Corda! magazine featured a surprisingly
favorable article on Steubenville University.  The journal reported that
Steubenville's Father Scanlon "has allowed and even encouraged the
[charismatic] movement's decline at the University."

  With all due respect to this well-meaning publication, this is certainly NOT
 the message that Father Scanlon transmitted during his speech at the
Pittsburgh Conference.  Not only is Steubenville hosting the Charismatic
Leadership Conference in 1998, but Father Scanlon seemed determined to set
the record straight regarding Steubenville's commitment to Pentecostalism.
 He opened:  "I just want to make it clear about the Franciscan University of
Steubenville.  IT IS the Power of the Holy Spirit, IT IS being baptized in
the Holy Spirit, IT IS the Charismatic Renewal that launched and is
responsible for the growth and maturity of this University, and I thank God
for that!" (thunderous applause)

  In this speech, Father Scanlon spoke of his "three conversions".  The first
was when he came to be fully convinced in the truths of the Catholic Church
and Sacred Scripture.  The second was when he was at Harvard Law School and
abandoned all to become a Franciscan priest.  So far so good.

  But the third "conversion" was his entry into Pentecostalism in 1973.  He
explained that he felt it his duty, as Rector of 170 Franciscan seminarians,
to make his men holy, and was perplexed on how to achieve this.  A Carmelite
nun told him "You need to be baptized in the Holy Spirit."  A week later, one
priest and two laymen laid hands on him.  He claims that there he received "A
R-R-RUSH OF THE SPIRIT".  He recounted, "after that, my preaching changed,
people started getting healed in the confessional.  People started flying in
to go to confession."  He gave accounts of spiritual and bodily healings he
had been involved with.  He also shouted, "I EXPERIENCE A GREATER POWER OF

  While this was taking place, I tried to imagine humble models of sanctity
such as Padre Pio, St. John Bosco and St. John Vianney boasting to a crowd of
7,500 how "filled with the spirit" they were, and bragging of their
spirit-filled ministries having been so instrumental in unproven cures.  It
was repeated testimonials such as this by various speakers that made me feel
I was in the middle of a three-day Charismatic infomercial.

  To hear priests like Father Scanlon praise the Protestant practice of
"baptism in the spirit" as if it were THE final road to holiness is quite
bewildering.  This is especially puzzling since seminary rectors of old would
have suffered a martyr's death rather than seek a Protestant mock-sacrament
as a channel to sanctity.  The Catholic methods are still the only ones
lawful and true.  Why did he not simply employ the Spiritual Exercises of
Saint Ignatius for these men, since the Spiritual Exercises are a proven road
to holiness, have been practiced and endorsed by centuries of Popes and
Saints, and were given to Saint Ignatius by the Blessed Mother Herself (the
spouse of the Holy Ghost).

  As we know, to take part in non-Catholic religious services is a grave sin
against Faith, and Pentecostalism comes from such forbidden religious
activity.  One cannot help but wonder if a Catholic, even a priest, walks
into such sinful activities with his eyes wide open, and persists in such
heterodox practice, would end up being punished with a spiritual blindness
that judges certain evils as good.  Whether this is the case with the
clergymen at this conference, only God knows.

  Also, the Catholic is not easily impressed with the reported miracles among
Charismatics.  None spoken of at this conference were documented.
 Pentecostals are not the only group claiming miracles and conversions to
authenticate their movement.  There are numerous unapproved Marian
apparitions (some that report the Blessed Mother warning "the Charismatics
are from Hell") that also claim miracles and conversions.8  There are wild
visionaries like Clemente in Spain who has crowned himself "Pope Gregory XVI"
who's movement likewise claims healings and conversions.

