Appeared in Winter 1993, Vol. XIX, No. 4

It has now been over twenty-five years since the charismatic renewal took root in the Catholic Church. For many, beleaguered by the rampant secularization of the Church and the consequent eradication of the supernatural, it held out the hope of a genuine spiritual renascence; one fostered by a renewed and ever more intimate relationship with the third Person of the Blessed Trinity, confirmed in the abundance of supernatural “gifts.” Many did return. However, as with all renewals, not a few, caught up in the initial fervor and bedazzled by the promise, let subjective analyses of this phenomenon suffice, neglecting difficulties posed by a rational evaluative approach. Unfortunately, subjective perceptions can never be held as the standard of truth, if we are to make an honest assessment of the renewal. This article proposes that a movement that has swept Protestantism over the past ninety odd years, and has made significant inroads into the Catholic Church throughout the last twenty- five, is deserving of more serious scrutiny by those who have fostered its growth and those responsible for maintaining the integrity of the Catholic Faith. It is hoped that this modest study will provide several useful approaches toward the evaluation of certain aspects of the Renewal, that a more refined theological understanding may evolve and present inconsistencies or difficulties be resolved.

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