  A miracle can only be genuine if absolutely no other natural cause can be
attributed to it (at Lourdes, only 65 as of 1989, have been proclaimed by the
Church as miraculous).  Also, for the miracle to be truly of God, the message
that the miracle enforces must be in conformity with the traditional teaching
of the Church.  Here, of course, is where Pentecostalism falls flat, as there
is nothing Catholic about seeking holiness from heretical, non-sacramental

  If any extraordinary phenomenon is used to justify a new or false doctrine,
then Catholicism judges this as a "lying wonder" -- a phenomenon that comes
from man or from the devil.  As Father Vincent Miceli pointed out in his
speech,  The Antichrist, "these are called lying wonders because they draw
people to a different religion rather than the true religion." 

  Our Catholic church has a marvellous two-thousand year history of
"discernment of spirits" contained in traditional ascetical and mystical
theology that must be rigidly applied to such manifestations.  Here we have
the opposite:  Laypeople lay hands on an individual, the individual gets a RUS
H, and immediately proclaims that he is "full of the Spirit."  This is
shocking presumption according to Catholic teaching.

  The Catholic Church teaches that we should never accept at face value any
apparent supernatural manifestation as something definitely coming from God.
 Never! -- since it is too easy to be deceived by demonic forces.  The agony
suffered by Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque and other authentic favored souls
laboring to determine the genuineness of their heavenly manifestations should
be ample testimony.

  I see none of these criteria applied to Charismatics.  In fact, the
Charismatics seem to act as if these teachings either do not exist, or do not
apply to them.  However, it would seem that most Charismatics at this
conference were simple, well-meaning people who know nothing of these
teachings, nor of their duty to "test the spirits" according to these wise

  Parents considering sending their children to Steubenville University
should know that Father Scanlon boasted with great pride, "75% of all
students of the Franciscan University at Steubenville, have been prayed with
to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit."  Also, a busload or two of
Steubenville students were manning the volunteer work at this conference.
 Hence, Steubenville students will be exposed to such Charismatic gatherings
that are viewed by this university as acceptable Catholic practice.

Rock Around the Flock

  The Charismatic Saturday Night Dance that followed Fr. Scanlon's speech
would launch the element of the absurd to skyscraping heights.  Of course,
this "Saturday Night Fever" approach to religion was also undeservedly
dignified with the name "ministry session."  It consisted of Pentecostal
Diva, Babsie Bleasdell, "doing her thing" over the microphone for about an

  The session was one of Bleasdell preaching and leading prayers in the
revivalist, Baptist patter of "praise the Lord, Alleluia, the spirit of fear
and doubt be gone in the Name of Jesus, let the Spirit of God fall upon you
... a spirit of joy! joy!" while the audience caught the enthusiasm and
flared into a "holy groove."  The band played its energetic rock'n'pop
"praise" music with an increased fury.  At one point, the dam of enthusiasm
burst as the crowd rushed to the front of the hall in full-body dancing like
adoring fans celebrating their favorite rock band.  Bleasdell would encourage
the frolicking.  In the midst of all this, a James Brown rendition of "Papa's
Got a Brand New Bag" would not have been out of place.

  Bleasdell also employed the well-worn Pentecostal mesmerism: "some of you
experience that you don't have a headache any more...raise your hand.",
etc.,etc."  At one point, Father Scanlon, obviously overwhelmed with
enthusiasm, seized center stage and addressed the crowd as if in the grip of
a dream:  "I almost never get visions but I can see God's hand moving down
inside of so many in this assembly and reaching in and grabbing the garbage
...grabbing the garbage. (rising to a shouting crescendo)  Let Him PULL IT
REPLACE IT!  GARBAGE OUT -- HOLY SPIRIT IN!!"  The crowd responded with
"Praise God, Praise Jesus, Alleluia, Alleluia,"  There would be time for the
entire congregation to join in "healing prayers."

  For the most part, I find Charismatic leaders to be a cadre of very silly
men.  This impression was nowhere better confirmed than at this "ministry
session".  While Bleasdell was revving the crowd with cries of "Love and
dance before the Lord ... He longs to see it", priests and bishop(s) on a
crowded stage, including Father Scanlon, were having the time of their lives
and joined in the dancing.  7,500 Charismatics were treated to the spectacle
of Bishop Sam Jacobs joining arms with a woman (a plain-clothes nun, I think)
executing a rather clumsy series of moderate can-can kicks.  At one point,
Bleasdell was flanked by Bishop Jacobs on her right and what appeared to be
another bishop on her left engaging in full body dance, their pectoral
crosses bouncing to the rhythm, while smiling and waving at the audience.
 The three of them together looked more like Diana Ross and the Supremes
than religious leaders.  It seems that the more our Church officials talk
of human dignity, the more they degrade ecclesiastical dignity. 

Problems with Pentecostalism

  There is no room to catalog each of the outlandish activities, since there
is enough material at the Convention for a major work of non-fiction.

 Likewise, a full treatment of the varied and numerous theological problems
with this movement is beyond the scope of this article.  Apart from those
already mentioned, some of the more outstanding difficulties with "Catholic"
Pentecostalism are as follows:

1) The entire movement is founded on a sin against Faith.

  There are three ex cathedra (infallible) dogmatic pronouncements teaching
that outside the Catholic Church there is no salvation.  The most striking of
those pronouncements reads:  "The sacrosanct Roman Church, founded by the
voice of our Lord and Saviour, firmly believes, professes and preaches ...
and proclaims that those who are not living with the Catholic Church, not
only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics cannot become
participants in eternal life, but will depart "into everlasting fire which
was prepared for the devil and his angels' [Matt. 25:41] unless before the
end of life the same have been added to the flock ... [A]nd that no one,
whatever almsgiving he has practiced, even if he sheds his blood for the name
of Christ, can be saved unless he has remained in the bosom and unity of the
Catholic Church."10

  In perfect continuity with these infallible teachings, traditional Catholic
Moral theology, here summarized by Bishop Louis LaRavoire Morrow, S.T.D.,
holds that "A Catholic sins against Faith by taking part in non-Catholic
worship, because he thus professes belief in a religion he knows to be

  Yet by the admission of Catholic Charismatic pioneer, Kevin Ranaghan, the
movement began with Catholics performing the grotesque ritual of seeking a
spiritual blood transfusion from the dead corpse of Protestantism, and
proclaiming that God "filled them to overflowing with the spirit" for doing
so.  Such collaborating and "seeking the holiness of the Holy Spirit" from
anathematized heretics (what Protestant would survive the anathemas of the
Council of Trent?) cannot be a religious movement truly of God.

2) It is a movement founded on principles condemned by Pope Pius XI and Pope
Pius XII

  Both Pope Pius XI and Pius XII (basing their teaching on the unchanging
tradition of the Church rather than the progressive novelties of liberal
theologians) warned against the dangers of interfaith activity.

  Pius XI in Mortalium Animos taught that though St. John recounted Our
Lord's prayer "that all may be one", as well as Christ's command "to love one
another", "nevertheless (St. John) strictly forbade any intercourse with
those who professed a mutilated and corrupted form of Christ's teaching, 'If
any man come to you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into thy
house, nor say to him, God speed you."

  Pope Pius XI further castigated interfaith projects, stating, "...It is
clear that the Apostolic See can by no means take part in these assemblies,
nor is it in any way lawful for Catholics to give such enterprises their
encouragement or support.  If they did so, they would be giving countenance
to a false Christianity, quite alien to the one Church of Christ."12
  Yet as already mentioned, Catholic Pentecostalism is the product of such
forbidden ventures.

  Further, Pope Pius XII, in his 1949 Instruction on Ecumenism taught that if
there is to be any exchange between Catholics and non-Catholics (solely for
the sake of converting the non-Catholic to the one true Faith), all activity
must be guided by the truth that "the Catholic Church possesses the fullness
of Christ", that is, it does not need to acquire things that go to make up
the Christianity from other denominations.13

  Catholic-Pentecostalism "needed to acquire" the mock-sacrament of a false
religion (baptism in the spirit) for its impetus.  Hence it acts in haughty
disdain of Pius XII's traditional directives.

3) It favors religious indifferentism

  As noted already, the movement was born through unlawful collaboration with
Protestantism.  To this day, founder Kevin Ranaghan still "praises God for
the old-time Pentecostals," and speaks of Protestant splinter groups like the
"Toronto Blessing" as genuine movements of the Holy Ghost.

  Further, among the vendors at this 30th Anniversary Conference, two
Protestant organizations were represented.  Destiny Image Publications, a
nondenominational "ministry" producing revivalist literature displayed a full
selection of books for sale, including those promoting the "Toronto
Blessing".  Charisma magazine, a Protestant publication, hawked their journal
to crowds with the promise that "starting next month, each issue of our
Charismatic magazine will contain a 'Catholic supplement'."  Indeed,
Pentecostalism and ecumenism feed off each other, since acceptance of
Pentecostalism depends on recognizing Protestantism as another valid form of

  In 1864, Venerable Pope Pius IX, in perfect continuity with the unchanging
dogmas of the centuries, taught in his landmark Syllabus of Errors that "IT
IS AN ERROR to believe that Protestantism is nothing more than another form
of the same true Christian religion..."14  As should be obvious by now,
Catholic-Pentecostalism is immersed in this error in origin and practice.

4) The movement's continued growth would seem to depend on the absence  of
the Latin Tridentine Mass.

  The "Catholic Charismatic" movement started while the Latin Tridentine Mass
was in decline and the Protestant-style Novus Ordo emerging -- a new liturgy
historically proven to be favorable to experimentation and improvisation.
 The liturgical abberations mentioned in this article could not have taken
place within the Latin Tridentine Mass.  Cardinal Ottaviani noted, that the
Latin Tridentine Mass in alignment with the Council of Trent's dogmatic
teaching was an insurmountable barrier against heresy.15  It is not
unreasonable to speculate that implicit in Catholic-Pentecostalism is the
erroneous notion that the Latin Tridentine Mass was an obstacle to the work
of the Holy Ghost, since it may have stood in the way of Pentecostalism's
"powerful unleashing of the Spirit" throughout the world.

5) It virtually ignores Catholic teaching on the discernment of spirits.

  Though this point has been covered already, it must be further noted that
Pentecostalism encourages extraordinary phenomena such as "prophesying" and
"talking in tongues."  Yet the great mystical writer and Doctor of the
Church, St. John of the Cross, warned that souls must flee from seeking any
such manifestations.  What this great Saint said of private revelations
equally applies to all such phenomena:  "Wherein the devil habitually meddles
so freely [in extraordinary phenomenon] that I believe it impossible for a
man not to be deceived by them, unless he strive to reject them, such an
appearance of truth and security does the Devil give them.16

  Also, Msgr. Knox wrote that "to speak in tongues you had never learned was,
and is, a recognized symptom in cases of alleged diabolic possession."17  To
freely expose oneself to such dangers borders on madness.

6) It bears a striking resemblance to the occultic New Age movement in three

  a) It is a pan-denominational movement with a non-Catholic principle as its
unifying factor, in this case, "baptism in the spirit".

  b) It is a religion of EXPERIENCE.  Charismatics never really provide a
satisfactory theological explanation of "baptism of the spirit," but
emphasize that it is something that must be experienced.  This mirrors New
Age tendencies.

  c) It sneers at any traditional Catholic teaching that stands in opposition
to it.

  Hence, the problems with "Catholic Pentecostalism" are true and serious,
and cannot be passed over lightly, or laughed out of court by appealing to a
new "living tradition" that suddenly blesses what the Church always

  The Athanasian Creed states "Whoever would be saved before all else, it is
necessary that he hold to the Catholic Faith; unless such a one preserve it
integral and inviolate, without doubt he will perish in eternity."  In light
of the traditional teaching of the Church, it can be firmly argued that to
seek involvement with Catholic-Pentecostalism's wild mixture of truth and
error, as well as its heterodox practice, is to recklessly endanger one's

A Conquered People

  The Catholic historian Dr. John Rao observed that throughout history, a
conquered people will often take on the characteristics of their
conquerors.18  A more apt description of "Catholic-Pentecostalism" could not
be formulated.  Charismatics are a conquered people who have surrendered
their priceless, God-given heritage while dancing on the graves of their
Catholic ancestors in giddy imitation of Protestant practice.19

  The Pentecostalism and ecumenism presently gripping our Holy Church could
be nicknamed "Luther's Conquest."  It is not only our duty to resist it, but
also to beseech Heaven on behalf of the "Catholic Charismatic" who prays with
his hands in the air and his foot on the throat of traditional Catholic
doctrine and practice.


1) Rev. Dr. L. Rumble, M.S.C., "Assemblies of God" and other "Pentecostal
Churches", p. 18

2) Peter Herbeck, "The Titanic Battle", Renewal Ministries Newsletter, Ann
Arbor, MI, May, 1997

3) Whalen, op. cit. pp. 179-180

4) Msgr. Vincent M. Walsh, What is Going On?, (Wynnewood, PA, Key of David
Publications, 1995), p. 31.

5) Kevin and Dorothy Ranaghan, Catholic Pentecostals, Paulist Press, New
York, 1969, p. 15.

6) James Connelley, O.S.C., "The Charismatic Movement," in As the Spirit
Leads Us, (Paulist Press:  New York, 1971).

7) I want to make it clear, in case anyone misunderstands this format, that
Bishop Jacobs was not trying to induce the crowd to proclaim HIM (Bishop
Jacobs) as Jesus, this is simply the emotional charismatic way of eliciting
from the audience some sort of act of faith.

8) It should be here stated that I (and Catholic Family News) do not follow
or promote any of the unapproved apparitions of recent history or before. --

9) Two excellent sources of Catholic theological treatment on Extraordinary
Phenomena can be found in The Spiritual Life by Fr. Adolph Tanquerey (out of
print) and The Three Ages of the Interior Life [2 volumes] by Fr. Reginald
Garrigou-Lagrange, OP -- available from Catholic Family News.

10) Pope Eugene IV, Exbulla, "Cantate Domino", Feb. 4, 1441.

11) Most Reverend Louis LaRavoire Morrow, S.T.D., Bishop of Krishnagar, My
Catholic Faith, (originally published in 1949), p. 193.

12) Pope Pius XI, Mortalium Animos, On Fostering True Religious Unity, Jan.
6, 1928.

13)  "Instructions on the Ecumenical Movement," A.A.S., Jan. 31, 1950, cf.
Romano Amerio, Iota Unum, (Sarto House, Kansas City, 1996), p. 549

14) The full quotation of Proposition #18 reads that it is an error to say
that "Protestantism is nothing more than another form of the same true
Christian religion in which form it is given to please God equally as in the
Catholic Church", Pope Pius IX's Syllabus of Errors as written in Dogmatic
Canons and Decrees, Tan Books and Publishers, Rockford, IL

15) The Ottaviani Intervention, (Tan Books & Publishers, Rockford, IL), p. 27

16) St. John of the Cross, Ascent of Mount Carmel, Chapter 27

17) Msgr. Ronald Knox, Enthusiasm, (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1950),
p. 551.

18) Dr. John Rao, "Why Catholics Cannot Defend Themselves" -- An address
given by Dr. John C. Rao (D. Phil, Oxford University, Associated Professor of
History, St. John's University) on the occasion of the first anniversary of
the Dietrich von Hildebrand Institute, Feb. 18, 1993, and printed in the book
Americanism and the Collapse of the Church in the United States, p. 42

19) When I say Protestant practice, I really mean Pentecostal-Protestant
practice, since I know many sober Protestants would never go anywhere near